Monday, 24 June 2013
The OZ: 24/6 Toben backing for peace centre
Fredrick Toben -- who has served prison time in both Germany and Australia as a result of his Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic activities -- has written an open letter to the centre's head, associate professor Jake Lynch, urging him to stand firm in the face of legal threats over its support for the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Shurat HaDin of the Israeli civil rights legal centre has threatened to take legal action against Associate Professor Lynch and the Sydney Peace Foundation director, professor emeritus Stuart Rees.
Mr HaDin alleges that their support for BDS violates the Racial Discrimination Act.
Dr Toben has encouraged Professor Lynch to stand firm in the face of "Jewish pressure".
"My constant maxim has always been: 'Don't only blame the Jews, also blame those that bend to their pressure'," he wrote.
"I have had this kind of Jewish pressure put on me for just on 17 years, which ultimately led to my imprisonment and bankruptcy, but I still did not bend.
"This whole matter of bringing the force of law into your work now questions your moral and intellectual integrity, and a yielding to it will not satisfy those that are now wanting you to recant and to stop the academic boycott against Israel."
Both Professor Lynch and Professor Rees have distanced themselves from Dr Toben.
"I have nothing to do with Fredrick Toben and refute all and any of his claims," an emphatic Professor Rees said.
However, Jeremy Jones from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has said he is not surprised that the centre has attracted Dr Toben's interest.
Mr Jones said there had been many examples of BDS and anti-Israeli activities in Sydney attracting neo-Nazis.
"Why would anyone be surprised that someone like Fredrick Toben, who has run campaigns found to have effectively defamed Jews, has supported a boycott of individuals based purely on their nationality?" Mr Jones said.
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 3:40 pm