For Immediate Release –
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign in Support of Palestinian
Human Rights Moves Forward in Australia After Landmark Conference
4 November, 2010
From October 29-31 more than 150 Palestine solidarity activists and
supporters of human rights gathered in Melbourne for Australia’s first
national Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) conference. The
conference represents a watershed moment in the Palestinian solidarity
movement in Australia with activists across various campaigns coming
together and addressing the way forward in the global campaign of
boycott, divestment and sanctions.
The conference was launched with a public meeting on October 29 at the
Victorian State Library, chaired by the ABC’s Bryan Dawe and addressed
by Palestinian artist and activist Rafeef Ziadah speaking on behalf of
the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Also speaking was
Palestinian academic and radio presenter, Yousef Alreemawi, Jerusalem
based Israeli activist Ofer Neiman from “BOYCOTT! Supporting the
Palestinian BDS call from within” and Kim Sattler, the Secretary of
Unions ACT in Canberra.
Keynote speaker Rafeef Ziadah, a member of the steering committee of
the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, explained
“this conference is an important step in coordinating a national BDS
campaign across Australia to put pressure on Israel to simply abide by
Other guest speakers included prominent American Jewish activist Anna
Baltzer and Australian-Palestinian author and activist Samah Sabawi.
One of the conference highlights was a concert on the Saturday that
formally launched Australian Artists Against Apartheid (AAAA).
On the labour movement front, the conference helped to bring together
unionists who are members of twenty different unions across Australia,
with five Australian unions sending official delegations to the
conference to discuss practical implementation of BDS resolutions.
The conference unanimously adopted a calendar of BDS actions to be
carried out over the next 12 months. Conference organizers urged all
attendees ”to build on the momentum of the conference and work
together to build the strongest possible grassroots campaign to hold
Israel accountable for its actions.”
The conference was organized in response to the call by 171
Palestinian civil-society organizations in July 2005 for the
international community to implement a comprehensive boycott,
divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategy against apartheid Israel as
the focal point of solidarity efforts with the Palestinian people.
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 recognise the Palestinian people’s
inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with
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