Alternative Jewish Voices: Not at this hui, and not in our names

He Whenua Taurikura 160621
He Whenua Taurikura, New Zealand's hui on countering terrorism and violent extremism, in Christchurch ... controversial walk out. Image: NewstalkZB

COMMENT: Alternative Jewish Voices

We, Alternative Jewish Voices, hope for a productive and unifying second day at the Christchurch anti-terrorism hui. Security is something we build together and give each other. A threat may be singular, but our safety is collective.

We are saddened to hear that such a kaupapa has been disrespected and we are, additionally, horrified to hear Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses double down on her claim that she was expressing the sentiment of our national Jewish community.

It was wrong to coopt the hui for statements that (according to the comments of those present) “securitised” and “essentialised” the Muslim community.

We object to any statement that presumes Palestinian solidarity must imply a love of violence. Such statements are wrong, period; and it was additionallty wrong to bring those politics into the anti-terrorism venue in particular.

We feel for those who have been hurt, but we are heartened to hear that the hui will continue with its mission.

We have challenged the Jewish Council’s claim to represent our community. We repeat our statement in order to challenge Ms Moses’s present claim that the council’s politics represent the fears of all NZ Jews.

The NZ Jewish Council records its mission thus: “The council is the representative organisation of New Zealand Jewry. Its objective is to promote the interests, welfare and wellbeing of New Zealand Jewry.”

Chosen by regional councils
However, as we understand it, NZ Jewish Council members are chosen by a number of regional Jewish councils. The NZ Jewish Council members seem to be appointed through a series of indirect institutional processes.

Members of Alternative Jewish Voices who belong to synagogues — some for many years — have never had any direct input to the composition of the NZ Jewish Council. Jews who are not members of a synagogue don’t appear to have any voice in these processes at all.

The NZ Jewish Council does not attempt to elicit, include or represent the spectrum of views within the Jewish community.

We want our neighbours to understand that the ardent Zionist voices of the NZ Jewish Council and Israel Institute do not represent the whole community of New Zealand Jews. They emphatically do not represent us.

Alternative Jewish Voices wishes all participants in the Christchurch hui wisdom and unity. We all need your kaupapa and we will all benefit from it.

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