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 MEDIA RELEASE – SH’MA KOLEINU/ALTERNATIVE JEWISH VOICES – MEDIA RELEASE

Calling out the injustices of Israeli Government actions does not constitute anti-Semitism

Two organisations – the Israel Institute of New Zealand and the NZ Jewish Council – have again accused groups and individuals – including Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman – of anti-Semitism for speaking out against unjust Israeli government actions. 

We at Sh’ma Koleinu/Alternative Jewish Voices challenge the allegation that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic per se. We are committed New Zealand Jews who support the core Jewish values of social justice, fairness, and human rights.  When a state does not live up to these principles, we will stand up and criticise it. Criticism of Israeli policy and actions of a secular government for violating human rights is justified, and cannot be construed as anti-Semitism.

In reference to the current issue, Israel occupies the Palestinian territories. The responsibilities of an occupying power are matters of law, not opinion, Israel’s failure to meet its legal or moral obligations to five million Palestinians is a matter of growing international protest.

Our view is that Golriz Ghahraman, Jewish Voice for Peace, Rabbis for Human Rights, Alternative Jewish Voices and others can justifiably refer to this practice as a form of ‘medical apartheid’.

Making accusations of anti-Semitism to critics who speak out against Israeli government actions is a common tactic employed to shut down debate, deflect criticism and avoid addressing the substance of the argument. The weaponisation of this phrase ‘anti-Semitism’ is a corruption of the term. Let us return to the real meaning of anti-Semitism – a hatred of Jews and Jewishness – place it alongside other hatreds, and take up the work of anti-racism together.

Alternative Jewish Voices wants New Zealand to understand that the views promulgated by the Israel Institute of NZ and the NZ Jewish Council – which closely align with the current right wing government in the State of Israel – do not represent the views, principles and values of all of NZ Jews.

We ask that media outlets ground their writing in the law of occupation, not solely in the views of groups like the Israel Institute of NZ and NZ Jewish Council, whose use accusations of anti-Semitism to shut down legitimate criticism.

ENDS

Statement by:  Sh’ma Koleinu / Alternative Jewish Voices collective https://ajv.org.nz/ , 10/1/21

For deeper discussion of these and the broader issues, investigate the following links

Other international:

The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism: the AJV brief

The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism:  combating racism, enabling protest  Alternative Jewish Voices is a non-Zionist collective of New Zealand Jews.  We have written this brief to give readers some insight into the task of recognising antisemitism and adopting a definition for policy and public understanding.  You are welcome to download the brief, and please share … Continue reading “The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism: the AJV brief”

We proudly join the international Progressive Jewish Response to the Jerusalem Declaration

Sh’ma Koleinu – Alternative Jewish Voices is proud to sign this international Progressive Jewish Response to the Jerusalem Declaration. Definitions find their value when they are used. Let us return to the real work of opposing racism in all its forms. 05 April 2021 Statement We believe in a world where we are all safe … Continue reading “We proudly join the international Progressive Jewish Response to the Jerusalem Declaration”

We welcome the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism

We embrace the Jerusalem Declaration on antisemitism as an authoritative statement to bring to our work. “Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).” The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism was published today, with the definition above. Its signatories are 200 eminent scholars of Jewish and interreligious studies, … Continue reading “We welcome the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism”

An Evening at Parliament

A big thanks to Wellington Palestine for inviting Alternative Jewish Voices to share the platform last night at Parliament. Green MP Golriz Ghahraman hosted the event, protesting the detention of Palestinian children. Ten MPs from Green and Labour (including both Green Co-Leaders) attended. Shortly after, we were thrilled to read NZ Young Labour’s strong support … Continue reading “An Evening at Parliament”


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