Jake Lynch and BDS.

For these of you who don’t know who Professor Jake Lynch is. Here’s a quick run-down for you.

Prof. Jake Lynch heads the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. It appears he is his own, very own Centre for Peace and Conflict Study.

In November 2012, Lynch declined a request by an Israeli academic, Professor Dan Avnon, to name him as a University of Sydney contact on his application for a Sir Zelman Cowen fellowship, which underwrites exchanges between the University of Sydney and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, citing that he believes in the BDS and therefore was boycotting Israeli universities and academics.

There was much coverage and Lynch was slammed not only by the Jewish Community but academia too.

Then Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Centre decided to take legal action

Read more here: here: here:

This past week Both Jake Lynch and Andrew Hamilton, the Australian solicitor who represents Shurat HaDin in Israel have hit the media.

Let’s deal with the legal action first.

The Australian  December 28th 2013.

Andrew Hamilton, representing the Israel-based legal action group Shurat HaDin, has submitted a sweeping statement of claim to the Federal Court alleging Professor Lynch has directly discriminated against academics, but also helped deprive all Israelis of cultural, educational, and professional opportunities.

Hamilton will claim in what is likely to be a landmark case revolving around conflicting interpretations of freedom of expression, that Professor Lynch, by refusing to support a fellowship application by Israeli academic Dan Avnon, deprived him of his professional rights in an act of racial discrimination.

He will further claim that all Israeli academics are adversely affected by the BDS policy of Professor Lynch, by calling for boycotts of Israel, Professor Lynch also contributes to the wider international boycott campaign that disadvantages owners of Israeli-related businesses and contributes towards Israelis being deprived of cultural opportunities.

Shurat HaDin. 4 PNG

Shurat HaDin alleges two academics, who have joined the case as plaintiffs, have been adversely affected by Professor Lynch’s policy, even though as yet they have not been the subject of specific actions.

Mr Hamilton told The Australian:

Dr Leonard Hammer, of the Hebrew University, a human rights lawyer, and Dr Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University, an Arabic studies specialist, have regularly lectured overseas, including in Australia

“They both are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at the CPACS, where Lynch has implemented his boycott.

However, just as a sign on a bar saying ‘No Jews or Blacks Allowed’ discriminates against and disadvantages all Jews and blacks, even if they didn’t even want to go into the bar, so Jake Lynch’s BDS academic boycott discriminates and disadvantages all Israeli academics”

Read it all here:

Now it appears that Jake Lynch has instigated a union investigation into whether his support for BDS actions against Israel influenced the Australian Research Council to reject a grant.

The Australian said it can  reveal that earlier this year senior AusAID officers secretly considered blocking a $580,000 grant destined for Professor Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.

“Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show then AusAID assistant director-general Rebecca Bryant said she feared approving the grant might “compound” media attention surrounding BDS, even though the proposed research programme had nothing to do with the international boycott campaign seeking improved rights for Palestinians.”

Bob Carr, who was Foreign Minister at the time, and I might add has shown himself to be anti-Israel, has told The Australian he is surprised by the action by Ms Bryant, that he would not have approved any move to sanction academics for supporting BDS, and that it could have been a reaction

“down the bureaucratic food chain that was their doing”.

Mr Carr said…

“I had not the remotest idea why a grant to a project about violence against women in Africa would have been considered controversial”

Professor Lynch has been in a public battle with the Coalition since May, when then opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said a Coalition government would ensure

“no grants of taxpayers’ funds are provided to individuals or organisations which actively support the BDS campaign”.

This year Professor Lynch submitted an application to the federally funded ARC for $290,000 to study the work of journalists in South Africa, Nepal, Australia and Britain.

The ARC recently rejected his application.

“It could be, of course, that it was simply adjudged not quite good enough by the assessors,”

Professor Lynch told The Australian.

“But the Bishop statement, and the earlier evidence that AusAID … improperly took my support for BDS into account, leaves me with suspicions that this has happened with the ARC too.

I have verbal agreement from the National Tertiary Education Union that they will launch a Freedom of Information request to see if there is any correspondence showing a possible link.”

Labor MP Michael Danby, a fierce opponent of BDS, said he found it ironic Professor Lynch was whinging about not getting a research grant when he had refused to help Professor Avnon get one. Rather than being the result of a “political conspiracy”,  Mr Danby said, the ARC would have made its decision based on academic rigour.

“Jake Lynch is not a very highly regarded academic, he’s just basically an ex-BBC journalist.”

A spokeswoman for the ARC said grant applications were confidential, but Ministers had not told the council to reject grant applications from BDS supporters.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has final sign-off on ARC grants; however, a spokesman denied he had intervened in Professor Lynch’s application.  Professor Lynch drew an analogy to the AusAID case, where senior officers were in contact with Mr Carr’s office concerning the grant application led by researchers at CPACS. A Carr office staff member, Claire McGeechan, sought assurances that previous grants to CPACS had not been used to support BDS. AusAID wrote to the applicant asking for assurances that CPACS “is not in any way associated with the BDS campaign”.

The independent selection panel recommended approval, but Ms Bryant wrote to a colleague expressing concern and seeking advice.

“The centre has been in the media recently because a) its director, Jake Lynch, is a vocal supporter of the BDS campaign and b) we provided the organisation with two grants.”

She further said

“So the question now is whether we proceed to approve a grant … possibly compounding the existing media focus on this issue. A broader question is whether we have any grounds to deny them a grant given they are not a proscribed organisation.”

Ms Bryant declined to comment, except to say: “I have nothing to hide.” A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman did not answer written questions from The Australian, but said “the former AusAID followed relevant guidelines”.

The Australian

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8 comments

  1. Leon Poddebsky

    The University of Sydney is blighted by the viper known as the Peace and Conflict Resolution Department. Ostensibly it is an academic department, but in reality its sole reason for existence is to act as a branch of the powerful and sinister International Arab Lobby.
    This Lobby also outsources some of its propaganda work to local politicians, such as Foreign Ministers, who are promised “post-retirement benefits” if they collaborate with the Lobby during their period in office.
    The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sydney is probably a well-meaning man, but when he defends his university’s ties to Israel on the grounds that Australia has diplomatic relations with Israel, rather than on the grounds that the Centre and BDS are immoral, mendacious and antithetical to progress, he shows himself to be a very weak man.

  2. Otto Waldmann

    Leon is impeccable in his comments.
    I have an angle which hopes to be very helpful in addressing the same case, the phenomenon, in fact. With Shirlee’s indulgence I shall prepare a more expansive post on the subject, but , one other aspect which comes persistently to the fore, discretely as it may, is the damned attitude academia has in society of a PRIVILEGED category. It means that academics, their institutions, see themselves well above the ethics, morfal parametres and, indeed, LEGAL stringecies we, mere mortals, would otherwise be subjected to.
    This Shurat Hadin legal action is revealing, at long last, that acdemics TOO are liable to exactly the same ethical conditions as everyone. The arrogant stance Lynch has been displaying so far, and also the luke warm comments from atop Lynch’s ivory tower, establishes once again, that distinct standards seem to be at play here.
    Lynch reckons, and like him thatCalifornian academic recently discussed here, that there no limits, no moral impositions at all in the manner in which they have been “endowed” by I DO NOT KNOW WHO, with the special right and privileges of offending the rest of society with the impunity self-assumed by their academic status. It is so strange for people who should know much better, for they have now that “onus probandi” to demonstrate in the ONLY court of the ONLY law applicable, that , at least outside the strict confines of the study, reserch and academic publication sphere, if not even on THE INSIDE of the same space, they must show the same respect for socially designed principles of democratic, fair social deportment.
    I am sure that Lynch and his own mob will have a very rude wakening and, for that matter, what Shurat Hadin are doing is perhaps a watershed in defining COMPREHENSIVE social decency, lawful behaviour.

  3. george greenberg

    The proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel claim that their actions are to support the Palestinians. It was therefore interesting to note that the first customer for Israel’s Leviathan gas fields (which Australian energy company Woodside is considering investing in), is to be the Palestine Power Generation Company, with the Palestinians to purchase $US1.2 billion worth of Israeli gas over 20 years. Furthermore, in a press conference in Johannesburg in December last year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he does not support the boycott of Israel. Surely if even the Palestinian leadership opposes the BDS campaign, it’s time those behind it ceased their discriminatory activities.

    • Mr. Greenberg you are certainly joking and, to be honest it is a good joke.
      The PA blokes and sheilas have been BORN with forked tongues.
      At tachles level, Israel is a country on the move and its development cannot be stalled by some nut cases without a chance.
      Here we can emphasize the normality of the Jewish character. We shall always work with confidence that our destiny is certain towards the survival of the people of Israel.
      We can do both , keep the wolves at bay and develop the bay into the mirror reflection of Gan Eden. One eye on the beauty of our world, the other one, as long as necessay, on those mamzerim who know only destraction. We are also building with confidence THE example of the world we like ALL to share in peace with us. They are all invited !!!!

    • No, Abu Mazen does not support a boycott of Israel, though now he says that isn’t what he meant in a statement he made, but he supports the boycott of communities in Judaea and Samaria, thus in turn depriving his fellow Arabs employment.

      The sooner Israel gets off her tuchus and tells the world the truth about Her rights and ownership of Judaea and Samaria the better. I know there is a big movement planning on doing this and not before time. We need to counteract the lies being spread by the Israel haters.

  4. Obviously the Palestinian forked tongue is hard at it and, in accordance with their massive brain power, seem to convince more people that their bankrupt rhetoric only complements a parasite society.
    To be fair, the general public allegiance to the Palestinian cause, most obviously here, in Australia, is so close to bugger-all that we can afford to look with some degree of cynical relaxation at a mob and their acolytes.
    Lynch, for one, is the ultimate in a leaky dingy up the creek without a paddle. The academic fraternity is all but completely indifferent to a no brainer in eliciting “moral” concern for a people, the Palestinians, who have engendered nothing but the putrid stench of a badly disguised criminal cause. Whatever they do, wherever they peddle their inarticulate wings, decent people turn away in disgust and some even fear.
    The latest in indignity is the infamous legal failure of a certain local leader to “establish” moral authority in a free and decent society of a mob bent on nothing but hatred and destruction. The Kaysar case has demonstrated that a civilised society has the adequate means to defend its standards against unwanted usurpers.