Jake Lynch: A study in ‘Peace and Conflict’.


peace-and-conflict-1-638Yesterday,March 11 2015, Associate professor Jake Lynch, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney; an executive member of the Sydney Peace Foundation, secretary general of the International Peace Research Association created a study in conflict of his own making.

Jake Lynch is no stranger to controversy. 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.

In an exclusive interview, Professor Avnon broke his silence to tell ‘The Australian’ he believed Professor Lynch deserves a “red card” for refusing to sponsor him because the Sydney academic supported the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

“The fact that academics at the University of Sydney have rallied to my cause doesn’t diminish the severity of Lynch’s attempt to boycott me as a Jewish Israeli academic,” Professor Avnon said.

This is mild compared to what occurred at USYD according to the report from:

Glen Falkenstein the Policy Analyst/Staff Writer at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)

At a lecture being given by retired British military officer Colonel Richard Kemp, a world-renowned expert on armed conflict, the Middle East and a prolific media commentator, protesters, including Jake Lynch, disrupted a lecture, fighting with security guards, at the University of Sydney.

Colonel Kemp had been invited by the University to speak on “Ethical Dilemmas of Military Tactics” and “Dealing with non-state armed groups,” in light of Australia’s military engagement with non-state actors, including ISIS.

Kemp began his talk with a brief explanation of his career and a joke about England’s cricket loss to Bangladesh on Monday. He went on to discuss non-state militant groups in Ireland and Afghanistan and the obligations of soldiers when engaging with civilians and civilian groups. Before he could go into any detail or discuss any other issues, he was interrupted by over a dozen students bursting into the lecture hall screaming

“Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you support genocide.”

A demonstrator with a megaphone drowned out any attempts by the moderator to get the lecture back on track. Protestors wrestled with security guards who had asked them to leave and were then forced to remove them. Protestors stood on chairs, began to push students and shout loudly at those who objected to their behaviour.

Professor Jake Lynch, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) and an ardent opponent of Israel, shouted in the faces of students, including at a senior officer of the Jewish student union. He then proceeded to stand on chairs and film attendees. Lynch screamed that attempts to remove the protestors was a violent attack on freedom of speech by security guards. When another academic suggested that he ask a question, Lynch responded that was not what this is about, only later opting to ask a question when invited by the Colonel.

Jake Lynch appearing to offer money for something?

One student commented that Kemp “hadn’t even mentioned Israel or Palestine” in the time he had to talk. Another student mentioned that she did not have strong views on either side of this issue, was studying international relations and had come expecting a talk, not an ambush.

After about 20 minutes of shouting, the protestors were finally removed from the hall, having objected loudly to their treatment by the security guards and some others present. Kemp, resuming as if nothing had happened, continued to speak on engagement with non-civilian groups in armed conflict. Concluding his talk, Kemp briefly addressed what he termed a “commercial break.”

“This protest was about my perspective on the IDF… I was in Israel during the 2014 summer conflict and I do believe that the IDF in their attack on Hamas in Gaza… were doing everything they could to protect civilians… People have told me I am wrong, but no one has told me what more steps Israel could take to minimize civilian casualties.”

Students, academics and other interested people had come from all over to hear an expert speak on a topical and important subject. Sydney University academic Professor Suzanne Rutland was present at the event and I spoke to her shortly following its conclusion:

“I feel that the demonstration really showed clearly that the anti-Israel group speaks in slogans without any sort of understanding of the intricacies of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and without any sort of acknowledgement that when they stand there chanting, “free Palestine,” what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against Israel’s Jewish population.”

Professor Rutland said,

“Accusing Israel of committing genocide has no academic basis whatsoever; they even said the Colonel (Kemp) was responsible for genocide. I strongly support legitimate criticism and when we teach about Israel we try to present a critical, balanced voice which is part of academic learning.”

“What I think the demonstration represented was the struggle faced by myself and others on campus who are opposed to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. While we try to follow the rules of polite debate, the BDS supporters will often not allow an alternative voice and this is what happened during the lecture.”

“Given the anti-Israel bias on campus we were grateful Dr Gil Merom agreed to chair the function and advertise it to his students.”

The national political director Julian Kowal of AUJS – Australasian Union of Jewish Students released a statement saying:

“AUJS thoroughly condemns the highly aggressive tactics used by the purportedly ‘pro-Palestinian’ protestors to intimidate audience members and impede on their right to listen to a public lecture given by a highly respected expert, who happens to disagree with their view of the world, it was undoubtedly intended to intimidate the largely Jewish student audience and make them feel unwelcome at the University of Sydney.”

AUJS called on the university to “have all options available in deciding how to discipline Professor Lynch”, who it said intimidated Jewish students by hurling verbal abuse and filming them without their permission “after he was repeatedly asked to stop”.

“Many of the Jewish students were traumatised by the highly confronting and violent experience, and will feel unsafe to attend future public lectures and events with the fear of further abuse and  we hope that the university will take this complaint seriously and deal with those involved appropriate in order to ensure the safety and security of Jewish students on campus.”

AUJS has registered a formal complaint with the University of Sydney.

Finally this gem from  The editor of  ‘Strewth’  Sydney in The Australian.

A SMALL get-well message to the bollocks of University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch, which we gather got in the way of a pro-Israeli foot during a mid-lecture scuffle yesterday.

They were hanging about, minding their own business, when protesters invaded a talk by retired British military officer Richard Kemp on ethical dilemmas of military tactics and dealing with non-state armed groups. Says Lynch, they “identified themselves as students concerned over the record of Israeli military forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

They had a megaphone — back to Lynch — “thus preventing the continuation of the meeting”. Security got involved, it got messy and Lynch, who supports the boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaign against Israel, added his two cents.

Which, we gather, is when his bits copped a kick from someone who felt differently to Lynch. Get well, boys.

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  1. Leon Poddebsky

    It is clear that “The Peace ….Centre” has well and truly inculcated in its stormtroopers the tactics used by Hamas, namely, to provoke then to cry foul when the provocation is met with resistance.
    There is no doubt now that The University of Sydney is home to a Hamas branch and to the Hamas Youth Movement.

  2. Joe in Australia

    The blog Israellycool has a photo of Lynch waving money in a Jewish student’s face: http://www.israellycool.com/2015/03/12/anti-zionist-not-antisemite-jake-lynch-needs-to-explain-this/

  3. Thanks Joe

    I posted it earlier

    Saw it yesterday and commented.

    The screenshot was supplied to The AJN by AUJS with the explanation that Prof Lynch was holding the money out in front of the student. The AJN has since spoken to Prof Lynch, his explanation is that a woman behind the student (not visible in the frame) was physically attacking him and he held out the money to illustrate that he would sue her if she did not stop. Full coverage in next week’s AJN.???

    • Joe in Australia

      What? Really? That is the least plausible explanation I have ever heard.

      He was being attacked by a woman *behind* another woman – that’s improbable in itself, but the rest of his claim is just ludicrous: he wanted her to stop, so he … reached into his pocket, took out his wallet, selected a $5 note, put his wallet back in his pocket, and said “I will sue if you don’t stop, and here, incidentally, is five Australian dollars.”

      I mean, what is the message here? “I will sue you for a lot of money, and this is what money looks like”? “I’m saving up to afford a lawyer”? “Her Majesty the Queen, who appears on this $5 note, would disapprove of your actions” ?

      • Who knows? I think the AJN will get to the truth whatever it is. Even though it’s a bizarre thing for a supposed intelligent person to do?

  4. it’s really remarkable that these clowns get away with this behaviour and the university can just go on business as usual. i guess this is why universities pump out mindless moronic idiots who are unemployable because they can’t think for themselves.
    so where is the bored of deputies in all this?
    how safe is it for jewish students on campus these days….

  5. The complexities of the Israeli Palestinian conflict?
    What’s so complex about jihad?

  6. jack lynch is a mere provocateur,he does not care for talks but is a usual demonstrator trying to intimidate and threaten audiences. The only thing this kind of scum understands is a shot in his head to kill or maime him for ever.

  7. The traumatic era of the Vietnam War saw real academic soul-searching about what a university is all about. That is when the concept of “Irenics”–the study of what makes Peace, named for the Greek goddess of peace–came into vogue. A School of Irenics was proposed for Sydney Uni. What a shrieking self-indictment it is that the eventual outcome is a “Centre” whose head is an academic charletan chosen precisely for his peace-killing partisanship, dignified by his prominence in the ‘discipline’ of ‘peace journalism’ which is today’s updating of classic ‘agitprop’ as taught in the universities of the late un-lamented Soviet Union. Just as that system of fabricated truthiness eventually collapsed into its own hollowness, the enterprise of Lynch, a lifelong Marxist, will crumble. What a shame for the real study of what makes peace. And what an indictment of a once-true university that it has set up this travesty.

  8. Jan Poddbesky

    Did anyone see Professor Lynch doubled over in agony as you would expect if he was actually kicked in the balls as he alleges? I have serious doubts about his claim and if it is false, that would be entirely consistent. However, if the accusation leads to a criminal charge being laid, the video should be significant evidence. I am ready to offer my testimony as above. Anyone else?

    • Even his mates, Brull, Stillman & Co on their FB pages doubt it happened. It would be interesting to find out where being kicked in the ‘crown jewels’ came from.

      Just reading around various news sources it appears the woman in question was throwing water at the protestors, then she lashed out at Lynch verbally and physically. That’s when, apparently, he very conveniently whipped a $5 note out of his top pocket and waved it at her in a gesture which showed he would sue her????

      I really don’t know and I am sure the truth will out. I find it rather strange that no other videos have emerged. There was certainly plenty of filming going on.

  9. Joe in Australia

    Towards the end of the video you can hear someone (student? staff?) ranting. At 3:11 he says “you are in the minority”.

    Well, precisely. Mob violence and silencing are *typically* directed against minorities.

  10. As someone who was at this event it is clear that this event has been followed by some seriously unbalanced and distorted media coverage (including the above article), coverage which omits key events -including the physical assault of two University staff by one of Richard Kemp’s supporters- and makes inaccurate claims about what actually did happen. I have published these observations on On Line Opinion here: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17175&page=0

    Michael Brull has published another reliable account of what happened at the disrupted lecture -along with new video footage of the event: https://newmatilda.com/2015/03/18/blaming-victims-what-really-happened-colonel-kemp-usyd-protest

    • Please spare us from your loony left aspect of what transpired at USYD.

      It’s a pathetic joke as shown by the comments on your equally pathetic article on OnLine opinion, where you have been slammed and which clearly you haven’t bothered reading

      G-d help me. Michael Brull and New Matilda in one sentence is more than the mind can take. Clearly if you thought you had any credibility at all, you have lost it in that one sentence.

      I would take the word of Colonel Kemp any day over that of yours, Brull’s and good heavens above the New Matilda, the bible of the loony left.

      Maybe you should read the FB pages of others of your ilk to see what they think of your mate Lynch.

      • Just had a quick glance of the video at that abominable website and as I see it, Jake Lynch could well be open to prosecution for harassment and intimidation of that poor elderly lady, who is I think (not 100% sure) is a Holocaust survivor.

    • Paul Duffill

      I responded to your article on OLO with the following comment:

      “Perhaps your readers might like to read the letter sent by Colonel Kemp to the Vice Chancellor concerning the events that took place during his address.


      I note that the CV of the author of this article – Paul Duffill – contains the following information:

      “Paul Duffill is a part-time lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney. His research and teaching focuses on peacebuilding and dialogue, evaluation, pedagogy and non-violent civil society initiatives in response to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has worked as a trainer in inter-cultural communication and dialogue in Japan, Australia and the West Bank in Palestine. He is also project manager of a human rights curriculum development project headed by the University of Sydney’s human rights program and carried out in partnership with several other universities across Australia.”

      Does Mr Duffill view what happened at Colonel Kemp’s address as a “non-violent civil society initiative”?

      Do Mr Duffill’s lectures teach that such behaviour as that detailed in Colonel Kemp’s letter to the Vice Chancellor represent a “non-violent civil society initiative”?

      How many staff members of the Centre for Peace and Conflict studies were present to hear Colonel Kemp? Do they consider the actions of those protestors who silenced Colonel Kemp as “a non-violent civil society initiative?”

      Do you intend replying to it?

    • Leon Poddebsky

      Mr Duffill’s loyalty to the head of Mr Lynch’s department, where Mr Duffill has a part-time job, might be considered admirable by some, but in academia ultimate loyalty is supposed to be to verifiable facts, dispassionate sifting of those facts, arrival at logical , reasonable, defensible conclusions from those facts.
      Also, evidence must be gathered from all sides. The version which Mr Duffill cites supports only one side; surely Mr Duffill, as a budding academic, can see that. If not, then The University of Sydney is in big trouble.
      Is Mr Duffill attempting to demonstrate contempt for our intelligence by implying that the Lynch advocate whom he cites is competent, objective, reliable?

      Mr Lynch’s department is an advocacy entity, not an academic institution, despite all the learned footnotes and quotes etc that litter its publications.
      Mr Duffill’s approach reinforces that impression since it is at variance with the traditional Western Enlightenment approach in non-totalitarian, free societies.

      The conduct of the mob that disrupted the talk demonstrated intense fear of an opposing set of facts, evidence, interpretations, views.
      That academics were in league with the mob is a grave indictment.
      If this sort of totalitarian conduct is allowed to continue and becomes more widespread, then what will become of “the lucky country,” Mr Duffill.
      You know, today we are the victims, but under totalitarian regimes, no one is safe.
      Remember nazi Germany and communist Soviet Union. There, people were loyal nazis and loyal communists, respectively, one day; the next day they were hanging from the gallows.

  11. A Sympathetic Supporter

    I am not Jewish, but I am apalled by the treatment the Jewish people are receiving.

    I would suggest the best and most impactful response you can make is to carry a star of David around with you. When confronted by ignorant thugs, be prepared to pull it out and pin it to your shirt, as a reminder of past anti-semtic thugs, that went a bit further.

    If this were catch on in social media, it would remind the world of the shame the last time we let the Jewish people suffered in numbers.