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February 2014

FIGHTING FUND FOR ACADEMIC BOYCOTT

Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Director of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), has been taken to the Federal Court of Australia in a legal action brought by Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Centre, alleging racial discrimination due to his support of the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israel.

The claim is that Associate Professor Lynch is backing racist and discriminatory policies through their support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.  These accusations are unfounded and intimidatory. They are intended to stifle free speech.

The Federal Court Case against Associate Professor Jake Lynch has already cost Jake some tens of thousands of dollars – which he has had to raise for himself – and may cost more as court deliberations continue.

This is a litigious case that threatens our right to democratic dissent in Australia.

We call on our supporters to MAKE A DONATION to support Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s fight for our democratic rights.

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Update on court case, by Jake Lynch, 28 February 2014.

I am the subject of a Federal Court application to have the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel declared in breach of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act (RDA): in effect, an example of anti-semitic racism.

Led by an Israeli Law Centre, Shurat HaDin, which has links with the Israeli security state, this amounts to an attempt by a foreign power to suppress legitimate political activity in Australia.

The policy I adopted five years ago, backed by the Council of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, was to boycott institutional links with Israeli universities. These include two funded Fellowship schemes, which pay for academics from the Technion University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to visit Sydney.In this policy, there is no suggestion of discrimination against individuals.

An individual applicant could be of any national, racial or religious background, because the policy is not based on any of these things. Instead, it is based on the extensive links between these and other Israeli universities, and the country’s military and arms industry; and the responsibility on all of us to do something to oppose Israeli militarism and lawlessness. To cooperate with these schemes is to become complicit in the oppression of Palestinians.

The case has already been to court twice, for legal arguments about attempts by the applicants to make their allegations ‘fit’ with the stipulations of the RDA. There are further court dates scheduled, including one, on March 13th, when the Judge in the case will hear ‘Interlocutory Applications’ – arguments about the basis on which the applicants are allowed to make their case, and what they have to prove.

It sounds dry, but these legal exchanges are the essential ‘hard grinding’ necessary to win the case. They consume time and that is expensive.I have already spent $30,000 of my own money on the case, and a group of five individual benefactors have paid, between them, another $20,000.

If the case is to continue, and my defence prove successful, it will strike a powerful blow for political freedom in Australia – on this and many other issues. To win it, I need help – your help.

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This fundraising initiative is obtaining personal information as that term is defined by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the “Personal Information”). By returning a completed document you agree that Australians for BDS may collect your Personal Information to process your donation. Your generous donation will be directed to the selected Appeal.  If we raise more than is required, any extra funds will be directed towards a registered Australian charity working to support Palestinian communities abroad.

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