Monday, 25 November 2013

25/11/13...BDS case professor hits back on costs

BDS case professor hits back on costs

A LANDMARK lawsuit against Sydney academic Jake Lynch over his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel faces an early challenge, with the defence to argue a key aspect of it is unfair.
Professor Lynch's legal team will claim that the test case, in which Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin alleges his stance on BDS is racist and discriminatory, places him at a disadvantage because none of the five applicants is normally resident in Australia.
"We will be wanting the applicants to establish how they will pay my costs in Australia if an order is eventually made against them," Professor Lynch told The Australian.
The case, which begins with a directions hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, is regarded as a critical test of Australia's anti-discrimination laws on one hand and freedom of expression on the other.
Several prominent Australian Jewish academics -- including some who oppose BDS -- back his right to support it as an expression of academic freedom, and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has disowned Shurat HaDin's action.
Professor Lynch, who heads Sydney University's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, has instituted an academic boycott of Israeli institutions, including declining to support an application from Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Dan Avnon for an exchange program.
Professor Lynch's legal team will be headed by the high-profile barrister and author Stuart Littlemore QC.
When news of Shurat HaDin's action against Professor Lynch broke last month, one of his fellow CPACS academics and allies, Stuart Rees, told journalists "silks are lining up" to represent him pro bono.
But Professor Lynch would not discuss the basis upon which Mr Littlemore's services had been secured.
Shurat HaDin describes itself as a private legal group which uses the law to fight terrorism and anti-Semitism around the world. It is not seeking financial restitution from Professor Lynch, but court orders requiring him to apologise for his BDS campaign and desist from it.

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