This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine. I will post in 2 parts, covering the Peace Team visit & the BDS in this post.
There were 3 security guards & 2 freelance journalists as well as journalists from the Australian Jewish News, Crikey, Greenleft Weekly & The Spectator recording & filming the meeting.
Notice of Motion: Peace Team visit – 7 members of the local community spoke supporting the motion for 3 minutes each. Speaker 1: Said they welcomed the peace alliance & applauded Council’s support of the BDS as it draws attention to the practices of the Israeli government & brings pressure to do something about this.
Speaker 2: Said this motion demonstrates Council’s commitment to peace & made him feel proud. He said it is misguided to think the BDS as anti-Semitic & as none of Council’s business. That kind of attitude caused the holocaust & we cannot sit idly by while the people in Bethlehem suffer.
Speaker 3: Identified as a Jewish Israeli who grew up on a kibbutz & has lived in Australia for 21 years. There is more to be gained in creating peace projects that are not negative like the BDS. Said she has been feeling isolated & confused since the BDS was put in place.
Speaker 4: Identified as a Jewish Israeli & a Green’s candidate for a previous state election. Said the BDS says, “boycott any sporting events” & said the BDS is a weeping infected septic wound where band-aid will not stick. The peace team should come to an environment of peace, not sanctions.
Speaker 5: Identified as the Secretary if the Inner West Jewish Peace Alliance that was formed in response to the BDS. They were pleased to see the peace team visit. The group did not see Council as extremists, but ‘acknowledged’ that there was inadequate community consultation before the BDS. They wanted a peaceful resolution of Palestine.
Speaker 6: Identified as a Palestinian. Said he was not against the motion because it was not the right place & he supported the BDS. He stressed that the BDS was not anti-Jewish or about ending the state of Israel. He said the BDS was about Israel sticking to international law. He was not against Jewish groups hiring any halls as he thought they should be able to hire any hall they like, but he took exception when the Palestinian people are used as human shields & now they want to use Palestinians to make this a BDS issue when they could go to any other hall.
Speaker 7: Strongly supported the use of the hall, but was concerned that Council procedures are being abused. Said she was surprised that Clr Macri did not know the group could just go to Council staff & book the hall instead of bringing the motion to the Council Meeting. She said Friends of Hebron in Leichhardt strongly support the BDS & they were happy to work with Jewish groups who don’t try to normalize the occupation of Palestine. The peace group should be able to use the hall & this does not contradict the BDS.
Clr Macri: I moved the motion because the group approached me because they felt alienated by the BDS. There are 2 arguing groups who want Marrickville Councillors to be their gun. I’m not going to do this. Council is getting involved regarding problems over there (Israel) & the BDS alienates one party. I know how to book a hall.
Clr Thanos: The motion is a non-issue & Council never had the intention that a local group could not hire this hall or prevent access. I wish the groups had been told this to prevent undue stress. Clr Hanna: I’m ashamed to be here tonight. You divide the community. Clr Thanos: Council has voted on a boycott of Burma, which Clr Hanna voted in support. Clr Hanna: This is not a local issue. No one asked me to put in a boycott. Burma; I was new & didn’t know what I was doing. You are wasting Council’s money. I am against the BDS & for this motion.
Clr Olive: The Labor party, Clr Thanos & the Greens voted for the BDS. Clr Hanna: The Greens divided the community.
Clr Peters: Question to staff – Clr Hanna has stated that an amount of $80,000 has been used. Have any funds been allocated for the BDS? Staff: To my knowledge Council hasn’t spent any direct money. There has been some staff time, though we don’t record or charge staff time. We haven’t quoted a figure. Any figure has been an estimate by media. Clr Peters: I understand most of staff time was spent on answering enquiries about the BDS mostly from outside Marrickville.
Clr Macri: Has Council engaged any phone survey? Staff: No.
None of the Labor Councillors spoke on this item. Carried unanimously.