Jewish dissent lives on

The following letter appears in this week’s Australian Jewish News:

The furore over the recent Palestinian statement published in The Australian doesn’t deserve the overwrought reactions in the Jewish community.

However, the response by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and The AJN have been revealing in propagating a deception to embarrass people who hadn’t signed it and to discredit Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) for circulating it.

Australian Jews who may be new to the Israeli press will be shocked to discover that such views regarding the history of Israel, including its founding in 1948 and subsequent events to this day, are far from what they have been encouraged to believe.

Israelis know that views denounced here as anti-Semitic or self-hating are taken seriously as respected opinion within Israel.

Foremost Jewish, Israeli historians and journalists tell a story that is strenuously denied here by those who, in the familiar slogan from Ed Murrow, confuse dissent with disloyalty.

However, the true friends of Israel are not those who serve as propagandists for official Israeli Government myths, but those who stand with the many Israelis who condemn not only the crimes of Palestinians, but also those of the State of Israel.

The IAJV statement last year was a balanced expression of concerns by Australian Jews appealing for a more honest debate. IAJV’s action in sending out the recent statement was consistent with the original goals that have won support from Jews, Palestinians and the wider community, and did not commit anyone besides those who explicitly endorsed it.

Public support by Australian Jews for Australian Palestinians makes a constructive contribution towards peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians.

Sydney, NSW

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