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Australian lawmaker’s call against Israel criticized

JTA

November 7, 2011 | 10:15 am

An image released by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) shows Israeli soldiers boarding one of the two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists in the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 4. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/IDF

An image released by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) shows Israeli soldiers boarding one of the two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists in the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 4. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/IDF

The head of Australian Jewry scolded a left-wing parliamentarian who demanded that an Australian member of a Gaza-bound flotilla be immediately released.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr. Danny Lamm chastized Greens Sen. Lee Rhiannon Monday after she called on the Israeli government to release Sydney resident Michael Coleman, one of 27 pro-Palestinian activists arrested Nov. 4 by the Israeli Navy as they trief to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

“It is the Israeli Defense Forces that have acted illegally as the boat Mr. Coleman and other Freedom Waves participants were on was in international waters when intercepted,” said Rhiannon, a vocal supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

But Lamm retorted: “Senator Rhiannon’s characterization of the blockade of Gaza and the boarding of vessels that are used to break the blockade as ‘illegal’ is mendacious nonsense.

“The people who want to break the blockade are not interested in providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians,” Lamm added. “If that was their fundamental aim, they could send their supplies in by land via Israel.  Their main purpose is to harm Israel and her people.”

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