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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Boycott of apartheid Israel picks up pace

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Byron Friends of Palestine has joined the international Israeli Apartheid Week protest which is marked in scores of cities and more than 150 university campuses around the world.

Our Jonson Street stall has enabled us to engage in conversation with Byron Bay locals as well as visitors from Chile, Israel, the UK, France and Sweden, Jews and goyim alike.

Our ‘Free Felafals, Free Palestine’ chorus attracted quite a bit of attention which was bolstered by the UN  Secretary-General’s removal from the UN website of the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) report, Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.

It finds, ‘beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid’ as defined in international law and urges national governments to ‘support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives’.

It appears that intense pressure was brought to bear on the Secretary-General by Israel, the US and their supporters with the result that the ESCWA  director, Rima Khalaf, resigned, ‘because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report’.

It is intolerable that political pressure can be allowed to influence what the UN can and cannot publish.

International law and transparency have been damaged by this decision not to publish. I initiated an Avaaz petition calling on the  Secretary-General to reinstate this report on the UN website in its entirety and without amendment. I urge readers to sign the petition and to share it widely,


Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay 

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  1. Who wrote this ESCWA report, from my reading The report chief author is Richard Falk and sponsored by 18 Arab states. Let’s have a look at Richard’s track record for a moment.
    Denounced by Ban Ki-Moon for espousing 9/11 conspiracy theories accusing the US government not Al Qaeda, blaming the US also for the Boston bombings. Moon said in part the Falk’s remarks were “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of 3000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack”.
    Canadian foreign minister John Baird has condemned Falk’s “mean spirited” and “anti-Semitic rhetoric” and noted “the united nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such and individual”. In 2013 the Palestinians themselves wanted Falk to be sacked as a UN Human Rights Reporter because of his support for Hamas.
    So we have a reported sponsored by some of the most notorious and abusive regimes when it comes to humans rights, women’s rights, actually any rights at all (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Libya…..) who’s main author is a notorious for his anti-sematic views and who’s grip on reality has been questioned at by both sides of the political divide. They issue a report without going through the appropriate UN channels and squeal when it gets withdrawn.
    The Byron friends of Palestine once again remind us how shallow and lacking thought they are when it comes to Israel. How totally blind they are to the reality of life in that country. You do the Palestinians and particularly yourselves no favours by throwing up this (material) and then expecting anyone to have any respect fro what you have to say.


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