Australia – BDS effectively discredited in mainstream politics

The adoption of BDS by the NSW Branch of the Greens Party and by the Greens-controlled Marrickville local council in Sydney, Australia, in late 2010 brought BDS into the political arena in a way unparalleled in any Western country. The battle that ensued, in which local residents ultimately prevailed upon the council to reverse its decision, saw the other three main national political parties also drawn into the issue, together with influential parts of the national media. In the months that have followed, BDS has continued to be an issue through which the ruling centre-left  Labor Party has sought to distinguish itself from the left-leaning Greens Party, and where the conservative Liberal Coalition has sought to challenge both.  Noisy and occasionally violent pro-BDS demonstrations outside Max Brenner coffee shops in Australia have given the issue even higher profile and provided further opportunities for political leaders to demonstrate their total rejection of the BDS agenda. The BDS issue has been a catalyst for bringing into the open hitherto latent divisions within the Greens themselves about the party’s future direction.  Three of the six Greens MP’s in NSW have now publicly repudiated the Max Brenner protests.  The upshot of this intense activity, much of it the result of assiduous behind the scenes work by those from the Jewish community and beyond who understand the destructiveness of the BDS agenda for local communities and for the prospects of peace in the Middle East, is that BDS has been effectively discredited as a political position in mainstream Australian politics, including within the union movement, where BDS activists have traditionally found support.  An attempt to have BDS endorsed by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), which covers University academics throughout Australia, was defeated on October 7.

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