Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some Greens MPs show they have principle and guts, while others show they are cowards and have no principles.

Dear friends,
on 15 September, David Clarke, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly moved a motion condemning the Palestinian initiated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Clarke, well-known for his Christian fundamentalist has been accused of anti-semitism himself in the past, including by the Zionists involved in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Australian Jewish News.

Shamefully, many member of the Greens have decided to throw their principles out the window, more worried about their own electoral backsides than supporting justice and human rights. Other than Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon and NSW Greens councillor, Fiona Byrnes and former Greens NSW MP, Sylvia Hale, many of the Greens have sought to duck and cover over Palestine and BDS.

Two NSW MP who have had the guts to not do this and are prepared to show they do have principles and that they are not willing to throw the Palestinian people out the window is Dr John Kaye and David Shoebridge. It is unfortunate that their fellow party members and parliamentary colleagues, in both the Federal and NSW state parliament, such as Jeremy Buckingham, Cate Faehrman and Jan Barham (Greens MLC's in the NSW state parliament) did not have the same guts or principles.

Disgustingly, both Faehrman and Barnham revealed their absolutely lack of support for Palestinian human rights and voted in support of the Clarke motion, while Kaye and Shoebridge stood up for human rights and voted against it.

Please find below Kaye's parliamentary response to to Clarke's appalling motion. For a full transcript of the parliamentary discussion, you can read the full transcript of Handsard here. which includes David Shoebridge's comments, as well as the sychophantic support for Clarke's motion expressed by other pro-Zionist members of the NSW parliament and the plethora of ill-informed lies and distortions about BDS.

in solidarity, Kim



The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.10 a.m.]: I move:

That this House:
(a) notes with concern the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign against
legitimate businesses operating in Australia which provide jobs to hundreds of Australians,

(b) calls on all members to condemn the targeting of Max Brenner Chocolate Cafes by anti-Israel

(c) notes that some of the rhetoric used by proponents of the BDS campaign has descended into
anti-Semitism, and

(d) condemns anti-Semitism in all its forms.

Dr JOHN KAYE: There is direct evidence that the anti-boycott, divestment and sanction side is being supported by those with excellent fascist connections, the Australian Protectionist Party—and not just fascist connections, but connections to holocaust deniers. This motion attempts to exploit the real horror of anti-Semitism and its most appalling manifestation in the holocaust to achieve cheap political points. It cheapens the memory of the six million people who died in the holocaust and the many more who suffered terribly under Nazism. As such, I cannot support the motion and will be voting against it.

Lest it be said that voting against this motion in any way implies any lack of condemnation of anti-Semitism, I put on the record again that The Greens moved a motion this morning to condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms. I did that in order to ensure that the wedge that was designed into this motion, for those who felt the need to vote against it, would not be used. There is, of course, a legitimate debate about advancing the rights of Palestinians who have been dispossessed by Israel, who have been left stateless, without human rights, and who have been left with a dysfunctional territory. As pointed out by the Hon. Trevor Khan, in October 2011 the New South Wales Greens supported the boycott, divestment and sanction mechanism. It is on our website, despite the Government Whip saying that it is not. It is there and if Trevor Khan could find it surely anybody could find it.
The Greens recognise it as a mechanism to address the appalling situation of the Palestinian people and the role that the policies of the Israeli Government have played in promoting those conditions. Just as the consumer, trade and sporting boycotts against South Africa brought about change in that country, it is The Greens' belief that these boycotts can bring about change in Israel and Palestine. The Greens recognise that there are those who do not believe that Palestinians face a systemic denial of their rights and there are those who do not support boycotts, divestments and sanctions as a way of achieving an improvement in rights. It is their right to believe so.

The Greens recognise that there were those during the campaign against apartheid in South Africa who thought that the blacks in South Africa got quite a good deal. Some felt that the boycotts would not help the blacks in South Africa—the Liberal Party and The Nationals were full of such people. Who can forget Joh Bjelke-Petersen, a former Premier of Queensland, who fought vigorously against the boycotting of South African sporting events? History shows that those people were dead wrong. History shows that those people supported an unconscionable denial of human rights based on racial background. History shows that the boycotts were an important ingredient in bringing about change in that state and in bringing about a new era, where human rights were no longer determined upon the ethnic, religious or racial backgrounds of people who lived in that state.

I have no doubt that history will show that those who oppose boycotts, divestments and sanctions, those who give Israel unqualified support, are doing no favours to the citizens of Israel and they are ignoring the realities of the systematic denial of human rights to Palestinians. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is controversial and there are a range of opinions on it—as was the case with the boycotts against South Africa. Those who support boycotts, divestment and sanctions are not afraid of criticism and debate. There ought to be criticism and debate about a tactic that is highly controversial, but that criticism and debate should be founded in fact. It should not be founded in a fantasy borne of ideology.

The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is no more anti-Semitic than are those who called an end to the attacks on the front-line ethnic groups in Burma are anti-Burman. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is no more anti-Semitic than those of us who have criticised the Syrian Government and its policies and called for boycotts against that government—as the mover of the motion and I did at a meeting in this Chamber two nights ago. That does not make the Hon. David Clarke or me anti-Syrian; it makes us concerned for the systematic abuse of human rights in Syria. Those of us who support boycotts, divestments and sanctions are not anti-Israel, are not anti-Semitic and are not anti-Jewish; we are concerned about the systematic abuse of human rights.

I cannot support the motion, just as my Greens colleagues Bob Brown and Christine Milne in the Senate and other senators voted against a similar motion moved by The Nationals member Senator Boswell. The motion before the House today is somewhat of a copy of Senator Boswell's motion. That motion was a nasty wedge and this motion is a nasty wedge. As an Australian Jew I find the exploitation of false accusations of anti-Semitism particularly obnoxious. Others of similar ethnic and religious backgrounds to me might disagree and say there is anti-Semitism; it is their right to do so. But let us be absolutely clear, the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is not anti-Semitic. One might not like that it targets Israel or that it targets shops that are owned by Israelis, but it does not target shops that are owned by Jews. It has no connection to the appalling tactics implemented by the Nazis during the Holocaust. I am not the only person of Jewish extraction who believes this. Vivienne Porzsolt is a spokesperson for Jews Against the Occupation in Sydney, and she has worked for years for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In April this year she wrote:

I know many Jews feel deeply threatened by the boycott, divestments sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

It feels like a threat to eliminate Israel. For so many Jews, Israel is a guarantee of survival, so BDS is a threat to Jewish survival and ipso facto anti-Semitic.

But principled opposition to the state of Israel is not anti-Semitic. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel are not anti-Semitic. BDS is not aimed at Israel or Israelis or Jews as such; it is aimed at the institutions of the state of Israel until it abides by international law.

She goes on to say:

Israel is in breach of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in so many ways: torture, collective punishment, transferring settlers to land under occupation, refusal to allow Palestinians displaced in the wars of 1948 and 1967 to return to the land of their birth, disproportionate response to attacks, illegal destruction of Palestinian homes, crops and olive groves; continuing alienation of land; the illegal blockade of Gaza; the systematic discrimination in access to land, education and resources within Israel and ongoing military occupation.

It is fundamentally dishonest to attack opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic. It is intended to silence legitimate criticism. It also makes it impossible to challenge the real anti-Semitism that is, unfortunately, on the increase.

Jews Against the Occupation supports the broad-based call from Palestinian civil society for boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel until it abides by international law.


It is the only non-violent way to put real pressure on Israel. It is in the proud tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

Criticism of Israel in the name of justice and human rights is much more in line with traditional Jewish ethics than the narrow focus of the shortest Zionist movement.

"Never again" must mean "never again" for all people, not just Jews.

I echo Vivienne Porzsolt's words. She is saying that there is a range of opinions amongst Jews with respect to the Middle East. Those who seek to say that the Jewish community is 100 per cent opposed to the boycotts, divestments and sanctions are simply wrong. The mover of the motion seeks to close the attack on the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign under the mantle of anti-Semitism. But the accusation surely does not sit comfortably with him. He is the same David Clarke who twice—once in April 2005 and then in April 2007—attended a commemoration of the rise of the fascist Ustasha Government into power in Croatia in April 1941. He is the same David Clarke who was reprimanded by the chief executive officer of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Mr Vic Alhadeff, who I acknowledge is present in the gallery today. In the Jewish News of 26 April 2007, Mr Alhadeff said of the Hon. David Clarke:

The function—

that is, the function attended by Mr Clarke—

celebrated Hitler's establishment of the Nazi state of Croatia ... This is a state that supported the Jasenovac extermination camp,
where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered, including 60,000 Jews ... It is very troubling that such a brutal regime still finds support in democratic Australia.

There is no excuse for the Hon. David Clarke moving this motion when he so shamefully supported the celebration of the Nazi regime in Croatia. Like so many who come from the extreme Right, today he finds himself with the fanatical support of Israel. He joins with groups such as the Australian Protectionist Party and others in opposing the boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaign. Many in the Jewish community will be shocked to see the way the Hon. David Clarke summons up the memory of the Holocaust when his mentor—

The Hon. David Clarke: Point of order: I take exception to some of the comments made by Dr John Kaye. I find the comments offensive and I ask that they be withdrawn.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Dr John Kaye is well past the point of merely addressing the motion. He is making serious reflections on the Hon. David Clarke, who has taken exception to them. The Hon. David Clarke, who moved the motion, will have an opportunity to respond to the comments of Dr John Kaye in his reply. However, if Dr John Kaye wishes to continue to explore these matters he should do so by way of substantive motion.

Mr David Shoebridge: To the point of order—

The PRESIDENT: Order! I have made my ruling. Mr David Shoebridge will not canvass my ruling by taking a further point of order.
Dr JOHN KAYE: Use of the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes, as has been done in the Chamber today, is unconscionable. It is unconscionable because it holds to ransom the memory of people who cannot speak for themselves, the many people who were fine supporters of social justice and who stood up for the rights of other oppressed people. I cannot support this motion. Earlier this week Bob Brown, Christine Milne and the other Greens senators voted against the motions put forward by Senator Boswell and Senator Abetz. I will follow their lead and vote against this motion. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting paragraph (a).

The boycott, divestment and sanction movement is a valid expression of democracy. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that the boycotts did not in any way interfere with company profits. It is a legitimate way for individuals to protest. It is a way for individuals to say that they cannot tolerate the treatment of the Palestinian people, just as they cannot tolerate the treatment of other people who are abused around the world. If the Hon. David Clarke and supporters of this motion were serious about supporting the future of the Jewish people they would desist in giving unqualified support to Israel. The future of the Jewish people in the Middle East will be determined by a settlement that respects the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Those who live outside Israel, who give that unqualified support and refuse to tolerate any criticism of Israel, do the Jewish people no favour. All they do is create an environment in which the Jewish people and the state of Israel continue to operate without respect for the human rights of the Palestinian people. As long as that continues there will not be peace or human rights in the Middle East. This motion does nothing to advance the cause of human rights and peace in the Middle East; it works against them. This motion does nothing to respect the systemic denial of the Palestinians in the Middle East, and it does nothing to respect the rights of Australians to legitimately protest when they see injustice internationally. I am opposed to the motion.

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