Cancelled synagogue meeting moves to a church

March 13, 2009 by J-Wire
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A Sydney meeting with a dissident Israeli professor, cancelled by the Emanuel Synagogue, has been moved to a church.

Jeff Halper, an American-born Israeli professor of anthropology, was scheduled to talk at the syngagogue on March-23, but the event has been cancelled by the syngagogue. It is not the first time the professor has experienced locked doors…a Canadian Jewish community also decided his views were not welcome.

Halper is co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organisation founded in 1997 to protest against the demolition of Palestinian homes and dedicated to assist in rebuilding them. He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 by the American Friends Service Committee, established by Quakers and has been arrested at least eight times.

He told J-Wire: “I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but to deny me, an Israeli who is not silenced in Israel, an opportunity to present my views is disrepectful of Israel and Israelis. It is dangerous to deny the community the opportunity to hear critical views of Israeli policy. It should deeply desire as much information as possible in order to assess the situation and to help Israel resolve the conflict and find peace. I hope Australian Jews will come to hear me and that we will have a spirited but mutually-respected debate”

The venue has been changed to the Uniting Church in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.

Organiser Vivienne Porzsolt denied that she was a “Jew basher” as described in the media. She said: :”I find it very sad that being critical of Israeli policy would invoke this label. Surely it is unhealthy to stifle debate.”

The CEO of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff. told J-Wire: “Some of the issues he raises are legitimate points of debate in Israel and elsewhere. However, his repeated comparison with Apartheid South Africa has no basis in fact and serves only to delegitimise and demonise Israel and is therefore outside the scope of reasonable debate.”


One Response to “Cancelled synagogue meeting moves to a church”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    In today’s climate it is unfortunate that this high profile professor will add to contentiousness, especially the South African comparison he makes.
    No doubt the eyes and ears of Australia will be taking notes to fire back at you; including the National Council of Churches.

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