APPENDIX: OUR PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
The Labor Zionist Alliance is an affiliate of the World Labor Zionist Movement. We work with a variety of other institutions in the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. Zionism is based on the unity of the Jewish people, the centrality of the State of Israel, the renaissance of the Hebrew language, and the importance of aliyah (immigration to Israel). As Labor Zionists, we are committed to emphasizing the centrality of Israel in Jewish life and to transmitting a shared set of socially progressive Jewish values from one generation to the next. We believe that the transmission of these values lies in our commitments to Jewish peoplehood, a progressive and peace-oriented Zionism, and the realization of social democracy and economic justice in Israel, the United States, and the world.
Founded in the early years of the twentieth century, Labor Zionism played a central role in the reestablishment of a Jewish society in our ancestral homeland. Labor Zionism rose to the challenges of transforming the land and the Jews who came to build it: establishing social institutions to sustain the new society, and rescuing and ingathering the surviving remnant of the Shoah.
Labor Zionism made possible the establishment of the state, and provided the majority of its early leadership. It led the struggle for Israel's independence and organized the mass immigration of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Its sons and daughters were among the first rank of Israel's armies in each of its wars. Labor Zionism founded the economic institutions which have been the core of Israel's agriculture and industry. Labor Zionism's current political embodiment in the Israel Labor Party is primarily responsible for the road to long-term peace with Israel's Palestinian and Arab neighbors.
With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, political Zionism achieved one major objective: Jewish national self-determination. In the last five decades, Jews in the Diaspora, working in close cooperation with Jews of Israel, have striven for and rejoiced in the success of Israel's economic and cultural achievements. Disapora Jews have supported Israel's heroic rescues of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry.
With Israel established as an instrumentality for the development of the Jewish people, Zionists continue to address the nature of that development. What does it mean to be a Jew and a Zionist today? Now that we have a Jewish state, what kind of state should it be? How should the Jewish people develop itself in both the Diaspora and in Israel? What shall be the relations between the two? These questions inspire heated debate among Zionists of various political affiliations, and among Jews in general.
Labor Zionism has continually expressed through its institutions and the writings of its adherents the centrality of democracy and the dignity of the human being. Labor Zionism has consistently respected the demands of Jewish tradition and its continuous redefinition, and reshaping of the Jewish condition in the modern world. In particular, Labor Zionism recognizes the legitimacy of pluralistic forms of Jewish religious and spiritual expression. Labor Zionism continues to recognize the inherent dignity in all forms of labor. As Labor Zionists, we are committed to a core set of principles and policies designed to reduce the inequalities in the economic systems of society.