ZFA Alienates (plus updates and headlines)
The ZFA released an ‘advocacy update;’ on Wednesday October 3rd entitled ‘The J Street Crowd and its idiosyncrasies’ in which the writer claims that the J Street Crowd shows a ‘disregard for Israel’s right to peace with security, [which] leaves an uncomfortable taste in the mouth’ The writer’s tone is of thinly veiled mistrust towards J Street, demonstrated by the fact that half the article is dedicated to discrediting the organisation rather than describing the conference the article is purportedly about.
There are many issues pertaining to the claims discussed in the article, but its core problem is simpler and more pertinent than its lack of cogent argument. The ZFA used its weekly ‘advocacy update’ to slander the largest progressive Zionist body in the world – an organisation that, according to it’s mission statement, supports ‘the state of Israel as homeland of the Jewish people.’
The ZFA essentially decided it would be a good use of community resources to write an article that suggest that J Street supporters are parochial, naïve and don’t really have Israel’s best interests at heart.
There is nothing wrong with someone writing an article criticising J Street; many respected Jews and Israelis have done so. But this is a situation where a body that proclaims to represent Australian Zionists is publishing an article that offends a large proportion of Australian Zionists! And community leaders wonder why they are charged with being unrepresentative. And they wonder why young people don’t come along to the establishment community events.
Through this article, the ZFA alienates members of our own Jewish community who may have an affinity with the J-Street position. In particular, young people are more likely to be progressive thinkers and affiliate themselves with J street. So, whilst the ZFA and the JCCV and all the other abbreviations in our community bemoan the lack of ‘youth engagement’ – they simultaneously publish divisive and inflammatory articles that are sure to offend the exact people whom they are attempting to attract! The saddest part is that the community is investing tens of thousands of dollars into ‘community youth development.’ I’m certain that over the next few weeks I will receive another facebook invitation to an event aimed at ‘nurturing young Jewish leaders’ or something along those lines. But the money is being wasted. The issue is not a lack of enthusiastic, passionate young people – it’s just that those young people don’t feel connected to the ZFA. No amount of free drinks at a ZFA party will excite people who feel that the ZFA only represents a certain version of Zionism.
So the ZFA, and the community, has arrived at a crossroads and a decision must be made. The ZFA can continue to be a vanguard for only one type of Zionism, and lose support of any other Zionists; or it can further Zionism in all its colours and earn the respect and support of the entire Australian Jewish community. *** Headlines: Shabbat Parshat Noach Candle lighting: 6.09pm Shabbat ends: 7.07pm Art Spiegleman – of Maus fame – is coming to Melbourne. The Jewish International Film Festival begins October 30 in Sydney and November 6 in Melbourne. *** Headlines from J-Wire: Melbourne’s Jewish Care goes retail. Sydney’s The Central Synagogue will host the Police and Servicemen Remembrance Service this Friday evening. John Safran with Julia Zemiro. The ABC apologises to ECAJ Australian movie director Kane Senes has just finished shooting his feature film “A Relative Stranger” in Austin, Texas. Yad Vashem Founder passes away. and more… *** Headlines from The Shtetl Voice: Sydney house for rent. Family Parsha. Parsha Noach in a nutshell. From days gone by. Melbourne house for rent. Kosher Australia symposium. Mayanot concert: Souls On Fire. Lamplighter for Parshat Noach Annual Jewish Anglican Friendship Dinner. Wizo Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar Yavne Israel Raffle Arnold Block z”l Meorial Lecture Series: Rabbi James Kennard asks whether should Jews live in Israel? Designer Jewellery Daylight savings reminder And more… *** From Gift of Life Australia: