Greens John Kaye and David Shoebridge in Parliament talking about Palestine

I thought it was a good read. I’d love to see it on youtube. I think it was good to read Shoebridge in particular speaking articulately against the occupation in concrete terms.

Dr JOHN KAYE [11.58 a.m.]: I cannot support this motion and will be voting against it. This motion is a cheap attempt to smear the boycott, divestment and sanction movement as anti-Jewish when it is not. It is an attempt to allege that there is anti-Semitism on the side of the boycott, divestment and sanction debate when there is no evidence of such anti-Semitism.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane to order for the first time.

Dr JOHN KAYE: There is direct evidence that the anti-boycott, divestment and sanction side is being supported by those with excellent fascist connections, the Australian Protectionist Party—and not just fascist connections, but connections to holocaust deniers. This motion attempts to exploit the real horror of anti-Semitism and its most appalling manifestation in the holocaust to achieve cheap political points. It cheapens the memory of the six million people who died in the holocaust and the many more who suffered terribly under Nazism. As such, I cannot support the motion and will be voting against it.

Lest it be said that voting against this motion in any way implies any lack of condemnation of anti-Semitism, I put on the record again that The Greens moved a motion this morning to condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms. I did that in order to ensure that the wedge that was designed into this motion, for those who felt the need to vote against it, would not be used. There is, of course, a legitimate debate about advancing the rights of Palestinians who have been dispossessed by Israel, who have been left stateless, without human rights, and who have been left with a dysfunctional territory. As pointed out by the Hon. Trevor Khan, in October 2011 the New South Wales Greens supported the boycott, divestment and sanction mechanism. It is on our website, despite the Government Whip saying that it is not. It is there and if Trevor Khan could find it surely anybody could find it.
The Greens recognise it as a mechanism to address the appalling situation of the Palestinian people and the role that the policies of the Israeli Government have played in promoting those conditions. Just as the consumer, trade and sporting boycotts against South Africa brought about change in that country, it is The Greens’ belief that these boycotts can bring about change in Israel and Palestine. The Greens recognise that there are those who do not believe that Palestinians face a systemic denial of their rights and there are those who do not support boycotts, divestments and sanctions as a way of achieving an improvement in rights. It is their right to believe so.

The Greens recognise that there were those during the campaign against apartheid in South Africa who thought that the blacks in South Africa got quite a good deal. Some felt that the boycotts would not help the blacks in South Africa—the Liberal Party and The Nationals were full of such people. Who can forget Joh Bjelke-Petersen, a former Premier of Queensland, who fought vigorously against the boycotting of South African sporting events? History shows that those people were dead wrong. History shows that those people supported an unconscionable denial of human rights based on racial background. History shows that the boycotts were an important ingredient in bringing about change in that state and in bringing about a new era, where human rights were no longer determined upon the ethnic, religious or racial backgrounds of people who lived in that state.

I have no doubt that history will show that those who oppose boycotts, divestments and sanctions, those who give Israel unqualified support, are doing no favours to the citizens of Israel and they are ignoring the realities of the systematic denial of human rights to Palestinians. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is controversial and there are a range of opinions on it—as was the case with the boycotts against South Africa. Those who support boycotts, divestment and sanctions are not afraid of criticism and debate. There ought to be criticism and debate about a tactic that is highly controversial, but that criticism and debate should be founded in fact. It should not be founded in a fantasy borne of ideology.

The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is no more anti-Semitic than are those who called an end to the attacks on the front-line ethnic groups in Burma are anti-Burman. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is no more anti-Semitic than those of us who have criticised the Syrian Government and its policies and called for boycotts against that government—as the mover of the motion and I did at a meeting in this Chamber two nights ago. That does not make the Hon. David Clarke or me anti-Syrian; it makes us concerned for the systematic abuse of human rights in Syria. Those of us who support boycotts, divestments and sanctions are not anti-Israel, are not anti-Semitic and are not anti-Jewish; we are concerned about the systematic abuse of human rights.

I cannot support the motion, just as my Greens colleagues Bob Brown and Christine Milne in the Senate and other senators voted against a similar motion moved by The Nationals member Senator Boswell. The motion before the House today is somewhat of a copy of Senator Boswell’s motion. That motion was a nasty wedge and this motion is a nasty wedge. As an Australian Jew I find the exploitation of false accusations of anti-Semitism particularly obnoxious. Others of similar ethnic and religious backgrounds to me might disagree and say there is anti-Semitism; it is their right to do so. But let us be absolutely clear, the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is not anti-Semitic. One might not like that it targets Israel or that it targets shops that are owned by Israelis, but it does not target shops that are owned by Jews. It has no connection to the appalling tactics implemented by the Nazis during the Holocaust. I am not the only person of Jewish extraction who believes this. Vivienne Porzsolt is a spokesperson for Jews Against the Occupation in Sydney, and she has worked for years for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In April this year she wrote:

        I know many Jews feel deeply threatened by the boycott, divestments sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
        It feels like a threat to eliminate Israel. For so many Jews, Israel is a guarantee of survival, so BDS is a threat to Jewish survival and

ipso facto

        But principled opposition to the state of Israel is not anti-Semitic. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel are not anti-Semitic. BDS is not aimed at Israel or Israelis or Jews as such; it is aimed at the institutions of the state of Israel until it abides by international law.

She goes on to say:

        Israel is in breach of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in so many ways: torture, collective punishment, transferring settlers to land under occupation, refusal to allow Palestinians displaced in the wars of 1948 and 1967 to return to the land of their birth, disproportionate response to attacks, illegal destruction of Palestinian homes, crops and olive groves; continuing alienation of land; the illegal blockade of Gaza; the systematic discrimination in access to land, education and resources within Israel and ongoing military occupation.
        It is fundamentally dishonest to attack opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic. It is intended to silence legitimate criticism. It also makes it impossible to challenge the real anti-Semitism that is, unfortunately, on the increase.


        Jews Against the Occupation supports the broad-based call from Palestinian civil society for boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel until it abides by international law.
        It is the only non-violent way to put real pressure on Israel. It is in the proud tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King.
        Criticism of Israel in the name of justice and human rights is much more in line with traditional Jewish ethics than the narrow focus of the shortest Zionist movement.
        “Never again” must mean “never again” for all people, not just Jews.

I echo Vivienne Porzsolt’s words. She is saying that there is a range of opinions amongst Jews with respect to the Middle East. Those who seek to say that the Jewish community is 100 per cent opposed to the boycotts, divestments and sanctions are simply wrong. The mover of the motion seeks to close the attack on the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign under the mantle of anti-Semitism. But the accusation surely does not sit comfortably with him. He is the same David Clarke who twice—once in April 2005 and then in April 2007—attended a commemoration of the rise of the fascist Ustasha Government into power in Croatia in April 1941. He is the same David Clarke who was reprimanded by the chief executive officer of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Mr Vic Alhadeff, who I acknowledge is present in the gallery today. In the Jewish News of 26 April 2007, Mr Alhadeff said of the Hon. David Clarke:

        The function—

that is, the function attended by Mr Clarke—

        celebrated Hitler’s establishment of the Nazi state of Croatia … This is a state that supported the Jasenovac extermination camp,


        where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered, including 60,000 Jews … It is very troubling that such a brutal regime still finds support in democratic Australia.

There is no excuse for the Hon. David Clarke moving this motion when he so shamefully supported the celebration of the Nazi regime in Croatia. Like so many who come from the extreme Right, today he finds himself with the fanatical support of Israel. He joins with groups such as the Australian Protectionist Party and others in opposing the boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaign. Many in the Jewish community will be shocked to see the way the Hon. David Clarke summons up the memory of the Holocaust when his mentor—

The Hon. David Clarke: Point of order: I take exception to some of the comments made by Dr John Kaye. I find the comments offensive and I ask that they be withdrawn.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Dr John Kaye is well past the point of merely addressing the motion. He is making serious reflections on the Hon. David Clarke, who has taken exception to them. The Hon. David Clarke, who moved the motion, will have an opportunity to respond to the comments of Dr John Kaye in his reply. However, if Dr John Kaye wishes to continue to explore these matters he should do so by way of substantive motion.

Mr David Shoebridge: To the point of order—

The PRESIDENT: Order! I have made my ruling. Mr David Shoebridge will not canvass my ruling by taking a further point of order.
Dr JOHN KAYE: Use of the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes, as has been done in the Chamber today, is unconscionable. It is unconscionable because it holds to ransom the memory of people who cannot speak for themselves, the many people who were fine supporters of social justice and who stood up for the rights of other oppressed people. I cannot support this motion. Earlier this week Bob Brown, Christine Milne and the other Greens senators voted against the motions put forward by Senator Boswell and Senator Abetz. I will follow their lead and vote against this motion. I move:

      That the motion be amended by deleting paragraph (a).

The boycott, divestment and sanction movement is a valid expression of democracy. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that the boycotts did not in any way interfere with company profits. It is a legitimate way for individuals to protest. It is a way for individuals to say that they cannot tolerate the treatment of the Palestinian people, just as they cannot tolerate the treatment of other people who are abused around the world. If the Hon. David Clarke and supporters of this motion were serious about supporting the future of the Jewish people they would desist in giving unqualified support to Israel. The future of the Jewish people in the Middle East will be determined by a settlement that respects the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Those who live outside Israel, who give that unqualified support and refuse to tolerate any criticism of Israel, do the Jewish people no favour. All they do is create an environment in which the Jewish people and the state of Israel continue to operate without respect for the human rights of the Palestinian people. As long as that continues there will not be peace or human rights in the Middle East. This motion does nothing to advance the cause of human rights and peace in the Middle East; it works against them. This motion does nothing to respect the systemic denial of the Palestinians in the Middle East, and it does nothing to respect the rights of Australians to legitimately protest when they see injustice internationally. I am opposed to the motion.

And then Shoebridge

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE [12.15 p.m.]: At the outset let me say that there are elements of this motion that I support as a member of The Greens New South Wales. I support paragraph (d), which states:

      (d) condemns anti-Semitism in all its forms.

I confirm my support for the motion moved earlier by my colleague Dr John Kaye that did just that. Indeed, I echo and commend the words of my Greens colleague Dr John Kaye in his contribution to the House. If the motion were drafted to condemn violence, including violent protests, I would support it. However, the motion goes well beyond these matters; therefore, I do not support it and I will be voting against it. I join with my Federal colleagues—including Senator Bob Brown, Senator Christine Milne and Senator Lee Rhiannon—who opposed a similar motion in the Federal Senate earlier this week.

I am a proud member of The Greens New South Wales. I have a deep respect for our history, our structures and the decisions the party makes. One core principle underpinning The Greens New South Wales is peace and non-violence. We oppose violence and promote peace wherever we can. The Greens oppose the use of violence by police and protesters alike. We oppose violence by Israelis and Palestinians. We also respect the right of people to protest as fundamental to a healthy, functioning democracy. This is true even when we disagree with those protesters. For example, when 300 hopelessly misguided individuals went to Canberra to protest against the carbon tax I did not agree with them, but my Greens colleagues and I respected their right to protest.

When Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile wants to protest against Greens policies—such as abortion law reform, euthanasia or marriage equality—and organises supporters to protest outside Parliament House or in the Domain I will not agree with what he is protesting about, but I will respect the fact that he and his supporters have a right to protest as a sign of a functioning democracy. I cannot support this motion as it seeks to condemn people for exercising their right to protest. I have not been involved in the Max Brenner protests. The Greens New South Wales have not endorsed any of them, but I respect the right of those protesters to make their views known and to use peaceful protests to raise their concerns about the plight of Palestinians under occupation, those in refugee camps and those suffering from an unjust trade blockade in the Gaza.

I will not condemn people of goodwill who are protesting on our streets for the rights of oppressed people, such as the Palestinians. The protests outside Max Brenner clearly have been controversial. I may not choose to protest outside one of these premises in New South Wales, but I will not condemn those people of goodwill who choose to peacefully protest and raise in the way they see best the plight of the Palestinian people and the culpability of the Israeli state in that plight. The motion attacks the boycott, divestment and sanction [BDS] campaign. Many people from across the globe have drawn inspiration from this global movement to promote the human rights of Palestinian people. The movement was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and is coordinated by the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanction national committee established in 2007. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is one strategy to allow people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.
As the committee says on its website:

        For decades Israel has denied the Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonisation, racial discrimination and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, other international bodies and pre-eminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.
      In view of this continued failure Palestinian civil society called for global citizens’ response on 9 July 2005 a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives and to demand sanctions against Israel until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

This is a peaceful movement. It is an option raised by many Palestinians in place of a further armed struggle or intifada. We must not forget this. For many people struggling with occupation, armed struggle is an option. By contrast, the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is rooted in peace and non-violence. It is a campaign that The Greens New South Wales support. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign seeks to place pressure on the Israeli Government until it meets its obligations under international law by:

        (1) ending its occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the wall;
        (2) recognising the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Many members of this House would support these goals if they took the time to read and understand them. However, opponents go to great lengths to discredit supporters of this movement by talking about anti-Semitism, by talking about violence and by alleging incorrectly that the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign denies Israel’s right to exist. It simply does not. As I have set out above, none of these allegations is true of the principles of the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign. Of course, no movement is perfect. No global grassroots campaign is without difficulties. I am opposed to people being violent, racist or discriminatory whatever banner they do it under—including if it happens under the banner of the Liberal Party, the banner of the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign, or any other banner.

This is not an issue that I have sought to make the focus of my time in the New South Wales Parliament. However, given the motion has been moved, I note that I am opposed to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Israeli Government. I also oppose the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank, both in density and size. There are now more than 230 illegal settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. All are illegal under international law and have been repeatedly condemned in the United Nations, yet nothing changes on the ground. Since 1967 more than 24,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed in the occupation. This is simply wrong.

I am opposed to the ritual humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints by members of the Israeli Army. Again, it is wrong. Of course, I fully support the right of Israel to exist in safe, secure and United Nations mandated borders. This is a fact enshrined in The Greens policy at both a State and Federal level. I emphasise this fact. The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign acknowledges the right of Israel to exist, but it also confirms that Israel, like all nations, has an obligation to those people who live within its borders. It is within its power to respect the rights of those people and it is a necessity that Israel respects the rights of Palestinians, including the right to self-determination.

The boycott, divestment and sanction campaign in Australia has been answered and supported by groups as diverse as the Australian Council of Churches, the Victorian Trades Hall and various unions, including the Electrical Trades Union, the Australian Manufacturing and Workers Union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Queensland Branch of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union and the Finance Sector Union. It is supported in one form or another by groups and individuals across the globe, including many local governments. Indeed, it is supported by the socialist left of the New South Wales Labor Party. One notable supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanction campaign is Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who recently wrote to Marrickville Greens Mayor, Fiona Byrne, and three fellow councillors in relation to the campaign. I quote from Desmond Tutu’s letter:

        We in South Africa, who both suffered Apartheid and defeated it, have the moral right and responsibility to name and shame institutionalised separation, exclusion and domination by one ethnic group over others. In my own eyes I have seen how the Palestinians are oppressed, dispossessed and exiled.
      We call on all our Jewish and Israeli sisters and brothers to oppose the occupation, and work for equality, justice and peace, between the River and the Sea, in the same way that so many South African Whites took risks to oppose the crime of Apartheid.

It continues:

        International Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory. I recall that after the very strong actions to prevent Apartheid sportsmen competing with Australians, that Councils, starting with Wollongong, declared their cities “Apartheid-free” areas, and this was a great contribution.
      Sometimes taking a public stand for what is ethical and right brings costs, but social justice on a local or global scale requires faith and courage.

Paragraph (d) of the motion speaks about condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms. I think we should recognise that includes condemning anti-Semitism where we see it appear in New South Wales politics. Sadly, it has raised its head in the ranks of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. My colleague Dr John Kaye spoke of the attendance by the Hon. David Clarke at that appalling celebration of Croatia’s independence in April 2007 and 2005. I join with Dr John Kaye in condemning the Hon. David Clarke in that regard.

Again we must look towards the Liberal Party’s rather unfortunate flirting with anti-Semitism, including allowing into its ranks a gentleman by the name of Lyenko Urbanchich, who had an absolutely appalling history. He held a senior position in the then German quisling Slovenian administration that commenced in 1943. He had an appalling history of anti-Semitism. Indeed, he spewed forth streams of Nazi propaganda in the position that he held in the Slovenian administration at the time. Unfortunately for Australia, he migrated here in 1950. Unfortunately for opponents of anti-Semitism, he joined the Liberal Party. Indeed, in 1964 Mr Urbanchich was president of the Liberal Party’s branch of Kings Cross. But he went beyond that: he took a central role in the Liberal Party. At the peak of Lyenko Urbanchich’s success—

The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: Point of order: Mr President, I refer you to your earlier ruling in relation to comments made by Dr John Kaye in similar circumstances. I did not know Mr Urbanchich. He is dead and cannot defend himself. The comments of Mr David Shoebridge have nothing to do with the motion before the House. They are not relevant.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: The motion condemns anti-Semitism. I am referring to that issue.

Dr John Kaye: Mr President, I ask that you turn the clock off.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I ask the Clerk to stop the clock.

Dr John Kaye: To the point of order: Your ruling in relation to my speech was about comments I made about a member who was present in the House. I abided by your ruling. Mr David Shoebridge is not talking about somebody who is present in the House; he is talking about somebody who is not here. Other members chose to attack another person who is not here: Ms Lee Rhiannon. They thought that that was absolutely fine.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Earlier I made a ruling in relation to Dr John Kaye making reflections on another member of this House. The second part of the point of order taken by the Hon. Marie Ficarra referred to relevance. Paragraph (d) of the motion states:

      (d) condemns anti-Semitism in all its forms.

If the comments of Mr David Shoebridge are directed towards that paragraph of the motion they are in order. However, I ask the member to ensure that his comments are relevant to that paragraph in all his observations.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Mr President, I note and appreciate your ruling. The peak of Urbanchich’s success came in 1977, when he helped form the Liberal Ethnic Council. I take the following from the obituary of Urbanchich written by Mark Aarons, “As council president, he automatically had a seat on the State executive. Other council executive members included his close ally, David Clarke,” who, it was said, learnt ethnic branch-stacking techniques from his mentor, and today leads a faction of the Liberal Party. It is well known that the Hon. David Clarke helped organise the numbers to narrowly save Mr Urbanchich—

The Hon. John Ajaka: Point of order—

The PRESIDENT: Order! The member is clearly casting reflections on a member of the House in remarks he has already made and appeared to be ready to continue. Mr David Shoebridge should bear in mind the rulings that have been made on this issue, because the standing orders are quite clear.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Again, I note and respect your ruling, Mr President. So when this House joins in condemning anti-Semitism, as it did earlier today in a motion that I proudly and happily supported, it must recognise that doing so condemns anti-Semitism wheresoever it appears, in whatever form it appears. Of course, that is a sentiment that The Greens—I, my colleague John Kaye and other members of The Greens—fully and sincerely support. The strong and principled opposition to anti-Semitism, and falsely drawing a connection between the BDS campaign and anti-Semitism for what is a shallow and cheap political point, goes against that campaign, that strong sense of unity that we should all be building against anti-Semitism. I will not be supporting this motion.

2 Responses to “Greens John Kaye and David Shoebridge in Parliament talking about Palestine”
  1. Nivce wowrk Messrs Kaye & Shoebridge. Clarke & co were made to look like the far right bigots they really are.

  2. talknic says:

    The house and people of Australia need reminding that; on 28 January 1949 Australia recognized Israel as it was officially asked to be recognized, per United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 and; we have never extended recognition of Israeli sovereignty beyond those officially recognized boundaries.

    The travel invitation extended to territories that have been, according to the United Nations Security Council of which we are now a member, illegally acquired by war by Israel (UNSC res 242 ), illegally annexed by Israel (UNSC res 252 & EIGHT reminders) and illegally settled by Israel (UNSC res 446 )

    No Australian of good conscience should have extended such an invitation and no Australian of good conscience should have accepted it

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