An appeal from Australian Jews to the Australian Jewish community: 'We cannot remain silent'

Friday, August 15, 2014

An open letter signed by 164 Australians of Jewish identity and background calls on Jewish Australians to break their silence on the onslaught on Gaza by Israel. Among the signatories are actress Miriam Margolyes, union leader Kim Sattler, and writers Sara Dowse, Antony Loewenstein and Susan Varga.

Vivienne Porzsolt of Jews against the Occupation, which organised the open letter, said: “Silence is consent and as Jews, we must oppose atrocities taken in our name. Our public stand demonstrates that many Jews reject the brutal occupation of the Palestinians by Israel.

“The outrage that all people of humanity feel at the conduct of the State of Israel against the Palestinians can too easily be directed to Jews in general. As we have seen with the ugly cartoon by Le Lievre and the antisemitic attack on the Jewish children on a Bondi bus, old antisemitic tropes re-emerge, fuelled by the atrocities committed by Israel.

“No racism, including anti-Semitism, is ever excusable. However, the Jewish community leadership promotes the identification of Jews with Israel and all its actions. They label Jewish critics of Israel as ‘self-hating’ and ‘not real Jews’. They debase the charge of anti-Semitism by applying it to all criticism of Israel. It is not surprising then that some may hold Jews in general responsible for Israel's actions.”

The letter calls for “an end to the underlying conditions of siege and occupation which defy elementary morality, decency and humanity, as well as international and humanitarian law”.


As Australians of Jewish identity and background, we are appalled at the current mass killing in Gaza by Israel. We reject the official mythology that Israel is under existential threat and acting in self-defence.

Since 12 July, the Israeli army has killed more than 1900 people in Gaza. Hospitals, schools, beaches, playgrounds – even UN shelters have been attacked. The whole world has reacted with horror and outrage.

In the face of the destruction of so many lives, we cannot remain silent while the official Jewish leadership gives such active support to Israel's attack on Gaza. Their decision to stand with the oppressor rather than the oppressed is a betrayal of our history and values, when authentic moral leadership is more important than ever. Siege, occupation, the slaughter of innocents and collective punishment of an entire people are deeply wrong and unlawful. Yet the Jewish leadership uncritically promulgates the propaganda of the Israeli government that this is self-defence. They are failing to represent and serve the Jewish community.

Silence is consent and evil triumphs when good people do nothing. We call on our fellow Jews to break their silence, to take a public stand, not just for an immediate cease-fire, but for an end to the underlying conditions of siege and occupation which defy elementary morality, decency and humanity, as well as international and humanitarian law.

1. Kate Alway
2. Dr Eran Asoulin
3. Willy Bach, peace researcher and poet
4. Dr Peter Balint
5. Dr Tony Balint
6. Judy Bamburger, management consultant
7. Sivan Barak, student
8. Dr Ditta Bartels, retired CEO, Inphaze
9. Somerset Bean, graphic designer
10. Alice Beauchamp
11. Lyn Bender, psychologist, writer
12. Robyn Bersten, professional researcher
13. David Bilander, engineer/analyst
14. Dr Geoffrey Binder, lecturer/tutor
15. Paul Blay, landscape architect
16. Dr Barbara Bloch
17. Alfiah Blond, nutritional medicine practitioner
18. Simon Blond, university lecturer
19. Karen Bloomberg, speech pathologist
20. Leah Bloomfield, education advisor
21. Professor John Bradley, Monash University
22. Jacki Braw
23. Mariann Brull
24. Michael Brull
25. Angela Budai,union official
26. Jenny Bush, retired rehabilitation counsellor
27. Susie Carleton
28. Su Carter, administration officer
29. Dr Barry Carr, historian
30. Martin Chanock, emeritus professor of law, La Trobe University
31. Associate Professor Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne
32. Ruth Clemens, retired secondary school teacher
33. Harry Cohen, AM
34. Ian Cohen, former MLC, NSW Parliament
35. Leone Cohen
36. Rachael Collinson, former journalist
37. Max Corden AC
38. Piera Dennerstein
39. Anneke Deutsch, retired prosthetist
40. Dr John Docker, writer
41. Janet Doherty
42. Dr Sara Dowse, author
43. Alec Drummond, library worker
44. Linda Eisler, former Councillor, Canterbury LMA
45. Nicole Ehrlich, research psychologist
46. Dr Marietta Elliott-Kleerkoper, writer, language consultant
47. Marsh Emerman, lecturer in film and TV
48. Harry Feldman
49. Naima Fine
50. Dr Michelle Fink, medical specialist
51. Corinne Fisher, professional educator, sustainability
52. Lee Flax, retired lecturer, Macquarie University
53. Gabrielle Flax
54. Professor Steve Frenkel
55. Nadia Fried, musician, teacher
56. Bonnie Gelman
57. Dr Guy Gillor, public health researcher
58. Dr Hal Ginges
59. Sandra Glasbeek, retired civil servant
60. Penelope Glass, theatre worker
61. Jack Grey
62. Joseph Halevi, senior lecturer, University of Sydney
63. Gaskell M Harris, former lecturer, computer science
64. David Heilpern LLB LLM
65. Davey Heller, bushland regeneration worker
66. David Hermolin, lead union organiser
67. Tim Hollo, musician and activist
68. Janine Israel
69. John Jacobs, actor, lecturer
70. Professor Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania
71. Margaret Jacobs
72. Max Kaiser
73. Dr David Kaye, psychiatrist
74. John Kaye, Greens NSW MP
75. Margaret Kaye, Feldenkrais practitioner
76. Dr Rick Kuhn, adjunct reader in Sociology, Australian National University
77. Sarah Lay, retired public school teacher
78. Melanie Lazarow, student
79. Sue Leigh, activist and former counselor
80. Michael Lever, archeologist and cultural heritage advisor
81. Dr David Levy
82. Dr Gary Levy, educator, researcher
83. Rachel Liebhaber
84. Professor G J Lindell AM
85. Ian Lisser, union activist
86. Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist, author, Guardian columnist
87. Jackie Lublin
88. Dr Terry Lustig, environmental and water engineer
89. Margo McKelvie
90. Laurie Izaks McSween
91. Jonathan Maltz, counsellor
92. Miriam Margolyes, actress
93. Dennis Martin
94. Leon Medalia
95. Stefan Moore, film maker
96. Associate Professor Alan Morris, University of Technology, Sydney
97. Martin Munz
98. Haskell Musry, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant
99. Liam Neame, academic
100. Dr Ian Neering, retired Associate Professor, University of NSW
101. Joan Nestle, retired Associate Professor, CUNY
102. Sharmila Nezovic
103. Alex Nissen, educator
104. Jacqui Nissim, union organiser
105. Rod Oaten, retired school teacher
106. Judith O'Conal-Prinz, professional portrait painter
107. Dennis Oppenheim, retired insurance broker
108. Sandra Padova, lesbian social justice advocate
109. Dr Tamas Pataki, author and retired lecturer, University of Melbourne
110. Cathy Peters, ABC Radio National producer
111. Tim Petterson, Campaigns and Communications Director
112. Dr Annie Pettit
113. Dr Annie Pfingst, research fellow
114. Abe Pogos, script writer
115. Vivienne Porzsolt, spokesperson, Jews against the Occupation
116. Richard Raber, film-maker
117. Adjunct Associate Professor Karl Reed
118. Michelle Reiner, customer service administrator
119. Andrew Riemer
120. Marilyn Rister
121. Susan Rosedale, teacher
122. Deborah Rosenberg
123. Les Rosenblatt
124. David Rothfiled
125. Pamela J Rothfield
126. Paul Rubner, retired librarian
127. Dr Jen Runds
128. Jay Rutovitz, energy consultant
129. Margot Salom, researcher
130. Kim Sattler, secretary, Unions ACT
131. Daniel Saks
132. Sol Salbe, journalist
133. Yvette Scholtmeyer, editor
134. John Seed, OAM
135. Debra Shulkes, editor
136. Regina Sigal, madam
137. Dr Ben Silverstein, lecturer, University of NSW
138. Dr Jordy Silverstein, historian, University of Melbourne
139. Esther Singer, vegetable farmer
140. Deborah Singerman, editor, writer, project management consultant
141. Associate Professor Peter Slezak, University of NSW
142. Dr David Slucki
143. Dr Sue Starfield
144. Norman Sterling
145. Dr Larry Stillman
146. David Stockman
147. Lanie Stockman
148. Dr Marcelo Svirsky, lecturer, University of Wollongong
149. Anna Tambour
150. Robin Taubenfeld, teacher and community organiser
151. Leah Thomas, student
152. Fred Tropp-Asher, retired IT project manager
153. Robyn Unger, public servant
154. Susan Varga, author
155. Shobha Varkey
156. Avril Vorsay, researcher, translator, performer
157. Peter Walton, self-employed
158. Jamie Walvisch, university lecturer
159. Dr David Weatherell, honorary fellow in history, Deakin University
160. George Winston AM
161. Dr N D Witton
162. Dr Ron Witton
163. Sandra Goldbloom Zurbo, editor and author
164. Dr David Zyngier, senior lecturer, Monash University

From GLW issue 1021



Anti-racist Jewish Australians re Gaza "We cannot remain silent"

I endorse this letter from 164 anti-racist Jewish Australians.

Only a dozen of my wider family survived the WW2 Jewish Holocaust in Hungary in 1944-1945 with 400,000 Hungarian Jews, including Catholic Jews, Judaism-observant Jews and agnostic, atheist and other Jews perishing.

All anti-racist Jews and non-Jews must respond to the core moral injunctions arising from the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) that was par tof a WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies killed) , specifically "zero tolerance for racism", "bear witness", "zero tolerance for lying" and "never again to anyone".

UNICEF data show that 3,000 under-5 Occupied Palestinian infants die each year and that accordingly 4,200 Occupied Palestinians (2,100 of them children) die avoidably from racist Zionist (RZ)- imposed deprivation each year. Accordingly in 2014 Apartheid Israel has murdered about 2,800 Occupied Palestinian children through violence (600 in the Gaza Massacre, 100 otherwise) or war criminally imposed deprivation (2,100) (see Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web : ).

US- and Australia-backed Apartheid Israel violently or passively murders 8 Indigenous Palestinian children each day.

Neo-Nazi Apartheid Israel’s latest Gaza Massacre in the Gaza Concentration Camp has so far has been associated with 2,200 Palestinians killed (about 600 of them children), 10,000 wounded (, and 450,000 displaced with 1.8 million Gazans ( 0.9 million of them children) variously traumatized by Apartheid Israel - and all this horror in response to zero (0) Israelis killed by Gaza rockets in the year before the latest Israeli invasion. Indeed 28 Israelis have been killed by Gaza rockets since the start of the Intifada in 2000 or 2 per year as compared to a total of about 130 Israelis murdered by fellow Israelis each year.

The US-backed racist Zionists have killed 2 million Indigenous Palestinians since 1936 through violence (0.1 million) or through violently-imposed deprivation (1.9 million), and have generated 7 million Palestinian refugees (see “Palestinian Genocide”: ).

Of 12 million Palestinians (half of them children), 6 million are forbidden to even step foot in their own country, 4.3 million are highly abusively imprisoned in the Gaza Concentration Camp (1.8 million) or in West Bank mini-Bantustan ghettoes (2.5 million), and only 0.85 million (7%) , the adults of 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis, can vote for the Government ruling all of the former Mandated Palestine, albeit as Third Class citizens (see Gideon Polya, “Mike Carlton, Top Australian Columnist, Forced From Job For Criticizing Apartheid Israeli Gaza Massacre”, Countercurrents , 8 August, 2014: and Gideon Polya, “Truth & Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) can overcome huge inequities suffered by African Americans under American Apartheid”, Countercurrents, 29 September, 2014: ).

Those who ignore, deny, obfuscate, excuse, support, advocate or are otherwise complicit in the gross abuse of children (like the child-abusing racist Zionists and the pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey Australian Coalition and Labor Right (aka the Lib-Labs or Liberal-Laborals) - or indeed of anyone - have crossed the line separating decent Humanity from Nazi-style barbarism.

Decent anti-racist Australians will reject the pro-war, pro-Zionist Lib-Labs, put the Coalition last, and vote 1 Green or Socialist.