Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
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Adjournment: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement Against Israel

It is with some dismay that I rise today to acknowledge that 2016 marks 15 years since the seeds of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, also known as BDS, began against Israel at the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. What passes for left-wing thought in our day and age has never been noted for coherent logic or factual accuracy. Nowhere are these leftist moral and intellectual failings more obvious than on the question of Israel in general and on the BDS campaign against the only democracy in the Middle East.

The member for Fremantle, who, I must say, made my day with her recent announcement of her departure from this place, exemplifies the Left’s noxious intellectual bankruptcy on matters Middle Eastern. By hitching her wagon to the anti-Israel BDS she exemplified how those who claim the rubric of progressive are actually quite oppressive when it comes to the Jewish people.

Make no mistake, BDS s nothing more than a declaration of economic war against the Jewish people. We have all seen the BDS causes and the anti-Semitic ugliness. We saw this on the streets in mob-scene blockades of Jewish owned businesses in Melbourne. We have also seen BDS in all of its genocidal ugliness when its founder, the Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, made it clear that the movement would settle for nothing less than the elimination of Israel as we know it.

Barghouti makes no bones about his ultimate objective. He declared in 2014:

Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.

It is clear that all those who support BDS, including the member for Fremantle, would grant the right of national self-determination to the Palestinian people but are determined to deny that right to the Jewish people. Support for the BDS program, at the very time we watch the rest of the Middle East sink into the bloody abyss of interethnic and interfaith conflict, can only be explained by two possibilities. Either the member for Fremantle and her BDS buddies are afflicted by a terminal state of delusion or a more ancient and insidious bigotry lurks beneath their fine words and lofty proclamations.

Proponents of BDS like to claim that they hold the moral high ground, but their uncritical endorsement of Barghouti and others like him puts them in very dubious company indeed. It is a strange bedfellows relationship when feminists and socialists put themselves in league with the sharia-law-advocating Jihadi fanatics of Hamas. In fact, just a few days ago in Gaza a senior Hamas commander, Mahmoud Ishtiwi, was tortured and executed because he was gay. According to the New York Times, the Hamas minister for defence:

…is harsher than other leaders—he wants his army to be pure.

But I guess disagreements over the status of women and gay rights pale by comparison to the fundamental issue that unites the so-called progressive left and the ultraconservative sharia-compliant Islamic right—and that is a mutual hatred of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian constitution declares that a future Palestine will be an explicitly ethnic Arab state whose legal code will be founded upon Islamic sharia law. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has vowed it will be a Jew-free country, declaring he ‘won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli’ within its borders.

I will conclude with a simple observation that BDS is anti-Semitism pure and simple. It is anti-Semitic because it seeks to deny to the Jewish people the same rights of national self-determination that it supports for the Palestinians. BDS is also anti-Semitic because it supports the cause of a Palestinian state ethnically cleansed of Jews. It is for these reasons that BDS has been categorically rejected by the Australian people, who have consigned this movement to the extreme margins of our society.

Click here to access a PDF copy of the Hansard transcript of this speech.

Click here to view a video of this speech via YouTube.

Click here to watch Michael’s interview on Sky News ViewPoint.