NSW's Department of Education & Training (DET) has a policy statement on "the management of controversial issues in schools, whether by the use of teaching-learning material or views expressed by teachers or visiting speakers." (Controversial Issues in Schools, det.nsw.edu.au)
The first objective of the statement reads as follows: "Schools are neutral grounds for rational discourse and objective study. They are not arenas for opposing political views or ideologies." According to the statement this applies to "all schools."
I take it that that includes our Jewish schools. But just how Jewish are our Jewish schools?
Now by way of clarification, since Zionists have this terrible habit of conflating Judaism and Zionism, it's perhaps useful at this point to remind ourselves of the elementary distinction between the two before proceeding further.
As Israeli activist and scholar Uri Davis puts it, "Judaism is not Zionism. Judaism, as a confessional preference, should be strictly an individual matter, and, generally speaking, like other individual preferences (such as musical, culinary or sexual preferences) should not be the concern of the law. Zionism as a political programme [however] is a matter of public debate... The political Zionist school of thought and practice is committed to the normative statement that it is a good idea to establish and consolidate in the country of Palestine a sovereign state, a Jewish state, that attempts to guarantee in law and in practice a demographic majority of the Jewish tribes in the territories under its control. Such individuals and bodies as are, for instance, committed to the values of open society, democracy and the separation of religion from the state; who, therefore, disagree with the political aims of this particular political programme; and who regard this programme to be a negative political programme, are anti-Zionist in the same sense that those who for many decades opposed the political programme of apartheid in South Africa (which ended in 1994) were, and it is to be hoped remain, anti-apartheid." (Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, 2003, pp 11-12)
So, in light of NSW DET policy, and the clear distinction between Judaism, the religion, and Zionism, the political ideology/programme, what is one to make of the following?:
"Zionist youth movement Netzer [the youth arm of the progressive Jewish movement] has launched a petition against Moriah College claiming the school is 'discriminating' against the group, by barring them from canvassing on campus and participating in school events... But Moriah president Roger Kaye defended the school's position. 'Moriah College has always operated within its modern-Orthodox Zionist ethos. It is the longstanding policy of Moriah College not to allow Netzer... to promote its activities on our campus because their religious platform is in conflict with Moriah's ethos', he told the AJN. 'This is not the case with the other 4 Zionist youth movements [Habonim Dror, Betar, Bnei Akiva and Hashomer Hatzair]... which do not have a religious platform or have a religious platform that is aligned with Moriah's." (Discrimination accusation levelled at Moriah College, The Australian Jewish News, 20/5/11)
Or the fact that, in the same issue there's an entire page given over to photographs of primary school children at a "combined schools assembly", all decked out in blue and white, and waving Israeli flags in celebration of Israel's so-called Independence Day?
Back in 2008, in a satirical post, Zionist Indoctrination Exposed! (11/10/08), I dealt with this very same subject. That post was, as it happens, inspired by the following quote from a former Moriah College graduate: "Despite [sic] having Israeli history rammed down our throats for most of our adolescent lives, our basic understanding of the Middle Eastern conflict essentially boils down to this: Israel - good, Arabs - bad."
If last month's AJN is anything to go by, nothing seems to have changed.
And that departmental policy statement? What policy statement?