The Australian Jewish Left and Indigenous Rights by Philip Mendes

First published in Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, Vol.20, Part 3, November 2011, pp.430-443. Please see attached for footnoted version. There are two principal historical perspectives concerning Australian Jewry’s engagement with Indigenous concerns. One perspective, which is often cited in the Jewish media, holds that Jews have been prominent in the struggle for Indigenous rights. This perspective typically cites a number of examples of this support. They include:

The Australian Jewish Left and Indigenous Rights by Philip Mendes

First published in the Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, Vol.20, Part 3, November 2011, pp.430-443. Please see attached for footnoted version. There are two principal historical perspectives concerning Australian Jewry’s engagement with Indigenous concerns. One perspective, which is often cited in the Jewish media, holds that Jews have been prominent in the struggle for Indigenous rights. This perspective typically cites a number of examples of this support. They include:

AJDS Statement on New Housing Units in Gilo 9th November 2011

The announcement on 27th September by the Jerusalem regional planning and construction committee, of the building of 1100 new housing units in Gilo has been met with universal opposition by the United States, the Quartet, Germany, France, the UK and other countries -all active supporters of Israel on the international stage. The Israeli government argues that Gilo is merely a Jewish neighbourhood in southern Jerusalem and is entitled to build there as it would in any other part of Israel. But there are significant reasons to reject that argument.

AJDS Annual Dinner – 11th December 2011

Invitation to AJDS Annual Dinner - 11th December 2011 We are pleased to invite you to our Annual Dinner at Almazett Lebanese restaurant at 208 Balaclava Road North Caulfield 7pm on the 11th of December 2011. The Annual Dinner is a fantastic chance for all members and supporters to catch up and talk about issues relevant to progressive Jews in an informal setting. We’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone there.

New AJDS staff member- Max Kaiser

Max Kaiser: the new AJDS Community Organiser. The AJDS has a new part-time paid staff member to help with the many demands that the organisation faces in planning functions, communicating with our members and more actively pursuing the role of a progressive voice amongst Jews and a Jewish voice amongst progressives. We'll let Max give a brief sketch of himself-- I'm 24 years old, grew up in Brunswick and currently live in Coburg. I recently graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in social theory.

Mosque attack: The speech Netanyahu should have delivered: Sol Salbe

Sol Salbe, a former long-serving member of the AJDS executive and newsletter editor, has had an opinion piece published in the widely circulated 972+ website (972 is the Israeli International Dialling Code). Kol ha-kavod lo --all honour to him! ============= After the torching of a mosque last weekend in Israel, an anti-occupation activist wrote on Facebook that alongside recent anti-minority legislation passed in Israel, a publication permitting murder on religious grounds, and the appalling role of the army, police and politicians in supporting religious-nationalistic terrorism, Israel today is reminiscent of the 1930s. Other friends of mine rejected this comparison, observing that Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had condemned the perpetrators. “What more response do you expect from politicians,” wrote one. What more do I expect? Good question. Below is the response that I want. I would have liked for Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver the following speech on national television to the Israeli people... [for the rest of the article, go to 972+ website].

Refugee Rights

Robin Rothfield, a member of the AJDS Executive, has long been an advocate of refugee rights, and has had two letters published recently in the press: [The Australian, 19 Sept 2011] THE first step for the Prime Minister to take in reforming the ALP is to abide by decisions of the ALP National Conference, the supreme policy-making body of the party, as embodied in the Natiional Platform, 2009. Chapter 7, paragraph 157 of the Platform states: "Protection claims made in Australia will be assessed by Australians on Australian territory." Consistent with the platform the Prime Minister must therefore scrap plans for offshore processing. [The Age, 15 September 2011] What platform is that? ACCORDING to your report "Abbott muddies water on boats" (The Age, 13/9), Senator John Faulkner explained to the Labor caucus that under Labor Party rules legislation could not be in breach of the ALP platform. Your report continues that Julia Gillard told a news conference that the plan was in accordance with Labor's platform. The ALP National Platform states, chapter 7, paragraph 157: ''Protection claims made in Australia will be assessed by Australians on Australian territory'', which is a clear endorsement of onshore processing. Moreover, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Immigration and all Labor MPs would have signed a pledge as parliamentary candidates: ''To do my utmost to carry out the principles embodied in the platform.''

The Point is Lost (in BDS noise).

[This letter appeared in the Sunday Age, 25 September 2011] THE report in The Sunday Age exposes a fundamental truth of propaganda campaigns - the level of ignorance that drives them. The protesters chanting outside Israeli-connected Max Brenner chocolates display little understanding of the complexity of the conflict about which they gather, and are apparently unaware of the way in which their aggressive confrontation taps into the collective memory of many in the Jewish community, who inevitably associate back to the picketing of Jewish businesses in 1930s Europe. Melbourne in 2011 is not comparable to that dark period, nor can the protesters be remotely compared to people back then. But they need to be aware of why some Jews are so incensed by tactics that try to link locally owned Israeli shops with allegations against the Israeli military. In reality, Max Brenner is not in the war business. The parent company provides ''care packages, sports and recreational equipment, books and games for soldiers'', to quote the protesters. The consequence of their polarising tactics is that many people who support Israel vent their disgust at the protests, and ignore the oppression of Palestinians, the reality of 44 years of occupation and the brutalisation of generations of Israeli conscripts since 1967. This point is completely lost on the protesters. LARRY STILLMAN, HAROLD ZWIER Australian Jewish Democratic Society executive