Aussie lawmakers blast anti-Israel boycott in resolution


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian lawmakers passed a resolution blasting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

The motion, which passed May 11 by a vote of 32-30 in the Senate, Australia’s upper house, was proposed by the Liberal senator for Tasmania, Eric Abetz, and took aim at support for the BDS campaign by the New South Wales branch of the Greens Party.

“Tonight the Senate condemned those in the Labor Party, the Greens and unions who are supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel,” Abetz said.

Abetz ripped the Greens’ leader, Sen. Bob Brown, saying he "did not have the spine to reject the NSW Greens’ BDS policy, despite previously claiming that both he and the Greens’ national council opposed this BDS policy.”

The BDS became a focal point in Australia last December when a Greens-dominated local council in Sydney supported the campaign. But it later abandoned the policy under intense pressure from politicians, the media and Jewish groups

Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the BDS last week as “stupid and repugnant.”

“Israel is a democracy with whom we have a long-standing relationship," she told News Ltd newspapers on May 11, adding that "anyone who stands in the way of that is doing the wrong thing.”

Peter Wertheim, the chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told JTA that “BDS proponents argue that acting against Israel will, ipso facto, help the Palestinians achieve statehood. The argument is wrong because it assumes that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a zero-sum conflict. This is the assumption that Arab leaders have been making for more than 60 years and it has brought nothing but catastrophe upon the Palestinians.”

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