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Victorian Greens dealing with Levitical Leprosy

April 12, 2011 – 6:35 pm32 Comments

Greens Senator Hanson-Young, with some friends who just bought some new scarves at The Gap

By Yaakov Gorr

Whilst Shabbos shul-goers were leyning Parashat Metzora, the Victorian Greens were in their State Conference and dealing with a leprosy of a different kind.  A representative of the Greens’ NSW branch had been invited to attend in order to explain the policy adopted by several candidates in the recent NSW state election on “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.  The national position of the Green, and also that of the Victorian branch, is not supportive of the idea of BDS.

According to a senior Greens member who I’m in contact with and who had attended the meeting “BDS is not the Victorian position and not the national position.  BDS has been proposed as a policy for the Greens a few times but the proposal has been defeated.”

And the red spots affecting the Marrickville Town Hall?  Well, supposedly the spreaders of evil speech will be taken outside the organisation until they are considered to be ritually pure, and this may involve Marrickville City Council reassessing several of its positions. According to my contact, it is not uncommon for municipalities to take points of view on international issues if there are members of that community within the municipality – for example Yarra City Council did a lot of work with East Timorese, many of whom were living in Yarra during that country’s struggle for independence, and currently does good work with asylum seekers.  There are, however, few Palestinians in Marrickville.  Many Marrickville politicians – both from the Greens and Labor – have viewed the backlash against the policy and are having second thoughts.

Those second thoughts ought to have been influenced by a reading of two new documents, produced by Arab intellectuals, which were made available to Victorian Greens, which showed that of the best countries to be an Arab in the middle east, ranked by education, unemployment rate and GDP per head, Israel was in the top six along with oil rich countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and UAE.  GDP per head is twelve times higher in Israel than in Egypt, eight times higher than in Syria and four times higher than in Jordan.  Unemployment rate for Arabs in Israel is half that of Egypt, Syria, Iran and Morocco.  School completion for Arabs in Israel is eight times higher than that of all citizens of Tunis, Mauritania or Algeria.  Israel doesn’t just rank ahead of every Arab country in the UN Human Development Index, it also ranks ahead of Finland, Austria, and the UK.

Some Victorian Greens now have a desire to meet “Green-minded” members of the Jewish Community with a view to thrashing out a new Middle East policy.  Many appear impressed not only by Israeli achievements in terms of the return to collective farming by disaffected city youth, water recycling, service taxis as a means of public transport, and take-up of solar hot water systems, but also of new industries of an ecological bent which could provide green jobs in Australia such as commercial fisheries, methane production from farm waste, and drip irrigation.

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