This is what passes for “journalism” and commentary over Israel/Palestine in Australia.
First, this piece completely ignores the wider context of why people would want BDS against Israel. The best the ALP can do is say that local council has no business being involved? Want to make any comment about whether you agree with Israel’s occupation against Palestine? Of course not, far too gutless for that. And how is the wider context ignored, namely that Fiona Byrne is contesting the NSW seat of Marrickville at the upcoming election against sitting member Carmel Tebbutt? And the fact that Tebbutt is the wife of Anthony Albanese, so what a surprise they’re backing each other? And finally, in the recent federal election, Albanese’s once safe Labor seat became marginal and nearly went to the Greens. Perhaps he should stand up for something important now and then.
Shoddy all around:
A Sydney council’s decision has been attacked as self-indulgent by local federal member and senior minister Anthony Albanese.
The council decided to boycott Israel in protest over its treatment of Palestinians.
The Greens-controlled Marrickville Council passed a motion in the final weeks of December pledging to effectively sever all commercial, sporting, cultural, academic and government links with the state of Israel.
As part of the motion the inner-west council also resolved to write to Mr Albanese, whose Sydney seat of Grayndler incorporates Marrickville and is one of a number of seats in Sydney and Melbourne Labor risks losing to the Greens.
But Mr Albanese, who said he had yet to receive any correspondence seeking support for the ban, attacked the motion as counter-productive.
“Foreign policy is a fair way outside the parameters of the role of Marrickville Council,” the Infrastructure and Transport Minister said.
“I think people in the electorate want local government to deal with local government issues.”
Under the terms of the motion the council undertook to identify links with any organisations or companies that “support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine”, and then sever them. But Mr Albanese said the edict would be impossible to implement.
“If an Israeli exchange student wants to come to Australia will Marrickville council boycott providing any services to that person?” Mr Albanese said.
“As an advocate of peace in the Middle East which achieves justice for both Palestinians and Israelis we need sensible solutions and understanding, not counter-productive self-indulgence.”
That scepticism was shared by Carmel Tebbutt, the NSW deputy premier and member for Marrickville.
“Residents in Marrickville would be better served by a council who dealt with issues closer to home,” Ms Tebbutt said.
But Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne defended the ban, saying it “(recognised) the role of Council in promoting universal respect for human rights and the protection of democratic principles with a view to ending human rights injustices and violations”.
“It is important for all levels of government to back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign,” Ms Byrne said
One of the five Greens councillors who voted for the motion, Max Phillips, also defended the ban. “People are obviously concerned about international issues in our area,” Mr Phillips said.
The motion passed 10 members to two.
All four Labor councillors voted for the motion, along with the Greens, who sponsored the resolution.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive, Vic Alhadeff said the resolution would most hurt the people the council was seeking to help, saying there were more than 50,000 Palestinians employed by Israeli companies or studying or teaching at Israeli universities.
This piece in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, headlined, “North Korea, Marrickville: Going rogue”, is about as funny as a migraine. And a picture of Israeli model Bar Refaeli alongside the piece? Oh right, that’s because she’s beautiful and therefore Israel is a great country. I forgot that a 10 year old boy edits the paper. Of course, Zionist laughing at Arab suffering is oh so trendy in some circles. And Israel wonders why it’s lost the PR battle around the world? Hard to see why:
What does the desert theocracy of Saudi Arabia have in common with Marrickville Council in Sydney’s Inner West?
Ever since a Marrickville Council meeting late last year, both are sworn enemies of Israel. In a 10-2 vote, the council decided it would “boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic institutions, government or institutional cultural exchanges”.
Trendy councils supporting trendy causes is nothing new. Greens-dominated Marrickville is a nuclear-free zone that abhors Australia’s treatment of refugees while taking a “BANANA” approach to development: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.
Israel is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial countries in the world. Its products and inventions find their way into computers, mobile phones, and medicines. A ban means a lot more than just making sure the hummus at council meetings is non-kosher. The second problem is that the move cuts against the proper business of a council and demonstrates that the supposed progressivism of the district only goes so far.