The following letter appears in today’s Australian newspaper:
The Australian (“Blaming the victim”, Editorial”, 12/3) seems to be impressed by “high-profile Australian Jews on the subject of Israel”. But, as Winston Churchill’s recently discovered remarks on Jews suggests, “high profile” doesn’t necessarily mean right.
Churchill’s remarks that Jews are “different” and “refuse to be absorbed” offered an opportunity to address what is similarly said today about Muslims. You chose instead to draw the bow to criticising the recently formed group Independent Australian Jewish Voices. Pity.
Contrary to Melanie Phillips’s aspersions about the corresponding British group (Cut & Paste, 12/3), I have defended Israel in various quarters. I was a member of a Zionist youth group for 15 years, led Jewish student groups on campus, have lived in Israel for four years – including during the first Gulf War when we all had to carry around a gas mask and syringes in the event of biological or chemical attack – and ran a university Jewish studies program.
I support and care about Israel. And that is why I signed the IAJV petition. In many ways, the issue boils down to your own observation that “(c)ertainly, Israel is not without sin”. Many in the Jewish community find it difficult to admit this much. It is telling, for example, that you do not mention Israel’s program of settlements on the West Bank. You editorialise day after day on the importance of getting to the bottom of stories, and of calling the shots wherever the fault lies. You should pay Israel and the Jews the same courtesy.
Geoffrey Brahm Levey
Elizabeth Bay, NSW