Greens Councillor Max Phillips publicly announced his position on Marrickville Council’s proposed support of the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
Councillor Max Phillips said “Although well intentioned, the Council report clearly makes any boycott impractical and I will be voting against any boycott. It is time for Marrickville Council to move on”.
Read the Sydney Morning Herald article:
Israel boycott wilts under politics and practicalities
April 16, 2011
MARRICKVILLE COUNCIL’S controversial boycott of Israel is on the verge of collapse after a Greens councillor withdrew his support yesterday. Any boycott will now rely on the support of Labor, which is in doubt.
As the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, joined a growing response of condemnation and the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, threatened to sack the council, the Greens councillor Max Phillips confirmed he would vote against putting the boycott into practice.
It also emerged that the Greens mayor, Fiona Byrne, had received death threats. The NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said Cr Byrne had received the threats and the council’s stance on Israel had shown courage.
Mr Phillips said that although he supported Palestinian human rights he did not think the boycott was the way to go. ”I had unease initially about the [boycott] when first moved in December, and this unease has grown in listening to the local community,” he said.
”I will not be voting for any kind of boycott at the meeting on Tuesday night. This issue must be put to rest.”
He expected at least one other Greens councillor to join him.
The policy was adopted in principle at a meeting in December with the support of five Greens, one independent and four Labor councillors. Two independents voted against it.
On Tuesday the council will vote on what practical form a boycott would take. Any motion supporting the boycott will now need Labor support to pass.
One Labor councillor, Emanuel Tsardoulias, has already confirmed he will not support it. Yesterday he said he expected his counterparts to join him at a weekend caucus meeting, though they could not be reached to confirm this.
Cr Phillips said local Greens groups had drafted a proposal to the NSW Greens calling for support for the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel to be rescinded, pending a review.
”With the benefit of hindsight there should have been a much more thorough debate on this issue before it was adopted by the NSW Greens and moved on Marrickville Council,” he said.
Yesterday Mr Rudd labelled the policy ”inappropriate and plain nuts”. Mr O’Farrell published a letter he sent to the council on Thursday warning it to focus on core services and drop the policy or face the sack.
”The NSW government will consider the range of options available to it,” he wrote.
A report published on Wednesday found a full boycott of Israeli-linked products would cost $3.7 million. Cr Byrne said she would not support any boycott that financially disadvantaged ratepayers.
The independent councillor Dimitrios Thanos, who supported the original motion, said the Premier would be justified in putting the council into administration if it spent $3.7 million, but no one wanted to do that.
”There is no way anyone out of the 12 would support such a fiscally irresponsible position.”
with Leesha McKenny