Brisbane people Rally for Justice in Palestine

by Ray Bergmann

A rally was held at Queens Park in Brisbane on Saturday 17th January 2009 to protest the Israeli attacks on Gaza following a six month siege, which is part of a century-long continuing Zionist colonial project of ethnic cleansing and politicide of the Palestinian people in collaboration with Great Britain and the United States.

The crowd at the rally put all their hearts into chanting, and all of the speeches were enthusiastically received.

Firstly Bob Anderson, an aboriginal elder, gave a welcome to country, and then Gary MacLennan, David Matters, Ray Bergmann and two little girls named Nisma and Maria spoke to the crowd.

Nisma pointed out that the most important part of her speech was to tell the media and all the people of the world that “all the people of Gaza and their children should have protection from the terrible attacks of warplanes that cause horrible damage and pain and sorrow to the innocent.

David Matters said that:

Besides the right to life and freedom from harm that should have been guaranteed to the victims of the bombing, fundamental human rights that have been denied to the people of Gaza during the long six moth siege and this war include the basic right to work and to farm their own lands. The union movement has resolved to defend not only these rights but also the right of return to their family homes which has been denied to them for six decades and which is also a right enshrined in international law. What Israel has done to Gaza is state terrorism. Kevin Rudd, listen to popular opinion and change yours!”

Gary MacLennan described Israel’s attack as a “war crime on defenceless people“. He said, “With 300 children among the 1,000 dead this is one of the worst war crimes of our times. The truth is that 94% of Israelis support the bombing of Gaza, 94%! It is a hard truth, but that is the truth.”

[Editors Note: The source of a poll that says 94% of Israelis support the bombing of Gaza was not given by the speaker.  However a poll with that figure was taken by the Jerusalem Post between 4-6 Jan 2009. At the same time as it released this telephone poll it was running another online asking “Can Israel win the media war? These are instantaneous and emotive polls that appear to support the editorial line of the paper. The JPost does not publish the question that was asked. Can the true meaning of such a poll be fathomed or believed given how many Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza? Given the large number of Arabs resident in Israel it makes you wonder which Israelis the JPost phoned in order to get the huge 94% result that they have published. You can read the article yourself at

Gary pointed out that the reason why they support the bombing attack on the Gazans is because from the beginning of Zionist history in Palestine the Israelis have been invaders and thieves. Gary thundered, “There has been no peace process, only invasion and theft!”

The first speech was given by Bob Anderson and when he gave his welcome to country to the crowd at Queens Park he said,

My people know from our own experience about dispossession of our land, the murder of loved ones, and the destruction of family and society, so our sympathy is with the Palestinians and their great losses and sorrows.” Bob recalled the history of the Stern Gang, just one of the many Zionist terrorist bands that inflicted horrific deaths upon the people of Palestine at the time of their mass dispossession. Remembering the time when even the British and Australian governments called the Zionist militants “terrorists” should be a caution to them when Israeli spokesmen use this label.

The above report is from my memory and may not be exactly how the speakers expressed themselves.

Ray Bergmann described the Zionist project in Israel. His speech was broad in compass but explained the core injustice that the Israeli state represents.

The State of Israel does not represent the Jewish people or Judaism. The prophets of ancient Israel and Judah criticized their leaders for all of their acts of injustice and inhumanity.

Prophetic Judaism and Political Zionism are opposites. Prophetic Judaism promotes justice and compassion. But Political Zionism promotes the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from the Holy Land, now unholy because of the unjust and inhuman Zionist colonial project.

The Zionist enterprise has always been a tool of aggressive great power imperialism that tricked and trapped the Jews of Palestine into conflict with the majority of the people of Palestine immediately after Britain issued the Balfour Declaration.

The Zionist organizations altered Palestine’s demography after the second world war by indoctrinating many victims of the Nazi holocaust into believing a racist doctrine that anti-Semitism was an inevitable result of Jews and non-Jews living together, and the solution they offered to this so-called “Jewish problem” was to resettle them in Palestine.

Zionists hijack the symbols of Judaism for their fascist ideology because it tricks both Jews and non-Jews into identifying Zionism with Judaism. But Zionist Israel represents Jewish fascist supremacy, not Judaism, and not the Jewish people or their religious symbols which the Zionist state has appropriated as symbols of state – as symbols to put on tanks, rockets and attack helicopters.

Zionism claims, as the Nazis did, that anti-Semitism is inevitable if Jews live amongst non-Jews because ethnic conflict is a natural consequence of what they claimed were “incompatible races mixing together”. Judaism on the other hand teaches that the long exile from the Holy Land is decreed by heaven until the Messianic dream time when the whole world would be in peace and harmony. So Zionism is incompatible with Judaism, with its teaching of universal justice and compassion for the oppressed.

“The Jewish problem”, “the Gypsy problem”, “the mixed races problem” all belong to an age of unscientific racial profiling which should have come to an end when the Nazis were defeated and the Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed. But so-called “race” or “ethnic problems” became a feature in ex-colonies of Germany, France and Great Britain, and in the new State of Israel, where Arab citizens were governed by military law and Jewish citizens were governed by civilian law.

In fact there was never a “race problem” – the problem has always been a “racist problem”. And the solution is now, as it has always been, for there to be equal rights for all regardless of race or religion, for an education system that supports egalitarian and democratic values, and for a participatory economy not based on military industries in partnership with the United States.

Millions of Jews left Europe to go to Palestine in 1945, 46 and 47, encouraged by both the victors and the vanquished of World War II. They arrived in boatloads and were resettled on the properties and in the houses of people dispossessed by the confusion of British law replacing Ottoman law, as felaheen families, the tillers of the soil of Palestine, who for generations had paid tribute to absentee tax-collectors in Turkey, were suddenly informed their land now belonged to the Jewish National Fund, a land-procuring affiliate of the World Zionist Organization.

This initial dispossession was followed by a catastrophic one in the 1948 war where Plan Dalet was unleashed by the military forces of the Jewish settlement to ethnically cleanse the non-Jewish population of Palestine, as part of an unjust and inhuman project that continues to this day, and which conflicts with the core values of Judaism itself – universal justice and compassion for the oppressed. Where have these values gone since 1948 to now? Why is the entire non-Jewish population of south-eastern Palestine still cooped up in a Gaza nightmare 61 years after al-Naqbah (the catastrophe) and not allowed to go home?save-gaza-now_canberra-protest

British Labour Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman said yesterday in the House of Commons: “The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.”

On the claim of the Israeli army spokeswoman that large numbers of the Palestinian victims were militants Kaufman said to the Parliament: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw Ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

The prophet Micah said “God has shown you what he requires of you, and that is to act justly and with loving-kindness towards you fellow man. Which part of that do Zionists not understand? All of it actually! The whole Torah is TO NOT DO to other people whatever you DON’T WANT to be done to yourself, to act justly and in a spirit of humanity.

Now the Spirit of Humanity is the name given to the new boat of the Free Gaza movement that successfully challenged Israel’s siege on Gaza late last year, landing their boat the Dignity in Gaza port with supplies, journalists and activists.

Israeli gunboats rammed, disabled and nearly sank the Dignity in international waters on 30th Dec. 2008, but thanks to the efforts of the many supporters, the Free Gaza movement were able to get another larger boat, which is being turned back now by Israeli gunboats.

I wrote to my Federal MP and asked him to demand that aid for the people of Gaza must be allowed to get through! I told him it is our spirit of humanity that demands the immediate and unconditional stop of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and the immediate and unconditional lifting of the Israeli siege, as well as withdrawal of our Ambassador until Israel negotiates with the Palestinians for a total withdrawal of all of Israel’s military forces including all its armed settlers from all of the occupied territories of Palestine including East Jerusalem.

If the Israelis are offering less than this then we can know that the two-state solution has always been a farce and a lie, and that their true aim is the century old Zionist dream to wipe Palestine and all the Palestinians completely off the map of the Holy Land. If that is the case then what future can Israel have? To this day Palestine is a country in internationally recognised and historical documents going back centuries, whereas Israel remains after 60 years a country without international recognition for most of its self-proclaimed borders.

The crusaders held on to Palestine for 100 years relying on constant reinforcements from all the countries of Europe, but in the end they could not maintain their hold. In order for Israel to maintain itself as an exclusively Jewish state it relies on the United States to veto every international call to abide by innumerable UN resolutions that require Israel to facilitate the return of the Palestinian refugees.

map ofbombardment and deaths in Gaza - Jan 2009
Map of bombardment and deaths in Gaza - Jan 2009

When Israel was founded the UN proclaimed three Jewish areas to be an autonomous part of Palestine and yet today there is no real autonomy for the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine now living under occupation and siege. There can be no peace without an end to the occupation of Palestine!

Spoken to the crowd at Queens Park in Brisbane on 17th January 2009 where a rally was held to protest the Israeli attacks on Gaza following a six month siege as part of a century-long continuing Zionist colonial project of ethnic cleansing and politicide of the Palestinian people in collaboration with Great Britain and the United States.

Ray Bergmann

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