Friday, 21 June 2013
21/6 The Oz great op ed All aboard the ship of fools
It would suit the extreme pro-Palestinian argument if the founders of Israel were the oppressors rather than the oppressed, and if the foundation of a Zionist state was indeed an act of imperial aggression, rather than a recognition by the international community that the Jewish people had been wandering too long. Dr Toben, however, is wrong. He is perversely, empirically and offensively wrong. Through gritted teeth, we defend his right to state his case. Nonetheless, no reasonable person acquainted with the facts would give him the time of day.
The bounds of reasonableness, however, rarely trouble the BDS movement, where actions range between the crass and the repugnant. When BDS supporters punish Israel by picketing Australian chocolate shops owned by a Jewish businessman, their absurdity invites us to laugh. Yet when they call for the severing of ties between Australian and Israeli academics and the banning of Israeli books, the ugly, illiberal and frightening face of BDS is revealed for all to see. Understandably, some conclude that Israel is only collateral damage for the BDS movement. Its real target is the Jews.
By flirting with BDS, the Greens forfeit the right to be considered a mainstream party. It demonstrates a preference for the company of the numbats and conspiracists in the dark and dangerous fringelands. Until the party disentangles itself, forcefully and unambiguously, from the BDS movement and those who would see a democratic, sovereign nation wiped from the map, its chances of being taken seriously are zero.
Now we learn that NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge asked Dr Toben to join the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine for a cruise on Sydney Harbour. Mr Shoebridge says it was all a terrible mistake. Dr Toben has since been divested, as it were, from the guest list. He may be right. Who among us has not occasionally pressed "send" in error? But why was Dr Toben's name on a list of potential invitees at all? It is one thing to be a friend of Palestine, but quite another to be an enemy of the truth.
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 10:48 am