How to score an own goal, part 7543

The Australian Jewish News publishes the story below today. Who says the Zionist establishment isn’t petrified of debate? The more these clowns try and shut down discussion about Israel/Palestine, the more they look like cowards. And how do they think this plays in the wider community? Jews trying to stifle open debate.

Yet another own goal by the Jewish community:

A Sydney synagogue will decide later this week whether to host an Israeli professor who is a critic of Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian houses.

American-born Professor Jeff Halper, who has condemned Israel as a country of “nefarious ideologies” and has called its policies “apartheid”, is coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD), set up 12 years ago to attack the practice of house demolitions.

The retired academic is on a speaking tour of Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Newcastle. On his agenda is an appearance at Sydney Progressive congregation, Emanuel Synagogue.

During his Sydney and Melbourne visits, Prof Halper is also due to speak at several universities.

Supporting his visit are Jews Against the Occupation, Independent Australian Jewish Voices, Australians for Palestine, and the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine.

The titles of his talks include “Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes: the essence of the conflict”, “Countdown to apartheid in Israel/Palestine” and “Israel and the Global Arms Trade”.

Prof Halper was due to appear at Emanuel Synagogue on March 23.

Emanuel’s executive director Allan Glazerman told The AJN the academic was invited by the synagogue’s Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins to address a Torah class of about 12 people who study the weekly parshah and related issues.

“I guess people in that class who are maybe connected with [Prof] Halper … somehow wanted to open it up as a community forum. We never had any interest in that.

“Our rabbi thought that for a regular class to hear his views about the demolition of Palestinian homes was important. He certainly never intended it as a forum for the community.”

Glazerman said the synagogue withdrew from an advertisement sent to The AJN listing Prof Halper’s speaking venues.

In a separate development, the newspaper’s management said it acted within its legal right to refuse to publish the advertisment.

An executive meeting of the synagogue was due to meet tonight (Thursday) to decide whether to cancel the professor’s invitation.

Union for Progressive Judaism executive director Steve Denenberg said he could not comment on the issue.

Asked whether the Friday night and Saturday times of three of his other talks might prevent Jews from hearing and debating with him, Jews Against the Occupation spokesperson Vivienne Porzsolt said the Emanuel Synagogue meeting was such an opportunity.

“The Jewish community isn’t the only focus of his visit, it’s for the whole community, but in Sydney we were keen for there to be a Jewish-based meeting and he is keen to talk with Jews too,” she said.

ICAHD claims more than 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967, but that only five per cent of these related to security issues.

In a 2005 article, Prof Halper described Israel as “a centre for the global right wing, a constellation of nefarious ideologies, groups and forces that seek nothing less than American-Christian hegemony over the entire world”.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said the reported demolitions of more than 80 houses in East Jerusalem were “unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap [peace process]”.

But a statement by the Jerusalem Municipality rejected “a disinformation campaign” timed to coincide with Clinton’s visit and said the houses were not slated for demolition.

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said Prof Halper has “a broad anti-Israel agenda as an apologist for Palestinian resistance and as an opponent of Jewish sovereignty in modern Israel”.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Robin Margo said that some of the issues raised by Prof Halper were “legitimate subjects for reasoned debate, as part of the democratic process”, but added they were already hotly debated in Israel and elsewhere.

“But his persistent drawing of analogies between Israel and apartheid South Africa grossly distorts the history of both countries,” he said, and…  “contributes to the dishonest propaganda program to demonise and delegitimise Israel.”

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