CJPP (NSW) writes to FM Kevin Rudd to boycott OECD biannual conference in Jerusalem 8Oct10 October 9, 2010

Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Mr. Rudd,

As a community group representing the strong sentiments of large numbers of voters in Australia,
we write to ask you to commit Australia to join Spain and the UK in boycotting the OECD’s biannual
tourism conference on 20-22 October 2010. Although normally meeting in Paris, this conference is
being hosted by the State of Israel in Jerusalem. The OECD has written to the PA explaining that
the meeting to be held in West Jerusalem, yet Israel does not recognize that there is West and East
Jerusalem but an “eternal and united capital of the Jewish people”. We question the decision by
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria to convene the summit in Jerusalem despite UNSC Resolution
478 calling on UN member states not to recognize Israeli occupation and illegal annexation of East
Jerusalem.

Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov is from the extremist Yisrael Beiteinu party, which calls for
the the mass expulsion of Palestinians, not only from the Occupied Territories, but even from within
Israel proper. He has already claimed that the participation in the Summit “ratifies” that Jerusalem
is the recognized capital of Israel.

“OECD officials demanded that we not bring the delegates to East Jerusalem, or that we move the
conference to Tel Aviv,” Misezhnikov said. “If we agreed to that, they promised to send many
delegates. We held a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and decided to reject” the Tel Aviv idea… “I
strongly denounce the states that surrendered to threats,” he added. “But the conference – with the
participation of 21 ministers, deputy ministers and organization heads – will take place as planned in
Jerusalem. This will be a declaration of intent and a seal of approval on the fact that we have a
state whose recognized capital is Jerusalem.”1

As we submitted to your predecessor, Minister Smith, prior to Australia’s vote to admit Israel into
the OECD, and as the Israeli media highlighted, OECD membership has been a long term and major
objective of the Israeli state, since such membership legitimizes Israel’s illegal occupation of the
Syrian Golan Heights, of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and marks the Israeli
economy as a success despite its ongoing dependence on aid from the USA. Although the OECD is
for developed economies, Israel receives $3 billion annually from the USA; a member of the OECD
shouldn’t need to receive external aid. In our view, endorsing Israel’s membership of OECD is
ethically similar to endorsing Apartheid South Africa or Rhodesia to join an exclusive body dedicated
to economic growth and trade.

In national economic statistics provided thus far to the OECD, Israel is including Israeli Jewish
citizens colonizing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in breach of international humanitarian law as
agreed in the 1949 Geneva Conventions. These same statistics exclude the 4 million Palestinians
within the international borders over which Israel retains control. The statistics obscure the great
wealth differentials in Israel, greater than any other OECD country. Half of the Palestinian citizens of
Israel live below the poverty line, and their leadership, representing more than 20% of Israel’s
citizen population, is calling on the OECD to refuse membership to Israel. The incomes of Jewish
Israelis are 20 times greater than Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, who
have no freedom of movement and no freedom to trade or engage in economic pursuits.

Participation in this OECD meeting will reinforce our UN voting pattern. International votes by
Australia which favour Israel in a partisan way, such as the rejection of the UN Fact Finding Mission
on the Gaza Conflict (the “Goldstone Report”) in the UN General Assembly last November, alienate
many countries who might vote for Australia to become a temporary member of the UN Security
Council. Further, such partisan votes do not represent the interests of our country or the opinions of
the Australian voting public.

This OECD conference in Jerusalem creates additional obstacles and undermines the current
international efforts to bring about a breakthrough in the peace process. It is contradictory to
reward Israel with a Tourism Summit in Jerusalem while the Israeli occupation is blocking any
chance of viable and independent Palestinian tourism. In fact, today there are 7,150 Israeli tour
guides allowed to work in Jerusalem while only 42 Palestinian tour guides are permitted. The
Palestinian tourism industry in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Territories has
been virtually destroyed since 1967.

We urge you to declare that Australia will not take part in this OECD Tourism meeting in Jerusalem.

We request a meeting with you to discuss this matter.

Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Committee of Management
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine, Sydney

1 Haaretz, 5 September 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tourism-minister-u-k-spain-to-boycott-oecd-tourism-conferencebecause-
it-s-in-jerusalem-1.317212


Download letter Rudd OECD Oct 2010


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