To the Limmud Oz organising committee– from Palestinians who have now withdrawn.

This statement is posted with the permission of the writers concerning the restriction on participation by other people.
To the Limmud Oz organising committee
We accepted the invitation to participate in Limmud Oz at Monash University because we believe the Palestinian voice should be heard, and especially within Jewish forums.
It is also worth mentioning that our participation is a continuation of a project that the Centre for Dialogue of La Probe University started in 2009. In this project, members of the Palestinian, Arab, Jewish and Israeli community conducted long sessions of dialogue, which we were asked to share with a broader audience via Limmud Oz.
Our understanding was that Limmud Oz is a place to share knowledge, experience and stories for all involved. Since the conference is hosted by a reputable Australian university, this enhanced the conclusion of inclusion.
It was a shock to realize that some members of the Jewish and Israeli community have been denied the opportunity to participate, apparently hushed because of their personal political standings. To be more specific, we are referring to the proposed panel on the book: Beyond Tribal Loyalties and the attempt to tell the personal stories of the peace activists in the book. We understand the panel on this topic, after being accepted, had their invitations to talk withdrawn.
In our opinion, silencing voices is totally unacceptable in a free and democratic society and it becomes even worse if the source of censorship is an institution that prides itself on being a catalyst to knowledge transfer and discussion, as both Limmud Oz and Monash University do.
We have to date attempted to stay out of the public debate on this matter. However, we have become increasingly uncomfortable with the lack of explanation or statement on the part of the conference organisers explaining their decision or how it was reached. In the context of a public conference we find this unacceptable and lacking in accountability.
We believe our participation in the Limmud Oz conference this year will give the wrong impression to the wider community that the organizers are providing a vehicle for non-mainstream, or left-wing, voices when it is simply not the case. We do not wish our presence to be used in any form of tokenistic representations.
Under these circumstances, we have unfortunately decided to withdraw from participating in the conference.
With this position, it is not in our intention to judge the participation of other individuals who choose to continue to be part of the conference and we wish them the best of luck.
Finally, in a commitment to ongoing and future dialogue we intend to participate along with the other members of our panel in a public discussion and forum to be held at later date. This event will be not be under the auspice of Limmud Oz and allow members of the public to hear our opinions and question our experience in a neutral context. We hope this demonstrates a commitment to an ongoing sharing of views on Palestinian Israeli dialogue.
Yousef Alreemawi
Taimor Hazou
9 June 2012