A Jewish voice at Marrickville Council

February 14, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article

More than 30 supporters, mostly Jewish, turned up at Marrickville Council Chamber last week to support Clare Nadas, secretary of the Newtown Synagogue, who spoke on the Council’s sister-city relationship with Bethlehem…

Rosana Tyler

Rosana Tyler, the vice president of Newtown Synagogue, sent in this report:

Amongst the audience to watch the deliberations of Council were the Lisa Jackson Pulver,  the synagogue’s president, a former President, members of the synagogue and of the inner west chavorah, and supporters, all of whom live within the Marrickville Local Government area.

Nadas spoke about the Council’s Boycott Divestment and Sanctions resolution as being a “last century” ideology, based on the Cold War mentality of one side is right and one side is wrong.  She called for Council to include its Jewish community in consultation before launching into something intended to divide the community.  She called on the council to support a joint effort between Australian Jews and Australian Palestinians to work together on a community project in Bethlehem.

The synagogue secretary also mentioned that the Council was probably unaware of the number of Jewish people living in the area, and that many of them were very concerned about the impact of the BDS and the lack of consultation.

The Council, prior to considering this issue, permitted a speaker to talk about raising the flag of Western Sahara on council flagpoles.  It was clear from the debate that very few councillors had researched or knew anything about Western Sahara.  Some people from Morocco were present and they were clearly agitated (but did not interrupt the proceedings in any way – they were very polite).  The motion was defeated in any event but those of us present were left with the uncomfortable knowledge that the council in general did not research items on the agenda, particularly when they allowed outsiders to speak and propose a motion.  One councillor spoke of “knee jerk” acceptance to what speakers said, and that they could be promoting the cause of regimes they knew nothing about.

The council was concerned that the proceedings were being taped by journalists (they weren’t) but the general manager advised the council that the proceedings are taped and that anyone may ask the council for a transcript.

Certainly the councillors talked about being a national and international laughing stock because they were meddling in international affairs, often without researching the background before making a decision.  Councillor Macri spoke on this point.  The meeting was quite turbulent, with the chairman often turning off the Councillors’ microphones to prevent interjections and restore order, and threats to suspend the meeting for 2 minutes, or until the next council meeting.

Councillor O’Sullivan raised a conflict of interest regarding the BDS.  This conflict of interest existed at the time she voted on the BDS resolution on 14 December 2010.  She is the public officer of the Friends of Bethlehem, and so had an interest in the outcome of the motion.  This raises probity concerns.  The synagogue has referred the matter to the Jewish Board of Deputies for a legal opinion as to whether the BDS resolution is invalidated as a result of the failure to raise (and the voting on) a conflict of interest.

Tyler said:  “I wonder at the capacity of our elected officials adequately to represent us if they cannot perform basic research and jump on nonsensical ideas with such alacrity.”

Tyler told J-Wire that some councillors who had voted for BDS were now considering changing their minds.

Marrickville Council meets again tomorrow night and will have to answer questions as to how much money and time the BDS campaign has cost the Council


3 Responses to “A Jewish voice at Marrickville Council”
  1. Meg says:

    Building a Wall to enclose citizens is a cold war mentality!!

  2. A different response to BDS is coming from Jewish Voices for Peace (USA).

    “We consider BDS a nonviolent response to the daily violence embodied in the occupation. Those that are protesting the…decision to adopt BDS, should direct their energies to ending the injustices that stand as the root cause of BDS. We look forward to the day when the occupation will end and BDS will no longer be necessary.”

    Also see Young Jewish and Proud.


  3. Shirlee says:

    The microphones at the Council meeting were not turned off. I have just verified this with three others, who were there with me.

    It is not permissible to turn off the microphones, as the minutes have to reflect an accurate account of the happenings at Council meetings

    The only conversation in regards to microphones was to a member of the Moroccan community who was recording. The two journalists who were present were taking notes in shorthand

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.