March 15, 2008

Silly season starts early for Australia's Jews

Perhaps it's global warming or maybe I'm being a northern hemisphere chauvinist expecting Australia's silly season to coincide with the UK's but this little spat in the Australian Jewish community replicates some of the silliness we have witnessed around Jews for Justice for Palestinians in the UK and their attempts to show solidarity with the Palestinians via newspaper adverts. So what am I talking about? Here's The Australian:
A PRO-PALESTINIAN advertisement protesting against parliament's motion in support of Israel has divided members of a Jewish group critical of Israeli national policy.

Antony Loewenstein, a founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, was a signatory to the advertisement, published in The Australian on Wednesday, which said the 60th anniversary was a "celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians". Other members of the group, including publisher Louise Adler, declined to sign.

In a strongly worded editorial, the Australian Jewish News this week condemned Mr Loewenstein, describing him as the "enfant terrible of the Australian Jewish community". "He would be well advised to leave the business of creating an alternative Jewish voice to those who at least support the existence of Israel as a viable Jewish state," it says.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief Vic Alhadeff said the advertisement caused "extreme concern" in the Jewish community, because of its "dishonesty and inflammatory language".

The advertisement also caused a stir when it emerged that names had been added to the advertisement without permission.

Peter Slezak, a founder of Independent Voices who helped gather 70 names for the advertisement, said there were only two people who had raised the concern - academic Nic Witton, who was added because of a miscommunication, and Susie Gold, who was angry to be confused with the listed Suzie Gold.

Mr Loewenstein yesterday said the editorial was a "disgrace". He had not instigated the advertisement as claimed, but had helped to gather signatures because he felt it was important to show solidarity with Palestinians who had suffered as a result of the events of 1948. He said he supported Israel's right to exist but did not believe in the idea of a Jewish state that discriminated against non-Jews.

How stupid this all is. The zionists at this Australian Jewish News are happy enough with an alternative Jewish identity just as long as it supports a state based on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. That's tolerant of them.

And the "dishonesty and inflammatory language"? Oh yes, it was dishonest of these ozzie anti-occupationists to run the signature of someone with a zionist namesake and one other person who they thought had consented to their name being used but hadn't. Meanwhile, is it a fact that on the day the zionists are celebrating as Israel's independence day, there were at least 300,000 Palestinian refugees as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign that gave Israel its Jewish majority? Or put another way, are zionists having a "celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians"? Er yes, they are. The zionists can quibble to their hearts content and be given space in the media to so but their state is thoroughly repugnant and no words are too inflammatory to describe it's history, its structure and its behaviour towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine.

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