Saturday, September 21, 2013

BDS, Lawfare & Free speech: Growing support for BDS campaigners

Dear friends,
please find below my short article published in RedFlag on the Zionist lawfare attacks on Stuart Rees and Jake Lynch for their principled stand in support of the Palestinian BDS campaign.  The article also includes a link to the public forum with Stuart Rees in Melbourne on October 3. 

in solidarity, Kim 


Growing support for BDS campaigners

Kim Bullimore |Red Flag 19-Sep-2013
Since its launch in 2005, the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel has gone from strength to strength. There have also been increased attempts by opponents to undermine the right of pro-Palestine activists to free speech and freedom of assembly.

Utilising “lawfare” tactics, the Israeli government and its supporters have sought to exploit the legal system in order to censor, intimidate and silence critics of Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, both inside Israel and internationally.

While previous lawfare attempts against BDS in France, England, Scotland, the USA and Australia have failed, currently in Australia two Sydney University academics – Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees and Professor Jake Lynch – are facing possible legal action for their principled stand in support of Palestinian human rights and the BDS campaign.

Both Rees and Lynch have been targeted by the Israeli group Shurat HaDin, which lodged a claim against them and the BDS campaign with the Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC) on 31 July. While Shurat HaDin has announced it has dropped its HRC complaint, its representative Andrew Hamilton told the Australian on 11 September that the organisation intends “to take the matter to the Federal Court”.

In response to Shurat HaDin’s attack on free speech and Palestine solidarity activism, almost 1,300 people have signed a pledge in support of BDS, stating that they would be willing to stand as co-defendants with Rees and Lynch in any legal action taken against them. On 28 August, students and staff at Sydney University also held a speakout in support of Lynch and Rees.

In Melbourne, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Students for Palestine will host Rees as a special guest speaker at a public forum on BDS, Lawfare and FreeSpeech at the Kaliede Theatre at RMIT on Thursday, 3 October, at 6.30pm.

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