Greened out in Marrickville (re BDS vote against Israel) 16Feb11 February 18, 2011

by Henry Benjamin  -  J-Wire -  16 February 2011

PHOTO: “Lisa Pulver-Jackson” by Henry Benjamin

The Aboriginal convert to Judaism who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales addressed the Council last night.

On the agenda for the council were questions dealing with the costs of the BDS in both time and money. Pulver-Jackson told the meeting that she was a member of the Wiradjuri Koori from South West New South Wales near Wagga where she had been born. She recalled the difficult times when Aboriginals had to deal with discrimination on a daily basis. “Now, as a Jew, I am going through this again,” she said.

The Council had permitted speakers on both sides of the argument to address them. Mayor Fiona Byrne told J-Wire that they were still seeking advice on how to put the BDS into practice. The resolution  was proposed by Greens Council member Cathy Peters who told J-Wire that her father is Jewish and that her grandparents were in Theriesenstadt during the war. “I am proud of my Jewish background but not of the Apartheid activities of the Israelis in the West Bank where they are now reported to be cutting off water supplies to the Palestinians.”

Pulver-Jackson told the meeting:  ”I am a supporter of movements like sister cities and I believe community is about people coming together, working together and improving and enriching each others’ lives.

She said she objected to Council “”in the name of human justice” excluding sections of the community when making its decisions and that it will “divide rather than unite our community”.

David Schlesinger also lives in the area and is the father of three including five-year-old twins. He told J-Wire: “I would find it unthinkable if an Israeli cultural show or exhibition was banned from the area and my children could not enjoy locally their own cultural background.”

Labour Councillors Victor Macri and Morris Hanna both voted against the December 14 resolution and are confident that other members of the Council would “see the light” and would vote differently should a rescission move was to be called.

There are 12 members of Marrickville Council. Five are Greens Part, four are Labour and three are Independents. Two of the Independents, Victor Macri and Morris Hanna, voted against the resolution.

Councillor Macri told J-Wire: “I am sure that when the reports come in as to how to implement the resolution, many of the Councillors will take a different view and hopefully we will be on our way to a rescission.”

In a report tabled at the meeting the answers to the following questions were printed but not discussed.

How many staff have worked on the current notice of motion since it was passed and to prepare it?

How many hours have been spent dealing with enquirties from media, residents and others?

How much has it cost us to date, including time of staff, correspondence, resources phones emails and paper?

Councillor Macri pointed to a report in the local paper and referred to the salary of the  administrative staff. He said: “It would have to have been at least $35,000.”

The Council report stated that 25 staff had been involved with the resolution since it was passed and that 86.25 hours been spend dealing with media and preparing for the resolution’s implementation.

Marrickville Council has Jewish members in its staff.

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