Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Punishing of Jake Lynch

The Australian's Ean Higgins must be gratified at the way he and his colleague Christian Kerr have got AusAID bureaucrats ducking for cover, equating the paper's anti-BDS beat-up for general "media attention":

"The Australian can reveal that earlier this year senior AusAID officers secretly considered blocking a $580,000 grant destined for Professor [Jake] Lynch's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show then AusAID assistant director-general Rebecca Bryant said she feared approving the grant might 'compound' media attention surrounding BDS, even though the proposed research program had nothing to do with the international boycott campaign seeking improved rights for Palestinians." (Academic hints at link between BDS campaign and rejected research grant, Ean Higgins, 27/12/13)

Curious this. If concern about attracting the attention of the media over BDS was really a factor in considering whether to fund CPACS, one really has to ask whether the likes of Rebecca Bryant and her colleagues at AusAID actually read or listen to the media. If they do, they'd know that neither Fairfax nor the ABC are campaigning against BDS or its supporters. Which leaves only Murdoch. And if their concern is attracting the attention of Murdoch operatives such as Higgins and Kerr, why not say so?

Now as you may remember, BDS supporter Professor Lynch had himself applied for a grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) which only became problematical when, in May, then opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop announced that a Coalition government would ensure 'no grants of taxpayers' funds are provided to individuals or organisations which actively support the BDS campaign'.

Well, it transpires that Professor Lynch's grant has been rejected by the ARC, and he has his suspicions that the present government has something to do with it:

"This year Professor Lynch submitted an application to the federally funded Australian Research Council for $290,000 to study the work of journalists in South Africa, Nepal, Australia and Britain. The ARC recently rejected the application. 'It could be, of course, that it was simply adjudged not quite good enough by the assessors,' Professor Lynch told The Australian. 'But the Bishop statement, and the earlier evidence that AusAID... improperly took my support for BDS into account, leaves me with suspicion that this has happened with the ARC too. I have a verbal agreement with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) that they will launch a Freedom of Information request to see if there is any correspondence showing a possible link'." (ibid)

We look forward to the result of the NTEU's FoI request.

Finally, in a Higgins/Kerr piece (of work), you know you're never going to get the Israeli organ grinder himself, but any of his local monkeys - no problem:

"Labor MP Michael Danby, a fierce opponent of BDS... said the ARC would have made its decision based on academic rigour. 'Jake Lynch is not a very highly regarded academic, he's just basically an ex-BBC journalist'." (ibid)

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