Prisoner X Case Raises Ugly Issue of 'Dual Loyalty' for Australia Jews

Concern for Down Under Jews as Israel Spy Drama Unfolds

abc/youtube

By JTA

Published February 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

In Australia, the case has prompted some to ask whether the country’s Jews are loyal to Israel at the expense of their home country.

“At what point does loyalty to Israel become disloyalty to Australia?” Joseph Wakim, a founder of the Australian Arabic Council, wrote Wednesday on the Online Opinion political website. Wakim pointed to the Birthright Israel program, which provides free trips to Israel for young Diaspora Jews, as one example of the “indoctrination of Australian dual citizens into Israeli identity.”

Zygier was himself a graduate of the Zionist Hashomer Hatzair youth movement and later served in the Israeli army.

Ben Saul, a professor of international law at the University of Sydney, wrote online on Wednesday, “There comes a point where a Jewish person cannot faithfully be both Australian and Israeli. One has to choose.”

Antony Loewenstein, a Jew who is staunchly critical of Israel, accused Jews in an Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio interview of dual loyalties and suggested that Jewish schools encourage kids to fight in the Israel Defense Forces, which may result in them “sometimes joining” Mossad.

The president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Philip Chester, blasted as “totally uninformed and mischievous” claims that Zionist programs in Israel serve as recruitment camps for the Mossad.

“Contrary to the assertions of these commentators, these programs are aimed at educating Jewish youth about their heritage and about contemporary Israel, and have nothing to do with recruiting people for intelligence organizations,” Chester said in a statement.

Writing in Galus Australis, an online Jewish magazine, dual Israeli-Australian citizen Yaron Gottlieb said he has “complete loyalty” to both countries but that “Australian Jews cannot have it both ways.”

“If we as a community feel uncomfortable with, for example, a Jordanian-Australian fighting on behalf of the Jordanian government to the extent that we would want such service banned, we cannot expect service to Israel to avoid criticism,” he wrote.

Ordinary Australians “will now be wondering about every Australian Jew and where our loyalties really lie: What proportion of Australian Jews sacrifice their passports to the Israeli government if asked?”

For its part, Zygier’s family has tried to tamp down any discussion of Zygier’s personal and professional lives.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.