CALLING FOR REGISTRATIONS NOW
ONE DAY AUSTRALIAN BDS SYMPOSIUM
Saturday 24 September 2011,
11.30am till 6.30pm
Treacy Centre, The Avenue, Parkville, 3km from Melbourne city
BDS in Australia has been under relentless attack from political parties,
the media and pro-Israel proponents. It began with the attack on Marrickville
Council and the NSW Government threatening to overthrow it. Then, in the
Federal Parliament, Senator Ryan promised that the BDS campaign will have
no legitimacy in Australia. Even more recently, the Victorian Government
sought intervention from the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (ACCC) and raised the possibility of widening secondary boycott
legislation to include activists. The ACCC has since ruled that the boycott
protests do not breach Australian laws, although it did say it would
continue to monitor future BDS protests for possible breaches.
In a further effort to delegitimise BDS, the media has tried to portray the
BDS movement as fractured. In fact, all activists are firmly united in their
commitment to the principles of the BDS call, regardless of differences of
opinion in the tactics used for their campaigns.
However, we should be concerned, particularly since politicians and the
media continue to draw a nefarious analogy between boycotting Israel and
the boycotting of Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany in a deliberate attempt
to brand BDS against Israel as anti-Semitic.
The BDS National Committee (BNC) of Palestinian civil society which issued
the call for a global BDS movement has been closely following the
developments in Australia and is aware of the difficulties that pro-Palestine
activists and advocates are facing. Strengthening and coordinating the
national campaign is essential, and to that end, Australians for Palestine has
arranged to bring BNC secretariat member RAFEEF ZIADAH here to speak on
strategies and tactics in dealing with these attacks. Her keynote address is
entitled Challenging Israeli Apartheid: the Case for Boycott, Divestment and
Also coming back to Melbourne is Israeli peace activist and author, MIKO PELED.
Earlier this year, he took part in an interactive discussion on the BDS movement
and its influence organised by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Commission.
Mikos address is entitled BDS, Israel and the OneState Solution, a topic sure
to generate many questions and discussions.
The symposium will conclude with a two-hour long panel discussion with both
Rafeef and Miko who will be joined by PETER MANNING, a leading expert in
media and communications with years of experience in the industry, and also
our public advocate SAMAH SABAWI who brings not only her own extensive
experience in the media and activism, but also a strong belief in having the
Palestinian voice at the forefront of the BDS campaigns.
The sessions will be moderated by DR PATRICK WOLFE, one of the worlds
premier scholars of settler colonialism. Patrick is currently working on a
comparative history of settler-colonial regimes of race in Australia, the USA,
Brazil and Palestine/Israel. He understand the issues very well and recently
took part in a panel discussion in London with Omar Barghouti, the most
well known Palestinian spokesperson globally for BDS and Israeli professor
Ilan Pappe, author of the seminal work The Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine.
This is a unique opportunity for activists and others interested in knowing
more about the nonviolent BDS movement, to hear from people well versed in
campaigning, dealing with the media and able to offer ideas and strategies
to ensure BDS in Australia is geared towards winning hearts and minds in
the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.
The schedule of sessions is attached. Lunch and afternoon tea will be
provided and a dinner has been organised after the symposium for those
wishing to continue their discussions in a more social setting. Bookings and
payment for the dinner ($42 per person) must be made in advance. Details
are on the attached registration form. A full program will be sent to everyone
who has registered. The registration fee is $20, and $10 for students.
Please send in your registration form no later than the end of the working
week – Friday 16 September. Places are limited.
on behalf of the
AFP Steering Committee