Jake Lynch (NSW) responds to “Racism risk in call for Israeli boycott” The Australian 22Sep09 PUBLISHED September 22, 2009

The Weekend Australian: “Racism risk in calls for Israeli boycott” by Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth,. 19-20 September 2009

The point of an academic boycott of Israel is not to prohibit “all electronic communication”, as misleadingly stated by Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth.  I myself hosted a talk at the University of Sydney by an Israeli academic earlier this year, and I’m inviting others to the international peace research conference we’re hosting in 2010.

It’s institutional ties, connecting us to the revenue streams of a strategic industry, that make us complicit in the brutal occupation of Palestinian territory and the impunity Israel has enjoyed up to now, for its serial breaches of international law.  In the same way, protests over the celebration of Tel Aviv in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival do not preclude invitations to individual directors, highlighting the iniquities of Israeli government policies, to show their work.

The “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement is spreading, notably to Britain’s Trade Union Congress, which adopted a boycott motion, by overwhelming vote at its annual conference last week, because millions of people around the world are determined to see change.  No wonder defenders of the unjust status quo, such as Mendes and Dyrenfurth, are getting rattled.

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