Much attention (and not a little merriment) has focused on Lynch's claim that the reason he pulled a five dollar note from his shirt pocket and waved it in the face of a Jewish audience member is because she ("a lady with dyed orange-red hair, probably in her 50s" according to him but perhaps in her 60s according to an equally anti-Israel part-time member of his department) kicked him – twice – in "the meat and two veg" (that part of the anatomy known in Pommieland, whence Lynch comes, as "the crown jewels").
Meanwhile the colonel, whose letter of protest to the vice-chancellor of Sydney University went viral at the weekend, has reiterated his disgust at the behaviour he encountered, writing (inter alia) in today's issue of The Australian newspaper:
'I spoke for about 20 minutes to an audience of about 100 students, academics and guests. A group of about a dozen people then stormed into the lecture theatre and started yelling at me and the audience through a megaphone, accusing me of “supporting genocide”, and trying to shut down the lecture.....
I have addressed the UN commission of inquiry on the conduct of the parties to the Israel-Hamas war. I have condemned Hamas as a terrorist organisation and recognised the extraordinary measures to which Israel has gone to avoid civilian casualties when faced with an enemy that militarises civilian infrastructure and shields its fighters with the bodies of the civilians it claims to defend. US General Martin Dempsey, the highest ranking officer in the US Army, sent a fact-finding team to Israel and concluded the US forces had lessons to learn from the measures taken by Israel to spare the lives of Palestinian civilians as far as possible, often at the expense of its own soldiers.
By daring to defend the actions of the Jewish state and condemning Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both designated terrorist organisations, I was considered fair game for the protesters. This is indicative of a pervasive culture among certain sections of university students and staff in Britain, and clearly in Australia, where to speak objectively about Israel is to court harassment, thuggery and violence. The behaviour of the protesters and the academics was an affront to the core ideals of the universityRegarding the incident involving the lady:
– the freedom to speak, the freedom to assemble and the freedom to engage with ideas and opinions.'
'I spoke for about 20 minutes to an audience of about 100 students, academics and guests. A group of about a dozen people then stormed into the lecture theatre and started yelling at me and the audience through a megaphone, accusing me of “supporting genocide”, and trying to shut down the lecture.
The protesters occupied the lecture theatre, intimidated members of the audience and were intent on preventing the exchange of views my lecture was intended to facilitate. Two of the academics [ Lynch and Dr Nicholas Riemer, according to the colonel's above-mentioned letter] then joined them, one of whom I saw badgering an elderly woman who objected to him photographing her on his iPhone. When she tried to push the iPhone out of her face he grabbed her arm forcibly, and appeared to hurt her. When she retaliated physically, the academic – an associate professor – waved a $5 note in her face and the face of a Jewish student....
This protest had clear anti-Semitic undertones. The audience was predominantly Jewish and the protesters knew that. Often anti-Semitic abuse and hatred is dressed up as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist action. This resonated that way, with vicious shouting and intimidation against a group of Jews and brandishing money around invoking the stereotype of the “greedy Jew”.
As for Associate Professor Jake Lynch, shown to be so adept at conflict with an elderly woman, his value to the university and its students would be enhanced by listening to those who have seen real conflict and have risked their lives to secure peace.'
'Suppose a person jumps up in a lecture theatre, stands on his chair, waves money at an old Jewish woman and yells in the faces of students – would such a person be permitted to remain in the room? Now imagine it was a professor that did these things – should such a person be allowed to remain at the University?
Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, is under investigation by the University of Sydney for allegedly intimidating attendees at a lecture and reportedly thrusting money in the face of more than one Jewish person....
I spoke with a number of Jewish students after the protest; they were clearly shaken. They told me that Associate Professor Lynch had shouted in their faces. A photo has been posted online seeming to show Lynch holding money in the face of a Jewish student, with reports of another photo showing him thrusting a five dollar note in the face of what he termed an "older lady," believed to be 75 year old Jewish woman....
The former Federal Labor MP Peter Baldwin was present at the lecture. He wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, stating: "this was a truly frightening episode ... [Sydney University is] becoming increasingly poisonous and fearful for identifiably Jewish students."....
Needless to say, an adult waving money in a Jewish person's face, regardless of their motivation, would be a confronting and alienating situation. Associate Professor Lynch responded to the allegations by claiming he waved the money in the woman's face to warn her that he "would have no option but to sue her for assault if she carried on – which would cost her a lot of money." ....
A Sydney University spokesperson commented: "The University is deeply concerned about events surrounding a protest on campus and has commenced an investigation into the incidents."The protesters, accused of disrupting a lecture, intimidating Jewish students, filming them without their permission and shouting at them could face expulsion from the University.
A professor accused of the same, and of thrusting money in the faces of a Jewish student and an elderly Jewish woman, needs to be taken just as seriously. If the professor and the other demonstrators acted so disgracefully, the University has a responsibility to protect the welfare of its students and its own reputation.'
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Update: Carrot Top revealed in my next post.