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. 
BDS - boycott - by civil society around the world, helped bring to a
peaceful end South Africa's racist apartheid regime. It is hoped that a
boycott 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.)  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 that:
"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." 
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
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
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
'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. ' 
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' and
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.
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.)
A 2002 catalogue of violence by Jewish settler extremists against
'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
'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 settlers.
'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 bullets.
'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 recorded.
'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
'12. Cutting off the main road from Aqraba to Nablus. This road, which was
finished in 1935, is no longer safe to travel. 
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." 
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
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 Quakers:
'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
I am, most sincerely and respectfully yours,
Diane V. McLoughlin, writer
Comments to the above article
are welcome at my blog.
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. 
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
...that council remains "concerned about Palestinian human rights and calls
on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian lands''. 
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.  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.
 Article: 'Marrickville Council faces $4 million bill for Israel boycott';
Simon Benson; April 14, 2011; The Daily Telegraph; http://www.
 Article: 'Marrickville Council's Israel boycott wilts under politics';
Josephine Tovey; April 16, 2011; The Sydney Morning Herald; http://www.
 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;
[3b] Blog, 'Palestine Pal: Yanun surrounded by the occupation (and some
Danish stuff)'; Harrison Healy;
Feb. 11, 2006; http://palestinepal.blogspot.com/2006/02/yanun-surrounded-
 Report: 'Settlers Force Desertion of Yanun Village';
Settlement Report Vol. 12 No. 6 November-December 2002; Foundation
For Middle East Peace;
 Article: 'It's the Pits'; Amira Hass; Haaretz; 25/10/02;
 Report: 'Separate and Unequal'; VII Nablus District, Yanun and Itamar;
Dec. 19, 2010; Human Rights Watch; http://www.hrw.
 Open Letter: 'Prominent academics and political and cultural figures
write to Marrickville Council in support of BDS policy'; Apr. 18, '11;
 Article: 'Marrickville Council's move to boycott Israel sinks in stormy
sea of debate'; Josephine Tovey, April 20, 2011; The Sydney Morning
 Article, 'Israeli Luminaries Press for a Palestinian State'; Ethan
Bronner; Apr. 19, '11;
New York Times;
Copyright 2012, Diane V. McLoughlin
All Rights Reserved