Australian lawmaker threatens council over Israel boycott


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A senior Australian politician has told local council members to either drop their boycott of Israel or risk being fired.

Barry O’Farrell, the premier of New South Wales, told the 12 members of the Marrickville Council in inner Sydney April 15 that he would use his power as the new leader of the Australian state to remove them if they did not abandon their support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel, which they passed last December.

In a letter to Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, a member of the Greens Party, O’Farrell gave the council a 28-day deadline.

The council members are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a motion to rescind the boycott. Media reports suggest that the majority of the Greens-dominated councillors will vote against continuing with the boycott following sustained criticism in the last few weeks.

O’Farrell, a member of the Liberal Party who wrested power from Labor in the March 26 state election, made his threat as a council business paper, obtained by The Australian newspaper, revealed that the boycott could cost taxpayers $4 million because the council would have to abandon Hewlett Packard computers, Holden and Volvo cars, Motorola phones and concrete from Fulton Hogan.

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