SYDNEY (JTA) – Melbourne Jewry’s umbrella organization voted to condemn a Jewish group that supports the boycott of goods from the West Bank.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria in a 29-4 vote on Monday passed a motion condemning “in the strongest possible terms” the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The debate on the motion, which was brought by Zionist Council of Victoria President Sam Tatarka, turned heated at times.
The motion said the society’s boycott, which was launched in March, is “repugnant to the basic policies and principles of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.” It also said the community council is “fundamentally opposed to any idea, organization or movement which recommends or supports boycotting, divesting from or sanctions against Israel.”
Larry Stillman, an executive member of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, told JTA that the council had been “hijacked by local representatives of the settler movement,” adding that it was his own opinion. He also said the motion has created a “huge division between the official Jewish community locally and progressive organizations internationally.”
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria comprises more than 50 Jewish organizations.