Attacked and applauded for stance on Israel, Halper is a lightning rod

Following yesterday’s publication in the Sydney Morning Herald of Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, today’s paper has the following letters:

Jeff Halper has disclosed another example of the campaign by influential Jewish leaders to stifle any open debate on the Israel-Palestine problem (“Diaspora Jewry needs to let go of idealised Israel”, April 10).

His treatment by Jewish leaders should shame all Australians who value the right to freedom of expression.

The line of attack is to condemn the messenger while ignoring the message. And the message is to recognise that Israel’s Government has made many mistakes and continues to make them and that policies must change if there is ever going to be peace in the Middle East.

Vincent Matthews Forestville

God bless Jeff Halper. When this brave, honest man’s opinion becomes the majority within Israel, world Jewry and the US Congress we may finally have peace in Palestine.

Nicholas Bogan Ultimo

As someone who attended one of Jeff Halper’s talks, I understand why he was barred from speaking at a synagogue. His utopian solution to the Middle East crisis is not a solution for Israel but a solution to Israel.

His speeches tugged at heartstrings and presented nothing but half-truths and a single perspective. He failed to lay any blame on the numerous terrorism groups that seek to murder innocent Jews or recognise that the most recent conflict in Gaza was a response to eight years of Israeli cities being bombarded by thousands of rockets.

The Diaspora Jewry listens to a range of opinions on Israel, both critical and uncritical, and it evaluates their opinion accordingly. There was no attempt to have Halper barred from speaking at numerous universities and no attempt at censorship. But it must be recognised that his extremist view of a one-state solution will lead to civil war and ultimately genocide.

History is against him.

Raffe Gold Waverton

What was on display during Jeff Halper’s visit was the very censorship and attempt to silence voices of dissent that the gatekeepers of the Jewish community say is non-existent.

Halper’s challenge to the Australian Jewish community to return to its historical commitment to social justice and human rights needs to be heard loud and clear if a re-examination of what unconditional and uncritical support for Israel actually means is to occur.

Establishing a state that prioritises the Jewish people over the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants is incompatible with the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the standards of international law and the values inherent in Judaism.

This incompatibility is why Israel is not a true democracy and why Israel has become an apartheid state.

Dora McPhee Parkville (vic)

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