The Jewish Left

Netanyahu comes to Australia amidst protests from the Australian Jewish community – media release 20/2/17

i Feb 21st 2017

The Israeli Prime Minister is due to arrive in Australia on Wednesday 22nd at the invitation of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.  Despite the strong support that the Australian government has given the current Israeli government, there is growing concern and condemnation of Israel’s actions under Netanyahu.

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) endorsed and spoke at a protest, ‘Melbourne says no to Netanyahu,’ organised by a Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and held in Melbourne on Sunday February 19th.  The AJDS is particularly concerned with the rising shift in right wing, anti-democratic policies, and recurrent human rights violations committed by Israel under Netanyahu’s leadership.

Most recently, there has been a record-breaking increase in the demolition of Palestinian and Bedouin houses and villages, as well as the passing of the Expropriation Bill which retroactively claimed some 4,000 Palestinian houses and permitted increased settlement building, despite international condemnation of the settlements as a clear barrier to peace.

Netanyahu has declared that there will be no Palestinian State and refused to engage in negotiations for peace, while enacting policies that further dispossess Palestinians of their land and basic freedoms.

Dr Jordy Silverstein, AJDS executive member, says:

“The Israel that Netanyahu has furthered is not one that represents Jewish or democratic values: it moves Palestinians and Israelis further away from achieving justice and peace. As a result, increasing numbers of Jewish people worldwide are standing up in opposition to the policies and practices of Netanyahu and his governmental coalition.”

In one example, a petition titled ‘Jewish Australians say no to Netanyahu’, initiated by a diverse group of Australian Jews, has been signed by over 600 Australian Jews and their supporters, with many commenting on their disappointment, as Jews, in the actions of the State of Israel under Netanyahu.   The petition draws attention to increased demolitions, the two wars in Gaza, the corruption charges that Netanyahu is currently under criminal investigation for, and Netanyahu’s blind support for President Trump despite the climate of antisemitism that he is invoking.


 

“What I saw last Friday in Hebron”

i Jul 21st 2016

By Peter Beinart. Published in Haaretz 19/7/16.

Peace activists clean around Palestinian houses as Israeli army soldiers stand guard in Tal Rumaida, Hebron, West Bank, July 15, 2016. Credit: Mussa Qawasma, Reuters. Found here.

Jawad Abu Aisha owns a cluttered yard in H2, the sector of Hebron that falls under direct Israeli control. He’d like to turn it into a cinema. Many local Palestinians — lacking recreational opportunities — would like to help him. But Abu Aisha says that Jewish settlers, and the Israeli military, prevent him from developing the space. In a democracy, if your neighbors impede construction on your property, you can appeal to local authorities. But for Palestinians in Hebron, Israel is not a democracy. They can’t vote for its government. They live under military law. So when settlers disrupt Palestinian construction on privately owned Palestinian land — as part of their effort to make Palestinian life in H2 so unbearable that Palestinians leave — the army and police do their bidding. The army and police, after all, are accountable to Israeli citizens. And in Hebron, as throughout the West Bank, Jewish settlers are citizens. Palestinians are subjects.
I saw this firsthand last Friday when I left a family vacation in Israel to join 52 Jewish activists, mostly from the Diaspora, on a trip to Hebron organized by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence and the anti-occupation collective, All That’s Left. We came at the request of a group called Youth Against Settlements. It’s burly, charismatic leader, a student of Gandhi and Martin Luther King named Issa Amro, asked Diaspora Jews to come and help clear Abu Aisha’s yard. He didn’t need American Jewish muscle. He needed American Jewish privilege, the privilege that gives American Jews protection from the Israeli state. Issa hoped that privilege would buy his group a few hours of uninterrupted yard work. He also hoped it would bring them publicity.
Think of Issa as a Palestinian Robert Moses. By 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had been working for years to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote. But local whites brutalized them, often aided by the police. So Moses recruited northern white kids to come south for “Freedom Summer.” He hoped the media would follow, and that once white Americans saw segregation’s true face, they’d push their politicians to support civil rights. Among the more than 1,000 activists who heeded Moses’ call were Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, college students from New York whose murder, alongside African American James Chaney, has become American Jewish legend.
I’ll never know what it felt like to be in Mississippi in 1964. But last Friday, watching dozens of twenty-something American Jewish kids (and a few older activists) haul junk in Abu Aisha’s yard in Hebron, I felt an unusual sensation: hope.
I felt hope because American Jewish Millennials are different. My generation, which came of age in the 1990s, didn’t build a single organization that challenged the American Jewish establishment on Israel. That’s partly because, during the Oslo era, we thought American, Israeli and Palestinian leaders would create a two-state solution on their own. But it’s also because the 1990s were a lost decade for the American activist left, an “ice age,” in Cornel West’s words.
That ice age is now clearly over. From Occupy to Black Lives Matter to the immigrant “dreamers” whose protests forced U.S. President Barack Obama to change his policies on deportation, Millennials have brought street activism back to life. What happened last Friday in Hebron is part of that. Over the last few years, young American Jews have created three new organizations: Open Hillel, which challenges Hillel’s limitations on who can speak about Israel in Jewish spaces on campus, If Not Now, which protests American Jewish complicity with the occupation, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, which organizes peaceful resistance to it. Many of the young activists I met in Hebron were products of these groups and talking to them, I realized how formidable a challenge they’re likely to pose to the American Jewish establishment in the years to come.
They’re formidable because these kids don’t come from the margins of the American Jewish community. They come from its bosom. In Hebron, I met the son of a cantor, an alumna of the Orthodox youth movement Bnei Akiva, an Orthodox young woman who studied in a yeshiva not far where we were protesting, a Jewish day school graduate whose mother was connected to the yeshiva with Baruch Goldstein, a former activist in the century-old Zionist youth group Young Judaea, several former members of the socialist Zionist youth group Hashomer Hatzair, a young woman who grew up in Chabad, a young woman who taught Hebrew school at Chabad, a young woman whose right-wing Moroccan-Israeli parents immigrated to California, and a young man who until a few months ago worked at a prominent establishment American Jewish organization, until he couldn’t live with himself anymore.
The young people I met are also formidable because they’re learning things that American Jewish leaders don’t know. The dirty little secret of the American Jewish establishment is that its officials know little about Palestinian life under Israeli control. That’s by design. Mainstream American Jewish officials talk incessantly about Palestinians, but they rarely talk to them, in large measure because Hillel-style guidelines inhibit their interaction with people who cross their ideological red lines. Most American Jewish leaders have never met nonviolent Palestinian activists like Issa Amro. Nor have they personally experienced life under Israeli military law. The Jewish kids in Hebron have. On Friday, they got a tiny taste when the Israeli army declared Abu Aisha’s backyard a closed military zone, and then, after some activists retreated to Amro’s house, the army declared that a closed military zone too.
Finally, the young activists I met are formidable because they’re brave. Several said they hadn’t told their parents what they were doing because they’d be disowned. The officials who populate establishment American Jewish organizations are, in large measure, careerists. I’ve lost count of the number of staffers at mainstream Jewish groups who have told me they privately disagree with their organization’s stance on Israel. There are true believers on the American Jewish right, especially from the Orthodox world. But, today, the American Jewish establishment is composed of many people who know in their gut that they’re defending the indefensible. In a confrontation between them and the young activists I met on Friday, I’d bet on the latter.
To be clear, I don’t think protests like last Friday’s will have a direct impact on Israelis. The protests are too American. It’s hard to imagine Israelis interspersing religious songs like “Kol ha’olam kulo, gesher tzar me’od” (“All the world is a very narrow bridge,” from Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav) with civil rights anthems like “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” But the protests aren’t meant to change Israeli opinion. They’re meant to change American Jewish opinion, which could in turn change American government policy. And curiously, it was the very Americanism of the protest that made it so Jewish.
Standing in Abu Aisha’s yard, the American-Israeli activist Moriel Rothman-Zecher explained it this way. The Israeli left, he argued, contains many people alienated by Judaism. They’re alienated because they identify Judaism with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, which controls subjects like marriage, burial and divorce, and with right-wing hyper-nationalists like Naftali Bennett. By contrast, American Jews, who live in a country where Judaism is not intertwined with the state, lack that hostility. As a result, they are more likely to see their activism as an outgrowth of their Jewish identity rather than as an attempt to overcome it.
That was certainly the case last Friday. The activists I met weren’t speaking, and singing, about Judaism because they thought it was savvy public relations. They were doing so because Judaism is the language of their lives. At one point during the day, I heard several heatedly discussing whether the Talmud has anything meaningful to say about how to administer a Jewish state. At another, an activist told me about his experience studying Chayei Sarah, the Torah portion that describes Abraham’s burial of Sarah in Hebron.
Over the course of my life, I can remember several moments when contemporary events made me experience Jewish texts or tunes in a new way. I’ll never forget sitting in shul on the Shabbat after 9/11 and hearing the shaliach tzibbur sing Adon Olam to the tune of America the Beautiful. After last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, I heard it sung to the tune of La Marseillaise. And I’ll never forget last Friday afternoon, when we stood outside the settlement that housed the prison where Rothman-Zecher and five other activists had been detained, and welcomed Shabbat by singing Shalom Aleichem and Lecha Dodi. The soldiers and settlers standing in front of us looked at us like we were mad. The Palestinians standing behind us looked confused too, but a Palestinian boy, smiling broadly, nonetheless ran over to us with cups of water.
Why were we performing Kabbalat Shabbat? I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it was partly to remind myself of who I am. I had spent the day working alongside Palestinians and being protected by them. I had spent the day fearing Jewish soldiers and police. It was a jarring experience. The normal order of things, as I had learned them since childhood, had been turned upside down. Welcoming Shabbat was a way of centering myself. It was a reminder that no matter how many people tell me I hate Judaism, the Jewish people and the Jewish state — no matter how many people tell me I hate myself — I know who I am. I know when I’m living in truth. And nothing feels more Jewish than that.
I’m not an activist by nature. I couldn’t organize a protest to save my life. But leaving Hebron last Friday, I vowed to come back next year, for the fiftieth anniversary of Israel’s takeover of the West Bank. Instead of 50 Jews, I hope we bring 500. I hope you’re one of them.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously said that when he marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, he was “praying with his feet.” I now know what he meant. And I know that, to be the Jew I want to be, I must pray that way again.

Originally published in Haaretz


 

Statement about accusations of anti-Semitism in the Greens

i Jun 23rd 2016

The AJDS issued a statement 11/06/16 critical of the decision by Stephanie Hodgins-May, Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports, to pull out of the Zionist Victoria event. We stated: “we feel that it’s important that local candidates be prepared to address and engage with audiences in their electorate.”

Whilst this move by Stephanie has been hurtful to some in the Jewish community, the uproar following her decision has been highly inflated and overly accusatory, with allegations from the Jewish community both in the media labelling Stephanie and the Greens anti-Semitic.
AJDS does not associate itself with this canard. We want to reiterate that the AJDS statement was in no way meant to insinuate any labelling of Stephanie or the Greens as anti-Semitic. The term “anti-Semitic” is thrown around much too freely.

There is no evidence that the Australian Greens or any of their representatives are anti-Semitic. There appears to be a confusion (sometimes deliberate), between the political views of Greens on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the impression that these views are anti-Semitic. In fact, the views taken by Greens on issues such as the Occupation or a two-state solution are by and large, those taken by members of the Israeli left, including support for two, legitimate states (see their policy statement here). Such views are in fact also supported by members of the Labor Party and supporters of Palestinian rights are even found in the Coalition.

Regrettably, Michael Danby has used Hodgins-May’s action for his own political agenda, which tries to wedge the Jewish community by creating a climate of fear of “Green” anti-Semitism.

In a statement released by Danby (9/6) he claimed; “The Greens boycott of the Jewish community shows their deep and intractable antagonism towards the Australian Jewish community.” Danby has also been caught handing out how to vote cards that preference the Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports ahead of the Greens, defying his party’s National Executive (SMH 16/6).
Stephanie has responded to the controversy that she is in fact willing to be involved with the Jewish community, stating that she has accepted numerous invitations from Jewish community groups, including AUJS, Habonim, Mt Scopus and Jews for Refugees.

This indeed shows her willingness to engage with the needs and concerns of the Jewish community at large, and that she took particular offence at generalized views put out by Zionism Victoria about the UN, a body which she has worked for in the past.

While we stay out of election politics and do not endorse or promote any particular party or candidate, we believe that the Greens should not be dismissed by politically inflated accusations that they are anti-Semitic, and reiterate from our original statement that the issue has been “drawing attention away from the important local and national policies on which this election should be decided.”


 

Statement about the Greens withdrawal from candidates forum

i Jun 11th 2016
Greens VS Zionism Victoria

Stephanie Hodgins-May’s campaign poster. Image found here.

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) is disappointed that Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports, Stephanie Hodgins-May, has decided to withdraw from the candidates forum organised by the Australian Jewish News and Zionism Victoria (ZV). While Hodgins-May may disagree with the politics of these groups – she has specifically mentioned ZV’s attitude towards the United Nations as the basis for her withdrawal – we feel that it’s important that local candidates be prepared to address and engage with audiences in their electorate. Her decision to withdraw has the very real possibility of drawing attention away from the important local and national policies on which this election should be decided, which is a disservice to the electorate.

This statement was issued by the AJDS June 11, 2016


 

New/Old members of the AJDS

i Jul 10th 2015

I asked two of our members to answer 10 questions that were compiled as a way of introducing ourselves to one another. But I was also wondering about the importance of representing different kinds of Jewishness, the evolution of the AJDS, the current political atmosphere in Australia and the continuing restrictions on human mobility here and elsewhere.

You too can take part in this impromptu survey by clicking here. Your answers will be anonymous.

 Liz Brumer
Leon Midalia
1. Where do you call home?My home is where my values are being shared and affirmed.Home for me is Melbourne {Toorak} but
2. What are you passionate about?I am passionate about reconciliation and social justice.I have spent about 40 years in Perth . 40 years in Melbourne and sundry in Israel or other.
3. What is your favourite avenue for expression?Exploring common humanity.I like to spend time in U3A, and AJDS Also the Humanists and the Eccentrics. I also have a close friend who lives in Port Philip so I frequently travel there
4. How do you practice progressive values in your everyday life?I practice progressive values in every day life by not allowing conservative belief systems and cultural constructs to dominate my thinking.I like to express my thoughts with all of the above as well as at coffee sessions and dinner with friends.
5. Name someone who has changed the way you think.Gandhi has changed the way I think through his philosophy “change starts with me”.My outlook on life dates back to teenage times and I recall wistfully on my history teacher Mr Staples who impressed on me the need to think for myself. Also I felt very close to my brother, Max who was a Rationalist.
6. Describe something you do that you consider Jewish.I take non Jews for a synagogue experience.Well I love to make Gefilte fish so I guess that makes me a "Bauch Yid".
7. Have you or your close family ever experienced restrictions on your freedom of movement?My parents were victims of the holocaust. As a result, they encouraged me to ignore my Jewish heritage, but at the same time, they emphasised how I should embrace Judaism. For example, they wanted me to marry a Jewish man. This dilemma has created an enormous internal conflict throughout my life.No.
8. What is your relationship with Israel?Israel to me is like a family, I love it but I don’t accept her bad behaviour.I guess you would say it is a very complex, mixed relationship.I spent nearly 2 years on a Kibbutz and my family go way back to the Biluim and the NILI. My parents were born and raised in Zichron Yaacov and Castina.
9. Are you politically active outside the AJDS?Yes, I do attend protests and I am involved in indigenous reconciliation activities and strongly oppose any abuse of human rights.See no.3 above.
10. Are there ways in which you would like to contribute more, or wish to be more engaged with other members?I would love to assist in practical ways and engage in the planning of events when required as part of my desire to support the mission of this organization. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to share myself with AJDS and look forward to our future engagement.Both socially and at stimulating functions. Preferably in day time as I dont like driving at night. [The issue most dear to me is] is a just peace between Israel and Palestine.
The edelweiss, a symbol of my mother's world before she left Vienna.

The edelweiss, a symbol of my mother's world before she left Vienna.


Want to find out more about the AJDS? Read out About page or listen to key members interviewed as part of the AJDS’ Oral History Project.

 

A shtikl Bundism in Melbourne: Migrant Politics and the New Australians Council, 1955-1959

i Jul 20th 2014

shtikl – a little bit of something

By Clare Fester

Bono Wiener working as a knitter in the 1950s, accessed at Yiddish Melbourne

Bono Wiener working as a knitter in the 1950s. Image found at Yiddish Melbourne

 

When we think about 1950s Australia we often associate it with Robert Menzies’ long Liberal rule, social conservatism, and the White Australia policy. It was a period when migrant political participation was almost unheard of. Labour movement disinterest combined with the disinterest of migrants themselves, meant demands for economic equality and social recognition were not won until the 1970s. The New Australians Council (NAC), a small migrant auxiliary section of the Victorian ALP that existed in 1955-1959, punctuates this vision.

Led by a small group of migrants active in Melbourne’s Jewish Labour Bund, the NAC leadership grew to include ten migrants from eight different nationalities, represented approximately 200 workers from migrant backgrounds, and may have indirectly influenced many more. In 1957 the NAC held a successful meeting in Wonthaggi, a rural coal mining town in Gippsland. NAC secretary for the full four years it functioned and leading Bundist Bono Wiener, alongside L. Zandendea, a migrant activist from Italy, joined Assistant State Secretary R. Balcombe to address a mixed Australian-born and migrant audience of 67 people, including 25 Italian miners. Zandendea, who a year later would join the NAC’s executive, spoke in both English and Italian.At the end of the meeting several Italians joined the party.

In part the council existed to help the ALP assimilate and recruit new migrants. It ran Victorian ALP election campaigns directed at migrants. But it also served as a place for migrants to access and participate in Australian society. It was run for and by migrants themselves, producing English and foreign language media and material for migrant union members, and held quarterly conferences to discuss migrant issues.

That the NAC began to conceive counter-proposals to the assimilation agenda of the 1950s is in part due to its Bundist leadership. Every year at least one Bundist was represented on the NAC leadership. In its final year three Bundists joined the executive: Wiener, Joseph Winkler and Jacob Kronhill. This was far in excess of the proportional Bundist presence in the Australian migrant community.

The Jewish Labour Bund grew out of the revolutionary movements in Tsarist Russia and inter-war Poland, calling for Jewish civil, political and national rights. Forever a minority wherever they found themselves, Bundists understood (at least rhetorically) that the liberation of the Jewish working class was intimately bound up in the fate of the working class around it. In 1957, the year of the NAC’s first migrant worker conference, the International Jewish Labor Bund released a publication for its sixtieth anniversary stating: “The Bund has always held that only through joint action with the non-Jewish Socialist and labo[u]r organi[s]ations and other progressive elements in the countries where they live, can Jews improve their lot.”

Due to their very marginality, Bundist ideology allowed its members to understand themselves as a culturally distinct minority in the context of surrounding cultures.This understanding was borne out in practice through the NAC: it created the potential to facilitate united fronts between Jews and non-Jews. According to Wiener, Bundists were

 … Jews who believe [in] the ideals of social justice as expressed in the Labor party [and] strive for the rights of those who are oppressed and persecuted because they are Jews, Spaniards, Czecks [sic] or Greeks. We want the smaller people to have the same rights in life as the stronger.

These principals, along with the Bund’s vehement anti-Communism, often came into conflict with the NAC’s benefactors in the ALP. As is clear today, the ALP leadership’s support for migrants (whether they come by boat or as skilled workers) is ambivalent and unreliable. The ALP was the architect of Australia’s post-war mass migration program for the purposes of population and economic growth. However, fears about economic conditions, the political division caused by the ALP/DLP Split in 1955, and its electoral weakness, fractured the party’s position on migration.

As Bundists reported in their Yiddish-language journal Undzer Gedank in 1956, an organised anti-foreigner sentiment was re-emerging in the party. A union delegate at an ALP conference brought a motion calling on the federal government to immediately halt its migration program until there were enough houses and jobs for locals, implying that migrants were to blame for decreasing living standards. Wiener intervened from the floor:

 People must force the government to create better conditions for migrants. We do not come here in order to depress the lives of Australian workers, only together with you can we struggle for better conditions… I request tolerance … and for Australians and New Australians to struggle together …  Let us have more immigration and not less.

Indeed, statistics from 1958 do not show any correlation between housing shortages and migration. In WA migration was proportionally higher than in NSW, yet there was no housing shortage in WA. Rather, the housing crisis was the product of public under investment. The WA state government invested £8.3 per capita in public housing development, while NSW invested only £3.2 per capita.

The NAC positioned Wiener and his comrades as party activists capable of mobilising migrants to join the ALP. But it also allowed them to penetrate the ALP in a way that few migrants could during the 1950s. This opened an opportunity for them to disagree with the party and articulate a clear pro-migrant position from inside it. They wanted to be part of an ALP that fought for the jobs and living conditions of every worker in Australia, regardless of their birthplace.

The NAC existed only four years because it was perpetually mired in sectarianism. Like most political forums in 1950s Australia, the NAC became a breeding ground for Communist and anti-Communist infighting, particularly between Jewish political factions like the Bund and members of the Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism.

In 1958 Wiener led a campaign against an ALP senate candidate, claiming he was at least a Communist sympathiser, if not a member of the Communist Party of Australia. The Victorian ALP, having lost many of its anti-Communist members in the Split, had softened its relationship with the CPA and the leadership was deeply reluctant to take Wiener’s campaign seriously. Wiener had somewhat of an obsession with the matter and was eventually expelled from the ALP. Although the conflict did not involve the NAC as such, the press nonetheless reported that the NAC’s dissolution in 1959 was a direct result of Wiener’s anti-Communist fallout with party. When the ALP launched a new Australians sub-committee tightly controlled by the state executive in 1959, it invited former NAC members to take part. Bundists were conspicuously absent.

A tiny organisation with politics from another place and time, the Bund needed the NAC as its lifeline to the ALP and the Australian working class. But this also spelled the NAC’s downfall. Wiener and his comrades became entangled in the political obstacles and conflicts of the period, and were too small to carry through their pro-migrant and anti-Communist positions from within the ALP. Whatever nascent social democratic cultural pluralism they envisioned existed largely in the minds of Melbourne Bundists, not on the shop floors of the Australian working class.

The history of the NAC and the Bund’s involvement in it tell us some important things for today. We may not associate 1950s Australia with migrant political participation. But the NAC shows us that migrants challenged the profound limitations imposed upon them by Australian society at this early juncture. For the Bund this meant fighting for a more inclusive country that truly welcomed migrants. The NAC, for all it failings, was a critical vehicle through which the Bund carried out this struggle. Importantly, the NAC also shows us that the ALP leadership is capable of taking a pro-migrant position – when it is economically and politically advantageous. When the party enters political crises or economic uncertainty, this position can falter. In this case, it is up to activists like Wiener to make the argument that migrants are not the cause of unemployment or worsening living standards. It is not new migrants who write austerity budgets or fail to invest in jobs and services. That only a united Labour movement that cuts across ethnic and cultural lines can demand jobs and services for all, which was Wiener’s argument in 1956, is just as true today. 

Statement on the Occupation and Current War in Israel/Palestine

i Jul 14th 2014

In light of the breakdown of the peace talks, the kidnappings and murders, incitement and calls for vengeance and the current acts of violence, AJDS endorses the Open Letter from Jewish Voice for Peace in the US. The letter calls upon Jewish and Israeli communities to reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality:

“In this time of tremendous suffering and fear, from Jerusalem to Gaza, and from Hebron to Be’er Sheva, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality, and we mourn all those who have died. 

Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice for all compels us to acknowledge that this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on Palestinians. And it compels us to affirm that this violence has a root cause: Israel’s illegal occupation. 

We are united in our belief that: 

The denial of Palestinian human rights must end. 
Illegal settlements must end. 
Bombing civilians must end. 
Killing children must end. 
Valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others must end. 

Only by embracing equality for all peoples can this terrible bloodshed end.”

As Jews we have a responsibility to call upon the government of Israel to act in the best interests both of Palestinians and of Jews and Israelis within and outside Israel, and to choose a path to peace that is supported by the international community.

This is your opportunity to speak out for peace and justice!

We invite you to –

1. Sign the Jewish Voices for Peace Statement.

2. Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you oppose the path that is currently being taken.

3. Send a respectful email to the Israeli embassy and let them know of your opposition: info@canberra.mfa.gov.il

4. Send an email to Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs (julie.bishop.mp@aph.gov.au)  and the opposition spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Tanya Plibersek (tanya.plibersek.mp@aph.gov.au) and Christine Milne (Greens Leader senator.milne@aph.gov.au) to voice your opposition to Israeli actions.  Also email your local Federal MP.