Oh Australia, you are a parochial place.
First up, here’s the Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson Julie Bishop who says that, “Australia must stand firmly with Israel at this tumultuous point in its history.” Yes, that brutal Zionist occupation of Palestine needs all the support it can get.
Even the pro-settler Jerusalem Post covered it:
Australian politicians engaged in heated political debate on Tuesday, with contrasting opinions about support or condemnation of boycotting Israeli products and businesses, according to an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
It was reported that Australia’s part in the global anti-Israeli Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was at the root of the debate.The Greens were condemned for not having denounced the movement, which Greens Party senator Lee Rhiannon has publicly supported in the past, though it is not party policy.
BDS is a campaign that has expressed itself in various regions of the world through academic, cultural, political and economic boycotts of Israel. The movement recently gained some momentum in Australia, with protests taking place outside Israeli chocolate shop chain Max Brenner in several cities during the summer.
“(The Senate) should not tolerate the boycotting of businesses because the ownership is Jewish,” leader of the opposition in the Senate Eric Abetz is reported to have said. “We know enough about world history never to go down that track.”
AAP quoted Greens Party Deputy Christine Milne rejecting accusations from other parties that compared their support of the boycott to the start of the Holocaust: “I know precisely about the cruelty of the Nazis to the Jews in the second World War and I find it despicable in the extreme that every last one of you stand over there and try and point fingers.”
He reportedly added, “The issue we should be debating is the question of … a two-state solution in the Middle East.”
Today’s Murdoch Australian, as usual helpfully looking for anti-Semitism and Nazi behaviour in every corner of the country, hilariously chastise the Greens for wanting to inform consumers if they’re buying products from illegal colonies in the West Bank. To his credit, Greens leader Bob Brown is asking the right questions. Clearly the corporate hack tasked to write this drivel and the politicians pushing it don’t realise; your stated aim of a two-state solution can’t happen if the settlements continue to thrive and produce goods. Just a helpful memo to the clueless. Here’s the article:
The Coalition has accused Greens leader Bob Brown of kowtowing to his NSW Senate colleague Lee Rhiannon after the minor party requested labelling information from the government on Israeli products made in the occupied territories.
The opposition’s leader in the Senate, Eric Abetz, yesterday lashed Senator Brown for failing to voice his opposition to the BDS movement after veteran Nationals senator Ron Boswell moved a motion condemning recent protests against Max Brenner chocolate stores.
“After the NSW election campaign, Senator Brown allegedly took a ‘robust’ line against Lee Rhiannon’s support for the boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign in the March NSW election,” he said.
“But every time the Coalition has put up a motion in the Senate condemning an aspect of the BDS campaign, Senator Brown has some excuse for not supporting it and has registered the Greens’ opposition.”
Coalition concerns were further fuelled yesterday after it emerged the Greens had requested, on notice, detailed information from the government about the labelling of Israeli products.
In a series of questions, the Greens asked whether the government was satisfied that all goods originating from Israel or the occupied territories were truthfully labelled. It asked whether this information was required on labels or import documentation.
The Greens have sought further information on whether the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission or any government agency had taken action against products labelled “Made in Israel” when they were made “partly or in full in the occupied territories”.
Information on contracts between Australian and Israeli businesses was also requested, with Senator Abetz saying it amounted to a “shopping list for the BDS campaign”.
Senator Boswell’s motion condemning the pickets on Max Brenner chocolate stores was yesterday endorsed by the Senate, despite unanimous Greens opposition.
Senator Brown’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.