For the event celebrating 10 years since the New Israel Fund’s establishment in Australia we hosted a number of speakers, including a conversation with Senator the Hon. Penny Wong which I moderated.
I was quoted in a Guardian Australia article on the Australian government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
Liam Getreu, the executive director of New Israel Fund Australia, said the organisation was concerned about the codification of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and did not support the government’s decision.
“Fighting antisemitism must remain a high priority. It is equally important to differentiate between the very real threat of hatred and violence towards Jews and legitimate criticism of the actions of the Israeli government.
Getreu said the IHRA working definition was increasingly being used to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel.
“We’ve already seen how the Trump administration and others have weaponised the IHRA definition of antisemitism to target those who harbour no hatred towards Jews. Doing so has made it more difficult to identify and confront genuine instances of antisemitism.”
For this NIF event, I moderated a discussion with John Lyons, the author of a new book, Dateline Jerusalem which looks at how Israel is covered by the Australian media and a former Middle East Correspondent for the Australian, Anshel Pfeffer senior correspondent and columnist for Haaretz and the Israeli correspondent for the Economist and Dina Kraft, a Tel Aviv-based journalist for the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, to hear how foreign correspondents work to tell other people’s stories and shape the discourse in their home country.
I was quoted in an Australian Jewish News article today about Ben & Jerry’s announcement it would no longer sell its ice cream in Israeli settlements in the West Bank:
However, executive director the New Israel Fund Australia, Liam Getreu, disagreed. “It’s only reasonable to draw a distinction between the State of Israel and the land it occupies,” he said. “Every country around the world – including Israel, the US and Australia – acknowledges there is a difference between a sovereign state and the land it occupies.
“Additionally, attacking people who try and distinguish between sovereign and non-sovereign Israel by calling them antisemitic is to evade a matter of fact, abuse the meaning of ‘antisemitism’ and ultimately gaslight those who would try and work towards a future of equality and justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
I was quoted in the Australian Jewish News as Benjamin Netanyahu was replaced as prime minister by Naftali Bennett.
Not everyone, though, had such a positive view of the former prime minister. Liam Getreu, executive director of the New Israel Fund Australia said Netanyahu’s “legacy was dominated by relentless delegitimisation of human rights organisations, anti-democratic and racist laws … as well as attempts to undermine the justice system for personal gain”.
He added, “Jews around the world and so many Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike – have an abiding hope that this new government will choose to put Israel on a path of justice, equality and democracy.”