The following letters appear in this week’s Australian Jewish News:
Jeff Halper in The Sydney Morning Herald (10/04) wrote, “Diaspora Jews need to revalidate Diaspora Jewish culture (that Zionism dismissed as superficial and ephemeral) and find genuine, compelling reasons why their children should remain Jewish.
Blindly supporting Israel’s extreme right-wing and militaristic policies is not the way to do that.
Such uncritical support contradicts the very liberal values that define Diaspora Jewry, driving away the younger generation of thinking Jews.”
Whatever one might think of his views about Israel, he is absolutely correct in his statement about Diaspora Jews in Australia.
I and others have raised this issue before and the Australian Jewish community leaders have imitated ostriches.
No-one has ever replied to any letter on the subject in The AJN, nor has there ever been a response at the plenum of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.
The situation requires a response to show that the elected leaders of the community have the slightest concern for the 60 per cent who have not affiliated with the community and to show that they have some concern for the future of a community that is more than 200 years old.
Based on past performance, the so-called leaders will stay silent and hope that the problem will go away. It won’t. They will demonstrate by their inaction that they should not call themselves leaders of the whole community.
Professor Jeff Halper just blew the opportunity of a lifetime (AJN 03/04).
Given a chance to have a letter published in this newspaper, he failed to explain to readers why he led boat trips in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza, even while rocket attacks against Israeli civilians continued why his visit was sponsored by an array of anti-Zionists who openly show sympathy for Hamas (which calls for genocide against Jews and opposes meaningful initiatives for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians) and why he has publicly called for the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish State.
Many Australian Jews would have been interested to hear why this self-styled “peace activist” opposes the peaceful, two-state solution supported by the international community and instead favours the establishment of what would inevitably become the 23rd Arab state in the region (and that, only after a prolonged period of bloodshed).
Many of us were puzzled to know why Prof Halper feels Israel must not be defended at any price against an enemy that teaches children of kindergarten age on public television to kill Jews and, in so doing, to become martyrs for the cause.
But instead of enlightening us and giving readers a “critical presentation” of his views on such matters, Prof Halper treated us as idiots and wasted the space available to him by playing the victim and resorting the familiar complaint that the Jewish community didn’t show him respect when he was here and that it had muzzled his voice.
The facts are that Prof Halper’s tour received its fair share of publicity (much of it free) but in the end, he not only failed to make out his case or win any respect rather he showed himself to be a total hypocrite.