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Israel - a boycott without a buoy

By David Singer - posted Monday, 2 May 2011

The recent attempt by the Marrickville Council in Sydney to impose a boycott on its purchase of Israeli goods and products spectacularly collapsed after the Council was advised by its Chief Officer that enforcing the boycott would cost its ratepayers four million dollars.

When people have to put their money where their mouth is - an  idea that seems attractive in the first place suddenly becomes very much less desirable. So it proved to be with Marrickville Council.

What is of more concern  however is that a boycott should  never have been entertained by the Council in the first place - given the nature of the campaign as articulated by its originators.  .


In July 2005  “Palestinian civil society” called for a “global citizens response” under the following manifesto:

The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The following inaccuracies and misrepresentations are immediately apparent in this manifesto:

Those calling for the boycott have themselves been breaching their obligations under international law for the last 90 years by declaring in Article 20 of their Covenant:

The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.

"Everything that has been based on" the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine" includes:

  • The Versailles Peace Conference 1919
  • The San Remo Conference 1920
  • The Treaty of Sevres 1920
  • The exclusion from 1923 of 77% of the Mandate area in which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted and its subsequent creation as the Arab State of Transjordan in 1946   
  • Article 80 of the United Nations Charter
  • The creation of the State of Israel in 1948
  • The Armistice Lines established by the UN in 1949
  • The joint decision of West Bank and Jordanian Arabs to unify the West Bank and Jordan in 1950
  • UN Security Council Resolution 242

Surely those being asked to boycott Israel should be first demanding Palestinian excision of  Article 20 from their Charter and observance by Palestinians of the above body of international law as the price for supporting any boycott. 

Supporting law-breakers who continue to wilfully ignore the law should certainly not be countenanced.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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