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Response to Galus Australia article critiquing the ZFA

Response to Galus Australia article critiquing the ZFA

10 October 2013

By Gabsy Debinski 

 

Recently, there have been some accusations flying around about the ZFA, stemming from an advocacy update published last week, and it seems apt to respond.

My role at the ZFA is to provide food for thought on topical issues as they present themselves in the media and other forums.  In doing so I try to reflect the views of the vast majority of Australian Jewry who identify themselves with Zionism. The bulletin does not purport to speak for each and every member of the community.

The ZFA aims to represent Australia’s Zionist community, and in particular our affiliate organizations. Naturally there is a wide range of opinions within the community on many issues.

Our affiliates range from Australian friends of Likud and Betar, to Ameinu and Friends of Meretz, Habonim Dror and Hashomer Hatzair. The suggestion that the ZFA agenda is set out by kippa wearing men in suits is false and a simple read of the names of its executive proves it. While internally we discuss and consider all viewpoints when it comes to Israel, at the end of the day, we form a consensus view relating to key issues. In regard to the J Street conference, there is clear consensus which includes our affiliates at every point on the political spectrum, that the public support at the conference for a Palestinian right of return is not in tune with the mainstream view of our community. We received vast feedback from our affiliates and the broader community to this effect.

We are proud to have an incredibly strong and diverse Zionist movement in Australia. The ZFA’s objective is to provide as broad a tent as possible so that as many Zionist members of the community can participate in as many of the programs that we and our affiliates operate. However, there will be instances where it’s incumbent on the ZFA, on behalf of its affiliates, to identify and comment on conduct that falls squarely outside the view of the mainstream Zionist community. This is precisely what has occurred.