COMMUNITY leaders have cautiously welcomed a move by the NSW Greens to withdraw its support for the global Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Following a review of the party’s BDS policy, a NSW Greens state council meeting last weekend resolved to still recognise “the legitimacy of the BDS as a political tactic” but not to pursue it as policy.
In announcing the new resolution, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon, a vocal supporter of BDS, said it recognised that there was a diversity of views in the community and the Greens.
“The Greens NSW affirmed its support for non-violent community actions designed to pressure the Israeli state to respect international law and human rights norms with the aim of ending the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, finding a just solution for Palestinian refugees and ending discrimination against Arab citizens inside Israel,” she said.
In response to the resolution, Zionist Council of NSW president Richard Balkin said: “Obviously we welcome it.
“But at same time they still have BDS as part of their platform as a legitimate means of protest, which it isn’t and we urge them to withdraw it completely from their political platform.”
He added that the new Greens resolution was still “incredibly biased” against Israel.
“It’s time that they stopped presenting this as a one-sided conflict,” he said.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said: “We welcome this small but significant step by the NSW Greens away from actively encouraging BDS but we reiterate that they are still wrong to argue that BDS is a legitimate tactic.
“The NSW Greens still have a long way to go before their resolution begins to resemble a measured policy which does not place all the onus on the Government and people of Israel to end the conflict.”
Labor MLC Walt Secord, who is deputy chairman of the NSW Parliamentary Israel Friendship Group, said the resolution did not go far enough and was just a “form of words to get them through the controversy”.
“I disagree with the NSW Greens and vehemently oppose the BDS,” he said.
“The BDS of Israel is not a legitimate political tactic; even the Palestinian representative in Australia, Mr Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the general delegation of Palestine to Australia on October 25 spoke against the BDS.”
Photo of Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon