The case the ECAJ did not want to know about

July 16, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The case brought by Israeli advocacy group Shurat Hadin against University of Sydney associate Professor Jake Lynch has been dropped…a case involving BDS from which The Executive Council of Australian Jewry distanced itself.

Robert Goot

Robert Goot

As early as October 2013, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak national body representing the Australian Jewish community, publicly dissociated itself and the community from the Shurat Hadin court case, stating that “the most appropriate and effective way to combat the boycott campaign is to expose its deceptive and sometimes racist rhetoric, methods and aims to public scrutiny”.

The ECAJ also stated that “attempts to suppress the campaign through litigation are inappropriate and likely to be counter-productive”.   We said that the ECAJ would have “no involvement in the action brought by Shurat HaDin” and would “continue to fight the boycott campaign through public discourse”.

Peter Wertheim

Peter Wertheim

Commenting on the outcome of the case, ECAJ President Robert Goot and Executive Director Peter Wertheim said:

“It gives us no joy at all to have had our views vindicated.  Professor Lynch and his small band of supporters will have their brief moment of glory as they promote what they will see as a victory, but they should remember two things.  Firstly, they won a technical victory only, based on the fact that

Associate Professor Jake Lynch

Associate Professor Jake Lynch

there was no person with the necessary standing to prosecute the complaint.  There was no hearing on the merits of the case, so the legal questions around Lynch’s treatment of Hebrew University’s Professor Dan Avnon were not determined.  Secondly, whilst many people disagreed with Shurat Hadin’s commencing the court case, they nevertheless viewed, and continue to view, BDS itself as repugnant”

“The boycott campaign is a calculated attempt to demonise, isolate and ultimately dismantle Israel through the distortion of international law and human rights.  Its demand that non-refugee descendants of the original 1948 Palestinian refugees be allowed to migrate to Israel is unparalleled in international law, and a deliberately disingenuous way of promoting the destruction of Israel without making it too obvious.   The attempts at BDS in Australia have rightly been condemned and derided by most Australians. All major political parties including the Greens, except for a handful of their MP’s, disavow the anti-Israel boycott campaign.


One Response to “The case the ECAJ did not want to know about”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    I don’t agree with most of what ECAJ has to say here. ‘A handful of MPs’ as summary plays down considerably the number of parliamentarians who are actively and vocally against the State of Israel and would not disavow a BDS campaign against Israel. Government policy as friends of Israel is being attacked more and more vociferously.
    As for the Shurat Hadin case against Sydney University and Professor Jake Lynch, it shouldn’t be a matter of the ECAJ bowing out with support and distancing themselves because they think it’s unwinnable, then saying ‘I told you so’ afterwards. How pathetic! The cause was just and important; it behoves ECAJ to show some gumption and passion in standing behind it, win or no win.

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