You are invited to break your silence

August 11, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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164 Australians of Jewish identity and background have signed an Open Letter calling on their fellow Jews to break their silence on the onslaught on Gaza by Israel. Among the signatories are actress Miriam Margolyes and writers Sara Dowse, Antony Loewenstein and Susan Varga. 

J-Wire welcomes comments expressing support…or otherwise.

Vivienne Porzsolt

Vivienne Porzsolt

Vivienne Porzsolt of Jews against the Occupation, who organised the Open Letter, said ‘Silence is consent and as Jews, we must oppose atrocities taken in our name. Our public stand demonstrates that many Jews reject the brutal occupation of the Palestinians by Israel.

The outrage that all people of humanity feel at the conduct of the State of Israel against the Palestinians can too easily be directed to Jews in general. As we have seen with the ugly cartoon by Le Lievre and the antisemitic attack on the Jewish children on a Bondi bus, old antisemitic tropes re-emerge, fuelled by the atrocities committed by Israel.

No racism, including antisemitism, is ever excusable. However, the Jewish community leadership promotes the identification of Jews with Israel and all its actions. They label Jewish critics of Israel as ‘self-hating’ and ‘not real Jews’. They debase the charge of antisemitism by applying it to all criticism of Israel. It is not surprising then that some may hold Jews in general responsible for Israel’s actions.’

The Open Letter calls for ‘an end to the under-lying conditions of siege and occupation which defy elementary morality, decency and humanity, as well as international and humanitarian law’.

Contact: Vivienne Porzsolt 0411 366 295


As Australians of Jewish identity and background, we are appalled at the current mass killing in Gaza by Israel. We reject the official mythology that Israel is under existential threat and acting in self-defence.

Since 12 July, the Israeli army has killed more than 1900 people in Gaza. Hospitals, schools, beaches, playgrounds – even UN shelters have been attacked. The whole world has reacted with horror and outrage.

In the face of the destruction of so many lives, we cannot remain silent while the official Jewish leadership gives such active support to Israel’s attack on Gaza. Their decision to stand with the oppressor rather than the oppressed is a betrayal of our history and values, when authentic moral leadership is more important than ever. Siege, occupation, the slaughter of innocents and collective punishment of an entire people are deeply wrong and unlawful. Yet the Jewish leadership uncritically promulgates the propaganda of the Israeli government that this is self-defence. They are failing to represent and serve the Jewish community.

Silence is consent and evil triumphs when good people do nothing. We call on our fellow Jews to break their silence, to take a public stand, not just for an immediate cease-fire, but for an end to the underlying conditions of siege and occupation which defy elementary morality, decency and humanity, as well as international and humanitarian law.


1. Kate Alway

2. Dr Eran Asoulin

3. Willy Bach, peace researcher and poet

4. Dr Peter Balint

5. Dr Tony Balint

6. Judy Bamburger, management consultant

7. Sivan Barak, student

8. Dr Ditta Bartels, retired CEO, Inphaze

9. Somerset Bean, graphic designer

10. Alice Beauchamp

11. Lyn Bender, psychologist, writer

12. Robyn Bersten, professional researcher

13. David Bilander, engineer/analyst

14. Dr Geoffrey Binder, lecturer/tutor

15. Paul Blay, landscape architect

16. Dr Barbara Bloch

17. Alfiah Blond, nutritional medicine practitioner

18. Simon Blond, university lecturer

19. Karen Bloomberg, speech pathologist

20. Leah Bloomfield, education advisor

21. Professor John Bradley, Monash University

22. Jacki Braw

23. Mariann Brull

24. Michael Brull

25. Angela Budai,union official

26. Jenny Bush, retired rehabilitation counsellor

27. Susie Carleton

28. Su Carter, administration officer

29. Dr Barry Carr, historian

30. Martin Chanock, emeritus professor of law, La Trobe University

31. Associate Professor Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne

32. Ruth Clemens, retired secondary school teacher

33. Harry Cohen, AM

34. Ian Cohen, former MLC, NSW Parliament

35. Leone Cohen

36. Rachael Collinson, former journalist

37. Max Corden AC

38. Piera Dennerstein

39. Anneke Deutsch, retired prosthetist

40. Dr John Docker, writer

41. Janet Doherty

42. Dr Sara Dowse, author

43. Alec Drummond, library worker

44. Linda Eisler, former Councillor, Canterbury LMA

45. Nicole Ehrlich, research psychologist

46. Dr Marietta Elliott-Kleerkoper, writer, language consultant

47. Marsh Emerman, lecturer in film and TV

48. Harry Feldman

49. Naima Fine

50. Dr Michelle Fink, medical specialist

51. Corinne Fisher, professional educator, sustainability

52. Lee Flax, retired lecturer, Macquarie University

53. Gabrielle Flax

54. Professor Steve Frenkel

55. Nadia Fried, musician, teacher

56. Bonnie Gelman

57. Dr Guy Gillor, public health researcher

58. Dr Hal Ginges

59. Sandra Glasbeek, retired civil servant

60. Penelope Glass, theatre worker

61. Jack Grey

62. Joseph Halevi, senior lecturer, University of Sydney

63. Gaskell M Harris, former lecturer, computer science

64. David Heilpern LLB LLM

65. Davey Heller, bushland regeneration worker

66. David Hermolin, lead union organiser

67. Tim Hollo, musician and activist

68. Janine Israel

69. John Jacobs, actor, lecturer

70. Professor Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania

71. Margaret Jacobs

72. Max Kaiser

73. Dr David Kaye, psychiatrist

74. John Kaye, Greens NSW MP

75. Margaret Kaye, Feldenkrais practitioner

76. Dr Rick Kuhn, adjunct reader in Sociology, Australian National University

77. Sarah Lay, retired public school teacher

78. Melanie Lazarow, student

79. Sue Leigh, activist and former counselor

80. Michael Lever, archeologist and cultural heritage advisor

81. Dr David Levy

82. Dr Gary Levy, educator, researcher

83. Rachel Liebhaber

84. Professor G J Lindell AM

85. Ian Lisser, union activist

86. Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist, author, Guardian columnist

87. Jackie Lublin

88. Dr Terry Lustig, environmental and water engineer

89. Margo McKelvie

90. Laurie Izaks McSween

91. Jonathan Maltz, counsellor

92. Miriam Margolyes, actress

93. Dennis Martin

94. Leon Medalia

95. Stefan Moore, film maker

96. Associate Professor Alan Morris, University of Technology, Sydney

97. Martin Munz

98. Haskell Musry, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant

99. Liam Neame, academic

100. Dr Ian Neering, retired Associate Professor, University of NSW

101. Joan Nestle, retired Associate Professor, CUNY

102. Sharmila Nezovic

103. Alex Nissen, educator

104. Jacqui Nissim, union organiser

105. Rod Oaten, retired school teacher

106. Judith O’Conal-Prinz, professional portrait painter

107. Dennis Oppenheim, retired insurance broker

108. Sandra Padova, lesbian social justice advocate

109. Dr Tamas Pataki, author and retired lecturer, University of Melbourne

110. Cathy Peters, ABC Radio National producer

111. Tim Petterson, Campaigns and Communications Director

112. Dr Annie Pettit

113. Dr Annie Pfingst, research fellow

114. Abe Pogos, script writer

115. Vivienne Porzsolt, spokesperson, Jews against the Occupation

116. Richard Raber, film-maker

117. Adjunct Associate Professor Karl Reed

118. Michelle Reiner, customer service administrator

119. Andrew Riemer

120. Marilyn Rister

121. Susan Rosedale, teacher

122. Deborah Rosenberg

123. Les Rosenblatt

124. David Rothfiled

125. Pamela J Rothfield

126. Paul Rubner, retired librarian

127. Dr Jen Runds

128. Jay Rutovitz, energy consultant

129. Margot Salom, researcher

130. Kim Sattler, secretary, Unions ACT

131. Daniel Saks

132. Sol Salbe, journalist

133. Yvette Scholtmeyer, editor

134. John Seed, OAM

135. Debra Shulkes, editor

136. Regina Sigal, madam

137. Dr Ben Silverstein, lecturer, University of NSW

138. Dr Jordy Silverstein, historian, University of Melbourne

139. Esther Singer, vegetable farmer

140. Deborah Singerman, editor, writer, project management consultant

141. Associate Professor Peter Slezak, University of NSW

142. Dr David Slucki

143. Dr Sue Starfield

144. Norman Sterling

145. Dr Larry Stillman

146. David Stockman

147. Lanie Stockman

148. Dr Marcelo Svirsky, lecturer, University of Wollongong

149. Anna Tambour

150. Robin Taubenfeld, teacher and community organiser

151. Leah Thomas, student

152. Fred Tropp-Asher, retired IT project manager

153. Robyn Unger, public servant

154. Susan Varga, author

155. Shobha Varkey

156. Avril Vorsay, researcher, translator, performer

157. Peter Walton, self-employed

158. Jamie Walvisch, university lecturer

159. Dr David Weatherell, honorary fellow in history, Deakin University

160. George Winston AM

161. Dr N D Witton

162. Dr Ron Witton

163. Sandra Goldbloom Zurbo, editor and author

164. Dr David Zyngier, senior lecturer, Monash University

Vivienne Porzsolt told J-Wire: ” People can add their names to these initial signatories at


17 Responses to “You are invited to break your silence”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    There are quite a few things which can be taken for granted.

    – while I do not know the precise identity of the names listed, let’s agree that they are Jews by certain standards
    – perusing the qualifications, we can assume that some on the list are well educated
    – critising the same for not participating in the mainstream Jewish community, largely seen as a solid Zionist lot, is redundant. By listing their names to such a statement no one would expect any of them to be ardent Zionists
    It is far more important to establish what could be some of the common ground reasons of these people .
    One immediate conclusion is that all signatories consider only partially a reality to which they would be witnesses. The extrapolation from the complete causes of the conflict and, implicitly, the singular attachment of blame on Israel for a sum of atrocities is indicative of a number of serious shortcomings by the signatories in acknowledging ethical principles by which all parties involved in the conflict must be considered.
    The most relevant ethical issues are :
    ” Is use of force acceptable when explicit threat to life is apparent !” This is associated with the specific preamble ” Can Gaza and its occupants be considered an existential threat to the Jews of Israel !!”. To this we must also consider ” Are the Jews of Israel justified in taking precautions in stopping the people of Gaza to execute their ostensive intent of harming the Jews of Israel !”Then, follows: ” Considering the circumstances of the known foes of Israel, can Israel, in exercising its right to defend itself avoid affecting those Gazans not directly involved in the actual attack on Israel !!”.
    None of the ethical questions can be dispensed with, they are organically , indispensably, mutually inclusive, interdependent.
    Those who signed that farcical document, infested with fallacies of the highest order, are intentionally avoiding the obvious issues as per my list and find umbrage in distorted ideological concoctions, some out of some
    deeply carved frustrations, some by extending visceral antipathies for spiritual “issues”, some acting under some ego-prominence syndrome and some by being plain stupid in spite of acquiring positions of formal respectability.
    I have locked horns with a few over the years and I must confess that they have constantly given me that priceless satisfaction of finding them ideal dialectical punch-bags. As about Ms Porzsolt, a very, very sad case, never mind the “punch”, just a schmate bag will do….

  2. Catherine White says:

    The self-hating Jew George Soros frees his fund from its Israeli assets. Most of Hollywood’s stars, with the exception of Jon Voight, tweet anti-Semitism. In the UK, commercial chains such as John Lewis and Tesco, boycott Israeli goods.

    The Nobel Prize-winning Amnesty International, which once bravely fought for Andrei Sakharov, Boris Pasternak’s wife and Natan Sharansky, asked the US to stop sending fuel for Israeli tanks. Spain’s most revered writer, Antonio Gala, cites the war between Israel and Hamas as retroactive justification for the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the 15th century.

    The former director of Unesco, the UN’s cultural agency, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, joins the boycott of the Israeli Jews. Lawrence Weschler, for twenty years a writer for The New Yorker weekly magazine, compares Gaza to Dachau and Theresienstadt.

    Moreover, the world can hardly wait to see the Israelis at the dock of the Hague tribunal. Moshe Yaalon like Hermann Göring?

    And so just add these educated Jews to the growing list of politically correct anti zionists. Indeed, within so called enlightened, polite societies anti zionism nothing more than a veneer for anti semitism.

  3. Scott Leonard says:

    If these people are not with us, then they must be against us but we are stronger without them.

  4. david singer says:

    The photo of Vivienne Porzsolt standing in front of a “Free Palestine” banner says it all in those two powerful words:

    1. Free Palestine from Hamas

    2. Free Palestine from the PLO

    3. Free Palestine from Islamic Jihad

    4. Free Palestine from ISIS

    5. Free Palestine from the Palestine Liberation Front

    6. Free Palestine from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

    7. Free Palestine from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command

    8. Free Palestine from the Popular Resistance Committees

    9. Free Palestine from the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades.

    10. Free Palestine to enable free elections to be held.

    11. Free Palestine from a President whose use by date expired 5 years ago

    12. Free Palestine to enable us to see the day when the Palestinian Arabs can get 164 people to sign a similar open letter to that posted here by 164 Jews without fear of being dragged away and never being seen again.

    13. Free Palestine from being ruled by leaders like those who rejected offers that could have led to a Palestinian Arab State in 1922, 1937, 1947, at any time between 1948-1967,2000, 2005, 2008 and 2014.

    14. Free Palestine from well-intentioned but gullible Jews who give aid and support to Islamic terrorist groups holding no respect for the sanctity of life of Gaza’s civilian population

    Ms Porzsolt: Will you and your co-signatories be prepared to join me and sign this as an open letter?

    Please indicate your consents by replying to this post so I can add your names.

    Anyone else who wants to support such an open letter or suggest additions or amendments should also respond.

  5. Andrew Barak says:

    164 Jews out of a population of 120,000. I guess that allows us to classify 0.1% of the Jewish population as useful idiots.

    • Deborah Robinson says:

      They don’t deserve to be classified as part of the Jewish population

      • Yosi Tal says:

        most are pork eating,non synagogue attenders who are not jews.THEY GAVE UP THAT RIGHT LONG AGO….

        • Joe Bergman says:

          Yeah, one doesn’t cease being a Jew because one eats pork or doesn’t practice the faith. Excluding or condemning someone because they don’t follow your extreme right wing nationalism is no better behaviour than the people we claim to be morally superior to. We are allowing (and actively participating in) the conversion of our homeland into a thug state. They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. You people and your extremist nationalist BS are living proof of this.

  6. Stephen says:

    To add your name to this list is not necessarily evil. To believe Hamas apologists may even be reassuring about oneself.

    No doubt those that backed Chamberlain over Churchill would have felt quite good about themselves, too.

  7. Deborah Robinson says:

    Ms Porzsolt appears to be leading the pack in the charge to support the real oppressors namely Hamas and the totalitarian ideology that drives it. Israel is the proverbial canary in the coalmine. There are desperate and dangerous times ahead for the rest of the world if Israel is not supported. Sadly Ms Porzsolt only adds fuel to the fire of ignorance.

  8. MIchael Burd says:

    These people have the right to support Hamas and criticise Israel just as the Michael Moores of the world can vilify his own country . The only thing I can not fathom is why these people don’t convert to Islam or just renounce their Judaism, the only conclusion I have come to is the best way to attack Jews and Israel is to announce first they are Jewish to have better credibility ?
    I would be interested if the Muslim community have their own who are willing to admit the errors of their own people. I guess they would not live very long .

    Any way this Jew supports the efforts of Israel to beat Hamas/Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and hopefully the West will have the Balls to take on Hamas’s Islamist Franchisees JI, ISIS, AL Quaida, Taliban all the other religion of Peace cult followers.

    I feel very sorry for the mothers of the IDF soldiers who have lost their lives and any other Israelis that have been murdered by Palestinians. [ I take it Hamas are still Palestinians}

    • Nima Asadi says:

      I don’t know if you are extremely racist or just plain retarded.

      Saying that killing Palestinian children and innocent people is not somehow being pro-HAMAS or anti Judaism.

      Unless of course you are saying that only Muslims have the decency to acknowledge this as wrong.

  9. Sam Goldman says:

    These signatories would have castigated the Jews for defending themselves in the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto. At that time the defence was against the worst of enemies, the Barbarian Nazis. Today their jewish descendants are defending themselves against the new evil Barbarians, Hamas and its supporters.
    David Singer in an article in this week’s J Wire quoted Wiesel as saying: “What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”
    Loss of civilian life is abhorrent, but put the blame on the instigators of the carnage, Hamas.
    Hamas should be labelled HARM US (according to a close friend Janelle Cann) by the Palestinians and the world. We could add the signatories to that label.

    • Nima Asadi says:

      If Murdoch was around back then, the Jews in the Warsaw ghettos who dug tunnels and rebelled would have also been ‘terrorists’ in your eyes.

      • Sam Goldman says:

        There is no doubt that the defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto were called terrorists by the Nazis, tunnels or not.
        But then and today there was/is a name for similar signatories as are on this list and it was/is COLLABORATORS. We know what the Nazis did to those then, the same as HARM US is doing today (only worse).

  10. Peter Witting says:

    Shame on you for proposing such an unbalanced appeal!

    Peter Witting

  11. Tom Moss says:

    A very impressive list of “dignitaries” .Are ANY of them involved in a Jewish community? Or are they just “Jews” by birth but not of belief.? I wonder if any of them identify as such on the census.Do any of them have Jewish children? Certainly no Jewish grandchildren.How many contribute to JCA? To any Jewish causes?
    Of course they have every right to express their opinions,no matter how distasteful to others,but not to purport to being Jewish.
    Well done Jwire! You are unifying the community against these pseudos and crackpots

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