Landau Sparks Controversy

November 24, 2011 Agencies
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Former Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau spoke to a packed house in Melbourne last night, just hours before the prominent journalist and commentator made news in the Jewish and non-Jewish press.

David Landau

Landau, in Australia on a speaking tour for the New Israel Fund, made his sole public appearance at Caulfield Pavilion in Melbourne last night, with standing room only for the 100-plus people in the audience to discuss “The Battle for Israel’s Democracy”.

In today’s The Age newspaper, the outspoken Israeli urged Australian Jews to take a more critical line on Israel, saying her democracy is “at a crossroads” and local Jews needed to speak out instead of blindly toeing the government line.

Read The AGE piece here…

“We will have to be either democratic or Jewish,” The Age quoted him as saying. “The poison of the occupation is seeping back and corroding our democracy.”

In addition, Landau, the Israel correspondent for The Economist, had an opinion article on Iran published today in all major Fairfax mastheads, including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, WA Today and the Brisbane Times.

In it, Landau argued that PM Bibi Netanyahu, whom he described as “a bluffer”, was not bluffing when he threatened Iran with a unilateral strike on its nuclear facilities.

“He does not want to go down in Jewish history as the leader on whose watch a fanatical enemy achieved the means to cow, terrorise and threaten to destroy the Jewish state while the rest of the world stood by and Israel itself did nothing,” Landau wrote.  Read the SMH piece here.

But in this week’s edition of the Australian Jewish News, ECAJ president Danny Lamm chastised Landau, saying he was “sorry” that he had been brought to Australia to speak and that the roof body of Australian Jewry would not have hosted an event with him.

This prompted Yair Miller, president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, to defend hosting Landau at a lunch last week saying his organisation was “mature” and “open-minded” enough to expose its members to different viewpoints.

Robin Margo, president of the New Israel Fund Australian branch, defended Landau, saying his Zionist credentials were incontrovertible, noting he had collaborated with Shimon Peres on his memoirs, written a biography of Ben-Gurion with Peres and had authored a biography of former PM Ariel Sharon, which is due out next year.

Landau is speaking at Yom Limmud in Melbourne on Sunday.


52 Responses to “Landau Sparks Controversy”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Mandi Katz

    In your reply to Peter Hersh of 12 Dec.,you wish to clarify YOUR position re NIF and its choice of funding.
    The trouble with your argument is that you seem to conveniently obliterate important features of NIF, the ones that define it as the detractive, anti Israel organisation NIF IS indeed !!!
    Your choice of obfuscation and extrapolation does NOT matter ATT ALL in the ACTUAL structure of NIF, as seen by us all.It is merely a reflection of your manner of estimating values.
    The obvious fact that you avoid certain essential realities pertaining to NIF does NOT absolve you from NOT being able to realistically ascertain what is positively necessary for this, Jewish ,community.
    Your admonition of Peter Hersh only accentuates your selectively obtuse views. Sory,but this is how, now, a whole world sees you !Next time be more careful.

  2. Peter Hersh says:



    NIF is not a range of people, it is a registered charity in the US which has branches in other locations like Israel, UK and now Australia.

    I am sorry but to any outsider you invited Landau to speak on your behalf he has said things while here that any right minded person would find distasteful and antiIsrael as previously set out. If you are not prepared to disassociate yourselves from those comments we then know where you stand and you should be now be honest in your correspondence with the community. If you are not I am sure people like myself will remind the community in the future of where you stand.


    Clever answer too but the problem is not members of grantees doing things that could only be called antiIsrael it’s the organisations themselves doing it. I and other have listed many examples of this. Again if NIF is not prepared to do anything about that, people you are asking to donate to NIF should be told and if you will not tell them I and other I am sure are prepared to
    I have no issue with you and others supporting minority views in Australia, I do have a problem with NIF and NIF Aus presenting themselves as main stream organisations in an attempt to solicit funds from Australian donors.

    You ask me which organisation that supports civil rights for Arab/Palestinian I am prepared to support. My reply is any and all of them that do so without reducing the civil rights of Jews.

    Why NIF Australia,

    So as I read what you have written, NIF Australia’s purpose is to fund and promote the very organisations that are the most problematic.

    If NIF Aus is truly proud of the work it and NIF are doing it should make ALL its and its grantees activities clear to its prospective donors as well as the admin fees charged by NIF Aus, NIF and NIF in Israel. If it does not then people like myself will have to do that work for you. It is great that in a free society like Australia we can do so.

    • Mandi Katz says:

      Thanks Peter for a mostly civil exchange.

      I fully respect your right to raise whatever issues you like, wherever you like.

      I do ask one thing though, that you don’t put words in my mouth. You say that based on what I have written, NIF Australia’s purpose is to raise funds for the most problematic grantees. I am baffled to see how you read my words that way. My first and general comment was that the purpose of establishing an Australian chapter of NIF was to raise awareness about NIF overall.

      I then said that NIF is of the most value to smaller organisations which have trouble raising funds directly because of size and capability. Your inference about NIF Australia being established for the benefit of more problematic organisations (and presumably you mean ideologically/politically) has no basis in anything I wrote.

      • Peter Hersh says:


        You are correct I should have made my point clearer, if you look at the NIF grantees you will see that the ones I would call the most problematic are the small ones. Therefore by your administion NIF supports the most problematic ones.

  3. Otto Waldmann says:

    Peter Hersh
    Forget it, orders have been issued from the NIF HQ not to add any more comments to the issues here, lest they would be further and worse bogged down in their stark incongruities.
    What else can you expect when hysteria acts in lieu of reason !!

  4. Otto Waldmann says:

    Mandi Katz and NIF fellow aparatchniks :

    Either you are incapable to distinguish between ethical generics ex catedra and concrete,palpable realities within the comprehensive Middle Eastern dynamics, or indoctrination of the most centrifugal AND pernicious kind has, oncologically,affected your faculties.
    You have dishonestly appropriated important cathegories and are now hoisting upon dedicated Zionists the arrogance of farcical admonission of a Jewish society, both in Israel and Diaspora being guilty of the …. lethal enmity STILL promoted through traditional and contemporary adjusted anti Semitism.HOW TWISTED !!!
    There is NOTHING you could lecture us on Jewish responsibilities. We are the sons and daughters of the most tortured souls who have traversed the Shoah with the residues of a zest for survival,justice, security and a dignified future. The attempts by your hysterical minority to “correct” the MOST tested existential place on Earth, Eretz Israel, are but the lamentable quest for prevalence by utterly iresponsible selfish activists encouraged by notorious entities such as Chomsky, locally insignificant Lowenstein, Porzsolt & co. Your beloved Landau adds poison to an already NIF corrosive mix of communal wreckers. NOTHING you insist on makes sense regrdless of and in spite of the persistent tone , unbearable length, but, mainly, hollow content.

  5. Mandi Katz says:

    I suggest that critics of NIF take their concerns up with members of the New Israel Fund international council – including Israelis Alice Shalvi, Tova Hartman and Ruth Gavison – great Zionists who do more in a month for the Jewish people, Israel and the ideals of Zionism than most people commenting here will do in their entire lives.

    NIF is NOT a political advocacy group or peace activist group – it is a funder with a view point.

    I’m not an Israeli citizen – I have no standing to influence political outcomes which impact upon the security of Israelis (although I see that people commenting here are full of views about what Israel should do security wise which includes advocating that Israel abandon the official policy of its elected government, of support for a Palestinian state, and people commenting here do that counter to the views of many former senior IDF, Mossasd and Shin Bet official who have publicly said that a Palestinian state is imperative for Israel’s future security)But either way I have no issue with supporting organisations staffed by Israelis, incorporated in Israel and operating within Israeli law including organisations which work for human and civil rights.

    If you don’t believe that there are civil and human rights issues arising out of forty four years of military occupation, no amount of sane or rational discussion will persuade you that there is a need for human rights advocacy. But the IDF listens to human rights groups including NIF grantees.

    Read this – – about the treatment of Palestinian minors under Israeli military rule in the West Bank. I can’t link it to its original source in The Australian so you’ll have to read it on the AFP website.

    No doubt the half dozen people commenting frequently here will see it as biased and unfair. The standard response is that anything unpalatable about the occupation, must be a lie, but remember it was written for and published by The Australian, the same newspaper that has actively campaigned against the Greens’ BDS campaign. Take note that the article was written with the cooperation of the IDF and quotes the IDF consistently, including that it sees the need to work with human rights organsiations – the same organisations being villified on this site.

    • Peter Hersh says:

      So let’s summarise Mandi’s last posting:

      1)The directors of NIF Aust do not have the ability to defend the actions of the body they are collecting money for.

      2)If Mandi says someone is a great Zionist they are.

      3)Mandi is happy to play the man rather than the ball by insulting the credentials of anyone that disagrees with NIF.

      4)Mandi like most defenders of NIF has refused to see that organisations like people are not all good or all bad. The problem with NIF has been and continues to be that it does not look into the forest to see the trees. Let’s use David Landau as an example – the defence for bringing him out was he has written 3 books on Zionists and was the editor of a mainstream, if left wing newspaper. Those fact as true but the same David Landau has called for the boycott of the properly elected parliament of Israel. The same David Landau has slandered all the members of the IDF serving 20 years ago.

      5)Mandi has quoted from an article in the Australian, which he could not find on their website but could on the website of Australians for Palestine. I ask that you read AFP’s mission statement at Are they good Zionists too ?

      6)Just because the Australian newspaper was anti BDS does not mean that all articles in the Australian are fair or balanced. Anyone reading the article quoted by Mandi should be able to see that one important ingredient was not included and that is details of what people before the army court had done. Not once did I see a comment that if the parents of these people had educated them not to throw stones they would not have been there.
      Now let me be clear it would be better that people under 18 do not end up in any sort of jail system (by the way we do it in Australia to people under 18 off refugee boats). I will not take the article at face value.

      7) Mandi wants us to take from the fact that the IDF deals with and takes advice from human rights organisations to mean that all organisations that call themselves human rights organisations are good. Or better said all actions of human rights organisations are good.

      The best example is the UN.
      Who was just elected to one the human rights bodies – Syria !

      So Mandi I note that in no posting has any defender of NIF Aus answered my suggestion that it is not worth the risk of funding NGO’s in Israel through NIF. All you get by doing so is the admin fees charged by NIF and NIF Aus and the risk of them bringing “great zionists” like David Landau to Australia. This is even if you could trust them to properly audit the organisations they fund which you clearly cannot – they currently fund Breaking The Silence, The Negev Coexistence Forum and Mossawa just to name a few.

      So if you feel you need to fund NGO’s in Israel please do so, but please do not do so through NIF Aus and please only do so after you have looked into all of the NGO’s actions to ensure they are not just a front for antizionist activities.

      • Mandi Katz says:

        Peter – is this discussion in good faith? I don’t think so.

        I posted the article to the AFP site because as I explained I was unable to link it to The Australian and someone had let me know it was possible to read it on the AFP website. Of course I dont in any way endorse the activities or views of AFP. It is ridiculous to imply that because I provided a link to an article which was in The Australian on the weekend, that I am now somehow a supporter of AFP.

        Robin Margo, President of NIF Australia, and Naomi Paiss have explained decisions of NIF time and time again on this site. I have explained certain grantees in comments, directors have written letters to the AJN. I wrote a piece for the AJN in July explaining my own decision to support NIF with extensive comments on some of the more controversial grantees.

        NIF Australia has extensive FAQs about a number of the allegations repeated here time and again – about Goldstone, BDS, organisations that are critical of Israel –

        You may not like or agree with the answers but NIF has certainly answered them.

        As to playing the man, that was not my intention although NIF people and David Landau as NIF’s guest, have been personally villified time and again here. My intention was to convey that this is a complex landscape and that NIF has a political perspective even if it is not a lobby group. So of course you and others on will not agree with all its decisions. My point was that NIF has support from mainstream Israeli thinkers and leaders who may not agree with all the work undertaken by all the grantees but believe that NIF plays an important role in funding organisations which in turn play an important role in challenging certain events and trends. Sometimes the strength of a democracy is measured in how well it actively supports the right of minorites to say unpopular things.

        As to your having to rely on my saying that Alice Shalvi, Tova Hartman and Ruth Gavison are great Zionists. I am happy to provide more information via links etc Which one do you dispute? They are all high profile and mainstream.

        It really is just plain silly to hear people repeat as proof of his being beyond the pale, two lines of Landau’s out of context – it’s a nasty practice and can be used unfairly against anyone.

        One comment made by Landau in private conversation with Condoleeza Rice, reflected Landau’s strong view that the best possibility of Israel retaining a majority Jewish population as a democracy, is reaching agreement on Palestine before it’s too late, and that international pressure is needed to get such agreement over the line. Landau has a compelling turn of phrase. This one was to my mind distastefully expressed, but deeply held. It is with this conviction that he spent the last two weeks as a guest of the New Israel Fund Australia, talking his heart out to win support for that view, and to raise concerns about the threats to Israeli democracy. You may not agree with it but it’s a widely held view. Here’s Olmert expressing a similar view in strong and to some , badly chosen, words; “Disengagement is a response to certain demographic realities, … Within a few years, due to the higher Arab birth rate, Jews will become a minority in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. I don’t want [Israel] to be South Africa because we don’t believe in apartheid. We simply have to separate from the Palestinians so that we can control our own destinies.”

        Landau’s comment about boycotting the Knesset was a hyperbolic line in a dark and powerful piece written after the boycott law was passed in July. In context there is no doubt at all that Landau is on the side of law and parliamentary process.

        Landau is not a spokeperson for NIF, he was NIF’s guest. I dont agree with everything he said but his expertise and insight are indisputable and it is interesting to hear his perspective which reflects a different end of the Israeli mainstream political spectrum . He is an Israeli citizen, loyal to the state but critical of the government,

        I hope that people commenting here understand the difference.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Not fair attacking Mandi Katz ! Mandi is eloquent, generous with the critics of NIF to a fault, or maybe , say, a dozen faults, but who is counting !
          In a melange of evasive terms and very discreet alusions to military occupation and Israel’s misstreatement of Palestinians, Mandi is reminding us that being a TRUE Zionist you NEVER belittle the oppressed or emphasise the anxieties YOU cause, as a Zionist to the enemies YOU ( the same Zionist ) has created. Thus, in a healthy NIF tradition, palestinians or ANY other possible dead set, genetically programmed, irreversible POSSIBLE anti Zionist, anti Semitic, anti Jewish, anti Israeli entities or maybe just a bloke or two with their kids on tow MUST NEVER be mentioned. To Mandi’s same generous mind there is absolutely NO quantity of dedicated haters of Israel. The IDF is on the “occupied” teritories to continue the good old Jewish practice of torturing OTHERS, oppressing, denying human rights, exploiting their blood, you know the same blood used at Pessach to boil matza. As per mamelushen recipe it MUST contain the blood of persecuted minors !!!
          Oh Mandi, thanks for your sagacious and seemingly endless input, full of ” I don’t care either way but , at the same time busy kissig the hem of Margo’s pinstriped robe.” and next time you run into your master/shepperd, Robyn, tell him that I no longer feast on BBQed liver medium rare extracted from peacefully unaware and unanaestetised IDF occupied NIF beneficiaries.

        • Peter Hersh says:


          My comments are in good faith and are an attempt to highlight the deficiencies in NIF and NIF Aus
          There are a number of issues and questions I have raised that I either have not received an answer or in my mind the answer does not resolve the issue.

          These include:

          1) Landau
          If Landau is such a good guy and my quotes are just out of context can you explain the quote in J-Wire in which he defamed all members of the IDF with his comment about bestiality.

          The comments he made to Ms Rice are a problem as much because of the words he used as because he wants the US to force Israel to change its actions. Israel is a democracy and as such if he wants Israel to change he needs to argue his views in Israel.

          At what point do people like Landau actually have to take responsibility for what they say.

          And more importantly in this context at what point do his sponsors have to take responsibility for what he says.

          You say Landau has been vilified while all I have done is quote back what he has said.

          If NIF Aus does not agree with some of things Landau has said during his visit to Australia why have you remained silent. At all times during his visit he and NIF Aus have made it clear that his trip was sponsored by NIF Aus as such you are tarred with his brush unless you speak up.

          I have just looked at the NIF Aus website and note that it has a direct link to the J-Wire article in which Landau’s comments on bestiality were quoted. So not only are you not disassociating yourselves from his words you are happy to quote them.

          I completely disagree with the following statement in your last reply – you said “Landau’s comment about boycotting the Knesset was a hyperbolic line in a dark and powerful piece written after the boycott law was passed in July. In context there is no doubt at all that Landau is on the side of law and parliamentary process”
          If you read what he said in full, the context is that the duly elected parliament of Israel is wrong and rather than correcting it by democratic means pressure should be put on Israel from outside so that what he wants to occur happens. Prior and subsequent articles and speeches by him follow the same argument. These are not the view of someone who is on the side of law and parliamentary process.

          2) Grantees

          Why are NIF still funding Breaking The Silence, The Negev Coexistence Forum and Mossawa.

          To expand on my point above with Landau. You state that NIF supports organisations because of the good that they do and if they do some bad you are not responsible. Even if you can argue that the good outweighs the bad, why are you silent when your grantees are doing bad.

          It appears that free speech allows your grantees and your speakers to defame and vilify Israel and its people but does not allow you to repudiate those actions.

          I thank you for the reference to NIF’s faq’s at I note that they do not answer the question as to why NIF and NIF Aus continues to fund such organizations as the ones I have listed above and why they do not at least disassociate themselves from the anti-Israel comments and activities of such organisations.

          3) Need for NIF Aus

          I am yet to see anyone from NIF Aus answered my question on the basic value of NIF Aus.
          To repeat it. Why donate to NIF Aus if what you want to do is support some NGO’s in Israel. It is easy enough to give the funds directly to the NGO.
          By making the donation directly to the NGO, donors can better check them out and will not have some of their donations spent on admin fees in NIF Aus and NIF.

          • Mandi Katz says:

            Peter – I appreciate the civility of your response and will answer properly over the weekend if not before.
            I think these conversations are important and your comments deserve a response.

          • Mandi Katz says:

            Peter apologies for delay. Responding to your points.

            (1) Landau – NIF is not a political party – it’s an association of people with a range of views who support a range of grantee organisations across a range of platforms. David Landau did not come here as a spokesperson of NIF Australia – he was invited here to promote discussion in away that is broadly aligned to NIF’s values and purpose. NIF does not disassociate itself from anything he say – he was NIF’s guest and here at NIF’s arrangement, but of course that doesn’t mean that all NIF supporters or grantees, agree with everything he says.

            (2) Grantees – You reasonably ask why NIF doesn’t criticise grantees but less reasonably distort my comments to playback that I said NIF is not responsible for the bad its grantees do. I didnt say that.

            Pursuant to its published funding guidelines NIF does not support organisations that work to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination in Israel.

            Some individual Israelis involved in organisations that receive NIF funding support political positions which NIF does not support (eg a Palestinian right of return which in effect constitutes support for a binational state). NIF does not fund groups that advocate for those outcomes. But such views are held personally by many Israeli civil rights activists, and there are good reasons not to exclude them from the democratic conversation.It’s worth thinking about what happens in the long term if dissenting views are in effect silenced. Sidelining minority views does not make for healthy democracy. Provided they don’t advocate violence, those views need to be heard, even if the majority strongly disagree with them.

            NIF distinguishes between the purpose of the organisation and the right of individuals associated with the organisation to express those views without the organisation losing funding.

            You are unlikely to accept this answer as a good one . The fact that you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean than an answer hasn’t been provided or that it is not a carefully considered view. Incidentally I would be interested to hear which organisations which advocate for civil rights of Arabs/Palestinians you DO support.

            (3) Why NIF Australia?- the presence of NIF in Australia has raised awareness of NIF and its grantees, and will continue to do so. As a result NIF Australia will be able to generate new and additional financial support fro NIF grantees. Many of NIF’s grantees are now large and not dependent entirely on NIF . So NIF’s flagship grantee, The Association for Civil rights in Israel (ACRI) and another large grnatee, the Israel Reform Action Centre (IRAC) whose director Anat Hoffman was here as a guest of the Zionist Council of Victoria earlier this year no longer rely exclusively on NIF for funding. The real beneficiaries of additional fundraising are smaller grantees which would struggle to fundraise directly and rely almost exclusively NIF for funding , such as Yerushalmim which we have chosen as a NIF Australia project which advocates against gender segregation in public spaces in Jerusalem.

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Mandi Katz, the mist of offensive intellectual artifice carries no substance. It is a given.
          Embelishing incongruities with the synthetic aroma of “ellegant” syntax, pontificating farcical ethics to a people aware of the comprehensive aspects of their existence, goes beyond the futile and right into the unbearable.
          NIF is utterly bear, naked, cathartically known in all its complexities, strategies, structure, past present and future morphology and it STINKS to low hell !!! NIF has been deemed one of the most pernicious entities emerging in our community.
          You attempting to avoid the real facts and figures pertaining to NIF’s anti Zionist agenda and lecturing serious grown-ups on God terms completely unassociated with the profile of NIF is not just simply redundant but insulting.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Mandi Katz’s assertion that NIF council members are great Zionists is false. NIF pretends to be pro-Israeli, but funding good causes, does not hide its funding of Israel’s enemies. But then again, anti-Zionists want negotiations with Hamas and Hizballah because they also have social programs. It is indeed a funder with a view point: anti-Israel. Also, even it the NIF is staffed by Israelis, it is a USA gang that sprang to life in 1979 under Carter an it is a funder of anti-Israel gangs that seek to undermine the democratic processes of Israel on behalf of the local Arabs and the EU which suck up to the mohammedans for cheap oil and domestic peace from the jihadis in their midst.

      Quoting Israeli views that support post-Zionist positions can easily be balanced by Zionist ones. The point is that the views put are those of the minority which the electorate has rejected with contempt. Much of Israel’s problems would never have arisen if such people had not had the connections to worm their way into positions of influence. Their points of view are worthless and not because that they are from the left, but because they have left reality out of their assessments. The comment that “experts” think that a Fakestan is essential is irrelevant, because that is the Israeli government’s policy. It is not – repeat not – the policy of the Fakestinians; they refuse to have a state if it means that the Jews will have one as well.

      There is no occupation!!! An occupation occurs if a country’s armed forces are in control of the territory of another nation. There never was a Palestinian polity. Israel came into possession of some territory through a defensive war and the mohammedans who migrated there never claimed any part of Judea and Samaria while their Arab brothers were in charge. They now want to dictate terms of surrender to Israel to continue their salami slicing tactic of destroying the Jewish state.

      The link to the sad, sad, sob story about Israel jailing children does not move me. A rock is a weapon. If children are used as soldiers by a callous Jew-hating leadership, punishing them is right and proper. Its not as if punishment for rock throwing is something new. It is not as if rock throwing is just innocent kid stuff. Just a few weeks ago such “kid stuff” resulted in the death of a driver and his baby son. But why condemn the IDF and not the parents or the PA for blooding boys for future confrontation with Jews for more martyrdom activities?

      But the “occupation” and locking up juvenile jihadis is all beside the point. The point is that the NIF and NIFAu is anti-Israeli; it funds gangs that call for BDS and denigirate Israel, gangs that seek to deligimise Israel in every possible international fora, it conspires with hostile nations that seek to undemine Israeli democracy and prevent its every action of self-defence and it also conspires with jihadis for whom the existence of a Jewish state is an insult to the superiority of their religion.

      So lets not have bleeding hearts and supporters of Jew-haters weep and wail that that their critics want to silence them and are rabid rightist supporting Israel before everthing else. That smear, with the sub-text of disloyalty to our country, will not wash. Nobody wants to silence fair criticism of any country, just as nobody wants to be silenced by smears from either the left or the right or any other one-eyed pressure group. And that silencing hypocrisy is another thing that makes the NIF so obnoxious.

  6. Michael Burd says:

    It’s sad that the NSWJBD would ever consider inviting a Guest speaker whose most famous quote is that in his w-t dreams he’d like to see Israel raped … or words to that effect.. { and please don’t insult our intelligence by arguing Landaus comment was taken out of context]

    There are so many good Israel speakers example Nitsana Darshan-Leitner comes to mind that would project a positive view of Israel ..

    You would think the NSWJBD powers at be would look around and see that we have more than enough of our own home grown Jewish Israel bashers or critics that tend to ignore Palestinian /Arab transgressions and only focus on Israel’s alleged transgressions.

    What is it about the Jewish left that they are so obsessed with taking the anti- Zionist pro- Palestinian narrative in the argument that’s it is perceived . { particularly when so many Anti _Israel bloggers continually quote left wing Jews to help their arguments] . We never ever see Palestinian / Arab advocates sponsor Palestinian/ Arab or Muslim critics of the Palestinian { they are not so stupid or naive to know the consequences] or Arabs Perhaps in an even playing field in the propaganda war maybe that would be warranted . I don’t think the Jewish left realize the damage they are doing by sponsoring these left wing extremists and Left wing extremist organizations in the context of the propaganda war.

  7. Sandy says:

    Danny Ginges said it beautifully and succinctly. Let me repeat: we don’t have to worry about Israeli democracy but about “the actions of people like Landau who try to influence Israel, not through democratic process, but through outside pressure. Coming here to vilify Israeli policy and IDF actions in public forums with the aim of raising funds to further delegitimise Israel on the world stage is something we would expect of Israel’s enemies” (not so-called famous “Zionists”).
    Shame on Landau, and shame on the NIF for sponsoring such a speaker.

  8. Gabrielle says:

    In summary. Many Thanks to the JBOD for inviting Landau. Finally we can hear a different point of view. Unfortunately we can also hear all the right extremists.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Onya Gabrielle !! Listen love, your other china, Anthony Lowesnstein, is having his counter briss cellebration under the Harbour Bridge tonite on a full moon.Admirers have put together a collection of ideological offcuts aimed at restoring his Jewish credentials. Must be in no later than 23.00 because he got to be back in for the regular and beneficial electric shocks. Groupies wellcome to join in.
      Keep us in touch with the Board’s high voltage achievements !!!

      • Gabrielle says:

        I think Anthony Lowenstein is a publicity seeking man who has no understanding about the issues Israel is facing. Your comments are disparaging and baseless. I lived in Israel, I am still an Israeli citizen and I understand what Landau is talking about.

        You just shoot from the hip and patronise. Why don’t you join the setllers to live in the West Bank. Or shall I say Judea and Samaria?

    • Shirlee says:

      Gabrielle….. It’s nice to know you think we are RIGHT, though certainly not extreme

      Leave that to the Landau’s of the world..!!

      Otto……… are priceless!!

    • Rita says:

      “…Finally we can hear a different point of view…

      You didn’t have to wait that long. You can hear that “different” point of view ad nauseam on jihadist sites – and all over the places monopolised by the left-populist fast-thought media. Judenhass has taken only a short break ca. 1945 – it’s back en force now and doesn’t even need the help Landau et al.

  9. Otto Waldmann says:

    Paul, edes Appam, you are bloody FANTASTIC !!!


  10. Otto Waldmann says:

    Sheree Waks dwells on important issues: democracy,human rights,right to express oneself in a free society. What she left out is the similarly important issue of NEVER, but NEVER mix salt with vinegar and mustard on high flame when making strawberry mousse !!!
    Sheree, busy bee, what has “democracy” in common with a David landau who is a repugnant frustrated NOBODY,practically unemployed, a mediocrity for hire frothing at the cake hole moronic and viscerally creepy tirades of venom against Israel. He is popular among the redundant political left-overs and, naturally, the large number of anti Semites. Nobody is stopping Landau to go around vomiting nonsensical, irrelevant comments. Is the Israeli Government, IDF and relevant institutions we rely on to protect Eretz Zion listening to this bloke ??!!! The most visible consequence of Landau’s visit here has been to smoke out some of the Jewish leadership for their genuine irresponsible nature, not to mention the sundry of some embarassing individuals …

    • Ariel says:

      That’s some quality material there Otto, do you mind if I use it down the track?

      Crazies like Landau need to be firstly recognised as crazies, and then made fun of, rather than taken seriously.

      Cheers, and thanks for the laughs.

  11. Paul Winter says:

    Landau denigrates Israel when he praises Breaking the Silence, an NIF fundee which tells anonymous, unverifiable horror stories to non-Israeli groups all too willing to believe the worst about Jews. Landau denigrates Israel when he talks of the corrosive effect of a situation the Arab mohammedans could terminate by accepting self-determination, self-funding, democracy, the rule of law, the cessation of “resistance” and the right of Jews to a state of their own in their own land. Landau’s former paper continues his policy of denigrating Israel by criticising Israel’s withholding of taxes it collects for the PA in retaliation for the PA’s breaking of the terms of its existence i.e. failing to negotiate and playing games to change its status unilaterally. No amount of bombast pretending to defend free speech can hide two facts: (1) Landau’s words represent the extremist fringe of Israeli society which is rejected by the electorate and (2) his defenders invert the truth and try to silence anyone who criticises Landau and his ilk. The NSWJBD is being more than open minded in honouring him; it is empty headed. One can hear the views of one’s enemies without making such a person the honoured guest of the community that the now sad, roofless body pretends to represent. It is important to note that the thrust of anti-Zionists is in effect antisemitic and here Martin Luther King Jn’s words resonate. When Landau bad mouths Israel, he is feeding the prejudices of Jew haters. When he says Israel must choose between being Jewish and being democratic – implying that Israel is not democratic – he is saying that if Israel does not adopt the (per)version of democracy that he advocates, then it is a theocracy not worth supporting and, further, it is a racist society that the international community must demolish. I do not accept Landau’s Zionist credentials, nor those of his funders and supporters . As far as I am concerned, the NIF is for Zionism what Jews for Jesus are for Judaism; both are beyond the pale.

  12. Yosi Tal says:

    Packed house of 100.Doesnt sound to me like too many in Melbourne were interested in hearing Landau.
    Guess they werent “fooled” by his “Zionist” credentials.Its a pity that certain people are driven by an”irrelevancy” syndrome to bignote themselves at Israel’s and the Jewish peoples expense.

    • Ariel says:

      Yosi I think you must be amongst the most perceptive and sane people here for noticing the white elephant.

      People have voted with their feet and brains on this one…crazies tend to alienate the rational people.

      I feel mostly pity for this ex-Yeshiva bochur, but am not surprised he’s gone AWOL.

  13. sheree waks says:

    To all those attacking David Landau’s right to be heard: you have a very interesting view of what democracy means. Does it not include the right of freedom of expression (within the limits imposed by our laws of course)? You don’t have to like what he says, but he surely has the right to say it. Unfortunately, many Jewish organisations have made the decision to only present speakers who are entriely uncritical of all aspects of Israeli government policy and society. That only provides an unbalanced view of reality, which is quite at odds with the healthy debate that is conducted in Israel itself. It also ignores the wishes of many others in the “community” here who would like to hear from a broad cross-section of speakers and writers, and make up our OWN minds without being called traitors, self-hating Jews or whatever other insulting names those who are so convinced of their superior intellect and values wish to bestow upon us.

    • Shirlee says:


      There’s a right to be heard and a right to be heard.

      Unfortunately when someone stands up and says the following in a public forum, in my eyes he has NO right to be heard

      “I call on parliaments throughout the democratic world, and interparliamentary associations, to boycott Israel’s parliament”

      Who further adds ” a call to boycott the Knesset, if it gained any traction, could puncture that most smug and pernicious piece of propaganda: that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” “

      • Ariel says:


        I agree with you 100%, all crackpots have a right to be heard if we are to call ourselves a democracy, both here in Aus or in Israel.


        I agree with you 100% too, you should be able say what ever the hell you like so long as it does not hurt anybody.

        Can we reconcile these two view points?
        1. free speech Vs.
        2. free speech tempered by social responsibility


        But as an image thing to outsiders it is very important to maintain a façade of democracy, just like EVERY democracy, that we pro-democracy/democratic society will tolerate your craziness to a point.

  14. Juanita says:

    This article is provocative and misleading when it quotes Landau as saying, “We will have to be either democratic or Jewish”.

    The full quote in the Age includes the very important preceding sentence: ”The ineluctable outcome of the endless occupation of Palestine is the demographic reality [in which non-Jewish Palestinians will outnumber Jews].”

    In other words, this unacceptable choice will be a consequence IF the occupation continues. Landau did not advocate choosing between the two, but rather implied this is a choice we shouldn’t have to make.

    The Jwire author seems to be more interested stirring controversy than in accurately reporting Landau’s position.

  15. Cody Flecker says:

    Israel has never occupied any lands as is referred to by this message from Landau. Israel was attacked both in 1967, and in 1973 and as a result of these wars of aggression won the land in question along with a cold peace to follow. What did Israel get in return for the cessation of war? More war…Let’s examine the facts:
    1. Israel took the Sinai from Egypt and promptly gave it back to the Egyptians in exchange for a cold peace that appears to be ending with the Muslim Brotherhood taking charge in Egypt.
    2. Israel gave the Gaza Strip to the so called Palestinians,after Israel transformed the Gaza into a garden only to be destroyed by these same Palestinians, in exchange for thousands of rockets coming into Israeli towns. Some exchange.
    3. In areas of Judea and Samaria (The West Bank) Palestinian Home Rule was established, that basically barred Jews from worshipping at their holy shrines.

    Israel has went out of its way Internationally to placate the Palestinians and what has it received in turn? Condemnations, and exclusions at the United Nations.

    Israel is not a perfect country, but then again what country is? To see and hear Jews from the political left continually demonize the Jewish People and Israel in particular only makes the job easier for the worlds anti-semites. Listening to David Landau, is like listening and agreeing with Dr. Joseph Goebbels. It’s the same line, only a different speaker.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Cody your comparison of Landau with Goebbels is revolting. Moderator where are you?

      Is that civilised discussion?

  16. michael Burd says:

    Interesting look into David Landau . good Read

  17. michael Burd says:

    Here we ago again the Jewish left in Australia promoting controversial Israelis and extremist organizations who come here joining all the other left wing critics of Israel.
    How lucky the Palestinians are having so many Jews willing to do their lobbying and adding to the demonisation and delegitimization of Israel in Australia.

    I guess any Israeli Jews that would like to come over here and promote Israel’s virtues, achievements , Human Rights etc would best not hold their breath for an Invitation from these people.

    With friends like Landau and NIF who needs enemies.

    • Juanita says:

      People like David Landau, Naomi Chazan–and also local supporters like Robin Margo–enable me to hold my head up as a Jew. They are interested in truth, not spin. They respect human rights for all, and know that to do so is part of what the Jewish tradition is all about. Any variation of Zionism that is NOT about these values reduces Zionism to only another nationalist group promoting itself at the expense of others. Not something I can support.

      I congratulate the NSW JBOD for listening to David Landau, and Yair Miller for his stance on hearing a variety of voices. If questioning an occupation for 40+ years by one nation of another was NOT allowed in the Jewish community in Australia, I and many of my friends would simply not be willing to participate as part of the community.

      • Ariel says:

        @ Juanita

        David Landau and Naomi Chazan are interested in self-aggrandisement; as an Israeli, amongst the easiest things you can do to be noticed by foreign media nowadays is to jump the anti-Israel bandwagon; so well done

        The Jewish tradition is about first loving your neighbour as thyself i.e. the Jewish neighbour, something said “intellectuals” have much to learn about.

        I agree with you that JBOD ought to be congratulated, they have shown that they support the only democracy in the Middle East, and are democratic here as well in that they are willing to hear the opinions of crackpots.

        “not..willing to participate…” honestly, is that a threat?

        @ Michael

        With friends like Landau and NIF, the said enemies (“Palestinians”) are disabled to a degree as their voice is also very Jewish:)

        That’s the biggest joke.

  18. Gabrielle says:

    Landau is not a radical. As an Israeli and an ex editor of Haaretz newspaper, he knows what he is talking about, unlike all these people who are commenting from their comfortable lives in Australia.

    The blind support for the current Israeli government does damage to Israel. Landau is right, Israel is at the crossroads. Is far less democratic and it has a far greater disparity of incomes then when I lived there in the early seventies.

    • Ariel says:


      Point for point.

      Landau is not a radical, he is only an ex-editor of a paper that has many radical contributors and says completely sane things like “Israel wants to be raped by the U.S.”

      He knows what he’s talking about, but has his angle.

      It’s easy not to have disparity of incomes when just about everyone is poor.

      It’s easy for you to say what ever you want “[like] all these people who are commenting from their comfortable lives in Australia” – well said:)

  19. Rita says:

    Is this guy the boyfriend of Lee Rhiannon?

    If not, someone should introduce them. They surely would hit it off in a “swinging from the chandeliers/peas in a pod” kind of fashion and so be out of circulation at least for a while. This would give Israel and the Jewish people some breathing space.

    Just a though 😉

  20. Danny Ginges says:

    Landau is worried about Israeli democracy. We should all be. Not from the actions of Israel, but from the actions of people like Landau who try to influence Israel, not through democratic process, but through outside pressure. Coming here to vilify Israeli policy and IDF actions in public forums with the aim of raising funds to further delegitamise Israel on the world stage is something we would expect of Israel’s enemies.

  21. Otto Waldmann says:

    As an intellectual mediocrity, David Landau reflects quite accurately the level of comprehension ALL supporters of NIF have been displaying in whatever statements and their substantive ideological attitudes.
    David Landau is not at all an imposing presence in politics,journalism or anything else and he is fighting against his anxious obscurity.
    DavidL is far too generous toward the leadership of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. Apart from the rhetorical banalities Mr Y, Miller surfaces every solstice with,as part of the traditional “Public Presentation Kit” anointed communal leaders are presented on appointment night, could anyone please remind me what and where have they observed anything leadership inspiring from anyone at the top ??!!!! Arrogance in spades ! The irresponsible line that this community NEEDS controversy and some democratic openness of allowing competeing views aired proves painfully that these guys have NO IDEA what a Jewish community constantly on the edge of internaland external tensions is all about. Perfectly consistent with this idiotic line is an invitation extended by the Board of Anthony Lowenstein to a Chatam House lunch for there is NO distinctioin at all between the “value” of a peripathetic non entity like Landau and any other deranged detractor of Israel. If the blue eyed boys at the top did not realise how pernicious this frustrated redundant clown Landau is, then they are not ready to lead the Jews and if they knew ( which they DID) what Landau is all about and, yet, allowed him a precious platform, they disqualify themselves even MORE pregnantly as our leaders.
    I have been on the Board for nearly 30 years and know too well what it’s made of. Unfortunately this ROOF body is a few good shingles short and their incompetence is pissing down on all of us !!!

  22. david singer says:

    To DavidL

    The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies still doesn’t get it. Hosting a person with such radical views as Mr Landau as their guest at a Board luncheon was the height of stupidity and bestowed on Landau the aura of an official welcome by the roof communal organization that was not deserved.

    Who will be next on their luncheon list – Ismail Haniyeh?

    NIF Australia also showed extreme naivety in inviting Landau to Australia as its appeal draw card.
    It is as inane a decision as raising funds from the Jewish community to be given to Israeli NGO’s with anti-Zionist objectives such as Breaking The Silence, The Negev Coexistence Forum and Mossawa.

    As with his address in Sydney Mr Landau has made a series of unsubstantiated assertions and allegations.

    Mr Landau is scaremongering and causing divisions in the Australian Jewish community in their unwavering support for Israel.

    Israel is and will continue to be democratic and Jewish. To suggest otherwise is arrant nonsense.

  23. skippinggirl says:

    Who is funding this man? The lefties and islamists will love this clap trap.

  24. Peter Hersh says:

    The comment above from Robin Margo should explain to everyone the problem with NIF and NIFAus. To take him at his word he really things this Landau guy is a Zionist, and why because in the past he has written about three Zionists. Writing 3 books does not make a Zionist Robin.

    Well Robin, as far as I am concerned the Guy is beyond the pale, I ask people to simple read the article on Landau from Nov 18 at He is quoted as saying he himself had “never raised a hand against an unarmed handcuffed man…but he had witnessed an event following the advent of the Intifada which had not given him peace to the present day and I have been silent about it until today. He did not go into detail but said he witnessed “an act of bestiality” perpetrated by family men. The situation drew out of “decent honourable people” the worst of them.

    This is just slander against every male member who was serving in the IDF at the time. Are these the words of a Zionist ? A true Zionist would, if this had occurred, have reported it at the time not held on to it for 20 years.

    A true Zionist is not quoted as saying “I call on parliaments throughout the democratic world, and interparliamentary associations, to boycott Israel’s parliament”

    We cannot trust an organisation headed by someone that thinks that Landau’s Zionist credentials are “incontrovertible”.

    I ask all potential donors to NIF Aus to rethink and save the admin fees and the risk of their funds being diverted to antizionist courses by making your donations directly to the charities you think are worthwhile BUT only after you are really checked them out. Many say one thing on their webpage and do another.

    Spend 10 minutes before doing the transfer to do a google search.

  25. ben says:

    DavidL is typical of the kneejerk “loyalty” that is the hallmark of despotism. Deal with Landau with facts, has he spoken lies? If so expose them.

  26. DavidL says:

    This dangerous critic of Israel highlights what his trip organisers – the infamous NIF – are all about. Namely, using any and all means to support a radically left-wing agenda where the good name of Israel is besmirched as a way of promoting “free speech” and “pluralism”.

    Mr Lamm is 100% spot on in his views.

    Despite what Mr Miller is quoted as saying above, I am sure that he and his fellow NSWJBD executive members are a tad nervous at the public Israel-bashing perpetrated by Mr Landau since his arrival on these shores, and they secretly regret inviting him to speak at an event under their auspices.

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