Limmud Australia bars speakers who advocate Israel boycott

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Limmud-Oz, the Australian arm of the global festival of Jewish learning, has barred presenters who advocate a boycott of Israel.

Less than a month before the popular two-day festival opens in Sydney, Limmud-Oz’s program director, Michael Misrachi, issued a statement this week saying that the executive of Limmud-Oz believes “that the BDS campaign is an attack on Israel’s basic legitimacy and harms the Jewish people as a whole.”

BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Vivienne Porzsolt and Peter Slezak, Jewish activists who support BDS and had applied to present at the Limmud-Oz conference, have been told they will not receive a platform. Porzsolt, a spokesperson for Jews Against The Occupation, wrote on a blog that the ban will “bring ridicule and contempt on the Jewish community.”

But Misrachi said BDS proponents have the right to express their views, “But that right does not impose an obligation to provide them with a space to do so."

Limmud-Oz, which has more than 150 presenters, usually attracts more than 1,000 people.

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