Following a letter in yesterday’s Age about the ability of Jews to openly debate the Middle East, the letter below appears in response in today’s paper:
I write to clarify the misrepresentations of Ingrid Weinberg (Letters, 14/5). When Dr Ghada Karmi came to Australia at the invitation of the Sydney Writers Festival in 2003, she spoke in Melbourne under the banner of Women for Palestine. At this lecture Dr Karmi could not answer all the questions put to her, as time did not permit.
Australians for Palestine was not formed until 2006, and in 2007 again brought out Dr Karmi. At neither lecture were any individuals heckled, abused or removed from the lecture theatre. These claims are false.
Australians for Palestine and Women for Palestine are advocacy groups providing a voice for dispossessed Palestinians. Al-Nakba is the term Palestinians and other Arabs use when describing the dispossession of 1948, not the creation of Israel.
We have never, nor will we ever, promote or engage in the sort of racist vitriol that Weinberg claims. We have many Jewish supporters and work with all concerned members of the public to raise awareness about the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Moammar Mashni, Australians for Palestine, Melbourne