Update – 5 September 2011

Posted by Emily Gian on 5 September 2011 at 2:31pm:

Dear All,

Yesterday Victorian Young Liberals and the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation held a rally on the steps of the State Library in Melbourne under the banner of “Say NO to BDS”. The rally was attended by about 150 people.

There also appeared to be no more than 25 anti-Israel, pro-BDS supporters on the sidelines shouting their usual slogans about Palestine being ‘free from the river to the sea’ and standing under banners declaring:  ‘Max Brenner, come off it, there’s blood in your hot chocolate’ (Blood Libel anyone?)

The event received very scant reporting, with a small article in today’s Age entitled ‘Boycott hits a sweet spot’. Meanwhile, the pro-BDS mob would have not been too pleased with the general coverage of the BDS movement in our two local broadsheets, which once again exposed the movement for the sham that it is.

Last Thursday, a group of 30 pro-BDS supporters interrupted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra as it played at the London Proms by shouting about Israeli apartheid. The disruption caused other patrons to begin chanting “out, out, out” to the protesters. The broadcast was taken off air.

Please read ‘Whiff of Weimar on a summer night at the Proms’ by Stephen Pollard, which appeared in Sunday’s Age. Pollard contends that the “violent, thoroughly illegitimate tactics did nothing but harm their cause”. Indeed, Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister who was at the concert tweeted that night that the  … “Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro-Israel”.

The Weekend Australian also showed its disgust with the events at the Proms concert, the boycotts in Australia outside Max Brenner stores and the BDS movement in general with its Editorial entitled, ‘Philistines for Palestine’, concluding, that … “If we were a British newspaper, we would be urging readers to patronise the Albert Hall at every opportunity. Instead, we suggest you frequent the Max Brenner chocolate shop chain and take a stand against the appalling campaign being waged against Israel”.

Walking past Max Brenner in Melbourne Central yesterday afternoon and seeing the place packed to the brims showed once again that their campaign has only served to bring more publicity to Max Brenner’s tasty delights.

But as I stood there watching the thugs from the pro-BDS side shouting their slogans it occurred to me, not for the first time, that these people are not at all interested in a peaceful solution for all sides of the conflict. It was obvious from their banners and despicable slogans, their hateful chants and worst of all, their continual ranting all the way through the singing of the Australian National Anthem.

This same hatred has also been exposed in a recent article that first appeared in the Palestinian press and is currently being circulated by the Australian Friends of Palestine entitled UN statehood bid ‘threatens Palestinian rights’.

According to an independent legal opinion, UN recognition for the State of Palestine headed by the Palestinian Authority will be detrimental to the Palestinian cause, particularly given that it will take control away from the PLO, which since 1975 has been the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This body represents Palestinian refugees all over the world and as far as I can see, Palestinian activists are up in arms that recognition of a Palestinian State would be detrimental to legal rights of these refugees.

The note going around with the circulation of this article, contains the hysterical editor’s note that “one cannot help thinking that the whole statehood bid has been a clever, but devious game played by Israel to lure people into thinking that they are against the Statehood bid, so more people will vote for it”.

Paranoid much, Ms Karkar?

No, negotiations for a peaceful and workable solution would just be too much for you and those who carry your hateful agenda with them, wouldn’t it?

In the meantime, the other big rally of the weekend attracted a slightly larger crowd, with 400,000 thousand Israelis across Israel taking to the streets to once again protest for social justice. It is officially the biggest protest to take place in Israel in the country’s history (see more). The tent protests, which began on 14 July in the height of summer, with one woman, Daphne Leif, pitching a tent in the middle of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, will now enter into a new phase as many people pack up their tents and the tent areas become more of a formalised area for people to meet and discuss the issues (see more).

This should not be seen as the end to the protest, but a transition into the next phase.

Late last week, the UN inquiry in the Mavi Marmara affair, which was carried out by the Palmer Commission, released their findings in the Palmer Report. Honest Reporting states that there are five key assertions to come out of the report:
1.      Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal.
2.      The Turkish IHH, which organised the flotilla, was looking for trouble with the IDF.
3.      The IDF used excessive force.
4.      IDF commandos defended themselves from pre-meditated violence.
5.      Gaza aid should be delivered by land (see more).

As a result of the report, Israel’s representative on the Panel, Joseph Ciechanover, adopted the report with just a few reservations in terms of the claim that the IDF acted in a manner that was “excessive and unreasonable”. The Israelis provided the panel with plenty of evidence to suggest that “Israel’s soldiers clearly acted in self-defense and responded reasonably, proportionally and with restraint” (see more).

Israel had hoped that the release of this report would assist Israel and Turkey in reconciliation. Instead, Turkey has rejected the findings of the report and has declared that it will take the matter to the International Court of Justice (see more). Turkey has also downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel, giving Israel’s Ambassador and other high-level officials until Wednesday to leave Turkey. The Turks have been demanding an apology from Israel over the deaths of citizens it could well have had reason to believe were provocateurs in the scenario. Israel has already expressed regret over the deaths.

Unsurprisingly, the PA and Hamas have both rejected the findings of the report and have backed up Turkey’s reaction (see more).

One has to wonder whether Turkey has thought this through. Turkey’s Opposition Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticised the decision by Turkey to downgrade diplomatic relations saying that “no good can come of it and there is no need for us to risk our interest with petty actions” (see more).

Perhaps, Turkey would be better served by cleaning up its own back yard before involving itself deeply in the cause of the terrorist Hamas thugs who rule in Gaza.

Best Wishes,