That poly conference in Israel managed to happen, despite religious threats
The polyamory conference for psychology professionals in Israel, which was under fire from religious demonstrators (previous post), happened yesterday on schedule as reported in Haaretz, even though Bar-Ilan University administrators partially caved by limiting who was allowed to attend. And, we learn more about who orchestrated the opposition.
Scene at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan
Religiously-oriented Israeli University Holds Confab on Polyamory Despite Uproar
Orthodox groups demonstrate against 'academic-therapeutic' conference at Bar-Ilan University, claiming the phenomenon encourages adultery
By Shira Kadari-Ovadia
A university in central Israel is holding a conference Tuesday on the treatment of polyamory, a phenomenon in which people engage in intimate, consensual relations with more than one partner or have a desire for such relationships.
The conference is taking place at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan despite the fact that there were protests last week by religious groups, claiming that holding it constitutes encouragement of adultery.
The conference, being held as part of a training program in the university's department of social work for treating sexual problems, had been fully booked in advance registration. Scheduled speakers include academics, psychologists and sexual therapists.
Opposition to the event at Bar-Ilan – Israel’s only religiously-oriented university – was led on social media by the Liba Center, a conservative Orthodox group that in the past organized protests against women serving in the army and equal rights for members of the LGBT community.
Leading up to the conference, members of the group demonstrated outside the homes of senior Bar-Ilan administrative officials.
In response to the protests, the administration issued a statement stressing its commitment to academic freedom, adding: “Unfortunately, the people from the Liba Center, which is identified with extremist positions, is spreading information that is selective and not current regarding the conference, which is academic-therapeutic in nature."
The statement insisted the conference is geared "exclusively to professionals who are social workers and therapists" and that the university supports faculty members interested in holding business-like deliberations based on knowledge and research.
"By its nature, academia frequently deals with controversial social issues,” the statement concluded.
The original (February 5, 2019. Registration wall).
The article comes with promos for four previous polyamory stories in Haaretz, a prominent voice for secularism:
– Who's afraid of polyamory? (Feb. 3, 2019)
– I know my boyfriend's wife. We go out for coffee together." (May 27, 2017)
– Is an open marriage the secret to keeping love alive? (July 26, 2015)
– Polyamory: A product of deprivation or a cure for a monogamous rut? (March 26, 2016)
Also, in the Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government paper:
Uproar fails to stop polyamory event at religious Israeli university
...Over the past week, religious groups have been doing their best to have the seminar nixed.
A Facebook group against the event called "adultery at Bar-Ilan!" bears a logo of one of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not commit adultery."
Bar-Ilan University attracts many religious Jewish students and lecturers, and requires students to include Jewish studies in their degrees.
...Demonstrators believe the concept clashes with Jewish values. One of the protests was organized at an interchange outside the university at the time as the seminar.
An online petition to stop the seminar garnered more than 2,700 signatures. It states: "If you too think that this is a conference which is not moral and not academic, join us in our activities to cancel the adultery conference."
...Responding to a request for comment, Bar-Ilan said the conference is a professional one and "is not intended to encourage polyamory."
"Polyamory has become a more prevalent social issue and, as such, is of great interest to the sex therapist professional community in Israel," it said in a statement.
The whole article (Feb. 5, 2019).