Open letter in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel

Add your name to this letter to support Marrickville council in their BDS of Israel by sending email to marrickvillebds

We invite you to add your name to the Open Letter which is attached to this email. Please email us if you are willing to add your name to this open letter which will be presented to Marrickville Council at the next meeting. We will be providing a copy of the letter and a list of signatories to all Councillors. The motion to support the worldwide BDS campaign was supported by 10 councillors; ALP, Green and Independent.

This invitation comes from an ad hoc group of Marrickville residents who have been shocked at the harassment suffered by our local Council and the councilors who represent us since they took a conscientious decision to endorse the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until that country complies with international humanitarian law.

BDS Marrickville

Please reply to us, as soon as possible, but no later than Friday 4 March, 2011.


Jennifer Killen on behalf of Marrickville BDS <>

1 March 2011

Open letter in support of the worldwide movement for

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of products and services linked with Israel

We the undersigned strongly support the conscientious decision of all organisations and individuals who have endorsed the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Despite annual UN resolutions calling on Israel to adhere to international law and end its 44-year military occupation of Palestinian lands, still not a single government has acted to impose sanctions on Israel for its violations.

As governments, including our own Australian government, have failed to hold Israel accountable, it is up to people of conscience in civil society worldwide to heed Palestinian calls for protection and justice.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a non-violent movement that can assist to bring peace and justice to Israelis and Palestinians. It utilises non-violent strategies, with the aim of persuading the Israeli Government to comply with its obligations under international law by:

  • ending its illegal occupation and colonisation of Arab lands and illegal construction of the Wall;
  • recognizing that the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel are entitled to full equality;
  • meeting its legal obligations towards the 7.1 million Palestinian refugees.

Israel violates more UN resolutions than any other country in the history of the UN, including Iraq & Iran put together. It has enacted a long list of laws which discriminate against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens. Israel deprives Palestinians in the OccupiedTerritories access to adequate land, water, housing, health care, education and work, and restricts their freedom of movement.

The Australian government has, on our behalf, declared sanctions against fourteen different countries. The question is not whether Israel should be singled out for punitive actions the question is, why is Israel not being held to the same standards as other countries?

Israels right to exist is not being challenged what is being challenged is Israels right to exist as an apartheid state. The boycott initiative shows respect for Israel by holding it to the same standards as other western democracies.

It is time to end the occupation of Palestine and bring peace and justice to the people of Israel and Palestine. The BDS movement is playing a crucial role in raising awareness about Israels violations of international law.

Internationally and nationally, churches and church leaders, unions, academics, public intellectuals, media personalities and others are supporting the BDS campaign. In July 2010, the National Council of Churches in Australia asked its members and the public to consider a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the OccupiedPalestinianTerritories. A number of Australian unions, including unions representing teachers and workers in the electrical trades, construction, maritime, hospitality and education industries, are supporting the BDS campaign.

Marrickville Municipal Council, as the first local council in Australia to publicly endorse BDS, has taken a courageous step. This decision was endorsed by Councillors across the political spectrum.

While Australian and other world leaders remain reluctant to speak out against Israels human rights abuses, the responsibility devolves to individuals and our local leadership. We thank these leaders for having the courage and integrity to speak out in the face of a well-organized campaign of intimidation.

We urge you to consider supporting the BDS movement as an individual, or by advocating that the political party, union, church or community group you belong to, or the local council where you live, adopts a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy towards the Israeli Government or makes BDS part of their broader ethical investment and purchasing strategy.

Yours sincerely,

3 thoughts on “Open letter in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel

  1. Hello Margaret and bulldustforian,

    You mentioned on the ‘Cry Freedom…’ thread that I was a loony leftie because i support the BDS campaign against Israel. Also BDfI you say that one of the Palestinian founders of the BDS movement, Omar Baghouti, studies at Tel Aviv Uni. What you left out is that Israeli students took up a petition to have him expelled. Fortuneately the petition was unsucccesful.

    RecentlyThe Australian newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch campaigned against Fiona Byrne (Marrickville mayor and Greens candidate in 2011 NSW parliamentary election) for supporting BDS.

    However it was 10 ALP, Independent and Greens councillors at Marrickville council who voted for the motion to support the BDS campaign. The minutes record that the motion was put by Councillors Peters and Kontelis not Mayor Byrne (although she did vote for it with most of the council).

    Here are the relevant minutes of the motion passed by the Marrickville council on 14 Dec 2010 and those who supported and those who opposed it:


    Motion: (Peters/Kontellis)
    1. In particular recognition of it’s sister city relationship with Bethlehem and the strong support for that 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.

    2. Marrickville Council boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic institutions, government or institutional cultural exchanges.

    3. 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.

    Council Meeting
    14 December 2010
    Motion Carried (10 votes to 2)
    For Motion: Councillors, O’Sullivan, Phillips, Tsardoulias, Wright, Olive, Peters, Thanos, Iskandar, Byrne and Kontellis
    Against Motion: Councillors Macri and Hanna

    You mentioned that the Greens tried to rescind a BDS motion at Randwick Council. I think you are mistaken. The business papers indicate that they were attempting to rescind the Randwick motion that states inter alia :

    Request Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) to immediately remove Marrickville Council Staff from SSROC procurement tender panels that are considering tender submissions involving Israeli companies, products or services until Marrickville rescinds its current procurement policy, which is non-competitive.

    This attempt to rescind the above motion is understandable given that it is NSW Greens policy to support BDS.

    Ian Curr
    30 March 2011

  2. bulldustforian says:

    LAST WEEKEND in Itamar, an Israeli settlement in the Samarian hills, terrorists infiltrated the home of Udi and Ruth Fogel and perpetrated a massacre of the innocents.

    Tweet 23 people Tweeted thisSubmit to DiggdiggsdiggYahoo! Buzz ShareThis The killers started with Yoav, the Fogels’ 11-year-old, and Elad, his 4-year-old brother. Yoav’s throat was slit, and Elad was stabbed twice in the heart. Then the attackers murdered Ruth, knifing her as she came out of the bathroom. In the next room they killed Ruth’s sleeping husband, Udi, and their infant daughter, Hadas. Apparently they didn’t notice the last bedroom, where the two other boys, Ro’i, 8, and Yishai, 2, were asleep. It wasn’t until half past midnight, when 12-year-old Tamar came home from a Friday night youth group, that the horrific slaughter was discovered. Much of the house was drenched in blood, and the 2-year-old was shaking his parents’ bodies, crying for them to wake up.

    What explains such unspeakable evil? What sort of human being deliberately butchers a sleeping baby, or plunges a knife into a toddler’s heart?

    As news of the massacre in Itamar spread, candy and pastries were handed out in Gaza in celebration. The Al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, argued that the murder of Israeli settlers was permitted by international law. A day later it changed its tune, insisted that “harming children is not part of Hamas’s policy,” and suggested instead that the massacre might have been committed by Jews. The Palestinian “foreign minister,’’ Riyad al-Malki, also voiced doubt that the killers could have been Palestinian. “The slaughter of people like this by Palestinians,’’ he claimed, “is unprecedented.’’ Actually, the precedents abound.

    The atrocity in Itamar recalls the 2002 terror attack at Kibbutz Metzer that left five victims dead, including a mother and her two young boys. It brings to mind the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters, who were shot at point-blank range as they drove from Gaza to Ashkelon in 2004. It is reminiscent of the bloodbath three years ago in a Jerusalem yeshiva, where eight young students were gunned down. Unprecedented? If only.

    The civilized mind struggles to make sense of such savagery.

    There are those who believe passionately that all human beings are inherently good and rational creatures, essentially the same once you get beyond surface disagreements. Such people cannot accept the reality of a culture that extols death over life, that inculcates a vitriolic hatred of Jews, that induces children to idolize terrorists. Since they would never murder a family in its sleep without being driven to it by some overpowering horror, they imagine that nobody would. This is the mindset that sees a massacre of Jews and concludes that Jews must in some way have provoked it. It’s the mindset behind the narrative that continually blames Israel for the enmity of its neighbors and makes it Israel’s responsibility to end their violence.

    The truth is simpler, and bleaker. Human goodness is not hard-wired. It takes sustained effort and healthy values to produce good people; in the absence of those values, cruelty and intolerance are far more likely to flourish.

    For years the Palestinian Authority has demonized Israelis and Jews as enemies to be destroyed, vermin to be loathed, and infidels to be terrorized. Children who grow up under Palestinian rule are inundated on all sides — in school, in the mosques, on radio and TV, even in summer camps and popular music — with messages that glorify bloodshed, promote hatred, and lionize “martyrdom.’’

    None of this is news. The toxic incitement that pervades Palestinian culture has been massively documented. What children are taught in Palestinian classrooms, Hillary Clinton said in 2007, is “to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for. . . . This propaganda is dangerous.’’

    An estimated 20,000 mourners accompanied the Fogel family as they were laid to rest in Jerusalem Sunday. In his eulogy, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon predicted bitterly that in time the Palestinian Authority would honor the Fogel family’s murderers and name public squares after them. His comment might have seemed gratuitous — except that at that very moment, in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh, Dalal Mughrabi was being celebrated at a public square named in her honor. It was Mughrabi who, 33 years earlier, led a PLO terror squad on a savage rampage on Israel’s Coastal Road. Thirty-eight innocent Jews died that day, 13 of them children.

    from the boston globe newspaper.

  3. bulldustforian,

    You keep saying Hamas is ‘terrorist’.

    Hamas was democratically elected by the people of Gaza to govern in 2006.

    It was Israel and the US that refused to accept the will of the people and began a bombing campaign on 27 Dec 2008 that resulted in the murder of over 1,500 people.

    Two-thirds of the population of Gaza are children.

    1 April 2011

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