Limmud Oz–an opinion from Harold Zwier

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society recently criticized the decision by the Limmud Oz committee to decline a proposed session at the Limmud Oz 2012 Festival of Jewish Learning
and Culture. The session was entitled “Beyond Tribal Loyalties” and featured a panel
discussion by several of the contributors to a book of the same name.
So why did the AJDS feel that it should support the right of this particular panel to be heard at
Limmud Oz?
The question is even more important, considering that the views of some of the contributors
to the book “Beyond Tribal Loyalties” have political views which diverge considerably from the
stated views of the AJDS. Take this quote from the back cover page of the book:
“The stories focus on the complex and intensely personal journey that Jewish activists go
through to free themselves from the hold of Zionist ideology and its requirement to support all
Israeli policies.”
While the stated position of the AJDS is to regard itself as a non-Zionist organization, it
recognises that Zionism covers a wide spectrum of views, including people who are very
critical of particular Israeli policies.
The AJDS doesn’t support the automatic right of all groups or individuals to be heard in any
and every event, venue and publication, but it does believe that a Festival of Jewish Learning
and Culture, which is how Limmud Oz characterises itself, should strive to present as wide
and diverse a group of topics as possible, including those that dissent from the mainstream
views of the Jewish community.
It is only by engaging with the diversity of views that exist in the community that ideas can be
presented and challenged to our mutual benefit.
Harold Zwier