The NSW Greens Senator and dominant Sydney Greens numbers-queen Lee Rhiannon has publicly defied her federal leader Bob Brown on her controversial policies advocating a boycott of the Jewish state, Israel.
Last Friday, at a Politics in the Pub function in Sydney, Rhiannon made it clear that Brown’s assertions on foreign policy were not the final word on the Greens policy on Israel.
She defended the official status of the NSW Greens policy advocating “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel. Boycotts against Jewish commerce have a long, dark history reaching its most horrifying in Nazi Germany starting in the 1930s as Wikipedia explains:
Stormtroopers outside a Berlin store posting signs with the words "Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews" ("Deutsche! Wehrt Euch! Kauft nicht bei Juden!").
This partly explains the odium the boycotts policy has attracted from the political mainstream.
According to a transcript of Senator Lee Rhiannon’s remarks at the gathering obtained by VEXNEWS she made it very clear that the anti-Israel resolution adopted by the NSW Greens State Delegates Council was the official and indeed unanimous policy of the Greens party in New South Wales, no matter what Bob Brown thinks:
“It (the policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel) was put forward by the leadership of the Newtown Group and adopted unanimously. It was a well attended meeting… The State Delegates Council is the key decision-making body of the NSW Greens…The proposal, as required under our rules, had been sitting on our notice paper…for a month so that people could consider it. There were about 60 people in the meeting, 29 local groups represented, 9 groups represented as observers, all our State parliamentary MP’s and passed unanimously.”
“We then have the Greens national policy on Israel-Palestine…At the national level the Greens have adopted a boycott on military trade and links with Israel. One of the pieces of misinformation was that the NSW Greens were going against the national policy. As a Greens MP I don’t do that.”
“So the boycott [resolution adopted by the NSW Greens in December 2010] was not in contravention of our [the Greens] national policy and actually we do have a position calling on the Australian government to boycott any military arrangements with Israel. There is a diversity of opinion only about how we take forward the Greens position”.
That’s quite a different position from the public pronouncements of her federal Leader, Bob Brown. When caught in a huge public stink about the hateful and historically significant aspects of boycotts against Jewish commerce, damage-controlling Senator Brown denied association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy.
On April Fool’s Day this year Brown said:
Senator Brown said the Israel boycott proposal was against his advice and had alienated NSW voters when the party should have been focusing on bread-and-butter issues.
He had conveyed his views to Greens senator-elect Ms Rhiannon in a “robust” phone call this morning.
Senator Brown said the federal Greens in no way endorsed the policy.
“The NSW Greens have taken to having their own shade of foreign policy,” Senator Brown said.
“It was a mistake. I differ from Lee on that, and so do the other components of the NSW Greens, who handled so badly that part of the campaign against my advice.
The Greens party’s muddle of half-truths, deceptions and bigotry in their divisive policy on the Middle East that has a scandalous double-standard where every failing of Israel democracy is exaggerated and every disgrace of its misogynist, militaristic and maniacal enemies is minimised must be resolved.
While Bob Brown and the Leader’s office has a publicly-expressed view for Press Gallery consumption, it’s clear from what Rhiannon says that she doesn’t much care what he says or thinks. As a well-organised scion of a tough Stalinist Communist Party family, Rhiannon has the numbers in the New South Wales Greens. That’s enough of a base for her to do what no other Greens parliamentarian would dare: publicly defy Bob Brown.
Rhiannon – not her real name – had a makeover adopting a new haircut, pearls and a sharp suit or two to mark her arrival in the Australian Senate. While the grooming might have improved, it’s clear the jackal hasn’t changed her spots.