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No funds for BDS backers: Bishop
PUBLIC funds must not be given to groups that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the opposition insists.
The Australian reported on Monday that AusAID gave $47,000 to the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in 2010. It has also received $131,000 in Australian Research Council grants.
The centre has been attacked by the government and opposition, academics and leaders of the Jewish community since The Australian revealed its head, Jake Lynch, citing his centre's BDS support, had rejected a request for help from Israeli academic Dan Avnon. Professor Avnon is credited with developing the country's only civics curriculum designed for Jewish and Arab school students.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop ramped up her criticisms of the BDS movement and demanded Foreign Minister Bob Carr make a public statement denouncing BDS in the light of recent comments he has made over Israel.
"Senator Carr should also institute a policy across government that ensures no grants of taxpayers' funds are provided to individuals or organisations which actively support the BDS campaign," Ms Bishop said.
The opposition has already called on Senator Carr to reveal if the centre declared its pro-BDS stand before receiving the AusAID funds. Senator Carr was overseas yesterday. His office did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
The opposition's latest call came as Australia's peak Jewish body repeated its attack on academic BDS.
"It is disingenuous to suggest that criticisms of CPAC's policies are a constraint on academic freedom," Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said.
"Nobody has challenged the centre's right to advocate its views, but the public has every right to contest those views and highlight their lack of merit."