AUJS at controversial play

May 19, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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Stefan Oberman, president of AUJS Victoria, attended the performance of the controversial play “Seven Jewish Children” in the State Library of Victoria last night.The play featured world-renowned character actress Miriam Margolyes and Australian stage star Max Gillies.

Stefan reports:

Last night, AUJS Victoria staged a protest in response to the play “Seven Jewish Children” that many have labeled antisemitic.

Through a combination of placards, posters, flyers and amazing ru’ach we positively engaged with the generally non-aligned crowd waiting in line to see the play.

What started as vocal taunts and chanting from the pro-Palestinian rabble soon turned into physical threats. I saw one pro-Palestinian protester being man handled by four police officers, though I can’t confirm whether he was arrested or not.

It was at this point that around 30 police arrived.

I was somewhat disheartened to hear some of the arguments and comments being made by members of the pro-Palestinian side. I heard everything from Holocaust denial to people unabashedly advocating the death of all Jews (note: not Zionists but JEWS).

Thankfully, of the 400 or so people waiting in line, only 100 or so actually made it in.

Following the performance, Oberman issued the following statement:

“In response to the inherently intimidatory and outright racist tactics employed by certain groups purporting to be advocates of the Arab population living in the West Bank and Gaza strip, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students – AUJS (Victoria) demonstrated outside the showing of “Seven Jewish Children” at the State Library on Monday night.

The play conflates the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazi war machine, with the Israeli-Arab conflict, where every major war or uprising was started by Arab aggression, using terrorist tactics and human shields with a stated intent to destroy Jewish lives. The play gives credence to these beliefs by presenting Israelis as faceless killers and hearkens to long-thought-forgotten notions of the blood libel as well as other dangerous canards. AUJS Victoria believes that  Seven Jewish Children adds nothing constructive to continuing impasse on Middle Eastern debate, neither here in Melbourne, nor anywhere else in the world.

Oberman added:  “It’s worrying that groups such as Australians for Palestine who advocate the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world through their advoaction of a  ‘one-state solution’ continue to propagate such hate in this day and age. Any group that consciously seeks to distort and manipulate the scope and impact of The Holocaust for their own political agenda should be condemned in the strongest of terms”.

AUJS Victoria strongly advocates the right of all to free speech, but “we will not stand idly by as people who hide behind a vale of being critical of Israel peddle such antisemitic views. This is a clear abuse of free speech – a privilege that we hold dear in Australia”.

AUJS Victoria wishes to make it clear that legitimate criticism of Israel should never be confused with antisemitism. However, when individuals and organisations relentlessly demonize every aspect of Israel and Israeli society – out of all proportion and hold Israel to a higher moral standard than any other country – one must expose this for what it is; simply age old antisemitism.

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