Monday, January 02, 2012

BDS campaign in Australia: one step forward ten backwards!!!

The Greens party’s latest decision to officially reject and abandon the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) campaign against Israel has exposed the naked truth that we were talking about for the last year. The decision by the Greens, while had great negative impact on the campaign for Palestinians rights in Australia, is a clear prove that the BDS campaign in Australia had started in the wrong way by the wrong people.

From the first day the Greens announced that they will push a motion in the Marrickville council to boycott Israel and Israeli companies, we announced that all circumstances are very suspicious. The timing was suspicious, just 3 months before NSW state election. The wording of the motion was highly suspicious. And the source of the motion was also highly suspicious. Since when was the Greens a credible “left” party that have any ideology or left agenda?

We put all our suspicions into few words and declared that the project would be a big failure (see our article on http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2010/12/marrickville-council-motion-on.html) for all above mentioned suspicious circumstances (and facts).

Then we were attacked by individuals and organisations that backed the move enthusiastically (the majority are Greens members assembled in pro-Palestinian “organisations” like the CJPP (Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine) to try to use the Palestinian blood and suffering for Greens electoral gains). The events in the following few months proved that we were right.

The Greens initiator of the motion and candidate for Marrickville seat in last year’s state election and after the first article in the Australian attacking her stance on the issue held a press conference and declared (and in written media release also) that she does not support BDS. She mentioned that she will not take the issue to the state parliament, if she wins the seat, contrary to the Greens careful wording of the original motion of the necessity to take the issue to the Federal and State levels of government.

And during the campaign the Greens leader, highly regressive Bob Brown who was never quoted talking about the Israeli brutal occupation of Palestine during his 30 years career in politics, appeared on TV screens and announced that BDS is not supported officially by his party.

The last month’s decision by the Greens to officially abandon support for BDS should have sent wake call for all individuals and organisation that still putting all their bids on the Greens horse. These individuals and organisations (mainly either naive or Greens members) should wake up to the grim reality. The Greens is no more than a populist political prostitute that you never can count on for such important issue. The Greens record on acting on this issue is very poor, even poorer than Liberals record. Let us remember that the Greens proactively supported the banning of Palestinian national resistance forces, 2003. The Greens refused to participate in any solidarity missions to Palestine after Jenin massacres (2002), war on Lebanon (2006), war on Gaza (2008-2009),...

So what is next for BDS campaign?

In our opinion, the campaign was designed and started upside-down, and this is why it failed.

The campaign started from the top, trying to initiate the debate and campaign from councils and parliament. You do this only if you have strong lobby that is very well organised, have tremendous resources and plenty of political connections and influences.

The Zionist movement does depend on such campaigns. They have strong well organised lobby groups. They have plenty of resources, including plenty of powerful mainstream media outlets and strong political connections and influences, including Zionist MPs and ministers.

But for the pro-Palestinian camp, this is not the case. There is no strong organised lobby groups. There is no powerful resources. No support in media. And consequently no strong political connections and influences.

So the alternative would have been the grass-root campaigns among citizens. By doing this, the campaign would gather momentum to convince the politicians to support such camping for their electoral sake.

The BDS campaign should start by convincing Australians to embrace BDS principles on personal level. If we can convince Australians to start shopping away from Zionist products and stop using services provided by Zionist companies, then we could have strong start.

But we first need to start such campaign. Currently, even the Australians concerned about the Palestine issue do not have any clue about the importance and ways for BDS. How many times we have visited Palestinian, Muslim or pro-Palestinian friends and they offered Coca Cola or Nescafe for beverages? How many times we have seen them go to McDonalds or KFC for dinner? How many Israeli dates and products are sold in Muslim and Arabic shops?

This should be the first step. Not by helping the Greens trading the Palestinian blood and sufferings for cheap electoral gains.

The CJPP and other organisations should either declare that they are Greens-propaganda arms. Or they should maintain independence from the Greens and act in the interest of Palestinian people, as they declare in their declared objectives.

There is a lot of work to be done. And there is a long journey to walk to achieve any goals. But the direction is very important. If we start walking in the wrong direction, we will be lost with no achievement at all. We even would discover that we help the enemies, instead. And this is what we have discovered now after the Greens declaration of their real agenda, intents and belonging.