Big step forward for boycott Israel movement in Australia as town council votes

An Australian town council voted for boycott divestment and sanctions against Israel in December last year. The councillors that moved that motion have since come under sustained attack from the pro-Israel crowd culminating in a council meeting on April 21 at which a motion was passed supporting the ‘idea’ of BDS but strangely not allowing for any action to be taken by the council to that end. Nevertheless it was still a step forward for the boycott movement in Australia. See report below from BDS Movement.

The Australians for Palestine team arrived in Sydney on Monday to give support to Marrickville BDS and the Marrickville councillors. It was, we felt, an historic occasion for BDS in Australia.

n Tuesday evening, the Marrickville Council Chambers was packed to the rafters with crowds of people outside wanting to hear the vote on BDS after months of savage attacks on the councillors who had supported its adoption last December. After hearing statements from 17 speakers, both for and against, and then the councillors themselves speaking to the resolution, the vote taken to rescind it resulted in a tie and failed when the the mayor and chair Fiona Byrne used her casting vote to defeat it. The mayor then proposed an in principle BDS motion that would have ensured boycotts undertaken would not impose any costs on the ratepayers of Marrickville. This was voted down. She proposed a second watered down version which was also defeated.

Labor Councillor Mary O’Sullivan forehadowed a motion that resolved “not to pursue BDS against Israel in any shape or form” and Greens Councillor Peter Olive proposed that a motherhood statement be inserted. This ended up maintaining the three tenets of the BDS call – to end the occupation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall, to ensure full equality for Palestinians living in Israel and to support the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. This was carried 8 votes to 4 against. None of the councillors who had opposed the BDS resolution seemed aware of the incongruity of now voting for a motion that included the very demands that BDS seeks, while refusing to do anything about it. more


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