Marrickville backs ban

By Lilia Guan
The city of Marrickville in Sydney, has defended its support for sanctions against Israel, as a business decision.
Marrickville has joined the Global Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (GBDS) campaign against Israel.
The GBDS movement was a global movement that called for the boycott of goods produced in Israel.
The ban also includes cultural and sporting exchanges with Israeli institutions, withdrawal of funds from institutions and companies that invest in or do significant business with Israel, and the implementation of government actions that indicate disapproval of Israeli interventions and human rights abuses in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.
Mayor of Marrickville, Fiona Byrne told Government News many critics of the council’s decision have said this is not a local issue.
“However, this is out of step with the community view that Marrickville should speak out against injustice no matter where it occurs, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the GBDS is both relevant and applicable at a local government level,” she said.
“Marrickville is a culturally diverse community, with a significant population of Greek, Portuguese and Arabic speaking residents living in the area.
“We have spoken with many local residents, with community and multi-faith groups who have told us of their feelings towards the unresolved issue of Palestine and Israel and their desire to be able to take direct action.”
According Cr Byrne council staff have formed a ‘working party’ to evaluate the terms and conditions of the GBDS and then report back to the council in due course on any links the council (as corporate entity) has with organisations or companies that support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.
“The report will include advice as to the potential operational implications for the Council in pursuing this boycott/divestment and will propose operational guidelines to help to direct staff in the implementation of the council resolution,” he said.
“The decision to institute the GBDS in Marrickville is well within council’s jurisdiction.”
Cr Byrne claimed as an organisation it makes decisions about who it will or will not do business with as it spends ratepayers’ money to provide community services.
“Just as our council will not invest with companies who manufacture weapons, or who do business with the government of Burma, we will now look at who we do business with and whether they support the occupation of Palestine,” she said.
Marrickville established a sister city relationship with Bethlehem in Palestine in 1996.
Many of Council’s sister city relationships were established to recognise these populations, and their significant contributions to the social, economical and cultural development of the community.
“The sister city of Bethlehem also has great cultural significance to a range of people from many different backgrounds,” Cr Byrne said.

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