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Press Release – 7 March 2007

Statement about the Petition by the IAJV – State Zionist Council of Victoria, Zionist Federation of Australia and State Zionist Council of New South Wales 

The call for an “alternative view” by the Independent Australian Jewish Voices, and its pronouncements on peace, diversity of opinion and condemnation of violence appears reasonable on first reading, and one cannot be surprised that the statement has gained limited support.

However, scratching the surface only slightly, and analysing the statement reveals serious misrepresentations.

Most significant are the wrongful implications in the statement that the organised Jewish community stifles diversity of views and free speech, does not condemn violence and indeed is not committed to the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to a peaceful homeland. The Zionist Federation of Australia and the State Zionist Councils of Victoria and New South Wales are proud of the fact that we represent and reflect many different religious and political perspectives from within the Jewish community, and that we facilitate and encourage vigorous and robust debate and discussion. Indeed any of the signatories are very welcome to attend any of our functions and express their views.

To suggest that the established community organisations require their members to adhere to “uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy” is untrue, and does a significant disservice to our community members by propagating a myth of an oppressive censorial establishment.

To the extent that the statement supports homelands for both the Jews and Palestinians, expresses the hopes that a just peace will emerge in the future, supports human rights and condemns violence, it reflects our own well publicized principles. Perhaps they are not so alternative after all.

Philip Chester, President, Zionist Federation of Australia
Dr Danny Lamm, President, State Zionist Council of Victoria
Frank Levy, President, State Zionist Council of NSW


PHILIP CHESTER: 0419-136-750

DR DANNY LAMM: 0408-408-929