Author: Bruce K (Page 1 of 2)

Letter to Xavier Rudd: Put Palestinians’ human rights first – Don’t play in Israel!

 

3 June 2019

Dear Xavier

We are Australians, some of Palestinian background, some Jewish, and all for universal and equal human rights, who support the Palestinian call for artists, sportspeople, and others to boycott Israel until indigenous Palestinians win back their equal human rights, rights denied them since 1948 when the new Israeli state used military force and terror to expel 700,000 Palestinians, and have denied them the right to return or redress ever since.

We see that you intend to perform two concerts in Binyamina in Israel in July. We ask you to reconsider this in the light of the increasingly well-known and well-supported boycott that began in 2005. A very long list of artists have done the right thing by Palestinian people, and given your well-established progressive credentials and lyrics, especially with regard to indigenous people worldwide, we strongly hope that you will do the same and place yourself on the right side of history and not perform in Israel.

The Israeli state has ignored repeated calls to adhere to international legal and human rights norms, steadfastly refusing to end its illegal 52-year occupation of the West Bank and its 11-year blockade of two million civilians in Gaza.

Prominent international musicians/acts who have endorsed the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott or who have cancelled concerts because of the boycott call include Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Roger Waters, Wolf Alice, Tom Morello, Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill, Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Faithless, Sinead O’Connor, Souad Massi and Lorde. There are many others.

Prominent Australians who supported the recent campaign to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv include musician Nick Seymour, comedian Tom Ballard, musician L-FRESH The LION, actor Colin Friels, artist and performer Candy Bowers, commentator Helen Razer, former face of SBS Mary Kostakidis, and contemporary Aboriginal artist Blak Douglas.

We are very happy to organise a briefing for you and your team at any time and via any medium. We will connect you with Palestinians living in Australia so you can hear from them about the awful apartheid situation for Palestinians and why peaceful boycott, divestment and sanctions is the best way to advance the cause of Palestinians’ equal human rights, just as it was for indigenous South Africans in the apartheid era that ended with free elections and a new constitution in 1994, culminating in Nelson Mandela becoming president.

There are many more facts we could add to elaborate, but will keep it to these: Since May last year the Israel army has shot and killed more than 200 Palestinian refugees inside Gaza. Another 1700 young Gazans are facing amputation, mainly of their legs, due to Israeli sniper attacks, among the 7000 indigenous Palestinians shot by Israeli snipers in the last year as they protest to end the blockade and to not be refugees forever.

We look forward to your engagement with this life and death human rights issue and otherwise wish you very well with your summer northern hemisphere tour.

In good faith and in support of universal equal human rights,

BDS Australia

MEDIA RELEASE: BDS Australia condemns baseless attacks on pro-Palestine candidates

The Palestinian human rights advocacy organisation, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Australia, condemns the baseless and unprincipled attacks on candidates who expressed their support for Palestine in the recent federal election.

In the lead-up to the election, the ALP’s Melissa Parke and The Greens’ Mehreen Faruqi  were among the candidates from both parties attacked in the pages of the Murdoch and Jewish community press for their support for the Palestinian cause and association with the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)[1] against Israel and the bodies that support its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The insinuation by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry that Melissa Parke’s statement regarding the actions of the IDF at a checkpoint was untrue showed a disgraceful contempt for the facts and led to her unnecessary withdrawal as a strong ALP candidate”, says Hilmi Dabbagh from BDS Australia.

“Melissa Parke’s claims turned out not just to be factual, but on the public record since 2003. The incident, for which the soldier in question was arrested, was reported by Reuters and appeared in The Age in June 2003.”

“The Israel lobby’s efforts to smear supporters of Palestine during this campaign were only too predictable. It is simply chilling that the co-director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, could claim that circumstances could “exonerate” the IDF soldier who made a Palestinian woman drink bleach at a checkpoint. Nothing “exonerates” such a barbaric action.”

“Melissa Parke, Senator Mehreen Faruqi and other candidates[2] who were attacked by the Israel lobby are to be congratulated for their uncompromising support for Palestinians, human rights and international law and their commitment to a just peace for everyone in Palestine-Israel, regardless of their background.”

“The Greens maintained their strong support for Palestinian rights and their refusal to be cowed by the Israel lobby’s pressure is to be commended. They have not yet, however, gone far enough. We encourage The Greens, along with the ALP and indeed all political parties, to fully embrace Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS.”

“In its refusal to take a principled and long-needed stand against Israel’s crimes against Palestinian people, the Australian government has positioned itself as a particularly blinkered and irrational obstacle to peace in the Middle East. BDS Australia urges all Australians committed to peace and justice and the political parties that represent them, to adopt BDS as a matter of urgency.”

[1] Further information:
BDS is an international grassroots campaign initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005. In the face of the repeated failure of official negotiations to secure peace, the boycott movement emerged as a large-scale, civil-society response to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, and the ongoing violations of human rights and international law that accompany it. BDS supports equal human rights and adherence to international law, and is opposed to racism in all forms including Anti-Semitism.

[2] Josh Wilson and Susan Templeman (ALP), James Cruz, Emmet de Bhaldraithe, Jonathon Doig and Connor Parissis (The Greens)

BDS Australia statement on recent attacks on us and on supporters of Palestinians in federal politics

17 May 2019

In recent weeks, BDS Australia and its supporters, particularly in the Australian Greens and the ALP, have been the subject of concerted attacks in the pages of the Murdoch press and the Australian Jewish community media.

#BDS is an international grassroots campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005. In the face of the repeated failure of official negotiations to secure peace, the boycott movement emerged as a large-scale, civil-society response to Israel’s ongoing, murderous and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, and the egregious war crimes and violations of human-rights and international law that accompany it.

Since March last year, as UN figures show, the Israeli military has killed no fewer than 271 Gazans and wounded around 30 000 others, mostly during peaceful protests. In that light, the claim that Israel is committed to peace demonstrates a cynical contempt for the truth.

Israel is an apartheid state. It is not a democracy, nor a model of anti-racism, religious tolerance, democratic freedom or indigenous rights, as its supporters ludicrously claim. The accuracy of apartheid as a characterisation of Israel’s practices towards Palestinians has often been confirmed internationally, including by experts in international law. Already in 2013, writing in The European Journal of International Law, John Dugard and John Phelan concluded that ‘Israeli practices in the occupied territory are not only reminiscent of – and, in some cases, worse than – apartheid as it existed in South Africa, but are in breach of the legal prohibition of apartheid.’ A 2017 report for the UN by Emeritus Professor Richard Falk, who will visit Australia in July, and Professor Virginia Tilley, also concluded that ‘Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.’

People of conscience cannot remain silent while Israel pursues the ruination of Palestinian lives, the confinement of nearly two million people in the open prison of Gaza, the engulfing and de facto annexation of much of the West Bank by illegal settlements, the denial of dispossessed refugees’ right to return to their homes, and the treatment of its own Palestinian citizens as second-class citizens, now constitutionally ratified by last year’s Nation-State law.

Boycotts are a well-established international mechanism of political pressure. BDS aims to end apartheid in Palestine-Israel and secure a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike through pressure on those responsible for and complicit with Israeli apartheid, just like the boycott of South Africa did. Far from manifesting racism against Jewish people, as our opponents claim, BDS is an anti-racist campaign, unreservedly opposed to hatred and discrimination in all its forms, and embraced by, among others, many Jews in Israel and elsewhere. The conflation of BDS with anti-semitism is a deliberate tactic used by the Israeli state to slander BDS supporters and to maliciously misrepresent the movement and its aims.

The Greens are to be congratulated on the support they have expressed for Palestinian rights. They have not yet, however, gone far enough. The Greens, along with the ALP and indeed all political parties, must fully embrace Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS.

In its refusal to take a principled and long-needed stand against Israel’s crimes against Palestinian people, Australia has positioned itself as a particularly blinkered and irrational obstacle to peace in the Middle East. BDS Australia urges all Australians committed to peace and justice in the world, and the political parties that represent them, to adopt BDS as a matter of urgency.

MEDIA RELEASE: Prominent Australians join Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Australia’s calls for a boycott of this weekend’s SBS broadcast of Eurovision in Israel

MEDIA RELEASE 16 May 2019

Prominent Australians join Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Australia’s calls for a boycott of this weekend’s SBS broadcast of Eurovision in Israel

Palestinians have asked international viewers not to watch the event this year while the Israeli state continues to commit war crimes, break international law and deny Palestinians equal human rights.

Australia’s entrant, Kate Miller-Heidke has ignored sustained calls from throughout Australia and from rock legend, Roger Waters not to perform and ‘artwash’ human rights abuses by Israel.

Prominent Australians have made the following statements in support of the boycott:

Mary Kostakidis, the former face of SBS News:
“The daily brutality and dispossession faced by Palestinian people shames us all. While the world’s performers come together to compete in a celebration of song and dance we know that the brutality will continue. I applaud those who have refused to take part. Just as sanctions and the courage of people all over the world to stand up for justice brought an end to apartheid in South Africa, more & more of us must demand an end to this cruelty, respect for the rights of Palestinian people and peace with justice. This year, Eurovision is asking us to be blind. We are not blind and we cannot be complicit.”

Colin Friels, renowned actor:
”Given the siege of Gaza and the slaughter of Palestinians, the televising of the Eurovision Song Contest must not be allowed to ‘artwash’ Israeli brutalities. I strongly support the boycott of this event and urge others to do the same.”

L-FRESH The LION, hip-hop artist and 2018 SBS Eurovision judge:
“I stand with the people of Palestine. As an artist and musician, I don’t see how Eurovision can achieve its goal of bringing the world together through music by having its 2019 competition in Israel, while Israel continues to violently occupy Palestine. In respecting Palestinian’s call for a cultural boycott of Israel, I encourage my peers to do the same. We all have a part to play. We cannot remain silent or be complicit in the suffering of Palestinian people.”

Comedian and broadcaster Tom Ballard:
“As a former employee and as someone who likes important, diverse television, I love SBS. As a homosexual, I am required by law to love Eurovision. Both of these things are true. But I’m also compelled to love human rights. I’m compelled to join the call from Palestine to boycott Eurovision this year, to call for an end to the persecution and apartheid of Palestinians and to demand justice from the international community. Thank you for giving a shit and thank you for doing the right thing.”

Writer, actor and multidisciplinary artist Candy Bowers:
“Palestinian artists and musicians are asking for our solidarity, recognising our own relative privilege, to join the boycott of Israel until they win justice and equality. Israeli policy has been about erasing Palestinian culture and ignoring Palestinian voices. I hear their voices and urge others artists in Australia to hear them too. Art and entertainment should never ignore human rights.”

Contemporary Aboriginal artist and 2019 Archibald Prize finalist Blak Douglas:
“I stand in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters just as I do with my First Nations’ peoples both here and abroad. For SBS management to endorse the Eurovision 2019 contest, they effectively deny the ensuing genocide upon the Palestinian citizens on their homeland in favour of ratings.”

Hilmi Dabbagh, the convenor of BDS Australia, said, “While it is a personal milestone for Kate Miller-Heidke to take her post-natal depression inspired song ‘Zero Gravity’ into the grand final of Eurovision, does she realise that Palestinians suffer some of the worst mental health outcomes in the world and easily the highest rate of mental illness in the Middle East due to the 71-year occupation of their lands?”

“We ask Kate Miller-Heidke to reflect on the impact of her visit on Palestinians and to accept the briefing BDS Australia offered her in December from Palestinians in Australia, and join us in campaigning for equal human rights,” Mr Dabbagh said.

CONTACT:
Bruce Knobloch
Campaign organiser at BDS Australia
0425282450 | contact@bdsaustralia.net.au
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MEDIA ALERT: BOYCOTT EUROVISION 2019 PROTEST TOMORROW SATURDAY 11AM AT SBS

MEDIA ALERT: BOYCOTT EUROVISION 2019 PROTEST TOMORROW SATURDAY 11AM AT SBS

PURPOSE

Supporters of Palestinians’ equal human rights will be loudly telling SBS board and management how disappointed they are that Eurovision 2019 – happening in apartheid Israel in 3 weeks’ time – is being treated as business as usual by the broadcaster, despite a global call for a boycott from Palestinian artists that is supported by thousands of Australians and prominent musicians and artists, including L-FRESH The Lion (former SBS Eurovision judge), Nick Seymour (Crowded House), Blak Douglas (contemporary indigenous artist), Candy Bowers (artist/creator), Miriam Margoyles (actor) and Colin Friels (actor).

SPEAKERS + MESSAGES OF SUPPORT

* Palestine Action Group spokesperson
* BDS Australia spokesperson
* Independent candidate for Wentworth (campaigning for ethical foreign policy focusing on Palestine/Israel and West Papua/Indonesia)

Messages from:

* Mary Kostakidis (former face of SBS News)
* Helen Razer (outspoken journalist and opinion-maker)
* Tom Ballard (comedian and podcaster)

TIME: 11AM
PLACE: SBS, 14 Herbert St, Artarmon
CONTACT: Bruce Knobloch 0425282450

MEDIA RELEASE: Netanyahu wins as Palestinians lose hope and boycotts, divestment and sanctions become more urgent

11 April 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu is now heading towards his fifth term as Israel’s Prime Minister, built on a coalition of far right and extremist politicians.

In what has proven a winning strategy, Netanyahu’s last minute pre-election statements promising to annex illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and thus prevent any possibility of a separate, viable Palestinian state, have garnered him the support he needed.

“This outcome means that Israel will continue to become a more extreme apartheid state than it is now,” says Hilmi Dabbagh, Convenor of BDS Australia.

“All the cards in this game are stacked in Israel’s favour. Not only has Netanyahu won again, he has Trump’s backing in every way to claim Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and now even the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“Israeli Likud Party politicians have long maintained that all of greater Palestine would become Israeli territory and there would never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. It’s in Likud’s charter. This has been downplayed, but is no secret, and shows that the diplomatic world has turned a blind-eye, maintaining a pretence to permit this very outcome of formally annexing the West Bank. Netanyahu’s election promise means they no longer feel the need to mask their contempt for a Palestinian state. Clearly now there’s no plan or even rhetoric for any kind of two-state solution on the part of Israel.

“We in BDS Australia know the only way out of this dreadful situation is for the international community – as it did in South Africa a generation ago – to institute boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the international companies and organisations which support this regime.

“International support for BDS against Israel was called for by a huge coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations in 2006. We in BDS Australia are part of the international BDS movement guided by Palestinians’ calls for peaceful, non-violent action to force Israel to abide by international law and to respect human rights.

“Netanyahu’s election win simply means we in BDS Australia, with our global counterparts, will institute BDS campaigns against Israeli apartheid all the more vigorously.”

 

For further information:
Bruce Knobloch – Campaign organiser
0425 282 450 | contact@bdsaustralia.net.au

Statement on the latest bombing of Gaza: Israel must end the 11-year blockade of Gaza

Palestinians have a right to resist the Israeli occupation, including the illegal and brutal 11-year blockade of Gaza. The living situation for the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza is terrible and getting worse.

We stand in solidarity with the Great March of Return protestors who every Friday assemble at the fence and demand equal human rights with the Israelis on the other side. These young people refuse to be trapped in the open air prison created by the Israeli government and abetted by the Egyptian dictatorship. They refuse to be refugees forever.

Rocket attacks against civilians are illegal and ineffective. There is no military solution for Palestinians. Israel – backed by massive funding from the USA – has overwhelming conventional dominance. Israeli civilians – like Palestinian civilians – must never be targeted. Despite this legal prohibition, civilians in Gaza have repeatedly been attacked by the Israeli army, with about 1,500 killed in Israel’s 7-week bombardment of Gaza in 2014.

The refusal of Palestinians to meekly play the part of the conquered, by protesting for equality and dignity, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or increasingly within Israel, is inevitable. Palestinians have never accepted the cruel deal imposed on them in 1947-48. They have always resisted the occupation and the stunting of their lives and those of their children.

Our solidarity through peaceful, targeted, determined BDS campaigning is removing the cloak of legitimacy that once allowed the Israeli state to promote the myth that Palestinians did not exist and that Israel was a normal society. Social media allows Palestinians at home and throughout the diaspora to speak for themselves and demand the right to return home.

With Israeli elections just weeks away it suits Netanyahu to be seen as a strongman. But whichever chauvinist wins the election the situation for Palestinians will remain desperate and international solidarity remains vital.

We urge people to join Land Day rallies on this Saturday 30 March to commemorate the first anniversary of the beginning of the Great March of Return actions in Gaza.

Sydney: 1 PM, First Fleet Park, Circular Quay

Melbourne: 1 PM, State Library of Victoria

BDS Australia national committee

In many languages these SBS viewers have one message: “We love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.” #BoycottEurovision2019

Diverse members of the Australian community send a message to SBS, Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, to support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Australia call to cancel this year’s Eurovision broadcast from Israel. In many languages these SBS viewers have one message: “We love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.”

In every Eurovision country campaigners are working in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian people for their equal human rights and the upholding of international law. They are calling on organisations like SBS that broadcast and promote the song contest to end their participation because this year Eurovision is not ‘bringing people together.’

#BoycottEurovision2019

News report and video of our actions at Eurovision ‘Australia Decides’ on 9 February 2019

Justice for Palestine Brisbane and BDS Australia held a protest event to meet with the fans going in to Eurovision ‘Australia Decides’ to explain why we are calling for a boycott, that “we love Eurovision, but we love human rights more.”

And below is some video footage of a boycott supporter unfurling a banner inside the event at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

MEDIA RELEASE: Eurovision 2019 ‘Australia Decides’ Israel boycott and protest action on Saturday 9 February, Gold Coast Convention Centre

Australian artists are calling on SBS, Sony Music Australia, and all ten contestants in Saturday’s ‘Australia Decides’ Eurovision Song Contest event to hear the voices of Palestinians, including Palestinian musicians, who are calling for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv in Israel.

Significantly last year’s SBS Eurovision judge, hip hop artist L-FRESH The LION, supports the boycott call, as does renowned Australian actor Colin Friels, both quoted below.

“Israel’s 50 year brutal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, its 11-year illegal blockade and bombings of the two million people trapped in Gaza, its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return home, along with the 65 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel make it astonishing that Eurovision should be used to normalise and promote Israel, and that SBS and Australian musicians are playing along without comment,” says BDS Australia campaign spokesperson and Brisbane musician Phil Monsour.

“International boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) played an important role in helping end apartheid in South Africa and the same will be true of ending apartheid in Palestine/Israel,” says Monsour.

A protest action in support of the boycott has been called by Justice for Palestine Brisbane and BDS Australia outside the Gold Coast Convention Centre from 3:30 PM AEST this Saturday 9 February.

“I stand with the people of Palestine. As an artist and musician, I don’t see how Eurovision can achieve its goal of bringing the world together through music by having its 2019 competition in Israel, while Israel continues to violently occupy Palestine. In respecting Palestinian’s call for a cultural boycott of Israel, I encourage my peers to do the same. We all have a part to play. We cannot remain silent or be complicit in the suffering of Palestinian people.”
L-FRESH The LION, hip hop artist and 2018 SBS Eurovision judge

Actor Colin Friels remarks, ”Given the siege of Gaza and the slaughter of Palestinians, the televising of the Eurovision Song Contest must not be allowed to ‘artwash’ Israeli brutalities. I strongly support the boycott of this event and urge others to do the same.”

Writer, actor and multidisciplinary artist Candy Bowers says, “Palestinian artists and musicians are asking for our solidarity, recognising our own relative privilege, to join the boycott of Israel until they win justice and equality. Israeli policy has been about erasing Palestinian culture and ignoring Palestinian voices. I hear their voices and urge others artists in Australia to hear them too. Art and entertainment should never ignore human rights.”

“Eurovision in Israel seems like a typical colonial diversionary tactic: play loud so that no one hears the gurgling of those being slain.” – contemporary Aboriginal artist Blak Douglas

PHONE: Phil Monsour on +61 400 912 550
EMAIL: BDS Australia at contact@bdsaustralia.net.au

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