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John Passant

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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the Australian and truth

The Australian’s anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions propaganda is reaching new heights of the bizarre. The shrillness perhaps suggests the panic reaching into the heart of Zionism as the effectiveness of the campaign grows, built on the obvious fact that Israel is an apartheid state.

I wrote the following letter to The Australian after it tried to reinforce its lies about BDS being anti-Semitic -a tired tactic of the apartheid regime and its apologists – built on a Greens MP email to Holocaust denier Frederick Tobin inviting him to a boat trip to raise money for Gaza. It was a mistake.

The BDS campaign will see some anti-Semites sniffing around, not because BDS is anti-Semitic  but because Nazis and fascists will try to manipulate any activity to spread their filth. BDS is on its guard against such activity.  

Its aim, as BDS says on its website:

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Here is my letter, unpublished of course by The Australian, pointing out the links between Zionism and the anti-BDS campaign with fascists in Australia only recently.


I look forward to The Australian’s exposé of fascist links to the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, including for example the presence of known fascists at rallies organised by pro-Israeli groups in defence of Max Brenner. Maybe The Australian could investigate why it is that some fascists support Zionism. That won’t happen because it would challenge The Australian’s lies about the BDS campaign. Just as you won’t publish this letter.




Comment from Sara Dowse
Time June 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

Good on you, John. What would the Australian know anyway? These are the same sort of people who in the 1930s insisted on ‘Jewish’ being written on visa applications to Australia and restricted the number who got in.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Interesting juxtaposition on this site John. Reading down the page I read about Syria, with up to 90000 civilians killed and a secterian war in which rival religious forces slaughter each other. Worse, a known extremist group in another country is now sending weapons and troops across the border to murder more civilians.

And is there a boycott? Is there a public campaign to stop any contact with Syrians, regardless of their views, political beliefs or even activities? Are you demonstrating outside Syrian owned businesses in Australia or stopping Syrian academics from visiting here?

Why not? Why are the deaths of tens of thousands only met with a few angry words on a blog, but another religious conflict, with maybe a 10th of the casualties over a decade, and you stand outside a bloody chocolate shop screaming blue murder?

Can you explain why no BDS against Syria?

Can you explain the socialist alternative position on other planned BDS activity?

Comment from John
Time June 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Ho hum. It isn’t a juxtaposition and the tired old caterwauling of Zionists shows the bankruptcy of their position. The defenders of South African apartheid in the West, and they were legion among the ruling elites, made the same nonsensical arguments. And yes we did join demonstrations against Assad. I posted details of demos against Assad in Australia. I guess you didn’t read them. We missed you. Read the blog site for my position and what the Syrian freedom fighters, the ones actually fighting the Assad dictatorship, are saying. And who do the Zionists support by the way? Assad.

BDS is a call by Palestinian civil society as a non-violent way to oppose Israeli apartheid. We are responding to that. Other activities? Check the Socialist Alternative website or other left wing sites if you are so keen to be involved in the struggle against Israeli apartheid. Ha… But reading my blog or Socialist Alternative or left wing activist sites more generally doesn’t seem to be your strong point.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I think you have misinterpreted what I wrote. Yes you ‘demonstrated ‘ against Assad, I noted that. But I asked which other countries the BDS was being implemented against?

If it is only one country, Isreal, then that would indicate it is the worst breacher of human rights in the world. It would indicate that the 2 million dead in Sudan, the fact the US and China execute thousands, the destruction of the Kurdish and Tibetan people, the possible genocide in Sri Lanka etc are not crimes sufficient to warrant a BDS.

To me, and others, this indicates that there is other factors at play. You resort to abuse and Zionist rhetoric, rather than address and debate the issue.

So, I ask, of all the nations in the world, is there only one that a BDS deserves to be enacted on?

Comment from John
Time June 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Ho hum. Non question. There is BDS in place because Palestinian civil society, the oppressed, has asked for it. Just like the South African resistance to the oppressors did. I am disdainful of your comments because the agenda is pro-Zionist and the implications absurd. Was South Africa not deserving of a boycott because other countries also deserved it? Actually that is one of the arguments the pro-apartheid West did proffer in their campaign against the liberation movmenet. I see it clealry now. Our boycott against South African apartheid was driven by our anti-white, our anti-Boer racism, and not by our desire to help build a rainbow nation. Of course apartheid is worthy of a boycott when the oppressed call for it. That is what has happened in the case of South Africa. It is what is happening in the case of Palestine. I note you don’t address the substance of the post but introduce furphies.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 29, 2013 at 9:29 am

John, I simply asked – not as a furphy – what other countries you believe warrant a BDS.

Why do you throw up this Zionist tag to anyone who wishes to discuss this?

Why do you make it a Zionist issue when my question was about what other countries should we boycott and divest engagement with.

But as you have a nasty tone to your answer, allow me to ponder this. From your writings I gleam a picture of an older man who blogs, writes, protests, yells at the picket line, demonstrates … But never seeks to stand up in front of the people and have his views and ideas contested.

Are you a supporter of the South Africa you overthrew, with Zuma spending $30 mill on his home?

Do you support the 42 Palestinians arrested and beaten this year for wearing western clothing like jeans?

Do you support Equador’s murder of two journalists and the suppression of a free press?

Do you support Communist China’s repression of Tibet?

And do you agree women should not vote, as is the case in Gaza?

I’d welcome the opportunity for a sensible dialogue and exchanges rather than the abuse you throw at anyone who disagrees with the people’s champion and future MP, your good self.

Comment from John
Time June 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I note you still don’t address any of the issues I raise in the letter. Anyone who says ‘To me, and others, this indicates that there is other factors at play’ is, nudge nudge wink wink, saying we are anti-Semitic. This is classic understated Zionism. I have explained why BDS exists. Because the Palestinians asked for it to happen. Just as the South Africans did. Me as an MP? Laughable. Apart from the fact that today I might get 0.5% of the vote, my organisation’s concentration is building a revolutionary socialist organisation that can help build the on the ground opposition to capitalism in all its manifestations and fight for a better world here and now.

Comment from John
Time June 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

As I wrote in today’s Socialist speak out ‘ A commentor asks why BDS for Israel alone? Well, Palestinian civil society has asked for it, that is why. It would not have happened if the Palestinians had not asked for it. But there is another reason. The Middle East is the spigot of the US. That is why it has supported and continues to support dictatorships across the region or reaches an accommodation with other regimes (for example Morsi in Egypt and Assad in Syria before the revolution).

As part of this strategy to dominate the Middle East and to keep control of the most vital resource to global capitalism (and thus the flow to China) the US not only supports Israel; it keeps it alive with its financial, military and political support. Israel is part of the Western clique, a settler state of imperialism. Its key role as an outpost of Western imperialism, its survival only on the basis of massive US funding and other support, its destruction of the Palestinians, its apartheid, and the request by Palestinian civil society for a boycott make it an acceptable target for boycott in the West.’

Comment from bec hynek
Time June 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

why bds against israel and not places like syria? well what on earth would be the point of raising awareness of not doing ‘buisness as usual’ with a country that Australia is already not doing ‘buisness as usual’ with? The point about Israel is that Australia, America and many other nations besides have their ruling elites treating Israel as if it is not a war criminal. the west in general is already treating Assad as a dictator who should be stopped (although of course only thanks to the Syrian people, not some inbuilt humanity in the leadership of the west). Also. much of palestinian civil society called for it, as a means to highlight their plight. It is now a political picket line if you will, to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. What would be the point of this with Syria?

Comment from Kim
Time June 30, 2013 at 3:10 am

John has already answered the question but I will add my two cents worth. Firstly to reiterate, BDS is a Palestinian civil society campaign. It was initiated by Palestinians and they have asked us to stand in solidarity with them against their oppressor. This is a fact that Zionists and Israeli apologists repeatedly like to ignore – BDS is NOT a campaign initiated by non-Palestinians who just decided on day that it might be a thing to do. Instead BDS is an anti-colonial campaign initiated by an oppressed, colonised people against their colonial oppressors. As such, it would make absolutely no sense for the Palestinians to be calling for a boycott of China, Saudi Arabia or Syria, when the state which is oppressing them is Israel.

Zionists and pro-Israel advocates like to believe that Palestinian solidarity activists are blind to any other injustices in the world, including in the rest of the Middle East. Speaking only for myself, over the years I have helped organise rallies and other solidarity activities in support of women in Iraq against the Saddam Hussien regime, as well as rallies against the repression of women in Iran and Afghanistan (I have also been involved in many other social justice campaigns which have nothing to do with the Middle East, including campaigning against Indonesia’s military occupation of East Timor, for Aboriginal rights in Australia and much much more – it would be boring to list them all so I won’t).

What is noticeable at all of these events is that the Zionists and pro-Israel advocates who are always demanding that pro-Palestine supporters protest other injustices in the Middle East are nowhere to be seen, thus making it clear that they have little interest in supporting justice for the people of Iran, Iraq or Syria or elsewhere. Instead, their main aim is simply to deflect attention from the human rights abuses being carried out by the Israeli state out against the Palestinian people.

In my personal experience, every pro-Palestine solidarity activist I have ever meet, whether in Australia or overseas, are also actively involved in a variety of other human rights campaigns.

Comment from Kim
Time June 30, 2013 at 3:27 am

Just in response to Joe Kidd’s assertions about women in Gaza not being able to vote and Palestinians being arrested for wearing Western clothing such as jeans – both of these assertions are complete nonsense.

All Palestinian women, including women in Gaza have equal voting rights. In 2006, women in fact played a central role in getting Hamas elected – not only by campaigning publicly for them, but also voting for them. The 2006 election saw 13 women elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council, with 6 of these women being elected on Hamas’ Change and Reform ticket (There have been no PLC elections since 2006 because Abbas has refused to call them as Israel and the US are worried that Hamas will once again win the elections as they did in 2006).

Women also played a key role in earlier elections – for example in 2004, during the municipal elections, 139 women campaigned to be elected (out of 887 candidates for 306 seats). Under the quota system established for local elections, two seats per council were set aside for women. Of the 52 women elected, five received enough votes to be awarded a seat regardless of the quota. In May 2006, 163 women were elected in the second round of municipal elections, 103 without the assistance of the women’s quota.

As for Palestinians wearing jeans – you clearly have spent no time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I have. Not only do I regularly visit Palestine and spend several months at a time there, I have also lived there for more than a year continuously. Palestinians wear western clothing ALL the time, including jeans. This includes both men and women. I wear jeans when I am there – all the time – and it has never been an issue.

So I don’t know where you are getting this ridiculous and ignorant information but clearly your source is dodgy.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Kim, I got my ‘dodgy’ info from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which I guess isn’t a Zionist front, but is calling for an investigation into the “violation of civil rights” in Gaza.

I also read the on the ground reporting of famed Palestinan activist Asma al-Ghul, who was arrested on a beach for wearing jeans, no headscarf and for laughing. Maybe you should read her testimony.