BDS – Peace and Conflict Studies? Hardly !

“Israeli law center Shurat HaDin has filed a legal suit in the Australian federal court against the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University in Australia Jake Lynch for supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Previously the organization filed a complaint against Lynch at the Australian Human Rights Commission. The new lawsuit states that Lynch’s support of the BDS movement violates Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act and is particularly focused in Lynch’s refusal to sponsor Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon.

Shurat HaDin is seeking a court order requiring Lynch to apologize and renounce his BDS campaign, stating that his participation in and support of the BDS movement has led to

“adverse distinction, exclusion, restriction and adverse preference based on the Jewish race, descent, national and ethnic origin of goods, services, persons and organisations,” reported The Australian.

Lynch dismissed the accusations against him, saying he is certain that

“we will prove, in court if necessary, that it does not amount to any form of discrimination or racism.”

Read here:

Mission Statement

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching on the causes of conflict and the conditions that affect conflict resolution and peace. Research projects and other activities focus on the resolution of conflict with a view to attaining just societies.

The Centre aims to facilitate dialogue between individuals, groups or communities who are concerned with conditions of positive peace, whether in interpersonal relationships, community relations, within organisations and nations, or with reference to international relations.

Let us look at how untrue that Mission Statement is

In December 2012, Jake Lynch, a professor from Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies was roundly criticised for rejecting an Israeli academic from participating in  a research forum . He faced scathing criticism from the Executive Director of the ECAJ – Executive Council of Australian Jewry, after he boycotted an Israeli academic who was behind a Jewish-Arab high school programme. Who said that he was not alone in criticising the decision to ban Hebrew University Prof. Dan Avnon. He said

 “It is viewed with scarcely concealed disdain by many in the academic community.

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACs) has been a continual embarrassment to the University of Sydney.”

‘The Australian’ reported that Avnon approached Associate Prof. Jake Lynch of the center, seeking to benefit from a fellowship agreement shared by the two institutions. Lynch rejected the approach, saying he supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israeli universities

A University of Sydney spokesperson told ‘The Australian’ that the institution and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence did not support the boycott move. The spokesperson said Lynch spoke “on behalf of himself and maybe one or two colleagues.”

“Little wonder that CPACs’ rebuff to Professor Dan Avnon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been criticized by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and others,”

Wertheim wrote.

“To the university’s credit, I understand that arrangements have been made for Professor Avnon to work with another department which has much higher international recognition for its research and teaching.”

Avnon, a member of the Hebrew University’s political science faculty, set up a high school program in 2001 for religious and secular Jews to study together with Arabs. The three streams generally study separately in Israel’s state education system.

According to J-Wire, last year the University of Sydney hosted an Israel Research Forum for Israeli and Australian academics from various fields including medical research and the humanities. Lynch appealed to the vice-chancellor of the university calling for the forum to be canceled and boycotted, but the request was rejected outright.

Professor Avnon contacted Associate Professor Lynch, expressing interest in spending time at the centre and meeting him.

Associate Professor Lynch emailed in reply:

“Your research sounds interesting and worthwhile. However, we are supporters of the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and that includes the call for an academic boycott of Israeli universities.”

Professor Avnon – who has written on moving beyond the Jewish-Palestinian divide to develop a new sense of citizenship in Israel – said of the centre’s decision:

 

“I find it ironic that you promote a policy of boycott that does not distinguish one individual from another. It is ironic because, like myself, many (probably most) intellectuals and scholars in relevant fields are doing our best to effect change in Israeli political culture. We pay prices for going against the institutional grain. And then we turn around and meet such a ‘blind to the person’ policy.”

Professor Avnon continued:

“One common tendency that must be changed if we ever want to live sane lives is to debunk categorical and stereotypical thinking when dealing with human beings.” He received no response from Associate Professor Lynch.

University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence rejected a call from Associate Professor Lynch in 2009 to cut links with the Hebrew University and a second Israeli institution, the Technion, in the city of Haifa. “I do not consider it appropriate for the university to boycott academic institutions in a country with which Australia has diplomatic relations,” he wrote in response at the time.

A spokesman for Dr Spence said his position had not changed.

The spokesman said Associate Professor Lynch was

“entitled to express a public opinion where it falls under his area of expertise”, but added, “on this particular matter he does not speak for the school, the faculty or for the university”.

Professor Avnon said he had received “heart-warming, collegial and positive responses” from other staff at Sydney University.

“I look forward to associating with them and learning from and through them about Australia’s policies in civic education and other issues,” he said. Here:

Shurat HaDin — Israel Law Center is an Israeli based civil rights organization and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world. Fighting for the rights of hundreds of terror victims, Shurat HaDin seeks to bankrupt the terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt – one lawsuit at a time.

Tel Aviv-based group threatens Australian professors over Israel boycott

Media release

June 13, 2013: A Tel Aviv-based civil rights group warned Australian supporters of a proposed boycott against Israel on Thursday that their activities were racist, and in violation of Australian Federal anti-discrimination laws. Recently, faculty and students at Sydney University called for the severing of links with Israeli institutions.

In letters sent to Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Professor Stuart Rees and others, Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center threatened to take legal action if they did not immediately discontinue their boycott campaign.

In the letters Hamilton pointed out that the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 made it

 “unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, … national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

Hamilton also warned that any “successful” boycott of Israel was illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act of 2010 if they damage the businesses they target, and that as a result parties could be investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and face legal action for damages.

“Lynch, Rees, Voltz and others like them seek to impose restrictions on those having Israeli and Jewish national, racial or ethnic origins, whether these are goods, services, persons and organizations. The participants of the BDS movement clearly seek to violate freedoms guaranteed by Federal law,” Hamilton said.

For a full copy of the letter to Lynch click here

This was posted on the Facebook page of the Sydney Uni BDS activists by Shurat HaDin’s Andrew Hamilton.

 “WARNING NOTICE TO BDS ACTIVISTS FROM THE ISRAEL LAW CENTER”

 Criticism of and protest regarding the policies of the Israeli government are perfectly legal.

 When that protest extents to boycotting Israeli businesses and professors whose only connection to the Israeli government is that Israel is their national origin, that is unlawful racial discrimination.

When those protests extend to intimidation of Israelis and Jews, that is unlawful racial discrimination.

 It is lawful to criticise Japan’s policies. It is not lawful to boycott Japanese people and businesses because of disagreement with those policies.

 It is lawful to criticise India’s policies. It is not lawful to boycott Indian people and businesses because of disagreement with those policies.

 It is lawful to criticise Israel’s policies. It is not lawful to boycott Israeli people and businesses because of disagreement with those policies.

 If you keep on the right side of this line you will not be prosecuted.”

 Jake Lynch responds to Shurat HaDin complaint

Professor Jake Lynch told J-Wire:

“The complaint to the AHRC is without merit. Supporters of the military-security lobby in Israel are stepping up their attacks on BDS because it is beginning to take effect. Hence their revival of the tired old smear – any criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians must be anti-semitic. It’s nonsense, and will be shown to be so.”

From the Facebook page of Peter Boyle pictures and an explantion from a press conference outside the Federal Court of Australia with Professor Stuart Rees and Professor Peter Slezak.

Peter Sleasak one of the 'enemy within'Today, Wednesday 30th October 2013 an Israeli based law centre, Shurat HaDin, filed a case in the Federal Court of Australia, against Professor Jake Lynch from the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. They claim that he has supported policies which are racist and discriminatory by his specific endorsement of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and individuals within them, because of these institutions support of the illegal occupation of Palestine and their close connections with the Israeli armament industry.

A few familar facesSome familiar faces!!

But Rees counters:

“It seems that this firm, Shurat HaDin works in the civil courts as a proxy for the Israeli government and security forces, seeking to shut down any criticism of the state and its ongoing human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

The ECAJ released this statement in regards to the court action. Read the entire statement

 “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.”

 

It seems to me that Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University is anything but.!!

View this interview/discussion between Andrew Hamilton – Shurat HaDin and Professor Stuart Rees

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3 comments

  1. Leon Poddebsky

    The Peace Centre is a totalitarian, doctrinaire non-academic and non-intellectual institution.
    It loves collaborator Jews.
    The Vice-Chancellor of Sydney University is blatantly disingenuous when he defends antisemites on the grounds of supposed “academic freedom”; the Centre bans freedom for any views other than its own institutional antisemitism..

  2. As yet I haven’t come across one person who is in agreement with the ECAJ. Quite the reverse to be precise..