“This week I was shocked to discover myself on the front page of the Australian and other Murdoch-owned media where I was accused of being anti-Israel”, began a Guardian op-ed by Blair Palese, a prominent Australian climate activist.
Her April 8 piece continues:
It was a shock because, while I’ve been targeted for years for my climate change work, I have never been the target of a politically motivated hit job designed to undermine the independent candidates I support.
It was also a shock to read that I am anti-Israel because I am not anti-Israel. I am not an anti-Israel activist. I am not an expert on Israel and don’t pretend to be. I leave that to those who do the hard work of making it their area of expertise.
Palese, who’s described as a key backer of Independent candidate Allegra Spender in her race in the New South Wales district of Wentworth against incumbent Liberal MP – and former Ambassador to Israel – Dave Sharma, has indeed come under fire her comments about Israel. And, as Jews in Wentworth represent roughly 12% of the district’s population (2016 figures), the issue of Israel is expected to play more prominently than it does in most districts throughout the Commonwealth.
Her op-ed continues:
The Australian decided to define me based on three retweets (retweets!) that I posted. Two of them were over 10 years ago. I retweeted about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign during this year’s Sydney festival because it was a campaign that cut through very quickly and was much discussed in the campaign world. I was not part of that campaign, nor did I call for people to boycott the festival. I went to a festival event myself.
So, is Palese telling the truth when she says she not anti-Israel?
First, according to the Australian Jewish News, Palese didn’t merely retweet “about” the Sydney Festival boycott movement, but re-tweeted a tweet by Sydney Festival boycott organiser Fahad Ali praising artists who had withdrawn in support of BDS. (Note also that Fahad Ali isn’t merely a pro-BDS activist, but someone who demonises Zionism as intrinsically racist, and once tweeted approvingly of antisemitic comments by Mohammed el-Kurd.)
Palese also tweeted this – in 2018, not “over 10 years ago” – accusing Israel, presumably in the context of Hamas organised violent riots on Israel’s border a few days earlier, of “killing unarmed children” whilst condemning her country’s “shocking support” for the Jewish state.
And let’s add Aust’s shocking g support of Israel in killing unarmed children and civilians and shooting a Canadian rescue doctor in the legs!
— Blair Palese 🌎 (@blairpalese) May 20, 2018
Assuming she was referring to the May 18th Gaza border riots, Hamas later admitted that the overwhelming majority of those killed that day were members of the terror group.
There’s also this tweet – in 2020, not “10 years ago” – where she’s expressing her support for war crimes investigations against Israel.
— Blair Palese 🌎 (@blairpalese) February 22, 2020
But, most damning is this tweet – from 2018, not “over 10 years ago” – where she accused Israel of being an “apartheid” and “fascist” state.
Apartheid, fascism, the world must know better by now! https://t.co/DIqXLkgNSI
— Blair Palese 🌎 (@blairpalese) July 19, 2018
Contrary to her claim in the Guardian, the record shows that Ms. Palese, by promoting BDS and supporting war crimes investigations against Jerusalem, smearing Israel with the libel that it murders innocent children, and falsely accusing the state of practicing apartheid and fascism, is, by any measure, anti-Israel.