Australian Greens push government to boycott far-right Israeli figures


The Australian Greens are calling upon the government to join France and the United States by taking actions against two key far-right members of the Israeli government, in a bid to pressure Benjamin Netanyahu away from further worsening the humanitarian situation for Palestinians.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli Minister for National Security, and Bezalel Smotrich, the Minister for Finance, are far-right figures who have in recent months been the subject of escalating international criticism for their role in increasing violence against Palestinians.

Ben-Gvir has been convicted for terrorism and incitement related charges against Palestinians, and Smotrich has pledged to “wipe” Palestinian villages “off the map”. As a result of their aggressive anti-Palestinian actions, the pair have faced actions and strong public criticism by France, the EU, and the United States. The US State Department strongly considered refusing a visa to Smotrich, and issued a strong condemnation of Ben-Gvir. The EU has also cancelled diplomatic events over Ben-Gvir’s by attendance. Mainstream Jewish organisations have refused to meet with the pair.

This call by the Greens is underpinned by the Party’s position on upholding Justice and Human Rights in Palestine and Israel, updated across this weekend’s National Conference, reflecting months of worsening oppression against Palestinians by the Israeli government.

Developed by the party in collaboration with stakeholders, the Greens’ position upholds the right of Palestinians and Israelis to peace, security and equality and to exercise self-determination as described in the UN Charter, while recognising that Israel’s ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land is rendering a two-state solution unachievable. It also reaffirms the need for action on antisemitism and Islamophobia, while also permitting the criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. The shift does not endorse the official ‘Boycott Divestment Sanctions’ movement but does back the use of targeted boycotts, divestments and sanctions that are human-rights aligned, such as the call made by Mr Bandt and Senator Steele-John today. 

Lines attributable to Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP:

“The Greens reaffirm the right of Palestinians and Israelis to each live in peace, security and equality,” Mr Bandt said.

“Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is increasingly a threat to both Palestinian self-determination and Israeli democracy, with far-right nationalist Ministers terrifyingly committed to violence against Palestinians.”

“Far-right Ministers are making justice and peace impossible, and it’s time Australia refused to meet with these Ministers and redoubled the push for peace.”

“It’s time for the government to finally join the progressive Palestinian and Jewish communities of Australia in calling out these far right ministers and speaking up for human rights."

Lines attributable to Greens Foreign Relations Spokesperson, Senator Jordon Steele-John:

“The Australian Greens are calling on the Australian Government to boycott meetings with and place Magnitsky-style sanctions on Ministers Ben-Gvir and Smotrich. This would be a tangible way for Australia to demonstrate our solidarity with Palestinians. 

“The state of Israel continues to deny the right of self-determination to Palestinians and continues to dispossess them of their land. This injustice must be resolved in ways that will allow both Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace, security and equality, exercising self-determination as described by the United Nations Charter.

“The Australian Greens will continue to work with the Australian Palestinian and progressive Jewish community to support peace, and uphold justice and human rights in Palestine and Israel.”

“Two of the most extreme figures in the government are Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bazalel Smotrich and it’s time for the Australian Government to join the increasing chorus of voices calling them out for their hate.

“These two right-wing extremists are being rejected not only by foreign governments, but by progressive Jewish people across the world, who see that their actions and language are further pushing the Israeli government to the far-right, and rendering a two-state solution unachievable.

“Australia needs to join an open, human rights-aligned public debate about the state of Israel’s policies toward, and treatment of, Palestinian people. This should start with boycotts and Magnitsky-style sanctions on Ben-Gvir and Smotrich.”