The following letter appears in today’s Australian newspaper:
Elisabeth Wynhausen’s piece (“Careful, they might hear you“, Inquirer, 10-11/6) is rife with inaccuracies, contradictions and non sequiturs.
For example, she provides evidence that the policy positions of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council reflect the views of the majority of Australian Jewry. But then she expends most of the space in a transparent attempt to portray AIJAC’s advocacy as non-mainstream, wrong-headed, and somehow stifling of debate.
Further, Wynhausen implies that Jewish activists in Australia inappropriately brand critics of Israel as anti-Semitic but she provides not a single example.
As for claims we “bully” editors, AIJAC’s conversations with the media are not to prevent them publishing criticism of Israel but to encourage them to provide a balance by also running pieces explaining and giving sorely needed context to Israel’s actions.
Many groups in Australian society engage politicians, the media and others of influence. It is part of what makes us a democracy, and constitutes participation in debate, not its suppression. It is unfortunate that some see it as somehow sinister or inappropriate when Jews, and only when Jews, exercise this right.
Executive director, AIJAC
Rubenstein is being disingenuous. Nobody is suggesting Jews don’t have the right to lobby, agitate and promote their agenda. The issue is the ways in which it is done. As we’ve seen recently, Zionist lobbying regularly involves threats and vitriol, causing the opposite of the desired effect. Furthermore, more and more Jews are simply disengaging from the Zionist project. Rubenstein doesn’t have any answers to this dilemma, except stronger promotion of Israel’s exclusionary ideology.