Monday, August 5, 2013

The Hounding of Jake Lynch

The bullying and intimidation of Jake Lynch goes on:

"An Israeli civil rights group has launched legal action against Jake Lynch, the head of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, in the Human Rights Commission, alleging his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement contravenes the Racial Discrimination Act. Associate Professor Lynch last year refused to assist Dan Avnon, the author of the only joint civics curriculum for Jewish and Arab school students*, to undertake work at the university as a representative of an Israeli institution... The Shurat HaDin complaint is based on Section 9 of the 1975 Race [sic] Discrimination Act. It reads: 'It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life'." (Professor faces legal action on BDS stand, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 2/8/13)

(*Kerr, of course, can't even tell the story straight: it's a civics curriculum for joint Jewish/Arab schools, not the other way round.)

While Mr Avnon was no doubt completely shattered by the experience (as only an Israeli can be?), it should always be kept in mind that when it comes to dishing out "distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour (who knows?), descent or national or ethnic origin," the apartheid, 'Jewish' state of Israel, of which his university is an integral part, is second to none.

Even a simple scan of the blurb for his 2009 book, Plurality & Citizenship in Israel: Moving Beyond the Jewish/Palestinian Divide, reveals that Israel's Palestinian minority experiences "unequal access to citizenship; unequal access to land; discrimination in access to public services; insufficient defence of minority rights in Israel's legal system; unequal obligations; [and] unequal economic opportunities." And while we're at it, name me one other country in the world which bases its immigration policy solely on biology?

One wonders, therefore, why such a "civil rights group" as Shurat HaDin, modelled, so Kerr tells us, "on the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre, that has successfully used US courts to target the Ku Klux Klan," needs to come all the way to Australia to bother one of this country's most ethical academics. Could there possibly be some other reason? Just asking. 

But back to the matter of difference, exclusion or preference based on national/ethnic origin and the Israeli apartheid state. Whilst pottering around on the internet recently, this particularly egregious example, of which I was hitherto completely unaware, really had me sitting up and taking notice:

"In May of 1948, the State of Israel was established as the modern nation-state of the Jewish people. That November, a state agency, the 'Central Bureau of Statistics' (CBS), conducted the first population census, at the height of the War of Independence [sic: ethnic cleansing of Palestine]. Under a curfew of 7 hours, military and security personnel proceeded to canvass every Israeli household and register all its citizens. An order was given specifying that those absent from their homes would not be registered as citizens and that their ownership of goods, property and land was not to be recognized. Though the order was formulated in universalistic terms, applying to all inhabitants, its sanctions were in effect applied only to the Palestinian Arab population, for it was only members of this group who were not at home. Hundreds of thousands had fled and had been driven from their homes during the fighting [sic: ethnic cleansing]. While the census was ostensibly an enumeration of all residents, it in fact created the population that it was counting. Those who were not counted were thereby excluded from the target population, their rights forfeited. This included not only the refugees who had left the territory under Israel's control, but internal refugees as well. Of those absent during the census, many were internal refugees, remaining within the territory that eventually became Israel's... Though this group was given Israeli citizenship, their property rights were never restored, and they became the statistical category of 'present-absentees'." (The Uncounted: Citizenship & Exclusion in the Israeli Census of 1948, Anat Leibler & Daniel Breslau,

Only in Israel.

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