How many Australian Jews would support a nuclear-free Middle East? Meaning what? Well, perhaps this, for starters. A regional agreement to be open to frequent and regular inspection, monitoring and public disclosure of research and development, investments, organizational capacity-building, importation and trade, planning and implementation of nuclear explosive/contamination weaponry ( including depleted uranium) by a peak international organization such as the IAEA (international atomic energy agency).
Uniquely, as far we we know, this opinion piece by two people well known in the Jewish and Arabic speaking communities in Australia has now been published on the same day(July 2, 2009), by newspapers which serve each community, the Australian Jewish News, and An-nahar. We hope that this article reflects a new era of dialogue and realism not just in Australia, that also has some influence in the Middle East.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech throws a couple of specks of kosher synthetic food freshener on what was always going to be a stale, dry, cold and limp dish he was serving up to his unexpected visitor, Barack Obama. No Palestinians were at the table although they were being offered some drudge-work in the kitchen once they’d passed the indefinite probationary labour test for the pre-breakfast 3AM shift. This was dressed up as economic reconciliation.
****This is an entirely personal viewpoint**** The hysteria surrounding Gilad Shalit in Israel --and passed it on through the Jewish News in Australia--deserves comment. I've been thinking about it for some time, and it was only when I read Haaretz (see below), that I thought it was time to comment. Here`s the cold truth. Shalit is a prisoner of war.
THE US President’s recent speech in Cairo heralded a new beginning in relations between the US and the Muslim world.The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) believes it is in the interests of all countries in the region to respond positively to the opportunity presented by this constructive re-engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A lead letter published in the The Australian, 16 June 2009 THE US President’s recent speech in Cairo heralded a new beginning in relations between the US and the Muslim world, and signalled a re-engagement with finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is, therefore, disappointing that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response has merely restated Israel’s position with a new precondition that the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
Akiva Eldar and Yossid Sarid have pulled no punches into the inadquacey of Netanyahu's response to Obama http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1092898.html A friendly tip from Abu Mazen By Akiva Eldar Dear Mr Netanyahu, I admit that I did not hold my breath in anticipation of your speech. I heard that your first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said it is not important what the gentiles say - what is important is what the Jews do.
The AJDS has written a statement in support of the Obama initiative in the Middle East. If you support this statement, please follow the link at the end of the statement to provide your public endorsement through an online petition which demonstrates the extent of support for a new approach in the Middle East. Background (Preamble): The Australian Jewish Democratic Society together with other Jewish Australians who care greatly for both the future of Israel and the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians strongly endorse the views recently expressed by the US President in Cairo. His words represent a sea change in approach to a conflict that has festered for so long that many of us have despaired of the possibility of finding a path to a resolution. His words articulate both the main elements of the conflict as understood by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society and a way forward to hope:
When the horrors of the Holocaust and the actions of the nazis are associated with more modern events, many of us find the comparisons to be demeaning and insensitive. When those tags are applied to Israel we find them totally offensive. Yet Morry Sztainbok (AJN letters 5/6/2009) finds no problem using those sorts of comparisons when it comes to people he clearly despises. To quote him: "..then it was Kapos, today Jewish 'peace' activists; then it was Mein Kampf, today the charters of Hamas and Fatah." So Sztainbok thinks that it is within the acceptable limits of public debate to associate kapos with Jews he disagrees with, and compare Palestinians with the nazis. His words make that clear. I think that sort of vilification is offensive to Jews and Palestinians. My only comfort is that my letter will be one of many who condemn Sztainbok's words. After all, the Jewish community wouldn't display a double standard, would it? Harold Zwier