Archive for December, 2010

Marrickville Council supports BDS


Wednesday, 15 December, 2010

Last night Bethlehem’s sister city in Australia again made history by voting to support the Unified Palestinian Call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Marrickville is the first municipality in Australia to take this important step to support human rights and international humanitarian law in Palestine.

Residents concerned about Israel’s ongoing violations of human rights sat through four and a half hours of debate on local issues before Council finally reached  Item 11 – Notice of Motion: Supporting the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.

Marrickville Council’s website says “As a community, we stand for what is fair and right. It doesn’t take much for us to come together – whether it is working for a better environment, fighting proposed school closures or simply joining in at a local fundraiser or rally.”

Last night we saw the truth of this commitment as, with the support of residents, the Greens, Labor and an Independent councillor united at Marrickville Municipal Council to adopt the following resolution moved by Greens Councillor Cathy Peters:


  1. In particular recognition of its sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for this relationship from local progressive faith communities and other community members, Marrickville Council support the principles of the BDS global campaign and report back on any links the Council has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine with a view to the Council divesting from such links and imposing a boycott on any future such links or goods purchases.
  2. Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges.
  3. Marrickville Council write to the local State and Federal ministers (Carmel Tebbutt and Anthony Albanese) informing them of Council’s position and seeking their support at the State and Federal level for the global BDS movement.

The 75,000 residents of Marrickville come from all around the world. Over 100 different cultures are represented here with 70 or more different languages spoken.  Marrickville is built on the land belonging to the Cadigal Wangal clans of the Eora nation and Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are well represented here.

The Council’s Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Australians, begins by saying:“Marrickville Council acknowledges the prior ownership of this area by the Cadigal people who were dispossessed by European invasion more than two hundred years ago. We celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people and their culture following the devastating impact of European invasion and support their right to determine their own future.”


Now Marrickville has also declared its commitment to the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people. The decision comes at a time when support for the global BDS campaign is growing rapidly especially amongst unions and churches.


Polls consistently show that the Australian people support a fair go for Palestine.  In mid-2009,  a poll jointly commissioned by the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Australians Friends of Palestine Association, the surprising results show that Australians are “reading between the lines of the media bias against Palestine and Palestinians.”

This national poll showed that both the federal Labor Government and the Liberal opposition are out of step with what Australians think.
Local government, at least in Marrickville, seems to be more closely in touch with the thinking of average Australians and certainly more in touch with humanitarian and democratic principles.
Thank you Marrickville.

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Israel: Greens NSW back international Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions


Tuesday 07 December 2010

Greens NSW State Council has agreed to back a series of military, trade and services boycotts of Israel and to support the growing international BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) movement.

Greens NSW Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon said, “Delegates from our Greens local groups across NSW unanimously endorsed this comprehensive proposal as a way to support Palestinian self-determination and to help bring peace to the people of Israel and Palestine.

(Proposal passed by Greens NSW SDC below.)

“We are hopeful that the Greens’ backing of the BDS movement will win more Australian support for this important cause.

“The Greens have decided to support the BDS campaign, which builds on the US civil rights movement and international campaign against
apartheid South Africa.

“The BDS opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, reflects the principles of the Greens. The campaign is motivated by
the universal principles of freedom, justice and equal rights.

“Members I have spoken to about the Greens proposal are troubled by Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the oppression of
Palestinian people, and they want to take firm but peaceful action.

“The broad-based support the BDS movement is achieving fits in with the Greens style of campaigning.

“We hope to build a broad-based campaign in Australia similar to what has been achieved overseas.

“Prominent figures including Nobel peace laureates Desmond Tutu and Máiread Maguire, and Richard Falk, an American Jew and the UN’s
special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, have added their voice to the international campaign.

“In Palestine over 170 political parties, unions, mass movements and NGOs endorse the movement, which is led by a coalition of civil
society organisations.

“In Israel citizens have lobbied Cape Town Opera House not to perform in Tel-Aviv. They have also approached Tel-Aviv International Art Film Festival participants not to attend or contribute their films.

“Earlier this year 150 American theatre and film professionals, many of them of the Jewish faith, signed a statement of support for
counterparts in Israel who boycotted performances in the illegal Jewish settlement of Ariel. About 50 Israeli actors had refused to
perform in the Ariel Cultural Centre.

“Within Jewish Israeli society there are increasing calls for a cutting of ties with higher education institutions complicit in the
occupation of Palestinian territories.

“Ben-Gurion University academic, Neve Gordon, has called for massive international pressure on Israel. He argues that this is the only way
to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians do not grow up in an apartheid regime.

“Unions in Belgium, Spain, France, Norway, England and Australia are also backing the BDS campaign.

“Greens members were galvanised by Israel’s war of aggression on Gaza, its attack on the peaceful Gaza bound flotilla, and its ongoing
failure to recognise the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

“The proposal passed by the Greens NSW State Council gives voice and action to those concerns,” Ms Rhiannon said.

Proposal passed by consensus at December Greens NSW State Conference.

That the Greens NSW call upon all Australians and the Australian government to boycott Israeli goods, trading and military
arrangements, and sporting, cultural and academic events as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation and
colonisation of Palestinian territory, the siege of Gaza and imprisonment of 1.5 million people, and Israel’s institution of a
system of apartheid, by endorsing the following actions:
1.      condemning Israel’s apartheid and occupation policies;
2.      censuring  Israel’s violations of the human rights of Palestinians and its failure to abide by international law;
3.      halting any military cooperation or trade with Israel;
4.      refraining from participation in any form of sporting event, academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects
with Israeli institutions or teams except those that publicly oppose Israel’s apartheid and occupation policies;
5.      advocating a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at national and international levels, including suspension of all forms
of funding and subsidies to these institutions; and
6.      supporting and promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

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