THE AUSTRALIAN: “Support for boycotts on Israel backfired” by Christian Kerr, 18Jul12 July 18, 2012

The Australian:  “Support for boycotts on Israel backfired” -   by Christian Kerr, 17 July 2012

SENIOR figures in the NSW Labor Right have explicitly linked action against the Greens at the ALP state conference with the party’s support for the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Former state treasurer and ALP general secretary Eric Roozendaal and fellow Legislative Councillor Walt Secord, an adviser to premiers Bob Carr and Kristina Keneally, linked the successful conference motion to deny the Greens automatic preferences to the local party’s support for the BDS movement.

“The Greens will carry forever the stain of their support for the BDS campaign and their attempts to delegitimise Israel and the Jewish community – and this is one of the reasons why we must stand strong against the Greens,” the pair said in a statement.

BDS activists compare the Jewish state with apartheid-era South Africa and demand an end to dealings with Israeli businesses and institutions.

The NSW Greens backed away from formal commitment to the BDS movement last December, but their previous support is believed to have shattered the party’s chances of winning the inner-Sydney seat of Marrickville at the March 2011 state poll and divided Greens on the local council. Influential figures in the NSW party are understood to still support the policy.

Greens federal leader Christine Milne has said the party did not support the BDS campaign, but the NSW party defied her predecessor Bob Brown on the issue.

“The NSW Greens were terribly damaged by their support for BDS in 2010 and backtracked at their annual conference in 2011,” said Executive Council of Australian Jewry director Peter Wertheim.

He said three of the party’s six NSW parliamentarians had repudiated BDS in public statements and Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham had been welcomed into the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel earlier this year.

“Only a minority faction of the Greens currently supports BDS, the so-called ‘watermelons’ faction’, led nationally by senator Lee Rhiannon and in NSW by MLCs John Kaye and David Shoebridge,” Mr Wertheim said.

“There continue to be deep divisions within the Greens on this issue.”


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