Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne has received a letter of support from South African anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The letter appears below.
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Dear Mayor Fiona Byrne,
We in South Africa, who both suffered Apartheid and defeated it, have the moral right and responsibility to name and shame institutionalized separation, exclusion, and domination by one ethnic group over others. In my own eyes I have seen how the Palestinians are oppressed, dispossessed and exiled.
We call on all our Jewish and Israeli sisters and brothers to oppose the occupation and work for equality, justice and peace, between the River and the Sea, in the same way that so many South African Whites took risks to oppose the crime of Apartheid.
I want to pay my respects to you and your fellow Councilors in Marrickville for taking a stand to isolate the Israeli state, and before that for offering practical solidarity to our sisters and brothers under occupation in the Holy City of Bethlehem.
International Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory. I recall that after the very strong actions to prevent Apartheid sportsmen competing with Australians, that Councils, starting with Wollongong, declared their cities "Apartheid free" areas, and this was a great contribution.
Sometimes taking a public stand for what is ethical and right brings costs, but social justice on a local or global scale requires faith and courage.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Cape Town — South Africa)