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Letter: Palestinian extremist voices were opposed because of their racism

Mar 24, 2023 | Jamie Hyams

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AIJAC’s Jamie Hyams submitted the following letter to the Canberra Times in response to a piece by TJ Collin, “Writing’s not on the wall for festivals” on March 19, which praised the Palestinian voices invited to Adelaide Writers’ Week, including highly controversial US-based writer Susan Abulhawa.
An edited version of Jamie’s letter was published in the Canberra Times on March 24, 2023:

TJ Collins suggests Jewish community opposition to Susan Abulhawa’s participation in Adelaide Writers’ Week was because they don’t want the Palestinian narrative to be heard (“Writing’s not on the wall for festivals” March 19). It was not, although it would have been appropriate for a supposed festival of ideas to feature more than one idea on the Middle East – the grossly flawed narrative of evil Israelis displacing poor blameless Palestinians – repeated over and over uncontested.

The opposition was because Ms Abulhawa has frequently produced social media widely regarded as antisemitic, not just opposing Israel, so anyone who’s against racism should have opposed her participation. Collins attributes the success of what he terms Israel’s version of the truth to propaganda and an influential lobby, but it’s been successful because it’s actually true. The creation of the state of Israel represented the self-determination of the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland, where Jews had lived in substantial numbers uninterrupted for thousands of years.

The Arab leaders refused the UN partition plan that would have also given them statehood, and Palestinian leaders have since rejected several offers of statehood, and various other peace initiatives, and that’s why there is still no Palestinian state.

Jamie Hyams OAM
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC),
Melbourne

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