Marrickville Israel Boycott Dumped – Senator asks ACTU to Follow

April 20, 2011 by J-Wire
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Marrickville Council has abandoned its bid to boycott Israel.

Councillors voted on Tuesday night to revoke their adoption of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, which it originally passed last December.

The Greens-led council had come under sustained criticism from Jewish groups as well as New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell, who had threatened to sack the 12 councillors for meddling in foreign policy rather than focusing on local issues. A report claimed that it would cost local rate-payers more than $3.7 million to implement the boycott.

At the heated meeting, Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne charged that a “sledgehammer” had been used by critics to break the council’s support for the Palestinian people.

Police and security guards were on standby outside the chambers while inside proponents and opponents cheered and jeered during the fiery three-hour meeting.

The final motion that was passed by the council included the council’s concern for the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Senator Eric Abetz

Senate Opposition Leader, Eric Abetz, today welcomed Marrickville Council’s decision to reverse its support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel

“But while this campaign may have been halted at a council level, it’s gained support within Australia’s unions, ranging from in-principle backing, to active involvement, to pressuring the ACTU and Labor Party to support the BDS movement.”

“The ACTU must take a stand and come down hard on those who think that they can run Middle Eastern foreign policy out of Trades Hall.”

Senator Abetz added that the Australian BDS movement, which promoted Marrickville Council’s BDS initiative, is still conducting a campaign of direct harassment and boycott against Israeli linked businesses.

“Now is the time for Australia’s political leaders to act if we are to halt this extremism.”

“Firstly, Labor, the Greens and the unions must be honest about the extent to which the BDS movement has taken root in their organisations and set about countering it.”

“Only by subjecting this objectionable BDS campaign to public scrutiny can Marrickville Council’s defeat on this issue become a watershed in this debate.”

Peter Wertheim, Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry commented: “The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has just suffered a devastating setback in Australia.  But its proponents are incapable of admitting that they are wrong and that public opinion, which is overwhelmingly against them, is right.  This is the kind of arrogance that ensures they will try to re-group and keep pushing BDS.  After Marrickville, however, people of goodwill will be much more wary of their real agenda.

The BDS campaign is deliberately and deceptively slippery about its ultimate aims.  Even when its proponents appear to formulate their goals, they do so in a way that intentionally leaves much unsaid, and much unexplained.  When you probe more deeply it becomes evident that the real goal is to attack Israel’s legitimacy, isolate it internationally and clear the way for its eventual destruction.”

A key demand of the BDS movement is the so-called ‘right of return’, not just for the handful of 1948 refugees who are still alive but for all their descendants ad infinitum, who were born and have lived in other countries for their entire lives. Thus, somebody born and bred in Lebanon or Syria, who has never fled from anywhere, is considered to be a ‘Palestinian refugee’ if that person has, say, a grandfather or great grandfather who was a 1948 refugee. This is without parallel in international law. A right of compensation for lost family property can legitimately be inherited, but not refugee status itself.

Well-intentioned people have been lulled into supporting BDS by being told that it is a peaceful alternative to the decades of conventional wars and terrorism that Palestinian and Arab leaders have used to try to wipe Israel off the map.   But the true objective remains the same, and the outcome would be the same, namely horrific bloodshed and the displacement of millions of people.

How sad that Marrickville mayor, Fiona Byrne, seems to have learned nothing from the debacle that has followed the defeat her Council’s BDS resolution last December.

She claims that the BDS campaign “has widespread support” but she never tested this in her own community by conducting a public consultation.  Instead, in the worst traditions of far-Left zealotry, she tried to impose her own views on her constituents without a mandate, without consultation and without any real knowledge of the history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict or the core issues.   It has all crashed into ruins, yet she is still in denial, a disqualifying weakness for a would-be political leader

In Australian politics, the scene is now set for a showdown between the two major factions within the Greens.   The Marrickville fiasco has highlighted the differences in their ranks which have been evident for some years and are now out in the open.   It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”





One Response to “Marrickville Israel Boycott Dumped – Senator asks ACTU to Follow”
  1. admin says:

    The Council decision has been made and I have no interest in keeping the topic going. I have said the same to others objecting to the decision.

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