Given his support of the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the State of Israel, the Board of the Shalom Institute has refused an application for Associate Professor Peter Slezak to ‘present’ at Limmud Oz.
Two years ago he was permitted to speak providing he agreed to certain guidelines. One wonders why we give him ‘oxygen’ at all, seeing as to how we are advised to do likewise with the rabid supporters of the fictitious State of Palestine’
Last year the AJN reported:
OUTSPOKEN Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigner Peter Slezak may be speaking at Limmud-Oz this year, “but it will not happen again”.
That was the message from one of Sydney Jewish community’s most senior leaders, Peter Philippsohn, this week, ahead of the three-day festival of learning that starts this Saturday.
JCA president Philippsohn was scheduled to address Limmud-Oz, but pulled out last week.
“I would not tell the organisers who to invite, but I don’t want to be a speaker at the same event as Peter Slezak,” he told The AJN.
Last Sunday night, meanwhile, Philippsohn told more than 400 people at JCA’s communal event that he and NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) president Yair Miller had met with Limmud-Oz organisers, who agreed they had included speakers who “have crossed the line”.
According to Philippsohn, anyone who has questioned Israel’s right to exist, who denies or abuses the memory of the Holocaust, or who leads a BDS campaign should not be given a platform at communal events.
“The Limmud board has agreed to work with the leadership of our community to develop guidelines that preclude these people from being given a voice in our community,” Philippsohn said.
As well as being a vehement critic of Israel, Slezak recently told The AJN that he believes that Jewish people use the Holocaust to excuse Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
Stressing he is happy to participate in a vigorous debate, Philippsohn said:
“I will listen to anyone who is a card-carrying member of our community and disagrees with some of Israel’s actions, but that is not the case here.”
Statement issued by the Board of the Shalom Institute.
With a programme of the scale and diversity of Limmud-Oz, some contention arises. Limmud in Sydney is governed by a rotating volunteer Board who, this year, published guidelines online that describe the Core Values which guide our activities, and how we prepare and manage programming at our events.
These guidelines explain that, for various reasons, we do not accept all sessions submitted to us for a Limmud event. However, we make clear the fact that the acceptance of sessions does not mean Limmud-Oz endorses or sympathises with the views expressed by presenters in that session.
The guidelines acknowledge that, in particular, the topic of Israel is one that can be a magnet for passionate opinions and disagreement. We understand that Jews who care about Israel can and will hold different views. We believe it is critical that when people disagree, they engage civilly and assume and respect the good faith of others. In general Limmud seeks to maintain high standards of civility in language and behaviour when we discuss all matters within the Jewish community.
Limmud offers a space where adults can make informed decisions about which topics and presenters they want to listen to and engage with. We seek to encourage healthy, vigorous and broad debate.
However, given that several of our presenters come from Israel, and given the broad consensus within the Limmud community and the broader Jewish community against the Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement against Israel, the Board of Limmud in Sydney determined that Limmud-Oz will not provide a space for people to present who promote or actively support boycotts and sanctions against the State of Israel.
Peter Slezak submitted a proposal to present at Limmud-Oz 2015. In discussion, he affirmed that he actively and publicly supports some forms of BDS. We therefore confirmed that, as per our guidelines, Limmud-Oz would not be able to include his session at this year’s event. We understand Professor Slezak feels disappointed or dissatisfied with this outcome. We have let him know that he is welcome to attend the event as a participant, as he has done in previous years.
After listening to the video it seems he is only Jewish when it is convenient to be Jewish. What a hypocrite.!!