After the Marrickville Council Vote Tonight

Banner outside Marrickvile Council meetingSamah Sabawi was be interviewed on the ABC’s Fran Kelly show tomorrow at 6.20am and will be heard again on SBS Arabic at 7.20pm tonight – Please ring in with questions for Samah if you’re around.

Unfortunately the Marrickville BDS decision was voted down last night. MarrickvilleBDS records the full wording of the new resolution passed and the vote:

Item without notice: Motion (O’Sullivan/Macri)
THAT Council:
1. Resolve not to pursue the GBDS against Israel in any shape or form as called for in the December 14 resolution; and
2. Remains concerned about Palestinian human rights and calls on Israel to end the occupation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; ensure the fundamental rights of Palestinians to full equality; and respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.
Motion Carried
For Motion and against BDS:
Councillors Hanna (Ind), Iskandar (ALP), Macri(Ind), Olive (G), O’Sullivan (ALP), Phillips (G), Tsardoulias (ALP) and Wright (ALP)

Against Motion and for BDS:
Councillors Byrne (G), Kontellis (G), Peters (G) and Thanos (Ind)

Marrickville BDS says:
Although Council is for the time being unable to continue formal support for BDS, there are many of us in the community to continue the struggle until apartheid is dead in Israel and it is a democracy for all its citizens.

The eventual motion supported the aims of BDS, but regrettably not the method of achieving them.

Yesterday morning before the vote,

Fran Kelly revealed that the NSW State ALP left faction voted in favour of BDS     
earlier this year in her interview with Deputy Mayor Sam Iskandar. Sam said BDS is not a goer as far as Marrickville council is concerned and unanimously the council was now against BDS. He seemed to be channelling the ziolobby and Ramallah, denied Anthony Albanese was a significant factor and sounded convinced that BDS is a federal issue. He also appeared to be under the misconception provoked by the ziolobby that the BDS movement holds a position on the one or two state solutions. It doesn’t.

Boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel can be implemented on an individual, organisational or institutional level with flexible, tactical measures targeting entities which support the Israeli Occupation and apartheid. BDS is grounded in human rights and international law and is called for because governments have failed Palestinians. The Australian government, for example, doesn’t support Palestinians, it sycophantically follows the Israel-centric US policy and interminable fake peace process, the deception by which Israel steals more Palestinian land, and continues its apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

For Marrickville Council to defer BDS to the federal government as ‘foreign policy’ is to deny truth – the Australian government has failed and is failing Palestinians – and it also means that the ziolobby strategy, to make an example of Marrickville in order to deter other such efforts, will have succeeded, temporarily – for as with other global human rights and justice grassroots movements, nothing can stop BDS. In Australia, grassroots mass movements for justice and rights with truth on their side inevitably WIN. The Marrickville Council BDS affair has served to gain national press coverage of BDS, the adversaries against it showed all their cards and it’s clear they will not withstand the unstoppable, legitimate ongoing global push for human rights and justice for Palestinians and accountability from Israel which BDS demands.

Those who think BDS is the wrong way to go to achieve justice and rights for Palestinian people aren’t listening to Palestinian civil society, but to the colonial voice in their head.

Public meeting

Boycotting Israel is the right thing to do:
Why Murdoch’s Australian is wrong over BDS

Speakers include:
Samah Sabawi, Australians for Palestine
Antony Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question
Sylvia Hale, former NSW Greens MP

The Murdoch media’s campaign to force Marrickville Council to abandon its support for a global campaign to pressure Israel to abide by international law has been relentless.

This meeting, called by concerned residents, will discuss the issues behind the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and how we can support justice for Palestine.

Plus a screening of the short video by Anna Baltzer: Life in Occupied Palestine

Organised by Marrickville residents supporting the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Sponsored by the Sydney Peace Foundation.

Friday May 13, 6.30pm for 7pm
Holy Trinity Church Hall
11 Herbert Street
Dulwich Hill, Sydney
Gold coin donation

The final motion at Marrickville Council meeting
Marrickville Council Meeting

@Jo_Tovey Massive crowd at #marrickville council meeting. Protestors out front. Huge number of people can’t get in. Placards for and against boycott.
RT @bgaensler: Media circus at #Marrickville #BDS http://yfrog.com/hs9e0dlj
RT @bgaensler: Minute’s silence for lives lost in Israel/Palestinian conflict. #Marrickville #BDS
RT @Jo_Tovey: There are more than 20 members of the public speaking on the #BDS tonight. Could be a late one. #marrickville
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS Fiona Byrne marrickville mayor arrives to thunderous applause for originally backing Palestinian rights
Hasn’t read bdsmovement.net RT @Jo_Tovey: Speaker Leslie Marsh says the boycott has no paramaters, no goal of what would bring it to an end. #marrickville
RT @Pollytics: I can understand why The Australian is so against BDS Testing, being Ramsey RESET fundamentalists & all (comes w being dim)
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS how many speakers will discuss Palestine? First person says gaddafi and David duke backs bds. Er Riiiight then.
Yay, go @fatherdave !! RT @bgaensler: Speaker 2, “Father Dave”: flowery, poetic, & pro-BDS. #Marrickville #BDS
RT @antwoabboud: fr bob: #marrickville becomes the frontline for this conflict. Death threats in this little town. In support of mayor. #bds
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS father Dave speaks. Strategy of non violent resistance against military occupation of Israel. Must be supported. #Marrickville
RT @idunnonews: Father Dave says ‘i don’t know if this fight can be won but this fight is worth fighting…prepare for glory’ #marrickville
@domknight The Middle East has come to a halt as Israelis and Palestinians alike wait nervously for the verdict of #Marrickville Council.
@domknight If the Marrickville boycott goes ahead, a chastened Israel plans to leave the region entirely and relocate to the NT.
RT @aljazsydandrew: motion is downgrade policy fr active participation n boycott 2 merely ‘in principle’ support. #BDS #Marrickville
RT @andalusiya: every anti-BDS speaker wants peaceful actions, but they support the wars and occupation of Palestine. #marrickvile #bds
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS people speaking against bds seem to not want to talk about reality in west bank and gaza. Funny that. #Marrickville
RT @mayouss: #BDS #Marrickville yey Newtown yuppie waffling. He has 3 mins to talk shit.
RT @bgaensler: Speaker 4, Ashley from Newtown: “#BDS is a ploy to delegitimise Israel. Shouts from gallery of “terrorist”, “racist”. #Marrickville
@idunnonews Another speaker says ‘I supports mayor of marrickville, who has never degraded anyone based on their culture/faith/race’ #marrickville
@antloewenstein #BDS Colin Hesse talks bout #Murdoch hate campaign against people talking bout middle east. Never let truth get in way of islamophobia.
Hasbara twaddle RT @idunnonews: Jewish speakers calls for unity through consensus rather than mistrust through #BDS #marrickville
Hasbara RT @Jo_Tovey: Prof Alan Rosen asks community to start again, come together for peace and communal harmony. #marrickville
RT @aus4pal: #Marrickville Anti-Palestinian hate being espoused by speakers against #BDS is incredible.These people spruiking utopia r living in a bubble
Oh I can’t WAIT for her article on that #sarcasmfont RT @Jo_Tovey: Just spotted Miranda Devine in the press gallery. #marrickville
RT @mayouss: #bds #Marrickville speaker against says she’s the Jewish lobby and she says friendly. I am scared.
RT @aus4pal: #Palestine = bad,#Israel = good. That’s what the haters here in #Marrackville will have us all believe!! #BDS
RT @Jo_Tovey: Indigenous speaker Ray Minnecon said he would have loved to see this kind of action for his people’s injustices #marrickville
RT @mayouss: #BDS #Marrickville @antloewenstein says council should maintain bds motion because human rights matter #herehere #palestine
RT @mayouss: #Marrickville #BDS citizens acting locally to support globally
RT @Jo_Tovey: Says Israel does what it does bec west allows it, says there r not 2 equal sides in this conflict but an occupier & occupied.
RT @Jo_Tovey: Academic Peter Slezak praises BDS, says Jews like himself have an obligation to protest violence in their name #marrickville
RT @Jo_Tovey: Palestian Samah Sabawi says most concerning thing abt this debate is the bullying endured by elected officials. #marrickville
RT @antloewenstein: #bds just spoke at #Marrickville. Israeli crimes matter. Standing up for Palestine matters. Happy to speak up for bds. Justice matters.
RT @antloewenstein: #bds just spoke at #Marrickville. Israeli crimes matter. Standing up for Palestine matters. Happy to speak up for bds. Justice matters.
RT @bgaensler: Speaker 14, Samar, her family still live in Gaza. Well spoken, actually referred to motion being considered! Pro-BDS. #Marrickville #BDS
Zionists find BDS negtive because it challenges their privileges & apartheid RT @Jo_Tovey: Uri Windt, from Jewish BD, says healing must begin and that no resolution containing the negativity of the BDS should pass. #marrickville
Marrickville Council BDS meeting
@Jo_Tovey Uri Windt, from Jewish BD, says healing must begin and that no resolution containing the negativity of the BDS should pass. #marrickville
RT @Jo_Tovey: Palestinian Bishara Costandi says issue is ‘local because Israel is global’. Says councillors must show moral fortitude. #marrickville
RT @bgaensler: Speaker 13: blames Murdoch press, government, Israel lobby. “Criticism from these groups shows #Marrickville is on right track with #BDS”.
Speaker 16: evicted from occupied territories in 1950s. Says if Palestinians had occupied Israel, everyone in #Marrickville would want #BDS
RT @bgaensler: 17th & last speaker at #Marrickville #BDS, Carole: “I support the boycott of Israel.”
RT @aus4pal: Local Carole Lawson speaks of #Bethlehem sister city farce if #bds is not implemented fully. #Marrickville
RT @idunnonews: Speaker says ‘ Palestinian uni students can’t get to their schools because of Israeli occupation in palestine’ #marrickville
RT @aus4pal: Carole list other international councils who support #bds. Congrats to Mayor Fiona Byrne for your courage!! #marrickville
Mayor Fiona Byrne now thanking contributors, about to open discussion amongst Council. #Marrickville #BDS
RT @Jo_Tovey: Labor cr Laura Wright says symbolic support is for BDS is wrong, is a banner that will continue local war of words. #marrickville
More rubbish RT @Jo_Tovey: Greens cr Max Phillips says he will not back mayor’s call for in-principle BDS, not enough support in community to justify it. #marrickville
RT @aus4pal: Cr Victor Macri spews the standard #hasbara. you #fail in this debate Cr Macri. #Marrickville #BDS
The spitting ziolobby have no idea what they have helped along. BDS will win the final battle 🙂
RT @aus4pal: Cr Marika speaks the #truth. #humanrights is THE MOST important thing!! #Marrickville #BDS
RT @misseagle: RT @mayouss: #bds #Marrickville palestine – It is a just cause. Councillor Marika.
RT @thebigriboldi: Greens Clr Kontellis sticks to resolve: it is a job as a human being to stand up for injustice #Marrickville 3 for 3 against (2 backflips)
RT @bgaensler: Councillor: we’ve let contract w Eden Springs expire because they supply water to Golan settlements #Marrickville #BDS
RT @goldentalon: #BDS has put #Marrickville on the map. Good on the Greens for taking a stand. The zionist entity must feel the wrath of the int’l community.
RT @mayouss: #bds #Marrickville not first council in the world. Will not cost a cent. @ councillor Marika
RT @aus4pal: Cr Marika reads letter of support frSpanish cnclrs 2 #Marrickville n #BDS. We mst spprt human rights and international law!!
Zionists don’t care about human rights for Palestinians because they don’t regard Palestinians as human! #Marrickville
RT @thebigriboldi: Clr o’Sullivan: symbolism doesn’t mean much. Obviously didn’t support the Apology #Marrickville
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS #marrickville sadly many councillors talk bout how much they care about Palestine and yet seem to want to sit on fence/reject bds. Sigh
RT @Jo_Tovey: Greens councillor Peter Olive denounces Labor councillors who supported original motion but have since gone silent. #marrickville
RT @aus4pal: Cr O’Sullivan has sold out the #Palestinians. This is a disgrace. She’s speaking gibberish. WTF! #Marrickville #BDS
RT @jdub: The early, grass roots campaigns against apartheid began in universities and local government. #bds #marrickville
RT @aus4pal: Cr O’Sullivan is totally out of order. Crocodile tears for #Palestinians. #Marrickville #BDS
We already know RT @aus4pal: The man of the moment. Cr Iskandar is the deal breaker on #BDS #Marrickville debate. What will happen……….
RT @bgaensler: Cr Iskandar: We r a little isolated council but we stand for social justice & r respected 4 doing so. #Marrickville #BDS
If it walks like a duck and spits like a duck @misseagle @peter_b1953: The people acting like Nazis here are the Zionists #BDS #Marrickville
RT @aus4pal: Cr Iskandar tells us how much he cares about #Palestine. And???????? #Marrickville #BDS
RT @thebigriboldi: Hangs on Sam Iskander. Lebanese. Once vocal supporter of BDS. Albo’s numbers man… #Marrickville
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS #marrickville almost comical to hear some councillors keep on saying how much they love Palestine but anything practical impossible.
Coward! RT @Jo_Tovey: Labor’s Sam Iskander says he will continue to support Palestinians but will not support BDS #marrickville
Marrickville Council BDS meeting
RT @bgaensler: Cr: Can’t make case that symbolism isn’t important. Exhibit A: @KRuddMP apology 2 stolen generations. #Marrickville #BDS
Cr Thanos is a champion for #Palestine. A real voice for #humanrights. Such voices must resonate!! #BDS #Marrickville
RT @Jo_Tovey: Ind D Thanos said symbolism has always been important in setting people free. Sounds like he will continue to support BDS #marrickville
Once upon a time, a long time ago, Australians used to believe in something called “a fair go”. #Marrickville #BDS
RT @nav_guy: 1. Vote for boycott 2. get fired by fascist o’farrel 3. immortality 4. ???? 5. Profit!! #Marrickville #BDS #braddpitt
@antloewenstein BDS #marrickville finally a councillor who talks about boycott against Burma being in council job. So why not Israel?
Cr: “Precedent 4 #Marrickville #BDS is our Burma boycott”. But presumably no divided opinion from locals on Burma
RT @Jo_Tovey: Looks like vote will be 8 – 4 against boycott at this stage. #marrickville
Oh yessss RT @aus4pal: #bds vote goes down in #Marrickville but the journey has only just begun. #israel WILL be held to account
RT @antloewenstein: #BDS #marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne. We have put bds on the national agenda. Bravo!
You can count on it! RT @bgaensler: Mayor Byrne: “Whatever the vote tonight, this issue will not go away.” #Marrickville #BDS
RT @bgaensler: Vote to rescind harshest part of #Marrickville #BDS motion: 6 in favour, 6 against. Mayor uses casting vote to defeat amendment.
RT @bgaensler: Vote on milder amendment to #Marrickville #BDS motion: 8 against, 4 in favour, amendment defeated.
RT @thebigriboldi: 2 Greens and 4 Labor flip. BDS goes down at #Marrickville Council, but campaign not over.
RT @Jo_Tovey: Still to vote on whether to overturn it completely, a separate motion #marrickville
RT @Jo_Tovey: Prediction correct – only four support retaining boycott. Thanos, Kontellis, Peters and Byrne. #marrickville
RT @Jo_Tovey: Council now debating a snap motion to write to BoF and Albanese outlining thoughts on their intervention into issue. #marrickville
#Marrickville might write to @Australian too, telling them to concentrate on locating those who make death threats against elected pollies
RT @Jo_Tovey: That motion was voted againt by Macri, Hanna and Labor, but passes. Council will write to both politicians. #marrickville
MT @bgaensler: Final vote on original #Marrickville #BDS to come. many people confused, think vote been taken, walking out!

RT @aus4pal: Cr Macri is going nuts. He’s clearly on someone’s #fascism payroll. #BDS #Marrickville
Councillor Macri: “This meeting has become a farce.” #Marrickville #BDS
Cr Macri: “#Marrickville Council is in a tailspin.” # BDS
RT @bgaensler: Vote to drop #Marrickville #BDS completely, but to “remain concerned” as to Palestinian plight: motion carried. No BDS!
#Marrickville councillors who voted to drop #BDS will go down in Australian’s book of Infamy
RT @bgaensler: Final motion as passed and how they voted. #Marrickville #BDS http://yfrog.com/h44qsagj
RT @Jo_Tovey: To clarify: boycott has been completely quashed, but council did call for Israel to ‘end occupation of Palestinian lands’. #marrickville
RT @kevinwilde: Over at Leichhardt Council tonight the Greens voted down a Labor resolution ruling out future boycott of Israel. #bds #marrickville

Related Links

AFP chart of the motions on BDS moved at the Marrickville Council meetings on 14Dec10 and 19Apr11 showing how they arrived at the final resolution April 24, 2011

The final motion resolved “not to pursue BDS against Israel in any shape or form” while at the same time maintaining the three tenets of the BDS call – to end the occupation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall, to ensure full equality for Palestinians living in Israel and to support the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. This was carried 8 votes to 4 against. None of the councilors who had opposed the BDS resolution seemed aware of the incongruity of now voting for a motion that included the very demands that BDS seeks, while refusing to do anything about it, nor that Point 1 of the original in principle BDS statement had in fact not been rescinded.

Marrickville puts BDS on the map in Australia

Disinformation and smear tactics may have partially lost us this battle, but the struggle for freedom, justice and equality is undoubtedly stronger as a result of your efforts. Marrickville will be remembered as the “battle” that effectively put boycotting Israel on the map in Australia!

Two sides to thinking global, acting local

The night before the election, Greens supporters photographed a group of men putting up posters and stickers accusing the Greens of homophobia, hating democracy and supporting terrorism. The posters have been the subject of complaints to the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.

The Greens have also criticised a controversial phone poll conducted during the campaign.

A group called the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance claimed responsibility for the poll last week, but denied any wrong-doing.

On March 3 a request from the group was accidentally published on the Jewish news website J-Wire and a blog, requesting $12,000 in public donations for activities ”to research what local people really think … carefully targeted media coverage and advertising in relation to the election … Please also pass this information on quietly to like-minded friends”. It was quickly deleted.

Eleven days later Marrickville Council said it was investigating four complaints from residents about a survey ”asking residents to comment on the GBDS against Israel”. At least one resident complained the interviewer had claimed to be from the council.

Cr Byrne labelled it a push poll and a dirty trick.

The survey and its results, showing only one-third of respondents support the boycott, have been made public.

The poll’s introduction said the interviewer was doing a ”short five-minute study about your views and opinions of the Marrickville City [sic] Council”.

It asked residents what factors should influence council policies and initiatives and provided a list that included climate change, traffic congestion and foreign affairs. It also asked whether the interviewee was aware of the boycott.

After saying that the mayor was the Greens candidate at the state election, it asked whether that would influence their vote.

Uri Windt, who is a member of both the alliance and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, said the poll was scientific and definitely not intended to mislead.

”It’s not push-polling; it does not fit the definition. It was professionally conducted,” Mr Windt said.

The alliance has refused to comment on how much it collected and spent on its campaign.

”It’s not relevant what we raised,” Mr Windt said. ”It really was us taking responsibility for our own actions and the strategy we wanted to apply, so we raised the funds and paid our debts.”

Accusations of one-sided media coverage of the issue were also rife at Tuesday’s meeting. The academic Peter Slezak, of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, said Jewish critics of Israel and supporters of the BDS campaign had not been heard, particularly in the Jewish media.

Samah Sabawi, a Palestinian-Australian, said their voice had been lost. ”I don’t feel we were able to discuss and debate the issue rationally and I don’t feel the door was open for Palestinian voices to discuss what the BDS was about.”

Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, said his organisation had no knowledge of the poster campaign, or the phone survey, until afterwards.

Noted that Alhadeff’s comment is out of sync from the cached blog post of the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance, which says:

Also, we have among our own numbers people who are deeply involved in the Jewish community, and we are in frequent communication with Vic Alhadeff and Yair Miller from the Jewish Board of Deputies as well as Peter Wertheim from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

SABELLA: Why the Marrickville controversy harms Australian interests 22Apr11
AFP Press Conference on Marrickville at NSW Parliament House 20Apr11 April 22, 20

AFP’s Samah Sabawi interviewed about BDS on Fran Kelly’s ABC Breakfast Show     

Marrickville council backs down on Israel boycott
Antony Loewenstein’s report on the proceedings :

I focused on the realities in Palestine and Israel’s racial discrimination. This is something that impacts us all, the lack of dignity of the indigenous peoples of the land. One side is the occupier and the other is occupied. It’s not really all that complicated. This is what Zionism is.

I spent my allotted three minutes detailing how the West props up Israel and it is our responsibility to speak up for human rights. Jewish-only roads in the West Bank. The siege on Gaza and ever-increasing settlements in the West Bank. Nearly universal backing in the UN for Palestinian rights (except Nauru, Marshall Islands, Australia, Israel and the US). As BDS takes off in countless places, the arguments against it become even further removed from Palestine itself. If you can’t argue on the facts, change the subject. Talk about local politics, or “balance” or “peace”.

Last night BDS was defeated in Sydney but the message I’m hearing from countless activists is that this has galvanised people to step up the campaign for Palestinian rights

Councillors withdraw support for boycott
Marrickville Council drops Israel boycott
BDS means freedom, justice and self-determination – Omar Barghouti on Marrickville BDS
Australia – Slinging Mud at Marrickville for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights
Loewenstein, Greens under fire from Murdoch press – Murdoch is after BDS because Israel’s position is weak.
Israel-Palestine: the thick grey line – unctuous fake polling ignores false equivalence between oppressor and oppressed: my contribution :

Here’s some better questions which challenge the innate equivalence in the ‘survey’ above.

(1) Who do you support, the oppressed or the oppressor?

(2) Who do you support, the practitioner of apartheid or those who live under its yoke?

(3) Who do you support, the brutal occupier, or the occupied?

(4) Who do you support, the colonist or the colonised?

Top names back Marrickville Council’s Israel boycott
When will this stop? Aussie media sees role defending glorious Israel
NSW premier threatens council over Israel boycott
Councils can help Mid-East peace – hasbara piece from the pushpolling Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance
Hey Barry O’Farrell, piss off out of Marrickville – several Israeli human rights activists write in the comments.
BDS will continue in Australia (aka we’re only warming up over Palestine)
Israel boycott not anti-Semitic

It is fundamentally dishonest to attack opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic. It is intended to silence legitimate criticism. It also makes it impossible to challenge the real anti-Semitism that is, unfortunately, on the increase. This is largely fuelled, but not caused, by Israel‘s atrocities against the Palestinians.

“In principle” – Austin Mackell’s email to Marrickville Councillors – comments include mine:

There seems to be a dearth of real information in the mainstream media about the nature of the non-violent BDS call by Palestinian people and a tangible quashing of Palestinian voices, along with smears, distortions and intimidation of BDS supporters. Those who are unjust fear justice. The non-violent BDS call is firmly based in human rights and justice. and was initiated in 2005 since all other measures by governments and UN have failed to deliver Palestinians their just rights under international law.

Australian individuals, institutions and organisations should be at the forefront against Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights in the same way they were against apartheid in South Africa. Measures under BDS do not need to be sweeping nor disadvantage communities financially, but can be targeted against specific institutions and organisations which support the illegal Israeli Occupation and horrendous apartheid. BDS is a creative tactic which builds, in global grassroots solidarity with Palestinian people, an ongoing awareness of and resistance to Israeli oppression.

I hope that the Marrickville Council does not back down to intimidation and unseemly political pressure and contributes more than just lip service to BDS.

(Learn more about BDS and how other Councils round the world have incorporated BDS at bdsmovement.net ; for information about Israel’s crimes of apartheid and colonialism, see http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Media_Release-378.phtml)

Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS -Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights 9 July 2005

Marrickville boycott of Israel expected to collapse

Moammar Mashni, of Australians for Palestine, said the withdrawal of support for actual boycotts was disappointing.

”[Critics] have created such a frenzy around this debate that moved away from the central message of what the BDS was all about – it’s about non-violence … a principled stand to deliver both peace and justice,” he said.


The expatriate activist and journalist John Pilger has weighed in on the controversy,sending a message of support to the council.

”Justice for Palestine, said, [Nelson] Mandela, is ‘the greatest moral issue of our time’,” Pilger wrote.

”That’s the company those Marrickville councillors – who have stood up for this ‘greatest moral issue’ – keep.”

The bulk of the story is interpretation or hasbara, and includes an unctuous plea from the hasbaroid lobby group which conspired to destroy BDS using push polls which are euphemised in this group as a survey.

A local group, the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance, said even the mayor’s revised motion should be rejected.

”There’s real healing that needs to be done in our community and just coming in with in-principle support for the BDS movement, that hasn’t been discussed with us or the community,” said the group’s secretary, Janet Kossy.

The Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance carried out a phone survey on the campaign in March, and found that two-thirds of residents did not support it.

Ms Kossy called for $12,000 in donations in early March for ”activities that we believe will make a decisive difference” against the boycott. She would not comment yesterday on how much had been spent on the campaign.

Palestinian trade union movement applauds the Scottish Congress of Trade Unions (STUC) for heeding the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS and calls on the STUC to sever links with the Histadrut
Pilger, priests back Marrickville Council Israel boycott
John Pilger Q&A Transcript: embedded journalism, Murdoch press, Israel-Palestine, WikiLeaks

It’s beginning to end. It’s beginning to end in the UK, it’s beginning to end even in the United States, in much of Europe, where people are finally being able, feeling that they can talk about it. And non-violent, completely non-violent campaigns, like the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign, the BDS campaign, which is much more modest than the anti-Apartheid movement but based on that, and supported by the likes of Desmond Tutu, who speaking in the spirit of Nelson Mandel called Palestine the greatest moral issue of our era, are starting to discuss it. There are views on this and those views should be heard, but this thuggish intimidation of people who are simply standing up for a justice is something that is particularly striking in Australia and in the Australian media and in my view reflects the, that monopoly, that omission, censorship by omission that exists mroe in Australia, than practically in any other Western democracy.

Electoral sign defacer fesses up:

Jake, a 55-year-old Jewish health professional with friends in Marrickville, was so incensed by the council’s Israel boycott that he took three weeks off work to wage a guerrilla campaign against the Greens, plastering the suburb with posters late at night, accusing them of homophobia for boycotting gay-friendly Israel.

“I felt so angry,” says Jake, who wants to remain anonymous. “I couldn’t sleep at night, so I organised the posters, hired some utes and ladders” and enlisted the help of his son and his friends. Greens supporters harassed them, ripped down the posters, called police, and tried to intimidate Jake’s young helpers, posting footage of them on YouTube.

Two nights before the election, a “black sports car with neon high beams and a pseudo photographer kept flashing his camera right up on our eyes . . . It slowed us right down.”

Another night “cowboy” greenies in a Toyota Camry started following them home, until Jake confronted the driver at a roundabout. “It was like something out of a movie”.

On election day, Jake and his son organised 10 friends wearing T-shirts with “Boycott the Greens” logos to visit polling booths, prompting “Zionist pigs” abuse from greenies.

“The Greens knew we were the enemy, but the Labor people all nodded and smiled and gave us the thumbs up. Anthony Albanese [whose wife Carmel Tebbutt was ALP candidate] shook my hand and thanked me. We must have had quite an effect.

“On Sunday I took the boys out to dinner. It’s not often in life a private citizen can make a difference.”

Palestine / Israel Links

Time to Take Action for the Plight of Gaza’s Fisherman
A West Bank anachronism

What is emerging instead is a slow but sure manifestation of a new transnational movement, centred less on statehood and more on forging a national project that will traverse the existing Palestinian divides – diaspora, occupied territories and Israeli Arab citizens – and bypass the notion of an independent Palestinian state on part of Palestinian soil.

Independence, Nakba and the Visual Archive
Palestinians silently transferred from East Jerusalem
Exclusive new cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the United States’ heavy-handed efforts to help Israel at the U.N.
The Other Wall
White Jewish Supremacy in Israel
Solidarity with the Palestinians: A view from South Africa on the need to unfriend Israeli universities
Egypt Links

Tahrir Documents
Former VP Omar Suleiman questioned over assaults on protesters

Other Links

Wikileaks founder takes a leak on US empire (and we cheer)
Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq

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