BDS motion sparks strong reaction

September 13, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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A motion in parliament condemning boycotts divestment and sanctions put forward by Liberal MP Arthur Sinodnos, created problems for the Government when they sided with Greens to oppose it.

Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop issued a statement saying: “Foreign Minister Bob Carr has provided encouragement and support to the anti-Israel Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign by joining with his Labor and Green Senate colleagues to vote against a motion condemning the campaign.

This reveals the extent to which Federal Labor is captive to the radical agenda of the Greens.

I call on the Foreign Minister to apologise to businesses in Australia that have been targeted by BDS activists.

Senator Carr should have joined with the Coalition in voting to condemn the BDS campaign and the members of the Greens who support it.

He must explain whether his decision to vote against this motion was influenced by the government’s campaign for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The UNSC campaign cannot justify any action that undermines Australia’s long-standing support for Israel.

Senate Motion

Senator Sinodinos : To move—That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i)  Senator Rhiannon has acknowledged that some votes shifted away from the Greens in Marrickville in the New South Wales local government elections because of the boycott of Israel issue,

(ii) Marrickville Greens councillor, Ms Marika Kontellis, voted in 2011 to retain the Council’s Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) policy and in August 2012 attended the Byron Bay BDS conference,

(iii) the New South Wales Greens chose Mr Karel Solomon, a BDS advocate who has branded Israel an apartheid state, as a candidate for the Marrickville Council, and

(iv) Ms Irene Doutney, the Greens candidate for Sydney Lord Mayor, has supported BDS actions and said that she personally favours a full boycott of Israel;

(b) calls on the New South Wales Greens to explicitly reject the BDS policy; and

(c) condemns the BDS campaign.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has responded saying: “The Australian Government strongly opposes the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. This position has been placed on the public record on several occasions.The Government does not support boycott movements that seek to ban exchanges with Israel, or policies that impede legitimate trade between states and unfairly target lawful Australian businesses.Indeed, the Australian Labor Party fought a campaign in the state division of Marrickville on this very principle and won against the Greens partySuch boycotts against Israel, in addition to harming Palestinian people economically, are unhelpful to the Middle East peace process

A motion on BDS was moved in the Senate yesterday.

The Government supported the central tenet of this motion – that is, opposition to the BDS campaign.

However we were unable to support the text of the motion for two reasons.

First, the Government has a long established practice of not attempting to navigate complex foreign policy matters through Senate motions.

Second, the motion politicises this important issue through its criticism of individuals.

These matters do not in any way detract from our overall position – that we fiercely, unequivocally, strongly oppose BDS.

Executive Director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim commented:  “The idea of boycotting Israel as a country is thoroughly repulsive, and individual politicians who have been foolish enough to support the idea have been punished at the ballot box.  All of the parties represented in the Federal Parliament, including the national Greens, have rejected BDS.  Whilst Wednesday’s Coalition motion in the Senate condemning BDS was defeated on party lines, this should provide no comfort at all to BDS supporters.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein,Executive Director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council added:
Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s forthright and unequivocal remarks condemning attempts to promote boycotts, divestment, and sanctions directed against Israel is an important statement of principle by the Commonwealth Government. While we are disappointed procedural considerations  on this occasion  preempted Government support, the  principled motion moved by Opposition Senator Arthur Sinodinos confirms that the political mainstream in Australia both understands and abhors the so-called BDS campaign and we  look forward to future assertions of principle on this matter being bipartisan . Indeed we  also look forward to the Greens acting on the welcome statement in the same debate by their leader, Senator Christine Milne, dissociating her party from the BDS campaign and those who promote it.”



9 Responses to “BDS motion sparks strong reaction”
  1. Noah says:

    The leadership of our Community is so blue that it is sickening.They are politically an unelected group who represent a number of Community Groups and in the case of Rubinstein’s group not even that. We all know the Jewish News is at times a Liberal newsletter and thier treatment of Danby is a digrace. Labour has always been a close supporter of Israel and it is high time we condemned party politics using Israel as a wedge.The Libs will do anything for a cheap shot.By the way I am an ardent Zionist.

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      Zionist Noah !

      From your strange yoga position on logic, how did you arrive at the notion of Australian Labor being such a reliable supporter of Israel, considering, let’s say, known facts !? That also should include the “treatement “Danby seems to receive from the Jewish News (sic).
      No tricks here, Bob Carr, as the main exponent of Labor foreign ideology, must not be avoided.

      Zionist Otto

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Like Otto, I have a visceral response to the actions of Labour, Carr and our Jewish commentators. But while Otto’s reaction is to bring things up, mine is at the opposite end.

    Carr’s excuses for endorsing BDS by failing to condemn it are laughable. If Labour’s opposition to BDS was genuine and not just window dressing for selected audiences, he would have supported the motion. It is nonsense to claim that an Australian Senate motion condemning BDS has foreign policy ramifications, unless, of course, Carr seeks to ingratiate Australia to the Non Aligned Nations crowd that hates Israel. We are indeed in a poor state – a craven cavern in a moral desert – if a local motion affects our standing with other nations. And it is duplicitous: we regularly make statements on the behaviour of other nations and here our action – not merely our words – on Fiji comes to mind. The second of Carr’s objection is equally laughable: if the naming of individuals is goes against his high principles, he could have moved an amendment to remove names and just condemn the action.

    The ECAJ response is too clever by half. The motion called on the NSW Greens to reject BDS; that the national Greens reject BDS is beside the point. Whether a Senate motion calling on a branch of a political party to do anything is appropriate is another issue. Certainly the fact that the Greens are fading is no reason not to condemn one of its fungus filled runners.

    The AIJAC statement is equally pussilanimous. Bob Carr’s statements against BDS are not worth a partial puff when he draws back on his pronouncements on BDS at a time when it counts. It is plainly silly to claim that there is bipartisan opposition to BDS when a motion condemning it was defeated on party lines. And it is also silly to expect anyone to believe that the Greens genuinely oppose BDS when they vote against a motion condemning it. Ditto Labour.

  3. Michael says:

    What puzzles me greatly is why are the Greens and other Politicians, Trade Unionists, Socialists, Academics , Media Editors etc so, so obsessed with Israel and Jews.

    There are so many many other conflicts , land disputes, regional disputes around the globe why is it only Israel is what occupies their minds night and day ?

    Can someone please explain ?

  4. Rita says:

    You dont like the Jewish people, really, do you Mr. Carr! Where would you have stood during the Kristall Nacht? (I think I know the answer).

  5. Otto Waldmann says:

    Dear Mr/Miss/Ms ECAJ

    I find it almost impossible to express my depth of gratitude ( look ,I just found the right words !!!) to yourze guys for setting me mind straight !!!
    I read the JWire report above and thoiught to meself : ” These Greens and Labor are opposing a motion that , in fact , supports Israel and addresses in details and so clearly the FACT that the Greens, out there, where it counts, are active in supporting the BDS, names and events , and, then Sen. Carr – our closest friend – , opposes the Liberal motion on grounds as solid as fresh vomit, anyways, the whole Greenscum:Labor made me vomit, but ECAJ came to save me guts, intestines and anything alse that propels outwards previously ingurgitated meals – and paid for !! – , telling us in such strong terms that , in actual …fact, NO , ALL parties in the Senate are dead-set against the BDS !!!”.

    Yes, Peter was always me china and each time I have been seeing him for the nearly 30 years I have known him, something always happened that I could not throw up, dont exactly knew what ….!!!
    Now I know, I needed my composure to tell him :” Peter, mate, your makes me throw up !!”

    More importantly, we NEED BADLY SOMEONE, AT THIS STAGE ANYONE, TO LEAD US OUT OF THIS LEADERSHIP CRISIS. As I trust implicitely ECAJ to lead us, could ECAJ find someone to be truthfully guiding the Jewish community, someone who has the guts to keep us strong and, mainly dignified !!!
    ECAJ should be condemned for NOT standing up in earnest against the lack of honesty with which Israel and the Jewish community at large are being treated by the Greens and Labor in the Senate and elsewhere !!!

    I sincerely hope that JWire will have the guts to publish my comments.

  6. Benseon Apple says:

    It was a highly politicised motion that was a blatant attack on the Greens and its maverick pro-BDS members. The Foreign Minister is spot on in opposing this politicised motion, even though BDS is – as Senator Carr agrees – a shameful and unhelpful activity against Israel and the Jewish people.

    • Otto Waldmann says:


      I stopped counting the number of conflicting standards you are dwelling on:

      1. The Senate is a POLITICAL place, hence politics define everything that goes on in there.
      2. By ALL accounts, ALL Greens are “maverick pro-BDS, hence all must be addressed as such
      3. Senator Carr can only agree that the BDS is a shameful etc. stuff if he does not block a motion condemning it.
      4- One does politicise the issue by showing dialectical favour to a particular political party outside the political forum – as well as inside, of course .

  7. Rita says:

    You dont like the Jews, really, do you Mr. Carr! Where would you have stood during the Kristall Nacht? <— Rhetorical question!

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