Greened out in Marrickville

February 16, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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Lisa Jackson Pulver tied herself to trees as fledgling environmental activists protesters waged a peaceful war against the damming of Tasmania’s Franklin River in the 1980s…but she is a Greens supporter no more.

The Aboriginal president of Newtown Synagogue has lost heart with the Australian Greens over the resolution Marrickville Council passed in December to invoke boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in protest against the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank. Marrickville Council is twinned with Bethlehem.


Lisa Jackson Pulver pic: Henry Benjamin

The Aboriginal convert to Judaism who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales addressed the Council last night.

On the agenda for the council were questions dealing with the costs of the BDS in both time and money. Pulver-Jackson told the meeting that she was a member of the Wiradjuri Koori from South West New South Wales near Wagga where she had been born. She recalled the difficult times when Aboriginals had to deal with discrimination on a daily basis. “Now, as a Jew, I am going through this again,” she said.

The Council had permitted speakers on both sides of the argument to address them. Mayor Fiona Byrne told J-Wire that they were still seeking advice on how to put the BDS into practice. The resolution  was proposed by Greens Council member Cathy Peters who told J-Wire that her father is Jewish and that her grandparents were in Theriesenstadt during the war. “I am proud of my Jewish background but not of the Apartheid activities of the Israelis in the West Bank where they are now reported to be cutting off water supplies to the Palestinians.”

Jackson Pulver told the meeting:  “I am a supporter of movements like sister cities and I believe community is about people coming together, working together and improving and enriching each others’ lives.

She said she objected to Council “”in the name of human justice” excluding sections of the community when making its decisions and that it will “divide rather than unite our community”.

David Schlesinger also lives in the area and is the father of three including five-year-old twins. He told J-Wire: “I would find it unthinkable if an Israeli cultural show or exhibition was banned from the area and my children could not enjoy locally their own cultural background.”






Clr Victor Macri and Cr Morris Hanna

Labour Councillors Victor Macri and Morris Hanna both voted against the December 14 resolution and are confident that other members of the Council would “see the light” and would vote differently should a rescission move was to be called.

There are 12 members of Marrickville Council. Five are Greens Part, four are Labour and three are Independents. Two of the Independents, Victor Macri and Morris Hanna, voted against the resolution.

Councillor Macri told J-Wire: “I am sure that when the reports come in as to how to implement the resolution, many of the Councillors will take a different view and hopefully we will be on our way to a rescission.”

In a report tabled at the meeting the answers to the following questions were printed but not discussed.

How many staff have worked on the current notice of motion since it was passed and to prepare it?

How many hours have been spent dealing with enquirties from media, residents and others?

How much has it cost us to date, including time of staff, correspondence, resources phones emails and paper?

Councillor Macri pointed to a report in the local paper and referred to the salary of the  administrative staff. He said: “It would have to have been at least $35,000.”

The Council report stated that 25 staff had been involved with the resolution since it was passed and that 86.25 hours been spend dealing with media and preparing for the resolution’s implementation.

Marrickville Council has Jewish members in its staff.



6 Responses to “Greened out in Marrickville”
  1. Jack Chrapot says:

    There’s a certain irony in the fact that Cathy Peters’ grandparents were inmates of Theriesenstadt during the war. 

    Theresienstadt was the concentration camp used by the Nazi propaganda machine as a model to the world to show that they were not herding Jews into extermination centres. Parts of the camp were revamped prior to a Danish Red Cross visit and serious overcrowding was reduced by deportations to Auschwitz. The Nazis set up flower gardens, false shops, a cafe and kindergartens as well as a “ritual bath” that, in reality, had no plumbing.

    After the Red Cross visit, the Nazis made a propaganda movie on, “The new life of the Jews under the protection of the Third Reich.” When filming was over most actors, including many children, were deported to the Birkenau gas chambers. Even the producer of the film was sent off for extermination.

    Similarly, Cathy Peters has taken on face value a number of lies put out by a sophisticated propaganda machine. 

    That is not to say that Palestinian lives are easy in the current circumstances but it is necessary to understand that the conflict cannot be resolved by unilateral condemnation of one side.  Reconciliation can only be achieved by mutual co-operation and understanding and not by boycotts based on lies such as some of the claims being put out by the BDS camp. 

    I have recently returned from Israel and can assure Peters that not only are the Israelis not “cutting off water supplies to the Palestinians” but rather that there are organisations in the country dedicated to working with Palestinians to improve their lives, the quality of their water and agricultural methods. 

    Councils should be getting behind such worthwhile projects instead of involving themselves in one sided propagandising that suits the destructive efforts of extremists in the region.

  2. david singer says:

    To Stewart Mills

    You apparently still have to learn that there is no monolithic Jewish opinion even though the J Wire report made that obviously clear. There are a range of opinions by Jews on what should happen in the West Bank. That is called democracy and freedom of speech.

    There is no need for you to ask questions why this happens as though it is an unusual phenomenon. Of course they don’t all unanimously agree with the policies of the Israeli government.

    How many Australians disagree with the policies of the Australian Government? Why shouldn’t Jews disagree with the policies of the Israeli Government?

    Councillor Peters view was contradicted by the view of Professor Pulver in the same J Wire Report. Apparently that was not important enough for you mention even though she is described in the same article as “The Aboriginal convert to Judaism who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales”.

    There is only one arena where a monolithic view prevails in relation to Israel and that is in the Arab world. Hopefully we are now seeing an end to this oppression and fear to speak out.

    Rather you should be asking this question and seeking the answer from your Arab friends:

    Where are there any opinions in the Arab World expressed by individuals or groups
    1. Condemning the Arab League for failing to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home since its establishment in 1948
    2. Acknowledging that both Jews and Arabs have claims to sovereignty in the the West Bank that need to be negotiated and resolved
    3. Accepting the binding legal validity of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter
    4. Promulgating that Security Council Resolution 242 does not require Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines
    5. Calling for the Arab refugee problem to be resolved by compensation and resettlement within the boundaries of the new Palestinian State

    When you can give me the names of any Arabs or Arab media who support and are actively promoting Arab acceptance of any of these positions then perhaps they can get together with the Jewish groups opposed to the Israeli Government policies and together make a difference.

    That will be the start of to building peace for the people of Israel and Palestine.

    Come on Stweart Mills – Give me the names of Arabs who publicly espouse any of the above. I am eagerly awaiting your reply – just names – not another lengthy diatribe..

  3. Sergio says:

    Finally the truth about the single mindedness of some of the Marrickville Councillors, for too many years the Greens have controlled the direction of our local community based on their socialist /Federal Greens platforms’ , while the local community has been left to survive on crumbs. The Sister City set ups should all be terminated immediately; especially after last week’s report on their failures and disinterest by the other countries involved. The Mayor should step down and fresh elections should be called for. The Councillors should all read the code of conduct rules and start acting on behalf of the community.
    I think it must be that they are GREEN WITH ENVY to be so base in their views.

  4. Thank you jwire for reporting that Greens Council member Cathy Peters identified her “father is Jewish and that her grandparents were in Theriesenstadt during the war” and that she is “proud” of her “Jewish background but not of the Apartheid activities of the Israelis in the West Bank where they are now reported to be cutting off water supplies to the Palestinians.” Instead of demonizing those advocating boycott.

    Questions need to be asked why is there a movement of people including Jews in Australia, the US and Israel who are calling for not just a settlement boycott (as the Gush Shalom, the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches and the Jewish Democratic Society of Australia has done) but a general boycott of Israel (including Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jeff Halper, Yonatan Shapitra and Anna Baltzer).

    The focus of the boycott is ending the human rights abuses of the Palestinian people. The terror that Israel has faced by Hamas must be considered in line with the state sanctioned terror experienced by Palestinians living under occupation and siege. Why is it ok to boycott, divest and place sanctions on Palestinians but none on Israel?

    Are the sanctions called on for Israel going to cause anywhere near the suffering and misery experienced daily by Palestinians? Where are the military jeeps rolling down the streets of Tel Aviv or Ben Gurion St? Military jeeps are a daily part of the life of Palestinians. Settlers are a daily part of the life of Palestinians? Land dispossession, house demolitions and violence from settlers and soldiers are a regular occurrence. Where is the equity here?

    Thank you to those within the Jewish community who at great expense to themselves look at this conflict with objectivity and who acknowledge that the human rights situation of Palestinians must imporove and that occupation must end in all haste. This will be a start to building peace for the people of Palestine and Israel.

  5. Raoul Machal says:

    And there you thought the call for “Don’t deal with Jews” has been wiped off the face of the earth together with the National Socialist Party of Germany. But now the socialists are at it once more.
    What is it with the Left and their urge for Jew bashing? They may say that boycotting Israel is not against the Jews, but how many other Jewish states do they think are there? Perhaps it was a bad idea by the progressives to replace history books with black armbands.

    Seriously, some of these councilors must not only have too much time on their hands, but also a severe mental impairment. They have no idea what this Israel/Arab conflict is about, but divide their own community, import conflict, hatred and violence from half-way around the world into their neighbourhood. What do they think boycotting the only free and democratic country in the Middle East where true multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism exist will achieve? Have they noticed nowhere else in the M.E. do women have equal rights, gays aren’t put to death and other religions aren’t suppressed by state-sponsored violence.

    And then we read they celebrate the “freedom” of a country in Africa which doesn’t even exists. Someone needs to show these fruit cakes how to actually work for a living.

  6. david singer says:

    The shameful conduct of Marrickville Council continues.

    Abandoning their obligations to the ratepayers by devoting the Council staff’s time and ratepayers’ rates and taxes on a fanciful flight into the realm of international politics is unjustifiable. No wonder they appear to be most reluctant to tell the ratepayers what this exercise has cost.

    Their action has clearly divided the Marrickville community whose harmony should be an absolute for the Council to preserve. Surely ratepayers are entitled to expect that their Council should not get actively involved in a dispute beyond the Council’s power to resolve.

    Each of the councillors supporting the boycott is perfectly entitled to do so in his or her private capacities.

    However getting the Council to spend its ratepayers funds and its Council officers time in pursuing their own special interests is outrageous. Those who established a precedent by voting for this course of action should have another think.

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