Unable to credibly paint Sydney University's Professor Jake Lynch as some kind of BDS mastermind, Israeli lawfare outfit, Shurat HaDin, has now decided, in an apparent exercise in damage control, to focus its attack solely on his decision to factor in the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel when approached by Israeli academics seeking his endorsement for Sydney University fellowships.
(Interestingly, it looks as though Shurat HaDin's Ozraeli lawyer, Andrew - Call me Akiva! - Hamilton, is OUT, and heavyweight New York lawyer, Robert Tolchin, fresh from threatening the American Studies Association (ASA) over its recent decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions, is IN.)
The following report - Shurat HaDin narrows its target in Lynch standoff by Ean Higgins - comes from The Australian of May 28*:
"Israeli legal activist [sic: lawfare] group Shurat HaDin, having had much of its case against University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch struck out, has abandoned its ambitious bid to have the Federal Court declare the entire boycott, divestment [and] sanctions campaign against Israel discriminatory. Instead, under new lawyers, Shurat HaDin will narrow its racial discrimination case to Professor Lynch's snub of Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Dan Avnon, who had sought his endorsement for a fellowship at Sydney University.
"In other developments, the four other applicants, including Israeli academics and lawyer Andrew Hamilton, have indicated to the court they want to withdraw from the case. Shurat HaDin has also been ordered to put up a $100,000 bond for costs should Professor Lynch win... Shurat HaDin argues Professor Lynch has breached the academic freedom of Professor Avnon while Professor Lynch argues Shurat HaDin is trying to breach his...
"Professor Lynch, who heads Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, has claimed the latest developments in the case to be further tactical victories. 'This legal action was conceived as an attack on political freedom in Australia by a foreign agency, so we should all be relieved that it is now failing in court,' Professor Lynch told The Australian. 'Its effect has been to draw interest and support from many more people here for the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.'
"Shurat HaDin issued a statement insisting that its case was still on track, but under a different approach. 'The new statement of claims will be sharply streamlined to include only the uncontested allegation that Lynch refused employment to Professor Avnon solely based on his citizenship,' Shurat HaDin said. 'By refusing employment to an Israeli professor simply because he is an Israeli, Lynch plainly violated Australia's anti-racism law, which was legislated to protect against discrimination based on national origin and religion,' Shurat HaDin's US-based lawyer Robert Tolchin said. 'There are only two questions to be answered. Did Lynch discriminate against an Israeli professor because based on his national origin and, secondly, is such conduct a violation of Australia's anti-racism laws?
"Professor Lynch has strenuously denied he discriminated against Professor Avnon, who took up the fellowship in another Sydney University department. He says his stand on BDS is directed against the policies of the Israeli state and not individual Israelis. Shurat HaDin's original statement of claim sought to argue that Professor Lynch's support for the global BDS campaign was itself a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. The BDS campaign, it said, had led international performers to refuse to appear in Israel, depriving Israelis of being able to watch performers including actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman, and musicians Snoop Dogg and Elvis Costello. Justice Alan Robertson struck out many of the key clauses of the statement of claim, accepting the argument of Professor Lynch's lawyer... that they lacked sufficient specifics of the 'when, where, how' Professor Lynch had breached the act."
[*It should be noted that the above report was buried in The Australian's Higher Education supplement (p 29). No other branch of the ms media is even bothering to report on this extraordinary case, in which an Australian academic, known for his defence of brutalised and dispossessed peoples, is being pursued by a foreign law firm (with intelligence connections) in an Australian court for alleged racism. Nor is this an isolated case. For an overview of Israeli lawfaring on a global scale, see Israel's incompetent global campaign of 'lawfare', Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, 2/4/14)]