Australians for Palestine (VIC) writes in defence of The Hon Shaoquett Moselmane MP, NSW State Parliament for his support of Palestine 28May13 May 28, 2013

 Mr John Robertson
NSW ALP Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House
Macquarie Street


Dear Mr Robertson,

Australians for Palestine, from time to time, has been encouraged by Labor politicians who have spoken out in support of Palestinian rights and independence.  Those who have done so, though, have unfortunately suffered negative consequences in their political careers.

They have certainly not been helped by the media, especially “The Australian” newspaper which has led a sustained attack on anyone supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.

There is no effort to present an alternative view.  Readers are left with the erroneous impression that BDS is anti-Semitic and focused on destroying Israel.   Any voices to the contrary are vilified by a powerful Israel lobby.  One such voice has been The Hon Shaoquett Moselmane.  That should not happen in a democratic society and certainly not in the parliament.

Wilfully and wrongfully equating BDS with anti-Semiticism is an attempt to silence any criticism of Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian citizens, the Palestinians long subjected to Israel’s illegal occupation and the millions of Palestinians it refuses to allow home to their land of birth and heritage.  Simply, Palestinians should not be denied their most basic human rights nor should anyone be vilified and silenced for giving voice to those rights.

We ask that the Labor Caucus support the right of any of its members to speak their minds without being denigrated.  That it should support The Hon Shaoquett Moselmane for expressing a very legitimate view on the untenable situation in Palestine, particularly since Labor has a long-held tradition of supporting the oppressed.

We ask that the Labor Caucus accept its obligation to be informed on the political realities in Israel/Palestine and not be blind-sided by views that blatantly favour the Occupying Power, Israel or be persuaded by study trips to Israel that do not involve visits and time spent in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We ask that the Labor Caucus remember its own party platform is committed to a solution that reflects the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and that peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis will only be possible if there is a genuine effort to hear the alternative narrative that still struggles to be heard when anyone dares to call Israel to account

We believe that The Hon Shaoquett Moselmane’s views are totally consistent with the Australian Labor Party’s traditions of equality and human rights and hope that he will get the support from the party that is his due.

Sonja Karkar
Co-founder and co-convener
Australians for Palestine

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