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#################### Geoff Seidner
Sunday, 29 December 2013
Great The OZ - 28/12 Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews' pages 1 - 2
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SYDNEY academic Jake Lynch's
promotion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign has discriminated
against all Israelis in the same fashion as a pub owner hanging out a sign
saying "No Jews or Blacks Allowed", the lawyer leading a lawsuit against him
Hamilton, representing the Israel-based legal action group Shurat HaDin, has
submitted a sweeping statement of claim to the Federal Court alleging Professor
Lynch has directly discriminated against academics, but also helped deprive all
Israelis of cultural, educational, and professional opportunities.
what is likely to be a landmark case revolving around conflicting
interpretations of freedom of expression, Shurat HaDin will claim that Professor
Lynch, by refusing to support a fellowship application by Israeli academic Dan
Avnon, deprived him of his professional rights in an act of racial
Shurat HaDin's case will extend to claiming that all Israeli academics are
adversely affected by the BDS policy of Professor Lynch, who is head of the
Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.
statement of claim also says that, by calling for boycotts of Israel, Professor
Lynch also contributes to the wider international boycott campaign that
disadvantages owners of Israeli-related businesses and contributes towards
Israelis being deprived of cultural opportunities such as seeing big acts
ranging from Santana to Pink Floyd.
HaDin alleges two academics, who have joined the case as plaintiffs, have been
adversely affected by Professor Lynch's policy, even though as yet they have not
been the subject of specific actions.
Leonard Hammer, of the Hebrew University, a human rights lawyer, and Dr
Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University, an Arabic studies specialist, have
regularly lectured overseas, including in Australia, Mr Hamilton told The
both are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at the
CPACS, where Lynch has implemented his boycott," Mr Hamilton said. "However,
just as a sign on a bar saying 'No Jews or Blacks Allowed' discriminates against
and disadvantages all Jews and blacks, even if they didn't even want to go into
the bar, so Jake Lynch's BDS academic boycott discriminates and disadvantages
all Israeli academics," he said.
its Federal Court action, Shurat HaDin will not seek financial penalties, but
orders that Professor Lynch renounce BDS and apologise for supporting it.
Lynch is a vocal advocate of the international BDS campaign against Israel,
which argues that Israeli government policies claimed to be illegal under
international law discriminate against Palestinians.
made headlines a year ago when Professor Avnon sought permission to use his name
as a supporter for an exchange program visit under an agreement between Sydney
University and the Hebrew University.
Lynch turned down the request, citing his centre's support of BDS.
Lynch has told The Australian he will vigorously fight the action. He will be
represented by the high-profile barrister Stuart Littlemore QC. He strenuously
denies he discriminated against Professor Avnon and points out he wrote him a
polite letter saying that his work sounded interesting, but the centre had
adopted a principled policy of boycotting Israeli academic institutions.
Shurat HaDin's statement of claim alleges that as a result of Professor Lynch's
actions "the number of suitable visiting academic placements for which Professor
Dan Avnon could seek a funded academic fellowship at Sydney University has been
claims it also had the effect of "impairing the recognition, enjoyment and
exercise of Professor Dan Avnon's rights to education; freedom of association;
freedom of expression; academic freedom, and work".
distinction, exclusion or restriction or preference was based on the fact that
Professor Dan Avnon was a Jewish person of Israeli national or ethnic origin,"
the statement of claim alleges.
HaDin claims Professor Lynch has breached not only the Racial Discrimination
Act, but also international conventions.
Lynch told The Australian yesterday: "Shurat HaDin appear to forget when I was
approached by Professor Dan Avnon it was to ask me for a favour. How I chose to
respond to that request was a matter for my discretion. My decision to turn down
his request had nothing to do with his religion or nationality. I reserve my
right not to co-operate with schemes that provide for institutional links with
Israeli universities, to which I object on principle."
HaDin's statement also says that in calling for a boycott of Israel Professor
Lynch shares collective responsibility for the entire international BDS campaign
and its consequences.
calls for boycott target the providers of cultural and sporting services with
the effect of pressuring them to implement the boycott calls by refusing to
perform in Israel and thus depriving Israeli consumers of access to their
services," it says.
says two of the applicants, David Hans Lange and Jonathan Rose, and their wives
were "deprived of the opportunity to attend the local Israeli public
performances of Elvis Costello" because a scheduled performance in 2010 for
which they had tickets was cancelled "due to implementation of boycott