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Issue #1659      October 8, 2014

Jewish-Israeli academic’s marathon walk for Palestine

Jewish academic, Marcelo Svirsky has completed his marathon 10-day walk from Sydney to Canberra to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel for its continuing subjugation of the Palestinians.

Marcelo Svirsky, a lecturer in politics at the University of Wollongong is an Australian-Israeli Palestine activist. He is the author of several academic works on Israel-Palestine, activism and colonialism and is an active member of the National Tertiary Education Union.

He began his 10-day walk from the Sydney Opera House to the Federal Parliament in Canberra to raise awareness about BDS in Australia on September 23. The walk was to culminate in the submission to the House of Representatives of a petition calling on Federal Parliament to endorse BDS.

“I’ve lived in Israel most of my life as a Jew,” Svirsky said, “and I’m certain that it’s a moral obligation to support the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel until it abides by international law.

“I’m walking to Canberra to make a simple statement: Israel must end the occupation, give full equality to its Arab citizens, and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This isn’t just what’s right and decent: it’s what international law mandates.”

Svirsky arrived in Canberra on October 2, having passed through the Illawarra, the Southern Highlands, Goulburn, and Bungendore. He has participated in public meetings at Wollongong and Mittagong and spoke in Goulburn.

“The shocking butchery in Gaza means that nations that support peace must act to end Israeli violence,” Svirsky said. “The international BDS campaign is a non-violent mechanism to put pressure on Israel to halt its oppression of Palestine and my individual walk for BDS, corresponds with the growing in prominence of BDS in Australia in recent months.”

Staff and students at Svirksy’s university issued the following declaration and commitment: “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.”

University of Sydney academic, Jake Lynch recently won a case brought against him by an Israeli law centre for spearheading the call for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. In a major victory for the BDS movement in Australia, Lynch was awarded costs.

In Sydney last month, calls to boycott the Israeli Film Festival because of its sponsorship by the Israeli government, led to the Supreme Court of NSW banning a protest outside the festival’s opening night.

Svirsky is one of 164 Jews who signed an open letter in August calling on Jewish people “to break their silence, to take a public stand for an end to the underlying conditions of siege and occupation which defy elementary morality, decency and humanity”.

Next article – Cuban Ambassador to Australia, Pedro Monzon, farewell

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