AJDS Statement on the Israeli anti-boycott legislation.

The Israeli Knesset’s new law targetting those who advocate boycotts is of deep concern, as it undermines the principle of free, non-violent speech in a democracy. Merely unpopular opinions ought not be illegal.
We stand with other critical friends, both inside and outside Israel prepared to publicly stand against bad laws. As the New Israel Fund says: “many if not most Israelis oppose the settlement enterprise, and for good reasons. Criminalizing actors who refuse to perform in Ariel, or NGOs that support holding settlers economically accountable by not buying their goods or services, is appalling. We ourselves will not exclude support for organizations that discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.”
The occupation is a cancer on Israeli society, and attempts to protect the occupation by law goes against everything Israel claims to be. Even the Anti Defamation League in the US, a strongly pro-Israel organization considers the legislation as dangerous.
Regardless of the diverse political views within the Jewish community, there should be general and vocal opposition to this legislation, more of which is to come. In addition, we urge the Australian government to voice its concern about the legislation which damages Israel’s standing amongst its declared friends.
Useful background

A foolish move by the Knesset to engage in supression of action against the Occupation.

“The landmark bill criminalizes support of boycotts against Israel and its occupation, exposing individuals and organizations that support such boycotts to endless lawsuits and heavy fines. The anti-boycott bill is latest in a wave of pernicious legislation being debated in the Knesset which attack freedom of speech and expression, often specifically targeting Israel’s Palestinian minority.”
“A Knesset study found similar laws in countries like Venezuela and Eritrea, but not in any democracy”.

June 2011 AJDS Newsletter is now out.

The June 2011 Newsletter is out now (see the last link below)! It includes reports on Naomi Chazan’s visit, the ins and outs of BDS, including at statement to the June 2011 Plenum of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, a report on Labor Refugee Policy, the controversy over the St Kilda Community House, income inequality in Australia, and much more!!
Follow the link for this issue, and the archive.

Gareth Evans : Second Renate Kamener Oration

Gareth Evans (Chancellor of the ANU, Former Head of the International Crisis Group, Former Foreign Minister): “The Role of the International Community in Preventing Genocide and other Mass Atrocity Crimes”
The text of the speech is now available.
This speech was delivered to a large audience on Sunday 31st July at the Leo Baeck Centre.
Proceeds funded the Renate Kamener Scholarship for Indigenous students at the University of Melbourne. Renate was a beloved member of the AJDS.

Naomi Chazan–Realism in peace-making: a left perspective (audio)

Naomi Chazan spoke to a well-attended drinks and nibbles function of AJDS supports and friends on Wednesday 16 June 2011.
You can listen to the mp3 audio files (unfortunately, the room was a bit dim and the video isn’t 100%, nor is the audio, but it well worth considering her argument, even if you don’t agree with it all).
The audio files are attached at the end of this page.
(click or download with right hand mouse button/save]
(use VLC player if you have any problems)
A very characteristic photo of Naomi at function, with the menu in the background.

A Panel on dissent in the Jewish Community @ Limmud Oz Sydney 2011 (audio)

I, Michael Brull, a young writer and blogger and Mark Baker, of the Centre for Jewish Civilization at Monash, representing three different viewpoints on a left continuum, talked about dissent in the Jewish community for a panel at Limmud Oz 2011 in Sydney. You can listen to the sound file below.
The session was chaired by Angela Budai, replacing Jenny Green who withdrew in protest at the censoring by the organisers of Peter Slezak and Viv Porzolt. Their session on another topic was cancelled because of their political views on BDS (Background to this is linked here and another perspective here.)

Naomi Chazan's discusses BDS in Marrickville (audio)

Naomi Chazan spoke to a packed hall at the Marrickville Synagogue in Sydney on Monday 12 June (the Chilean ash cloud means that I was trapped in Sydney so Fortuna allowed me to tape the recording). Click the link below to listen to or download the first mp4 which is only 13mg. There is an introduction, then she starts talking at 7’15”. The first few minutes are about the New Israel Fund and local politics. Depending on your POV, you may find these remarks helpful or unhelpful. The second mp4 is a very short answer by her to a question which sums up many of her views.

Destroying Children, the Official Australian Policy

This is a drawing by a child in an Australian detention centre/Lager ” and I won the detenshen sente be clos”. Notice how the houses are placed, everyone is crying including the child (name blurred), and ‘oficers’ (no faces) at the bottom. Wire/bars over everything.
Another document concerning the psychiatric assessment of a child was also displayed. It called for the child’s release. Philip Ruddock, the minister responsible at the time had scrawled across it ‘Bucklies’ (misspelling for Buckley’s–an Australianism meaning–no way!)

Speak out for Lex Wotton’s Political Freedom!

One year ago Lex Wotton was released from jail after serving two years behind bars as a political prisoner. Lex got a 6-year sentence after being found guilty of riot with destruction by an all-white jury. He took part in a justified community protest against the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee. In contrast, Chris Hurley, the police officer responsible for the death in custody, has been promoted and compensated. The whole response to the 2004 death in custody has been scandalously flawed.