"And jews also have a homeland its called Germany" has commented someone on the Facebook page of the group that staged a rally in Parramatta on the weekend against Max Brenner.
Although the comment, made at the weekend, has attracted only one "Like" it is perhaps instructive that not one of the anti-Israel BDSers (leftists and Muslims) who've used and left comments on the page has (so far at least) seen fit to rebuke the apparently Muslim commenter for his obscene Thomas-like remark or to distance themselves from it.
(Better lift your game, guys and girls; you wouldn't want to leave the impression that you're Jew-haters. Would you?)
There were high hopes for the rally, to be addressed by, according to the Facebook page, Richard Green (indigenous speaker); Ahmad Qasem (Palestinian activist); Paul Mcaleer (Maritime union of Australia); Lutfi Zayed (Palestinian activist); Marlene Carrasco (University of Western Sydney student union organiser).
A media release proclaimed:
'Protest to go ahead. Parramatta Town Hall 1pm Saturday 17th August
The Palestine Action Group has decided to continue with a protest against Israeli Chocolateria chain, Max Brenner, in spite of threats by Parramatta Council of fines of over $2000. The demonstration, part of the global movement calling for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, was organised well in advance of the threat of fines being issued today. The Palestine Action Group has been coordinating with the NSW Police, who are facilitating the demonstration.
Lutfi Zayed, a Palestinian activist with PAG, was contacted today and threatened by Council staff to cancel the protest or be fined. “They say that we live in a free country” says Lutfi, “where our right to protest and express our beliefs are protected. But these threats scrap any notion of the right to free speech or freedom of assembly. We’ve had almost identical protests before without any trouble.”
Damian Ridgwell, one of the 19 activists charged and acquitted in relation to a protest against Max Brenner in Melbourne in 2011, says “the victimisation of Palestine solidarity activism must stop. This is not the first time that fundamental democratic rights have been suspended for those who oppose Israel’s crime of Apartheid.”
“This is nothing less than censorship. As well as banning our protest, a meeting hosting a Palestinian refugee in the Town Hall has also been banned, even thought the room was booked and paid for.”
Dale Mills, Lawyer and researcher at Sydney University in Law in the field of political protest, says “Never in living memory has a council issued fines against protests in these circumstances”. He describes this as an attack on democratic rights. “If this became established Council practice in NSW it would be the end of the right to protest”.'Despite the bravado and the bluster, the rally itself is perceived to have been a dismal flop. Organisers seem reluctant to post photographs or footage of it. That's thought to be because although the number of attendees was expected to be over 300 (plus some 120 possibles), only a fraction of that number (itself a fraction of the 2,664 invitees) turned up.
See photographs here, where, in her accompanying article, Shirlee Finn observes deliciously of an obvious irony:
"And last, and by no means least, as the third photo shows, whilst this was going on outside Max Brenner’s chocolate shop, three Muslim girls, complete with hijabs, were sitting there drinking their hot chocolate !!!"Update: here's that Great Graphic Moment In BDS History, made into a poster (hat tip: reader Ian):