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Below is a letter published in March by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network that endorses the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The letter was issued in response to a February 15 statement by Zionist (pro-Israel) groups that said the BDS campaign was anti-Semitic and “antithetical to freedom of speech”. * * * Because academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestments and sanctions of Israel: • are being called for by Palestinian civil society in response to the occupation and colonisation of their land,
The suicide of Mohammed Asif Atay in Curtin detention centre on March 28 was “tragic news” to Prime Minister Julia Gillard. “I’m sure all Australians hearing this news would feel very sorry,” she said on March 29. He was the sixth known refugee to die in detention in the past seven months and one of hundreds of refugees suffering under the system of mandatory detention. Refugee advocates told Green Left Weekly that self-harm happened daily at the Curtin detention centre.
The Australian’s pro Israel bias The letter below was sent to The Australian on March 8. How apt that The Australian (7/4/2011) has front page photos of placards demanding ‘Stop the massacre in Gaza’ and ‘Stop killing children’ and then Israel launched a new massacre (Operation Scorching Summer) of Palestinians in Gaza the next morning.
Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, has condemned Qantas’s training of overseas strikebreakers after the company’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, admitted to the practice in media reports. Sheldon said in an April 5 media release: “They really need to come clean on who they are training, who is doing the training and why it has to be done in secret in another country? Why are they hiding it around the other side of the world?
The Potential Wedding Album www.thepotentialweddingalbum.org In the excellent film Milk Sean Penn, as gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk, said: “Two to one, they support us, two to one when they know one of us.” The ethicist Peter Singer has noted that while most people would have no qualms about ruining an expensive pair of shoes wading into a lake to save a drowning child, most people don’t donate the value of their shoes to save the life of a child in another country.
Michael Arnold was born in country Victoria. He became politically active in Perth when he was 15. This was when he joined the socialist youth organisation Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party. When he was in his twenties, Arnold became active in the Harm Reduction Movement. He set up Rave Safe in Melbourne in the 1990s and produced a magazine called Flying Frequencies for the Harm Reduction Movement. Arnold was also active in community radio, producing a program for Harm Reduction on 3CR Community Radio, and being a DJ on PBS.
Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, has condemned Qantas’s training of overseas strikebreakers after the company’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, admitted to the practice. Sheldon said on April 5: “They really need to come clean on who they are training, who is doing the training and why it has to be done in secret in another country? Why are they hiding it around the other side of the world? “Qantas has said they forecast a 7 per cent increase in international capacity and 8 per cent in domestic – they have the capacity to pay their workforce a decent wage.
Activists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) and Still Wild Still Threatened returned to the Picton Valley on April 7 to launch a 10-week campaign to protest the logging of Tasmania’s old growth forests. Police broke up a similar protest in the Picton Valley on February 18, in which two HVEC protesters were arrested. HVEC’s Jenny Weber said on April 7 that the groups’ campaign is “aimed at promoting the benefits to both the community and the environment that will be delivered when native forests are given full and formal legislated protection.
Below is an extract of a letter Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent to the student leaders at UC Berkeley in March 2010 regarding Berkeley’s decision to divest from Israel. * * * I am writing to tell you that, despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.
More than 1000 Philippine Airlines (PAL) ground staff from the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) staged a torch-lit rally on April 1 between terminals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The protest was supported by several big labour federations. The union representing flight attendants has also pledged solidarity with PALEA. When police blocked the march, workers blocked a major road for several hours. This disrupted access to the airport and lead to flights being cancelled or delayed.
Three former members of the left-wing student group Capitalism Research Society (CRC) were taken into police custody on March 21. Among those arrested was the group’s former president Choi Ho-hyeon. They were charged under the National Security Act, a draconian anti-communist law that was enacted in 1948 during the height of bloody right-wing suppressions of popular grassroots democratic movements. The law has been repeatedly used to crack down on political opposition and progressive movements.
Locals from Lake Tyers, a small Aboriginal community in East Gippsland, set up a roadblock leading into their township on March 8. The action was to protest against a Victorian government-imposed administrator and call for a return to democracy in their community. The only exceptions allowed through the blockade were health service employees and school buses.
Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has been caught up in an increasingly violent conflict after the West African nation’s November 28 elections ended with the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his main opponent Alassane Ouattara both claiming victory. Ivory Coast is wracked by an armed conflict between the Ivory Coast army and rebel forces allied to Ouattara. Both sides have been accused of human rights abuses.
Despite crisis levels of overcrowding, many urban Aboriginal communities have been denied federal funding for new housing. On March 18, ABC online said town camps around Darwin were not allocated any of the $1.5 billion in upgrades planned for Aboriginal communities.
The Moro people of the Philippines’ southern Mindanao Islands have never considered themselves Filipinos. The Spanish colonisers never succeeded in subjugating the Moro sultanates. However, when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US in 1898, the Moro homeland, Bangsamoro, was included. In the ensuing war, which lasted until 1913, 20,000 Moros — fighters and civilians — were killed.
ITEC Employment and its related entity Community Enterprises Australia (CEA) are preparing a submission to the federal government that will argue “the pendulum has swung too far in favour of the jobseeker”, in relation to changes to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) on Aboriginal communities, The Australian said on April 2. CEA is the largest CDEP provider in Australia. You could be forgiven for thinking that the pendulum swinging “too far in favour of the jobseeker” meant, perhaps, that people were finding work.

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