THE AUSTRALIAN: Call for Greens to come clean on Israel boycott 30Aug13 August 30, 2013

by Christian Kerr     -    The Australian     -    30 August 2013

THE Greens must clarify their position on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement ahead of next week’s poll and condemn its supporters, the opposition has demanded.

Greens leader Christine Milne said earlier this week: “The Greens reject the BDS and have never supported it in any way.” The claim was dismissed by the opposition as “utter nonsense”.

NSW Greens Legislative Councillor David Shoebridge joined a rally at the University of Sydney on Wednesday in support of “the right to boycott Israel on campus”.

And the opposition points out that in 2010 Greens senator Lee Rhiannon helped push a proposal through the NSW Greens’ state conference calling on Australians and the government to “boycott Israeli goods, trading and military arrangements, and sporting, cultural and academic events as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory, the siege of Gaza and imprisonment of 1.5 million people and Israel’s institution of a system of apartheid”.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop demanded Senator Milne clarify her party’s stand on “the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign”.

“It is clear that many Greens representatives and candidates strongly support BDS and Christine Milne must condemn their support for this campaign,” she said.

Ms Bishop said the Coalition supported a two-state solution in the Middle East and the right of the Israeli and Palestinian people to live in peace within internationally recognised borders.

The Australian understands divides on BDS are causing concerns within the Greens’ campaign, with fears the issue could cost them votes among well-heeled, socially liberal voters.

Mr Shoebridge’s participation in Wednesday’s protest has led to rancour among NSW Greens state parliamentarians.

It has been claimed he misled his party colleagues, saying he would not be in question time that day because of a medical appointment when he was really at the rally.

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