THE AUSTRALIAN: Jewish outrage as Greens host Gaza ‘freedom’ event – 11Jun11 June 11, 2011
THE NSW Greens continue to support protests against Israel, with the party’s upper house leader David Shoebridge to host a function at Parliament House next week for an activist group preparing to head to Gaza.
Jewish community leaders have criticised the Greens’ hosting of the Farewell to Freedom Flotilla event, saying it uses taxpayer-funded facilities to encourage groups to break international law.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff yesterday questioned why any state MP would host an event for a group that was actively opposed to a legitimate government.
“Mr Shoebridge and the organisers of the flotilla choose to ignore the fact that Gaza is controlled by Hamas,” he said, “a terrorist group openly committed to Israel’s destruction.”
Mr Shoebridge, a co-convener of The Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, defended hosting the event next Tuesday, as it was a “multi-party group of state MPs promoting peace and justice in the Middle East”.
“The Greens are on record as supporting Israelis, Palestinians and international peace workers who promote non-violent action against the occupation of the Palestinian territories,” he said.
The comments come just weeks after federal Greens leader Bob Brown slammed incoming Senate colleague Lee Rhiannon for her anti-Israel stance, claiming it cost the party votes in the NSW election in March. Ms Rhiannon supported Marrickville Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne’s backing of the controversial boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israeli companies. She said then the NSW Greens were “certainly united in terms of our commitment for human rights for Palestinians”.
Former NSW Greens member Sylvia Hale is boarding the flotilla to Gaza this month, and will be a guest at the function. Ms Hale said it was common for Parliament House to hold events supporting particular organisations.