Local council to boycott Israel

December 19, 2010

On December 14 Marrickville Council adopted a resolution moved by Greens councillor Cathy Peters to become the first Australian local government to join the international boycott against Israeli apartheid. The inner west Sydney community has had a sister city relationship with the Palestinian city of Bethlehem since 2007.

The resolution, supported by Greens, Labor and independent councillors, committed the council to:

“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 global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was launched by Palestinian civil society groups in 2005, drawing the link between the institutionalised oppression of Palestinians by Israel and that of Non-Whites by Apartheid South Africa and adopting a successful tactic from the struggle for South Africa’s freedom.

The Marrickville Council resolution quoted South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The end of apartheid [in South Africa] stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure — in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s … A similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation.”

In Australia the movement has been supported by a number of trade union bodies including the Victorian Trades Hall Council, the South Coast Labour Council, the Australian Services Union (NSW and ACT branches), the Council of the Queensland Teachers' Union, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (Queensland branch), the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (NSW branch) and the Maritime Workers of Australia (WA Branch).


Unilateral declarations like this are part of a squalid agenda in the Arab world, and by unquestioning supporters and outright Jew-haters in the West, to try to destroy Israel through disinformation and delegitimisation, having failed to do it with invasions, an economic embargo, bus bombings and rocket attacks. It's fine to level criticism at Israel when the grounds are genuine, as they often are, but not if it treats the Arab-Israeli conflict as a one-sided affair. Let's show a balanced approach by calling for a boycott against ALL Palestinian products and contacts until they: stop firing rockets at Israeli civilians; stop the vile, racist hatemongering in their press and textbooks; stop cynically refusing face to face talks with Israel until settlement freezes are just about to expire; stop the abduction attempts on Israeli soldiers and civilians; release Gilad Shalit or afford him the same Red Cross access and human rights that Arab prisoners have in Israeli gaols;stop forced Islamisation in Gaza; stop machine-gunning opposition protest rallies; stop the torturing and extra-judicial killings of political opponents; and stop siphoning billions in foreign aid to the families of the Palestinian elite (e.g. Mahmoud Abbas' mysteriously rich son in Qatar). And let's boycott the countries supplying the weapons and training that help perpetuate the conflict: the United States in the case of Israel, and the grubby dictatorships that support Palestinian terrorism (Lebanon, Syria, Venezuela and Iran). Then, why do we never hold other countries to the standard of behaviour we demand of Israel. Why are we not as outraged by the far worse conduct of the authorities in Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria or Yemen? Why aren't we demanding that Russian settlers, for example, get out of Georgia or Sakhalin (they're still building new settlements and expanding existing ones, creating facts on the ground), or Chinese settlers out of Tibet? Why don't we selectively label and boycott goods made by Chinese settlers in Xinjiang and Tibet? Why don't we force South Korea to open its border to the poor starving North? Why are we outraged by Israel's 'genocide' of Gazans in 2008-2009 (death toll 1400), but not by the (to date) 114 000 dead Arab men, women and children of the Iraq War, launched on the basis of a lie, against a country not directly threatening us, by a Coalition including New Zealand and Australia? So, in fact, why don't we really stand up against brutality against innocent Arab people and boycott Marrickville?.
Marrickville council has stepped well out of its charter and out of democratic processes with this support for the BDS. Their job is to run local services "in a manner that is consistent with and actively promotes the principles of multiculturalism" (Local Government Act s8(1)) They were not voted in to take one-sided stances in the international arena, did not present this as a core position at any recent election. On this very controversial issue they did NOT ask the community for input to see if they were representing community interests. What a load of rubbish. They should stick to street sweeping, which they are not keeping on top of, and stop fomenting racial hatred.
Hurrah for multiculturalism as long you aint a jew... er I mean Israeli. Why should my family be singled out by my local council? I can not vote green again until Kathy Peters is expelled from the party for showing a complete lack of judgement.
This conduct by Marrickville Council is not appropriate behaviour, and entirely irresponsible. Firstly, it is assumed that the Council is promoting the elimination of Israel altogether by siding with terrorist groups who regard the entire territory as "occupied". Secondly, the boycott does not treat equally other countries which have a far worse record of human rights abuses, and accordingly condones those abuses by singling out Israel for the boycott. Third, it should be mentioned that the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Israeli territory was an act of Israel's sovereignty and the soldier has not been granted Red Cross access rights afforded to other political prisoners. Finally, the boycott offends Australian values of multiculturalism by singling out a particular community for hatred and promotes anti-semitism.
I don't see how boycotting Israel brings peace any closer. I also don't see how I am ever going to consider voting Green again
Well... Looks like Marrickville Council - another bunch of "green" idiots in this beautiful country! Hm-m-m. Sometimes I'm asking myself: why the flag of prophet Muhammad is so "ecological"???
What is wrong with Israel being allowed to defend itself against these terrorists...did you not see the innocent family that were butchered in their homes , 3 boys stabbed to death last week in the Itamar settlement, for NO reason. I am a proud Jew and not ashamed to say so, Marrickville council stick to what you know..you know nothing of this country.
If the greens are so interested in so called "occupation" then they should deal with issues close to home. Australia's indiginous people have had they're country occupied by white foreigners. The Aborigines have had a very raw deal in terms of being taken from their families and having had their culture decimated. The greens should start a policy to help these lost souls. By looking overseas for conflicts the greens have neglected their jobs close to home. Perhaps they could boycott all food grown on land taken from aboriginals. Or try to help the people of their own country first. It seems they do not care about local issues at home. I would suggest it is because they are inefficient at sorting out issues in their own backyard and need to look for distractions else where. Also why are they not taking other issues, such as Rwandan genocide. They should stick to collecting garbage and not try to aim to high. They should just try to do their job efficiently if they can and stop wasting our money. Or better still get out of politics and go join the nazi party. All heil Fiona.
So you admit that the Israeli occupation of the lands of Palestine is on a par with the genocidal colonisation of Australia. At least you're getting something right. Why we should be concerned about one and not the other is another matter unless of course you think Zionism has some special justification which makes colonial and (you imply) genocidal actions OK?
This post by John some it all up perfectly, well said.
Look - over there!! It's a Russian/Iranian/Zimbabwean/Saudi/Burmese/other oppressor! Israel? Stop picking at us! Look somewhere else! How dare you single us out! Just let us go about our ethnic cleansing in peace. You're not allowed to do anything about it unless you fix all the other problems in the world first. Boycott? Sanctions? Stop it! No, look over there! see? You're not looking! Stop looking at what I'm doing to this Palestinian family. Look somewhere else!

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