Vivienne Porszolt

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Vivienne Porszolt

Vivienne (Viv) Porszolt is an Australian based New Zealand activist.


Vivienne Porszolt was born in New Zealand in 1941 into a secular Jewish family from Czechoslovakia. They had got out of Prague the day Hitler marched in. From this secular Jewish culture she absorbed the values of social justice and the possibility of building a better world.[1]

"The Paper"

1973 October, Porzsolt wrote letter to The Paper . She is TP seller. 1974, named by George Fyson (Socialist Action 26 April 1974 p6) as author of article putting forward the Marxist viewpoint that the family oppresses women in Maoist publication The Paper.(March 74) 1974 March, wrote article in The Paper (p7):"sex discrimination in employment".

Working Womens Alliance

In June 77, Porszolt was on the newspaper committee of Working Women, paper of the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation front Working Womens Alliance.


1977 Mar 11, interviewed by Claudia Mason in Socialist Action (p6). She's a Massey language graduate, been to China, now freezing worker.

Beneficiaries Action Group

In 1983 Porszolt was a contact for Beneficiaries Action Group, Palmerston North [2]

In 1984, as a Beneficiaries union activist, Porszolt spoke at a Palmerston North meeting organized by the Latin America Solidarity Committee to mark International Womens Day.[3]


through the 1980s Porszolt was a Collective member, Womens Studies Journal.


1985-89 Porszolt was an editorial adviser on Class for Race Gender Class radical studies forum.

Housing Corp.

In 1989 Porszolt was an EEO co-ordinator Head Office, Housing Corporation, Wellington

Political evolution

Changing Our Lives: Women working in the women's movement 1970-1990 Edited by Maud Cahill and Christine Dann, Bridget Williams Books, NZ, 1991;

One of the most fascinating articles is by Viv Porzsolt, a frequent contributor to Green Left Weekly, in which she describes her evolution from early-sixties middle-class wife to university student and antiwar activist, followed by a stint as a worker and union activist in the male-dominated meat industry. .

Australian activism

In 1991 Porszolt wrote an article with Peter Chiltern in Green Left Weekly No 79 "NZ Unions Under New Right Assault". She wrote another 1993 Article in GLW No 86 on NZ.

In 1993 Porszolt served on the executive committee of the Sydney Jewish Left, with Kim Cunio and Stephanie Cunio, Alf Liebhold, Lea Loeve and Fred Scheuermann.[4]

In 1993 Porzsolt was listed as a Green Left Weekly sponsor, and in 1995, as a GLW subscriber.[5]


In 1995 Porszolt wrote an article in GLW No. 175, on meeting with a playwright in Tel Aviv.

In Oct 1997 Porszolt was in Israel, representing the Australian Campaign to Free Vanunu, she was involved in international demo outside Ashkelon prison, where Vanunu was being held. [6]

Views on Israel

Over the years, Porszolt has been engaged in a range of social justice work: the trade union movement, feminism, anti-racism including anti-apartheid and more recently over the last 20 years, in working for a just peace in Israel- Palestine where Jews and Palestinians can live side by side in mutual respect and equality.

Vivienne says: “I cannot abide what Israel is doing in my name and in that of all Jews. As a Jew I feel a special obligation to oppose it in the traditions of Jewish ethics abandoned by Israel and its Zionist supporters.” “I am sailing on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza to help pose a real challenge to the cruel illegal imprisonment of the people of Gaza and to make it visible to the world. We hope to shame all those governments who are complicit with this injustice and lawlessness. Ordinary people must act when their governments won’t."[7]


In July 2011, Vivienne Porzsolt and a former Australian Greens MP were detained by Israeli authorities.

Jewish activist Porzsolt, a Kiwi who now lives in Sydney, and former New South Wales MP Sylvia Hale flew to Tel Aviv to participate in the "Welcome to Palestine" scheme, but were detained after four hours and now face deportation.

They were among a group of protesters who tried to travel on a flotilla hoping to break the naval blockade in Gaza the week before.

However, when the Freedom Flotilla, which included New Zealand activist Harmeet Sooden, was turned back by the Greek coast guard, Porzsolt and Hale flew to Israel instead.

Porzsolt's son, Alistair Broughton, confirmed his mother and Hale were being held in a detention centre in Tel Aviv and were being well treated.

The two activists had appealed their expulsion and there had been a stay of deportation until the appeal was heard.

The two protesters reportedly planned to visit Palestinian activist Dr Mazin Qumsiyeh in Bethlehem, but were banned from making personal visits due to their political affiliations.

Sooden arrived back to New Zealand, stating he has already started planning another flotilla to Gaza.[8]

In a statement on the Welcome to Palestine website, the pair's lawyer Omer Shatz says the court ruled that the Ministry of Interior (MOI) had overstepped its authority by preventing passage to Palestine.

"The MOI had no authority to deny internationals entry to Palestine and that internationals should not be forced to lie about their intention to travel to the West Bank," he says.

The website also quotes Ms Hale's daughter, Alison Barnes, as saying she is "overwhelmed" at the decision.

Australians for Palestine, another Palestinian advocacy group, says Ms Hale and Ms Porzsolt were among 120 people detained at the airport.

They had both originally intended to travel to Palestine by sea on the Freedom Flotilla 2 (FF2), which was detained in Greece last week.

Michael Coleman, an Australian member of the FF2 detained in Greece last week, arrived back in Sydney on Wednesday.

"Sylvia and Vivienne's detention for trying to visit Palestine by air, like my arrest in Greece for trying to sail to Gaza, shows that Palestine is an imprisoned nation that is at times denied even visitation rights from the outside world," he said in a statement.

Vivienne Porzsolt, was spokeswoman for the Australian arm of Jews Against the Occupation and founder of the organization's Sydney branch.[9]