October 30, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
Please see ‘do Palestinians Support the Boycott and Divestment Movements against Israel?’

Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has added his voice to his Leaders following the pro BDS speech by Fremantle Labor MP Melissa Parke in parliament this week.

Michael Danby, the Labor member for Melbourne Ports and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition said ‘the Labor Party opposes the BDS campaign. The Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Bill Shorten, has repeatedly reaffirmed this position.

‘In a speech to the Zionist Federation of Australia on 30 March he stated “I also want to register my profound opposition to those promoting an anti-Israel boycott.  I reject it.  It has no place in our universities and it has no place in the commercial marketplace. I stand for engagement with Israel at every level”. Peace in the Middle East will only be achieved by the parties negotiating a mutually equitable outcome. Labor does not regard the BDS campaign as contributing to this outcome.

Michael Danby, the federal member for Melbourne Ports said ‘Melissa Parke is a maverick. Her views represent no one except her own. Anthony Albanese, the leader of the ALP’s left, led a campaign of opposition to the BDS together with his wife Carmel when they faced down the Green political party at the recent NSW State election. Danby said ‘the BDS movement is not an opposition to settlements, it’s an opposition to Israel’s existence.’

Can I remind you that the founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has said on a number of occasions that he wants an end to the Jewish state. His BDS movement is not an opposition to settlements, it’s an opposition to Israel’s existence.

Omar Barghouti:  ‘Going back to a two-state solution, beside having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.’ … ‘Good riddance. The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can move onto a unitary state where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.’

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek said: “We don’t support it at all. And we think it’s a very clumsy way of making a point, frankly.”

Executive Director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim told J-Wire: “Not even Lee Rhiannon was prepared to present the BDS petition to the Federal parliament when she was asked to do so in August [scroll down below].  But it seems that Melissa Parke has become even more extreme in her anti-Israel views than Lee Rhiannon.  She has also foolishly quoted ex-UN official Richard Falk in support of her position.  Falk is primarily known as a fringe “9/11 conspiracy theorist”, and has been widely denounced, including by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”  As noted by the British government’s Equality and Non-Discrimination Team, Falk’s recent writings are “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.

No country is perfect but to condemn democratic States like Israel and Australia with the “apartheid” tag is ludicrous, and an affront to those who suffered under the real thing in South Africa.

Every one of the parties represented in the Federal parliament and in the State or Territory parliaments supports Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, free from military and terrorist attacks and the threat of such attacks.  They all support a negotiated two-State solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. They have all rejected endorsement of the anti-Israel BDS campaign in their policy platforms, and leaders of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens have denounced BDS publicly more than once.    More importantly, despite criticisms of Israeli government policies and practices, whether well-founded or not, most Australians have shown no tolerance at all for the fringe groups that have picketed chocolate shops, university centres that try to censor Israeli academics or local councils that are inclined to spend rate-payers money on anti-Israel crusades.”

Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek have been right to publicly dissociate themselves and the ALP from Ms Parke’s ill-considered statements.