The Australian newspaper in its Wednesday "Higher Education" pages last week reported that Associate Professor Jake Lynch, head of the pro-BDS Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, rebuffed Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon's request "for assistance with studying civics education in Australia under a fellowship agreement between the two institutions".
Professor Avnon, the report explains, "is credited with developing and implementing the only state program in civics written for joint Jewish-Arab high schools". In turning down his request, Lynch cited the Centre's espousal of BDS as the reason, telling Avnon:
"Your research sounds interesting and worthwhile. However, we are supporters of the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and that includes the call for an academic boycott of Israeli universities."Responded Avnon:
"I find it ironic that you promote a policy of boycott that does not distinguish one individual from another. It is ironic because, like myself, many (probably most) intellectuals and scholars in relevant fields are doing our best to effect change in Israeli political culture. We pay prices for going against the institutional grain. And then we turn around and meet such a ‘blind to the person’ policy."
"One common tendency that must be changed if we ever want to live sane lives is to debunk categorical and stereotypical thinking when dealing with human beings."No reply from Lynch (who in 2009 vainly called for the University of Sydney to sever ties to the Hebrew University and the Haifa Technion) was forthcoming.
But in a subsequent report the following day the newspaper quoted him as defending his rejection of Avnon's request:
'In a stinging critique of Australia’s foreign policy, Jake Lynch said the centre boycotted Israeli institutions "because of the deficiencies of official foreign policy and diplomacy by Australia and other influential states".
He said supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel sent a “message of unacceptability for Israel’s expansionist policies and militarism”. “The message has not been clear enough from many governments, including Australia’s, and that has contributed to the problem,” Mr Lynch said.
"By withholding our co-operation on an institutional level, we are doing our bit to make up for that."To its credit, the University of Sydney distanced itself from Lynch's attitude, while Oppostion foreign affairs spokesperson Senator Julie Bishop made the reasonable point that the Centre's decision
"to put a ban on contacts with Israeli academics is completely at odds with the aims of a centre that purports to be dedicated to studies in peace"and queried whether Centre declared its pro-BDS stance before it received a $A47,000 grant from AusAid a couple of years ago.
So that's the latest on BDS in Sydney. Now for the latest on BDS in Melbourne.
Hat tip to reader Shirlee for the following footage of BDSers ("Students For Palestine") there wearing Santa hats warbling bad cheer towards the Zionist Entity; here, it's evidently not going to be over because the fat lady, instead of singing, is taking pictures:
Those dodgy choristers and their fellow activists were attending a "Don't Buy Israeli Apartheid for Christmas" rally on 7 December in City Square, bent on spreading their Israel-demonising messages via alternative lyrics to Christmas carols, and wielding props bearing such slogans as "Israel is a terrorist state" (what, nothing about Syria?):
Hullo 'ullo 'ullo, do I see the long arm of the law? – what's this all about, then?:
"And so this is Christmas, let's boycott Israel" ... Not over yet; the fat lady's still not singing:
Update: Another in the series (arguably the "best" in its horribly fascinating way of all). Eardrum warning: screeching female demoniser at large: