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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Suburb of Sydney boycotts Israel; cost to taxpayers: $3.7 million

From The Australian:
A MOVE by a Greens-controlled council in Sydney's inner west to boycott goods and services from Israel will cost ratepayers at least $3.7 million and force the council to abandon Holden cars and Hewlett-Packard computers, among many other disruptions.

The stark warning on the cost of the council's decision to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign earlier this year is contained in a paper by the council's manager of services, Gary Moore, which is due for discussion next week and has been obtained by The Australian.

Marrickville, the only council in Australia that has approved an Israel boycott, has been a hotbed of political controversy since its Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne said she would push for a statewide version of the Israel boycott if elected to the NSW lower house at last month's election.

Mr Moore's paper details goods and services the council would have to forgo in order to comply with its directive, such as Hewlett Packard computers, Holden and Volvo cars, telephones and other equipment from Motorola and concrete from Fulton Hogan.

These companies, according to the council's original motion to join the global BDS movement, "support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine".

The report estimates the cost of replacing certain IT assets at $3.5m, and the annual cost of using a different concrete supplier at $250,000. It does not attempt to estimate the cost of replacing vehicles, and says changing waste-disposal service providers may not even be possible.

Mr Moore's paper admits staff have been unable to fully research ties between companies providing goods to the council and Israel and have largely relied on www.whoprofits.org - an anti-Israel website.

Independent councillor Victor Macri described the boycott plan as ludicrous. "We weren't elected to do this; we were elected to look after the streets and trees and pick up garbage," Mr Macri said.

"People vote federally to direct foreign policy. A boycott of Israel will hurt Marrickville ratepayers far more than it will Israel."
Rarely have BDSers had the opportunity to look so stupid in front of so many.

(h/t Faith)