Monday, April 28, 2014

Jake Lynch Update 5

An unusual article this, for The Australian:

"A Jewish association has branded the racial discrimination case against University of Sydney's Jake Lynch counter-productive, saying it has only raised the profile of his support for the Boycott, Divestment [&] Sanctions campaign against Israel. Since the Israeli legal activist group Shurat HaDin launched the lawsuit in the Federal Court, Professor Lynch's stand has become a cause celebre in sections of the academic community, claiming the right to freedom of speech and academic expression is under attack... Two new groups have been established to support him and the global BDS movement, including one among university staff. One of the organisers of the Sydney Staff for BDS group, lecturer Nick Riemer, said he and other staff decided to create it 'because of what's happened to Jake'. The groups have helped raise about $20,000 towards Professor Lynch's legal defence, he has been invited to address BDS public meetings around the country, and one recent BDS event in Sydney in his support drew about 200 people. One of the pro-Lynch speakers at the Sydney fundraiser, Jewish Israeli academic Marcelo Svirsky who is a lecturer at the University of Wollongong, says he will walk from Sydney to Canberra later this year to raise awareness of the BDS campaign. Dr Svirsky said he would stop in towns along the way to deliver public addresses and then lodge a submission in parliament calling on the government to back BDS. Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said Shurat HaDin's legal action against Professor Lynch was 'the wrong way to oppose BDS. Regardless of the outcome, the Shurat HaDin court case would give a very marginal BDS campaign in Australia undeserved exposure and a shot in the arm,' Mr Wertheim said. 'Our organisation's strategy has been to expose the aims and methods of the BDS campaign in the marketplace of ideas'..."

Regarding that last sentence, the aims of the BDS movement, for those still wondering, are quite simple: to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; grant full equality to the Palestinian minority in Israel itself; and allow Palestinian refugees, expelled from their homeland in 1948 and again in 1967, to return to their homes and lands in Palestine/Israel. BDS is therefore about implementing basic human rights. How one can oppose these is frankly beyond me.

As for "exposing" BDS in the "marketplace of ideas," this has so far manifested itself in mobilising Australian politicians, both state and federal, to smear supporters of BDS as anti-Semites and Nazis, ongoing attacks of like nature in the Murdoch press, the establishment of links with the police (see my 28/10/11 post Israel 101 for Cops), and most significantly, the actual or threatened blocking of funding to academics such as Jake Lynch who support BDS (see my 29/1/13 post The Punishing of Jake Lynch). So much for the "marketplace of ideas."

To continue with the above report:

"Dr Svirsky, a political scientist who grew up in Argentina but moved to Israel after being conscripted during the Falklands War, said 'there is increasing support for Lynch because of this particular court case. For me the BDS is about not just ending the Israeli occupation, but also the rules of apartheid in Israel', he said." (Discrimination case 'raising profile of BDS', Ean Higgins, The Australian, 26/4/14)

All credit to Dr Svirsky.

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