May 3, 2011

#BDS: Marrickville Council votes in support of the three tenets of the BDS call

"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.  On 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."

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