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Australian Jewish group rebuked over divestment decision

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Australian Jewish leaders blasted a small Jewish group over its decision to support a partial boycott of Israeli products.

Melbourne’s Jewish umbrella organization, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, at Monday’s monthly plenum meeting scolded the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, whose members have long opposed Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The council formally disassociated itself from the society, which last month passed a resolution supporting “selected boycott, divestment and sanctions actions designed to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation.”

Specifically, the society opposes supporting those who produce and export goods from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The council’s executive director, Geoffrey Zygier, said although his organization respected the right of its constituents to express their viewpoints, the society has “crossed the red line in vilifying Israel.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry slammed the society’s motion as “naive,” while the Zionist Federation of Australia said the group deserved “the most severe condemnation.”

The society claims it is the first "community-affiliated Jewish organization" in Australia to have supported, albeit partially, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel.
 

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