Monday, March 19, 2007

DIFFERING OPINIONS

Melinda Jones has produced a very accurate summation in today's Australian on the brouhaha surrounding the IAJV manifesto - DIFFERING OPINIONS ARE NOT EXCLUDED .

"In many ways the content of the petition sits comfortably with the mainstream of the Jewish community that is being challenged. The importance of free speech, the duty to treat all people with dignity and respect and the two-state solution to the Middle East conflict are values."

In other words, the IAJV petition is not, on itself, the issue.

"Mainstream organisations are constantly seeking access to unaffiliated Jews, but they are often hard to find, or don't want to be found. Engaging these people and giving them a voice can only enhance the Jewish community."

So what's the problem with the petition?

"It is wrong, as a matter of fact, that any Jew is actively excluded from the organised community."

Further...

"It is also wrong, as a matter of fact, that there is any attempt to silence alternative voices. It is true that we now have only one Jewish weekly paper - the Australian Jewish News - and that this is relatively conservative. However, the voices of many of the signatories (including the most vitriolic) are regularly published in its pages."

Then of course there is the problem surrounding Israel's security issues, Palestinian incitement and the responsibility of the Palestinians - matters which one IAJV person described as "a given". Judging by the written words of some of the signatories, these issues are anything but a given, except that the IAJV doesn't consider them worthy of discussion or debate in the context of its statement of principles.

"It is ironic that the authors of the petition want to simultaneously promote free speech and limit the views with which they don't agree. They cannot have it both ways."

Unfortunately, they are used to having it both ways. Many of them had the same gripe years ago with the Ashrawi affair when they (and the ineptitude of the then leaders of various Jewish community groups) managed to shift the focus of attention away from the real issue which was the question of whether Ashrawi was a worthy recipient of a peace prize.

This time around, the IAJV has failed to stifle the debate within the Jewish community which has rightly and roundly condemned the hypocrisy of some of its more prominent talking heads.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly. I have a gutful of the lot of them.

They've had their say and now they can all piss off!

Wilbur Post said...

Anonymous,

So have I and I doubt that I'll give their views much more oxygen (although I owe one of my correspondents and his father, a holocaust survivor a favour and I might therefore have some more to say about Ms. Adler's views on the Third Reich).

However, I think ad hominem insults are unnecesssary and you're only bringing youself down to their level.

The Gharqad Tree said...

Whatever you do Wilbur, do not let up on these shifty, underhanded bastards who have led some honest and sincere people by the noses just to gratify their own egos.

There is a lot more to be said about the motives of those who promote the IAJV and it's not very savoury.

INDEPENDENT JEWISH BOYSES said...

INDEPENDENT JEWISH BOYSES MISSION STATEMENT

http://falsedichotomies.com/2007/02/15/independent-jewish-boyses-mission-statement/

We are a group of Jews in Britain and Israel from pretty much the same type of background, with the same kind of jobs and affiliations, who have in common a stong commitment to getting our names in the papers and basking in the attention.

We come together in the belief that the broad spotlight among the Jewish population of our countries is not focused sufficiently upon us, and we dont like it.

We really don't like it.

We further believe that individuals and groups within all communities should feel free to express their adoration and love for us and only us without incurring accusations of disloyalty.

Why disloyalty?

Dunno.

It's just a big, provocative word that we stumbled across when looking up the correct spelling for disestablishmentarianism in our bumper Collins Dictionary.

We have therefore resolved to promote the expression of alternative (sorry we mean our) Jewish voices, particularly in respect of the grave situation in the Middle East, which threatens the future of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the stability of the whole region.

[Well, when we say particularly in respect of, of course we mean only in respect of. Wot, you mean there are other things we, as Jews, could concern ourselves with? Like what? Synagogue politics and communal welfare? Whats a synagogue? Ed.]

We are guided by the following principles:

1. Human rights are really cool. We really love human rights. They are our favourite type of rights, ever. No joke.

2. We will go all starry-eyed and fawning if anyone with the following credentials says anything, or even coughs in our direction:

- Someone whos written a play

- Someone whos written a poem

- Someone whos written a shopping list

- Someone who lives, has lived, or plans to live in an ivory tower in Hampstead

- Someone whose Jewish roots causes them sleepless nights, tortured days, and unfathomably high levels of acidity in their stomach

- Someone who thinks Jacqueline Rose shouldn't have to practise what she preaches. Or, in fact, do anything other than preach. Really loudly.

3. Palestinians and Israelis (see how we put the word Palestinian before Israelis? Clever, innit?) should all turn their swords into ploughshares, or something. Then they can all be happy, and come over for tea at our houses, and we can all discuss poetry. And hug each other. And argue about whether Ronit Zilkha really is better than Nicole Farhi.

4. There is no justification for any form of racism. Sorry if you find that condescending, but we've even penned a cheerleader chant about it: We hate racism. H-A-T-E. H-A-T-E. We hate racism. Yay!

5. The battle for media coverage is vital and undermined whenever opposition to our flooding the press with banal declarations of peace, love and unity is automatically branded as anti-disestablishmentarianism (phew, nearly forgot to use that one).

These principles are contradicted when those who claim to want to read about something other than us and our narcissistic tendencies are allowed to post comments on commentisfree. We dont like it when anyone has a go at us. The truth really hurts. Sometimes so much so that nothing short of an intense pilates session will make the pain go away.

We declare our support for a properly negotiated peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Peace = good. No peace = bad. (See what we did there? Its not rocket science, you thick, colonial, oppressive, subjugating, fascist.[see website for full list of superlatives] Israeli scum.

It is imperative and urgent that everyone stops what theyre doing, downs tools, and looks at us.

Look! Over here! Look at us dance.

And write poems. And sing. We can do everything! Were the best!

Goooo us! Sorry, where were we? Oh yeah, it is imperative that we find a coherent and consistent way of asserting ourselves on these and other issues of concern. (Did you notice how that sentence seemed to say so much, yet actually said sweet FA? I only realised when I read it again. Oh well).

We hereby reclaim the moral high ground that has lain vacant and uninhabited ever since our last attempt at fame (JJJLJAC - Jews for Justice for Jews who Like Justice and Attention and Croissants) failed miserably. The lessons we have learned from our own history of attention seeking compel us to try, try and try again.

We therefore commit ourselves to make public our views on a continuing basis (yeah, you heard) and invite other concerned publicity whores to join and support us.

Seth Freedman
Josh Freedman Berthoud
Alex Stein