Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

The Jews Down Under~News of the Jews of Australia and New Zealand

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

By Garry Fabian

New Zealand Jewish Community goes to court

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 10 August– The following announcement was released by the  New Zealand Jewish Community:

As we informed the community last week, we filed  legal proceedings against the Minister of
Agriculture, seeking a restoration of the right  to practise shechitain New Zealand.  We are  pleased to report that an interim agreement has
now been reached with the Minister, which will  enable the continued practice of shechita in the  period up to trial (which is likely to take place during 2011).

Court orders were made by consent in the  Wellington High Court this morning, giving legal effect to that agreement. Every effort is being
made to get chicken and local lamb”back on the table”as soon as possible.

The community would like to acknowledge the  tremendous contribution the legal team at Russell McVeagh have made in putting together our
case to achieve this positive outcome in such a short period.

The memorandum was signed by Jewish community leaders Garth Cohen, Michael Stiassny and Geoff Levy.

Church resolution reveals failure of interfaith

MELBOURNE, 13 August -The National Council of  Churches of Australia’s resolution encouraging a  boycott of Israel is absolutely indefensible, and  makes a mockery of both mutual tolerance and  “interfaith” dialogue. It is abundantly clear in  the case of Israel, as in countless instances in Jewish history, an exception has been made of Jews.

If the churches were fair  about their  human rights concerns they would have boycotted  Sudan, Saudi Arabia and so many other Islamic
countries for their real human rights abuses and  treatment and discrimination of non-Muslim minorities.

No mainstream church group has ever openly sided  with Jews, publicly criticising Iran’s President  Amadinajad over his promotion of Holocaust denial and anti Semitic rhetoric or criticising Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism. There are so many other examples of the church’s hypocrisy in singling out the Jewish state as their ‘pet’ cause. Even some Christians who have seen the NCAA statement find it incomprehensible that it
does not mention Palestinian/Hamas discrimination of Christians in Gaza.

Jewish interfaith advocates should start  insisting on some reciprocity and public support for the Jewish narrative in the Israel/
Palestinian, Arab Muslim conflict otherwise they are wasting their time


Contemporary Antisemitism: What We Can Do

Contemporary antisemitism turns Israel into a collective Jew among the nations, demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state. Irwin Cotler
defines its expression in the genocidal antisemitism of Ahmadinejad’s Iran; the political antisemitism  that denies Jews the right to national selfdetermination; the racialised antisemitism that defines Zionism as racism; the legalized antisemitism that makes a mockery of the UN Human  Rights procedures, and the “new protocols of the elders of Zion”, which blames Israel for  everything from 9/11 to swine flu.

But, Cotler argues, we can act. We have  opportunities through Holocaust memory and education, through pressuring for the implementation of the  legal procedures of the Genocide Convention,
through reforming the UN, through government  initiatives and through working to reframe the narrative that blames Israel and Jews for all
Middle East conflict and ignores human rights abuses in other parts of the world..

The Hon. Professor Irwin Cotler MP is an eminent  human rights lawyer and Canadian statesman. A former Canadian Attorney-General and sitting  member of the Canadian Parliament, he has been outspoken on issues of human rights in the  former Soviet Union, South Africa and Rwanda.

The ADC was honoured to host him recently as our ADC Gandel Orator. This special report is an edited transcript of his Oration.

Australian Foreign Minister charts positive Israel course

CANBERRA,  13 August – The diplomatic relationship  between Australia and Israel has resumed on its normal course, less than three months after Stephen Smith expelled an Israeli diplomat from Canberra.

And despite a frosty few months, the two  countries – which both share a desire to see Iran’s nuclear weapons program halted immediately
– never ceased to share intelligence on the rogue state.

In a wide-ranging interview during a campaign  stop in Melbourne, Smith spoke about the resumption of that relationship. He made no
pledges about the foreign policy direction a  future Gillard government would take, but spoke in depth about some of the decisions made over the past almost three years.

“I am now very confident that things are now back to business as usual,” he said of the diplomatic ties between Australia and Israel.

“Often when you have a difficult issue that you’ve got to manage, your capacity to manage that and then to move reasonably quickly off it,
reflects the strength of the relationship.

“Yes it was a difficult time and I obviously  thought very carefully about all of the issues and came to the decision that, as I said
publicly, we could not turn a blind eye to what had occurred.

“I’m very confident now that in terms of agency-to-agency relationship,
government-to-government, nation-to-nation, it is business as usual.”

He added that at no time during the diplomatic impasse, did the two countries stop cooperating to quash the rogue Iranian regime.

“One area [of the Australia-Israel relationship] we did not want to see disturbed was the ongoing cooperation and exchange of information on Iran,” he said.

Asked whether he thought the forthcoming direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians means that the time for peace is right, Smith showed some trademark diplomacy.

“I think your attitude has got to be that it is always right,” he said. “You always have to try and take the opportunity and often when things
appear to be at their worst is often a time when you can move forward.”

“We’re very supportive of President [Barack] Obama’s efforts, we’re very supportive of  Ambassador [George] Mitchell’s efforts and we
make the point to all of the players in the Middle East that it is absolutely essential that we get long-term enduring peace.

“The issues are complex, complicated and there are strong views respectively on both sides, but we can’t give up because solving these Middle East issues is very important to peace and security, peace and stability throughout the entire world,” he said.

Jewish Music Festival hits Sydney

SYDNEY, 16 August – SHIR Madness, Sydney’s first  large-scale Jewish music festival, brought Bondi Beach to life with more than 40 performers from Australia and around the world, eclectic food stalls, kids activities and an art exhibition centred around Bondi Pavilion on Sunday, August 15.

The festival is the brainchild of Gary Holzman, who has dreamed of staging a music festival for many years.

“I’ve always felt there would be somebody better  equipped to put it on than myself, but as it never eventuated, I finally decided to do
something about it,” says Holzman, who is the festival director.

The festival will feature four stages, with musical styles covering klezmer, choral, Latino, Chassidic, Israeli, jazz, cabaret, folk, blues, pop, rock, funk, reggae and rap.

Among the local performers are Deborah Conway, Monsieur Camem­bert, The Mark Ginsburg Band,  Alana Bruce, Joanna Weinberg, the Emanuel choirs and the Sydney Jewish Choral Society.

Leading the line-up of international performers are Israeli singer Ido Lederman, Alex Jacobowitz from New York and the Jew Brothers Band from New Zealand.

Lederman began his music career as lead singer of Israeli rock band Amstaf, and was bass player for the reggae group Hatikvah 6. He will also perform in Melbourne on August 21.

Holzman says: “It’s just going to be an amazing atmosphere and an absolute smorgasbord – what I would call a ‘mixed salad’ of musical delight.

“People should come to appreciate the amazing variety of musical talent within the Jewish community, both from Sydney and from other places as well.

“With the incredible variety of music on offer, a food court full of tempting delights, market stalls, kids entertainment and an exhibition of
Jewish art, this is going to be a fantastic festival for the whole family to come and enjoy.”

Holzman hopes the festival will be an annual event.

“We certainly want to make sure that it’s not going to be a one-off, but will become a highlight of the Sydney cultural calendar.”

One of the international performers from upstate New York is  Jacobowitz, a master of the marimba who has plied his trade across the world, most notably in Germany. An Orthodox Jew, he focuses
on the traditional klezmer music of his ancestors.

“My music is spiritual, natural, totally  unexpected and riveting,” he says. “It brings European music, African sound and Jewish geist together.”

Jacobowitz says his Jewish identity is an integral part of his music.

“Judaism is my spirit, and my spirit energises and breathes life into my music. Whether I’m playing Bach, flamenco or klezmer, my music is 100 per cent kosher.”

Jacobowitz is thrilled to be in Australia and taking part in Shir Madness.

“To be part of the first Jewish music festival in Sydney makes me proud and humble at the same time, and I hope that the music finds a special echo there.”

For AJN Ghetto Blasterz competition winner Shannon Gaitz, Shir Madness is the highlight of her fledgling music career so far.

“I’m extremely excited, especially to be able to get my name and my songs out there,” says Gaitz, 17, from Bondi, who describes her music as country pop.

“It’s very honest – it’s all based on personal experience and very emotional.”
Gaitz is grabbing the opportunity to perform at Shir Madness with both hands.

“It’s just a huge opportunity of being able to get performance experience, especially with my original songs, and I’m going to be playing with
Philip Foxman, he’s my mentor and that’s also a really big honour.”

Gaitz will also spend a day recording tracks at  the Green Sound Music studios in Sydney’s Castle Cove as part of her prize.Sydney band The Naked Parade has been causing quite a stir with its  infectious brand of alternative pop-rock.

Singer Talya Rabinovitz explains with a laugh: “We’ve been told that we are the love child of Jeff Buckley and No Doubt if they went travelling
though Eastern Europe and South America.”

“We definitely have a Middle Eastern vibe to our music, with the violin, melodies and the drumbeats.”

Rabinovitz is excited to be performing at Shir Madness.

“It just looks like an amazing music festival,” she says. “This will be a different age group for us as well –

I know that a lot of my family like my aunts and uncles are coming and they don’t usually come to our gigs. I’m excited to see their reaction and put on a show.”

Local singer Natan Kuchar has spent the past four years plying his trade in the United States.

Kuchar has performed solo at Carnegie Hall, but the humble performer speaks more enthusiastically about his recent album release at a small Surry Hills venue in Sydney.

“It made me feel like people really dig what I have and were really interested in me,” he says. “It was a really great confidence booster and it
helped propel me to apply for Shir Madness.”

Kuchar describes his music as “a really raw sound, merging pop music and soul music.”

“I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from people like Stevie Wonder and Regina Spektor for their  melodies and for their storytelling within their music,” he says.

“I really love to subtly add melodies from synagogue services or from High Holy Days or just lyrics that are found in certain religious texts
that help to support some other kind of contemporary story that I’m trying to tell in my songs.”

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

New Zealand stays restrictions on kosher slaughtering

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (WJC)–Jews in New Zealand have won a temporary exemption from a new legal requirement  that animals must first be stunned before being slaughtered. Representatives of the Jewish community last week filed legal proceedings against Agriculture Minister David Carter and on Monday said said a Wellington court had ordered a temporary exemption until the case is decided next year.

Carter had announced in May that he was requiring pre-slaughter stunning for all commercial killing of livestock. About 300 lambs and 2000 chickens were commercially slaughtered according to ‘shechita’ last year. The minister later apologized to the Jewish community for any offense caused when he told veterinarians: “We may have upset a relatively small religious minority, and I do appreciate their strong feelings for this issue, but frankly I don’t think any animal should suffer in the slaughter process.”

More than half New Zealand’s sheep are killed by halal slaughtermen for the Islamic market, by cutting the throats of electrically stunned animals. However, shechita slaughter requires the trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries and jugular veins to be cut using a sharp blade to allow the blood to drain out. The animal cannot be stunned or unconscious.

The New Zealand National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee first recommended a dispensation for the kosher slaughter in 2001, but most recently said it would prefer there were no exemptions from the requirement that all animals slaughtered commercially were first stunned. It said there was evidence calves which simply had their throats cut experienced pain, and it had the “strongly held” view that the cattle, sheep, goats and possibly poultry would experience similar pain.

Wellington Jewish Council Chairman David Zwartz predicted the case would be argued on the grounds that the Bill of Rights allowed for freedom of religious practice, and the requirement for stunning was an infringement of the right of Jews to observe their religion.

Other countries to ban shechita include Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and the European Parliament earlier this year voted in favor of a new regulation which could lead to kosher meat being labeled as “meat from slaughter without stunning”.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Israel commission hears Netanyahu in Gaza Flotilla inquiry

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again defended the raid by Israel’s Navy on the Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ on 31 May 2010, during which nine Turkish activists on board the ‘Marmara’ were killed.

Netanyahu told the Turkel Commission – a panel investigating raid – that Israel’s actions were justified. The flotilla was trying to break an Israeli blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza. Netanyahu said he was sure the Israeli panel investigating the raid would find that military forces had acted according to international law.

“The appearance of the prime minister of Israel before this commission today is the best proof of the standards according to which Israeli democracy operates,” Netanyahu stated.

He defended the Israeli sea blockade against Gaza: “From the Gaza Strip, Hamas has been raining thousands of rockets, missiles and mortar bombs on the state of Israel, striking at our communities and citizens … Today, Hamas is stockpiling weapons that can reach Tel Aviv and other distant parts of Israel. As part of the effort to prevent weapons entering the Gaza Strip, my government has continued the naval blockade policy that was imposed by the previous government during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, and this pursuant to the limitation and oversight on commercial traffic over the land crossings that were imposed in September 2007.”

Netanyahu criticized Turkey’s role in this matter. “Despite our continuous diplomatic efforts, ultimately the Turkish government did not prevent the attempt by the ‘Marmara’ to break the naval blockade. All our proposals to route the ships’ cargo for a security vetting in Ashdod, and later for transfer through the land crossings to Gaza, were to no avail. Nor did we hear any public message from the Turkish government aimed at calming the excitability of the activists aboard the ship. It appears that the Turkish government did not see in the prospect of a clash between Turkish activists and Israel, something that clashed with its interests, and certainly not something that would warrant applying effective pressure on the IHH activists,” he declared.

The prime minister is the first of several high-level officials set to appear before the panel, which includes five Israeli members as well as two international observers.  Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is also expected to testify.

The United Nations is due to begin its own inquiry into the raid on Tuesday.  That panel will be led by former New Zealand leader Geoffrey Palmer and outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and will include one Israeli and one Turkish member.

Israel says its forces acted in self-defense after they were attacked by the Turkish activists wielding clubs and knives. The IDF held its own investigation and defended the use of force, whilst acknowledging that mistakes were made in the planning stages.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Commentary: Scapegoating versus politics in the Middle East

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment
By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–Some basic definitions useful for living in civilized societies and on their fringe:

A scapegoat is an individual or group blamed for faults properly due to some other individual or group. Scapegoating is a way to pass on responsibilities for offenses real or imaginary.
A minority is often chosen as a scapegoat, and Jews have been chosen for the role time and again. In the Middle East, that means Israelis.
Most recently Israelis have been blamed by Hizbollah for the murder of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Harari. These charges have come along with reports that an international commission is about to accuse Hizbollah of the crime.
Israelis are also being blamed for rocket attacks, apparently sent from the Sinai toward Eilat, which caused injuries and at least one death in the Jordanian city of Aqaba. Leaving aside the Egyptian claim that the rockets did not come from the Sinai, the indications are that they did, and were most likely fired by Hamas operatives or individuals allied with Hamas. Hamas is also the source of accusations against Israel. According to its logic, they were directed in a way to harm Jordanians and to give Israelis an excuse for retaliating against Palestinians.

is a way of dealing with conflict without violence. It involves discussion, negotiation, voting for the purpose of deciding which individuals or groups ought to have the most influence, and then deciding on matters of dispute in ways to preserve at least a minimum of the comity necessary to avoid violence.

is a sense of community. It assumes a sufficient sharing of culture, language, and values to provide mutual trust that allows participants in conflict to believe one another, at least enough to give up some preferences for the purpose of keeping matters that are subjects of conflict from straying into violence.
The question at the bottom line of this discourse is, Where scapegoating is common, is there enough comity to support politics rather than violence? For us the practical question: Is peace possible between Israel and Palestinians when the Palestinians are closer in their culture to Hizbollah and Hamas than to Israel?
The matter is not only an issue at the upper levels of national and international politics. It also bothers us folks down in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, where cultural clashes tempting violence are never far away. 
We usually pass by groups of young Arabs from the nearby neighborhood of Isaweea during our walks through French Hill. Usually the encounters are uneventful, and occasionally pleasant, but sometimes one hears insulting words in Arabic directed against us. Is it worth all the implications of confronting 10year olds in order to teach a  lesson?
More serious was the case of a young man who pushed a female jogger to the ground, and might have been intent on something more serious until we yelled and he ran in the direction of Isaweea. That was an occasion for delaying our walk, and staying with the young woman until the police arrived.
Jews are also guilty. An American visitor described meeting with an Arab merchant in the Old City, and going up on the roof of his store to look at the view.

“On the roof, there were yeshiva boys. Young orthodox boys with yalmakas and tzitzit and pay-itz around 12-15. As soon as he opened the door without any exchange of words,  they started swearing at him and taunting him.”

One of my neighborhood friends is a Dutch journalist who writes for a Christian newspaper. We often wave and say hello, and occasionally stop to exchange stories. On one occasion he told me that his church had been vandalized. It is located near an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. While the guilty had not been identified, that is a standard way for some of the ultra-Orthodox to express their sense of righteousness. The church is also not far from an Arab neighborhood, and Muslims have a history of trashing the religious sites of others. A lack of information requires us to leave open the question of guilt. 
The wider madness that focuses on us comes from the daily threats of destruction by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Jewish morons who join various Goyim in sending e-mails insisting that Barack Obama is a Muslim, most likely born in Africa or Indonesia, and intent on Israel’s destruction. No less disturbing are the students and faculty of universities of high and low status, and simpletons like those of Olympia, who are intent on punishing Israel for defending itself in ways that are less destructive of human life, and no less justified than what has been visited on various countries by the forces of the United States and its allies.
And do not forget the messianic Jews who want to populate Arab neighborhoods in ways sure to cause trouble for us all.
What to do in the midst of all this ignorance, animosity, and lack of comity?
Putting aside the occasional temptations for finishing my life in a more placid place with weather at least as good as Jerusalem’s (is there such a locale on the coast of Oregon, or would New Zealand provide a residence permit and access to health insurance?), the sole prospect is to continue coping. Avoid neighborhood walks too late at night or too early in the morning, and urge the hyper-actives in the Obama administration to stop making things worse by promoting a peace process that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are capable of producing. 
Both Israel and Palestine would be better off if their officials could spend more time dealing with their domestic issues, and less time being pushed by intense
Americans and having to maneuver around one another.
Most likely European politicians would stop if the Americans would stop. And no one else matters.
On objective measures of crime, poverty, family crises and other conventional social indicators, Jerusalem probably does as well or better than cities of comparable size. Israel as a whole performs better than a lot of the countries that produce individuals wanting to punish or destroy it. 
So why all the destructive attention?
Now we’ve come back to the topic of scapegoats.
There is also a nagging insistence by religiously-motivated Christians and
Jews that Jerusalem and Israel be better places than elsewhere.

Unfortunately, their persistence, combined with their ignorance, may prod the locals to make things worse. It is best to leave us alone. Good is good enough. 

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

The Jews Down Under~News of the Jews of Australia and New Zealand

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Jewish congregation prepares to sue New Zealand government over shechita

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 23 July 2010 (Press Release)–The Working Group on shechita of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation has tried to engage further with theMinister of Agriculture.

The Minister is firm in his resolve to preserve his position, which does not give the Jewishcommunity a secure continuing supply of kosher meat, and only offered an unacceptable short term option. Accordingly agreement could not be reached. This is disappointing and has meant turning to progress the work on a legal action.

A leading law firm has been engaged and has prepared draft proceedings. These are currently being reviewed by a QC and a final decision will
be made following receipt of his advice.

Resources are being put in place to fund this course of action. We will continue to keep you informed of progress.

Garth Cohen, Michael Stiassny, Geoff Levy respectively,  President AHC, Chair AHCTB, Chair NZJC

B’nai B’rith Australia/New Zealand has taken a  lead donating A$ 5000 to the New Zealand Jewish  Community to assist in financing the legal  challenge, which is estimated to costs in excess of NZ$350,000

Israel a marker in Australian elections

SYDNEY, 28 July –  Malcolm Turnbull reaffirmed his “unequivocal support” for Israel at a New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies plenum on Tuesday night.

Turnbull, the incumbent, presented his credentials for the upcoming federal election, alongside his fellow candidates in Wentworth, the ALP’s Steven Lewis and the Greens’ Matthew Robertson.

The men did not debate each other, rather each was given an opportunity to address the gathering, which also included a question and answer session.

Turnbull said there may be occasions when “we may not agree with the tactics” of the IDF, but stressed there was a big distinction between the
strategic issues Israel faces and tactics used by the IDF.

“It is not realistic for us sitting here in  Sydney in the safety of Australia to try and second guess and critique how the IDF handles a particular mission,” he said.

“Where Israel needs our support is in the fundamental strategic question, and that is in ensuring that Israel’s security is protected.”

Turnbull slammed the Rudd-Gillard Government’s record on Israel, singling out Australia’s abstention at a United Nations vote on war crimes in Gaza.

Turning his attention to local issues, Turnbull criticised Labor for its failure to introduce an emissions trading scheme, its bungled insulation program and “the billions wasted” in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program.

In response, Lewis outlined the many benefits that the BER brought to Sydney’s Jewish schools, while defending the Labor Party’s record on Israel.

“The Australian Labor Party has been and remains a friend and strong ally of Israel,” he said, pointing out Australia diplomat “Doc” Evatt’s role in the establishment of Israel and the Government’s resolution last year in
congratulating Israel on its 60th anniversary.

Lewis also pointed out Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s efforts, as education minister, in getting Holocaust studies included in the draft national school curriculum.

He warned the meeting that a vote for Turnbull was really a vote for Abbott. “I have a genuine fear that this country, led by Tony Abbott, will take a path down a conservative road that will not be in the interest of all of us,” he said. “I ask that you vote for me and ensure that Julia Gillard can return and continue the good work that she has started.”

Greens candidate Matthew Robertson expressed his gratitude at being given the opportunity toaddress the forum before outlining the need for
“urgent action” on climate change.

Conspicuously, Robertson did not mention Israel. When asked during question time about the Greens’ policy in light of their frequent criticism of
Israel, Robertson said the Greens supported “the right of the Israeli people to live within safe and secure UN-mandated borders”.

“The Greens take support from the core principle of peace and nonviolence, and we wish to see a safe and secure resolution to the conflict in the Middle East,” he said

Jewish Veterans at mainstream venue

MELBOURNE, 29 July –  Victoria’s Jewish ex-servicemen and women will find their diaries filling quickly, as the organisation representing
them tries for a new lease on life.

To set the ball rolling, the Victorian Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (VAJEX) is planning its first ever military “pilgrimage” service at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance on August 1.

“It’s to commemorate the Jewish dead who fell in war. The thinking is that VAJEX, in its 81 years, has never, as far as we know, had a service at
the Shrine. We’ve taken a step forward with this, and it has been in the planning for a year,” VAJEX president Ben Hirsh told The AJN.

Addressing the initiatives that will hopefully inject new vigour into the association, Hirsh said: “To keep going, we’ve changed the rules to
admit non-service members, and we’re hoping many more who had relatives in the forces will join. It’s to keep alive a Jewish organisation that’s being going since 1929.”

The service will feature a shofar-blowing ceremony by Rabbi Phillip Heilbrunn, and will include VAJEX patron Major General Jeffrey
Rosenfeld and chaplain Rabbi Dovid Gutnick. The gathering will take place beneath a VAJEX flag, which will fly from dawn to sundown, and the organisation’s banner.

Other events planned in the coming months include a commemoration at the graveside of Sergeant Issy Smith of the Imperial Army’s Manchester Regiment in Fawkner Cemetery on September 12, and a gathering at Brighton Cemetery on October 8 to honour the memory of Australia’s greatest
military figure, Sir John Monash, 79 years after his death.

The organisation will also be taking part in the annual Monash commemoration at State Parliament on August 6.

Church vs State

CANBERRA, 30 July – As the roof body of Australian churches urges its members to consider A boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements,
tensions have flared  between Christian and Jewish leaders. Are interfaith relations heading to a new low?

Australia’s roof Christian body is urging Australian churches to boycott goods produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The motion, which also calls for a end to the blockade of Gaza, was passed by the National Council of
Churches in Australia (NCAA) in Canberra last week. Affirming the solidarity of the NCAA with Palestinian Christians, the resolution states that the NCAA will advocate and act for the end of the occupation of the Palestinian people.
It also “calls on the member-churches of the NCAA and the wider Australian community to consider a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements
in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Robert Goot said in a letter to the NCAA that the motion came “as a complete and most unpleasant surprise.”

“We feel that we have been badly let down by people we have long thought as our friends”, Goot said. ECAJ vice-president and president of the ACT Jewish Community, Dr Anita Shroot had addressed the forum on behalf of the ECAJ.  “I felt welcomed when I was there and then I was shocked and reeling when I got a note from Robert about what happened”, she said. “Frankly I have
quite a few real friends who were there, but there is obviously an element that swung the motion”.

NCAA general secretary Reverend Tara Curlewis said this motion does not mean the NCAA  supports theboycott. “We were asked to consider this by the
heads of the churches of the Middle East, so we are asking our churches to consider the proposal by looking at the positives and negatives of it”, Rev Curlewis said.

The Australian Christians Supporting Israel is one organisation that was not happy with the motion.

Opposition Leader criticises Government policy on Israel

MELBOURNE, 30 July –   Speaking at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne lastt week Opposition Leader Tony
Abbott took the opportunity to criticise the Rudd-Gillard Government’s record towards Israel.

“I have to say that it’s a little disappointing, given the deep affinity between the Australian people and the Israeli people that the current Australian Government has somewhat weakened our longstanding bipartisanship on Israel,” Abbott said before the crowd of more than 1000 businesspeople and Liberal Party faithful.

“I want to reiterate here today, the Coalition’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and I want to assure you that a Coalition government
would never support a one-sided United Nations resolution against Israel to curry favour with an anti-Israel majority in the General Assembly,” he said.

He continued: “And we would never overreact to any international incident, because we appreciate that Israel is under existential threat in a way
that almost no other country in the world is.”

He told guests, including dozens of the nation’s finest journalists, who were following Abbott’s campaign trail, that Australia needs to appreciate that “a diminished Israel diminishes the West”.

The Opposition Leader also used the opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of the local Jewish community. He commented that Australia is
the only country in the world, apart from Israel, where Jewish people have occupied the highest offices, including as the governor-general.

Among guests at the Crown Casino lunch were Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, Shadow Minister for Finance Andrew Robb, Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu and former treasurer Peter Costello.

Costello, who travelled with Julia Gillard to Israel last year for the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum, delivered the vote of thanks, endorsing his former cabinet colleague’s tilt at the top job.

“Tony Abbott is a man of commitment and a man of drive,” Costello said. “I know he was party of a very successful government, I don’t know that about Julia Gillard.”


Major boost for school security

CANBERRA, 2 August – The $20 million fund for school security has been topped up with another $15 million, much of it likely to be given to Jewish schools.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor announced the program extension at Melbourne’s Beth Rivkah Ladies College on Tuesday.

Joining him for the announcement were ALP incumbent in Melbourne Ports Michael Danby, and fellow Jewish Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, who is re-contesting the seat of Isaacs.

The announcement received bipartisan support, ensuring it would be a done deal whoever becomes prime minister.

“The Government must intervene where necessary to assist schools that have more danger or more risk associated with them,” O’Connor told a school
assembly of senior Beth Rivkah girls. “It ensures that those schools are able to dedicate more resources to the primary purpose of education.”

A Liberal party spokesperson confirmed that a formal announcement regarding its own promise will be made by the Coalition in coming weeks.

Like the previous rounds of funding distributed over the past two years, the program will continue to support those schools at risk of racist or religiously motivated attacks.

“This will allow our schools to use education funding for education purposes,” co-chair of the Australian Council for Jewish Schools Nechama Bendet told the minister. For Jewish schools, she emphasised, spending money on protecting students was “not as a matter of a choice, but of necessity”.

Danby personally thanked the minister for his assistance and praised his party for its commitment to education.

“Brendan, I really appreciate the seriousness with which you and your advisers address this issue,” he remarked.

“If you were looking objectively at the amount of resources either in building classrooms, beautifying playgrounds, funding for some of these schools that didn’t get their correct allocation, like Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah, or
programs like the security funding, you’d have to say this was a golden period of government support for all schools in Australia, including Jewish schools.”

Dreyfus commented that a week earlier had been the anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina, which killed 85 people in 1994.

“I wish that had never happened, but having been to Buenos Aires since then, I can say that I don’t want to see in Australia the kind of security arrangements that every single communal facility – every school, every synagogue, everymeeting place – of that very large Jewish community has, I never want to see that in Australia.

“One way in which we can deal with that is the kind of additional expenditure met by the Government for security arrangements in our schools.”

Habonim celebrates seven decades

MELBOURNE–Habonim Dror will commemorate 70 years in Australia next month with celebrations planned for Melbourne and Sydney.

Melbourne’s reunion event at the Glen Eira Town Hall on August 7 will feature a show and light supper, while Sydney will be treated to dinner
and dancing on August 28 at a yet-to-be-decided venue.

Melbourne organiser Robyn Davis said the event is for people who have attended Habonim anywhere in the world.

“It will be an opportunity for all past members of Habonim to get together, talk, dance, celebrate and talk about their time at Habonim,” she said. “It’s a very special event to signify the role that Habonim [has] played within the
Jewish community – it also has demonstrated that it has been a community in itself.”

Head of Sydney’s Parents and Friends of Habonim Peter Royal said the initial venue chosen for the gala reunion is now too small.

“We have been bowled over by the level of response from people,” he said.

He said around 300 people are expected to attend, adding that absolutely anyone who has been involved with Habonim worldwide, including in
South Africa and South America are welcome to join the celebration.

“The idea is to try and have anyone who had any association with the movement participate in the Habonim 70th, to have a fun time and to get
together, and get to know other people who were in the past movement or in the present movement,” he said.

Royal said it is important for all Jewish children to belong to a youth movement, whether or not it is Habonim.

“The whole idea is synagogues give you a reason for why you’re Jewish, schools teach you the history of the Jewish people and the youth
movements teach you how to have fun and be proud to be Jewish.”

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

A short history of anti-Semitism and its modern equivalent

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment
By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–Anti-Semitism is ancient, although the term itself appears only from the 19th century onward. By the latter part of the 20th century, Arabs were ridiculing the charge that they were anti-Semites, on the grounds that they are Semites.

Tendentious claims aside, no less a reference than the Oxford English Dictionary defines anti-Semitism as “theory, action, or practice directed against the Jews.”

Josephus describes claims against the Jews from first century Alexandria, then a city populated largely by Greeks. They sound like some of those still expressed: that Jews are diseased; clannish; committed to bear no good will to non-Jews; kill non-Jews in order to eat their entrails and their blood; and observe laws that are inhumane.

The New Testament refers to Pharisees (predecessors of modern rabbis) as vipers, blind guides, and hypocrites who preach one thing and do another. It also claims that Jews demanded the death of Jesus, while the Roman official Pilate saw him as innocent of a charge that would require the death penalty; that Jewish priests bribed Roman soldiers to testify that disciples stole the body of Christ from his tomb, in order to create the image that he had not risen from the dead; that Jews poisoned the minds of Gentiles against Christians; and that Gentile authorities acted against Christians in order to curry favor with the Jews.

A later entry in the classic literature of anti-Semitism is The Protocols of The Learned Elders Of Zion. Civilized intellectuals recognize it as a concoction produced as anti-Jewish propaganda by authorities in Czarist Russia. In recent years it has been trumpeted by Arabs and others as a genuine document produced by Jewish leaders, and containing their plan to control the world.

Among the points in the Protocols said to come from the Elders of Zion are:

“God has granted to us, His Chosen People, the gift of dispersion . . .which has now brought us to the threshold of sovereignty over all the world. . . . when we come into our kingdom it will be undesirable for us that there should exist any other religion than ours . . .In this difference in capacity for thought between the GOYIM and ourselves may be clearly discerned the seal of our position as the Chosen People and of our higher quality of humanness, in contradistinction to the brute mind of the GOYIM. . . . From this it is plain that nature herself has destined us to guide and rule the world.”

Anti-Semitism got a bad press in the 1940s. Since then the Roman Catholic Church and other Christians have tended to emphasize friendship and accommodation. Many of their scholars concede that their earlier doctrines, including elements of the New Testament, were created to serve purposes no longer relevant, and ought to be archived.

Those looking for clear expressions of anti-Semitism can use the internet to find Muslim clerics preaching about the “Filth of the Jews, the Brothers of Apes and Pigs” 

While overt anti-Semitism has declined, anti-Zionism has become fashionable. It is directed against Israel, rather than against Jews, per se. Some of its practitioners are Jews and others are Gentiles who chafe at any accusation of anti-Semitism. “Some of my best friends are Jews” is still heard, although it has long since become a line of ridicule. 
Some of my best friends are Jews who accuse Israelis of claiming that every critic of the country is an anti-Semite. 
Some of Israel’s severest Jewish critics may be “self-hating Jews,” a phenomenon that has been around at least since Jewish collaborators testified at medieval trials of inquisition. However, many may simply be misguided in their choice of political fashions.
Distinguishing anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism is not easy. A useful conception is that anti-Zionism verges into anti-Semitism to the extent that individuals accuse Israel of violating standards of activity far more onerous than they use to judge other countries, including their own.
Americans and Europeans are among those who go over this line. People from other countries may be even guiltier, but Americans and Europeans may be reachable by argument, and their governments are most important to Israel. The United States is the largest and most powerful of this cluster. It is also a country not regularly censured by official bodies that censure Israel routinely, and it may be one of those most vulnerable to censure if it would be compared fairly to Israel. Norwegians, New Zealanders, and a few others may come out smelling even sweeter than Israel or the United States, but they are far from nastiness, and appear to be irrelevant to this discussion. 
There are several indicators to challenge the often-heard charge that Israel represses its Arab minority. Among the most persuasive is the summary indicator of health: longevity. Israeli Arabs do not live as long as Israeli Jews, but the differences are smaller than those between American Whites and Blacks. Not only do Israeli Arabs live, on the average, six years longer than American Blacks, but Israeli Arab men live longer than White American men.
The incidence of Israeli Arabs as opposed to African-Americans who are so far removed from the norms of their societies as to be incarcerated also shows that Israel is not the oppressive society often depicted. While Arabs are incarcerated at twice the incidence of Jews in Israel, Blacks are incarcerated at four times the rate of Whites in the United States.

Israel’s security actions often come under attack, but an inquiry into the balance of threat versus defensive action does not support the condemnation of Israel. Since 2000 the incidence of Israelis who have died from Palestinian violence and terrorism. is six times the incidence of American casualties on 9-11, in Iraq and Afghanistan, corrected for population . The casualties caused by Israel in its defense appear to be substantially fewer than those caused by the United States. Lacking the kind of international investigations focused on Israel, however, the figures about fighters and civilians killed by American troops are far from precise. Perhaps 7,500 Palestinians and Lebanese have been killed by Israeli security forces since 2000.

Estimates of those killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003 range between 100,000 and one million, and estimates of those killed in Afghanistan range up to 40,000. Both figures reflect violence among Iraqis and Afghans, as well as casualties traced to American and allied troops. Those willing to listen to a non-Israeli professional soldier on the morality of the IDF might consider the comments by the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. He describes the IDF’s concerns to avoid civilian casualties as greater than those of any other military force. 

A friend in Thurston County, Washington is more certain than I that he can distinguish anti-Semitism from a posture against Israel. He described efforts to oppose the boycott of Israeli products by the Olympia Food Coop. He writes
This isn’t about anti-Semitism. The momentum for the boycott comes from anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian people in our community. For the most part they are careful to avoid doing/saying anything which would open them to a charge of anti-Semitism. 

He goes on to write that a hate crime at the Chabad Center produced an outpouring of support for the Jewish community; that he and his friends defeated a effort by pro-Palestinians to name Rafah as a sister city; and that hundreds of people, not just from the Jewish community, came out to protest when neo-Nazis tried to stage a rally. 

I am a long way from Thurston County, and I would not condemn its population on the basis of an unknown number who may have gone over the line between a reasonable posture against Israel and anti-Semitism. It appears to me, however, that my friend is being too generous in clearing his adversaries from the charge. What he describes smells too much like “Some of my best friends are Jews.”


Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

Adventures in San Diego Jewish History, September 17, 1954, Part 8

July 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Compiled by San Diego Jewish World staff

As the Psychologist Sees You
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 14

By Irving R. Stone, Psychological Consultant
(Note: During Irving Stone’s tour of military duty, this issue of the column has been written by his wife, Rosanne Stone)

Be Yourself – In Atlantic City a few nights ago, a beautiful girl was crowned Miss America of 1955.  Part of the contest included answering three questions presented to each finalist by the judges. One of the questions went something like this: “What would you consider of utmost importance in your role of Miss America?”  Miss California, who later won the title, replied to the effect that she felt Miss America should not let her title change her, but should continue being the same person she was before attaining the crown. She also added a bit about people becoming famous and going “high hat,” along with other changes.

We liked her simple answer and the sincere way she had of expressing it.  And somehow, although we thought all of the girls were Miss Americas in one way or another, we were happy with the final decision. We hoped this 19-year-old girl was truly expressing the qualities we find desirable and admire in American womanhood.

Today, in a rapidly changing world, we find it often a struggle to even know ourselves, let alone remain ourselves. One of the dictionary’s definitions of personality is “an integrated group of emotional trends, behavior tendencies, etc.”  But we may very likely find from time to time that our trends and tendencies do not necessarily serve us too well in the many different, changing circumstances of today.  For example, during one phase of our existence we may find that being distinctly individual is considered admirable and outstanding. Circumstances can change, however, and one day we discover that these traits may be considered as being “different” and even “eccentric.”  The various social groups in our society all have different attitudes toward behavior and personality traits. So the growing, developing individual sometimes finds it difficult to know just how to be happy and to be accepted.

To “Be Yourself” and to be happy while accomplishing this is no easy task.

There isn’t room enough in this whole newspaper to enumerate the many and infinitesimal personality trait we all have. We can touch on three important character traits, however, which bring personal satisfaction and will aid us in retaining a major share of our individuality as well.

When we learn to accept others for themselves, our own chances of acceptance have increased greatly.  When you are able to like Joe “just because he’s Joe,” you stand a greater chance of being liked because you are you. There has even been a song entitled “Just Because You’re You.”

Almost before we can learn to accept whole-heartedly, we must learn not to weigh one another too heavily in terms of judgment. In order to bolster our own faltering egos, we find it very easy to say, for instance, “Patsy must be a bad girl; she smokes cigarettes at 14 years of age.” When we learn to look further than her smoking and to say “Patsy must be unhappy or mixed up; she already tries publicly to impress others with cigarettes,” we start judging and we start understanding.

What may seem contradictory and yet can help greatly, in this struggle to be ourselves and to be happy, is the advice that we should never really expect to be accepted for ourselves alone.  Only an infant or small child has that wonderful privilege of being loved in spite of everything.  One of our rude awakenings in life is when we start hearing that grim word “responsibility” and we soon learn the meaning of it.  We are responsible in seeing that we allow our personalities to grow and develop as much as possible.  When we can be ourselves we make this development possible.

Preparations Being Made for Jewish Community to Greet Mrs. Roosevelt
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 14

Leaders of the Jewish community were completing preparations for the visit of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to San Diego o November 11.

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center, Mrs. Roosevelt will help celebrate Armistice Day by addressing the community at 8 p.m. in the Russ Auditorium on the subject of “America and World Leadership.”

Mrs. Jack Ritoff, was announced as general chairman of this outstanding feature of the forum and lecture series provided by the Center.

Members of the Advisory Committee selected by Edward Breitbard, president of the Jewish Community Center, are Rodin Horrow, Sol Price, Louis Steinman and Mack Esterson, Henry Price and Morrie Novak.  Committees will be appointed in the next week including ticket sales, patrons and sponsors, reception, publicity, arrangements and program.

Breitbard stated that every Jewish organization in the community would be given an opportunity to participate and to share in this unique and major event for the Jewish community.

Community Center News
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

Teen-Age Activity—There will be a Yom Kippur Dance sponsored by the Teen-Agers on Thursday, Oct. 7th, at the Jewish Community Center. Tickets must be purchased in advance as none will be on sale at the door. A committee is hard at work on plans now and it should prove to be a gala occasion. For further information, call the Center.

Holiday Closing – because of the Jewish holidays, the Center will be closed on the following dates: Rosh Hashonah, Monday, Sept 27th, 5 p.m. to Wednesday, Sept. 29th, 7 p.m.  Yom Kippur, Wednesday, Oct 6th, 5 p.m. to Thursday, Oct. 7th, 7 p.m.  Succoth, Monday, Oct. 11th, 5:30 p.m. to Wednesday, Oct. 13th, 7 p.m. and Monday Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. to Wednesday, Oct. 20th, 7 p.m.

Junior Hi Activities – The Junior Hi Lounge group will continue to meet Monday nites at the Jewish Community Center and the new hours will be from 7 to 8 p.m.  All 6, 7, and 8th grader are welcome to join the group. An admission charge of 10 cents covers the cost of refreshments.

A beginners ball room dance class will start on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at the Jewish Community Center. Four sessions are now scheduled for the following dates: Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 3 and Oct. 20.  The fee will be $2.00 for the four sessions or $.75 per lesson for Center member. Fees for non-Center members will be $3.00 for the four sessions or $1.00 per lesson.  All fees are payable in advance.  The group will probably continue throughout the remainder of the year if sufficient interest is indicated. An excellent teacher has been engaged. The group will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. on the dates mentioned above.

Point Loma Program – A program at the Portuguese Assembly Hall, 2818 Addison St., for youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12 will be resumed on Friday, Sept. 24, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Activities will include Arts and Crafts, Games, Ballet and Creative Dance lessons.  The size of the classes will be limited so that parents are urged to register their children early.  Reservations may be made by calling the Center at Atwater 1-7744 or can be attended to at the Assembly Hall on Friday, Sept. 24.  The fee will be $10.00 for ten sessions for Center members and $15.00 for non-members. All fees are payable in advance.  

Poale Zion Group Annual Dinner September 19

Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15 

Due to unforseen circumstances, Professor Guy Davis has had to cancel his appearance at our second annual dinner on Sunday, September 19, in the lounge of the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park at 6 p.m.

We are very fortunate, however, to be able to substitute for him, Mr. Alex Berner who, too, has just returned from a round-the-world tour in the course of which he visited Israel.

Mr. Berner has a rich and varied background of organizational experience gathered in Israel, Canada and the United States. On his recent tour he represented the United Israel Appeal in Australia and New Zealand.  He was the West Coast Director of the American Friends of the Hebrew University.

Reservations can still be made for this dinner by calling Cypress 6-4587, Atwater 4-3028 or Atwater 2-7886.

City of Hope Aux
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

President Ethel Berwin asks that all members make a special effort to attend the first business meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 21.  Luncheon will be served at 12 noon in Beth Jacob Center. Everyone is welcome to attend the meetings.

A Memorial Fund Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 21, in memory of Founder Anna Shelley.  Mark your calendars – more details later.

Birdie Stodel Chapter, B’nai B’rith Women
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

Back to school and B’nai B’rith is the theme for the Birdie Stodel No. 92 membership luncheon to be held at the Beth Jacob Center on Monday, Sept. 20 at 12 noon.

Mrs. Robert Rivers, chairman and Mrs. Marcy Berwin, co—chairman are in charge of affairs. Mrs. Morrie Kraus, president, extends a cordial invitation to all.  Phone BE-3-6909 or AT-4-8480 for reservations.

Special Notice
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

The Aid to Israel Card Party scheduled for Sunday, October 10,1 954 by the Bay City B’nai B’rith Women has been postponed for a later date. Drawing for the Rotisserie will be held the night of the Donor Dinner Dance, October 24, 1954.

Temple Sisterhood Breakfast Sept. 22
Southwestern Jewish Press
, September 17, 1954, Page 15

Reservations are now being taken by Mrs. John Ruskin, AT-1-6802, and Mrs. J.H. Gruenberg, AT-4-7256, for the Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood’s gala “Breakfast with Sisterhood,” scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 22, at Manor Hotel.

Mrs. Sydney Goldstein is the over-all luncheon chairman in charge, with Mrs. William Richartz and Mrs. Jules Levin as co-chairmen.  Mrs. Herbert Eber, Program Chairman, is providing an outstanding, all-new, participation show, with a Master of Ceremonies who is well known for both his wit and his work on the legitimate stage.

Those attending the September 22 Breakfast will also hear the first details to be released concerning Temple Beth Israel’s gigantic Ways and Means project, set for February 6.

(Hebrew Home)
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

Application for admission to the Hebrew Home for the Aged may be made through the Jewish Social Service Agency, 333 Plaza, BE -2-5173.

Beth Jacob Invites All Sisterhoods
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

The first meeting of the season for Beth Jacob Sisterhood will be held the evening of Sept. 20 at Beth Jacob Center.  Members of Beth Israel Sisterhood and Tifereth Israel Sisterhood are cordially invited to be guests at this meeting.

New president, Esther Brisker, will outline plans for the year including the dinner and fashion show for husbands and wives scheduled for October 26.

Cottage of Israel
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

At the fourth annual open meeting of the Cottage of Israel, the following officers were elected for 1954-55: President, Seymour Gates; vice-president, Dr. Hy Parrell; Rec. Sec., Martha Feiler; Fin. Sec., Bess Borushek; Treas., Phillip Abrams; and delegates to the House of Pacific Relations, Rose Brooker and Bertha Veitzer.

Just as soon as all alterations are completed at the Cottage, the display committee will meet to set up plans for new displays and renovation of old displays and equipment.

Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

Don’t live in the past-no one has ever backed into prosperity.

New Subscribers
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 15

H.E. Blakeman
George Swerdlow
Ernest Green
Josef Schwarz
Martin Green

Tifereth Israel Religious School To Open September 19
Southwestern Jewish Press, September 17, 1954, Page 16

Tifereth Isrel is extremely proud of its fine Religious School staff. All teachers are either of professional standing or with long experience.  The Rabbi will serve as Principal of the School, and will be assisted by MR. Joe Gordon, who will be his Administrative Assistant. Mr. Gordon has been recently appointed Vice-Principal of the Crown Point School in Sn Diego.  Members of the staff are as follows: Naomi Hirsch, Dorothy Tornheim, Helen Gordon, Rose Tokars, Minnie Price, Binnie Brooks, Robert Cohen, Sonny Demberg, Ralph Kress, Lester Tokars and Bernard Zavidowky.  Cantor Cysner will direct the musical program of the school.  Mr. Leon Elkind will teach the Hebrew class, and Freda Mallen will serve as School Secretary for the fifth year.

Our School system is under direction of the Education Committee, Mr. Sandy Alter, Chairman.  Members of the committee include Gertrude Sarfan, Ruth Newmann, Sydney Smith, Freda Mallen, and Henry Bowman.  All matters relating to the school may be directed to Mr. Sandy Alter, or the Rabbi.

“Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” is sponsored by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg. Our “Adventures in San Diego Jewish History” series will be a regular feature until we run out of history.  To find stories on specific individuals or organizations, type their names in our search box. 


The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australia and New Zealand Jewish News

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Visiting Group Greeted warmly

ADELAIDE,  7 July – A group of more than 20 Bnei  Akiva Melbourne members and leaders travelled to  Adelaide last month to show their support for the  small community and help spread some extra Shabbat cheer.

About 20 year 9 boys were accompanied by seven  leaders and a shaliach to the South Australian  capital, where they shared meals on both Friday
night and Saturday, and hosted activities for the locals.

“In Melbourne, we recognise how lucky we are to have a thriving and vibrant community, yet at the  same time we see that others in Australia do not
have the Jewish luxuries that we may take for  granted,” Bnei Akiva spokesperson Daniel Weil  explained  “These visits are important as it is
not often that groups visit the smaller communities.”

Arriving on Friday morning, the group travelled straight from the airport to local Jewish school  Massada where they ran a number of activities,  including Shabbat programs and fun sessions.

A bowling match with local families was also   arranged after Shabbat, followed by a barbecue dinner.

“The feedback we received was very positive,” Weil said.

The inter-community visit was a joint initiative between the Bnei Akiva shaliach and a local Adelaide rabbi, who became close friends while living in Israel.

The trip is part of the Zionist youth movement’s plan to show its support for small Jewish  communities around the country, and according to
Weil,  it was just as meaningful for the Bnei  Akiva group as it was for the Adelaide participants.

“It allows them to show us that, despite their  small size, they are just as passionate about  leading Jewish lives as we are. Even though it is
immensely harder for them to do so, it serves to  show us how lucky we are with everything that we  have in our community,” he said.

Rabbi goes full circle

MELBOURNE, 6  July – Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant addressed a group of Victorian Muslims at a City Circle event last weekend.

The former president of the Rabbinical Council of  Victoria and current rabbi at Jewish Care  discussed some of the challenges facing the  Jewish community. After the presentation, which  also included some background information on the  Victorian Jewish community, the group had the
opportunity to question Rabbi Kluwgant.

“It was an enlightening experience and I am glad  to have been offered the opportunity to talk to  the group so openly as it gave me the chance to
live the message I have been promoting in  relation to multifaith dialogue and engagement,” he said.

Among the topics asked about were interfaith dialogue and commonalities between different religious leaders.

City Circle aims to highlight an Australian Muslim identity while developing friendship and  cooperation between Muslim and non-Muslim communities

70th Anniversary for the Dunera Boys

MELBOURNE, 8 July – In ranks depleted by the  passing of seven decades, they will return to the  small NSW town of Hay in September to reminisce
about a perilous wartime voyage from Britain to the far side of the world.
The “Dunera boys” is the moniker bestowed on 2542 men, 2036 of whom were Jewish refugees from Nazi  Germany and Austria, living in Britain and classed as enemy aliens.

Seventy years ago this month, they were placed  aboard the Dunera, bound for Australia. The ship had a maximum capacity of 1600, and conditions were described as “inhumane”.

  These men and boys were refugees from Nazi  Germany who had reached what they believed was  the sanctuary of England just before the outbreak
of war in 1939. When the war broke out in September 1939, they were interned and later  shipped as “enemy aliens” to Australia. But even
more degrading, they were locked up with German  prisoners of war, and other Nazi personnel.

On arrival in Sydney, the bewildered newcomers  were taken to internment camps in the rural towns  of Hay, NSW, Loveday, SA, and Tatura, Victoria.
Subsequently reclassified as “friendly aliens”,  hundreds were recruited into the Australian Defence Force. After the war, around 800 remained in the country.

Peter Felder, son of Dunera boy Henry Felder, is organising this year’s reunion, the first major  gathering since a 50th-anniversary event in 1990.
“So far, we’ve had 12 Dunera boys indicating they will attend,” he said

Former internee Mike Sondheim will be one of the party. “The people of Hay always display their
hospitality and friendship to us as long-lost sons having returned home.”
  From September 3-5, the intenees will return to  the sites of former camp seven and eight for a commemoration.

They plan to re-enact their arrival at the local  railway station  and follow the route they  marched along from the station to the camps.  Unlike in 1940, the Hay Shire Council mayor will formally welcome the visitors.

Among the activities planned, they will visit the  grave of Menasche Bodner, the only Dunera boy  buried in the Jewish section of the Hay General
Cemetery, and will see the Hay Dunera Museum.

Court ruling on question of religious freedom

MELBOURNE, 6 July – A father has won the right to  stop his children from taking part in Jewish  coming-of-age ceremonies, after a court agreed
with the man that they should be able to make their own religious choices.

The mother wanted her children to participate in  their bar and bat mitzvahs – ceremonies that mark  the beginning of boys and girls taking responsibility for their Jewish faith.

But the father, a Catholic who irregularly  attends church, wanted them to choose their own  religion in a ”voluntary and informed” way when they were old enough.

The dispute played out in the Federal Magistrates  Court in Melbourne where the separated parents,  known as Mr and Mrs Macri, asked the court to  determine the religious future of their children:  a 10-year-old and eight year-old twins.

Mr Macri, 44, did not oppose his children  observing Jewish holidays and events. The  children had undergone some classes in Hebrew,  but the lessons had lapsed at their request. In  accordance with traditional Jewish practice, the  son had undergone circumcision.

Mrs Macri had enrolled the children in a  religious youth group for two hours each Sunday.  But Mr Macri was concerned this had ”an element of political content” and wished for them not to attend.

He also asked for an injunction, stopping Mrs  Macri from committing their children to the Jewish faith through the bar and bat mizvah  ceremonies until they were older. Jewish girls  usually undergo bat mitzvah aged 12, while boys  have their bar mitzvah at aged 13.

Federal magistrate Terry McGuire allowed the mother to take the children to the youth group  but ordered her not to let her children participate in the ceremonies until they made the choice or their father agreed to it.

”Australia is a multicultural and secular  society,” Mr McGuire said. ”These children are fortunate in that they have the opportunity to  directly experience the culture and traditions of the religions practised by each of their parents.”

Mr Macri had not pitted one religion against the  other but had wanted his children to participate  in the culture and traditions of both religions
without committing to either at this stage, he said.

In contrast, Mrs Macri wanted to commit the children to Judaism immediately.

He said there was no evidence that deferring the decision would later stop the children choosing to enter the Jewish religion.

TV Channel accused of racism

SYDNEY, 9 July – TV Channel Nine and its program – A Current Affair (ACA)- allowed anti-Semitic  comments to be published on its website,
violating racial vilification laws according to NSW Jewish Board of Deputies   CEO Vic Alhadeff.

ACA reported one evening last week on plans for  an eruv in the Sydney suburb of St.Ives. After  the show, it posted a video of the story on its
website, which attracted hundreds of comments. The discussion, which was about whether or not  the local council should approve an application
to erect 27 poles to constitute the eruv in the  suburb, soon descended into an attack on Israel  and the Jewish community.  “The bosh (Germans)
didn’t finish the job” said one post. Another  went further ” Quick hide your babies, the Jews  are going to drain their blood to bake bread!”.

Alhadeff contacted Channel Nine to alert them of  the possible breach of the law and the network  immediately removed the comments. “The quick
response was appreciated,  but the incident draws  attention yet again to the need  for all media to  implement effective filtering systems of what is
posted on their sites” Alhadeff said. “Some of  the remarks clearly violate the race vilification  laws, and it is unacceptable for media to carry
such slurs until such time as the offensiveness is drawn to their attention”.

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission executive  director Deborah Stone said it is not the  community’s job to monitor news sites. She added
that is was particularly concerning that the  report prompted virulent anti-Semitism. John  O’Dea, who represents the local electorate of Davidson, said there needs to be a rational debate over the feasibility of an eruv in the

“Prejudice or discrimination based on  racial or religious grounds should play no role in the debate” he said. The federal member for the area, Paul Fletcher,  whose electorate would contain part of the eruv,  called anti-Semitic comments disturbing. “There  is no place in this decision-making process for anti-Semitic comments”, Fletcher said.


Jewish ANZAC’s to be honoured

CANBERRA, 9 July – A Jewish memorial service will  be held a the graveside of Berrol Mendelsohn, a  World-War I soldier whose remains will be interred in France on July 19. The fallen officer is so far the Jew among 94 Australian soldiers who have been identified using DNA technology, after a mass grave
containing 250 bodies of Anzacs was discovered two years ago at Fromelles in France.


New Zealand readies for legal action over shechitah
WELLINGTON,  NZ 9 July –  The New Zealand Jewish  community is making preparations for a legal  challenge to the Government’s outlawing of
shechitah, kashrut experts in Australia expressed fears that the ban may impact closer to home.

The New Zealand community were hoping that a  meeting with Prime  Minister John Key late last  month might lead to reversal of the policy. But
though he told the gathering that he ‘wants to Jewish community to be strong and vibrant in New Zealand”, he has so far failed to respond to their concerns.

“In the absence of any firm response from the  Government, the community is preparing its legal  case to restore the legal practice of shechitah
as an integral part of its right to manifest the  Jewish religion and belief in New Zealand, as  provided for in the New Zealand Bill of Rights  Act 1990”, Community spokesperson David Zwarts said.

The kashrut crisis began when NZ Agriculture Minister David Carter imposed a requirement that  animals be electrically stunned before slaughter, meaning that it is no longer possible to provide halachically acceptable meat.


Mikvah watershed in Canberra

CANBERRA, 9 July – After years of community  deliberations, Canberra’s Jewish women will  finally have the use of a local mikvah. Chabad of
ACT, which has been active in the nation’s  capital for a year, will own and run the  facility. It will be ready for use early next year. Rabbi Dan Avital, who has been working to establish Chabad of ACT, said building the
facility had been a stated goal since he and his wide Naomi arrived.
“We are incredibly excited at having started  building the first mikvah in Canberra”, he said.

The mikvah will have two immersion pools – to allow the continuity of operation – and three  bathrooms, and will be attended by Rebbetzin
Avital. Although attached to the Avital’s  residence, it will have a separate access to ensure privacy.

Holocaust Museum ugrade

MELBOURNE,  12 July – Henryk Kranz’s father taught him to draw by candlelight in a hiding place he  had helped a farmer dig into the hillside during  the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II.

His father, Zygmunt, would make aeroplanes, houses and other toys from wood, metal and  matchboxes to amuse him in the dark, cramped
space where they hid until liberated by the Red Army in August 1944.

“He was quite gifted with his hands,” the retired  neurologist, 72, says of his father, who years  later sculpted a series of bronze busts that  reminded him of some of the people he once knew  in his Polish home town of Boryslav, now in western Ukraine.

Almost a decade after Zygmunt Kranz’s death,  seven of these busts have pride of place in a  redeveloped new museum that opens officially this
month at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick.

Henryk Kranz does not believe his father set out  to recreate faces of specific people but “archetypal individuals from his memory of that period”.

Also on display are two artworks from an unpublished children’s book by Henryk’s daughter, Andrea, celebrating the heroism of farmer Jozef
Baran and his wife Eleonora, who risked their  lives to save her father and his parents.

Like her father, Andrea Kranz is a medical practitioner. She works in palliative care with cancer patients.

She has been reading the story about the heroic  Barans to her 4½-year-old daughter, Iliya. Her  grandfather would often retell it. “It was woven
throughout my childhood,” she says.

The new multimedia museum updates the Selwyn Street facility built 25 years ago. Audio-visual displays, photographs, artwork and memorabilia
present the stories of its increasingly frail survivor guides to students and other visitors.

“This is a big concern many survivors express, this fear that in the future no one will be left to talk about their murdered families,” curator Jayne Josem says, noting that technology will ensure their stories continue to be heard.

Zygmunt Kranz was a mining engineer in the petroleum industry at the start of the war. He  was sent to a labour camp near Boryslaw, as it is
known in Poland, and put to work digging out old pipelines.

The farmer had befriended him after offering his team shelter for a day on which the Germans were rounding up Jews. He took a liking to Zygmunt and
offered to hide his family. The two men dug about  a metre high and wide and 1.3 metres long behind the rear wall of the farm shed. They installed a
pipe so they could breathe and, later, planks to keep back the crumbling earth.

Zygmunt Kranz, who took his family across the  Czech border to Germany and Norway, worked as an \engineer at CSIRO and Unilever after settling here in 1950.

He wrote in a letter in 1993 nominating the Barans as Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem that Jozef Baran was “broadly straight and just”.

He brought his wife Frances and three-year-old Henryk to the “bunker” in October 1941, visited  them when he could and escaped the camp to join them in January 1943.

The Barans would leave buckets with food in the  shed. The Kranz family would emerge for a few hours at night.

Henryk, ill at one stage, was cared for in the  farmhouse and remembers gazing fearfully up the hill at a boy walking a bicycle. The boy stopped and stared before continuing.

Through a crack in the door he saw sunlit fields with bright yellow flowers. And once he heard sounds of people searching the shed. “They were trying to find some hidden trapdoor; we were very quiet trying not to make a sound at all.”

He was six when they were finally able to come out of hiding. “I was just speaking in whispers,” he says.

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Jewish news of Australia and New Zealand

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Young leaders call for calm

Two young Australians helped soothe tensions at the World Zionist Congress in Israel last week, when a debate on settlements descended into fervid argument.

With a left-wing majority, a resolution on a  two-state solution and a settlement freeze was passed, causing the right-wing bloc to revolt and members of the left-wing bloc to subsequently oppose them.

Witnessing the division in the room, chairman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS)  Liam Getreu and former Melbourne Bnei Akiva leader and new immigrant Jacob Wytwornik took to the stage to call for calm.

“People ran into the middle of the room and onto the stage and demanded from the steering
committee that they revoke the vote, or take a revote,” Getreu told The AJN. “The left, wanting the vote to remain, similarly charged in. At this point around 15-20 people were huddling around the front and on stage, starting to get heated with each other,” he explained.

“It was at this point that Jacob and I were watching, thinking that punches were about to be
thrown, partly in shock and disbelief, and very disappointed with where the Zionist movement had come to.

“It was that impetus ­ that feeling helpless ­ led us to do something.”

Previously told that the committee had deep respect for the opinions of the youth, Getreu and Wytwornik felt compelled to take to the stage.

“It seemed that as soon as we introduced ourselves and began to speak about what we were
seeing on stage and the build-up in tension throughout the day, how it disappointed us and
how we felt that it was betraying the spirit of Zionism and calling into question our ability to
achieve the ideals of our movement and of Herzl, that the room was actually listening,” Getreu said.

“It was very difficult to believe that after such a long day of shouting, people were actually listening.”

Pleading for calm and highlighting the similarities between everyone in the room, their appeal was met by applause.

“Everyone on stage, and as we were walking back to our seats, everyone in the aisles, was eager to come up, shake our hands, and tell us ‘kol hakavod’. It was a wonderful feeling,” he said.

“Thankfully, even though people weren’t on their best behaviour afterwards, the room, as a whole, was much better. It could have been because of what we said, or because we weren’t discussing such controversial and divisive issues anymore, or a combination of the two. But I think that what we did was a great thing to do.”

Shechita appeal to NZ Prime Minister

WELLINGTON, New Zealand,  30 June – Attempts to overturn  the recent ban on shechitah in New Zealand were taken to the top levels of government last week.  Representatives of the community met with New  Zealand Prime Minister John Key to air their concerns regarding new guidelines for animal slaughter and the negative implications they pose to the community.

“On Friday, a small group met with the Prime Minister to express to him the views of the New Zealand Jewish community with regard to the new Code Of Animal Welfare and its effect on shechitah and the Jewry in New Zealand,” chairman of the New Zealand Jewish Council Geoff Levy told The AJN. “The Prime Minister understands our point of view. He said, ‘We want the Jewish community to be strong and vibrant in New Zealand’.”

Community representative David Zwartz stated that they are now awaiting a response from the Prime Minister, whose Jewish mother  fled Austria on the eve of World War II.

Zwartz added that they are also preparing for a potential legal challenge to the regulations.
Asked whether they anticipate Key intervening on the community’s behalf, Zwartz said simply that they would “have to wait and see”.

Also this week, Agriculture Minister David Carter responsible for implementing the ban on
shechitah by imposing a law to ensure stun guns are used prior to animal slaughter ­ has
apologised for comments made last week in his address to the Association of Rural Veterinary Practices.

Carter had told the group that “there are no exemptions” to the new regulations. He added: “In doing so, we may have upset a relatively small  religious minority, and I do appreciate their strong feelings for this issue, but frankly I don’t think any animal should suffer in the slaughter process.”

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman confirmed that an apology had been made for any offence caused.

New PM accused of being ‘too soft on Israel’

CANBERRA, 30 June – A former Australian ambassador to Israel has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of being silent on the  “excesses” of Israel, and has questioned why her partner has been given a job by a prominent Israel lobbyist.

In a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Burns, who was ambassador in Tel Aviv between 2001 and 2003, said Ms Gillard had been “remarkably taciturn on the excesses of Israeli actions in the past two years”.

He also questioned the propriety of Ms Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, being employed as a real estate salesman by the founder of the Australia Israel Forum, Melbourne property developer Albert Dadon.

Mr Dadon is close to prominent pro-Israel Labor MP Michael Danby, who was influential last week in the coup that installed Ms Gillard as Prime Minister.

Ms Gillard, who was accompanied on the Israel trip by Mr Mathieson, disclosed his appointment to Mr Dadon’s Ubertas Group in a letter to the registrar of MPs’ interests in December, saying the job had started the previous month. A spokeswoman for Ms
Gillard said at the time that she did not expect any perceived conflict of interest to arise from the job.

But Mr Burns, in his letter, said the perception that Ms Gillard’s support for the Australia
Israel Leadership Forum was linked to Mr Mathieson’s job was unavoidable.

“Happy coincidence? In this new world of  ‘whatever it takes’ ALP federal politics, is this
a new benchmark in ‘jobs for the boys’?” Mr Burns wrote.

He questioned Ms Gillard’s stance given that she led an Australian delegation to Israel last year for the inaugural meeting of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum.

Albert Dadon also publishes the magazine of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange.

“It looks a bit funny when you go on this tour to promote bilateral relations, but you don’t seem to have any reservations about the issue that was number one on the horizon,” Mr Burns said.

The first meeting of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum last June came six months after
Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza in December 2008, in which more than 1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died.

Ms Gillard, who was acting prime minister when the invasion took place, put out a statement at the time criticising Palestinian group Hamas for firing rockets into southern Israel, but pointedly declining to criticise Israel for causing civilian casualties.

“Clearly the act of aggression was engaged in by Hamas which commenced shelling with rockets and mortars into Israel,” Ms Gillard said at the time. “That is what breached the ceasefire, and Israel responded.”

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith have since expressed unease at Israel’s subsequent blockade of Gaza.

“She went there for a couple of days of talks and I don’t think made any critical comment about the blockade of Gaza or treatment of Palestinians in general,” Mr Burns said.

“And now we learn from both Rudd and Smith that there were concerns within the Australian government about the blockade, that we didn’t agree with the blockade. Well, we never said so at the time, and she didn’t say so,” Mr Burns said.

Mr Burns was supported in his criticism of the government’s attitude towards Israel by another former Australian ambassador to Tel Aviv, Peter Rodgers, who served
in the Israeli capital from 1994 to 1997.

Mr Rodgers told The Age last night that under successive governments, Australia’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had become increasingly unbalanced, and that this was
unlikely to change under Ms Gillard’s stewardship.

“There’s been a marked swing away from the old attempt to be even-handed on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to a much more determined pro-Israeli position, and I think Gillard is part of that,” he said.

The criticism of Ms Gillard by Mr Rodgers and Mr Burns comes after The Age revealed on Saturday that her partner had been utilising controversial relaxed foreign real estate ownership regulations – introduced by the Rudd government – to market a
residential skyscraper in Melbourne that hasn’t been approved for development yet.

Yesterday, the state opposition questioned Mr Mathieson’s role in another Ubertas project,
claiming Planning Minister Justin Madden late last year approved the company’s plans for a
50-level tower at 350 Williams Street in Melbourne only after lobbying by him.

“Justin Madden has approved a huge building that  will overshadow the Flagstaff Gardens simply due to the lobbying by Julia Gillard’s spouse, who works for a company owned by a Labor mate,” Liberal planning spokesman Matthew Guy said.

“The minister should have never been anywhere near the approval of this project for a rolled gold Labor mate,” he said.

But a spokeswoman for Mr Madden said he had never talked to Mr Mathieson about the project. She accused the opposition of “blindly slinging mud”.

Ubertas has now gone back to Mr Madden’s department seeking approval for an additional
35-level tower on the site, which is currently occupied by the offices of labor law firm Holding Redlich.

Mr Madden’s spokeswoman said the approved 50-level tower had been designed to avoid
overshadowing the Flagstaff Gardens. She said it would only overshadow the entrance to the Flagstaff underground train stationon the corner of William and La Trobe streets.

Neither Mr Dadon nor Mr Mathieson returned calls from The Age about the project earlier this month.

The Age sought responses from Mr Danby and Mr Dadon for this article, but received no responses.

Ms Gillard’s office confirmed that Mr Mathieson was working for Mr Dadon several days a week, but declined tocomment further.

Senator condemns vilification of Israel

CANBERRA, 30 June  – A Victorian Liberal Senator has branded those on the Mavi Marmara as anti-Israel activists with an “agenda”, who broke a legally founded maritime blockade to further the aims of Hamas.

In a Senate speech last week, Scott Ryan said: “I did not realise that peace activists were so well armed, in this case, with knives, chains, firearms, Molotov cocktails and pepper spray. By viciously attacking the soldiers, they quickly betrayed their true agenda with their
anti-Semitic cries, as they did by their refusal to cooperate with the UN, Israeli or Egyptian
authorities, who could have facilitated the entry of the humanitarian materials to Gaza.

“This was no peace flotilla; it was part of an orchestrated campaign to vilify the State of
Israel for doing nothing more than would be expected of us in this place: to protect its own citizens.”

Senator Ryan described the Gaza blockade as “well founded in law, but it is also well founded in the entirely legitimate need for a state and government to take reasonable action to protect its citizens – for Gaza under Hamas cannot be treated as if it or they were a reasonable neighbour, and in no way can it be considered a partner for peace.”

“Despite a lack of coverage of the reality of Hamas, we should be in no doubt as to what it is.
It is a terrorist organisation, dedicated to the use of violence against innocent civilians to
achieve its objective. In this case, its objective is nothing less than the elimination of
the Jewish State and of Jews in their homeland.”

Senator Ryan said those who doubt the intensity with which some countries in Israel’s
neighbourhood hate the Jewish State should check out what is aired on local ­television.

“I have seen a dramatic serialisation of that historic slur, The Protocols of the Elders of
, being broadcast on television as if it were a mini-series we would see on our own TV screens, and the portrayal of a Disney-like children’s character being killed by Jews on a children’s program. And, of course, there is the constant denial of the reality of the Holocaust.

“The schoolbooks the Palestinian Authority distributes to schools contain no reference to
Israel or the three wars that were started against it.

“No state is perfect. But that does not mean one abandons those simply in need of security. In this case, it is the people of Israel who have that need – the need for no more than what we expect in Australia,” he said.

In another development, Victorian ALP Senator David Feeney has responded to a letter from Union Aid Abroad’s executive director Peter Jennings, who claimed the Gaza blockade was “collective punishment” and contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“I don’t accept this. The blockade is not collective punishment of the people of Gaza. It
is a defensive measure intended to stop Hamas using Gaza as a base from which to attack Israel,” Feeney stated.

“You assert that the blockade is inhumane. I don’t dispute that the blockade is causing
hardship. I do dispute your contention that it is causing ‘immense human suffering’ in Gaza.”

Senator Feeney emphasised that Gaza was not totally blockaded. “Goods are brought to Israel by sea, then sent into Gaza by land after inspection. Israel continues to supply Gaza with electricity, which Hamas pays for with international aid money (while at the same time
firing rockets at the power plant that supplies it).”


Courage to Care  – A educational Program/Exhibition

Each person can make a difference. Patron: Professor David de Kretse, AC, Governor of Victoria; A Travelling Educational Program

This project was commenced by B’nai B’rtih in Australia in 1992, and has operated successfully since, with some 300,000 plus students, as well as the general public in several states over the last 20 years attending these exhibitions.

Courage to Care, a travelling educational program and exhibition, aims to inform and educate on the  dangers of prejudice and discrimination. A key objective of the program is to combat bullying and racism by empowering the individual to make a difference. It educates visitors, in particular senior school students, towards an understanding of the roles of victim, perpetrator and bystander by exposing them to survivors of the Holocaust and their rescuers. The program and exhibition pays tribute to those individuals who have been
designated as “Righteous among the Nations”, those men and women who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save others. Courage to Care is about learning from the past to create a better future.

Through powerful presentations, film and discussion the interactive program demonstrates
that through mutual support everyone can make a difference. It includes workshops particularly designed for secondary school students (Years 9 -12). The program involves a 2 hour session in four parts. It includes a brief introductory DVD, a survivors testimony, an exhibition with a worksheet activity and small group discussions led by trained facilitators. The program is supported as a valuable resource by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). It contributes to the objectives of the DEECD’s strategy, Education for Global and Multicultural Citizenship – A Strategy for Government Schools 2009-2013. The program promotes social cohesion, well-being and a sense of belonging for all students in safe and secure learning environments, and building the capacity of the school community to identify and address overt, subtle and institutionalised racism, stereotyping and other forms of prejudice. The domains of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) pertinent to the Courage to Care program include Interpersonal development; Civics and citizenship; Thinking processes; Communication and The Humanities. More
exhibition details can be found at

It is a project of B’nai B’rith in Victoria, the oldest service organisation in the world
(originating in 1843) and the largest Jewish community organisation with over 100,000 members in 60 countries worldwide. Courage to Care started in 1992 as a static
exhibition and until 2000 travelled to many  regional centres in Victoria. Since 2000, with
the support of the DEECD, a formal educational program was developed and the exhibition has now visited every major regional centre in Victoria with many thousands of students having participated in the program.

Feedback from teachers has been extremely positive, indicating the experience has had a
significant impact on students’ understanding of the importance of tolerance and acceptance of the “other”, the appreciation of difference and the need to speak out about injustice and
discrimination. Recent teacher comments include: “It was compelling to hear from someone who had actually experienced the events …. it was relevant to students as she (the survivor) was a similar age to them when she went through the experience.  .. “Mind blowing. The students were totally locked in, riveted. ”


Jewish Candidates to go head to head

MELBOURNE, 1 July – Two Jewish candidates will go head-to-head in a battle for the seat ofCaulfield in the November 27 Victorian election.(The electorate contains the largest Jewish population in Melbourne)

Educator Heather Abramson, who  has been preselected as the ALP candidate, will face
Liberal contender David Southwick. The Liberal candidate is no stranger to Jewish-versus-Jewishpolitical battles, after an unsuccessful 2004 bid to oust Michael Danby from the federal seat of Melbourne Ports.

Southwick, who aims to take over the mantle when Caulfield Liberal MLA Helen Shardey retires after 14 years representing the Caulfield electorate,launched his campaign on Sunday at the Florian Convention Centre in Elsternwick, where he was introduced by Victorian Liberal leader Ted Baillieu.

A businessman who lectures in business studies at RMIT, Southwick briefly outlined his policiesthis week, with a strong emphasis on education,and a pledge to carry on Shardey’s pursuit ofpublic safety issues. He said he is determined tocombat hate crimes against minorities, includingthe Jewish community, in an electorate that -with 28 per cent of voters being Jewish – has the highest proportion of Jews in Victoria.

Southwick also said he wants to work towards ensuring “that the legal system provides for a
due process in dealing with racial vilification”.

Abramson, who has 30 years experience in the education sector, has served on the board of
Sinai College in Brisbane and was a union representative at her most recent school, The
King David School’s Armadale campus.

She said she would foster the Brumby Government’s initiatives for “an education system thatprovides opportunities for young people to participate and prosper in our economy”.

Abramson said she and Jennifer Huppert, who is also Jewish, will run as a team. Huppert is
seeking re-election in the Legislative Council (Upper House) for Southern Metropolitan Region. “Jennifer has a law degree and I have one in education. Our joint education and life
experience make us quite a team,” she said.

Asked if she was concerned about running against a Jewish candidate, she said: “I feel we arerepresenting two different parties, we represent two different policy platforms and I just don’t think it’s really an issue.

Southwick is unfazed at his second electoral face-off with a co-religionist. “I find it quite
interesting that the Labor Party attacked me for standing against Michael [Danby], and has now looked at doing the same with me. But again, I personally don’t see any issue with that.”

The Age does no credit to journalism
(commentary by Garry Fabian)

MELBOURNE,  June 29, 2010–The Melbourne Age newspaper has stunned and
appalled the Jewish community today by confecting a scandal about the fact that the Prime Minister’s partner works for a Jewish businessman Albert Dadon.

It inaccurately describes Albert as an “Israel lobbyist” which suggests he is paid to promote
Israel. That’s simply not correct and conveys a false impression.

Dadon is an investor, in property and many other things and was the Chair of Melbourne’s
international Jazz Festival and created the Australia Israel Leadership Forum, which we
assume he modelled on the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue formed by Phil Scanlon.

We have never read Scanlon described as a “pro-American lobbyist.”

(The Age) suggests that because Julia Gillard’s partner works for a Jewish businessman that she is therefore incapable of making up her own mind about foreign policy matters relating to Israel.This is about as low and disturbing as it gets.

Indeed, we understand that the editor of the Age, Paul Ramadge, has previously put much effort into duchessing Mr Dadon in an attempt to rescue that newspaper’s reputation in Melbourne’s Jewish community which increasingly regards it as an apologist for misogynist and racist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that are sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Sources tell VEXNEWS that Dadon went to some effort to encourage The Age to open its eyes toboth sides of the story in the Middle East andthat a member of The Age’s staff was invited toattend Australia Israel Leadership Forum events, including one in Israel.

Ramadge endorsed this and went to some trouble to undo the damage done by his
predecessor Andrew Jaspan whose attacks on Israel seemed to know no decent bounds.

That reputation will be confirmed by today’s breathtakingly anti-semitic attack that deems all Jews to be  “pro-Israel lobbyists”.

The story was based around a letter from a retired and grouchy Arabist crank, Ross Burns
which prompted a page seven story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Naturally the Age put it on the front-page and beat it up within an inch of its life.

We have previously written of the fact that Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade has a real problem with anti-Israel bias. Ross Burns, a career diplomat who was given many sweet plum Ambassador appointments, is a perfect embodiment of this.

Burns has now retired into the comfort of superannuation and is completing a PhD at
Macquarie University on archaeology in Syria. He very frequently visits Syria. He has a keeninterest in its antiquities and ancient ruins.

He has a long history of blowing anti-semitic dog-whistles against Israel, with a steady streamof cranky letters to the editor, speeches, appearances on an appreciative ABC and so on.

His latest suggests that because Julia Gillard’s partner works for a Jewish businessman that she is therefore incapable of making up her own mind about foreign policy matters relating to Israel.

This is about as low as it gets. Where will this obscenity end? Will The Age’s Jewish employees soon be subjected to tests to ensure they are not “pro-Israel lobbyists.”

As for Burns, he is an old crank, who is just running out his private hatreds of Israel in
public view, for his private benefit. No doubt he’s prominent on the wily Syrian Ambassador’s invitation list to sip on Johnny Blue in the wee hours. He’s an angry old man who is entitled to peddle his nasty views.

But The Age has a greater responsibility than that.

And when journalists wonder why we will celebrate the imminent demise of this newspaper, this is why.

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

New Zealand radio presenter suspended after declaring Jews and gays expendable

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–New Zealand radio presenter David Fane has been suspended after saying at a media event: “Would you roast an HIV person? You’d roast them because they’re expendable, like the Jews. Hitler had a right, you know.”

Fane’s words have caused outrage amongst members of the Jewish and gay communities in New Zealand. Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, called the comments “very anti-Semitic” and said: “While we wish to preserve the rights of freedom of speech, he went over the line.”

Fane admitted his remarks were “dumb words, said by a dumb man. It was a stupid, stupid mistake.”  In a letter to Goodman, he apologized to the Jewish community for causing offense.  “There are many faces to bigotry and sadly I have added mine, to speak and make light of the plight faced by so many defies belief let alone intelligence, so to the families of those who suffered and to the wider Jewish community I am deeply sorry. I am also aware that I have caused offence to friends and colleagues who are Jewish and though I have apologized personally to some of them this makes me additionally remorseful for the damaging nature of what I said,” Fane wrote.


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.