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Australian lawmaker Danby slams Greens over Israel boycott

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Australian Jewish lawmaker Michael Danby slammed the Greens Party for "promoting extreme and dangerous policies" over its controversial support of an Israel boycott.

Writing in The Australian newspaper of April 2, Danby of the governing Labor Party condemned Greens leader Bob Brown for allowing a "watermelon faction" — green on the outside but red on the inside — to wade into foreign policy.

Danby wrote that most ordinary Australians do not realize that elements of the Greens “support a boycott that would ban the Batsheva Dance Company from returning to Australia and the Israeli Philharmonic from playing at the Sydney Opera House."

The New South Wales faction of the Greens adopted the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign against Israel in 2010, prompting a major backlash from the Jewish community. The federal Greens Party has not adopted the BDS movement.

In the New South Wales state election last week, the Greens Party candidate in the inner Sydney seat of Marrickville, who was favored to win, was defeated after she supported the council’s Israel boycott. Brown blamed the party’s stance on Israel for the loss of the seat.

Marrickville’s support of the boycott prompted Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield to introduce a motion March 23 in the upper house of federal parliament condemning the local council, but Brown opposed the motion.

The Greens are a minority party in the Labor-led coalition government.

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