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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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BDS Scores Big Win in Australia

Aussie judge rejects claim that Sydney University professor violated anti-discrimination laws by boycotting Israeli academic
Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement scored a major victory Monday when an Australian court threw out a lawsuit claiming a Sydney University professor had violated Australian anti-discrimination laws by refusing to host an Israeli professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

The lawsuit was filed by an Australian member of Shurat HaDin, an Israeli legal aid group dedicated to “combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world, fighting for the rights of hundreds of terror victims, bankrupt(ing) the terror groups and grind(ing) their criminal activities to a halt – one lawsuit at a time.” 

At issue was an application by Dr Dan Avnon for a fellowship at Sydney University. Avnon had asked Prof. Jake Lynch, chairman of the University Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and an avowed supporter of the academic boycott against Israel to support the application, but the latter snubbed the request, saying he supports the BDS movement and would not collaborate with scholars from an Israeli institution.

Lawyers for Avnon said the blanket boycott against Israeli academics is a violation of Australia’s ban against discrimination. 

“By refusing employment to an Israeli professor simply because he is Israeli, Lynch plainly violated Australia’s anti-racism law, which was legislated to protect against discrimination based on national origin and religion,” said Robert Tolchin, a US-based lawyer for Shurat Hadin.

“There are only two questions to be answered. Did Lynch discriminate against an Israeli professor based on his national origin and, secondly, is such conduct a violation of Australia’s anti-­racism laws?”

However, Federal Court Justice Alan Robertson rejected the allegations, which included charges  that Lynch is a leader of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in Australia. Earlier this year, the Australian Jewish News reported that Robertson said Shurat HaDin’s case “often lacked clear facts linking Lynch’s support of BDS with specific acts of racial discrimination. 

“You’ll have to do a lot of work to persuade me of the correctness of that position,” Robertson said.

Robertson also threw out Shurat HaDin’s allegation that “a purpose of BDS movement campaigns is to inflict harm on Israeli persons or organisations’. 

The case will likely have implications for legal understanding of academic freedom in Australia and abroad. Prof. Lynch says Shurat Hadin is trying to breach his freedom by forcing him to work with scholars he rejects, whereas Prof. Avnon says that Lynch is trying to breach his rights by preventing him from teaching in Sydney. 

Still fighting

Shurat HaDin has been ordered to put up a $100,000 bond to cover Professor Lynch’s court costs. But the group said in a statement that the case would proceed under the guidelines set forth by Justice Robertson. 

“The new statement of claims will be sharply streamlined to ­include only the uncontested allegation that Lynch refused ­employment to Professor Avnon solely based on his citizenship,” Shurat HaDin said.

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.


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5 Responses to “BDS Scores Big Win in Australia”

  1. what a fool, bet he’s getting big bucks from his arab friends

  2. I’m financing his defense, so you can STFU, twat!

  3. I told Shurat Hadin last year there’s going to be a backlash against their stupid McCarthyist campaign.
    They lost the same case in London a year ago and cross jurisdictional precedent applies in Australia. SHD must employ the dumbest lawyers on the planet for the typical Zionist stupidity of never knowing when it’s time to back down.
    Prof Lynch has the democratic right to free association and no amount of Zionist thuggery will change that. There were four other applicants fueled by greed for compensation money and they withdrew last week in defeat. Shows you that this has nothing to do with rights but money hungry Jews looking for a quick buck and a sensational headline.

    Well you all mucked it up and made real Jews look like scum. Congratulations buttheads. (now doubt you freiers will keep repeating your idiocies over and over again)

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