SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The head of Australian Jewry scolded a left-wing parliamentarian who demanded that an Australian member of a Gaza-bound flotilla be immediately released.
Dr. Danny Lamm, the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, chastised Greens Sen. Lee Rhiannon Monday after she called on the Israeli government to release Sydney resident Michael Coleman, one of 27 pro-Palestinian activists arrested Nov. 4 by the Israeli Navy as they tried to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.
“It is the Israeli Defense Forces that have acted illegally, as the boat Mr. Coleman and other Freedom Waves participants were on was in international waters when intercepted,” said Rhiannon, a vocal supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.
Lamm retorted that “Senator Rhiannon’s characterization of the blockade of Gaza and the boarding of vessels that are used to break the blockade as ‘illegal’ is mendacious nonsense."
“The people who want to break the blockade are not interested in providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians,” Lamm said. “If that was their fundamental aim, they could send their supplies in by land via Israel. Their main purpose is to harm Israel and her people.”