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Letter to the Editor: Salute to Marrickville’s courageous councillors

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition of Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and networks, warmly salutes those Marrickville councillors who remained steadfast and principled in their support of the three fundamental Palestinian rights that constitute the core of the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS). In the face of what Mayor Fiona Byrne rightly described as a “sledgehammer of pressure”, these courageous councillors recalled the most sincere spirit of solidarity that marked the global struggle against South African apartheid by insisting on supporting the Palestinian struggle to end Israel’s decades-old occupation, colonization, apartheid, and obdurate denial of UN-sanctioned rights of our refugees to return and receive reparations. We deeply appreciate Marrickville’s moral commitment to the objectives of the BDS movement — freedom, justice and equality — despite the current inability to maintain a majority in support of taking effective BDS measures to help reach these noble objectives.

We sincerely hope that Marrickville’s commitment to Palestinian rights and international law will inform any future decisions it makes about its interactions with the apartheid state of Israel and those corporations and institutions that are complicit with its grave violations of international law. Denying contracts to companies implicated in massive and persistent violations of human rights and international law, as those committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, is not only a moral obligation – that may one day become a legal obligation as well — for any city council around the world; it also does not carry any price tag for taxpayers served by those councils.

We congratulate the supporters of just peace and Palestinian rights in Australia who have worked so diligently to further the BDS campaign. Disinformation and smear tactics may have partially lost us this battle, but the struggle for freedom, justice and equality is undoubtedly stronger as a result of your efforts. Marrickville will be remembered as the “battle” that effectively put boycotting Israel on the map in Australia!

– BDS National Committee