UPDATE: 27/10/2014: Federal Member for Fremantle, MP Ms. Melissa Parke Speech in Parliament
Tonight Federal Member for Fremantle, Labor MP Ms. Melissa Parke delivered a courageous and articulate speech in support of the Walk petition and the BDS movement. Great to see her standing up for practical, meaningful action on the horrendous situation in Israel and Palestine. She is to be commended. The leadership she has shown on this critical issue will hopefully encourage others to come out in support of basic legal equality, human rights and peace in this internationalised and protracted conflict.
Read her full speech here
Mainstream Media Coverage:
Brisbane Times: BDS a legitimate means of advancing peace efforts, Melissa Parke, 13 November, 2014
Canberra Times: Labor MP Melissa Parke’s support of BDS movement an appalling indictment, Peter Wertheim and Alex Ryvchin, 10 November, 2014. A Version is also posted on J-Wire
The Australian: Labor MP breaks ranks to table BDS petition against ‘apartheid’ Israel, Christian Kerr, 29 October 2014
SBS: Interview: Jewish academic protests Israeli actions against Palestinians, Darren Mara, 1 October 2014
ABC, Radio National: Interview of Dr. Marcelo Svirsky: Racism becomes the norm in Israel: Political scientist, Interviewer: James Carleton, 23 July 2014
Alternative Media Coverage:
The Australian Jewish News: Shorten: ‘ALP opposes BDS’, Adam Kamien, 31 October 2014
Mondoweiss: Bouquets for Melissa Parke John Salisbury, John Salisbury, 30 October 2014
J-Wire: Danby adds his voice, J-Wire Staff, 30 October 2014
New Matilda: Melissa Parke Breaks Labor Ranks To Back BDS Campaign Against Israel, Max Chalmers, 28 October 2014
J-Wire: A response to Parke, J-Wire Staff, 28 October 2014
thepeoplesvoice.org: Freedom Walking for Palestine and BDS, Stephen Lendman, 11 October 2014
Mondoweiss: Report from Marcelo Svirsky’s epic walk for Palestine, John Salisbury, 9 October 2014
New Matilda: An Israeli Walks For Palestinians And BDS, Stuart Rees, 2 October 2014
Middle East Reality Checker: Marcelo Svirsky’s Long Walk for Palestine, Middle East Reality Check, 1 October 2014
Medianet: Jewish-Israeli academic’s marathon walk for Palestine, Australians for Palestine, 29 September 2014
Illawarra News: Wollongong University academic walks to Canberra for Palestine, Helen Wilson, 28 September 2014
Green Left Weekly: Jewish academic walks to Canberra for Palestine, Kerrie Smith, 20 September 2014
And the press release on Melissa Parke’s speech from Australians for BDS:
PARLIAMENT RESPONDS TO PETITION TO APPLY BDS TO ISRAEL
Melissa Parke, Federal Member for Fremantle, ALP, spoke strongly tonight in the Federal Parliament in response to a petition that urges Australia to “fully and consistently honour its obligations under international law by excluding relations, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, (BDS) with states, institutions and companies – Australian, Israeli or other – that are involved in the perpetuation of apartheid and discriminatory Israeli policies including the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.”
The petition with 720 signatories had been presented by Dr Marcelo Svirsky, a Jewish-Israeli academic teaching at Wollongong University. Three weeks ago, Dr Svirsky undertook a gruelling walk of 300 kilometres from Sydney to Canberra to gather support for this petition.
Ms Parke said tonight “We know that violence is not the solution; we affirm that the rockets fired from Gaza are an illegal response to Israel’s actions. …What, then, is a legal and justified response to actions by Israel which the international community are agreed are illegal?…In my view, non-violent means of protest are and must be seen as legitimate…It is not anti-semitic to protest injustice…BDS is a perfectly acceptable form of protest’.
That Ms Parke’s principled voice spoke alone is testimony to the reach of the Israel lobby and its success to date in suppressing the facts and criticism of Israel.
The recent recognition of Palestine by Sweden and the non-binding vote recognising Palestine in the UK parliament add to the 132 countries which already recognise Palestine. These are important signs that world opinion is shifting in favour of the rule of international law and Palestinians’ rights to self determination. Australia cannot isolate itself from this process.
Monday 27 October
Contact: Dr Marcelo Svirsky 0437 890 005
The BDS Petition which garnered over 720 signatures will be presented to the House of Representatives on Monday, the 27th of October, 10:00 am.
Australians for BDS Congratulates Dr. Svirsky and his supporters for the successful completion of the Walk for BDS!
See below for Dr. Svirsky’s update on delivering the petition to the Australian House of Representatives
Dr. Svirsky’s Walk for BDS: Walk Updates
The BDS Petition will be presented at the House of Representatives on Monday, the 27th of October, 10:00 am.
The idea now is to persuade MPs to make statements when the petition is presented. The aim is to encourage discussion of BDS.
A group of people is already working on phrasing an appeal.
The appeal will be short; however, you are all invited to suggest contents and names of MPs to whom we should send the letter.
Job done. BDS Petition submitted.
It will be presented to the House on October, 27th, 10:00.
DAY NINE – Tarago to Bungendore
Tomorrow we march into Canberra with the voice of the BDS Call.
DAY EIGHT – Goulburn to Tarago
With Tareq Halawa!
The longest segment, 37 km, but good pace, 5.2km/h. Not too bad for the eight day in a row.
It was a hot and windy day.
BDS Petition two days from Parliament!
John Salisbury is in his way to here by train to join us for the last two days.
DAY SEVEN – Merulan to Goulburn
3 days to go….
Not much scenery but mainly the Hume highway
DAY SIX – Moss Vale to Merulan
Originally the stop was Tallong, but there was no place to eat there! So Kevin (Noel’s friend) took us to Merulan where we found a room and ate.
It was a very long day, almost 9 hours walking, but lucky me Noel Ferguson was with me!
Photos below, some took by Noel.
So, what has happened so far?
– A great send-off demo from Sydney Opera House with the BDS Sydney supporters
– Thousands of drivers who saw the BDS banner on my backpack
– Random conversations with people who asked what is BDS, like today at Penrose
– A very successful event at UOW including a public endorsement of BDS
– An excellent meeting yesterday at Mittagong with activists
– And finally, continue to gather signatures for the petition
Two long days ahead of me by myself, first arriving to Goulburn, and on Tuesday to Tarago, where John Salisbury (who is flying from Melbourne to join the walk!), and Tareq Halawa (already missing you) will join me for the two last days.
The last day is full of surprises….
— with Noel Ferguson.
DAY FIVE – Macquaire Pass top to Moss Vale
At 6:30 pm we are having a dinner and conversation about BDS at Thomas Goodman’s house in Mittagong organised by Noel Ferguson
— with Anna Elliott.
DAY FOUR – Wollongong to Macquarie Pass (bottom)
With Tareq Halawa
Some Zionist blisters have been challenging our project, but I have learnt from Palestinians Sumud, so no worries, we will prevail…
For my own mental and physical safety, tomorrow I will resume from Macquarie Pass top, and walk to Moss Vale where I will meet Noel Ferguson.
‘SHOULD WE BOYCOTT ISRAEL?’ Political debate at the UOW Pub – Politics in the Pub
Great event! Attendance of 100 people! Students, staff and Wollongong locals.
With Mona Abu Zalaf and Anthony Ashbolt. All thanks to the perfect organisation and chairing of Claire Johnston (thanks Claire).
The panel received a motion by some people from the audience which most attendees voted in favour:
‘This meeting of students and staff of the University of Wollongong resolves to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
We resolve to support any students or staff who implements BDS.
We call on the Wollongong University Students’ Association and the unions representing workers on campus, but in particular the UOW Branch of the NTEU to support BDS and implement on campus.
We will work through our student and staff unions to get our organisations to support BDS and to support any students or staff who implement it.’
DAY TWO – Sutherland to Otford
BDS in the park….
With Diane Dounas and Tareq Halawa
Diane guided us to Audley through the ‘Honeymoon’ trail
Then we continued with Tareq to cross the Royal National Park.
Tomorrow we will resume from Otford to the University of Wollongong with a stop at Sandon Point to give an interview to the Illawarra Mercury. Then continue to UOW for the BDS event at the UniPub.
DAY ONE – Sydney Opera House to Sutherland
Arrived to Sutherland by 5 pm.
Weather was good, a bit too hot.
In the morning, at the Opera House, police dispersed our BDS demo, claiming that we need a permit.
Tomorrow is a tough day, crossing the Royal National Park.
Dr. Marcelo Svirsky, an Israeli political scientist at Wollongong University, has organised a walk for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in late September 2014. He will walk from Sydney to Canberra. At the conclusion of his walk he will present petition to the Australian House of Representatives calling on Federal Parliament to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
The dates are:
LEAVING SYDNEY: 10am 23rd of September, from the Sydney Opera House Forecourt
ARRIVING IN CANBERRA: On Thursday the 2nd of October
HOW TO GET INVOLVED: SIGN THE PETITION
We are asking people to sign to a petition that Dr. Marcelo Svirsky will present to the Australian House of Representatives calling on Federal Parliament to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. The Australian House of Representatives does not accept online petitions so people just need to:
- Print out the petition: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3k53Ust1E9INTV1SXpIb1ZvVFk/edit?pli=1
- Fill in their names and signatures
- Email Paul Duffill and he will advise the best postal address to send the petition sheets to. Petition sheets must be posted and arrive by mail by the 28th of September 2014
TO THE HONOURABLE THE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
This petition of citizens and residents of Australia draws to the attention of the House the critical predicament of the Palestinian People in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza under Israeli occupation since 1967 and of the Palestinian citizens of Israel suffering racial discrimination since 1948. Notwithstanding UN resolutions condemning Israel’s policies as illegal, Israel continues violating international law and human rights, expanding its colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, imposing a siege on Gaza, and persisting in apartheid and oppressive actions, policies and legislation towards the Palestinian people under its control.
As a response to the failure of all forms of diplomacy to change Israel’s policies, in 2005 the Palestinian Civil Society called upon the world to impose on Israel initiatives of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel meets its obligation to end all forms of occupation; dismantles the illegal ‘Separation Wall’ in the West Bank; ceases the siege on Gaza; implements full equality for its Palestinian citizens; and honours the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.
We therefore ask the House to instruct the Australian Government to fully and consistently honour its obligations under international law by excluding relations, through boycott, divestment and sanctions, with states, institutions and companies – Australian, Israeli or other – that are involved in the perpetuation of apartheid and discriminatory Israeli policies including the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:
- Walk segments of the walk with Dr. Svirsky. Contact Dr. Svirsky on email: email@example.com; mobile: 04 -37890005
- Help contact the media or discuss your ideas with Dr. Svirsky: email: firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile: 04 -37890005
- Follow the Walk for the BDS on Facebook
“Since I will be walking on Aboriginal land, I have asked for, and been granted permission to walk from the Local Aboriginal Land Councils of La Perouse, Tharawal, Illawarra, Pejar and Ngambri, as well as the Metropolitan Land Council. This consent inspires me to affirm the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine.”
Events along the Walk
Public Meetings also in Mittagong and Goulburn
More information of the Walk and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (NOTE THE PETITION IS NO LONGER ONLINE BUT IS NOW A HARD-COPY PETITION. SEE ABOVE FOR MORE DETAILS.)
NOTE THE PETITION IS NO LONGER ONLINE BUT IS NOW A HARD-COPY PETITION. SEE ABOVE FOR MORE DETAILS.