Indigenous Friends of Israel condemns Adelaide Writers Festival

February 24, 2023 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Adelaide Writers Festival has invited two overseas pro-Palestine and anti-Israel writers resulting in the SA Premier announcing he will not attend the festival.

Indigenous Friends of Israel (IFI) co-founders Norman and Barbara Miller wrote: “Adelaide Writers Festival organisers seem to think free speech reads hate speech or racist speech, which is not so. In a one-sided propaganda event, the most vitriolic pro-Palestinian writers will have a platform with no opportunity for the other side to be heard. At best, this is a misuse of taxpayers’ money. At worst, it is an intellectual travesty.”

“As Indigenous Friends of Israel, we condemn the inaccurate propaganda coming from some invited speakers that Israel is a racist, apartheid coloniser state. Jews have been in the land we now call Israel since the time of Abraham, 4,000 years ago. Jerusalem was made the capital of the Jewish state 3,000 years ago by King David. Jews were conquered and removed at various times throughout history, but a remnant has always been in Israel, renamed Palestine by the conquering Romans. Arabs conquered and colonialism Jerusalem in the relatively recent time of 636-637 AD. They came from Saudi Arabia. They are not Indigenous,” said IFI.

“When the modern state of Israel was declared in 1948, Arab nations went to war against Israel. There were a similar number of Jews as refugees from Arab nations from which they were expelled as Arab refugees from Israel who fled the war or were displaced. Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel, but the Arab nations refused to absorb Palestinian Arab refugees so they could weaponise them against Israel.

Barbara and Munganbana Norman Miller

“Israeli Arabs are not treated in a racist apartheid manner as they are in the Knesset (Parliament), judiciary, police service, academia, business, and various professions. Israel is one of the most multicultural nations in the world.

“The Premier of Adelaide, Paul Malinauskas, has declared he will not attend but will not withdraw funding. The Australian newspaper recently reported the concern of Ukrainian and Jewish leaders as one speaker, Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa, is a pro-Putin apologist. She said Putin is trying to “DeNazify Ukraine” and that Ukrainian President Zelensky is a ‘depraved Zionist trying to ignite World War 111’.”

“The war in Ukraine has been clearly caused by Russian aggression, with Putin trying to restore the glory and territory of the former Soviet Union. The Ukrainians are valiantly defending themselves against war crimes being committed by Russia. One example is the thousands of Ukrainian children captured and taken to re-education camps in Russia. This fits the UN definition of genocide.

“Another speaker at the festival, poet Mohammed El-Kurd, has made defamatory, racist, and vile comments about Israel and Jewish people, including blood libel, that are antisemitic such as Israelis eating the organs of Palestinians or lusting after Palestinian blood. It is a wonder he and Abulhawa have been allowed into Australia considering recent discussion re Kanye (Ye) West’s visit,” said IFI, “especially when Abulhawa supports terrorism and wiping Israel off the map.”

“Festival organiser Louise Adler is staring down criticism, saying she wants debate, but how can there be debate when a platform is provided for only one side of a debate? There are seven Palestinian speakers and none from Israel. On top of that, with speakers like Abulhawa and El-Kurd equating Israel with Nazis, it trivialises the Holocaust and is offensive to Jewish people,” said the Millers for IFI.

“By comparison, the Sydney Festival included a dance performance created by an Israeli and sponsored by the Israeli embassy which had nothing to do with politics. However, performers were harassed and bullied by the pro-Palestinian lobby into pulling out and many did. This is not the tolerant and inclusive society Australians think we have.” IFI said.

“Australia has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and comments by some of the Palestinian speakers at the Adelaide Festival contravene this.” said Barbara Miller, who has just written a Handbook on the Holocaust and the Australian Aboriginal Response for educators, high school students and adult education.


2 Responses to “Indigenous Friends of Israel condemns Adelaide Writers Festival”
  1. Sidney Bloch says:

    Louise, please concede that you have made an error of judgement. We are all at risk of doing so. Whether you wish to go any further is up to you.
    I very much hope you can respond in a conciliatory way. Certainly, digging in your heels will be an unfortunate legacy of your directorship of an esteemed Writers Festival.
    In hope.
    Professor Sidney Bloch
    University of Melbourne

  2. Liat Kirby says:

    Louise Adler should have the grace to climb down from her poor decision-making and stop justifying it under the name of space for freedom and tolerance of different ideas up for debate.
    Where is the sense, where are the ethics, involved in ‘discussing’ the Russian genocide of the Ukrainian people? How do you get past that and the fact that Russia invaded the Ukraine a year ago to perpetrate what they have? You don’t. It’s not up for grabs as an idea that can be debated. It’s a gruesome fact of history that is still playing out.

    As for Israel and the Jewish people, the two Palestinian writers Louise is so tolerant of, will be of no use in panel discussion here, as all they have are their own hate-filled agendas to proclaim – there will be no listening by them to different views or response to their own. They will create a hate-fest.

    This is supposed to be a Writers Festival, Louise. Out with ideology and politics and political correctness as you see it. Literature and books, that’s what it’s about. It doesn’t have the capacity as a forum to provide the kind of elements you are insisting on providing.

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