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