Palestine

Folk music legend Pete Seeger has come out in support of the growing Palestinian movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and in support of justice for Palestinians and a route to peace in the Middle East.

Seeger, 92, took part in last November’s online virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other”, sponsored by the Arava Institute, an Israeli environmental organisation, and by the Friends of the Arava Institute.

More than 300 people attended an “Experience Palestine” event organised by the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY), at Coburg Town Hall on February 19.

They were greeted by mock Israeli “border guards” and questioned about their identity and right to enter the premises.

Once they had passed through the wood and wire “checkpoints”, visitors listened to guest speakers on Palestine and life under occupation before having a break to wander about the different exhibits.

This went up on IS singer Macy Gray's Facebook page on January 17:

"I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don't want to cancel on and I don't know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?"

See also: US, Israel oppose Arab democracy

Papers leaked to Al-Jazeera, as well as secret US cables published by WikiLeaks, have exposed how Israel and the United States have used the Middle East “peace process” to push total capitulation on the Palestinian side.

This merely confirms what many Palestinians already knew.

The councillors of Marrickville, in Sydney’s inner west, voted by a 10-2 majority on December 15 to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

A month later, they have belatedly become the subjects of vilification in the Rupert Murdoch-owned media, and of death threats from Australia's lunatic fringe.

"What does the desert theocracy of Saudi Arabia have in common with Marrickville Council in Sydney's Inner West?" howled a January 13 article in Murdoch's Daily Telegraph, under a headline comparing the council to North Korea.

One of the claims made most often by Israeli officials and supporters is that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But in recent weeks, media outlets around the world have reported on a string of new laws in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) meant to curtail the work of human rights non-government organisations (NGOs).

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has even referred to such groups as “terrorism aids”.

The targeted NGOs report on human rights abuses in the entire area under Israeli control: that is, within the state of Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

Twenty-six children in Gaza were shot by Israeli troops near the border during 2010, a Save the Children report found.

AlJazeera.net reported on January 18 that the report found: “Children in Gaza are coming under regular gunfire from Israeli soldiers while scavenging in the ruins of buildings bombed during the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2009 ...”

Marrickville Council has stayed firm in the face of criticism for its recent decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid in Palestine.

The council passed a Greens-initiated motion to support the BDS campaign on December 14.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”

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:

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