Letters to the editor, October 22 – The Australian Jewish News
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Letters to the editor, October 22

NIF and IHRA

INCREDULOUSLY, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism is good enough for Israel, the Jewish world and many modern countries, but not good enough for the New Israel Fund (NIF).

In today’s world, if there is one obvious instrument that addresses the association between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, it is this working definition of antisemitism.

But then the NIF has never been about supporting Israel, in my view. With its catchy name and slick marketing, the NIF raises billions of dollars from around the world and then distributes it to organisations it deems worthwhile to receive it, including many organisations considered hostile to Israel’s existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Don’t take my word for it. NGO Monitor, among other organisations, document the anti-Israel organisations that receive generous funding from the NIF.

Alan Freedman
St Kilda East, Vic

Growing gap

ONCE again, the New Israel Fund (NIF) Australia has shown how out of touch it is with the majority of the Jewish community and also in this case both major political parties criticising our government’s stance on adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The gap between Australia’s Jewish progressive left and unashamedly pro-Israel right is getting wider each year .

It beggars belief how NIF Australia appears to have such a following and so many benefactors in Sydney and Melbourne.

Perhaps we underestimate the number of Jews that seem to support a bi-national state (not a homeland for the Jews) and are not concerned at the rising antisemitism worldwide, much of it masked as anti-Israelism.

Michael Burd
Toorak, Vic

Plus ça change

TWO centuries have passed since the legislatures of “the western world” granted to their Jewish minorities formal equality of rights and responsibilities under the law.

The passage of time seems to have obliterated among Jews the memory that the law notwithstanding, large sections of public opinion, even in educated, sophisticated, enlightened circles, continued (and still continue) to cling to the view that Jewish minorities did not deserve equality.

The apparent paradox can be explained thus: having subscribed to the abstract theory of the equality of humans, as enunciated by the French Revolutionaries, the elites could not exclude the Jews without a demonstrative display of sheer hypocrisy. Their minds recognised this, but their hearts did not.

That discrepancy persists. Witness, for example, the denial, in effect, by high ranking, influential journalists, politicians and academics in Australia, that Jews have a legitimate right to express views about Israel or that Jewish criticism of anti-Israel “influencers” is anything other than sinister manipulation by an omnipotent Jewish cabal.

“The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Leon Poddebsky
Vaucluse, NSW

Double standards

HERE we go again. The author Sally Rooney supports a boycott of Israel (AJN 15/10). We can add her to the long list of the so-called celebrities criticising Israel, with some calling for boycotts: Mark Ruffalo (actor), Roger Waters (has-been), Dua Lipa (singer), Trevor Noah and John Oliver (you’re not funny), Veena Malik (Bollywood actress who said during the Gaza conflict, “I would have killed all the Jews of the world”), Malala Yousafzai (just remember who tried to kill you. No, not the Jews, not the Zionists but your own people), Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (the squad Congress women), Paris Hilton (the French have a saying “sois belle et tais-toi – stay beautiful and shut up”) … and all those minor celebrities no one heard of.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are killing their own brothers and sisters, not to mention sacrificing human rights. The same thing is happening in Pakistan, in Libya, in Iraq, in Syria, in Iran, in Yemen, in Somalia and other parts of Africa. Yet no one is criticising them.

Why are you all silent? What has happened to your voices? When Israel is defending and protecting its citizens you all start barking like mad dogs. You are just a bunch of bloody hypocrites.

Am Israel chai. Long live the people of Israel.

David Cohen
Mordialloc, Vic

Well done Moriah

TOTALLY contrary to Chedvah Green’s letter “Bizarre request” (AJN 15/10), I was delighted when requested to provide a copy of my vaccination certificate for Moriah College.

Currently nine of our grandchildren are students there. All love their school and though Moriah has done a terrific job in at-home schooling, they’re so keen to get back on campus and be with their friends and teachers personally. Any measure Moriah takes to protect the pupils and teachers together with all the families associated is more than welcome.

Moriah definitely didn’t ask for “medical records” when asking for vaccination proof.

A yellow fever certificate we used to need to travel to many places wouldn’t be considered a “medical record” either.

Though we’re all vaccinated nobody wants to get COVID and it’s reassuring that Moriah seeks to be proactive to reduce the spread.

Just in the role as an employer Moriah has a serious duty of care. And with over 1800 students these are serious numbers.

Shopping at Westfield Bondi Junction this week I needed my certificate to get into so many stores. And the procedure made me feel more secure.

If Chedvah wants to fly anywhere, she will need to show proof of vaccination. Similarly if she wishes to fly overseas she will need to provide that same certificate.

Thanks, Moriah.

Victor Grynberg
Bellevue Hill, NSW

Shining light

HOW significant is it that, despite the weather forecast for rain, the sky cleared and the sun came out just in time for Eddie Jaku’s funeral? May his light continue shining, bringing tolerance, understanding and enlightenment to future generations. Our world is certainly better for Eddie Jaku having been here. We who knew him are blessed.

Alan Slade
Dover Heights, NSW

BBC ‘spy’ slur

THE BBC in its promotion for a story on French Jewish captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was sent to Devil’s Island after conviction based on forged evidence, referred to him as “the notorious Jewish spy”.

Not Major Dreyfus, who was eventually cleared of all charges and went on to fight for France in WWI and got promoted to Lt. Colonel.

So much for the usual apologist “not antisemitic just anti-Zionist”.

Robert Eichel
Bondi Junction, NSW

Praise for Markson

IT’S a shame that Henry Herzog (AJN 15/10) found The AJN’s front page article about Sharri Markson’s new book (08/10) so hard to stomach. Before concluding that the theories posed in her book What Really Happened in Wuhan are “evidence free” and “reality defying”, I highly recommend Henry take the time to read this incisive, highly researched and documented book by an award-winning journalist before jumping to such conclusions. After almost two years of the worldwide pandemic that has caused upheaval to every aspect of our lives, I think this is one book everyone should take the time to read. Well done Sharri on your incredible work!

Goldie Freedman
St Kilda East, Vic

Deadly virus

ANTISEMITISM, one culture that refuses to be cancelled. Thankfully other hate cultures are being cancelled, but we miss out. Cancel culture is in the eye of the beholder and is dependent on one’s sensitivities. For some, it’s censorship and an attack on freedom, whereas others see it as an effort to promote equality and respect, but some take it too far. Either way, we’re usually excluded.

Be it the disproportionate condemnations of the Jewish State, as in superimposing a swastika onto an Israeli flag, and the conspiracy theories of Jews controlling the media and banks, blaming the Jews for bushfires in the US, spreading COVID and then equating being vaccinated to the mass murder of six million Jews; and there’s no vaccine in sight to stop this deadly Jew hate virus.

Henry Herzog
St Kilda East, Vic

Joining forces

KATIE Allen, paediatrician, is a Liberal MP in the Morrison government so it’s no wonder she takes a science-based stand on climate action. In a recent address at the Jewish Climate Network she urged leaving the “climate wars behind us” and adhering to scientific solutions from Alan Finkel, Anna Skarbek, and Lesley Hughes (AJN Melbourne 15/10).

Interestingly, in late August, Katie Allen and Mike Freelander, another paediatrician, federal Labor MP, took a bipartisan stand for vaccinations. So, in this critical week for the government on climate action agreement, it would be magnificent if these two can again take a bipartisan stand, this time on climate policy. Can they?

Barbara Fraser
Burwood, Vic

Iceland facts

I WAS surprised to read Brian Levitan’s assertion that “Iceland is growing colder”.

On the contrary. Take, for example, data from Iceland’s longest running weather station, Stykkishólmur, located on Iceland’s west coast. That station has been operating since 1830. After averaging about 3°C for much of the 19th century, its temperatures trended upward to average about 4.5°C now. The coldest year in Stykkishólmur was 1859 with 0.9°C, while its warmest year was 2016, with 5.6°C. Just recently, August 2021 saw Stykkishólmur experiencing its warmest month on record, with an average temperature of 12.7°C. Data from other Icelandic weather stations display similar trends to that of Stykkishólmur.

Also surprising was to read in the same piece that Iceland’s “major glaciers have had a recent significant addition of ice”. Aðalgeirsdóttir et al. (2020), in their comprehensive study “Glacier Changes in Iceland from 1890 to 2019”, found a “mass loss [corresponding] to … 16±4% of mass stored in Icelandic glaciers around 1890 (and that) almost half of the total mass change occurred (recently) in (the period) 1994/95 to 2018/19”.

Dr Harvey Stern
Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne, School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

No laughing matter

IN Brian Levitan’s letter, “Icelandic eruptions” (AJN, 15/10), he seems to poke fun at Icelandic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Given that unchecked anthropogenic climate change will negatively impact the health and well-being of all who walk the planet, this attitude is disappointing. My understanding is that the people of Iceland are devastated at the loss of their glaciers. In 2019 they held a ceremony and laid a plaque to mark the passing of Okjokull glacier. 750 square kilometres of glacial ice, 267 billion tonnes of ice each year, was lost in Iceland between 2000-2019 due to global warming.

Rather than trying to be funny, we would all do well to commence meaningful actions to reduce emissions and address climate change this decade. Future generations are relying on us.

Amy Hiller
Kew, Vic

Substantial warming

BRIAN Levitan, stating that “Iceland is growing colder and their major glaciers had a recent significant addition of ice”, doesn’t make it true.

A quick internet search found the Icelandic Meteorological Office website that states, “Recent decades have seen substantial warming since 1980. The trend is 0.47 degrees celsius (increase) per decade which is almost three times faster than the global average warming rate during the same period.”

The Icelandic Glaciological Society and the Icelandic Environment Minister reports the extreme decline and melting of many of its major glaciers losing 750km2 in the last 20 years. It is beyond time that The AJN stopped publishing climate change denial spread by Levitan and others.

Dr David Zyngier
Associate Professor, School of Education, Southern Cross University

Hurricanes, tornadoes

I QUOTED facts not climate religion “beliefs”. (Geoff Feren and Helen Forgasz AJN 15/10). Verified by economic analysis of insurance claims.

The term “cyclone” was used for tornadoes and hurricanes as per Harry Szmerling’s usage (AJN 01/10).

The acknowledged world expert on hurricanes, Stanley B. Goldenberg has concluded that hurricane activity is due to natural climate fluctuations. Tornadoes and hurricanes have significantly reduced in the USA over the last 50 years on a 10 year average.

The difference between climate and weather is ignored by climate alarmists.

Brian Levitan
Gordon, NSW

Thank you, COA

I VOLUNTEERED while I could, so I know what a good feeling it gives you that lasts and lasts. I still want to express my gratitude to COA in Sydney and its wonderful team of smiling volunteers, who made such a difference to my yom tov days these COVID-19 times.

Also, I want to encourage all who are eligible to become members of COA. And encourage all those able, to do things, to volunteer where volunteers are needed. It is a win win situation.

Adrienne Schwartz
Darling Point, NSW

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