Jewish group promoting West Bank goods boycott condemned

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Melbourne Jewry’s umbrella organization condemned  a controversial left-wing Jewish group that supports the boycott of goods from the West Bank.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria voted overwhelmingly Monday in favor of a motion condemning “in the strongest possible terms” the Australian Jewish Democratic Society.

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The motion, moved by Zionist Council of Victoria President Sam Tatarka, said the organization’s boycott is “repugnant to the basic policies and principles of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.”

It said the Jewish Community Council of Victoria is “fundamentally opposed to any idea, organization or movement which recommends or supports boycotting, divesting from or sanctions against Israel.”

Larry Stillman, an executive member of Australian Jewish Democratic Society, told JTA the umbrella body had been “hijacked by local representatives of the settler movement,” though he cautioned it was his personal opinion.

The motion – passed by a vote of 29-4 – has created a “huge division between the official Jewish community locally and progressive organizations internationally,” Stillman added.

Monday night’s heated debate was sparked by a campaign, launched by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in March, to boycott goods from the West Bank. At the time the Zionist Federation of Australia branded it as “immoral” and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria labeled it “repugnant.”

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria comprises more than 50 Jewish organizations.

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