Last month I approached five members of the Middle East diaspora resident in Australia to each discuss, in their own words, the following proposition:
“To what extent is the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Against Israel’ campaign effective at balancing competing “harms” – the use of ”non-violent” harm to injure Israel economically, politically, reputationally and militarily and the relief of the “violent harm” endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation? How useful is a campaign that “balances competing harms” for the Israeli and Palestinian, as well as Jewish and Muslim, diaspora – and wider Middle Eastern community – in Australia?”
Each discussant had only 1000 words to get their point across.
How did they respond? Click through to each of the five responses below:
Discussant 1 of 5: Amin Abbas is a diaspora Palestinian.
Discussant 2 of 5: Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent journalist and author who has written for The Guardian, Haaretz, The Nation, Sydney Morning Herald and many others. His two best-selling books are My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution. He is currently working on many projects, including a book about vulture capitalism, a book on the Left in contemporary politics and another title on Israel/Palestine.
Discussant 3 of 5: Kim Bullimore is a long-time socialist, political activist and anti-racism campaigner. Kim is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS-Palestine), the only all women international peace team working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She also writes regularly on the Palestine-Israel conflict for the Australian newspaper, Direct Action and blogs at Live from Occupied Palestine. In 2010, Kim co-organised the first national Australian BDS Conference.
Discussant 4 of 5: Les Rosenblatt is a Melbourne writer and political activist with a strong interest in Middle-Eastern politics and history. He has written several book reviews and articles on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for Arena magazine and elsewhere. Les also promotes the science of climate change and is seeking to understand how best to respond to the GFC Mark 2. Les was active in the Australian Jewish Democratic society over many years and participated in a Middle East Dialogue project organised by La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue a couple of years ago.
Discussant 5 of 5: Moammar Mashni is the co-founder and manager of Australians for Palestine. He works to articulate the concerns of Australia’s Palestinian communities among politicians, churches, unions, universities and the media and to raise Australian public awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict’s dynamics. Moammar was born in Australia to a Palestinian refugee family.