November 1 was Day 3 of The Australian's latest round of hounding Professor Jake Lynch. And on the front page, of course. This time around, however, Ean - with an 'E' - Higgins took a back seat, while the paper's Middle East correspondent, John Lyons,* took precedence with a puff piece on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
"Those wanting to question Hebrew University's tolerance credentials as part of the BDS campaign, such as Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees, have picked the wrong target. Walking around the campus one sees a multicultural atmosphere as diverse as, if not more so, [than] any university in Australia."
Lyons' 'EXCLUSIVE' was accompanied by a large photo of 3 "Muslim" students, captioned: "Maisa Qaraeen, left, who studies nursing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with two friends. 'We all have Jewish friends here'."
Rhetorical questions: Did young Maisa Qaraeen and her friends have any inkling that when accosted by Lyons and his Israeli photographer, Sasson Tiram, they were about to become cannon fodder in a vicious assault on a defender of Palestine in distant Australia. Had they been apprised of this, what then might they have said?
Lyons continued thus:
"The university itself has taken steps to oppose division and promote peace with other institutions. In 2005, Hebrew and the Palestinian Al-Quds universities signed a joint communique against foreign boycotts."
Well, isn't that interesting? How then does Lyons account for this:
"Al-Quds University will cease all forms of academic cooperation with Israeli academic institutions soon, the school's board determined on Sunday... It added that 'If the two-state solution is as far away today as it was 10 years ago, there is no justification for continued academic cooperation based on reaching that solution.'... 'Ending academic cooperation is aimed at... pressuring Israel to abide by a solution that ends the occupation, a solution that has been needed for far to long and that the international community has stopped demanding,' the board said. It also noted that the decision came 'in response to the prior Israeli onslaught [on Gaza]; the acts and policies of Israeli governments over the past 10 years, including settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the tightening of the siege on the occupied territories and thwarting any negotiated peace process that will lead to an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.'... Finally, the university board expressed disappointment over the absence of serious protest from Israeli academia, in particular, and civil society organizations, in general, as well as the failure of these organizations to 'understand the injustice that Palestinians are suffering from,' calling on local, international and regional academics to support the university's stance by halting academic cooperation with Israeli institutions." (Academic boycott declared by Al-Quds University, jerusalem-studies.alquds.edu) (See also my 10/6/11 post What Christopher Pyne Heard.)
But there was more, including a 'report' by some bunny called Julie Hare: "Claims by a Sydney University academic that sanctions against an Israeli university were justified because of its links to the military ignore the fact that his own institution conducts research for the Australian defence forces..." (Military link quizzed)
Of course, we couldn't expect young Julie to remember that, unlike the IDF, the ADF isn't involved in a never-ending military occupation of someone else's land.
Finally, there's the feeding frenzy on the letters page! One opined that the Bondi Beach boofheads had "come under the influence of a neo-Nazi group preaching indiscriminate hatred against Jews." Another wrote: "Sitting before me while writing an article on the Holocaust, I see pictures of two men clad in Nazi uniforms standing in front of a Jewish shop in Germany in 1932 holding a poster saying 'boycott the Jews'. I am offended that 81 years later the same [!] sign is held up, not by men in Nazi uniforms, but by people calling on citizens to do the same thing." A third, the ubiquitous bore of Vaucluse, NSW, George Fishman, emitted the following: "For almost 2000 years, anti-Semitism was religious, then it became racial. But since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism has become unfashionable and has been replaced by delegitimisation of Israel. But make no mistake, attacks on Israel by supporters of the BDS are a mask for hatred of Jews." And wasn't this just a matter of time: "Have Stuart Rees and Jake Lynch... publicly condemned the alleged racial assault at Bondi?"
[*You've really got to wonder what gives with Lyons because the very next day, he's reporting this: "More than 15,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem will be left homeless in a new round of house demolitions by Israel, according to a Palestinian official from the area... Meanwhile, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that Israel was about to advance construction plans for 5000 new housing units in Jewish settlements." (New wave of demolitions in Jerusalem) Maybe one day, long after he's left The Australian, he'll be suing News Corp for CCD - chronic cognitive dissonance.]
To be continued...