Guardian article calls for Alhadeff to step down

July 15, 2014 by J-Wire
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An article in “The Guardian” by Joseph Wakim a former commissioner with the NSW Community Relations Commission, has called for Vic Alhadeff, the Commission’s current chair to step down from his position.

Alhadeff, as well as being Chair of the  CRC, is also CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputie

In his article Wakim clearly elaborates on what he sees as Alhadeff’s conflict of interests.

Vic Alhadeff

Vic Alhadeff

Wakim writes: “[Premier Mike] Baird is not responsible for appointments made by his predecessor. Asking Alhadeff politely to resign for his comments, made at such a tense time, would be the moral thing to do. It would be pro-harmony. To avoid escalating tensions, it would be wise to announce a date for Alhadeff to step down – for him to essentially “give notice”.

He refers to “self defence in response”, “operating with care” and “pinpoint technologies to hit targeted infrastructure”. Yet he fails to explain, or even mention, how Israeli strikes had already killed Gazan children and civilians by the time his release was published. The Gazan fatalities now exceed 160.

The release refers to the “recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers”, but not the recent burning alive of a 15 year old Palestinian student, even though Alhadeff personally tweeted his dismay. Neither did it mention the countless Palestinian children who are snatched from their beds, never to be seen again, and never to attract global condemnation.

What message does his statement send to half a million Australian citizens of Arab ancestry, many with relatives cowering under beds in Gaza? Would such statements build bridges and community relations, or build a wall between us and them?

Alhadeff has neither retracted nor apologised for his statement. Instead, Yair Miller, the president of the Jewish board of deputies, added insult to injury when he criticised Sunday’s pro-Palestinian rally as activists bringing “foreign conflicts to the streets of Sydney”. So it’s permissible to justify a foreign war on the Jewish board of deputies letterhead, but not to protest against war in the streets of your own city?”

J-Wire asked Alhadeff for a further statement than the one he issued following the story in the Sydney Morning Herald which read:  “I stand on my track record in terms of sowing harmony, not disharmony in New South Wales, including frequently speaking out to condemn racism against the Muslim community.
“I have worked tirelessly with leaders across the Muslim and Arab communities on a range of issues, just this week convening meetings with the Iraqi Australian Shia and Sunni communities.
Despite occasionally differing views on issues, surely we all share a determination to live peacefully and harmoniously together in a tolerant and inclusive NSW. The role of the CRC Chair is to fight racism, promote multiculturalism and ensure community harmony. This is what I have done passionately and will continue to do.”

Alhadeff did not respond to a request from J-Wire for a comment on the Guardian article stating that he had already stated his position.

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