Archive for July, 2010

Building Solidarity,

Combating Occupation and Apartheid

National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference

Melbourne, 29 – 31 October 2010

–  activism in support of Palestine

Dear friends and supporters,

It’s now been 10 days since we issued the call for a national Australian BDS conference to be held on 29 -31st October, 2010.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people telling us that they think it is an important step towards building a national campaign in Australia.

The following individuals, community and solidarity groups have already endorsed the call for the conference:

Individuals (organisations listed for identification purposes only)

  • Yousef Alreemawi; advocate for Palestine, academic and refugee activist.
  • Leyal Asku – Lawyer.
  • Fay Waddington (Palestine Solidarity Queensland)
  • Kim Sattler (Secretary Unions ACT)
  • Ginny Adams (Organiser, Health and Community Services Union)
  • Kathryn Kelly (former ISM activist)

Groups who have endorsed:

  • Friends of Palestine Western Australia (Perth)
  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Melbourne)
  • Students for Palestine (Victoria)
  • Action for Palestine (Adelaide)
  • Justice for Palestine (Brisbane)
  • Australian-Palestinian Cultural Centre
  • Palestine Remembered @ Radio 3CR; Australia’s only radio program that it totally dedicated to the Palestinian cause in English

We believe a national conference is an important initiative.   Many of us already support the Palestinian initiated BDS campaign and are active in Palestine solidarity work around the country.  We believe the conference will provide Australian activists and supporters of the Palestinian struggle for justice and self determination an opportunity to come together in order to not only discuss BDS and Palestine solidarity work in Australia, but it will also provide us with an opportunity to concretely act on organising a national consistent tactic to take the BDS campaign forward in this country.

We would like to encourage all supporters of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice to endorse and support this very important initiative.  If you would like to endorse and support the call for the conference, please contact us on ausbds@gmail.com

We will send out regular updates on the endorsements and the planning for the conference over the next couple of months.

You can keep up with news of what is happening with the conference by joining our email announcement group at: australian-bds-conference@googlegroups.com (or email us at ausbds@gmail.com and let us know you want to be added to the announcement list and we will add you).

Or by joining us on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/group.php?gid=123970357646027

We will also keep our blog regularly updated: https://australianbdscampaign.wordpress.com/

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Building Solidarity,

Combating Occupation & Apartheid

A call for a national Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference

Melbourne, 29 – 31 October 2010

–  activism in support of Palestine  –

As supporters of the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination, we have come together to initiate a call for a two and half day national Australian BDS conference to be held in Melbourne on October 29- 31, 2010.

Over the two and half days of the conference, we hope to bring together people from all over Australia, who are already active in the Palestine solidarity movement, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about BDS and the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice.

Plenaries will address the history of civil resistance and boycotts, including an analysis of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine; colonialism in Australia and Palestine; and lessons from Palestine solidarity work internationally. In addition, there will be workshops and strategy sessions focused on the development of a national BDS network and campaign in Australia, including strategy sessions focused on developing the involvement of the Union and Labour movement, Student and Campus groups, Community and Faith based groups and art and cultural groups in the campaign; as well as also developing research and media groups to support the campaign.

Background information:

In 2005, Palestinian civil society, including more than 171 Palestinian organisations, political parties, trade unions, associations, coalitions, initiated a Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign against Israel.  Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid, the Palestinian-initiated BDS campaign is conducted in the framework of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression and calls for non-violent punitive measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.

Over the past five years, the Palestinian BDS campaign against Israel has gone from strength to strength internationally, with trade unions, student groups and other sectors of the community announcing support for the campaign.  However, in Australia, the campaign is still in its infancy.

In 2009, millions of ordinary people in Australia, and around the world, protested in condemnation of Israel’s brutal all-out bombing of 1.5 million Palestinian civilians residing in the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip. In the past few weeks, we have again seen hundreds of thousands of people around the world take to the streets to protest Israel’s murderous attacks on the international humanitarian flotilla on May 31st, which was carrying 700 human rights activists who were attempting to break Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza, and deliver more than 10,000 tonnes of much needed humanitarian aid. Israel’s pre-mediated violent attack on the flotilla left 9 international human rights activists dead and dozens more wounded.

Israel continues to carry out its siege and occupation of Gaza and illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. As the BDS campaign continues to grow in leaps in bounds internationally, it is time for supporters of human rights and justice in Australia to come together as part of a national campaign in support of BDS and the Palestinian people.

We hope that you will join us in October for Australia’s first national BDS conference in support of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice.

To endorse this call or to help with the organising of the conference, please contact us at: ausbds@gmail.com

Or visit our blog at: https://australianbdscampaign.wordpress.com/

Signatories: (organisations for identification purposes only)

Julia Terreu (Adelaide)

Action for Palestine and Independent radio broadcaster

Phil Monsour (Brisbane)

Musician and Activist.

Union Aid Abroad APHEDA Middle East Study Tour 2010 delegate for the Queensland Teachers Union

Kim Bullimore  (Melbourne)

Volunteer, International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine and

Independent journalist and writer on the Israel-Palestine conflict

Sarah Haynes (Perth)

Treasurer, Friends of Palestine (Western Australia)

Rachel Johnson (Sydney)

Volunteer, International Solidarity Movement, Palestine.

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