Boycott Israel protest in Brisbane

Media statement: Justice for Palestine, Brisbane. August 24, 2011.

A protest in support of Palestinian rights will be held in Brisbane on Saturday August 27 as part of the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel.

The protest will gather in South Brisbane with a march to the Israeli owned Max Brenner chocolate store. The global chain of stores is owned by Israel’s second largest food company, the Strauss Group, which boasts of its support for the Israeli military occupation forces.

According to Justice for Palestine activist, Kathy Newnam, “The protest will seek to highlight the reality of life in Palestine under military occupation. It will combat the lies and misinformation and the continual mantra by politicians and the corporate media about the supposed need for “balance”.

“Just look at what is happening in Gaza right now. Israel has launched a bombing campaign that has killed at least 20 people in the past week. Israel claims that this brutality is a response to an attack on a bus which killed eight Israelis. The corporate media repeats this claim uncritically under the guise of “balance” despite the fact that Israel is carrying out a brutal form of collective punishment that is completely illegal under international law.

“There is no such thing as balance under apartheid and colonial occupation. One has to take sides and there are only two choices – to side with the oppressor and thus support the suffering of the Palestinian people or to side with the oppressed and do what you can to support their resistance.

“The BDS Movement is about bringing pressure to bear on Israel until it complies with international law. Saturday’s BDS protest will support the demands of the BDS Movement:

  • For an end to the occupation of all Arab lands and the dismantling of the Apartheid Wall that Israel continues to build in defiance of international law. The 810 km wall is part of the ongoing theft and colonisation of Palestinian land. When completed the wall and its associated system of check-points and Israeli setter-only roads will annex some 46% of the West Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and “military zones”.
  • For equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel by ending the system of apartheid laws that limit Palestinian rights to political participation, land, housing, education, diversity of culture, language and religion and due process.
  • For the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. There are 5 million Palestinian refugees throughout the world – the highest number of refugees from any single country. Many generations of people have been forced to live their entire lives in refugee camps since the brutal expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1948.

“These are the issues that Saturday’s protest will be highlighting – this is the reality of occupation, colonisation and apartheid. That is why the likes of Kevin Rudd, Michael Danby and the Murdoch media are so intent on spreading lies about the BDS Movement – they do not want people to know the truth about Israel’s brutality.

“When people know the truth then they will support the BDS Movement, just as people in Australia supported the boycotts and sanctions against apartheid South Africa. As people realise the truth, they will see that foregoing an expensive hot chocolate is a very small sacrifice to make in order to show their support for the struggle against occupation and apartheid.

“We are confident that this will be another important step in building support for the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel”.

Boycott apartheid Israel. Boycott Max Brenner.
Peaceful protest: Sat August 27. Gather at 1pm in park on cnr Merivale/Glenelg St for a march to Max Brenner store at South Bank

For more information or comment, phone 0400 720 757 (Kathy) or 0401 586 923 (Hamish).

4 responses to “Boycott Israel protest in Brisbane

  1. Hey All,

    The Palestine BDS protest on Friday night against Max Brenner was a real success and built upon the previous rallies.

    There was about 250 people at the rally, despite the frigid weather. Activists came with Palestine coloured face-paint, Max Brenner mock IDF soldiers, Bald Man (Max Brenner masks) saying ‘The face of Israeli apartheid’ and homemade signs.

    Handfuls of shoppers joined us on our way through town.

    The demonstration began at the State Library with speeches. Spokesperson of NSW Jews against the Occupation, Vivienne Porszalt spoke about the fallacy of the accusation of anti-semitism towards BDS. She made the point that many Jews are against Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and drew a clear distinction between Israel and the global Jewish population. She argued that the new anti-BDS laws in Israel are a reflection of the shutting down of democracy in Israel.

    Dave Keren, long term unionist, read out the fantastic statement of support from Victorian Trades Hall Council for BDS and against police repression of activists.
    (http://boycottisrael19.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/victorian-trades-hall-supports-bds-and-condemn-arrests-of-max-brenner-19/) He also highlighted the importance of trade unions in the battle against Israel apartheid regimes.

    We then heard from veteran aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe who made the comparisons towards the genocide committed towards the indigenous Australian population and the Palestinians. In an outrageous act, representatives of the fascist organisation the Australian Patriotic League, came and attacked Robbie, physically attempting to rip the microphone from his hands. He was defended by Palestine activists.

    The fact that these thugs showed up to defend Max Brenner says something about the kind of company that the Zionist defenders of Israel keep. For more on this topic: (http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2877306.html)

    Despite the attempt by these forces the demonstration continued our march through the streets of Melbourne and into the forecourt of Max Brenner in Melbourne Central and then into the QV Max Brenner, where we ended the rally with loud and enthusiastic chanting. Whistles and other noise makers aided our message.

    For photos of the rally go to:
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150316628408637.365859.666088636

    Although the demonstration made it onto the Saturday night 7, 9 and 10 news – they got the details totally wrong – claiming that 19 protesters were arrested (when actually that happened on July 1st)
    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/video.aspx?videoid=7f8c344a-fd91-40d3-9f1a-5ec064111984

    As we left Max Brenner at QV we chanted we’ll be back!

    The next Melbourne Max Brenner BDS rally is on Saturday 15th October, 1pm at the State Library. Join the Facebook group and spread the word.
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148937581864069&ref=ts

    Well done everyone!
    Vashti

    Like

  2. One of the organisers of the rally to defend Israel at the Max Brenner store, Danielle Keys, uses a stock statement in support of Israeli military aggression in Palestine — one group of people that is persecuted is an excuse from persecution of another (sic) :—

    “This rabble of socialist sycophants were chanting about Max Brenner’s support for genocide and how it has blood on it’s hands. I found this particularly disturbing as Jewish people have been systematically persecuted and subjected to genocidal attacks for thousands of years.

    The conduct of the Socialist Alliance yesterday made it clear their attachment to violent, aggressive and fundamentally anti-Semitic behaviour.” (See http://www.jwire.com.au/news/brisbane-bds-demo-a-fizzler/18703)

    The organisers of the counter-protest at Max Brenner on South Bank are very confused about their objectives and what they stand for.

    They do not seem to understand that the BDS camapign comes from Palestinian civil society in an attempt to correct civil rights in Palestine (and not from the socialist alliance, only one small group who are involved in the BDS in Brisbane)!

    Like

  3. Pingback: BDS Protest Against Apartheid Israel Near Max Brenner in Brisbane « KADAITCHA

  4. Report of Max Brenner Protest

    Photo: Jim McIlroy, Green Left WeeklyThe rally in Glenelg Park went well, speakers addressed a crowd of 50 who turned out in the rain.

    We marched down to South Bank with banners and chanting. As we marched H. told me that the Qld Teachers Union QTU had just passed a motion in support of the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions BDS campaign. Inside the Convention Centre next door the teachers had voted to continue to support the BDS. This is a victory for the campaign. Other unions have already supported the campaign. This gives protection for workers to engage in activities in support of democratic rights for Palestinian people. [For previous motion passed by QTU see http://auspalestine.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/qtu-resolution-24-07-10.pdf%5D

    The first I knew something was wrong in the protest was when, from behind our banner depicting the Apartheid Wall, I could see the police lined up along Little Stanley Street making us move off to the left into a small park behind the Max Brenner Chocolate shop. We were corralled in a small park a good 30 metres from the entrance of the popular coffee shop owned by the Israeli Strauss group.

    As we were stalled on the roadway, waiting for people in front to move into the park, a big thug (perhaps pyschologically disturbed is a better word than thug) came hurtling through the march making a bee line for the Anti-Apartheid banner that we were carrying. Just as he was about to plumet into our banner, the cops tackled him and he lay on the ground reeling and writhing, abusing the cops. They took him aside, but he was soon back in our faces. As we assembled in the park with our ‘Tear down the Apartheid Wall’ banner intact we were confronted by a mix of Zionists, people mobilised by Max Brenner and University of Qld Liberal club. They were heavily supported by the Australian Patriotic Defence Movement (APDM), a fascist organistion here in Australia. With no irony they shouted slurs like ‘racists’ ‘anti-semites'(curious because some of us are semites) and ‘traitors'(to what, the Israeli flag they carried?). Some held up placards of the Australian Flag.

    The cops used water barricades to separate us from the abusive mob. Our speakers could not be heard above the din as the slanging match began. No reasoned debate was possible. The mob held up ‘Never Again’ placards, taking the holocaust slogan in vain. How could Jewish people stand alongside Nazis from the APDM to shout us down is beyond me. Our message was never about race or religion, it was about democratic rights for Palestinian people indicated in the three demands of the BDS movement stated in the press release above.

    This was the first time in 30 years that a demonstration I have been in had been attacked by the organised right.

    Photo:The Skull - slackbastard

    It took me back to the days of Ross “the Skull” May. He was a neo-nazi agent provocateur who would attack right-to-march protestors in the 1970s. The Skull would provoke a response by bashing someone and police would jump in and arrest the protestors. The Skull was jailed for six months for bashing a journalist in 1972, and served other stints in jail for similar offences over the years (from ‘Dr James Saleam, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League’ by SlackBastard).

    Not today however. The confrontation was bogged down in a slanging match. We stuck together under their abusive attack. Some onlookers said that they wouldn’t be going to Max Brenner. An Egyptian man came and joined our side of the confrontation. After a short time we took down our Anti-Apartheid banner, withdrew to the other end of the park, assembled, swore we would return, and marched in an orderly way back to the Glenelg Park near the Convention Centre. We followed the exit strategy that Kathy had outlined back in Glenelg Park before the march. On our way back i asked people in the march what they felt about the events near Max Brenner’s. There were comments like, ‘they do not understand that we are not going on about religion it is about human rights’. ‘Not as positive as with previous actions’ (against Seacrets)/ was another comment. A woman asked ‘why did we leave so early?’ Another comments were ‘we were outnumbered’. I think that our actions were sound, there is no harm in passive withdrawal from such a crazy mob. It is interesting that a young Jewish man wearing a Kippah came up to us as we marched away from the mob handing us carnations. Some put them in their lapels. It was a strange but confident act by someone who had just been standing with the mob, showing how unafraid he was of our protest. An act of peace? A realisation that our protest was not anti-jewish?

    On our return we heard a young Jewish woman say she had been taken to many ‘Shoah’ as a child to commemorate the holocaust but that what she had seen today was a sad misuse of the holocaust to defend Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people.

    It is not right for a group who suffered greatly at the hands of Nazis to then excuse their actions of oppression against Palestinian people because they were oppressed themselves. The analogy of apartheid is accurate. The Africaans (Dutch South Africans) of South Africa were oppressed and put in concentration camps but they, in turn, sought to racially oppress Black Africans by use of the Apartheid system. So too Israelis seek to oppress Palestinians by occupation, by use of the Apartheid Wall and refusing Palestinians the democratic right of self-determination.

    After the protest we vowed to become better organised.

    Underlying Issues behind the BDS
    There are a lot of underlying issues of how we interpret the three BDS demands of 1) An end to the occupation of all Arab lands 2) Equal rights for Palestinian citizens and 3) The right of return for all Palestinian refugees. On the Left, I do not believe that many of us have fully understood the way in which BDS strategy undercuts all issues inherent in ‘the two-state-solution’ versus ‘one state solution’. Does Palestine actually exist today, especially with Israel absorbing the West Bank as a kind of economic Bantustan? For years the Palestinian Authority has tried to make it seem like Palestine as a state already is in place (see the film ‘The Iron Wall’). However Palestine does not exist as a state, yet it has people, history, past, memory, catastrophe, food, culture, and poems.

    My father and grandparents never knew Israel – they died too early to ever know anything other than Palestine – yet they knew it only as a British Mandate.

    Much change in thinking has come about since Israel’s assault on Gaza two years ago — the Arab Spring, for one. To accomodate this change in perception Zioinists can always pull back to a ‘two-state-solution’ and still be totally in control, holding back on their dream of a Greater Israel. They can spin a more acceptable face of the Jewish state to stave of people’s desire for freedom, economic and social justice. Imperialism backs Israel. In this context ‘Free, Free Palestine!’ is still a dream.

    Hopefully the next Justice for Palestine meeting on 14th September at 6.30pm at the TLC building will help improve our thinking and strategy.

    Thanks to R, D, & A for help with carrying ‘Tear Down the Apartheid Wall’. Thanks to O. for the YouTube video of the protest.

    Ian Curr
    27 August 2011

    Inside Max Brenner 2010.

    BDS action, Seacret and Max Brenner, 11 December 2010.

    The Murdoch Press helped mobilise against the BDS protest using celebrities to support Israeli food giant Strauss Group.
    Murdoch Press supports Israel
    ‘Celebrities’ Gerard Henderson, Jana Wendt, Paul Howes, Warren Mundine, Sandy Gutman and Michael Danby support Israeli food giant Strauss Group (T/A Max Brenner). Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Australian

    Other Reports – Green Left Weekly – BDS action against Max Brenner undeterred by counter protest

    http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/chocolate-war-gets-messy-20110827-1jfxe.html

    Reference

    Murdoch Press and the Fictional Jewish Chocolatier

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