Jewish dissent: the response

Following my article in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, the following letters appear in today’s paper:

Arguing for dissent is sure to divide

Antony Loewenstein’s “Denounced, but Jewish dissent grows” (February 6) is a valuable exposé of the significant difficulties in conducting reasonable debate about Palestine and Israel, and the growing voices of dissent about this among Jewish people.

The issues he raises are not merely polemical or neat debating matters. Inability to have a transparent and full debate about all aspects of the violence, including the state violence of Israel and the extremism of Jewish nationalism, has the potential to contribute to it. In some cases, hostile and extreme reactions to dissent under cover of anti-Semitism represent a form of violence and intimidation in themselves.

Loewenstein has, in this opinion piece, demonstrated considerable courage, the power of balance and well-informed discourse.

Mike Clear Penrith

What is Antony Loewenstein complaining about and why does he care so much what his fellow Australian Jews think of him? He has a regular forum for his views here in the Herald and other media. If he wants a forum that will yield results he should move to Israel where, along with millions of other Jews and Arab citizens, he can express his dissent by voting.

I wish he would stop whining and recognise his incredibly good fortune at being a Jewish man living in Australia, rather than an Arab man living in Hamas-run Gaza or a Muslim woman living anywhere, where dissent is punished not by “names” that hurt, but by actual sticks and stones.

Lynda Ben-Menashe St Ives