WESTERN Australian Senator Glenn Sterle has delivered a stinging rebuke to fellow WA Labor parliamentarian Melissa Parke over her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
As reported in The AJN last week, the Fremantle MP tabled a pro-BDS petition in Parliament last week which stated Palestinians are “suffering racial discrimination” resulting from Israel’s “apartheid and oppressive policies”.
Speaking in the Senate last Friday, Sterle said Parke’s support for BDS “shows that she is ill-informed”, adding that “her comments are simplistic and, unfortunately, inflammatory”.
Noting that BDS movement head Omar Barghouti “has said on a number of occasions that he wants an end to the Jewish State”, Sterle continued, “His BDS movement is not an opposition to settlements, it is an opposition to Israel’s existence and for Israeli Jews at best to live as a minority under a Muslim majority.
“I am convinced that the member for Fremantle would not like to live under sharia law where women’s rights are heavily constrained.
“I can tell you that, as an elector for over 35 years in the federal seat of Fremantle, I certainly would not prefer sharia law over the commitment to democracy, equality and personal liberties that Australia and Israel share.
“It is time that the member for Fremantle stopped spouting propaganda that comes directly from organisations and groups that are devoted to genocidal ideologies.”
Repeating ALP leader Bill Shorten’s assertion that the party’s position on BDS was “crystal clear”, Sterle said, “I stand for engagement with Israel at every level. Peace in the Middle East will only be achieved by the parties negotiating a mutually equitable outcome.
“While I am all for internal debate within the Australian Labor Party, there are appropriate forums in place for such debate to be had … I would encourage her [Parke] to go through the proper channels rather than continue to make public statements that, at best, are unhelpful and, at worst, incite greater animosity between communities.”
Sterle told The AJN, “Ms Parke needs to stop demonising liberal democratic states like Israel and condemn the murderous campaigns waged by Hamas and like-minded terror groups around the world.”