It’s not censorship: Limmud Oz and BDS activists

Limmud Oz, the “festival of Jewish learning”, is taking place this weekend. As occurred last year, they are not permitting BDS-supporters to speak at the seminar.

AJDS have gotten on a high-horse as a result and are condemning the “censorship” taking place:

Stop censorship at Limmud Oz 2012 | The Australian Jewish Democratic Society..

This culture of censorship within the Australian Jewish community is dangerous and only conveys the message that dissent will not be tolerated. This is a major freedom of speech issue for the Jewish community and the wider community concerned with a resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict.”

For one thing, I think that there is a lot of merit in the argument that Limmud is doing AJDS’ job for them. Limmud works with Israelis and brings Israeli speakers to Australia, therefore technically the BDS supporters should not be participating anyway.

Of course that doesn’t stop them, because they only support boycotting Israel in its entirety when that doesn’t take away their soapbox.

Secondly, what is happening there is not censorship. Censorship is preventing someone from speaking or preventing a certain message from being heard. Not inviting someone to speak at your conference does not constitute “censoring” them.

AJDS are perfectly free to say whatever they want — in fact they do that, all the time.

It’s the same line of thinking used when people like AJDS complain that the mainstream media “censors” them. That is not the case — the reality of holding fringe views is that people probably will not want to listen to you. I sure as hell don’t, and I spend half of my life reading fringe views.

Crazies have a place, but that place is not in mainstream fora. Limmud is not censoring AJDS, it is exercising its discretion and determining that BDS not something that fits the Limmud mandate.

If AJDS are so upset, they should hold their own conference. Of course no one will go — but that’s kind of the point.

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