Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday 2 March 2013

What Ails Australian Jewry's Leaders? A Concerned Jew Speaks Out

This is a guest blog by communal personality Shirlee Finn of Sydney, who is no stranger to my regular readers.

She writes:

It appears our Community Leaders in Australia have what is commonly known as the ‘British Disease’ They wonder why people want no part of the mainstream organisations . Instead of standing up and showing that we are strong, they issue weak statements. I and many, many others think it's high time they consulted with the Community to find out what they actually think. They will be unpleasantly surprised that most people don't go along with their views. They will find they are clearly out of step with main stream thinking in regards to Islam and the joke called 'multiculturalism'

In November, in a show of support for Israel in light of Operation Pillar of Cloud, Jewish communities nationwide wide held rallies to show solidarity with Israel. To be honest I have no idea what Perth and Brisbane communities did, but Melbourne and Sydney organised rallies. Melbourne’s went ahead as scheduled in a park.

Sydney’s? That’s a whole other issue. Many people decided to give it a miss because they felt that a ‘park in Bondi’ was hardly the appropriate place for a show of solidarity. They felt the City should have been the venue of choice.

At the allotted time I turned up at the designated park to find Community Security ushering people into the Mizrachi Synagogue. I was quite appalled. Where was this show of solidarity if we were hidden away? I was angry but went inside, but only for a few moments until a man took the microphone and said exactly what I was thinking. I was one of only a handful to leave in disgust. In fact I left altogether. The excuse for hiding us away apparently was a security issue, but what of those who couldn’t get inside?

Angry beyond words, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the AJN – Australian Jewish News. I was told later that as much as they agreed with my letter, it was very strong and they were worried about publishing it. They even had a meeting to discuss it. Something apparently very out of the ordinary and the consensus was to publish it.
“I thank and congratulate the ZCNSW [State Zionist Council of New South Wales] for organising the Solidarity Rally last weekend so well and so quickly
Though I am ashamed.
Ashamed that it was deemed necessary to hide away one third of the people who attended the rally for supposed security reasons .
Whose security pray tell? Seeing as to how two thirds of people were in the park?
 I enquired about the people outside, to be told they would have to cope!
So then whose security were we speaking of?
The elite few?
If it was such a security risk, why then were there only so few police in attendance?
Haven’t we done with hiding and running away? Haven’t we done enough of that down through the ages?
No more running.
We should be finished with that.
Haven’t enough died?
Why aren’t we openly displaying our support for Israel?
People like my father who proudly and openly proclaimed their Jewishness in the East End of London, in the face of Oswald Mosley and his Fascist Party, must be turning in their graves.
I can still clearly see ‘The Blackshirt’ newspaper sitting on the kitchen table, showing a photo of my father with the words “We have to put an end permanently to this man, not only is he a Communist, he is a Jew”.
My father never hid, he never cowered. He stood proud and tall. He refused protection.
It was instilled into me never to be afraid even whilst the death threats were current and I was only allowed out with Police protection.
Let’s stand up and be counted with no more hiding.”
I waited for the backlash from our Community Leaders – and gurnisht/nothing. Not a peep. I did however hear from people I don’t know agreeing with me.

There should have been some kind of reaction from Leadership in regards to an incident on KKL/JNF -Green Sunday. Did it happen? NO!!

The AJDS – Australian Jewish Democratic Society – despite being a "Jewish" organisation, is virtually like having the enemy in our midst. They are commonly called "the enemy within". They are group with extreme leftist views and do all they can to demonise Israel.

To my way of thinking, and that of many, many others, this is just not on.  If take issue and you want to air it and you live in the Diaspora – don’t. You have no right. You are not an Israeli citizen. If you want that right then go and live there

On January 21st the Executive of the AJDS submitted the following letter to the Australian Jewish News ahead of a major fundraising drive by the Jewish National Fund.
'With the Jewish National Fund (JNF) “Green Sunday” coming up, this year raising money for projects in the Beersheva region, there are some important reasons why we need to think carefully about the role that the JNF plays in Israel. For instance,
* Despite some tinkering due to recent court cases in Israel, the JNF charter prohibits the sale or renting of land to non-Jews. Yet Israel is supposed to be a state for all its citizens. Would we support such a form of discrimination against defined groups of citizens in Australia?
* The JNF receives land from the forced removal of Bedouin villages in the Negev. While the JNF claims that such Bedouin settlements are unlawful, the deliberate resettlement of indigenous populations such as the Bedouin (and they are classified as such) clearly breaches international protocols. One village, Al Araqib, has been demolished 45 times, and its demolition orders are currently facing Supreme Court appeal.
* For decades now, the JNF’s forests have been used to cover up destroyed Palestinian villages. The villagers, many of whom fled and were not involved in hostilities, have no right to return or to claim compensation.
* The JNF continues to plant pine trees even though it is very clear that this is environmentally irresponsible and contributes to devastating forest fires. They are the wrong trees for the local environment.
* The JNF is active in the Occupied Territories, through its involvement with evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Supporting the Occupation in this way politicises the JNF in a very divisive way.
here are more ethical, non-discriminatory and environmentally-friendly organisations in Israel which deserve the support of the Australian Jewish community. These include the Green Environment Fund and Friends of the Earth Middle East, as well as Israeli hospitals which offer treatment without fear or favour, and of course, social development organisations supported by the New Israel Fund and other organisations. With the establishment of Israel over 65 years ago, it’s past time for us to think seriously about our support for the JNF.'
The paper's editor indicated that he would not publish itThat being the case, the AJDS then decided that “the Australian Jewish community was being hindered from hearing other voices by a media outlet which considered itself inclusive and authoritative.”

Yes, AJDS, that’s because once again you are demonising Israel, and a Jewish publication won’t do your dirty work!

This group of extreme leftists then decided their best plan of action was to demonstrate, hand out flyers and cause a ruckus outside of the JNF offices, so much so, in their own words
“3 squad cars were called by the powers that be and even more security back up.”
Note: The protesters were initially rumoured to be from the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS), although this was refuted by AJDS co-President Harold Zwier:
“I know there were some AJDS people who may have taken part in it but it wasn’t an AJDS event”
I question that fact as their President was part of the group and it was after all posted on their Facebook page

As you would expect their version was a far different one to that of the volunteers at the JNF offices:  (See here)
This is just one of the antics the AJDS get up to and yet the JCCV [Jewish Community Council of Victoria] have no issue with them being an affiliate. It’s high time our Community Organisations stood up to the noisy minority and listened to the Community as a whole.

Somehow our Community Leaders felt threatened by the presence of Geert Wilders in this country.

Geert Wilders is one of the most pro-Israel supporters on this planet. What an insult.!

The ECAJ – Executive Council of Australian Jewry – supported by other Community Organisations issued a Statement extolling the virtues of multiculturalism, which we all know is an abysmal failure and has ‘ghettoised’ the country.

Likewise the one released by the JCCV.

The ECAJ is the umbrella organisation which claims it speaks for the entire Jewish Community in Australia. The JCCV purportedly represents the Jewish Community in Victoria, it appears to most that all it does is to pander to the loony left, aka ‘the enemy within’.

As is my norm I blog and comment all over the Internet for Israel and just about everywhere I went I was seeing comments about how the Jewish Community should be supporting Geert Wilders and the statements put out were pathetic.

Andrew Bolt, who is a strong Israel supporter, also made comment on his Blog. (See here)

He says:
“Depressingly, he [Wilders] has even been shunned by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Jewish community leaders. [And quotes the pathetic statement from the ECAJ.] It seems to me that political or community advantage is being put before principle – and fear is preventing a rational discussion of Wilders’ message.”
No one was expecting the Community Leaders to come out and say they support Wilders. This is one time they could have said nothing. There was no need for such a pathetic non-statement.

I have firsthand accounts from people who were at the Melbourne and Sydney events. The audience consisting of mainly non-Jews. At both events I am told that when Wilders acknowledged that Israel has every right to exist, it raised a huge ovation.

Wilders has spoken in Israel. He has also spoken at various shuls in the USA and I believe Congress and we can’t support him here? The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has announced its strong support for him and we are busy having little Muslim/Jewish cooking sessions. How truly pathetic is that?

Haven’t we had enough? Why are we so quiet?

Why aren’t we out there voicing our opinion against Islamic speakers Taji Mustafa and Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, both of whom will be here this month, who are both on record making antisemitic remarks? By that I don’t mean making statements and posting them on J-Wire or the ECAJ website

Whilst I am raving, I have questions which many people are talking about.

Why on earth is the AJDS an affiliate of the JCCV? A group of people who are trying to bring Israel to her knees. I realise we have a very strong representation of the Jewish Extreme Left in Melbourne, but why are we pandering to them? As an extension to that fact, why then is the JCCV an affiliate of the ECAJ?

I think they need to read the extraordinary number of comments on J-Wire to see what people think. I am constantly asked why the Community at large don’t see fit to join our Community Organisations. I think that is pretty clear. It’s for the same reasons I dropped out of the Community for so many years. To tell you the truth, if it wasn’t for the friendship of one person, I too would be long gone, because I feel I am hitting my head up against a brick wall.


  1. I have a question. Are these "community leaders" elected? If so - by who? Who authorised them to speak on behalf of the Jewish community? If they are elected, and so many members of the community are disenchanted with them, why don't you vote them out of office?

    1. I like this comment on your blog:

      "This is what I love about Israel – the freedom to be Jews, not only without fear of persecution but also without fear of embarrassment. The freedom to drop everything and start dancing in the street, without passersby looking at us and thinking – “Duh? WTF? Are they nuts or something?”
      And on the same note – I love getting on a bus, as I did this morning, and seeing the scrolling indicator board, which informs the passengers what is the next stop, proclaim:”Happy Purim from Egged"

    2. Oh dear !! Not so easy to answer.

      Each one has a President. He/she has normally done their civic duties by working within the Community for a number of years. The President is elected by the Board.

      Voting people out is not easy and since I became an elected Deputy to the NSW Board of Deputies I can see the issues. The majority of people who become members appear to be left thinkers and they are the ones who are more politically active. They band together and elect who they want. That was made very plain to me last year when I was the scrutineer at the count for the Executive of the Board and various Committees.

      People just are not interested. I am trying but it's not easy. I dropped out of the Community years back for the same reasons but was dragged back literally by working against all the BDS actions. I was pushed into joining and then standing for election. I am more or less told to be quiet at every meeting. I have strong opinions and I see decisions taken that go against the majority but get put down.

      It just seems that we have to do everything not to rock the boat and I don’t get it.

      We have bi-partisan support at State level. In fact the Parliamentary Friends of Israel group has every single MP, bar one Green as a member. We have good support at Federal level too.

      They are gutless and spineless.

  2. "...No one was expecting the Community Leaders to come out and say they support Wilders...."

    I did.

    A not small part of the animosity against Geert Wilders is rooted in his passionate, public support for Israel and the Jews, a stance that is not fashionable these days.

    If not these "leaders" so at least the real Jewish community should listen to courageous voices like Pamela Geller's:

    "STOP BOWING DOWN ! It’s getting worse and it’s getting scarier for the Jews …the worst thing you can do is “Operation fœtal position” We have been there, we have done that, we have died, ENOUGH, stand up. "

  3. This is a magnificent and hugely important essay and you Shirlee are worth your weight in harlequin opals. Have I said that before?

    I am right now going to transfer post this to my blog. I just wish I could figure out how to get rid of that blue background. Nothing seems to work.

  4. ps

    I am looking forward to meeting you next week

  5. This.

    Haven’t we done with hiding and running away? Haven’t we done enough of that down through the ages?

    No more running.

    That times ten.

    I obviously can't speak to the situation in Australia, being an American, but it's enlightening reading of your experiences, and what's going on there, Shirl. Thanks.

    And also, thanks for reminding me that I need to stop back here more often!

  6. The Age and the odious Paul McGeough shills for Hamas terrorists

  7. Hi Shirley
    We have our own problems here in the UK with Yachad / Hannah Weisfeld . Appeared from out the blue several years ago and since then , steadily infiltrated student campuses preaching a ' look at all the bad things Israel is doing ' to the JSoCs . Students are taken on tour of West Bank to effectively receive indoctrination on check points , effect on Palestinians without any historical context or background to lintifada which resulted in the death and injury of thousands of Israelis . Yachad has taken hold under the noses of a supine Zionist leadership who failed to recognise the threat of this left wing NGO specifically set up to provide a ' new way '
    Just that it is one that provides Succour to our enemies and has them cheering them on .

    Finally the ZF has recognised the problem and vetoed Yachad application to join . However the wolves are at the door and it won't be long before they try again

    Here is a reply from me on their Face book wall

    Harvey Garfield
    Perhaps statements like this went against you .
    - "We therefore support Israel in pursuing a policy that may include engaging with a wide range of Palestinian representatives including Hamas"
    You are not honest brokers . You do not act in the best interests of Israel . You are frequently quoted by BDS and worst of all you are guilty of destroying robust meaningful Israel advocacy on campus in the face of extreme anti Israel elements.
    Israel advocacy within the Diaspora means standing with the Israeli government of the day . If you disagree make Aliyah and vote for changes .
    Your ' advocacy ' is not reciprocated and makes not a blind bit of difference to those who strive for the elimination of Israel . Your actions merely provide succour and legitimacy for these people .
    Like · Edit · Just now

    And another

    Weisfeld lamenting the fact that British Jews do not visit the West Bank . I seriously wonder what planet she's on

    Cause and effect Yachad . British Jews do not visit the West Bank and East Jerusalem for fear of being attacked which has happened on countless occasions . You live in a bubble when you visit . You have a PA security apparatus which shields you from harm . You are of value to Palestinians in the propaganda stakes , and worth more to them unharmed . You would not be able to walk around as Jews in that manner as part of an unannounced private initiative .

    As for your assertion that the ZF does not support a 2SS and is dismissive of Palestinian hardship , this is patently absurd . ZF supports 2 states for two people in exchange for an irrevocable peace accord . If you take the trouble to read the pronouncements of both Hamas and the PA who add the caveat of RoR for millions of so called refugees , this is plainly not about to happen .

    True Israel advocacy , true Zionism in the diaspora must uphold the policies and stated position of current and future Israel governments . If you see it otherwise make Aliyah . You have a responsibility and till now you have failed lamentably .

    You have been rejected as your policies are closely aligned to J Street which in turn conflicts with the ideals and objectives of ZF .
    Like · Edit · Just

    So you see you are not alone . Israel faces enemies from within as well as the traditional ones . Only our ones don't know it .


    1. Good to "see" you commenting here, Harvey.
      I agree with you on so much.

    2. Thanks Harvey

      I see I am not alone. I see what is happening in the 'old country' as well as the US. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach. Why haven't we learned from the past?

      I went to a very interesting talk a few months back by David Hazony, who was brought out to Australia by the Zionist Federation of Australia - ZFA. He made comment on something I have been saying for a while now and which I think is a more common problem in the US than here. Maybe too in the UK. Youngsters have no need for Israel, the way we have in the past. Israel is a fact of life, they have no idea what has gone into making Israel so great.

      As a 'by the way' I am a friend of Richard Millet. My uncles were friends of his family back in the old country

  8. Those leaders need to see this to jog their memories

    1. Thanks.
      So all cultures are created equal, eh? They should take a look at this:

  9. 'Haven’t we had enough? Why are we so quiet?'

    You are right Shirlee. Maybe its time to get something organised with like minded people to 'step up' and say what everyone is thinking rather than leave it to the 'left leaning apologist crowd' to say the 'political correct thing'.



    1. Well Beertruk who's going to organise it? I'll be the first one there, but how to get all us like-minded ppl together when for reasons of security no-one is revealing their real name (cept Shirl of course).

  10. More for ostriches to mull over:


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