As a delegate to the World Zionist Congress, I entered the meeting hall in Jerusalem last week with hope and enthusiasm. I looked forward to engaging in healthy and constructive discussions on pressing issues that affect Israel and Zionism. Little did I know that I would soon find myself caught in the crossfire of a divisive and unproductive Congress, ultimately forced to take a side in a bitter ideological battle.
While the opposing factions roared out, “Busha!” from above us, all I could think was that the real “busha” (shame) lies in the fact that the same bloc, driven by its crusade for social justice, felt compelled to inject controversial topics into the discourse. These topics were not in line with the spirit of the Congress or the World Zionist Organization (WZO) charter and not what we were here for. In any event, this situation left me, and many other delegates, in a challenging position, torn between our commitment to the core principles of Zionism and our desire to be respectful and accommodating of others’ views.