Palestinian-Australian Files Legal Complaint Against Australian Government…For Siding With Israel

The Vice President of Australia Palestine Advocacy Network is accusing the Australian Government of racial discrimination… because Israel stood up for her close ally during Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

According to Nasser Mashni’s lawyers Birchgrove Legal:

A Racial Discrimination complaint will proceed against the Australian Government for its advocacy on behalf of Israel.

Sydney law firm, Birchgrove Legal, is acting for Mr. Nasser Mashni in a section 9 Racial Discrimination Act complaint against the Australian Government.

The Complaint argues that the Australian Government has a legal obligation to advance equality before the law, including international law and international tribunals of justice, and that derogations from that obligation discriminate against Australian Palestinians.

The Complaint refers to the Government’s official comments during Israel’s bombing of Gaza in May 2021 and the Australian Government’s advocacy on behalf of Israel to avoid investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Such actions by the Australian Government are hostile to Australian Palestinian human rights.

It makes Palestinian peoples’ right of return a more distant dream and causes enormous distress to Australian Palestinians. 

The ongoing Israeli occupation and military violence cause trauma, loss, and denial of homelands. It is designed to prevent Palestinian peoples worldwide from returning.

Self-determination, connection to homelands, and health are intrinsically linked, as research into the occupation and denial of Indigenous lands worldwide demonstrates.

The right of return is critical to Palestinian peoples’ ability to pursue social and cultural development. Safe, secure, and free access to their homelands is also integral to their right to determine their political status and nationality.

Further, a failure to acknowledge that Israel is an Occupying Power that occupies Palestinian land – and its breaches of international law –manifestly reframes, distorts, and misleads public discourse in Australia.

This distortion of public discourse then subjects Australians of Palestinian heritage to continual discrimination, recrimination, suspicion, intimidation, and the residual fear of victimisation when they identify as Palestinian. It leads people to believe that Palestinians are aggressors rather than victims.

It discourages Palestinians from speaking out about the situation in Israel and Palestine or even using the term “Palestine.” It also affects media diversity and freedom of press in Australia.

The Complaint has been accepted to proceed against the Government by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

‘Legally, it is very significant. It is the first of its kind,’ said Birchgrove Principal Solicitor, Moustafa Kheir.

‘There should be legal consequences at home for Governments that support foreign nation-states in carrying out land theft and violations directly against racial or ethnic groups where it causes discriminatory harm at home.’

‘This situation is very distinct from other international issues in that the Australian Government has taken a very active role in supporting Israel to avoid international pressure.’

Mr. Nasser Mashni said, ‘Australia is home to so many cultures. A Prime Minister and Government that tells the truth according to international law protects Australians. Telling the truth creates safe spaces for conversations to be had without vilification.

‘What we have now is a Prime Minister and a Government that stands among nations to hide the truth, to protect another nation-state, effectively denying my rights and other Australians with Palestinian ancestry.’

What outcomes does the complaint call for?

In future representations to the United Nations and national press statements, the complaint calls for the Government to

(1) acknowledge that Israel is an Occupying Power that occupies Palestinian land and outlines the special obligations attached to being an Occupying Power under international law;

(2) to identify when Israel has breached international law and the actions that constitute the breach;

(3) indicate that it supports the ICC investigation of allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by all parties, including Israeli authorities and Hamas; and

(4) to acknowledge that the human rights of Palestinian Australians are diminished by the ongoing denial of safe, free and secure access and return to their ancestral homelands.

Note how the above refers to the right of return of palestinian Arabs to their “Indigenous lands.” As has already been written extensively on here, they are not the “indigenous people” of the land by any acceptable definition of that term. They are the colonizers, who happened to constitute the majority of the inhabitants of the land when the real indigenous people – the Jews – returned to their homeland. And they were given the opportunity to share the land according to the 1947 Partition Plan, something they rejected and answered with violence.

The idea that distortion of public discourse on the topic “subjects Australians of Palestinian heritage to continual discrimination, recrimination, suspicion, intimidation, and the residual fear of victimisation when they identify as Palestinian” seems to me an inversion of reality. Being anti-Israel these days is the trendy thing, and it are Jews who are being constantly discriminated against and attacked by those claiming to be “pro palestinian.” It also hardly seems to be the case that Palestinian-Australians are discouraged from speaking out about the situation in Israel and Palestine or even using the term “Palestine.” Let the recent Sydney Festival boycott be an example of this.

Perhaps there are individual cases of discrimination, but I highly doubt it is a widespread thing.

I would also suggest that it is not distorted discourse but rather the actual reality on the ground that truly leads people to believe that Palestinians are aggressors rather than victims. The events of May 2021, specifically Hamas’ deliberate firing of rockets at Israeli civilians, which form the basis of this complaint, are an example of this.

I am no legal expert, and certainly not overly familiar with section 9 Racial Discrimination Act, which provides:

It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

But I cannot see this succeeding. Experts agree.

International law and human rights expert Amy Maguire, an associate professor at the University of Newcastle, said it was an unusual complaint.

“I haven’t seen anything quite like this myself,” she told RN Breakfast.

“The more typical race discrimination complaint would be, for example, where an individual claims they were denied an employment opportunity because of their race or perhaps they were denied entry into a licensed premises because of their race.”

She said it was unlikely the complaint would succeed because political advocacy rather than discrimination law was generally how foreign policy was shifted.

The complainant and his lawyers probably understand this, but hope that the mere existence of this complaint and the surrounding media coverage will further generate support for their cause.

The complainant Nasser Mashni is very media savvy. He is very articulate, and and, as hinted to by this complaint, is careful not to side with Hamas, while empathizing with Israeli victims, as his performance on Sky News Australia shows:

Yet he in essence seems to have a similar goal to that of Hamas – the elimination of the Jewish state. The complaint refers to a so-called palestinian Arab “right of return”, acknowledging their problem is with the entirety of the state of Israel, and not the so-called occupation of territories in the Six Day War. Flooding Israel proper with those defined as a “Palestinian refugee” according to the UN’s unreasonably wide definition of the phrase – about 5 million in number – would necessarily lead to Israel’s death by demographic.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media