Petition update


Australians for BDS

Jul 10, 2014 — Thursday July 10th, 2014

My lawyer and the lawyer for Shurat HaDin have agreed that the proceeding by Shurat HaDin be dismissed for lack of standing. And they have agreed for the court to make orders that Shurat HaDin pay my costs of the application for dismissal of the case, and my costs of the proceedings that are not otherwise subject to earlier cost orders.

Judge Alan Robertson will make the orders in the Federal Court in Sydney, on Wednesday July 16th at 9.30am.

This comprehensive legal victory represents complete vindication for the principled stance I have taken in fighting off a despicable attack on political freedom in Australia.

It gives the green light for many more Australians to take their own action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for rights and freedoms we are lucky enough to be able to take for granted.

Shurat HaDin is a foreign agency, with admitted past links with the Israeli state, which wanted to use the Australian courts to stifle the growing movement of worldwide political activism for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The case began with the smear that BDS advocates are motivated by racism. That was accepted by many of Australia’s leading politicians, to their discredit, when they signed up to the so-called ‘London Declaration on Anti-Semitism’.

But the attempt to make it stick in court proved a bridge too far. Legal process requires evidence, and logical argument. Once exposed to that test, a claim that passed muster in the corridors of Canberra immediately began to crumble.

I have faced claims that I should be held responsible for decisions by performing artists, such as Elvis Costello and Snoop Dogg, not to tour Israel. There was never a shred of proof to back up any of these allegations.

On the narrower issue of the request I received from Professor Dan Avnon, to endorse his application for a Sir Zelman Cowen fellowship, Shurat HaDin managed to persuade neither Avnon himself, nor any other academic, to join their ill-conceived action.

This week’s violence

This week’s renewed wave of indiscriminate Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians shows the urgency of taking political action to promote peace with justice. Israel will not change its routine recourse to militarism and lawlessness without coming under pressure.

The disavowal by the Australian government of the international legal consensus on the occupation of Palestinian territory shows this pressure must come from civil society. That is the rationale for BDS, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity.

This legal victory for me, and thousands of supporters who have stood by me and contributed to my cause, represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Someone has to make a change. If not us, who? If not now, when?

The case has given rise to the creation of two important groups to take up this cause: Australians for BDS:

And within the University of Sydney, Sydney Staff for BDS:


I would like to thank my lawyer, Yves Hazan of Hazan Hollander, for the brilliance with which he conceptualised, developed and argued my case – and also for his patience and consideration in explaining legal principles in our discussions of the issues.

Thanks also to His Honour, Judge Alan Robertson, for the fairness and rigour with which he conducted these proceedings. The Australian public can be proud of its Federal Court.

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