Enhancing the AJDS' Engagement with Young People – Research Report

In 2011, the AJDS commissioned a Research Report about engagement with younger politically and socially active people in the Jewish Community. It was researched and ritten by Helen Rosenbaum, PhD.
The following extract summarizes the report, with the full report attached.
For any inquires, please contact Max Kaiser at co @ ajds.org.au.
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) has existed for over 20 years as a “Jewish Voice Amongst Progressives and Progressive Voice amongst Jews”. With fluctuating levels of activity – as can be expected from a voluntary committee – the AJDS has attempted to provide a forum for debate and discussion on social justice, human rights, conflict resolution and environmental issues. While these issues resonate well with many politically aware young people, an examination of the AJDS membership indicates that we have failed to attract young people.
This research was undertaken to explore how AJDS can engage more effectively with people aged 25-45 years, who are politically aware and generally share AJDS’s socially progressive values and concerns. Sixteen people were interviewed, encompassing 13 young Jews under 45 years of age and representatives of Jewish and non-Jewish organisations. Eleven of the 13 young interviewees are actively engaged either professionally or in a voluntary capacity in political activism, promoting social justice, or supporting environmental advocacy.
The findings indicate that a socially progressive Jewish voice is valued by politically aware young Jews, many of whom are searching for a secular Jewish community to belong to. The young interviewees greatly appreciate AJDS as a counterbalance to the conservatism of the mainstream Jewish community and its leadership. However, it appears that for the majority of young Australian Jews, the AJDS is not visible. Indeed, even amongst those who do know of us, there is a lack of clarity about our scope, values and goals.
Please see full report attached-

What are the Boundaries of Anti-semitism?– Harold Zwier

This article, by AJDS Executive member Harold Zwier was published, in a very slightly modified form in the Australian Jewish News of 2 Feb 2012. The AJN version is attached below.
Recently The Age newspaper reported that the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) had complained to the SBS ombudsman about a fictional drama, The Promise, shown on SBS late in 2011. The drama is set against the historical background of Palestine at the end of the British Mandate 1947/48 and Israel in 2005.
The main contention of the ECAJ is summed up in this quote from their complaint to SBS.
“The basic concept of The Promise, and the premises on which it rests, are … not merely a gross misrepresentation of history, they also fall squarely within the … Working Definition of Antisemitism.”
The showing of The Promise pushed all the wrong buttons in the Jewish community. It is an unsentimental and unflattering portrait of Israel’s creation. The portrayal of Jews is less sympathetic than those of the Arabs. The main Jewish family depicted in modern day Israel is wealthy. The historical narrative is biased towards the Arabs.

Forbidden discrimination, permitted discrimination– Anat Saragusti

This article by Anat Saragusti, a guest of the 2008 Melbourne LimmudOz conference was not offered to readers of the English Haaretz.
It has been translated as a public service by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service of Melbourne, Australia. It has been made available with Sol’s permission for those without Facebook Accounts.
Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/1.1623616Opinions
Forbidden discrimination, permitted discrimination Anat Saragusti 23/01/12

Forbidden discrimination, permitted discrimination– Anat Saragusti

This article by Anat Saragusti, a guest of the 2008 Melbourne LimmudOz conference was not offered to readers of the English Haaretz.
It has been translated as a public service by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service of Melbourne, Australia. It has been made available with Sol’s permission for those without Facebook Accounts.
Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/1.1623616Opinions
Forbidden discrimination, permitted discrimination Anat Saragusti 23/01/12

Get the Mossad to kill Obama to defend Israel: thus declared an American Jewish Newspaper Editor

That’s right. Get rid of Obama and get more pro-Israel VP or President in the driver’s seat. It is all over the news, eg. in Haaretz, but also all over the US media.
But just so you can see it is not a beat up, attached is the text of the oped piece by owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler.
Two things 1) I’ve always not thought much of the South 2) given nut case politics in the US, this actually might inspire someone.
For once I hope the Secret Service have a little chat with the editor. Click Read more for the file.

What the ECAJ tried to outsmart: the ruling from the UK complaints authority about "The Promise"

The AJDS has come into possession of the investigation and decision from OfCom, the UK electronic media Complaints Authority, concerning “The Promise” (attached below). This investigation was carried out in response to complaints made about the program in the UK, including that of the British (Jewish) Board of Deputies (the correspondence with Channel 4 who broadcast the program can be seen here) We understand that the ruling was issued at the start of April 2011.
We are not quite sure why the ruling was not made publicly available on the OfCom website, as it is similar to other rulings they conduct, and paticularly since it was quoted in the press and seems to have been available to the ECAJ who dismiss it it in their letter of complaint to SBS management. Be that as it may, it is important that issues around The Promise” be shared as widely as possible.
We suggest that you read the Ofcom document and then compare it to the ECAJ complaint. Ofcom is well experienced with hate speech in the electronic media, as a perusal of its Bulletin makes clear.
In its letter published here, says “Ofcom recognises that many portrayals by UK broadcasters of the history of and current situation in Israel and neighbouring territories are controversial – whether in non-fiction or as here drama programmes. I can assure you that Ofcom took your complaint, and all the other complaints, about this series very seriously. ”
[read on]

Letters in the Melbourne Age concerning the attack on "The Promise" and the SBS network

The AJDS had the lead letter in the Melbourne Age on ‘The Promise Controversy’, accompanied by two excellent others, including Jeremy Kenner, an ADJS member.
The Age, January 18, 2012
Biased, yes, but worth seeing
AS A fictional narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict, The Promise indeed presents a biased perspective. It is impossible to imagine that any filmmaker, historian or novelist could do other than present a perspective that is biased by their own worldview. If objectivity was a fundamental principle of presentation, then virtually no historical work would be acceptable.
[read on…]

The attack by the "Lobby" on the SBS network for showing 'The Promise'.

An opinion by Larry Stillman of the AJDS Executive has been published on the ABC website.
Another freedom of expression issue has raised its head in the Jewish community in Australia.
This time, it involves a series which recently appeared on SBS and is now being sold as a DVD….for the rest, go to The Drum
[and I will add that I have dealt with “the Lobby” and its censoriousness on various occasions such as this one]