Australian Cannon 311.
(photo credit: (Ilan Zvuluni))
The sole local Australian municipal council to endorse the Boycott, Divestment
and Sanctions campaign withdrew their support on Tuesday.
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After a lengthy
and heated meeting, the 12-member Marrickville Council in New South Wales, voted
to rescind its original resolution calling for a boycott of Israel.
December, the Marrickville Council voted 10-2 to ban Israeli products as well as
government, sporting, cultural and academic exchanges with
Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, a council member representing the
Greens Party, said in a statement that the findings of a council staff report on
the costs of implementing the boycott played a role in the council’s
“The report identifies some options – the cost of which would
be impractical to the council and our local residents,” she said in a press
“The plight of the Palestinian people in the occupied
territories has been and remains a source of concern for Marrickville
councilors,” Byrne added.
According to Australian media, the report in
question estimated a boycott would cost local taxpayers between $3.7 million and
$4.3m. Six councilors – four Labor members and two Greens members – who voted in
favor of severing ties with Israel in December, reversed their
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell wrote to Byrne a few
days before the meeting and threatened to fire the entire council unless the
boycott was dropped within 28 days.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp.
quoted Byrne as saying, “We have created a little egg which is support for the
plight of the Palestinian people, and a sledgehammer is being used to break
that… Certainly we have put BDS on the national agenda, whatever that
A phone survey conducted in March by the Inner West Jewish
Community and Friends Peace Alliance found that two-thirds of residents did not
support the planned boycott.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees
Union’s national secretary publicly stated that a boycott of Israel would not be
in his members’ best interest.
The boycott was also opposed by the
national leader of the Greens Party, Senator Bob Brown, as well as Australian
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, whose
parliamentary seat falls in the Marrickville area.
Albanese was quoted in
the Australian media on Monday as saying, “It’s time, when the council meets
tomorrow night, to put aside this division and to say that the council should
prioritize getting back to basics… not trying to be an alternative foreign
government for Australia that has brought the local community I’m proud to
represent into a state of ridicule across the country.”