Marrickville to Decide on Israeli Peace Team Visit

March 11, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Independent Councillor Victor Macri has called for permission to be granted to use Sydney’s Marrickville Town Hall to host the Israeli/Palestinian Australian Rules Peace Team in August.

The motion [detailed later in this report] will be tabled at TUESDAY evening’s Council Meeting and will confront those members of Marrickville Council who are calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against all things Israeli, including cultural and sports visits.

Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne who is driving the BDS motion is standing for the State seat of Marrickville in the March 26 elections. Prominent politicians and journalists, including the Sydney Morning Herald’s Gerard Henderson, have called for the Liberal Party to invoke preferences for the Labor Party to allow sitting Labor member Carmel Tebbutt to retain her seat.

Henderson told J-Wire: “This is not a decision for Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell but one for the party itself. In Victoria where this tactic was deployed successfully preferences are mandatory. The system in New South Wales is different and the Liberal Party itself would have to make this decision.”

J-Wire has asked Barry O’Farrell’s office to comment on the preferences situation but is yet to receive a reply. Marrickville is a long-held Labor seat of little importance to the Liberals but indications show that without Liberal preferences, Fiona Byrne will be elected. She has also called for action to be taken against China and media reports indicate that if elected she will extend her campaign against Israel into the State arena.

Exectuve Director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim said: “The Greens-dominated Council has been totally wrong-footed by the Motion and are under intense pressure to pass it even though it directly contravenes their ‘boycott Israel’ resolution of 14 December 2010.  The Greens are already maneuvering to minimise the disgrace of backing down on their boycott policy.  They are trying to pretend that hiring out Marrickville Town Hall to welcome a joint Israeli-Palestinian AFL team will not be prohibited by the ‘boycott Israel’ resolution.

Their Director of Community Services now says that: ‘As it is local community groups who are seeking to hire Marrickville Town Hall this request would be neither captured or constrained by Council’s GBDS resolution of 14th December, 2010.’ Hogwash!  Council’s ‘boycott Israel’ resolution expressly forbids ‘any’ sporting exchanges with Israel, no matter who makes the request.  The truth is that the Greens have been confronted with the sheer stupidity of their policy in practice and they are now in damage control.”

 

The motion:

Report No: C0311 Item 7

Subject: NOTICE OF MOTION: PEACE TEAM VISIT

File Ref: 4056-03/13852.11

From Councillor Victor Macri

 

MOTION:

THAT notwithstanding the resolution passed by Council on 14 December 2010

“Supporting the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign”, the Council resolves to permit the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance Incorporated to hire Marrickville Town Hall on 18 August 2011, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, for a public gathering to introduce and welcome to the community the AFL (Aussie

Rules) Peace Team. Council’s usual terms and conditions of hire of the venue, including its usual hiring fee for a not-for-profit organisation, shall apply.

Background

The AFL (Aussie Rules) Peace Team (the Peace Team) comprises 26 players, 13 Israelis and 13 Palestinians. The Peace Team is a joint initiative of the Al-Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue (a Palestinian NGO), in partnership with the Peres Peace Centre (an Israeli NGO). Acting together, these two NGO”s support many cross-border sports programs involving both Israelis and Palestinians.

The Peace Team will be in Australia to play in the AFL World Cup championships to be held in Melbourne and Sydney in August 2011. The Sydney game will be played at Blacktown Olympic Park.

The visit of the Peace Team to Australia has the support of the Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific and of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, as well as the Australian Football League.

While the Peace Team is in Australia there are plans in place to hold the following events:

 Governor to host the Peace Team

 Premier to host the Peace Team

 Welcome from the Muslim community

 Welcome from the Jewish community

 Inter-cultural gathering of 300 children from all faiths

At this stage, as part of the planning there is a tentative booking for an event to be held in the Inner West in the Marrickville community on the evening of 18 August 2011.

The Peace Team last came to Australia in 2008 (which marked its inauguration as a team) as part of the AFL World Cup held in Melbourne. The AFL Peace Team is a great initiative that provides common ground on which the players and their supporters can build mutual understanding and respect and overcome decades of

demonization and stereotypes. A further advantage of the proposal is that it will help to bring together Jewish, Palestinian and other communities within the municipality and will set an example of practical and positive co-operation between them which others can emulate.

The resolution passed by Council on 14 December 2010 “Supporting the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign” requires that:

Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic institutions, government or institutional cultural exchanges.

The reference to sporting exchanges with Israel would preclude the Council from authorising the use of its premises for an event to introduce and welcome to the community the PeaceTeam, half of whose players are Israelis. This resolution will overcome that difficulty.

 

Officer’s Comments

Director, Community Services reports:

The AFL Peace Team initiative is an excellent example of cross cultural harmony building. It involves partnering between a Palestinian and an Israeli NGO with the participation of Palestinian and Israeli young people. Supporting the proposed visit to Marrickville of the team through accepting a booking for the Marrickville Town Hall would be consistent with Council’s

Sister Cities Program objectives and in line with Council’s strong support for multiculturalism.

I understand that the local community organisation that is arranging the visit, the Inner West Jewish community and Friends Peace Alliance is open to taking on a local Palestinian community organisation as a partner in sponsoring/hosting the event in Marrickville.

As it is local community groups who are seeking to hire Marrickville Town Hall this request would be neither captured or constrained by Council’s GBDS resolution of 14th December, 2010.

 

 

Comments

4 Responses to “Marrickville to Decide on Israeli Peace Team Visit”
  1. gift says:

    The nation of Israel has made a greater contibution to humanity than both the Palestinians and the Greens put together. If this Mayor wants to truly boycott Israel, here is (partial) list of Jewish contributions that she will have to forfeit:

    Prozac, Valium, The Polio Vaccine, Radiation,Chemotherapy, the Artificial Kidney Dialysis machine, the Defibrillator, the Cardiac Pacemaker, Vaccination against the deadly “Hepatitis B” virus, the Vaccinating Needle, Laser Technology.

    Discount Stores, Pawn Shops, the Shopping Cart and the Ready-to-Wear Clothing Industry. Levi Jeans, Lipstick, the Ballpoint Pen, Contraceptives, Instant Coffee, Television Remote Control, Traffic Lights, Scotchguard, the Flexistraw.

    Google, the Wire Transmission Facsimilie (FAX) , the Microphone, the Gramophone, the Microprocessing Chip, Optical Fiber Cable, Laser, Cellular Technology, the Videotape Recorder.

    Monotheism, Psychoanalysis, the Theory of Relativity, the Weekend (the Sabbath). The Atomic Bomb, the Thermonuclear Bomb, Genetic Engineering, the Nuclear Chain Reactor, Virtual Reality.

    Hollywood, the Sit-Com, the Long Playing Record, Woodstock, Sound Movies, Videotape, Color Television, Instant Photography, Holography.

    Drip Irrigation, Scale Model Electric Trains, the Pager, the Walkie-talkie, Refrigerated Railroad Car, High-vacuum Electron Tubes, the Incandescent Lamp, Kodachrome Film, the Blimp, the Adding Machine, Stainless Steel, Tapered Roller Bearings.

    At least 178 Jews have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 23% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2008. Yet, they only make up 0.25% of the world’s population.

    The Jews have done a lot to improve our quality of life. How does it benefit us to turn them into enemies?

  2. Mona Peli says:

    Councillors Macri and Tsardoulias have failed to properly advise this new community organisation. All local non-profit groups are entitled to use the council’s halls and there is a simple application process. Either through ignorance or malice, these councillors who voted against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy, failed to advise the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance Incorporated that all they had to do to hire Marrickville Town Hall was go to the council offices, fill out a form and pay their deposit. Maybe these councillors are trying to score political points off the back of well-meaning members of Sydney’s Jewish community.
    Other community leaders who misrepresent the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign are similarly exploitative of the community. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targets the Israeli government and its institutions as well as corporations which profit from Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian land. As many advocates of BDS in Marrickville explained, individual Jews and local Jewish organisations are not affected by the boycott. We welcome their new-found interest in our community.
    So of course

  3. phil levy says:

    please check the date of the council meeting
    I believe it will be on tuesday 15/3/11

  4. Rita says:

    “… Fiona Byrne will be elected. She has also called for action to be taken against China and media reports indicate that of elected she will extend her campaign against Israel into the State arena….”

    If it walks like a racist, if it talks like a racist, if it acts like a racist then, in all probability, it is racist.

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