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« Zackie Achmat calls on Jews to silence Israel’s voice | Main | PSC Joins Calls to Silence Israel in SA »

July 28, 2009


Lynn Benjamin

The trouble with Limmud in Cape Town is that it has been hijacked by the extreme Political Left with absolutely no balance. Caveat Emptor - Let the buyer beware for those who intend to attend. Allow me to mention amongst the Cape Town organisers are Vivienne Anstey, Doron Isaacs, Daniel MacKintosh and this leads to a plethora of friends, fellow travellers and other "lefties" lecturing at this years Limmud. If you are knowledgeable about who these people are, go to

Adam Shapiro


I couldn't agree with you more! Well said!

Extreme political leftists, reformniks and Palestinian activists.

I'm not quite sure how Yisrael Aumann was persuaded to attend - quite sure that he doesn't know exactly what he will be involved in.


An interesting thought. Those of you who were on the blog last year will remember the very heated discussion regarding Orthodoxy and Limmud. I believe that thread was where myself and RF1 earned our titles. Essentially we were defending the UOS's decision to officially not endorse Limmud as it gives legitimacy to the Reform and Conservative movements - placing them in the same programme as Orthodox speakers implies that they are equal but dfferent forms of Judaism. The UOS said no - They are not Judaism at all. I believe there were over 100 comments on that thread so there is no need to repeat it here but an interesting idea I was discussing with someone last night. The reason the anti Israel left (dominated by reform and non affiliated Jews) nhave been allowed to hijack limmud is because the Orthodox have ignored it. Would Orthodoxy have become invloved, granted paying the price mentioned above, then the larger numbers of non Orthodox attendees of Limmud would have at leat been exposed to Orthodox ideas as opposed to Isaacsm.

I don't really agree with this hypothesis. I believe that Regardless of the UOS's involvement Limmud CT would have been overun and that at least a public statement by the largest Jewish body in SA distancing itself from Limmud delegitimizes it.

Perhaps the best form of defence is an active one. As long as Limmud is thge only option then it is a good one. Let the pro Israel capetonians put together their own learning programme to coincide with Limmud.


I recon there is a bit more going on here that we assume.
While many of Limmud 2008 organizers claimed that the event was a success despite the non-participation of the Orthodox rabbinate and they boasted of over 1000 attendees to back up this claim. Despite this success it is an ignored yet known fact that similar numbers attend Orthodox gatherings on a regular weekly basis.
Limmud could not suffer another embarrassment like 2008 and they were able to acquire the services of Professor Aumann to add some credibility to the 2009 conference. The problem is that Aumann himself was reconsidering his position when he found out who Limmud really represents. (Read his interview in the 24 July SA Jewish report).

Enter Doron Isaacs and Denis Davis, both are major players in the Limmud saga and they just happen to also be very friendly with a certain Zakie Achmat. They all went on this “significant” Human right to trip to Israel. Since then have been appearing together or separately to completely decrying “Zionism as Evil” or simply criticize certain actions of the Israeli government, depending on the audience. It comes as no surprise then that despite the token Israel is OK forums; Limmud’s Zionist topics are heavily weighted in favor of the left wing and post-Zionist schools of thought.

With the Orthodox community still on the fence with regards to Limmud 2009 and a major lack of pre-bookings, Jewish communities skepticism with regards to attending an Israel bashing extravaganza, coupled with the above mentioned Aumann fiasco Limmud organizers faced a serious problem and they needed to find a way to up their numbers and make themselves out to seem like a mainstream Jewish organization.

Now comes Professor David and Doron Isaacs who have brilliantly come up with a scam that instantly raises the status of Limmud and will get the Zionist/Orthodox camp in to the fray as well. David and Isaacs have a chat with their good friend and fellow Human Rights delegate, Zakie Achmat about the various Israel related forums at Limmud. Achmat is well aware of Israel bashing that will take place at Limmud and is more than willing to create controversy that would entice more Jews to whiteness some Israel bashing at the Limmud.

And so I came to pass… With Limmud still heavily weighed in favor of post-Zionism it has managed to portray itself as the defenders of Zionism and all those who don’t attend, including true Zionist or devoted Orthodox can be slandered as heading the call of Achmat and the PSC.

Most Ironic however is the fact that Professor Aumann is a devout Orthodox Jew and has intensely right wing views that he says are in line with his Halachic lifestyle and his game theory. I will be interesting to see if the professor will remain as a guest at the conference throughout the duration.


Shaun, your are just pushing crazy conspiracy theories. Some of my friends are on the organizing committee this year and that is just blatantly untrue. This has been an extremely difficult period for the organization.

I know Limmud has been portrayed as a Leftwing and reform movement. I dont think that is fare. there are many leftwing and even anti-zionist people involved by there are also right wing, centrist and even religious people.

If you look at the program, you will how how impressive it is. The scope and depth is mind boggling. I think it is a huge tribute to the community that we have so many speakers on so many topics.

You make it out to be some sort of Leftist propaganda camp. But its the opposite. People have unprecedented choice. They can choose between 8 different speakers every hour on almost every topic and of ever persuasion.

I think the community is much richer for the event and I encourage everyone to go.

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