Memo to Murdoch’s rag; academic BDS is about Zionist occupation not Judaism

I’m no longer surprised by the profound dishonesty in Rupert Murdoch’s Australian when it comes to discussing Israel and Palestine. Today’s editorial covers the ongoing saga (pushed by them alone, an obsessive little bunch they are) about Dr Jake Lynch at Sydney University. They clearly imply he’s anti-Semitic for daring to oppose connections with Israeli universities that are complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

For the paper, it’s all about Judaism though they know this isn’t true. In this logic, they’ll no doubt be condemning some, including in The Age this week, who call for a sporting boycott of Sri Lankan cricketeers to protest that government’s war crimes against the Tamils. That’s clearly racist, right? No? Deafening silence? Of course. Such a boycott suggestion is a warranted and non-violent way of protesting injustice, always has been.

Israel is a protected species inside the Murdoch bunker. All the while, Israel becomes an increasingly racist state. But don’t tell the old white men who run the Australian, they still want to get free Zionist lobby trips to “democratic” Israel.

Here’s the editorial:

Since when did we ban academics according to nationality?

Sometimes it helps to ask the obvious question: why did Sydney University establish a centre for peace and conflict studies in the first place? The centre’s website, illustrated with a flock of doves, says its role is to “facilitate dialogue between individuals, groups or communities who are concerned with conditions of positive peace”. It appears, however, that Israeli individuals, groups and communities are not considered positive peacemakers by the centre, which endorses the BDS movement and its boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign. Director Jake Lynch is trying to stop Israeli professor Dan Avnon studying in Australia.

No objective observer would dispute that Israel seeks peace. The Nobel Peace Prize committee must have thought so when it gave its 1994 prize to then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, his foreign minster Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Hamas, the dominant Palestinian force in Gaza, also seeks peace, after a fashion. Hamas’s political leader Khaled Meshaal’s hate-filled rhetoric in Gaza on the weekend left no room for doubt about its ultimate aim; the peace Hamas seeks will be achieved only by wiping Israel off the map.

Declaring a moratorium on Israeli contributors but not on Palestinian contributors is blinkered, narrow-minded and prejudiced. The banning of academics according to their country of origin is a highly disturbing development. It has no place in this country. It is sadly common practice in Britain, Dr Lynch’s homeland. In Australia, however, where the academic foundations of many of our universities were laid by Jewish exiles, the campaign Dr Lynch supports runs contrary to the fundamental principles of decent society. Sydney University’s vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, has made it clear he does not endorse the centre’s action. Most academics would be appalled at this illiberal and intolerant stance. The deliberate shutting out of an intelligent contributor suggests that minds at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies are closed to other arguments.

We would urge Dr Spence to use whatever means are available to persuade these wayward academics to drop their discriminatory campaign. Let them imagine the outcry that would occur if a university was to impose a similar ban on Muslim scholars. Academics should be judged by the quality of their intellect alone.

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