While increasing number of groups globally embrace the BDS agenda – a non-violent way to pressure Israel to abandon apartheid or pay a deep price – the Australian Zionist lobby is fearful:
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) President John Searle has strongly denounced The Australian Jewish Democratic Society’s (AJDS) recent decision that some boycotts of Israel may be justified”¦and clarifies the link between the organisations.
Searle has firmly stated: “The AJDS seeks to legitimate its views by describing itself as a ”˜community-affiliated Jewish organisation’.… However while the AJDS is an affiliate of the JCCV, this is a tribute to the latter’s inclusive nature rather than an acceptance of the AJDS’ views. Indeed this decision to support certain boycotts is totally out of step with the vast majority of Jewish and general opinion, both in Victoria and world-wide’, Searle stated.
“Most responsible trade unions, governments, leading universities and the like reject BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] out of hand as counter-productive.… It is not only that boycotts are reminiscent of the 1930s when various Fascist movements undertook such action in order to demonise Jews.… There is also tremendous irony that organisations such as the AJDS supposedly support dialogue as a means of resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, yet resort to such crude victimisation of Jewish Israeli organisations, institutions and individuals.… Most importantly of all, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that BDS activity actually has any effect in achieving peace.… On the contrary, it will only harden attitudes, particularly those of Hamas and Hezbollah and their Iranian puppet-masters, whose sole intention is the destruction of Israel and the establishment of another hardline Islamist State”.
Searle continued, “If the AJDS were serious about justice, then why did it give a platform to pro-Palestinian activist Samah Sabawi at the meeting where this decision was made without allowing a countering point of view?… Sabawi defines Israel as an apartheid State and advocates the Right of Return which of course would mean no possibility of a two-State solution.… It is indicative of what the AJDS stands for when it gives such ideologues a voice and makes a mockery of the AJDS’ claims to be ”˜Jewish’ and ”˜Democratic’”.
Searle concluded, “In accord with almost all Jewish institutions and organisations around the world, the JCCV is committed to a balanced solution that meets as best as possible the aspirations of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.… This can only be achieved a by a genuine commitment to peace and dialogue and the recognition of the rights of all.… Finger-pointing and victimisation as advocated by the AJDS are designed to frustrate the Jewish People’s legitimate national aspirations and can only take us backwards.”
The AJDS are stepping cautiously. It’s a welcome beginning.