|Photo: Tom Koprowski
As reported here, this elected functionary has refused a personal invitation to attend the annual Law Service at Sydney's Great Synagogue that marks the beginning of the legal year, informing Rabbi Benjamin Elton that the reason for this boycott is ascribable to Israel.
"Thank you for your invitation to the Great Synagogue Law Service for 2017. I will not be attending.
I should express my deep personal concern about the gross and illegal occupation of the West Bank which creates intense international division and bitterness and, unresolved, will cause endless terrorism across the globe, including here." [Emphasis added.]The reply has left the rabbi a trifle shaken:
"Sometimes people decline with thanks, but to receive a reply with a stark message that attacked Israel’s policies ... I’m astonished, really.
The policies of the state of Israel is another discussion. To boycott a Jewish event in Sydney because of the actions of Israel, that’s a form of antisemitism.""A form of antisemitism". That view is reflected in the following from Mr Vic Aldaheff, president of the New South Wales Board of Deputies:
"We are appalled that you would refuse to represent the Jewish constituents of your ward because of your views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.”He cited the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, a section of which defines antisemitism as “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”.
But Dr Abelson is having none of that.
"To say someone who is critical of the West Bank is anti-Jewish is just nonsense."After all,
"My father’s family was wholly Jewish."And
"There is no discrimination against Jewish or any other race in Mosman."I wonder whether the Mayor would boycott a Muslim function on the grounds that most terrorism around the world is being perpetrated by, er, well, by Muslims.
I reckon we know his answer to that.
Would he boycott a Muslim event in protest at the appalling misogyny that exists in some Muslim communities, including here in Australia, where the sexual-apartheid practising Hizb-ut-Tahrir calls openly for a Caliphate, where an imam has just been convicted of facilitating the forced marriage of a minor, and where female genital mutilation (on girls as young as five months old) has been found to be occurring. And where books such as this are found for sale, yep, right in Sydney:
'Mansoor Abdul Hakim’s charming 2009 text, “Women Who Deserve to go to Hell.” Turns out there are quite a lot of them.“Some people keep asking about the denizens of Hell and the reason why women will go to hell in large numbers,” writes Hakim in the book’s foreword before listing various types of hell-bound females, including the grumbler, the quarrelsome woman, women with tattoos and women who refuse to have sex during menstruation. “Men’s perfection is because of various reasons: intelligence, religion, etc,” Hakim explains. “At most, four women have this perfection.”.'Maybe we should ask him. It would surely be difficult to pin the blame for those excrescences on the Zionist Project (as rabid Israel-haters seem to be terming Israel nowadays).
A commenter on J-Wire here observes:
Mr Alhadeff and Rabbi Elton should have pointed out to this person that Jordan’s illegal occupation between 1948-1967 does not diminish Israel’s national territorial rights nor impart any collective territorial rights to the Arabs who call themselves ‘Palestinians.” Mr Alhadeff and Rabbi Elton should have pointed out to this person that the Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria and the rest of Eretz Yisrael enjoy more civil rights than any Arab in any Arab state.
Instead, Mr Alhadeff and Rabbi Elton chose to respond in an entirely inappropriate apologetic manner that will merely reinforce the kind of atavistic predisposition of people like this mayor.
None of the above facts would have influenced the mayor’s animus, but my suggested response would at least have demonstrated some Jewish dignity.'Perhaps the mayor might consider boycotting his own functions in future, since many Australians would argue that Mosman occupies "stolen land".