Anorther day and yet more dishonesty over BDS, Palestine and Australian democracy

You would think Israel is about to be attacked tomorrow by aliens coming to suck the Zionism away. If only.

In reality, today sees yet more craven politicians – including some Greens, who clearly have been pressured by the Zionist lobby and their Dear Leader in Canberra (aka Bob Brown) and just want BDS to go away, which it won’t – and unionists who have no understanding about Palestine.

Feel the hysteria? It’ll only get worse as Israel continues to descend into its own occupying ways and these cretins will be remembered as being on the wrong side of history.

Sydney Morning Herald:

The NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has spoken out against the targeting of Max Brenner chocolate stores as part of an anti-Israel boycott, deepening the split within the Greens over the issue.

Mr Buckingham argued that the campaign was ”counter-productive to the cause of peace and human rights in the Middle East”. He has also joined the Parliamentary Friends of Israel, as well as the equivalent Palestinian friendship group.

The boycott of the Israeli-owned Max Brenner stores has been a controversial part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in support of Palestinian rights.

The store’s parent company, the Strauss Group, supports the Israel Defence Forces.

Mr Buckingham’s criticism is likely to deepen the split within the Greens over support for the campaign, which derailed the party’s bid to take the seat of Marrickville at March’s state election.

The Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has publicly supported the Max Brenner boycott and the campaign in comments that are at odds with the federal Greens Leader, Bob Brown.

”There are a variety of ways to express concern about the abuse of Palestinian human rights and to push for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Mr Buckingham said yesterday.

”I am concerned that the tone and the public perception of the Max Brenner protests may be counter-productive to the cause of peace and human rights in the Middle East”.

Max Phillips, a Greens councillor on Mr Buckingham’s staff, helped overturn Marrickville council’s support for the Israel boycott earlier this year.

Cr Phillips was one of two Greens on the council who changed their vote and sided with Labor and independents against the mayor, Fiona Byrne, to scrap the policy. The NSW Greens are reviewing their support for the international campaign.

The anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign has been dismissed by one of Victoria’s most senior unionists as potentially racist, ludicrous and a recipe for a civil war in the Middle East.

In a scathing critique of the campaign, Victorian Trades Hall Council assistant secretary David Cragg warned the union leadership of the flaws in the logic and integrity of the BDS strategy.

Mr Cragg also reminded his colleagues of the “totally repugnant history” of boycotting Jewish businesses, and questioned the comparison of Israel with apartheid South Africa.

“If the strategic goal of BDS is not just to end the settlements in the West Bank but to change the demographic composition of Israel, it is clearly a racist and frankly ludicrous enterprise at odds with the global consensus, which has always recognised Israel’s right to exist specifically as the state of the Jewish people legitimately created under international law and the UN Charter,” he said.

Ms Cragg said the slogan Boycott Israel should be rejected.

“Israel, as it is currently, would no longer exist if BDS achieves its goals,” he said.

Mr Cragg’s comments appear in a briefing paper to Trades Hall’s executive council and formed part of a report late last year on the BDS conference in Melbourne, which effectively launched the national campaign.

The comments represent what many believe is the majority union and Labor Party perspective. There is deep and growing embarrassment among many Labor supporters about outspoken unionists backing the BDS campaign, which is also advocated by Greens senator Lee Rhiannon.

The Australian has been approached by several senior Labor figures alarmed that the perception is being created that many in the party are backing the Palestinian-based BDS strategy.

There is limited backing for BDS among state MPs, and several prominent federal Labor MPs — including Michael Danby, Stephen Conroy and David Feeney — have voiced concerns.

However, the state Coalition has accused Labor of failing to denounce what it says is union support for BDS.

Mr Cragg, a respected Labor moderate with decades of party and union service, formed his views after observing a Melbourne BDS conference last November. “Some of the assertions that were made were clearly wrong and I have included in places a critical evaluation of what was said,” he wrote.

He also questioned the assertion by BDS supporters that Israel “stands out beyond all other human rights abuse in the world” because of its distinctive nature.

Mr Cragg countered: “The total number of people killed in the course of the Arab-Israeli and Israel-Palestinian conflicts over the last 90 years including seven wars and two intifadas is minuscule compared to the ongoing genocides in the Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, Western Sahara and Tibet, to count just a few global horror stories.”

The BDS campaign in Australia is set to intensify this month with further protests planned against the Israeli-owned Max Brenner chocolate shops.

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