I participated in the rally and march to the Max Brenner Chocolate shop at South Bank in Brisbane.
Firstly you portray the protest as ‘them and us’ with only police to keep us apart. This is incorrect. For example a young Jewish man wearing a Kippah came along with us as we marched away from the Max Brenner shop. He did so handing purple carnations to the participants of the BDS protest, hardly the act of a person who had just been vilified.
In your article you quote Logan City Councillor Hajnal Black as saying that we (the BDS campaigners) shouted ‘Jews kill babies’, ‘Jews are terrorists’. We did not say such things. If your quote of Ms Black is accurate, it is a malicious and calculated untruth. Somehow a banner pointing out the atrocious bombing of the people of Gaza by Israel in 2008 as a collective punishment has been translated in the Australian into ‘Jews kill babies’. Why does the Australian persist in the uncritical reporting Australian politicians as saying Israel has the right to defend itself when Israel is engaging in vicious assaults against a people who have little ability to defend themselves. Why is Hamas constantly singled out when people in Gaza attempt (often ineptly) to defend themselves against sophisticiated technological weapons deployed by Israel?
Ms Black was standing quite close to me (within 3 metres) at the demonstration.
Ms Black did accuse me of being a racist – I had said nothing, merely standing with the BDS protestors who were chanting – there were no racist insults coming from my mouth or the mouths of the BDS protestors.
The BDS campaign is not based on ethnicity or religion. It is based on three simple demands:-
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
Standing in our group near the Max Brenner shop were people of Arab, Jewish, African, Chinese, English descent – Australians who support the BDS campaign because it is not based on race or religious belief. Ms Black need only look into our faces to know that her charge of racism is without foundation.
I am very angry that your journalists and sub-editors have done such a shoddy job in reporting this protest and failing to get to the truth behind the BDS campaign. What the headline ‘Senator stands by Israel boycott’ has to do with a story about a protest at an Israeli owned business is beyond me. Lee Rhiannon was not at the protest, she did not endorse it, nor did the Greens. Just another beat-up on the Greens by The Australian methinks.
29 August 2011
PS – Needless to say, The Australian did not publish my letter to the Editor in print or on-line. The Australian has little interest in truth, only an agenda that means to limit the rights of Palestinian people and preserve the interests of Israel and the US.