Wednesday, 15 December, 2010
Last night Bethlehem’s sister city in Australia again made history by voting to support the Unified Palestinian Call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Marrickville is the first municipality in Australia to take this important step to support human rights and international humanitarian law in Palestine.
Residents concerned about Israel’s ongoing violations of human rights sat through four and a half hours of debate on local issues before Council finally reached Item 11 – Notice of Motion: Supporting the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.
Marrickville Council’s website says “As a community, we stand for what is fair and right. It doesn’t take much for us to come together – whether it is working for a better environment, fighting proposed school closures or simply joining in at a local fundraiser or rally.”
Last night we saw the truth of this commitment as, with the support of residents, the Greens, Labor and an Independent councillor united at Marrickville Municipal Council to adopt the following resolution moved by Greens Councillor Cathy Peters:
- In particular recognition of its sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for this relationship from local progressive faith communities and other community members, Marrickville Council support the principles of the BDS global campaign and report back on any links the Council has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine with a view to the Council divesting from such links and imposing a boycott on any future such links or goods purchases.
- Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges.
- Marrickville Council write to the local State and Federal ministers (Carmel Tebbutt and Anthony Albanese) informing them of Council’s position and seeking their support at the State and Federal level for the global BDS movement.
The 75,000 residents of Marrickville come from all around the world. Over 100 different cultures are represented here with 70 or more different languages spoken. Marrickville is built on the land belonging to the Cadigal Wangal clans of the Eora nation and Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are well represented here.
The Council’s Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Australians, begins by saying:
“Marrickville Council acknowledges the prior ownership of this area by the Cadigal people who were dispossessed by European invasion more than two hundred years ago. We celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people and their culture following the devastating impact of European invasion and support their right to determine their own future.”
Now Marrickville has also declared its commitment to the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people. The decision comes at a time when support for the global BDS campaign is growing rapidly especially amongst unions and churches.
Polls consistently show that the Australian people support a fair go for Palestine. In mid-2009, a poll jointly commissioned by the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Australians Friends of Palestine Association, the surprising results show that Australians are “reading between the lines of the media bias against Palestine and Palestinians.”
This national poll showed that both the federal Labor Government and the Liberal opposition are out of step with what Australians think.
Local government, at least in Marrickville, seems to be more closely in touch with the thinking of average Australians and certainly more in touch with humanitarian and democratic principles.
Thank you Marrickville.
Read the Sydney Morning Herald article regarding Marrickville Council’s historic decision.