One of the writers scheduled to appear at the event is Ramzy Baroud, editor of The Palestine Chronicle, who has accused Israel of conspiring to infect Palestinians with COVID-19.
By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner
Multiple sponsors of a “Writers Week” event in Adelaide, Australia — purported to be the largest literary gathering in the country — have raised concerns that several anti-Zionists accused of promoting antisemitic conspiracies will speak at the festival.
MinterEllison, a law firm based in Adelaide, told The Australian Jewish News on Thursday that it will remove its “presence and involvement from this year’s writers’ festival program” and is “reviewing the future partnership” over the participation of Mohammed el-Kurd and Susan Abulhawa.
The 24-year-old el-Kurd has demonized Zionism and falsely accused Israelis of eating the organs of Palestinians. Abulhawa has described Israel as an “abomination” and “worse than Nazis.” After Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022, she called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “depraved Zionist trying to ignite World War III” and repeated the Kremlin’s call to “DeNazify Ukraine.”
“No racist or antisemitic commentary should be tolerated,” a MinterEllison spokesperson told AJN. “As these speakers are associated with the festival, we will be removing our support from the broader festival program [where feasible].”
In a statement to AJN, Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) commended the decision for coming from a “major partner” whose “actions have meaning.”
Another sponsor, Melbourne Jewish Book Week said el-Kurd’s and Abulhawa’s previous statements “are abhorrent and an affront to Jews and non-Jews alike” and that it “unreservedly condemns all forms of antisemitism and racism.”
The group explained that Palestinian perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deserve a hearing in the public sphere but that “it is deeply distressing that, in their criticisms of Israel, Abulhawa and el-Kurd resort to the casual use of historic anti-Jewish tropes, in particular comments invoking blood libels and global Jewish control.”
Another writer scheduled to appear at the event is Ramzy Baroud, editor of The Palestine Chronicle, who has accused Israel of conspiring to infect Palestinians with COVID-19.
“Writing is a freedom, but when that freedom of expression is used as a license for spreading hatred and incitement to violence, it crosses a line,” the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said in a statement this week. “Our immigration laws are designed to keep out people who cross that line.”
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