MEDIA RELEASE - 29 September 2014
JEWISH-ISRAELI ACADEMIC's MARATHON WALK FOR PALESTINE
"Jewish academic, Marcelo Svirsky will soon complete his marathon 10 day walk from Sydney to Canberra to promote the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign 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 Sydney Opera House to the Federal Parliament in Canberra to raise awareness about BDS in Australia on September the 23rd. The walk will 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 & Sanctions (BDS) 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 will arrive in Canberra on October the 2nd, having passed through the Illawarra, the Southern Highlands, Goulburn, and Bungendore. He has participated in public meetings at Wollongong and will speak in Goulburn today.
"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 nonviolent mechanism to put pressure on Israel to halt its oppression of Palestine and my individual walk for BDS corresponds with the growth in prominence of BDS in Australia in recent months.
"Staff and students at Svirsky'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 & sanctions movement. We resolve to support any students or staff who implement 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 it 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."
PS: Surprise, surprise, Michael Danby MP, the shadow minister for Israel, has emitted the following response to Svirsky's magnificent gesture: "This poor deluded Wollongong academic is not walking to a welcome in Canberra, he is walking to political oblivion." (On the one hand... 1/10/14, jwire.com.au)