THE Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is “anti-Semitism pure and simple”, Deakin MP Michael Sukkar said in Parliament last week.
Marking 15 years since “the seeds of BDS” began at the controversial World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, Sukkar called the movement “nothing more than a declaration of economic war against the Jewish people”.
“Its founder, the Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, made it clear that the movement would settle for nothing less than the elimination of Israel as we know it,” he said.
“Proponents of BDS like to claim that they hold the moral high ground, but their uncritical endorsement of Barghouti and others like him puts them in very dubious company indeed. It is a strange bedfellows relationship when feminists and socialists put themselves in league with the sharia-law-advocating jihadi fanatics of Hamas.
“But I guess disagreements over the status of women and gay rights pale by comparison to the fundamental issue that unites the so-called progressive left and the ultraconservative sharia-compliant Islamic right – and that is a mutual hatred of the Jewish State.”
Sukkar added that BDS seeks to deny Jews the same rights of national self-determination that it supports for the Palestinians, while supporting a Palestinian state ethnically cleansed of Jews.
“Those who support BDS … would grant the right of national self-determination to the Palestinian people but are determined to deny that right to the Jewish people,” he said.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim called it “an outstanding” speech.
“Michael Sukkar made a compelling moral and intellectual case against BDS, and he did so succinctly and with commendable passion,” he said.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein also applauded Sukkar “for his commitment to keeping this important matter on the political agenda, reinforcing the fact that highlighting and repudiating anti-Israel activities remains a matter of public concern”.
Hailing it as “a very courageous speech”, Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm said, “I commend him for exposing the truth about this vile movement; that BDS is not just anti-Israel but deeply anti-Semitic.”
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich described the speech as “a critically important step in the efforts to combat and disrupt the BDS and its malicious objective of marginalising and vilifying Israel”.