THE SILENCING OF DISSENT IN THE AUSTRALIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY

Salom, Margot F. (2006). THE SILENCING OF DISSENT IN THE AUSTRALIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY MPhil Thesis, School of Social Science, University of Queensland.

       
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Author Salom, Margot F.
Thesis Title THE SILENCING OF DISSENT IN THE AUSTRALIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2006
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Skrbis, Zlatko
Subjects 3300 Social Sciences
Abstract/Summary This thesis explores the experiences of Jewish peace activists in Sydney, Australia, who actively dissent from the ‘mainstream’ Jewish community by expressing criticism of the oppression of the Palestinian people by various Israeli governments. Although some literature from the United States addresses the phenomenon of the silencing of dissent in the Jewish community, to date there has been very little research interest in the subject of dissent in the Australian Jewish community. This study sought to investigate the issue of dissent in the Australian Jewish community by examining the experiences of Jewish peace activists within an ethno-religious mainstream. Respondents were drawn from two Jewish peace groups in the Sydney metropolitan area. Data was generated by means of a questionnaire, which was sent to potential respondents at the time of the initial selection process. A series of semistructured, in-depth interviews followed, based on those questions and subsequent responses. The findings reveal that peace activists included in this research feel that there exists a subtle expectation/constraint within the Jewish community that disallows criticism of the Israeli government. Indeed, the majority of respondents revealed that they have personally experienced some form of ‘silencing’ of their opinions and the majority of respondents either keep silent or avoid situations that would expose their views. This research also examines how Jewish peace activists perceive their identification as Jews in view of the attempts to silence their dissenting views. A majority of those interviewed agreed that they regard their activism as an expression of their Jewish identity and that they link their political stance with Jewish ethics related to justice and human rights.

 
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