This Resolution was resoundingly passed at the November 11, Port Botany protest in Sydney.
For generations, Palestinians have been crushed by apartheid Israel and have courageously resisted. Now they are undergoing a genocidal assault in Gaza. We will not stand by in silence. Palestinians have called for us to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to challenge Israel’s power. We commit to answering that call.
The ZIM shipping line is a major supporter of Israel and of the Israeli Defence Forces. ZIM ships regularly visit Port Botany.
As working people, union members and community supporters we stand against war, apartheid and colonisation wherever it occurs. There can be no pride in genocide, either in Palestine or here in Australia. Here, that means standing against ZIM.
Today we have come in numbers to show the strength and determination of our movement. We are many, and we are powerful.
We resolve to be here again as soon as we know a ZIM ship has docked. We commit to following the proud tradition of action for justice, peace and equality taken by workers around the world against the bloody forces of war, colonisation and racism, and we undertake to do everything to make that action as strong and powerful as possible.
We will fight to win our demands – no ZIM ships in Port Botany while Israel is carrying out a genocide!
Long live Palestine.
Palestine Justice Movement Sydney Australian Unionists for Palestine MUA Sydney Branch
ACTIVISTS CLAIM VICTORY AS RMIT ENDS ELBIT PARTNERSHIP Activists are celebrating the announcement by RMIT that it has ceased its research partnership with Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems, which develops, tests, and provides weapons and drones to the Israeli military for use against Palestinians.
This victory comes just over a year after RMIT was targeted by BDS Australia due to its advertised partnership with Elbit Systems in the development of AI systems. In 2022, Palestine’s largest academic and tertiary union (PFUUPE), representing over 6,000 academics and staff, wrote to RMIT and urged it to suspend all collaboration with Elbit Systems. Subsequently staff and students held on-campus protests and speak-outs. RMIT did not respond to any of these representations nor to the large online petition with 2000+ signatures calling for an end to all ties with Elbit Systems.
Throughout 2023, two Melbourne activists, Shane McCartin and Mark Bradbeer, took the campaign to RMIT’s doorstep and for 8 and a half months picketed each week outside the campus. They were joined by members of Free Palestine Melbourne and Students for Palestine (Victoria) distributing information about the use of Elbit technologies in war crimes against Palestinian civilians and calling for an end to RMIT’s complicity with these crimes.
“At first, many students and staff we spoke to knew nothing about Elbit Systems or its relationship with RMIT,” said Mark Bradbeer. “It was slow work but our support grew steadily as people learned of the partnership.”
The campaign received a boost in July when high profile journalist and author Antony Loewenstein denounced the RMIT-Elbit partnership,
“If you partner, as a state or a university, with a company like Elbit, you have blood on your hands because the record of Elbit in Israel-Palestine, on the US-Mexican border and elsewhere is so damned clear”, said Lowenstein. “So RMIT needs to answer very serious questions about it, and actually feel pressure about that – a lot of pressure.”
On 19 October 80 activists associated with Students for Palestine (Victoria) marched on the RMIT campus denouncing the university for its complicity in ongoing Israeli atrocities in the Gaza Strip.
In response to this protest, RMIT released a statement that it no longer has any partnerships with Elbit Systems or Elbit Systems of Australia. When clarification was sought, RMIT confirmed that their planned partnership with Elbit Systems was terminated, and that they have no relationship with the company or any of its subsidiaries.
“This is a significant victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in Australia,” said Hilmi Dabbagh, from BDS Australia, which partnered with Free Palestine Melbourne throughout the campaign. “Australian universities have been put on notice that they will be targeted if they partner with any Israeli company or institution complicit in human rights abuses and attacks on Palestinians.”
How Israel’s occupation has gone global: Antony Loewenstein presents ‘The Palestine Laboratory’
“From Israeli spyware ending up on the phones of activists in Mexico to Israeli drones being used by the EU to “monitor” refugees struggling and often drowning in the Mediterranean, the public is recognising how the Israeli occupation is being exported, and the danger it poses.”
Award-winning investigative journalist, Antony Loewenstein will discuss his latest book, The Palestine Laboratory at this special BDS Australia event in Sydney.
What: How Israel’s occupation has gone global: Antony Loewenstein presents “The Palestine Laboratory” When: Thursday August 24 – 6.30pm – 8.30pm Where: Gumbramorra Hall, Addison Community Centre 142 Addison Road, Marrickville
“Government’s flock to Israel to buy weapons and surveillance equipment, happy to ignore that they’ve been lethally tried and tested in the ‘Palestine laboratory’”.
This book has generated huge interest worldwide as it shows just how pervasive Israel’s lethal technology is internationally. Detailing how Israel’s massive arms and security industry has been developed and exported on the back of its endless occupation of Palestine, ‘The Palestine Laboratory’ exposes how Israel’s weapons and surveillance technology has been tried and tested on Palestinians for decades and sold as ‘battle tested’ to any buyers, including equally oppressive far right regimes.
Copies of The Palestine Laboratory will be available for purchase, and the talk will be followed by a book signing.
Please share this important event with your friends and colleagues – Facebook event
How Israel’s occupation has gone global: Antony Loewenstein presents ‘The Palestine Laboratory’
We write regarding RMIT’s partnership with the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems.
As you will be aware, students, staff and members of the Australian public have expressed their grave concerns about this partnership.
Last week you received the attached letter from Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) which represents some 6,000 Palestinian university academics and staff at more than a dozen higher education institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory calling on RMIT to end its ties with Elbit Systems. This letter outlines the reasons why these fellow academics deplore RMIT’s association with Elbit Systems.
Partnering with institutions or companies complicit in Israel’s apartheid regime contributes to prolonging Israel’s violent rule over Palestinians and comes with serious legal and moral concerns. And partnering with a company that works closely with that regime to produce weapons and repressive surveillance systems used against not only indigenous Palestinians but other oppressed communities around the world, takes those concerns to an entirely different level. The fact that RMIT states that this partnership is for the development of AI to be used for civilian use, does not in any way absolve RMIT from partnering with the company that produces 85% of the military drones used by Israel in assaults on civilians in Gaza.
We note that Professor John Thanharajah, Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Associate Dean of Computer Science and Software Engineering at RMIT states that he has worked directly on several research contracts with the Defence Science Technology group. We have no reason to believe that his work with RMIT doesn’t relate to research that Elbit is working on to further develop its drone technology for use by the Israeli and other military against civilians.
BDS Australia is campaigning to end all military ties with Israel and the companies which support the ongoing oppression, persecution and dispossession of Palestinians.
We will continue to campaign against RMIT’s partnership with Elbit. We are available to meet with you to further discuss this issue and look forward to your response.
(This statement was co-ordinated by PACBI – the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi which is part of the Palestinian led BDS movement. )
Palestinian academics call on RMIT to cut ties with Elbit –
11 August 2022
Palestine’s largest union of academics and tertiary education employees has called on RMIT university to end its ties with the Israeli arms company, Elbit.
In a forceful statement, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) which represents some 6,000 Palestinian university professors and staff at more than a dozen higher education institutions in the occupied Palestinian territory, has written to RMIT Vice Chancellor, Prof Alec Cameron, to the Head of the Academic Board, Dr Sharon Andrews, to Professor John Thangarajah, Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Associate Dean of Computer Science and Software Engineering and to the University Council and Student Union, and urged them to suspend all collaboration with Elbit Systems.
‘Partnering with institutions or companies complicit in Israel’s apartheid regime contributes to prolonging Israel’s violent rule over Palestinians and comes with serious legal and moral concerns. And partnering with a company that works closely with that regime to produce weapons and repressive surveillance systems used against not only indigenous Palestinians but other oppressed communities around the world takes those concerns to an entirely different level.
‘Our faculty members in Gaza and their students have lived through repeated Israeli military assaults, including the most recent attack, which has killed at least 44 Palestinians, including 16 children, and damaged infrastructure including 1,600 homes and parts of Al Quds University.
‘They know that Elbit Systems provides 85% of the military drones used by Israel in those assaults. They know that drones, mostly supplied by Elbit Systems, killed 164 Palestinian children in Gaza in 2014 alone. They know that during Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in May 2021, the Israeli Air Force dropped Elbit-produced MPR 500 bombs on Palestinian civilians. They know the constant sound of Elbit drones buzzing in the skies of Gaza, interrupting their studies and research and exacerbating their traumas.
‘As those suffering under a purely man-made disaster, including an Israeli-imposed 15-year land, sea and air blockade made possible by Elbit technology, please understand that it will be of little interest to our members in Gaza that your particular project with Elbit Systems is reportedly for civilian use during natural disasters. This does nothing to alleviate the moral and legal concerns.
‘Our members also know that Elbit Systems markets its weapons around the world, including to other oppressive regimes, as “battle-proven” and “field-tested.” Our members know that they are the subjects of those tests.
Today students and academics at RMIT are protesting the university’s association with Elbit and this statement from Palestinian academics will be read out as they stand in solidarity with those in Palestine suffering under the violence perpetrated by the Israeli state using Elbit weapons and technology.
Full statement from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees here
More information on Elbit and the BDS Australia call to end all military ties with Israel here.
This website is maintained by BDS Australia, which is affiliated with the coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement and by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a BNC member organisation.