Australians are beginning to wake to BDS necessity

Sonja Karkar explains in the Electronic Intifada that the BDS movement is stirring in Australia (but geez, we have a long way to go):

With a supine government and a media unwilling to investigate Israel’s criminal acts, getting the message out to the public has been a real challenge. However, Australian unions look like they might be changing that. The Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA-WA) were the first to take action in response to Israel’s three-week bombardment of Gaza in winter 2008-09 by refusing to handle goods arriving from or going to Israel. This year, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) joined the international boycott of Israel, and when the Freedom Flotilla was attacked on 31 May, some 11 trade unions and regional trade councils followed the CFMEU in quick succession.

The resolutions passed by the trade unions to boycott Israeli goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank coincided with the tour of well-known Palestinian advocate Diana Buttu, whose visit was sponsored by six large Australian unions to speak precisely on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and the apartheid conditions faced by Palestinians, not only under Israeli occupation but also in Israel itself.

Buttu’s powerful presentations left no one in any doubt as to the urgency of implementing BDS across the board. In the last 18 months, activists have targeted Connex (a subsidiary of the French transportation giant Veolia which is involved in the building a light rail in occupied East Jerusalem), Israeli-owned Max Brenner chocolates, the Israeli-sponsored Melbourne International Film Festival, and the visits of the Jerusalem Quartet and Israeli tennis player Shaher Peer. But the recent union resolutions supporting the boycott of Israel will give a significant boost to the BDS movement.

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