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Australia - Slinging Mud at Marrickville
                  for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights

by Diane V. McLoughlin, Monday, April 18th, 2011

*April 20, 2011 update follows, just above Notes.

According to Australia's, 'The Daily Telegraph', a city council in a town called Marrickville voted last
December in favor of participating in the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in
support of Palestinian human rights. [1]

BDS - boycott - by civil society around the world, helped bring to a peaceful end South Africa's
racist apartheid regime.  It is hoped BDS will hasten the end to Israel's illegal military occupation and
takeover of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  

Since the December vote in favor, Marrickville Council has been under severe pressure to reverse
their vote.  It is stunning to note the high-level of political interference.  The Premier himself, Barry
O'Farrell, has reportedly threatened to fire the entire council if they do not reverse themselves
(although I would be surprised to learn if he actually had it in his power to do so.) [2]   In any event,
the vote will apparently be revisited later today when council votes on what to boycott.

The New South Wales president of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Yair Miller, reportedly suggested

"The council should keep to what it was elected to do, take care of the interests of its ratepayers and
not take sides in a foreign conflict." [1]

My impression of Australians as a whole is that they would not willingly sit on the fence when it
comes to right and wrong - in foreign conflict, or anything else.  There is a strong impression
emanating from Down Under that the reality of Israel's oppression of others remains largely hidden.

The hypocrisy of the message that we
not take sides is most devastatingly captured
by political cartoonist Carlos Latuff:

Standing in stark contrast to the don't-take-sides
position, is the following Resolution adopted by
Independent Jewish Voices Canada:

                                          Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions:

                         'Whereas there will be no lasting peace without implementation of
                            international law, United Nations resolutions and respect for the
                             human rights of both Palestinians and Jewish-Israelis, and

  'Whereas the United Nations Security Council unanimously                          
passed resolution 242 in November 1967, calling on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza,
East Jerusalem, which it had invaded and occupied in June 1967, and

'Whereas Israel has refused to implement resolution 242 and instead has illegally established Jewish-
only settlements in these areas in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and

'Whereas Independent Jewish Voices is based on a strong commitment to social justice and universal
human rights, and

'Whereas it is our view that the grave situation in the Middle East threatens the future of both Israelis
and Palestinians as well as the stability of the whole region, and

'Whereas we support a negotiated peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and oppose
attempts by the Israeli government to impose its own solutions on the Palestinians,

'Therefore be it resolved that Independent Jewish Voices - Canada will

'Work towards an end to military assaults and other acts of violence that target civilians;

'Demand that the Israeli Government immediately and permanently withdraw from the West Bank,
Gaza and the Golan and cease all discrimination against Arab Citizens in Israel.

'Call on the Canadian government to 1) cease its one-sided and uncritical support for Israel and 2)
insist that Israel abide by international law in its relations with Palestinians.

'Support the Palestinian call for a campaign [of] boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets
its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and complies with the
precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and
properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. ' [3]


While all the statements contained in the above IJV resolution are true, it is also true that, due to the
reluctance to report the whole truth on Israel by the mainstream press, many have no idea what the
whole truth is.  For example, in recent days there have been many reports about the cold-blooded
murder of a Jewish settler family in the heavily fortified village of Itamar in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories.  But what people in the West did not hear about was that, afterward, the IDF, for days,
had been, 'barring the entry of food and medicine, rounding up villagers en masse, savagely beating
others and destroying extensive property in Awarta' - ultimately arresting two teenagers for
committing the murders. Yet, it was revealed to the press by one of the families that their son had
just undergone surgery and that there was no way he could have been involved. [3a]

It would also be a complete unknown in the West that, due to constant violent attacks by Itamar
settlers, the majority of the Palestinians of the nearby village of Yanun even briefly had to abandon
their own homes in 2002. (They returned with the supportive presence of peace activists.) [3b]    

A 2002 catalogue of violence by Jewish settler extremists against Palestinians included:

'1. Repeatedly attacking people in their homes, throwing stones, shooting at windows and closed
doors, terrifying young children and women.

'2. Attacking families on their farms. Here are a few examples of these brutal acts:

'a. In one of these attacks Galib Adel, 40 years old, was beaten brutally. He lost one of his eyes and
had his leg broken, in addition to suffering several bruises. Atif Tawfiq, Rashad Saleem, and Inbisat
Ahmad were also beaten in the attack.

'b. Moflih Adel was beaten severely and taken to the hospital unconscious.

'c. Gassan Abu Kaf, 38 years old, escaped murder and was shot in the leg.

'd. Ahmad Mahmoud, 80 years old, lost one of his eyes in a settler attack.

'e. Abdul Latif Yousif, the mayor of the Yanun Council, was beaten severely in an attack.

'f. Hani Hamdalla, 24 years old, was shot dead, while Fadi Fadil was injured in another attack by

'3. Killing hundreds of sheep using poisonous injections and live bullets.

'4. Blocking the main road to the village of Yanun.

'5. Spoiling the only natural source of water in the village.

'6. Burning down and destroying the only source of electricity, the electric generator that was
donated by the Economic Development Group.

'7. Preventing farmers from getting to their farms and attacking them using fierce dogs and live

'8. Destroying the crops by ploughing the farmed land and burning crops that were harvested and
ready to transport, as evidence of possession and control. At least three cases of burning have been

'9. In broad daylight, stealing olive trees that belong to local farmers.

'10. Imposing a seige around the natural pastures and preventing shepherds from getting to them.

'11. Preventing the relatives of the people of Yanun from visiting Yanun and shooting at the cars that
go there, including the car of the mayor of Aqraba.

'12. Cutting off the main road from Aqraba to Nablus. This road, which was finished in 1935, is no
longer safe to travel. [4]


Summing up pretty well the infiltrating settler's attitude toward Palestinians, when Palestinian farmers
try to exercise their God-given right to manage their Palestinian-owned fields:

"You are dead people." [5]

The following is my e-mailed letter of support to Marrickville Council, dated April 16, 2011:

An appeal has gone out to express support for you in taking the moral high ground - voting
to divest from companies that profit from the oppression of the Palestinian people in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories, otherwise known as the West Bank.

I salute you, and appeal to you not to cave in to any form of political threats or blackmail. I would
share that the West Bank has been categorized as worse than Apartheid South Africa of before, by
those who lived it and know what they are talking about.

The occupation by Israel of the West Bank, as well as the siege of Gaza I would add, are both
crimes against humanity by any definition.

You are not alone in courageously standing for Palestinian human rights. This, from the British

'The settlements and infrastructure on Palestinian land are protected by the Israeli government and
military and prevent or restrict Palestinians access to their land, water supplies, education, health
services and more. Extensive settlement infrastructure divides up Palestinian land, creating obstacles
to peace...'

Here, the Presbyterian Mission Network, public statement (2010):

'In response to a call to action from the Christians of the Holy Land, The Israel/Palestine Mission
Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA) voted at its annual meeting to join
the international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT).'

Nov. 2010, TEEU Irish trade union:

'TEEU General President, Frank Keoghan, welcomed the motion saying: “It is an expression of the
solidarity and empathy that members of the TEEU, and indeed all Irish people, feel for the suffering
people of Palestine, that this motion received the unanimous support of our Conference.”

From a three million member-strong British trade union:

'"There are household names making profits on the backs of a war of oppression. Their hands are
very dirty and we will demand that these companies verify their supplier," he said to multiple
applause. '

Norway: government-run pension fund drops two Israeli firms involved in developing settlements, as
reported in the Israeli daily, Haaretz.

No, you are not alone in your taking the moral high ground - far from it.

As with Apartheid South Africa, it is from the ground up that rejection of occupation comes - the
established order only moves after the people so move.

I am, most sincerely and respectfully yours,

Diane V. McLoughlin, writer

Comments to the above article
are welcome at my blog. (P.S.: The Facebook button
doesn't work anymore. I don't have the
tech know-how to fix it. Error message:
'fb:admins and fb:app_id tags are missing.
These tags are necessary for Facebook to render
a News Feed story that generates a high clickthrough rate.')  

Update - April 20, 2011; the vote is against:

An open letter in support of Marrickville Council's boycott initiative was sent out - signed by writers;
academics; Holocaust survivor and peace activist Hedy Epstein; Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace
Prize laureate; and noted journalists and authors such as John Pilger and Naomi Klein. [7]

The evening of April 19, 2011, Marrickville Council voted against the boycott.  It was reported to be
a raucous and heated public meeting, with hundreds in attendance both for and against.  Hurtful, that
Antony Loewenstein, a well-known Jewish blogger who supports Palestinian rights, was spit upon
and called a pig.  

In place of favoring the boycott, council voted in favor of the following statement:

...that council remains "concerned about Palestinian human rights and calls on Israel to end the
occupation of Palestinian lands''. [8]

What is the boycott about?  Palestinians are disenfranchised, oppressed and downtrodden.  There is
nothing more to be said than that Jewish settlers - squatters on Palestinian land - have the vote in
Israel, and with that vote they control the might of Israel's military guns to effect the occupation and
displacement of the Palestinian people.   The world is waking up to it.  Support for a just peace
grows within Israel, herself. [9]  The peaceful call to boycott may yet help tip the scales. I say good
on ya! to Marrickville Council members, you took a brave stand.                                 
                                 You're on the right side of history, mates.  


[1]  Article:  'Marrickville Council faces $4 million bill for Israel boycott'; Simon Benson; April 14,
2011; The Daily Telegraph;   http://www.
council-faces-4-million-bill-for-israel-bans/story-e6freuzi-1226038733018 ;

[2]  Article:  'Marrickville Council's Israel boycott wilts under politics'; Josephine Tovey; April 16,
2011; The Sydney Morning Herald;  http://www.
and-practicalities-20110415-1dhu6.html ;

[3]  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Resolution; 'Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) > IJV
Positions'; resolution adopted March 22, 2009; http:// ;

[3a]  Article, 'Itamar Killers Found?'; by Mohammad; Apr. 18, 2011; KABOBfest; ;

[3b] Blog, 'Palestine Pal: Yanun surrounded by the occupation (and some Danish stuff)'; Harrison
Feb. 11, 2006;  http:/
/ ;

[4]  Report:  'Settlers Force Desertion of Yanun Village';  
Settlement Report Vol. 12 No. 6 November-December 2002; Foundation For Middle East Peace;
http://www. ;

[5]  Article: 'It's the Pits'; Amira Hass; Haaretz; 25/10/02;
http://www. ;

[6]  Report: 'Separate and Unequal'; VII Nablus District, Yanun and Itamar; Dec. 19, 2010; Human
Rights Watch;  http:// ;

[7]  Open Letter:  'Prominent academics and political and cultural figures write to Marrickville
Council in support of BDS policy'; Apr. 18, '11; ;

[8]  Article:  'Marrickville Council's move to boycott Israel sinks in stormy sea of debate'; Josephine
Tovey, April 20, 2011; The Sydney Morning Herald;
debate-20110419-1dnkk.html ;

[9]  Article, 'Israeli Luminaries Press for a Palestinian State'; Ethan Bronner; Apr. 19, '11;
New York Times; ;

Copyright 2012, Diane V. McLoughlin
All Rights Reserved
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