It has been very clear by now that anti-Israel activists seek Jews and especially Israelis to legitimize anti-Israeli activities, a step meant to deflect from accusations of anti-Semitism.
The Boycott Divestment, Sanctions movement as epitomized by Omar Barghouti's Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is a prime example.
Dr. Marcelo Svirsky, lecturer at the U of Haifa School of Political Science until 2008, now teaching at the University of Wollongong, Australia, wholeheartedly embraced the PACBI agenda. In his latest book of May 2014, After Israel, Svirsky argued that "the Zionist political project cannot be fixed - it is one that negatively affects the lives of its beneficiaries as well as of its victims... Overcoming these modes of being is to after Israel."
Ariella Azoulay of Tel Aviv University's Minerva Humanities Center wrote a supportive review of the book: "After Israel is a secular book. It refuses to accept Zionism as a religious dogma; this excellent book rather dares to read Zionism as an episode in the history of Palestine, and of the two peoples that live there. This is neither an apocalypse nor a prophecy. It is a daring political and cultural analysis of the processes undermining the current Israeli regime that are at work today."
Writing aside, Svirsky is busy with his new project, a walk for BDS that culminated with a BDS Petition to the Australian House of Representatives on Monday, 27th of October 2014. Along the walk - from Sidney to Canberra, Svirsky is spreading the BDS message as the article below indicates.
Unlike in the United States and Europe, Australia had so far little BDS activism. Svirsky is obviously working hard to change that.
FROM SYDNEY TO CANBERRA – A WALK FOR THE BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS CAMPAIGN
UPDATE: 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
In the Media
SBS: Interview: Jewish academic protests Israeli actions against Palestinians, Darren Mara, 1 October 2014
Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times: An Israeli soldier walks for Palestinians, Stuart Rees, 2 October 2014
Radio National: Interview: Racism becomes the norm in Israel: Political scientist
Illawarra News: Wollongong University academic walks to Canberra for Palestine, Helen Wilson, 28 September 2014
New Matilda: An Israeli Walks For Palestinians And BDS, Stuart Rees, 2 October 2014
Green Left Weekly: Jewish academic walks to Canberra for Palestine, Kerrie Smith, 20 September 2014
Medianet: Jewish-Israeli academic’s marathon walk for Palestine, Australians for Palestine, 29 September 2014
Palestine Chronicle: A Long Walk for Palestinian freedom, Vacy Vlazna, 4 October 2014
Middle East Reality Checker: Marcelo Svirsky’s Long Walk for Palestine, Middle East Reality Check, 1 October 2014
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 where to eat.
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!), andTareq 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 THREE – Otford to Wollongong CBD
A bit of rain in the way
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 theHouse 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile: 04 -37890005
- Help contact the media or discuss your ideas with Dr. Svirsky: email: email@example.com; 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.
Dr Marcelo Svirsky
I did my undergraduate (Physics) and postgraduate studies (Political Sciences) in Israeli Universities; my PhD thesis dealt with a critic of multiculturalism from an intercultural perspective: Between Multiculturalism and Interculturalism – from Politics of Recognition to Politics of Familiarity.
Beyond academic life I'm involved in political activism mainly on Arab-Jewish cooperation in Israel/Palestine:
- I was co-founder, and chair of the Arab-Jewish NGO “An Alternative Voice in the Galilee”
- Active in the PTA of the Jewish-Arab Bilingual School “Galilee”
- Coordinator of “Democracy and Co-existence Educational Programs”, Haifa Municipality, Israel (2004-2006).
- In 2003, with the legal support of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel I appealed to the Supreme Court against the State. The petition (N0 152/03) looked for exemption of Reserve Military Service for parents raising their children. The petition was rejected.
On the one hand…
October 1, 2014 by J-Wire staff
Israeli-born Marcelo Svirsky has been criticised by federal MP Michael Danby for supporting the BDS movement by walking from Wollongong to Canberra…Svirsky responds to the criticism.
Labor MP for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby told J-Wire: “It is disappointing to see any person, let alone an Israeli, participate in the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. It was especially sad to see new Wollongong University academic Marcelo Svirsky, an Israeli born Jew, supporting BDS. Svirsky is walking to Canberra to petition Parliament to support BDS.
BDS founder Omar Barghouti has made it clear that the aim of the Boycott movement is the elimination of the State of Israel. I doubt Mr Svirsky understands the essence of the Boycott moment expressed by fellow BDS supporters such as As’ad AbuKhalil, Professor of Political Science at California State University: ‘the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
Clearly, Mr Svirsky has little understanding of Australian politics as Mr Barghouti’s BDS campaign has been widely opposed by both major political parties. Even the Greens political party has disavowed the BDS following their ignominious debacle in the Marrickville state seat where a Greens Party candidate failed miserably when she supported the BDS campaign. Senator Lee Rhiannon seems to be the only federal parliamentarian left supporting the dangerous movement.
Mr Svirsky’s actions undermine his family in Israel. I wonder how he justifies BDS founder Omar Barghouti’s claims on 14 December last year, in the US magazine The Nation. Omar Barghouti distilled the essence of the hard-line Boycott movement: ‘Going back to a two-state solution, beside having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.’ In the same article, he said, ‘Good riddance. The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can move onto a unitary state where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.’
This poor deluded Wollongong academic is not walking to a welcome in Canberra, he is walking political oblivion.”
Svirsky responded to Danby’s comments sayimg: “The BDS goal is simple and clear: to lever pressure on Israel to force it to engage in just compromises with the Palestinian people. Diplomacy hasn’t worked for justice, and Israel is not going to change by itself any more that South Africa changed by itself. Therfore, the only way to create just and equal condition of negotiations where Israel has a lot to lose is by increasing international pressure in which BDS is a major factor. BDS is not a strategy but a tactic to lead to just negotiations. If, eventually, as a result, Israel will become democratic and put behind its racist and war mongering present or if this process will lead to one democratic state for Palestinians and Jews, I will be more than happy.
As for the Greens, I understand their ambivalences and hesitations. This is a long journey, and I am confidant that in the near future the Greens will officially endorse BDS. As it happened with South Africa, governments will cut ties with Israel; our walk to Canberra is a first step in that direction.”