Many Jewish members of the Greens are experiencing discomfort right now, says Daniel Coleman, a member of the Jewish Greens working group in Victoria.
This follows the party backing pro-Palestinian protests across the country and refusing to support a motion in federal Parliament expressing support for Israel and its right to self-defence.
The four Greens were the only MPs to vote against the motion.
Coleman said the Greens spokesman on foreign affairs, Jordon Steele-John, did condemn Hamas in Parliament and listens to input from Jewish people.
“He consults regularly with the Jewish Greens, and he gets it, but at the same time, there are people who are elected office holders or who go to a rally or whatever. And it’s very difficult when you’re speaking at a rally to go against a candidate or the tenor of a rally.”
Coleman says there is an issue with some people on the political left worldwide, citing one Jewish member of the Democratic Socialists of America who commented, “Hey, I find myself in an organisation that believes in three things, affordable housing, affordable medicine and killing Jews.”
But he doesn’t believe that sort of thing is happening within the Greens here in Australia. Coleman believes the Jewish Greens are having some success in bringing an understanding of history and the impact of antisemitism to the party.
“The right of course is where the people who actively want to do violence against Jews are. Whereas on the left, you have a lot of people who have attitudes that are antisemitic in terms of their attitude toward Israel or toward Hamas,” he said.
He said some Jews are having second thoughts and doing some soul-searching when groups around the world seem to be taking the cause of Hamas and forgetting the left tradition of actually being for peace.
“In the Greens, we should be condemning … all acts of violence. Israel has the right to defend itself, but all right-thinking people across the political spectrum ought to be condemning Hamas,” Coleman said.