The following was sent yesterday:
We are sending out our occasional newsletter and we would like to express our gratitude for the support we have received. In particular, we are grateful to various generous benefactors without whom our activities would not be possible.
We have recently joined the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), which “has been formed by civil society groups to give a national voice to the Palestinian experience, with the aim of bringing balance and truth to the public debate in Australia about the Israel-Palestine conflict.” APAN “was officially established as an Incorporated Association in May 2011 and its founding membership base includes representatives of Palestinian groups, unions, churches, existing Palestinian solidarity organisations, and Jewish groups.” Peter Slezak is on the Executive, and we are encouraging both individuals and organisations to join. Please visit www.apan.org.au for more information.
Miko Peled, the grandson of one of the signers of Israel’s Declaration of Independence and the son of a general in the 1967 war, visited Australia recently for a number of talks and public events, sponsored by the Melbourne-based Australian for Palestine (AFP). Peter Slezak joined him and others for a Parliamentary dinner at the NSW Parliament. There is a good interview with Peled here.
The Leichhardt Friends of Hebron sponsored a forum recently on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Speakers included Peter Slezak Samah Sabawi (from Australians for Palestine) and Joseph Wakim (founder of the Arabic Australian Council). The forum was moderated by Peter Manning, senior lecturer at Monash University.
Also on the topic of the BDS movement, late last year Marrickville council in Sydney endorsed the BDS as a policy. There followed months of intense public debate, political attacks and misinformation about the BDS movement and the alleged costs to the council. In April of this year the council met to discuss whether to rescind their support for BDS. Antony Loewenstein and Peter Slezak, among others, spoke at the council meeting in support of BDS and the council’s decision of December 2010. Here is the the video of Antony’s speech. The council decided at the meeting to revoke their earlier decision to support BDS. For more information about the BDS movement, visit their website: www.bdsmovement.net
In May, the annual Jewish Limmud-Oz festival held at the University of New South Wales cancelled two speakers from their program following complaints that the two supported Marrickville council and BDS. The two speakers were Vivienne Porzsolt (from Jews Against the Occupation) and Peter Slezak. Here’s a Sydney Morning Herald article with more details of what happened, and here’s an article by Peter Slezak in which he discusses his removal from the Limmud-Oz program.
A forthcoming book may be of interest. It is edited by Avigail Abarbanel and called ‘Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Stories of Jewish Activists’ (in the Cambridge Scholars series), with a Foreword by Harvard’s Sara Roy and including chapters by Ilan Pappe, Jeff Halper, Anna Baltzer, and Peter Slezak and Vivienne Porszolt among others.
In a significant development towards enhancing our efforts, we have hired Eran Asoulin as a part time executive officer to supplement the work he has been doing on a volunteer basis.
Among current plans, we hope to support Peter Slezak’s inclusion in the 2012 APHEDA tour of the Palestinian territories to report back in the form of public lectures, blogs and articles. APHEDA is the overseas humanitarian aid agency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
Finally, IAJV now has a facebook page and a twitter page, “like” or follow us if you use those services. We will be increasing our online presence with regular updates on many relevant issues, so please visit our website.
As always, we are grateful for funding support which has allowed us to undertake our various activities. To make a contribution you may either use the “Donate” button on our website or use the following bank details for making an electronic transfer:
Unicom Credit Union
Account Number: 26241843
Thank you in advance.
Best wishes for now,
Independent Australian Jewish Voices