Limmud-Oz Clarified

May 29, 2011 by Michael Misrachi
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Michael Misrachi clarifies the position of Limmud-Oz following the withdrawal of speakers…

You may have seen in the mainstream and Jewish media stories about some controversy surrounding Limmud-Oz. I wish to clarify the decision that was taken and its rationale. 

Limmud-Oz is unique in the way it celebrates different perspectives and the many expressions of Jewishness in our community. The problem, however, is with those who publicly seek to undermine the excellent work Limmud-Oz does – by advocating a boycott of Israeli academics and artists, of whom we are hosting several this year. It is for this reason that the executive committee of Limmud-Oz decided not to accept as presenters two people who publicly advocate a total boycott against Israel.

This decision is not about censorship – we do not deny the right of BDS proponents to express their views to whomever they like. Nor is this decision is about “banning ideas” (which we have been accused of doing). We are not obliged to give expression in our program to every view held in the community.

Limmud-Oz is going to be amazingly diverse and dynamic. There is a huge range of topics and viewpoints on offer. With regards to Israel, our program includes people who sharply criticize Israel and staunch Zionists. It includes people who want to boycott the West Bank settlements and people who want to develop them further. You may agree, you may not. You may just be more interested in social action, music, film, spirituality, Torah or history. We are proud of this openness and invite everyone to debate the issues in a respectful way.




2 Responses to “Limmud-Oz Clarified”
  1. Larry Stillman says:

    What Misrachi has avoided in clarifying–until I raised the matter online–is why Limmud Oz found Slezak and Porzolt so reprehensible when it let Vickie Janson of the virulently ant-Muslim QSociety devote a session to spruiking her wares.

    Limmud Oz has bounced her, but offered absolutely no explanation as to why her presentation was found inoffensive in the first place and remained on the program until last week.

    There is something rotten going on at Limmud Oz.

    Boot out people such as Slezak or Porzolt for what they might say that is offensive at Limmud Oz, based on a crude take of their position on BDS, but pay little attention to the real trouble makers unless embarrassed into taking action. And to make it clear, I don’t agree with the tactics or assumptions of many of those associated with BDS.

  2. Shirlee says:

    Michael, I wholeheartedly support your stance on withdrawing speakers from Limmud Oz. More’s the pity it couldn’t have included a few more!!

    I don’t see the need of these people, to air their mis-guided thoughts and ideas in the broader community. Do they really think we want to be subjected to them? Are they that egotistical?

    They are an embarrassment to us all and I thank again for your decision

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