Jun 1, 2011

#BDS: Palestine’s Gandhi: Omar Barghouti, BDS and int’l humanitarian law

"On 14 December 2010, the Marrickville Council in inner-west Sydney, led by its Greens mayor Fiona Byrne, expressed its support for, in her words, ‘the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, to exert peaceful pressure on the government of Israel to honour its human rights obligations to the Palestinians’ (Fiona Byrne, ‘Rates, roads – and justice in Gaza’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2011). As is well known, the council’s now failed proposal (Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2011) to support BDS was controversial and widely ridiculed, and not only in the feral newspaper The Australian. In conversation, friends and acquaintances who live in the Marrickville municipal area made it clear to us that while they are sympathetic to the Palestinians, they feel such an action is rather absurd and silly for a local council so far from the Middle East. They also thought the Council hadn’t provided its constituents with necessary information. They have a point in terms of the council’s failure to communicate the rationale of a BDS. But was the Marrickville Council support for BDS really so ridiculous? In this essay we try to provide information about BDS that can help stimulate discussion and debate. We contend that supporting BDS is not only necessary in order to help save the Palestinian people from an ongoing catastrophe, but vitally important for the self-respect of the international community."

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