The AJDS issued a statement 11/06/16 critical of the decision by Stephanie Hodgins-May, Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports, to pull out of the Zionist Victoria event. We stated: “we feel that it’s important that local candidates be prepared to address and engage with audiences in their electorate.”
Whilst this move by Stephanie has been hurtful to some in the Jewish community, the uproar following her decision has been highly inflated and overly accusatory, with allegations from the Jewish community both in the media labelling Stephanie and the Greens anti-Semitic.
AJDS does not associate itself with this canard. We want to reiterate that the AJDS statement was in no way meant to insinuate any labelling of Stephanie or the Greens as anti-Semitic. The term “anti-Semitic” is thrown around much too freely.
There is no evidence that the Australian Greens or any of their representatives are anti-Semitic. There appears to be a confusion (sometimes deliberate), between the political views of Greens on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the impression that these views are anti-Semitic. In fact, the views taken by Greens on issues such as the Occupation or a two-state solution are by and large, those taken by members of the Israeli left, including support for two, legitimate states (see their policy statement here). Such views are in fact also supported by members of the Labor Party and supporters of Palestinian rights are even found in the Coalition.
Regrettably, Michael Danby has used Hodgins-May’s action for his own political agenda, which tries to wedge the Jewish community by creating a climate of fear of “Green” anti-Semitism.
In a statement released by Danby (9/6) he claimed; “The Greens boycott of the Jewish community shows their deep and intractable antagonism towards the Australian Jewish community.” Danby has also been caught handing out how to vote cards that preference the Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports ahead of the Greens, defying his party’s National Executive (SMH 16/6).
Stephanie has responded to the controversy that she is in fact willing to be involved with the Jewish community, stating that she has accepted numerous invitations from Jewish community groups, including AUJS, Habonim, Mt Scopus and Jews for Refugees.
This indeed shows her willingness to engage with the needs and concerns of the Jewish community at large, and that she took particular offence at generalized views put out by Zionism Victoria about the UN, a body which she has worked for in the past.
While we stay out of election politics and do not endorse or promote any particular party or candidate, we believe that the Greens should not be dismissed by politically inflated accusations that they are anti-Semitic, and reiterate from our original statement that the issue has been “drawing attention away from the important local and national policies on which this election should be decided.”