The NSW Labor State Conference unanimously adopted Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s support of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and his rejection of the BDS movement against Israel.

Gareth Narunsky
The Australian Jewish News
October 14, 2021

NSW Labor rejected the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign and endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism at its conference last weekend.

The motions, endorsed by the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee (LIAC), were carried unopposed.

LIAC labelled the result a “common sense and balanced endorsement” of federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s and NSW Labor leader Chris Minns’ “unequivocal and principled positions on Israel and the Middle East”.

The LIAC motions followed a July 13 Zoom meeting hosted by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) during which Albanese condemned antisemitism, boycotts of Israel and the apartheid slur, reiterated his support for a two-state solution and endorsed the IHRA definition.

LIAC secretary Byron Danby said it was important to adopt a principled position and support the leadership demonstrated by Albanese and Minns in publicly rejecting “the vile and antisemitic BDS movement”.

“The adoption of the IHRA definition demonstrates how seriously the NSW ALP takes its mission to build a harmonious multicultural NSW and reject all extremism,” he added.

Labor frontbencher and LIAC patron Walt Secord tweeted after the conference that it was wonderful to see the conference adopt Albanese’s positions.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark welcomed “this sensible and balanced approach”.

“It is good to see the NSW branch of the Labor Party endorse federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s position on the IHRA definition of antisemitism and rejection of the hateful and counterproductive BDS movement,” he said.

“This follows NSW Labor leader Chris Minns’ opposition to the BDS movement earlier this year.”

The resolutions follow the passing of a motion at the Queensland Labor conference in June accusing Israel of “the routine oppression and dehumanisation of Palestinian people” and “the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians”.

ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said, “Over the last nine years we have seen how successive ALP conferences have been pressured into moving incrementally further away from its historic sympathy for Israel and the Jewish people.

“It’s refreshing to see a Labor conference adopt resolutions which reverse that trend.”

The AJN understands that prior to the conference, JBOD president Lesli Berger, together with former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal and former trade union leader Michael Easson, held cordial meetings with NSW Labor General Secretary Bob Nanva and Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey.