Stop censorship at Limmud Oz 2012

The following is self explanatory, and it follows a similar event at Limmud Oz last year. Some people never seem to realize that free speech is healthy and not dangerous. This is not an AJDS issue, but one that affects those interested in free and rigorous debate not just in the Jewish community in Australia, but free speech in general.
The abstract of the banned panel session (Sivan Barak, Peter Slezak, Viv Porzolt, Nicole Ehrlich, and Avigail Abarbanel), is attached below.
If you agree with this statement, please sign the statement
“We view the decision by the Committee of Limmud Oz 2012 to prevent a panel “Beyond Tribal Loyalties – personal stories of Jewish peace activists” at this year’s Melbourne conference as a blatant act of political censorship.
Even though there are other panels featuring discussion on the Israel/Palestine conflict, this censorship follows a similar attempt at Limmud Oz in Sydney last year concerning a panel with a number of the same speakers.
The censorship goes against all the principles of the conference which are to engage in an exchange of ideas, which according to its website, have the following principles:
-Respects diverse Jewish expression
-Connects and engages -Communal and democratic
-Explores Australian Jewish identities
-Creating space for ideas and reflection
-Igniting activism
-Forum for Jewish dialogue
The act undertaken by the Committee–the names of which are not public–betrays these principles entirely and sends out a message that dissent is not acceptable, particularly when many of the views being expressed are precisely those being voiced in Israel itself. Serious questions have to be asked about the governance of Limmud Oz and its decision-making processes.
Furthermore, to censor the authors of a book, particularly in a university setting is a serious matter, and it is also a fiction to argue that Limmud Oz is a private community event or that it is not in direct association with Monash university. Limmud Oz markets itself as a major community event. In addition, the association between Limmud Oz and the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilization means that the Centre’s own academic independence is now severely compromised. Monash University has traditionally supported the principle of free speech and we cannot see how a conference held at Monash can pretend that it is supporting free speech when it is censoring dissenting ideas.
This culture of censorship within the Australian Jewish community is dangerous and only conveys the message that dissent will not be tolerated. This is a major freedom of speech issue for the Jewish community and the wider community concerned with a resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict.”
Please also contact Limmud Oz directly at / arts-limmudoz AT /You should also contact the Vice Chancellor of Monash, Prof Ed Byrne / ed.byrne AT /, and respectfully express your concerns about the limitations on free speech in a conference at which Monash, other Australian, and international academics are participating.
Other activities will be made known by those affected by the ban.
If you agree with this statement, please sign the statement
Link: Academic and Intellectual Freedom

Jews for Refugees Media Release and a Reminder to Nicola Roxon

Dave Nadel is a longtime activist, and has made this comment about the media release:
This is particularly relevant this week. Nicola Roxon, granddaughter of Jewish refugees from Nazism, is allowing ASIO to get away with rejecting Tamil refugees who have already been cleared as genuine refugees. If the ASIO reports were made public they would undoubtedly reveal that ASIO is accepting advice from the Sri Lankan security forces who regard most Tamils as terrorists. This harkens back to 1939 when some German and Austrian Jews were barred as refugees from Australia and the US because of their “criminal records” They had criminal records because the Nazis considered all Jews as criminals and the local immigration officers were accepting information from the German police. Nicola Roxon should know better
Jews For Refugees Media Release: 16 May 2012
*Please forward on to your networks*
You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.
(The most often repeated injunction in the Torah – appearing 36 times)
The World Refugee Day Rally, endorsed by 50 organisations, will be held on Sunday 17 June and we invite people to join us under the Jews For Refugees banner. The rally starts at 12 midday on the steps of Parliament House in Spring Street and will march to join the Emerge Festival at the Fitzroy Town Hall. More details of our meeting point will be publicised well before the rally.
Ten years ago 700 people in the Jewish community publicly protested the plight of asylum seekers; people who had fled from war and persecution; people who literally arrived on our shores in boats seeking protection; people who were then locked up under an Australian government policy of mandatory, indefinite detention. That protest was co-ordinated by Jews For Refugees.
Mandatory detention is now 20 years old. Things have not changed. Asylum seekers arriving by boat are still locked up by the Australian government, and issues relating to who they are and how they arrive, are debated in a climate of fear, resentment and anger, largely directed at the very people who deserve a humane response from us – in a country blessed with the resources to assist those in need.
A new group of people in the Jewish community have restarted Jews For Refugees because many people in our community are aware, from their own family histories, of what it means to have been strangers; what it means to have a well founded fear of persecution; what it means to seek a safe haven; to seek asylum.
Spokesperson for the group, Max Kaiser said, “Actively working to help people in need is both an expression of contemporary Jewish attitudes and is strongly connected to Jewish values and ethics stretching back millennia”
For more details about Jews For Refugees contact Max Kaiser on 0423 234 069 or email ([email protected]). We can also be found on Facebook (search for ‘Jews For Refugees’ or go to
Contact details: Max Kaiser Mob: 0423 234 069
Linda Briskman Mob: 0417 500 274

Australia should object to treatment of Palestinian Detainees.

The following message has been communicated to Bob Carr as Minister for Foreign Affairs and other MPs.
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society urges the Australian government to express its deep concern to the Israeli government over the use of administrative detention with Palestinian prisoners, the result of which is the widespread hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners.
Administrative detention regulations which allow Israel to hold prisoners without charge in arbitrary detention for what amounts to an indeterminate period are arcane and contrary to principles of human rights and particularly, the right to a fair trial for alleged crimes, and legal assistance.
Sarit Michael, from the Israeli human rights organisation B´Tselem states that “Our analysis of the use of administrative detention by Israel leads us to conclude that it is used in a way that far exceeds the provisions in international law,” , and concludes that that Israel is using administrative detention to hold onto people who are a thorn in their side, even when there has been no criminal activity.
This is not appropriate activity for a country which promotes itself as a democracy ruled by law.
Yours sincerely
Larry Stillman
Harold Zwier
11 May 2012
More information, see B’Tstelem.