Friends of Israel v Friends of Palestine

May 8, 2013 by J-Wire
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A second member of the NSW Parliament has joined Labor MP Shaoquet Moselmane in supporting a student move to disassociate the University of Sydney from the Technion in Haifa…and Sydney University itself has expressed its thoughts on the affair.

John Robertson

John Robertson

The Australian has reported that MPs are lobbying members of the Students Representative Council as they prepare to vote to overturn the call for BDS action. Moselmane has been supported in Parliament by Lynda Voltz, co-chairwoman of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine.

But Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Parliament John Robertson has lashed out  the speech calling for the action.

He said: “The views expressed by Mr Moslemane in his speech were not in accordance with Labor policy and I explicitly reject the statements made. I’ve made this clear to Mr Moslemane.

I and the ALP unequivocally reject the BDS and academic, cultural and commercial boycotts of Israel and Israeli institutions.

We successfully campaigned against the BDS in the State seat of Marrickville at the last election, and I’ve proudly visited a Max Brenner outlet in an act of solidarity against the BDS movement.

These acts of harassment have been going on for too long and they must stop.”

NSW Labor frontbencher and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord today welcomed and endorsed NSW Opposition leader John Robertson’s rejection of an anti-Israel speech by Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane.

In March, Mr Moselmane gave a speech in the NSW Parliament attacking Israel.

At the time, Mr Secord denounced and took a public stand in the NSW Parliament against his own colleague’s extreme anti-Israel speech.

Mr Robertson told The Australian that: The views expressed by Mr Moselmane in his speech were not in accordance with Labor policy and I explicitly reject the statements made. I’ve made this clear to Mr Moselmane.”

Mr Secord also spoke for the first time about the matter, saying that he was “heartened and was appreciative of the support he received from the official Jewish communal leadership as well as individuals who supported my stand”.

Walt Secord

Walt Secord

“I felt it was important to take a stand. For too long, politicians say they support Israel but when push comes to shove, they are silent. I could not be silent and I will accept any consequences of my stand,” Mr Secord said.

“For the record, I support a two-State solution for both the Palestinians and Israelis, but an anti-Israel speech in the NSW Parliament linking Israel to Nazism and supporting extremism was totally unacceptable,” Mr Secord.

Mr Secord said that he found the whole boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) offensive and bordered on anti-Semitism.

“I totally reject the BDS and call on students to take a stand and make a point of visiting the new Max Brenner at the University of NSW.

“Unfortunately, the University of Sydney students who supported the BDS movement were extremely naïve and were duped by a tiny fringe element on the far Left.

“Rather than pushing away or boycotting Israeli educational institutions, we should be embracing them – and I would like to see more Australian students – particularly post-graduate students – studying at the Technion or Hebrew University.

“Israel has world class educational institutions and universities,” Mr Secord said.

In the meantime, the University of Sydney has placed the following on its Facebook Page:

“We’ve received lots of comments and questions about the Student Representative Council’s motion to support the boycott of Israeli University Technion.

The University of Sydney does not support the SRC motion nor the proposal originally put by Associate Professor Jake Lynch.

The Vice Chancellor has said: “I do not consider it appropriate for the University to boycott academic institutions in a country with which Australia has diplomatic relations. Should the Australian Government suspend diplomatic relations with Israel or request the University to suspend its institutional relationships with Israeli universities then the question should be revisited.”

The Vice-Chancellor’s position has not changed and has been endorsed by the University’s Senate.

The University of Sydney does not consider the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy appropriate and it is not University of Sydney policy.

Professor Jake Lynch is entitled to his personal opinion but on this issue does not speak for the School, Faculty or University.


4 Responses to “Friends of Israel v Friends of Palestine”
  1. David says:

    A truly gutless position from leading ALP members and USYD. Israel has been, and remains in opposition to multiple UN resolutions condemning its illegal occupation of Palestine. Any academic worth his/her salt should be standing with Jake Lynch in his principled stand, not to mention that of Stephen Hawking, of boycotting Israeli academic institutions, until such time as the Israeli government ends its Apartheid policies and withdraws from illegally occupied and annexed territories.

  2. Gedeon says:

    Historically left wing students have supported regiemes which were suspiciously antidemocratic and intolerant and they are still doing so.
    there was the Soviet Union
    then Communist china in Mao’s time
    now palestinian sympathy with associated boycot and other borderline antisemitic tendencies.

    There is nothing wrong with sympathy for the Palestinians if it is not associated with near hatred of Israel.
    The situation, were it vise versa. would in my opinion also be unacceptable.
    let us have some knowledge of matters discussed, common sense, and tolerance.

    • James says:

      Nah mate. Israel is the rogue state here. it has broken over 60 security council resolutions and continues to annex land from Palestine, reward soldiers who kill civilians and block imports to Palestine (Gaza is running on 4 hours of electricity a day). That’s an intolerant state. Congrats to these students for taking a stand against the richest country in the region and their HISTORICALLY intolerant, genocidal and imperialistic policies against the poorest.

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        Nah James ’cause yurse guys reckon that by spreadin’ hatred of the anti Semitic kind, teachin’ kids that bloody kykes are fair game in blowin’ up and alike yourse have a bloody cause and the Jews/kykes will take it layn’ down.
        The Jewish state will make sure that your people shall be kept under strict control until you shall learn what civilised society looks and functions like. You aint seen real rogue yet, MATE !
        And incidetally, there IS heaps of palestinian multi millionaires speculating on their “poor” brothers. Some of da biggest arms dealers in the region and beyond IS your people for whom keepin’ the conflict alive and bad is good bizo, so stop kinddin’ yrself that you are causin’ here any kinda ripple of concern with the regurgitated vomit you chuck out !!

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