Thursday, May 14, 2009


My award of Letter of the Week goes to this masterpiece published in today's Melbourne Age.

The author didn't quite get it right because Jewish Care cancelled a performance by actor Miriam Margoyles but not of the so-called play which it was never going to put on in the first place. However, Ingrid Weinberg has captured the spirit of the issue in a nutshell.

Australians for Palestine, to which the actor and a small band of others have given their imprimatur by associating with this calumny is involved in various programmes seeking to deligitimise the Jewish State including boycotts of Israeli products and academics so why the uproar when Jewish Care exercises its right to have nothing to do with someone who collaborates with such a nefarious cause?

Congratulations to Ingrid Weinberg for producing this week's brilliant gold plated letter of the week and to the Age letters editor for allowing it to see the light of day in the newpaper.

This kind of 'debate' is not helpful

AMID the anger over Jewish Care's decision to cancel the performance of Seven Jewish Children, I feel facts have been neglected in the debate. The performance was sponsored by Australians for Palestine, a virulently anti-Israel lobbying group, to commemorate "al-Nakba", or the "catastrophe", of Israel's creation in 1948.

There is a reason that pro-Israel voices declined to participate in the panel discussion. I speak from experience. Attending an Australians for Palestine-sponsored talk at the University of Melbourne by Palestinian academic Ghada Karmi in 2007, I and some fellow Zionist students attempted to make our voices heard at the end of her speech. We were shouted down, booed and abused by the audience, before being asked to leave the venue. Is this the kind of "debate" Miriam Margolyes and others participating in the play were hoping to provoke?

Australians for Palestine, and the producers of Seven Jewish Children, are only seeking to further delegitimise and demonise Israel to a wider audience than normally received. I see no reason for Jewish Care to assist them in doing so.

Ingrid Weinberg, North Caulfield


Anonymous said...

And this letter is crap except for the heading. There is no place for racist vitriol - that's what Australians for Palestine and their play is all about - racist vitriol.

There's no place for racist vitriol
I WRITE to clarify the misrepresentations of Ingrid Weinberg (Letters, 14/5). When Dr Ghada Karmi came to Australia at the invitation of the Sydney Writers Festival in 2003, she spoke in Melbourne under the banner of Women for Palestine. At this lecture Dr Karmi could not answer all the questions put to her, as time did not permit.

Australians for Palestine was not formed until 2006, and in 2007 again brought out Dr Karmi. At neither lecture were any individuals heckled, abused or removed from the lecture theatre. These claims are false.

Australians for Palestine and Women for Palestine are advocacy groups providing a voice for dispossessed Palestinians. Al-Nakba is the term Palestinians and other Arabs use when describing the dispossession of 1948, not the creation of Israel.

We have never, nor will we ever, promote or engage in the sort of racist vitriol that Weinberg claims. We have many Jewish supporters and work with all concerned members of the public to raise awareness about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Moammar Mashni, Australians for Palestine, Melbourne

Anonymous said...

Bad luck Mashni. Your recollection of the event is rather poor but it doesn't matter. Your little group was put on the defensive (your mates not editing the letters yesterday?) and no amount of obfuscation is going to change the perception that your crowd aren't exactly open to an honest debate.