Middle East

Apr 7, 2011

Chewing up the Greens — the Israel boycott backlash

The Greens have been labelled, in media and political discourse, as “extremists” for the NSW arm's position on BDS. But how reasonable and representative is the mainstream debate on this issue, asks Associate Professor Jake Lynch?

Some of the NSW Greens are peeling away, as leaves from a lettuce, from support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the people’s campaign launched in response to Israel’s serial violations of international law, and the quiescence of governments.

What should they do instead? Reframe the issue. Appearing to ditch principles for expediency would rob the Greens of their USP: the equivalent, in political communication, of Dutch elm disease. They have been labelled, in media and political discourse, as “extremists”. So, turn the tables: put the focus on “mainstream” debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict, here in Australia, and ask just how reasonable and representative it is.

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13 thoughts on “Chewing up the Greens — the Israel boycott backlash

  1. Delerious

    There are so many things a majority of Australian’s feel strongly about but isn’t reflected by our Government. I suppose this explains the disillusionment of the voter when lobby groups have more power over controlling the government opinions. So come to the next election we will again treat the two primary parties with the contempt they deserve.

  2. David Hand

    As a “peace researcher”, who clearly represents yourself as someone knowledgable about the Arab / Israeli conflicts, perhaps you might comment on what Palastinian Authorities should do to help bring about peace in the region. Does Israel have a right to exist, for example?

  3. SBH

    excellent work Jake. only one nit pick this line – “the US and four Pacific micro-states whose votes have, essentially, been bought ” probably should have been “the US and the four other Pacific micro-states whose votes have, essentially, been bought ”

    Australia – into the room of mirrors for a red hot look at your self – your a disgrace.

  4. Flicka

    @David Hand,

    I don’t think the article quibbles with the fundamental question of whether Israel has a ‘right to exist’. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s an outdated and irrelevant question (by about 50 years). Of course Israel has a ‘right’ to exist: more saliently, it DOES exist, and makes its existence very much felt. This plaintive cry of whether the international community will agree that Israel has a ‘right’ to exist is supremely frustrating: Israel was created by an international covenant and treaty law. It therefore derides its right to exist from international law. There can hardly be any greater ‘right’ to exist.

    Responding to denial rhetoric by hardline Arab nations about the desire to ‘eradicate Israel’ is as pointless as it is facetious, and presents no useful direction on the relevant questions of what to do about the Israel-Palestine conflict. If you are going to put a pro-Israeli viewpoint, please at least move past the politics of 1967. Which, incidentally, I thought Jake Lynch did very well.

  5. tinman_au

    This is just one more example of how lobby groups have more power over “our” politicians than the Australian people do…

  6. Mike R

    I think the problem is not so much the’ elephant in the room’ but the ‘whale in the room’, i.e., the arrant hypocrisy of those who support a BDS against Israel while studiously ignoring the vast array of human right abuse elsewhere. I assume the good professor must have some minimal awareness of ongoing human right abuses right throughout the Middle-East and elsewhere. For the sake of consistency, I would like to see him display the same amount of enthusiasm for a BDS against China for suppression of human rights and the invasion and annexation of Tibet. There is no shortage of similar examples, for those enthusiastic for a BDS, if they put their minds to it.

    Maybe Australians are less tolerant than most to such obvious displays of hypocrisy. In light of this, it is interesting to see the Greens leadership backing away furiously from support of the BDS as policy.

  7. michaelwholohan1

    @ David Hand
    Not much the Palastinians can do about the OCCUPATION. whats the matter ? Can”t read?

  8. Kevin Herbert

    The by now hysterical on-going repsonse by The Australian over the past 2 weeks I am reliably informed is a clear indication that one K. R Murdoch has personally directed Chris Mitchell to give the Greens a shellacking.

    Murdoch has been intensely lobbied for his support by various of the local ‘Israel no matter the costs’
    push of assorted frock floggers & real estate developers et al.

    The greater the hysteria in the Oz, clearly the greater the impact of the BDS is obviously starting to have both here & globally.

    How sweet it is.

  9. CML

    I have never been able to understand why the Federal Govt (of either persuasion) continues with its blind support for Israel in the face of countless “polls” of the Australian population showing the majority of those surveyed have a very different view. I thought everyone, worldwide, with half a brain knows that Israel is a rogue state.
    Apart from their abominable treatment of the Palestinian people, what other civilised country sends their death squads around the world to assassinate people they don’t like? No hint of arrest, charge, trial – in other words, no justice. And their assassins use passports stolen from the citizens of other nations, INCLUDING AUSTRALIA, in the hope that they won’t be identified as Mossad agents.
    Some friends!! A cynic would say that money, and lots of it, must change hands to buy the support that Israel enjoys, especially in the USA.

  10. David Hand

    The usual abuse. Yawn.
    No point in having a discussion here.
    Carry on in your moral certainty. As the Greens do that, they’ll stay on the fringe of Australian political life.

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