Israeli civil rights group filed a class action racism complaint against Australian Associate Professor Jake Lynch, over Israel boycott activities, including Sydney University academic boycott.
July 31, 2013: Israeli civil rights group, Shurat HaDin, has filed a class
action complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 with the Australian
Human Rights Commission over a Associate Professor Jake Lynch's participation and public
support of boycotts of Israel including
an academic boycott of Israeli
Recently, faculty and
students at Sydney University called for the severing of links with Israeli
institutions, actions that would be deemed racist and in violation of
Australian Federal anti-discrimination laws.
The complaint filed by Shurat HaDin's Australian solicitor Alexander Hamilton
is the first time that a Racial Discrimination Act action has been launched in
Australia against those promoting boycotts, sanctions and divestment (BDS) against
the Jewish State. It is the first time that Australia's anti-racism laws have
been utilized against those seeking to harm Israeli academics or businesses
because of their national origin.
In its letter sent to the Australian commission, Shurat HaDin pointed out that
the Federal Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 made it unlawful for anyone
"to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion…or preference based on
race…or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose…of nullifying or
impairing…fundamental freedom in the…economic, social, cultural or any other field
of public life."
HaDin complaint also noted that any boycott of Israeli “settlement products,” such as SodaStream and Ahava, harms
Palestinian economic interests due to the fact the factories employ many Palestinian workers
and provide an important source of income for local families and villages.
past semester, the university's student body endorsed Associate Professor Jake
Lynch's academic boycott of Israel. Lynch had publicly announced his refusal to
work with Dan Avnon, an Israeli professor from the prestigious Hebrew
University in Jerusalem, which promotes Israeli-Arab coexistence, and also
called for a boycott of Technion University in Haifa.
month, Lynch refused to heed the Tel Aviv-based rights group's warning that he
must cease participation in unlawful, and racist, boycott activity. Although
widely condemned by mainstream politicians and community figures, Lynch has
also been publically supported by notorious Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben.
The European Union's Working
Definition of Antisemitism includes the following:
"...Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with
regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming
that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or
demanded of any other democratic nation.
Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims
of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of
An EU conference on antisemitism also inspired famous Soviet dissident and then-Israeli-Government Minister, Natan Sharansky to devise his "3D Test" to distinguish antisemitism from legitimate criticism of Israel. The BDS movement fails that test on all three counts.
BDS movement has been recognized as anti-Semitic by leading authorities such as
the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, and in a report recently
released by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
According to solicitor Andrew Hamilton:
"The BDS movement is racist by its
own definition because it seeks to discriminate and impose adverse preference based
on Israeli national origin and Jewish racial and ethnic origin of people and
organisations. It does nothing to help Palestinians and indeed harms them. It
is merely an excuse for the vilest public anti-semitic campaign the western
world has seen since the Holocaust."
According to Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner:
"Lynch and his
ilk seek to boycott Israeli and Jewish national products, whether its goods,
services, performers or professors. By singling out Israel and no other country
the BDS extremists expose the anti-Semitism that motivates them. We are hopeful
that this historic proceeding against the BDS movement will serve as a model
for battling it in other jurisdictions worldwide."