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Press Release – 1 August 2011

Community leaders respond to BDS demonstration

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV) have expressed their concern at the continued attempts by BDS demonstrators in Melbourne CBD to target Jewish owned businesses. The most recent event took place last Friday, 29th July, and followed on a demonstration four weeks earlier that saw 19 protesters arrested.

JCCV President John Searle said: “it was distressing to see yet another anti-Semitic BDS demonstration taking place on the streets of Melbourne last Friday evening. What we witnessed at both Melbourne Central and QV Centre was another example of intimidating, harassing and disruptive behaviour that caused distress to Melbourne’s shopping public, traders and shop employees.”

Searle note that, “you could see the look of discomfort on shoppers’ faces as they were confronted with the large crowd of rowdy protesters carrying placards and chanting anti-Semitic slogans.”

Amongst the demonstrators were some who had previously been arrested and who were apparently in breach of bail conditions that restricted their access to the site and their participation in anti-social behaviour of this type. Searle called upon the police “to take appropriate action and arrest the offenders so they can be brought before the Courts. The people of Victoria do not expect the Law to be flouted in this way.”

ZCV President Sam Tatarka added that “it was disturbing that management of the shopping centres – despite having affixed posters warning against trespassing – did not seek to have the police restrain the demonstrators from coming on to their property and acting in this totally unacceptable manner”.

For more information contact:
John Searle – President, Jewish Community Council of Victoria 9272 5566
Sam Tatarka – President, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544

The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website