The AJDS and Pluralism

This letter was written by Harold Zwier, a former member of the AJDS executive, and published in the Australian Jewish News on May 16. It does not necessarily represent the views of the executive.
Alan Freedman’s argument (AJN letter 10/5/2013) in favour of excluding the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria owes more to the politics of the Global BDS movement than to the mainstream views of our community. Like the Global BDS movement, he and others with similar views, are only interested in demonizing their opposition, engaging in a campaign of exclusion and spreading propaganda. It is not surprising that the tactics of the hard left and hard right have much in common.
The AJDS campaign to encourage people to avoid buying goods manufactured in Israeli settlements on the West Bank has clearly upset some in our community, but there are many people who adopted this position well before the AJDS campaign and there is significant support for not buying settlement products in Israel itself. The AJDS position is not a cultural, economic or academic exclusion of Israel and it has neither supported those sorts of tactics nor noisy protests outside chocolate shops.
Putting aside the legitimacy of the AJDS campaign in a pluralistic and diverse community, Mr Freedman displays a lack of sound judgement if he believes that disaffiliating the AJDS would do other than reflect very badly on the reputation and standing of the Jewish community in the wider Australian community.
Harold Zwier