Quitting the NSWJBD

November 20, 2011 by admin
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The Board Of Deputies No Longer Represents Me

It is with much regret that I have tendered my long standing membership of the Board of Deputies.

My reasons are two fold:

  1. The decision of the Board to host David Landau at a luncheon last week.
  2. The failure of the Board to take any action against New Israel Fund Australia holding a fund raising appeal in breach of Communal guidelines.

The Board cannot argue that it was unaware of the consequences of extending its hospitality to a person with extreme views that are inimical to Israel’s national interest.

I voiced my opposition to such an invitation which could be taken to indicate communal acceptance of such views – rather than communal disgust.

Mr Landau is entitled to say whatever he likes and to be roundly criticised and condemned – as is apparent from the spirited comments in JWIre.

For the Board to welcome him as it did at a lunch was unforgivable.

The Board’s failure to do anything about a fund raising appeal by New Israel Fund Australia in breach of communal guidelines is also regrettable and indicates a lack of leadership in the community’s interest.

My letter to the Board objecting  to such an appeal being held was not even answered.

Is any organisation now free to hold an appeal at any time without reference to the communal guidelines?

Sorry – these two actions by the Board do not represent my views nor do they in my opinion represent responsible leadership in the interests of our community.

I urge any other members who also feel similarly outraged by these decisions to also resign their membership.

Yours faithfully

 

David Singer

Darling Point

 

 

Comments

15 Responses to “Quitting the NSWJBD”
  1. david singer says:

    To Mandi Katz

    I have no objection to NIF funding purely humanitarian organisations – either Jewish or Arab.

    My objection is to NIF funding organizations that have anti-Zionist objectives.

    NIF in financially supporting an organisation- the Negev Coexistence Forum – that seeks to bucket the JNF at the UNHCR is outrageous.

    Remove such organisations from the list of NIF beneficiaries and I will stop criticising NIF.

    And please don’t accuse me of bad faith – unless you are prepared to back it up. An apology would be in order.

    Shooting the messenger and ignoring the message is totally counterproductive to any informed and rational discussion.

    • Mandi Katz says:

      David – the lack of good faith I refer to is the failure to at least acknowledge that there is real discrimination against Arab Israelis (the Israeli government recognises this) and that an occupation of forty four years means that there are about 1.5 million people living under Israel’s control, who do not have citizenship or full civil rights and are subject to military law and not civil law. Israeli Jews living in the same controlled area have full civil rights.

      This is the problematic starting point. How Israel came into this situation becomes less relevant as time goes by and I am the last person to say that there is any easy resolution, but the reality creates real and enormous cvil rights difficulties and NIF funds organisations which address those difficulties.

      If you acknowledge anywhere that this is a problem, we can have a meaningful discussion.

      As to the status of Bedouins and why the Negev Coexistence Forum is important – again, the threshold question is whether you believe that Bedouins in the Negev are deserving of advocacy and support to pursue their claims to legal resolution.

      If not, then how can we have a discussion in good faith about whether the comments at UNHCR are or aren’t outrageous.

      And I do believe it is bad faith to read in the words I wrote here (22 November) that i believe NIF should fund organisations that have an anti Zionist agenda.

      FYI – My personal views are a a matter of public record (AJN 21/7) but I refer you to NIF FAQs on this issue – http://www.nif.org.au/faq:

      “Arab Israelis cannot reasonably be expected to share the Jewish perspective on the Zionist narrative. For example, some Arab human rights groups that receive NIF funding have called for Israel to become a bi-national Jewish-Arab state. NIF does not support that view (though some Jewish organisations and thinkers do) but NIF considers it reasonable for this to be the subject of free and open debate in a democratic society.

      If a grantee’s main activity strengthens Israeli society by promoting civil and human rights, pluralism and democracy, NIF will not cut it off on account of statements inconsistent with the Zionist narrative. In a similar way, NIF does not stop funding its Orthodox grantees, who think differently than NIF about the rights of gays and women. Free-flowing debate about such issues is not anti-Israel, it is Israeli democracy in action.”

  2. Mandi Katz says:

    David Singer – crticise NIF all you like. That’s your right.

    But NIF does not have to defend itself to people attacking it in bad faith and without any interest in understanding the need for it, or the complexities and tensions of the environment in which it operates.

    NIF is not a fly by night organisation. It was established in 1979. It removed certain grantees because they no longer met revised guidelines.

    It didn’t remove them because of the kvetching of people who will never support NIF and who don’t believe there is a real need to strengthen democracy and defend civil rights in israel. And NIF Australia is not going to go away just because of similar kvetching in Melbourne and Sydney.

    • Peter Hersh says:

      Mandi,

      A very simple question what is the need for NIF in Australia ?

      If people want to donate to NGO’s in Israel they can do so directly. By doing so through NIF Aus they would incur admin fees both from the Australian organisation and the Israeli one and would be assisting in bringing to Australia such people as David Landau whose view can only be discribed as beyong the pale. If NIF Aus is there to “strengthen democracy” why would you invite someone who had called for a boycott of the Knesset.

      Just because an organisation has been around since 1979 does not make it a worthwile organisation to have in Australia.

      I repeat my call for people to bypass NIF and donate directly to the NGOs they wish to support but only after they have checked them out to ensure they are actually doing what they say they are doing.

  3. david singer says:

    To Mandi Katz

    So is it your personal viewpoint that NIF should fund organizations with an anti-Zionist agenda?

    NIF has been doing just that – but has responded to pressure and removed some offending organizations from its list of funding beneficiaries. That is a welcome first step.

    However there are many other insidious organizations that still receive NIF funding including Breaking The Silence, Negev Coexistence Forum and Mossawa.

    Until NIF stops funding these organizations political agendas – criticism of NIF will continue.

  4. Mandi Katz says:

    Ms Rosenman – Please see NIF’s statement re Radanavitz of 6 September (Which predates Mr Leibler’s piece)

    http://www.nif.org/media-center/press-releases/1186-nif-statement-wikileaks-and-anti-democratic-legislation

    If you don’t have time to read the whole thing just note this part – “The cable quotes the personal views of Hedva Radanovitz, then Grants Director at NIF.  Ms.  Radanovitz is no longer an employee of the New Israel Fund; she left her position almost a year ago. Her comments, as reported by Wikileaks, are her personal views. They do not reflect the policies or positions of the New Israel Fund.  We valued Hedva’s contribution to NIF, but it also true that her viewpoints diverged from those of the organisation, and her resignation was largely due to her disagreement with he position and direction if NIF.”

    But I suspect this wont stop your kvetching. You will look for another thing to pick at and when you get an answer to that you’ll ignore the answer and look for another thing and so on , all the while keeping your head in the sand about why there is a need for NIF .That’s your prerogative – but you and the half dozen naysayers who comment here, aren’t influencing the literally hundreds of people who are coming to NIF functions in Sydney and Melbourne and supporting NIF with their words, presence and donations, and who understand that there are many ways to love and support Israel. We need to defend Israel in the face of unfair criticism and in the face of hatred, we need to send out children to Israel and go there ourselves and we need to strengthen Israel through support for a diverse range of institutions including those funded by NIF.

  5. david singer says:

    To Sol Salbe

    I was not an elected general franchise member of the Board nor did I represent any constituent organization on the Board.

    I was an ordinary member of the Board for a long period of time and paid my annual membership fees as they fell due. I was entitled to vote and did vote for the general franchise members at the recent elections.

  6. MIRIAM ROSENMAN says:

    Miriam Rosenman says

    I wonder if Yair Miller as head of the JBD is aware of the following which I quote from Isi Liebler in Israel Yahom
    Hedva Radanovitz until last year controlled all the funds distributed by NIF and she said the following to oficials at the Tel Aviv US embassy ” in 100years israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of the Jewish State would not be a tragedy that israelis fear since it would become more democratic”

    As a child of Holocaust survivors I find it quote outrageous that the Board Of Deputies that supposedly represents the Jewish Community of Sydney ( largely made up of Holocaust Survivors) would even think of being involved with an organisation which sees nothing wrong with the disappearance of Israel.

    I believe all members of the community should be questioning the legitimacy of such actions by the Board.

  7. Steven Glass says:

    Does Danny Ginges really equate the “problem” of the NIF with the onset of the Holocaust? How extraordinary.

  8. Sol Salbe says:

    Who did Mr Singer represnet at the NSWJB of DEPUTIES? Who is tp replace him?

  9. david singer says:

    To Steve Lieblich

    The Board of Deputies was well aware of the reported comments of David Landau – yet chose to have lunch with him.

    Who will be next on their guest list?

    The Board needs to issue a statement fully explaining its reasons for its horrendous error of judgement.

  10. The Jerusalem Post report I referred to in my earlier comment is here: http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=86912

  11. I suggest that anyone attending David Landau’s talks bears in mind that he is reported in “Israel Occupation Archiove” (http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2010-07-16/david-landau-boycott-the-knesset/) as saying “I call on parliaments throughout the democratic world, and interparliamentary associations, to boycott Israel’s parliament, once the pride of the Jewish people, until it buries the bill and recovers its democratic heritage.”

    Furthermore, according to a report in the New York Jewish Week, at a confidential gathering of Israeli guests at the home of US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones on September 10, 2007, Landau told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel “wants to be raped by the US” and needed more vigorous American intervention to resolve Middle East conflicts. The paper said that Landau, who was seated next to Rice, reportedly referred to Israel as a “failed state” politically that needed a US-imposed settlement. It added that Landau reportedly “implored Rice to intervene, asserting that the Israeli government wanted ‘to be raped’ and that it would be like a ‘wet dream’ for him to see this happen.” (See this report in the Jerusalem Post)

  12. Danny Ginges says:

    The NSWJBD did a wonderful job of rallying support against the anti-Israel stance of Marrickville Council and the NSW Greens earlier this year. But it seems that when the attacks against Israel come from within, in the guise of the New Israel Fund, the board is at a loss. As the elected representative of a community with the world’s highest percentage of Holocaust survivors, the NSWJBD should know better than most that ignoring a problem won’t make it go away.