Limmud withdrawals

May 25, 2011 Agencies
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Two presenters have withdrawn from Limmud-Oz in protest at the executive’s decision to ban any presenters who support the Israel boycott.

“We abhor the idea of being associated with an organisation/event that bans ideas,” wrote Jenny Green and Joel Nothman to the Limmud-Oz board.

They argued that the ban “clearly breached” Limmud’s core value that it “does not participate in legitimising or de-legitimising any religious or political position found in the worldwide Jewish community.”

Several other presenters have also threatened to withdraw from the festival, following the decision last week to disinvite Vivienne Porzsolt, a spokesperson for Jews Against the Occupation, and Dr Peter Slezak, a founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices.

The Limmud-Oz executive issued a statement last week saying it “believes that the BDS campaign is an attack on Israel’s basic legitimacy and harms the Jewish people as a whole…BDS therefore undermines this crucial aspect of Limmud-Oz.”

But the board added that Limmud-Oz “does not deny that proponents of BDS have the right to express their views to whomever they like. But that right does not impose an obligation on us to provide them with a space to do so.”

Vickie Janson, a member of the Q Society, which “opposes the Islamisation of Australia”, has also been disinvited.



15 Responses to “Limmud withdrawals”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Limud Oz is striving to create an elevated forum of ideas that would enhance Jewish thinking, in line with the traditional “institution” of continuous timely alertness of the Jewish fold to developments in society. It is meant to be a positive exercise,one that HELPS Jews better understand the dynamics of challenges in CONTINUING the values of Judaism.
    Both Vivienne Pozsolt and Peter Slezak are extremly well known to the allert Jew in Australia. Sadly their take on Jewish values has been petrified into stubborn objections against Jewish worthwhile traditions long ago and, as such we have been exposed to their rants far to excessively. BDS is but an episode in their quest of promoting discord, sure, through discussion. Right now it so happens that DISCORD is not quite what the doctor reccomended. I, for one,don’t feel the need to, once again, assist Peter Slezak in bending logic to suit his suit of armour in his quest of demolishing Yidishkeit. At the last Limud Oz I did enjoy observing how risible his attempts were at trying to demonstrate that dissent is part and parcel of building a reliable Jewish ethic, one concordant with our inherent responsibility of perpetuating a mode of living consistent with our spiritual profile. This time,in association with other strident anti Israel forces, Slezak would, no doubt elicit the merits of BDS as a justified mode of expressing rectitude and strength in the Jewish psyche. Confrontation, he might argue, is the essential pillar of intellectual and spiritual strength…. I am only assumig, but I also feel confident that such absurdities would inherently be part of a structure of logic already excessively exhibited. If only Peter Zlezak would not have mnarched at evey occasion alongside the merciless palestinians screaming for revenge against the “criminal Jews” right on our own George Street, availing himself of all occasions to tell TV reporters how criminally the Jews have been behaving in Gaza, Lebanon etc.Well, both Peter and Vivienne have been keeping a healthy lifestyle on Palestinian platforms of hatred for everything Jewish… So what’s gone wrong, dont’t they enjoy the traditional hospitality of the deadly Jew haters anymore ???!! What’s all this perversity of turning up and the screw among the people they have been dsliking for so long !!??Yous guys have found the milieu you’ve flourish so happily for so long, so stay there ! We want you to be happy with your life and avoid encountering us, the ones quite nauseated by you. Why are you hurting yourselves ??!!
    I could not possibly display more care and affection !!!!!

  2. Rita says:

    I am just reading the Journals of Victor Klemperer “Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten – Tagebuecher 1933 – 1941”. They confirm (if I needed confirmation) that the only difference between the actions by the BDS and the organisers/perpetrators of Kristallnacht are the dates! The BDS might be more, but it is nothing less than sheer Judenhass! So, with the globally increasing anti-Semitism you dont even need an excuse to avoid members of the BDS like the plague – which they are, not only for Israel but for the Jewish people.

    However, when it comes to your submissive attitude à la Chamberlain towards the very real Islamisation of the West, ( if that was your motivation for banning the deputy president of Q Society), I am reminded of the man who fed the crocodile, hoping that it would eat him last.

    I do not know Vickie Janson personally, but from their charter and from what I have read by and about the Q Society they are outspoken defenders and friends of Israel and the Jewish people, not something that one should discard so easily these days!

    While I dont know if the directors of the Q Society are Jewish, I am not. But I am German and therefore my support for Israel and the Jewish people is motivated by a passionate feeling of NEVER AGAIN !!

  3. Elaine Black says:

    As the person who invited Vickie Janson to speak at Limmud, I am shocked and disgusted that ‘they’ have now disinvited her from speaking. Sadly, this shows the ignorance and complete lack of awareness that abounds in the attitude of some in our community. The Q Society do not speak out against Muslims, they alert us to the effects of Islamisation globally and in Australia, and are to be commended for having the courage to speak out on this issue. The Q Society started up the Marrickville Petition last January which produced 4,500 signatures of support against the BDS action of Marrickville Council. They are loyal supporters of Israel and the Jewish people and their message needs to be heard very clearly by everyone. Limmud Oz attendees should not be denied that opportunity. Vickie was extremely gracious in her acceptance of Limmud’s reversal decision, which speaks volumes about her fine integrity and makes others look nothing more than foolish.

  4. Raoul Machal says:

    The admirers of the Stilmans, Loewensteins and other “critical friends” of Israel in Australia, who believe that opposing Islam is something despicable only racist right wing red neck xenophobes (did I forget anything, Larry?) are capable of, perhaps spend a short while with Wafa Sultan’s latest article.

  5. Raoul Machal says:

    Yael, I try to understand the logic works behind this argument (if A goes B must go as well).
    Is it because two pro-BDS advocates have been disinvited, one anti-BDS advocate has to be shunned?
    Perhaps so Messrs Stillman, Loewenstein and other “critical friends” of Israel may op’ed the festival is ‘balanced’? Is this how we operate under the rules of obsessive-compulsive political correctness? Or do you suggest Limmud organisors support the Islamisation of Australia and this is why they disinvited a friend of Israel?

  6. Larry Stillman says:

    I wonder who Peter Stillman is? I assume it is not me. [Editor: I checked it – the writer intended Larry not Peter]

    In any case, the support offered to the QSociety above is quite disingenuous. It beggars belief that the inner sanctums of Limmud Oz which go through applications were not aware of who QSociety were.

    But this point needs to be made in fact. By banning Slezak and Porzolt –for their views on matters other than what they were talking about–and then as well banning QSociety, they have gone against the principles of open learning.

    In any case, there is still sessions about BDS. Something is rotten.

    An event like Limmud should be about exposure to ideas and robust discussion. There are no bombs here, just opinions. We only need to remember what views were expressed years ago about even there being a two-state solution.

    I was looking forward to questioning Ms Janson on her knowledge of Islam. Now I do not have the opportunity to do so.

  7. pam says:

    Like Jenny Green and Joel Nothman, I too abhor banning ideas, but the BDS movement is far more than an “idea”: it advocates the destruction of a sovereign State and the genocide of its inhabitants. Check out the Hamas Charter if you have any doubts as to this.
    The BDS movement is increasingly active on campuses, demonizing and inciting against Israel, the only democratic country in the Middle East, with the result that Jewish students are harassed and intimidated.
    Surely no rational person could disagree with Limmud Oz’ principled decision in refusing to give a platform to such a violent and racist movement!
    Jews know only too well the horrendous consequences when the world turns away from incitement and anti-Semitism. This time, let’s stand up to the bigots and say NO to racism!

  8. Yael says:

    Jenny Green and Joel Nothman don’t get the point. Just because a presenter is Jewish – or has an opinion on anything Jewish or on any aspect of the state of Israel – does not mean he or she is entitled to be a presenter at Limmud Oz.

    The Board has said that supporters of BDS have a right to hold their views but this does not mean that Limmud Oz is obliged to offer them a forum to present them. I applaud the even-handedness of the Limmud Oz board for withdrawing invitations from presenters who support the BDS and also those who represent the Q Society which opposes the so-called “Islamisation of Australia”.

  9. Yirmi says:

    Limmud withdrawals
    2 Jews = 5 opinions !
    So funny!

  10. Otto Waldmann says:

    The two cancelled speakers at Limud Oz have been known for not espousing Jewish stances,but obvious anti Jewish ones. As such they would be most suitable at a gig of colcha put together by, say, Hamas College on whatever uni campus it may be….

  11. Janet Neustein says:

    Why would giving air to a crackpot scheme to delegitimise Israel have any place at a Festival of Jewish learning?! My protests have been and will continue to be directed at the enemies of Israel, not her suppporters. Limmud Oz offers diversity within Jewish thinking. That is splendid.

  12. Eric says:

    We have enough enemies not only anti -israel but anti-semitic… they do not need additional help from our brethren… the withdrawers should take heed and reconsider…… being the enemy within does not achieve other than creating more anti—..

  13. Morrie Finberg says:

    Kol hakavod to the Limmud – Oz executive on their decision to ” disinvite ” BDS advocates from presenting at Limmud – Oz.

    It is one thing to encourage and indeed facilitate a diversity of Jewish religious and socio-cultural views of those wishing to contribute to Jewish education and identity. It is an entirely different matter for the Jewish community to provide a platform for those who seek to undermine and deligitimise Jewish identity and the very raison d’etre for Medinat Israel.

  14. Raoul Machal says:

    With the disinvite of the deputy president of Q Society, Vickie Janson, a couple of questions come to mind: Assuming this was not a single-handed approach, what does the organising committee of this festival think Vickie and Q Society actually stand for?

    To my knowledge the committee members have never met or spoken with Vickie Janson, or anyone else from the board of Q Society for that matter. So I would think personal animosities can safely be excluded So what then could possibly be reagrded as damaging to Jewish interests?

    Can you imagine the fact that Q opposes the Islamisation of Australian communities and openly makes a stand for Israel in matters such as BDS and the IHH “peace” flotilla would be a sensible reason for a Jewish festival comittee to divest friends of Israel? I don’t think this would be the rational a friend of Israel could hold.

    Can we possibly see this as reflection of a submissive, dhimmie-like attitude towards the local Islamic protagonists, i.e. not wanting to stirr an imaginary hornet’s nest in being seen to let someone speak the truth about Islamism and Islamic Sharia? Surely the members of the organising committee understand that Islamists are not appeased by submissive attitudes. 1,400 years of history of “interaction” between Judaism and Islam must have let to the understanding Islamists exploit servitude and meakness as weakness and invitiation to demand ever more.
    Surely the committee with experience and knowledge of historical facts would not want to stand on such thin ice.

    So what else can be the reason to shun a friend?

  15. Shirlee says:

    Good on Limmud Oz for banning Porzsolt & Slezak.

    What a shame it didn’t extend to Peter Stillman !!

    As to the banning of Vickie Janson, that is a disgrace. She is more pro-Israel that the above three put together!! She is an excellent speaker and would have been an asset to Limmud Oz.

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