Australia’s government accused of supporting Israel boycott


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australia’s opposition Liberal Party has accused the government of supporting a boycott of Israel, prompting a Jewish legislator to blast the Liberals for using the Jewish state as a “political football.”

Julie Bishop, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, proposed a motion in federal parliament on June 2 with a section slamming local Labor and Greens councilmen for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The motion was passed only after Labor lawmakers deletedthat section.

Councilmen in Marrickville, in inner Sydney, voted last December to adopt the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, but they abandoned the controversial policy in April.

Bishop this week blasted Labor lawmakers “who publicly profess support for Israel and then provide support to the anti-Israeli stance of the Greens-Labor Marrickville Council.”

Michael Danby, a Jewish legislator in the Labor-led government, accused the Liberals of using Israel “as a political football.”

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the Australian government could not support the original motion because it stated there was a “fraying of the traditionally bipartisan support amongst Australia’s political parties for the State of Israel.” 

“This statement is false,” the spokesman said. “Bipartisan support for the State of Israel is strong and undiminished.”

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