Letters, December 17, 2010

Greens agenda finally becomes clear

YOUR editorial regarding the true Greens bias in relation to Israel was excellent. Kron’s cartoon got it right as well but he could have also pointed out that Greens members and voters should get rid of their Intel equipped PCs, their mobile phone’s software and systems as well as the huge myriad of other products developed by Israel in the field of solar energy, irrigation, medical science, biotechnology products which save countless lives. These are a very small sample of Israel’s contribution to humanity. Something the Greens and other anti Israel groups will never tell you.
One only needs to go to the Greens political website to download their biased rhetoric in the form of a 2006 Greens National Conference Resolution regarding the Palestinians and the State of Israel to realise what their agenda is.
Those of you who find it convenient to support this bunch of losers, you need to wake up to the fact that the Greens are not really about doing the “right” thing in providing an effective balance to the two traditional political parties in Australia, as did the early incarnation of Don Chip’s Democrat party. Rather they wish to achieve certain underlying goals, and are helping  contribute to the delegitimisation of the State of Israel by spreading vile untruths about the real historic and present situation in that region.
Sam Blumenstein
Caulfield, Vic

Implications of proposed Greens boycott

NEVER have we seen a more profound demonstration of abysmal Green ignorance (<I>AJN<P> editorial 10/12), driven, as it is by misplaced ideology and the deepest of bigotry.   They truly believe that removing a few Osem products from supermarkets constitutes a boycott of Israel.
If they are serious, I suggest for starters they throw out any computers that are driven by Windows software, Intel chips, or have messenger capabilities.  Then there’s antivirus and phone security.  I suggest they stop flying and online banking as airline/airport security, and most computer security is Israeli.
They must refuse the latest Israeli nanoparticle cures for breast and lung cancer which destroy only cancer cells leaving healthy tissue intact.  There is a huge list of thousands of Israeli patents that will provide early detection, advanced treatments and cures for a whole range of ills from Parkinsons through Diabetes, MS, cancers to a cure for HIV . and I am more than happy to provide a comprehensive list of medical and technological advances to be avoided.  It may mean curtailing Greens’ survival. If that means divesting our gene pool of a level of bigotry that has no concept what apartheid is, only that it is a bad enough thing for Israelis to wear, that may be a good thing.  I for one have had it with this ignorant bigotry that passes for ideology.
Morry Sztainbok
Bentleigh, Vic

NSW Greens do not speak for all of us

AS longstanding members of the Australian Greens with an interest in international issues we were dismayed to learn of the decision by the NSW Greens to support a total boycott of Israel. This is not the position of the Australian Greens. Indeed a similar proposal was put before the last National Council meeting and then withdrawn as it attracted very little support.
We are opposed to a boycott of Israel which we see as demonising the entire Israeli people and singling out Israel as having sole responsibility for the ongoing conflict.
We strongly support the Australian Greens policy which seeks a peaceful solution to the long running conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples based on a two state model. Achieving such an outcome will not be helped by moves to break off dialogue with the Israeli people.
Phillip Walker
Elliot Gingold
Miriam Solomon
Meni Christofakis

Assange’s friends are no friends of ours

THEY say a person is known by the company they keep; if so, then Julian Asssange’s three friends who supported him when he was picked up by the English police make an interesting clique.
Veteran journalist John Pilger is a long time critic of Israel whose vitriol has no limits. He believes the Palestinians have had their country illegally stolen and frequently incorporates into his writing long favourite canards such as “apartheid”, “illegal occupation” and “crimes against humanity”.
Ken Loach is a film maker who campaigns for a boycott of Israeli films at every opportunity. In 2009, he demanded the organisers of the Melbourne International Film festival reject the Israeli Embassy’s sponsorship of Tatia Rosenthal to visit the festival to answer questions about her animation feature film. To their credit, the organisers refused to be blackmailed; Loach withdrew his own film just for good measure.
And Jemima Kahn, whilst not having the intellectual gravitas of Assange’s other two chums, has been a vocal critic of Israel since converting to Islam, despite having Jewish ancestry. In 2000 she said she watched horrified as Israeli soldiers shot, in cold blood, 12yr-old Palestinian boy Mohammad al-Durra. She must be easily convinced because that incident has now been proven in French courts to be Palestinian hoax.
What does all this mean? I am not sure, but in attempting to understand Julian Assange the word ‘coincidence’ doesn’t quite seem to work for me in this situation.
Alan Freedman
East St Kilda, Vic

Rabbis have every right to talk terrorism

CONSIDERING Jews are a popular target for terrorist acts and violent extremism (think recent thwarted mail-bomb attempt targeting a synagogue in the US), I was disappointed  to learn in last week’s <I>AJN<P> (10/12) that our roof body didn’t attend a conference organised by the federal Attorney General on counter-terrorism and violent extremism, although they were invited. But what was even more disappointing was the fact that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria then criticised the Rabbinical Council of Victoria who did make the effort to attend. Rabbis may not be security experts, but neither are the religious leaders of all the other faiths I understand were invited to attend. Clearly, if the Attorney General found it necessary to invite both lay and religious leaders from different ethnic groups he obviously wants to hear what all of them have to say on the issue. The JCCV should spend less time criticising other Jewish organisations and more time advocating on behalf of the community it purports to represent.
Shlomo Engel
Elsternwick, Vic

We must crack down on our own extremists

BODY:
LAST week, I read with little surprise Michael Marmur’s article in <I>The Jerusalem Post<P>. The article described the actions of 50 rabbis in Israel who have declared ‘a ban on the rental or sale of property to non-Jews’ (‘This fire is still burning: Racism is spreading’ ,7/12).
It was also last week that I decided I could no longer accept the name of Judaism being further entangled with the racist rhetoric and bigoted words seeping from many leaders of the religious right in Israel (and abroad).
As evident in the many online responses to Marmur’s article, there seems to be those who wish to “kosherise” such bigotry as “Jewish” by citing words of Torah and halacha. Yet bigotry is bigotry – no matter what, or who is cited in support.
At what point did halacha and the Torah lose contact with the principles of humanism and compassion needed to truly ‘repair the world’?
I think it is time we stop demanding that Muslims speak out against dissidents in their midst, unless we begin demanding that our own community leaders stand up against Jewish extremists within our midst.
Michael Densham
Habonim Dror

Community failing to tackle continuity

IF such a thing as a Board of Directors of the Jewish Community in NSW existed, would it approve of the way time and money have been spent and the results achieved? The results are abysmal – the last survey showed that around 60 per cent of the Jewish population of NSW were unaffiliated.
When I read Ian Sandler’s words, “As fundraisers, we worry about intergenerational wealth transfer” and ” At our major  donor fundraising events this year…” I recall the words of a most senior Zionist who said to me, “Why should we bother with the unaffiliated? How much are they going to give?”  It is high time that the idea that the Jewish population should be harvested for donations came to an end.
The amount of money spent on Jewish education has not brought the desired results.
Written in the editorial are the words, “They also need to feel welcomed.  Fun, interesting and unique activities at convenient times in appropriate locations are important.”  This is the nub of the problem – where are the organisations in the community who could combine to create such opportunities? Nowhere. A number of organisations suffer from declining membership and ignore continuity.  The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies was not interested in continuity in my time as a delegate.
The problem is only going to be solved when the  Jewish community realises that it needs to make welcome Jews of all sorts – whether they are Zionists or non-Zionist, religious or non-religious or just want to be Jewish on their own terms.
When am I going to hear a community leader stand up in public and say “Welcome back. We love you. We just want you to remain part of our people.”
The first need is to make a melting pot where they can all mingle without being threatened for not conforming to the ever-vigilant thought police. It does not help to go to any number of international conferences where leaders from within the established community are trying to attract those outside. It hasn’t happened for the last 50 years and it won’t happen unless new ideas are placed at a premium.
Ian Bersten
Roseville, NSW