Thursday, March 8, 2007

A close look at the IAJV Declaration

The Blue italics will be my comments

The Declaration

Statement of Principles: A Call for an Alternative View

We are Jews with diverse opinions on the Middle East who share a deep concern about the current crisis in the region.

How many affiliated Jews aren't deeply concerned about what is happening in Israel and the middle east?

We are committed to ensuring a just peace that recognizes the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all.

Most people shouldn't have a problem with this. However not everyone will agree that the Palestinian national aspirations are legitimate. Certainly Hamas's vision of a Palestine that destroys and conquers Israel is not legitimate, so it wouldn't be included. Now skeptics will point out that most national aspirations of the Palestinians, including Fatah's are illegitimate, and would be right. I think that being that this organization is set up against the mainstream it will have a very broad definition of what is legitimate, but this line doesn't necessarily imply that. Very few Zionists cling to a one Jewish state solution, so I don't think people can complain about this line

We condemn violence by all parties, whether state sanctioned or not. We believe that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.

Treading on dangerous ground of moral equivalence. Israel's right to exist is not exactly Zionism, but it certainly isn't Anti-Zionism. I don't know exactly why the Palestinians have a "right" to a homeland. Maybe it is necessary to give them one given the situation, but a "right" to a Palestinian homeland that isn't Jordan is already becoming left wing. But thats OK, no one claimed that they weren't left wing Zionists.

As Australians we are privileged to live in a democratic state that embodies the principles of tolerance and free speech. We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or “self-hating.”

Often those being labeled disloyal or "self-hating" are, but I know plenty of people who are mislabeled, as I argued in my last post, they have a point.

Uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests. Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation. In particular, we are concerned that the Jewish establishment does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion. Contrary to widespread concerns, anti-Semitism is not fuelled by Jews who publicly disagree with actions of the Jewish State.

Well the Orange anti-disengagement people will agree with that first sentence. Its hard to be against Justice and Peace, I know many a right-winger who are for that just us much as anyone else. I think they are being a bit alarmist in saying that the Jewish establishment does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion. Sure there are politics, in the Jewish establishment, but the ones who are attacking these progressive voices are much extreme and far form the centre than these progressives. Rather than remove themselves from the establishment, maybe they should have protected their rightful place inside the establishment. However, removing themselves from the establishment instead of firing back at those who attack them can be commended. At the end of the day, they are doing a disservice to themselves by removing themselves from the debate; they are also doing a bigger disservice to the establishment by removing themselves from it.

On the last point they are just plain wrong. Neturei Karta and Extremely Left-Wing Jews are some of the biggest fuelers of Antisemitism. Many Left-Wing groups which "publicly disagree with actions of the Jewish State" and don't do a good enough job at separating themselves form anti-zionists and antisemites bring about both antisemitism and mar the Left-Wing.

Jews understand what it is to suffer racism and victimization and therefore we are not only concerned about anti-Semitism but also the demonisation of all other minorities.

Sorry, but that therefore doesn't work. While I am concerned about all discrimination, I don't think one neccasarily has to lead to the other. While I use a variant of this approach to support Jewish efforts for Darfur, I think this statement could be clearer. Nothing wrong with it though.

We call upon fellow Jews to join us in supporting free debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East.

Free debate sounds good. As long as we are not talking about Holocaust Denial, which we aren't.

So I got through all of it, and found nothing wrong. Well, just that anti-semitism should be spelled antisemitism, because there is no such thing as "semitism"

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