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Israel-boycotters are hypocrites

September 23, 2009 – 11:50 pm18 Comments
Another boycott campaign, 1930s Los Angeles. Source: Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles Community Relations Committee Collection, Urban Archives Center, University Library, California State University-Northridge *

Another boycott campaign, 1930s Los Angeles. Source: Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles Community Relations Committee Collection, Urban Archives Center, University Library, California State University-Northridge *

By Michael Danby

Antony Loewenstein and Jake Lynch (The Australian, Letters blog, 22 September) criticise Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth for their opposition to the campaign for “boycott, disinvestment and sanctions” directed at Israel. But they fail to address the central issue pointed out by Mendes and Dyrenfurth – the hypocritical and one-sided nature of this campaign.

Sudan has killed at least 400,000 civilians in its genocidal war in Darfur. Russia killed about 40,000 people in its two brutal wars against Chechnya. Millions of people are suffering under dictatorships in Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria and others. Protesters are being shot down in the streets in Tibet, East Turkistan and Iran.

Are Loewenstein and Lynch calling for academic, cultural or communications boycotts against these countries? No, they’re not. Only Israel is so uniquely evil that it merits such treatment. The Israel-Palestinian conflict, which over the past 20 years has caused approximately 8,000 deaths (a third of them Israelis), is apparently worse than Darfur and Chechnya, worse indeed than anything else in the world.

Loewenstein and Lynch’s attack on the Australian columnists do serve a useful purpose in drawing out their real purposes. Firstly the perversity of the Director of Sydney University’s “Peace” Institute, which backs boycotts of Israeli academics rather than enhancing peace between the parties, could now not be starker.

Loewenstein’s support for the elimination of Israel coded as support for a one state solution shows that he was trying to sucker the few hundred who signed his Independent Jewish Voices “two state declaration”. Either way no serious Australian policy maker takes seriously ideas of boycotting Israeli academics and universities.

Michael Danby MHR is Federal Member for Melbourne Ports

* The complete poster can be seen here.

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