MEDIA RELEASE – Executive Council of Australian Jewry

           Executive Council of Australian Jewry

                                           MEDIA RELEASE

30 October 2013


Legal action by Israel Law Centre Shurat HaDin against the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

 “The campaign to boycott academic and other contacts with Israel is repugnant to all who sincerely seek a just and lasting resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,”

said Peter Wertheim, the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

 “The path to a just peace is through mutual engagement, not vilification. Contacts between Israeli and Palestinian academics should be encouraged and facilitated by their Australian and other colleagues, not stigmatised.”

The ECAJ has long been a vocal critic of the anti-Israel boycott campaign.

 “The boycott campaign is a calculated attempt to demonise, isolate and ultimately dismantle Israel through the distortion of international law and human rights. The hate-filled protests outside Max Brenner chocolate shops and the ill-considered scheme of Marrickville Council to boycott Israeli products at a cost of millions of dollars to its rate-payers, which was subsequently abandoned, have rightly been condemned and derided by most Australians. All major parties including the Greens, except for a handful of their MP’s, disavow the anti-Israel boycott campaign”

Wertheim said.

 “The ECAJ believes that the most appropriate and effective way to combat the boycott campaign is to expose its deceptive and sometimes racist rhetoric, methods and aims to  public scrutiny. In our view, attempts to suppress the campaign through litigation are inappropriate and likely to be counter-productive.

It is for this reason that the ECAJ has had no involvement in the action brought by Shurat HaDin and will continue to fight the boycott campaign through public discourse.

If any individuals believe they have been adversely affected by racially discriminatory policies and practices of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies they are entitled to have their day in court, but we are opposed to litigation if it is pursued merely as a political tactic.”

Asked whether he believes that all criticisms of Israel are antisemitic, Wertheim answered

 “No. Israel is a vibrant pluralist democracy and its citizens – Jews, Bedouin, Druze and other Israeli Arabs – are often its most incisive critics. But it is also false to suggest that no criticisms of Israel are antisemitic. There is clearly an overlap, as has been acknowledged by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the members of parliament from many countries, including Australia, who have signed the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism and the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism.”



Peter Wertheim AM | Executive Director

phone: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888

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  1. I’m not sure what this article is all about. It’s a bit all over the place. Is Peter for or against the BDS? If against, then Shurat HaDin’s legal action should be supported.

    • Rachel

      It’s not an article but a media release.

      Yes the ECAJ is against the BDS, but they do not approve of Shurat HaDin’s legal action?

      Go figure, but as per their norm, our Community organisations issue weak statements. It’s about time we stood up and were counted. Look at the performance they all made about Geert Wilders visit here.

      Here is a man who is a very outspoken advocate for Israel and respected MP of a European country. A man who has spoken in Congress and the Knesset and look at the treatment he received here.

      We are a disgrace

  2. it is terribly disturbing that ECAJ finds it inapproproaiate to fight BDS using the Australian legal system. Kafka’s essay on the Law illustrates similar ideology.
    The FACT is that in Australia we are priviledged and have an independent judicial system which ensures that racial villification, racial prejudice and idiotic BDS campaigns do not proceed.