Wednesday, April 8, 2015

CALL TO ACTION: Stand in solidarity with Sydney Uni academics Jake Lynch & Nick Riemer

Nick Riemer                                                Jake Lynch

Dear friends,
as many of you will be aware, there is currently a concerted witch hunt being carried out by the Zionist lobby in Australia against Sydney Uni academic Jake Lynch, as well as fellow academic Nick Riemer in regards to a recent student protest on the campus against Israel and apologists for Israel's war crimes in Gaza.

Jake Lynch has been repeatedly targeted for the last 4 years by the Zionist lobby for his principled and unwavering support for the Palestinian BDS campaign. Last year, Lynch successfully defeated a lawsuit brought against him by Zionists over his support for BDS (see my post on Jake's case: here, here, here, here)

Please CLICK HERE to read my earlier post on what really happened at the protest against the Sydney Uni Kemp meeting, which includes Australian Jewish writer, Michael Brull's investigative report, as well as video footage which contradict the claims made by the Zionist lobby about Lynch's actions.

Despite there now being ample evidence in the public domain exposing the lies and slander being circulated about what took place at the meeting, the Zionist lobby have continued its witch hunt against Lynch, seeking to have him (and possibly fellow academic, Nick Riemer) fired from their jobs.

Sydney Uni Staff for BDS have issued a public letter addressed to Michael Spence, the Vice Chancellor of Sydney University calling on him to reject the calls by the Zionists to fire Lynch and Riemer.   Please consider signing on to it, if you have not already done so. 

I have included below the text of the Open Letter and you can CLICK HERE to go to the Sydney Staff for BDS website and see the full list of signatories and also sign on to the letter yourself, if you so choose.

You can also read more recent articles about the Zionist campaign against Lynch and Riemer which have been published by Red Flag, New Matilda and Electronic Intifada below.  The Red Flag article (first article listed) also provides an eyewitness account of what took place at the Kemp meeting (click on title/s to go to full article/s).
In solidarity, Kim

Open letter to University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor: Dr Spence, reject calls to punish Palestine-justice supporters

Please sign the letter by adding your name (click here to go to page and signatory form)

Dear Dr Spence,
We are compelled to write to you to register our serious concern about the concerted campaign being conducted against Palestine activists at the University of Sydney.

We are appalled at the virulence and insistence with which prominent supporters of Israel have been publicly calling on you to “take action” in response to events at Richard Kemp’s March 11 talk, by sanctioning both the students who conducted a small protest there, and those members of staff, present in the audience, who subsequently defended their right to do so.[1] These calls appear to be principally focussed on having Associate Professor Jake Lynch and Dr Nick Riemer dismissed from the university. In Lynch’s case, this is the demand explicitly being made by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students via their online petition, which we note has now been closed.[2]

Such ​demands ​for the dismissal of staff members or the disciplining of students are entirely unwarranted and unjustifiable. Dismissal of academics is the most serious action that can be taken against them, and is traditionally only done under the gravest circumstances of misconduct or moral turpitude. Whatever our various opinions on the legitimacy of the students’ protest, we call on you to firmly reject the suggestion that any action should be taken against anyone present at the lecture. Associate Professor Lynch is one of Australia’s most prominent human-rights campaigners and anti-racists. His unshaking commitment to the cause of Palestine justice has earned him formidable enemies. The racial discrimination lawsuit brought against him by the Israel Law Centre, Shurat HaDin, which he defeated in 2014, is the clearest example. Claims that Lynch’s response to the physical assault launched against him by a member of the audience at Kemp’s talk constitutes evidence of his anti-Semitism demonstrably have no basis in fact and are obviously politically motivated.[3] Dr Riemer, for his part, is ​an active participant in a number of anti-racist and human-rights campaigns.

There are no possible grounds on which either Lynch or Riemer could reasonably be disciplined. They asserted a right for students to protest at a campus political meeting. They supported justice for Palestine. They objected when students were in danger of serious injury through being violently ejected by the university’s security staff, for whom you are ultimately responsible. By any reasonable measure, none of these actions constitutes any justifiable grounds for dismissal.

Lynch and Riemer uphold the right to peaceful protest as a core civil liberty. For the University of Sydney under your leadership to take action against anyone, whether students or staff, for their actions on March 11 would seriously discredit your own commitment to the fight against racial prejudice, and the commitment of your institution.

Lynch and Riemer were acting in the context of the greater moral responsibilities which confront academics in light of the reality in Israel-Palestine. This constitutes the necessary background to any reasonable assessment of the present issue. Israel’s gross violations of human rights and international law, which Lynch and Riemer’s critics seek to excuse and thereby perpetuate, have been condemned by every international human rights organisation, including Israel’s own, B’Tselem. As we write, illegal settlement activity continues unabated, involving the rolling ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, the destruction of homes, farmland and heritage, the ongoing dispossession and displacement of large numbers of people, and the further subjection of Palestinians to the checkpoint controls, arbitrary imprisonment, and oppression of a brutal settler state.[4] Unarmed civilian protesters are regularly shot dead by the IDF on the West Bank.

According to Human Rights Watch, over 3,000 civilians not participating in hostilities have been killed by Israeli Forces in the West Bank since 2000.[5] Over 2,200 Palestinians, 1,500 of them civilians, and over 500 of them children, were killed in last year’s war in Gaza, which also flattened whole areas of Gaza City and elsewhere,[6] led to the internal displacement of 100,000 people, and generated two million tonnes of rubble.[7] 2014 was, indeed, the deadliest year for Palestinians since 1967, on UN figures.[8] In light of these facts, Richard Kemp’s claim that “no army in the history of warfare had taken greater steps than the IDF to minimise harm to civilians in a combat zone”[9] is as serious and irresponsible a misrepresentation of the truth[10] as his nakedly racist claim, made in a February 2 tweet, that “The current price for a Palestinian to kill a Palestinian child to discredit Israel is $10,000. $8,000 to the family, $2,000 commission.”[11]

We call on you, Dr Spence, not to allow yourself to be made the agent of the Israel lobby’s persecution of those committed to a just peace in the Middle East. If the University of Sydney is committed to anti-racism and justice, as it claims, it would be deeply shameful, to say nothing of ironic, if you took any action against Palestine activists on your campus. These activists are engaged in one of the most important, and most symbolic, anti-racist and human rights struggles in the world today. A decision to sanction them would set back the struggle in Australia against racism, not just for Palestinians, but for all oppressed peoples, and would lastingly undermine any claim that Sydney is an institution opposed to historic injustice and racial prejudice.


[1] Peter Baldwin, ‘Where the right to speak is howled down’, The Australian, Thursday April 2, 2015, p. 12.
[4] On current settlement activity, see, for example,
[6] See, for example
[8] See