JCCV denounces Australian Jewish Democratic Society boycott decision

August 19, 2010 by Geoffrey Zygier
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Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) President John Searle has strongly denounced The Australian Jewish Democratic Society’s (AJDS) recent decision that some boycotts of Israel may be justified…and clarifies the link between the organisations.

John Searle

Searle has firmly stated: “The AJDS seeks to legitimate its views by describing itself as a ‘community-affiliated Jewish organisation’.  However while the AJDS is an affiliate of the JCCV, this is a tribute to the latter’s inclusive nature rather than an acceptance of the AJDS’ views. Indeed this decision to support certain boycotts is totally out of step with the vast majority of Jewish and general opinion, both in Victoria and world-wide’, Searle stated.

“Most responsible trade unions, governments, leading universities and the like reject BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] out of hand as counter-productive.  It is not only that boycotts are reminiscent of the 1930s when various Fascist movements undertook such action in order to demonise Jews.  There is also tremendous irony that organisations such as the AJDS supposedly support dialogue as a means of resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, yet resort to such crude victimisation of Jewish Israeli organisations, institutions and individuals.  Most importantly of all, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that BDS activity actually has any effect in achieving peace.  On the contrary, it will only harden attitudes, particularly those of Hamas and Hezbollah and their Iranian puppet-masters, whose sole intention is the destruction of Israel and the establishment of another hardline Islamist State”.

Searle continued, “If the AJDS were serious about justice, then why did it give a platform to pro-Palestinian activist Samah Sabawi at the meeting where this decision was made without allowing a countering point of view?  Sabawi defines Israel as an apartheid State and advocates the Right of Return which of course would mean no possibility of a two-State solution.  It is indicative of what the AJDS stands for when it gives such ideologues a voice and makes a mockery of the AJDS’ claims to be ‘Jewish’ and ‘Democratic’”.

Searle concluded, “In accord with almost all Jewish institutions and organisations around the world, the JCCV is committed to a balanced solution that meets as best as possible the aspirations of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.  This can only be achieved a by a genuine commitment to peace and dialogue and the recognition of the rights of all.  Finger-pointing and victimisation as advocated by the AJDS are designed to frustrate the Jewish People’s legitimate national aspirations and can only take us backwards.”

Comments

4 Responses to “JCCV denounces Australian Jewish Democratic Society boycott decision”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Members of both the Jewish Community Council and the Australian Jewish Democratic Party have a love of their country, why not consult each other before making public comments, it gives the perception of discord and is of no benefit to either.
    With the National Council of Churches weighing in on the boycott debacle you need to have a united front for credibility or taken seriously maybe a better word.

  2. Contrary to Searle’s misleading remarks, members of AJDS expressed strong disagreement with many of the assertions made by Samah Sabawi, a Palestinian advocate, concerning Israel, including the language and tactics used by the the BDS movement in its call for a general boycott against Israel. In fact, hearing her only confirmed the position taken by AJDS.

    Her views are very different from the position taken by us and thus the AJDS’s position on endorsing particular sanctions is quite distinct from the general BDS movement which seeks an overall boycott of everything Israeli.

    To say that we are involved in ‘victimization’ or a threat to Israel’s security is a complete exaggeration and misinterpretation of the position that we have taken about the Occupation, particularly when Searle associatiates us with 1930s fascists.

    Readers of Jwire might consequently care to read the actual text of the AJDS resolution. The decision culminated a 16-month process of discussion and expression of a wide range of views in the organisation’s Newsletter.

    “The AJDS is opposed to any Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aimed at the breadth of Israeli economic, cultural or intellectual activity.

    However, the AJDS does support selected BDS actions designed to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation, blockade and settlement on Palestinian lands lying outside of the June 1967 Israeli borders. Such limited and focused BDS support might include boycotts of settlement products and divestment from military Research and Development (R&D) and boycott of industrial/military activities unrelated to Israel’s defence and security. It might also include selected sanctions or boycotts against specific Israeli academics openly supportive of the Occupation.

    The AJDS will make any decisions on these matters on a case-by-case basis, and exercise its judgement as to the political/social cost-benefits of any such actions before granting specific endorsement or approval.”

    For more details on our position and the discussion that took place, see the AJDS website.

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