Categorized | Middle East



Australian BDS is heating up  10 Nov 2010

The following press release appeared on 4 November:


The conference was launched with a public meeting on October 29 at the Victorian State Library, chaired by the ABC’s Bryan Dawe and addressed by Palestinian artist and activist Rafeef Ziadah speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Also speaking was Palestinian academic and radio presenter, Yousef Alreemawi, Jerusalem based Israeli activist Ofer Neiman from “BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within” and Kim Sattler, the Secretary of Unions ACT in Canberra.

Keynote speaker Rafeef Ziadah, a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, explained “this conference is an important step in coordinating a national BDS campaign across Australia to put pressure on Israel to simply abide by international law”.

Other guest speakers included prominent American Jewish activist Anna Baltzer and Australian-Palestinian author and activist Samah Sabawi.

One of the conference highlights was a concert on the Saturday that formally launched Australian Artists Against Apartheid (AAAA).

On the labour movement front, the conference helped to bring together unionists who are members of twenty different unions across Australia, with five Australian unions sending official delegations to the conference to discuss practical implementation of BDS resolutions.

The conference unanimously adopted a calendar of BDS actions to be carried out over the next 12 months. Conference organizers urged all attendees ”to build on the momentum of the conference and work together to build the strongest possible grassroots campaign to hold Israel accountable for its actions.”

The conference was organized in response to the call by 171 Palestinian civil-society organizations in July 2005 for the international community to implement a comprehensive boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategy against apartheid Israel as the focal point of solidarity efforts with the Palestinian people.

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid, the Palestinian-initiated BDS campaign is conducted in the framework of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression and calls for non-violent punitive measures to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.  


From October 29-31 more than 150 Palestine solidarity activists and supporters of human rights gathered in Melbourne for Australia’s first national Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) conference. The conference represents a watershed moment in the Palestinian solidarity movement in Australia with activists across various campaigns coming together and addressing the way forward in the global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

 09 Nov 2010

The military industrial complex is a term casually thrown about today and yet it’s become a reality in the US and many states. State expenditure on the military and arms sales has never been higher. A new documentary explains: 

Cultures of Resistance: A Look at Global Militarization from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

  09 Nov 2010

A wonderful new book has recently been released, Hope, Votes and Bullets (here’s an internet preview of the striking pages). It documents, through wonderful imagery, graphics and text, the millions of Iranians who took to the streets in 2009 during a period of intense political upheaval. The internet was integral to spreading the word.

There was hope, fear and optimism in the air. More than one year later, the situation in the Islamic Republic is grim and human rights are routinely abused.

We haven’t forgotten. 

 09 Nov 2010

Sri Lanka and Israel seem to admire each other deeply. Both have a blatant disregard for civilian casualties and use the “war on terror” to justify brutal policies against Tamils/Palestinians. Read on:

Eli Belotsercovsky, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Israel in New Delhi was on a visit to Sri Lanka recently. He toured Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Nuwara Eliya on his motorcycle on a four-day trip. ” The landscape and the people were pleasant and beautiful. There is peace everywhere. Sri Lanka has proved to the world that terrorism could be defeated”, he said in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer. her are excerpts of the interview.

Q: How do you see the relationship between Sri Lanka and Israel?

A: Well,now that there is peace in Sri Lanka we have designed an ambitious agenda. Israel is a `mini agricultural super power’ in the world. So we have worked out plans to help Sri Lanka in its agricultural sector. Israel has offered job opportunities for Sri Lankans in the agricultural sector. Our agricultural expert visited Sri Lanka and had discussions with the relevant officials on enhancing the links between the two countries in the agricultural sector. We believe Sri Lanka has provided skilled workers and they could also share the techniques and skills from Israel.

The first batch of 300 Sri Lankan agricultural workers will get jobs in the farms in Israel. The Lankan work force in the agricultural sector is clever, intelligent and hard working. Therefore, the Israeli farmers will be delighted to employ them in their farms.

Israel looks forward to improve its links with Sri Lanka in the tourism sector. A large number of Israelis has shown their interest in visiting Sri Lanka. So I believe in time to come Israel tourists to Sri Lanka will increase significantly.

Q: You have now visited Sri Lanka where there is a peaceful atmosphere. What is your personal opinion about the country’s current situation?

A: Sri Lanka struggled hard to bring an end to terrorism and finally reached its target in wiping out terrorism completely. This is remarkable.  

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