BDS Campaign Hits a Snag or Two, Down Under. The Chocolate War, Part Two.
I will begin with a heartening example of one woman's no-nonsense reaction to a BDS assault on an Israel-connected beauty shop in Australia, before sharing a couple of follow-up news reports to do with the near-riot outside Max Brenner's in melbourne that resulted in a slew of arrests of 'protesters' on July 1st this year.
From Quadrant Online, July 22, Philippa Martyr.
"The Faces of Fear": "Seacret Targeted by 'Australians for Palestine'".
'SeaCret is an Israeli company which manufactures skin and spa products from Dead Sea minerals. It's staffed by young Israelis who all appear to be on their gap year, having a kind of 21st century kibbutz experience in economic nation building. You can learn more at their website [she supplies a link].
'Now, I am the first person to be cynical about the beauty industry, because I know 99 % of it is piffle, and that 99 % of its products are made of a blend of oil, wax and water, with some perfume and alcohol added to stop it all going off...
'But what I am not cynical about is unkempt, lazy Australian university students, especially well-fed white ones with blonde dreadlocks who are wearing keffiyehs.
'When confronted by an assembly of these...all chanting loudly outside a SeaCret stand in a local shopping centre, I am moved to something quite uncharacteristic. This is the desire to spend large sums of money on beauty products manufactured by SeaCret.
'What seemed to be getting these young Trustafarians' goat was that Israel (a sovereign state recognised by around 80% of the world's countries, but by almost none in the Arab League), is engaged in a war with an entity called "Palestine". This is none of my concern; the war I am more concerned about is the one that seems to be taking young Australian lives just at present.
'But I can tell you what I like even less than war, and that's seeing the sick fear on the faces of the young Israelis behind the counter.
'I know anti-Semitism when I smell it, even when it's dressed up as human rights - and so do they. [emphasis in this sentence is the original author's - CM].
'The demonstration I saw was not a manifestation of free speech; it was bullying, plain and simple.
'I hate bullies in any form, so I strongly recommend that you buy the Dead Sea salt scrub - your hands will glow.
'And while you're at the SeaCret store, sitting on the comfortable stool and having yourself pampered with product specimens by a handsome young Israeli person of your choice, I strongly recommend that you also cultivate an elegant middle-finger salute to the assembled shrieking mob of youthful anti-Semites gathered outside".
And now, from the Australian Jewish News:
'Max Brenner protesters reappear in court.'
'Four of the 19 pro-Palestinian activists arrested at the protest outside Max Brenner in Melbourne on July 1 were arrested again on Tuesday for breach of bail conditions.
'This latest development comes amid Jewish community groups applauding the Victorian government for asking the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate if the recent anti-Israel Max Brenner protests are in breach of Australian competition law.
'A spokesperson for Victoria Police confirmed the four arrested appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon, and the AJN understands at least two face further hearings.
'Jewish Community Council of victoria president John Searle congratulated Victoria Police for their action.
"They have sent a strong message to the public that this type of thuggery will not be tolerated in our society and that those who break the law will be held accountable", he said..
'In announcing the decision to refer the protests to the ACCC, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said his government would not stand by and allow what he termed a "deeply offensive and unacceptable campaign" of intimidation and bullying to continue.
"The targeting of businesses because of their religious or cultural association offends the whole community and undermines our multicultural society", he said.
'Standing with his Victorian colleagues, NSW Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts said he would also be asking the ACCC if the BDS protests were in breach of commonwealth law.
"In his letter to ACCC chairman Rod Sims, Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien wrote [that] the actions of BDS protesters in preventing customers from entering Max Brenner's premises may have breached Section 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Commonwealth) which forbids engaging in conduct that hinders or prevents the transfer of goods or services with the intent to cause substantial loss or damage to one's business.
'The letter drew praise from Searle, Australia/ Israel and Jewish Affairs Souncil executive director Colin Rubinstein, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff, and Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Dr Danny Lamm, who encouraged the federal and state governments to follow suit.
"A strong bipartisan voice saying 'No' to BDS will reflect the basic sentiment of most Australians that the bitterness and complexity of foreign conflicts should be kept out of our peaceful country", Dr Lamm said...
The BDS campaign is garnering scant sympathy in the Australian press, if this report from The Australian is anything to go by.
Cameron Stewart, assistant editor, writes:
'Anti-Israel bullies' hard-centre bites in chocolate shop campaign'.
'In Brisbane next Saturday, a group of anti-Israeli protesters will march on a Jewish-owned chocolate shop as part of a radical national campaign that risks morphing into an ugly platform for anti-Semites.
It already is an ugly platform for anti-Semites, both Muslim and non-Muslim. - CM
'The targeting of the Israeli-owned Max Brenner chocolate shop chain in Australia by a coalition of anti-Israel groups is testing the limits of the law, ethics and tolerance.
'Nineteen protesters were arrested and three policemen injured early last month when a rally outside a Max Brenner shop in Melbourne, similar to the one planned for Brisbane, turned violent.
'The spectacle of protesters breaking the law in an attempt to harm a legal Jewish business was all the more abhorrent because it invited obvious historical parallels to the anti-Semitic targeting of Jewish businesses in 1930s Nazi Germany.
'The violence was so damaging to the pro-Palestinian cause that even some Palestinian groups (sic: 'Palestinian' Arab groups - CM) were critical of it.
In other words, the Fast Jihadists and their attendant useful idiots and janissaries have jumped the gun and exposed the real agenda of the Jihad against to Jews; so now the Slow Jihadists are attempting damage control - CM
'"People who were there told me it was really out of hand and pretty stupid the way they did it", says Jim Barr, president of the country's peak pro-Palestinian group, the Australia-Palestine Advocacy Network. "We certainly don't want to create public sympathy for Max Brenner, which is what we did. I support the Brenner campaign but it needs to be done well."
'What concerns many people about the Max Brenner campaign, apart from the shadow of history, is that it is directed against something that, although foreign-owned, is a legitimate local business in this country. That it is a chocolate shop only underlines the tenuous nature of claims that it bears some responsibility for Israel's military and human rights policies in the occupied territories. (sic: Mr Stewart would have been more accurate had he simply written 'in Judea and Samaria' - CM).
"In a democratic society anybody should be allowed to protest, but I find it really distasteful that a Jewish business is being targeted in this way", Australian Workers Union National secretary Paul Howes says. "If people are upset about the handling of the Middle East process then fine, but why don't they protest outside the Israeli embassy and direct their protest to the Israeli state rather than a Jewish business? If people do not like the policies of the Australian government, I wouldn't expect there to be a protest outside the R M Williams store".
'But Samah Sabawi, spokeswoman for the advocacy group Australians for Palestine, defends the targeting of Max Brenner because it makes a greater impact than traditional protests.
"Standing outside an embassy is not always the most effective form of protest", she says. "We live in a democratic society and we have a choice of different types of campaigns".
And a chocolate shop is a much 'softer' target, security-wise, than an Embassy...CM
'The Max Brenner campaign in Australia is part of the global campaign known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which seeks in part to boycott Israeli businesses as a means of pressuring Israel to improve its human rights record. (That is not the half of it, Mr Stewart. Do some more research. - CM).
'The campaign in Australia involves a loose alliance of the radical Left, including greens, unions, socialists and Marxists, in addition to at least 14 separate pro-Palestinian groups.
'As well as targeting Max Brenner, the group also seeks to target the Israeli-made skin-care range Jericho, which sells in Australia. Jericho's apparent crime is that it derives its products from the Dead Sea when, in the words of Green Left Weekly, "the indigenous Palestinian people who live on the land surrounding the Dead Sea are regularly denied access".
'The indigenous Palestinian people'. Green Left Weekly seems quite oblivious of the well-documented depth and extent of Hebrew/ Jewish presence in what was known to Jewish people for over 2000 years as 'eretz Israel'. - CM
'Max Brenner himself, whose real name is Oded Brenenr, is a 43 year old Israeli-born and New York based pastry chef and chocolate maker whose only obvious personal connection to the Israeli military was the fact that he, like other Israeli men, had to complete mandatory military service as a young man.
'In 1996 Brenner set up his first chocolate store in Israel and in 2001 his rapidly expanding chain of Max Brenner stores was swallowed by the much larger Strauss Group, Israel's second largest food and beverage company, which employs more than 11,000 people in 16 countries. But Strauss also sells food and care packages to the Israeli military, in the same way that many Australian and US companies provide goods and services to their own troops.
'Strauss Group chairwoman Ofra Strauss says providing goods to soldiers is unremarkable in Israel. "For us, Israeli soldiers are not army; Israeli soldiers are our kids", she told Forbes Magazine in January. "And when children of this country are in need, we will be there."
'Says Ted Lapkin, a conservative commentator and former employee of the Australia/ Israel Jewish Affairs council: "What is wrong with providing care packages to Israeli soldiers who are defending their country against terrorists?"
"Who are defending their country against the merciless and unending Jihad that seeks to annihilate it" - that is what you should have said, Mr Lapkin. - CM
'The BDS movement likens itself to the boycott movement against the apartheid South African regime in the 1970s and 1980s.
'Veteran pro-Palestinian campaigner and former Palestinian envoy in Australia Ali Kazak says that during the anti-apartheid struggle, boycotts on South African businesses were considered to be legitimate weapon of protest. "South African Airways and other businesses were targeted, so if it was OK for the apartheid regime, why not for Israel?"
Because Israel is not an apartheid regime, you evil liar, and because what you are actually engaged in, Mr Muslim Kazak, is a war of annihilation against Israel, a Jihad without mercy and without end, against the Jews - CM
'It's a connection deeply offensive to many in Australia's Jewish community.
"The Israel-Palestinian conflict is a struggle between two nations, not a struggle for equality within one nation", the Executive Council of Australian Jewry's executive director, Peter Wertheim, says.
Almost there, Mr Wertheim. But it isn't really about 'nations', either. It's about ideology. The so-called 'Palestinian people' - the local overwhelmingly-Muslim Arabs, re-branded for propaganda purposes - are merely the shock troops of the Jihad against the Jews that is supported, actively or passively, by the whole of the Muslim world. - CM
"Within Israel all citizens, including Jews, Arabs and Druze, share the same voting and legal rights...Jews and Arabs use the same public transport, eat at the same restaurants, shop in the same malls, and play in the same sports teams.
And are treated in the same hospitals, to the same excellent level of care. - CM
"The BDS [Max Brenner] campaign in Australia is not really about economic pressure, it's about demonising and vilifying Israel."
Spot on, Mr Wertheim. - CM
'Union leader Howes says: "If they [anti-Israeli protesters] are trying to equate the campaign against apartheid in South Africa with a campaign against a Jewish chocolate shop, they've got rocks in their heads."
Some of them, at least, the Muslim ones, do have a rock in their heads: the black rock in the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia (which, incidentally, is not permitted to be seen by anyone who is not a Muslim). One wonders whether the non-Muslim Useful Idiots in the BDS campaign know anything at all about the extent of gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia and in other Muslim lands, or whether anyone has ever explained to them the system of religion-based apartheid - deliberately suppressing and discriminating against non-Muslims - that is sacralised by the sharia, the law of Islam that pious Muslims are supposed to strive to impose world-wide by any and all means necessary. - CM
'Wertheim says the common link between the anti-Jewish Nazi boycotts in the 1939s and the present [present-day] Max Brenner campaign in Australia is that "both are based on the calculated orchestration of hate".
Nailed it in one, Mr Wertheim. But do you know that that hate, this time around, is primarily derived from the texts and tenets of Islam? - CM
'It is the historical echoes of the Nazi era and the refusal of the protest groups to recognise this, that makes the Max Brenner campaign so abhorrent not only to the Jewish community but to many in the wider community.
'Both sides of politics in Victoria have condemned the campaign and last week the Baillieu government asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to examine whether the activists in Melbourne had breached laws relating to secondary boycotts.
'The Greens leader Bob Brown has distanced himself from the BDS campaign, saying it is not part of the Greens' national policy, despite new Greens senator Lee Rhiannon having previously backed the campaign.
'Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd expressed his distaste for the campaign last month by having a very public coffee at the same Max Brenner store with Michael Danby, the Jewish MP for Melbourne Ports.
'Rudd told reporters anyone with historical memory should deplore boycotts of Jewish businesses. "[I am here] as an individual citizen - that is me, K. Rudd - I am here because I object to the boycotting of Jewish businesses", he said.
'Late last month a group of prominent Australians, including journalist Jana Wendt, comedian Sandy Gutman (aka Austen Tayshus), and former Labor Party president Warren Mundine met at a Max Brenner shop to voice their disapproval of the violent protests against the chocolate chain. "It's a truism, but we can't afford to ignore the lessons of history", Wendt said. "As the daughter of refugees whose lives were critically affected by both fascism and communism, I'm grateful for what Australia has to offer."
'Under attack, the coalition of 14 pro-Palestinian groups that form the rump of the socialist-green-Palestinian alliance promoting the Max Brenner campaign accuses its enemies of seeking to repress the movement and deny it the right to free speech.
Thuggish rallies seeking to physically scare away customers from a legitimate business do not qualify as 'free speech', to my mind - CM
"The active attempts to repress Australian organisations that seek to promote Israeli's accountability before international law is beyond reproach" a coalition of Palestinian groups said in a joint statement last weekend.
Ah, but which international law? If the membership of these groups is predominantly Muslim, then ultimately they are bound to recognise no law but the law of Islam. - CM
'Yet supporters of these same groups are keen to repress others who debate the issue.
'A news article in The Weekend Australian last week, which outlined the positions of each side of the debate, was attacked by one BDS supporter, anti-Israeli Jewish blogger Antony Lowenstein, as being typical of "a paper that loves the smell of bombed Muslims in the morning".
Perhaps somebody should sent Mr Lowenstein a copy of Giulio Meotti's book about the Israeli Jewish victims of decades of ceaseless Arab Muslim jihad. - CM
'The organisers of the Max Brenner campaign maintain that it is political, not racist.
Actually, that is correct. It is about ideology; ultimately, about the sacralised Jew-hatred hard-wired into the core texts of Islam. - CM
"We stress that the BDS movement is an anti-racist movement that rejects all forms of racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia (so intelligent distrust of Islam - which is an ideology, not a race, is a form of racism?? - logic FAIL - CM)...they do not target any particular religious or ethnic group", says the coalition of pro-Palestinian groups.
'But is this really the case?
"Not all criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic", the ECAJ's Wertheim says. "But the protesters are wrong when they say that no criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic. There is clearly an overlap. Some of the writings and slogans of the BDS movement have descended into rantings about Jews controlling the world and similar racist generalisations."
'Kim Bullimore, a spokeswoman for the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, which helped organize the Max Brenner protests, says the group has a democratic right to boycott businesses.
But you do not have a right, Ms Bullimore (is that really your name? how appropriate) to gather outside them behaving in such a manner as to physically impede customer entry and cause actual and prospective customers to fear for their personal safely; nor to threaten the staff of those businesses by presenting as the sort of mob that might at any moment start hurling rocks, smashing windows and bashing people up. - CM
'The boycott tactic has a long tradition in liberal democratic society and was used by Gandhi and Martin Luther King", she says.
But people waving the black flag of Jihad, such as I saw in the video footage of the 'protest' (aka massed threat display) outside the Max Brenner store in Sydney, have nothing in common with Gandhi, for they are foot-soldiers of what Churchill called 'the Religion of Blood and War'; and they have nothing in common with MLK, for throughout its history Islam has promoted and sacralised slavery on the grand scale. - CM
'But former AIJAC employee Lapkin says the Max Brenner campaign crosses the boundary of common decency in a country such as Australia.
"This is not a freedom of speech issue", he says. "it is a specific and deliberate attempt to shut down the operations of a legal business and that is beyond the bounds of democracy and free speech".
Yes. - CM