On the one hand…

October 1, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Israeli-born Marcelo Svirsky has been criticised by federal MP Michael Danby for supporting the BDS movement by walking from Wollongong to Canberra…Svirsky responds to the criticism.

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

Labor MP for  Melbourne Ports Michael Danby told J-Wire: “It is disappointing to see any person, let alone an Israeli, participate in the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. It was especially sad to see new Wollongong University academic Marcelo Svirsky, an Israeli born Jew, supporting BDS. Svirsky is walking to Canberra to petition Parliament to support BDS.

BDS founder Omar Barghouti has made it clear that the aim of the Boycott movement is the elimination of the State of Israel. I doubt Mr Svirsky understands the essence of the Boycott moment expressed by fellow BDS supporters such as As’ad AbuKhalil, Professor of Political Science at California State University: ‘the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”

Clearly, Mr Svirsky has little understanding of Australian politics as Mr Barghouti’s BDS campaign has been widely opposed by both major political parties. Even the Greens political party has disavowed the BDS following their ignominious debacle in the Marrickville state seat where a Greens Party candidate failed miserably when she supported the BDS campaign. Senator Lee Rhiannon seems to be the only federal parliamentarian left supporting the dangerous movement.

Marcelo Svirsky

Marcelo Svirsky

Mr Svirsky’s actions undermine his family in Israel. I wonder how he justifies BDS founder Omar Barghouti’s claims on 14 December last year, in the US magazine The Nation. Omar Barghouti distilled the essence of the hard-line Boycott movement: ‘Going back to a two-state solution, beside having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.’ In the same article, he said, ‘Good riddance. The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can move onto a unitary state where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.’

This poor deluded Wollongong academic is not walking to a welcome in Canberra, he is walking political oblivion.”

Svirsky responded to Danby’s comments sayimg: “The BDS goal is simple and clear: to lever pressure on Israel to force it to engage in just compromises with the Palestinian people. Diplomacy hasn’t worked for justice, and Israel is not going to change by itself any more that South Africa changed by itself. Therfore, the only way to create just and equal condition of negotiations where Israel has a lot to lose is by increasing international pressure in which BDS is a major factor. BDS is not a strategy but a tactic to lead to just negotiations. If, eventually, as a result, Israel will  become democratic and put behind its racist and war mongering present or if this process will lead to one democratic state for Palestinians and Jews, I will be more than happy.

As for the Greens, I understand their ambivalences and hesitations. This is a long journey, and I am confidant that in the near future the Greens will officially endorse BDS. As it happened with South Africa, governments will cut ties with Israel; our walk to Canberra is a first step in that direction.”


2 Responses to “On the one hand…”
  1. Douglas Kirsner says:

    Michael Danby is right: BDS is immoral, counterproductive and destructive. It is singling out Israel for very special treatment in the Middle East area–Iran is close to getting nuclear capability to wipe Israel off the map; over 200,000 people have been killed in Syria recently with 3 million refugees. And a broad coalition including Arab nations are bombing IS who have issued fatwas to kill anybody they feel like with Allah’s blessing. I imagine Dr Svirsky and his co-walkers are equally supportive of the Greens political party’s policies on these issues though I would be rather surprised to see them walking against Iran, IS, Syria, etc.
    I hope Dr Swirsky is not right that the Greens will ultimately single out Israel again for boycott. They would demonise gay friendly, democratic Israel where women are equal while at the same time they rail against real action against movements and countries that oppress women and gays and violate fundamental human rights. And in the case of IS involve themselves in beheadings, female genital mutilation, rapes and massacres.The Greens political party are blinded by their hatred of America and unfortunately Israel too.

  2. Gareth Smith says:

    In his favour, Michael Danby has not accused Marcello Svirsky of being anti-semitic or a self hating Jew but then he spoils things by discrediting Marcello’s achievement and insulting his intelligence and awareness. Mr Danby should be endorsing BDS as it is a non-violent way of getting Israel to comply with international law. It is no accident that it hits rock bottom in the world’s most hated country. Israel’s settlement building programme has been going non-stop since 1967 and has resulted in a Palestine so fragmented that it is highly unlikely that a two state solution is viable. Barghouti is corresct. It is well past time that Australia, the US and most European countries confronted Israel’s true game plan which is to expunge as many Palestinians as possible from the land. When Golda Meir spoke to Eshkol in 1967 she asked what would be done with 1 million Arabs in the newly acquired territory. Eshkol replied that we like the dowry but don’t like the bride!

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