To what extent is the BDS effective at balancing competing “harms” – the use of ”non-violent” harm to injure Israel economically, politically, reputationally and militarily and the relief of the “violent harm” endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation? How useful is a campaign that “balances competing harms” for the Israeli and Palestinian, as well as Jewish and Muslim, diaspora – and wider Middle Eastern community – in Australia?
Discussant 3 of 5: Kim Bullimore is a long-time socialist, political activist and anti-racism campaigner. Kim is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS-Palestine), the only all women international peace team working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She also writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict for the Australian newspaper, Direct Action and blogs at Live from Occupied Palestine. In 2010, Kim co-organised the first national Australian BDS Conference.
Discussant 4 of 5: Les Rosenblatt is a Melbourne writer and political activist with a strong interest in Middle-Eastern politics and history. He has written several book reviews and articles on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for Arena magazine and elsewhere. Les also promotes the science of climate change and is seeking to understand how best to respond to the GFC Mark 2. Les was active in the Australian Jewish Democratic society over many years and participated in a Middle East Dialogue project organised by La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue a couple of years ago.
Discussant 5 of 5: Moammar Mashni is the co-founder and manager of Australians for Palestine. He works to articulate the concerns of Australia’s Palestinian communities among politicians, churches, unions, universities and the media and to raise Australian public awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict’s dynamics. Moammar was born in Australia to a Palestinian refugee family.
“Here on this podium, just as in the olive groves of the West Bank, our primary moral duty is not to maintain ideological purity, but rather to stand with Palestinians in their resistance to oppression. We recognize the importance of garnering international support for the ongoing struggle … We believe that standing here, in the current state of affairs, is a direct continuation of the blocking of bulldozers, standing side by side with the stone throwers, or running away from teargas along with young and elderly protesters. Here, as in the olive groves, I would like to stress that we are not equal partners, but rather occupiers who join the occupied in THEIR struggle. We are aware of the fact that for many, the participation of Israelis in a Palestinian struggle serves as a stamp of approval, but in our eyes, this partnership is not about granting legitimacy. The Palestinian struggle is legitimate with or without us. Rather, the struggle is an opportunity for us to cross, in action rather than words, the barriers of national allegiance”.