Barred speaker says he won’tbecomingback
A LIMMUD organiser has stood by the decision to prevent right-wing journalist Tuvia Tenenbom from taking his place on a panel with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Israel-bornMrTenenbomwasbooked to take part in seven sessions at the conference in Birmingham last week.
But he was told he was not needed for his last panel, titled “Jewish nightmares, exasperations and broiguses”, after his controversial views sparked complaints from previous sessions.
Duringtheconference,MrTenenbom — who is due to talk about his bestseller Catch The Jew at Jewish Book Week next month — had claimed that most American Jews were self-hating and that most Germans today were antisemitic, as were Europeans in general.
Keith Kahn-Harris, who helped to devise the conference, said that he made the decision to take Mr Tenenbom off the panel the day before the Thursday session, after he consulted conference chair Kevin Sefton.
He initially claimed that the decision was prompted by logistical concerns rather than because of Mr Tenenbom’s views.
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Tuvia Tenenbom Harris — who sat on the panel with feminist Elana Sztokman, Limmud presenter Daniel Shine and Limmud co-founder Alastair Falk — later added: “I knew it was a decision that [Mr Tenenbom] would not take very well, given the stormy reception he received elsewhere.
“I don’t think it was the right panel for Tuvia. The lesson for me is: when you are running a session discussing sensitive issues, you have to be very careful who you invite.”
Mr Tenenbom, who founded the Jewish Theatre of New York, said the experience had dissuaded him from ever returning to Limmud.
He said: “I think the Limmud organisers lack a culture of debate. They are so full of themselves — the problem is the ones that call themselves liberals are pseudo-liberals. “If you are really a liberal, you have to listen to everybody. That’s what I think anyway. I doubt I would come to Limmud again. People have tried to stop me talking — so what’s the point in coming?” Jonathan Neumann — who sits on Limmud’s programming committee with Mr Kahn-Harris — had invited Mr Tenenbom to the conference.
He said: “Tuvia has an important insight to share.”