The following has been sent to many Australians over the last days. The response has been very encouraging. Stay tuned.
As you may be aware, a group of British Jews, including prominent figures, recently expressed their concern publicly that independent views on the Middle East were not adequately represented by official Jewish bodies. Their group, called ‘Independent Jewish Voices,’ issued a declaration that was published in the media and is available on their website: http://www.ijv.org.uk. This British group has received hundreds of signatures expressing support.
We are a group of Australian Jews who share their concerns and aims and we are now also seeking public support from fellow Jews. Our group, ‘Independent Australian Jewish Voices,’ has been established and our declaration of principles is in the message below and also on our website: http://iajv.org
We are seeking signatures and plan to publish our statement in mainstream newspapers such as The Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and The Australian Jewish News within the next few weeks. By then we hope to have gathered significant indication of support in the community for our goals. A press release will also be issued at this time launching our initiative.
Signatures may be entered via email (iajv99 [at] gmail.com) and will be made public shortly on the website unless anonymity is requested. Please indicate full name, city, postcode and email address. Email addresses are required for confirmation but will not be made public or available to anyone else.
All signatures for publication will be shown on the website at the time we publish our statement in the media. A selection of these will be included with the published statement.
We aim to provide a more open forum for the expression of the full spectrum of opinions on issues concerning Jews and the Middle East.
We would be grateful if you could forward this email to any other Australian Jews you think might be interested and supportive.
For inquiries, please email iajv99 [at] gmail.com
Statement of Principles: A Call for an Alternative View
We are Jews of diverse opinions on the Middle East who share a deep concern about the current crisis in the region.
We are committed to ensuring a just peace that recognizes the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all.
We condemn violence by all parties, whether state sanctioned or not. We believe that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.
As Australians we are privileged to live in a democratic state that embodies the principles of tolerance and free speech. We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or “self-hating.”
Uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests. Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation. In particular, we are concerned that the Jewish establishment does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion. Contrary to widespread concerns, anti-Semitism is not fuelled by Jews who publicly disagree with actions of the Jewish State.
Jews understand what it is to suffer racism and victimization and therefore we are not only concerned about anti-Semitism but also the demonisation of all other minorities.
We call upon fellow Jews to join us in supporting free debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East.