Antisemitism continues at third Sydney rally

July 29, 2014 by Julie Nathan
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Anti-Israel protests continued for a third week in a row around Australia. On Sunday in Sydney, the scene was similar to the previous two weeks, albeit with a much smaller crowd.

The flags of jihad and Hezbollah still flew amongst the Palestinian and other flags. Overt antisemitism was still much in evidence, mainly through words and images on placards.

The protesters no longer bother to hide the fact that they are calling for Israel’s destruction.

Some of the antisemitic slogans from previous weeks were gone, but these were replaced with others. A particularly nasty placard had the Star of David equaling a swastika, with the words “Stop the Holocaust in Palestine”. Another placard also had the Star of David equaling the swastika and the words “Shame shame shame Israel, Zionism = Nazism, Nazism = Zionism”.

Most disturbing were the placards that claimed that Israel deliberately kills children. In large red writing were painted the words “Babies Blood on your hands Israel” and “Israel murders babies”, with red spatters over each placard. Other placards said “Israel stop killing kids” and “If you want to live stay away from children”.

After the march from Town Hall to Hyde Park, street theatre was utilized to reiterate the erroneous claim that Israel targets and murders children.  Around the fountain, young people made-up with fake blood and ash played dead, next to various signs insinuating that Israel had killed them. On a ‘stage’ area, several groups of children were playing, with girls dancing and boys playing soccer, then the sound of bombs dropping, and the children all collapsing dead by the hand of Israel. Various signs were held up, some with the words “Stop the Genocide” and “Never Again”, both with implied references to Jews.

Ophelia Haragli, the MC, stated before the march that “We are not against Jews or Judaism, we are only against the illegal Jewish state.” This statement is as bizarre and disingenuous as saying “We are not against Italians and Italian laws, culture and traditions, we are only against the illegal Italian state.” Despite their attempted claim to be not against Jews, the fact that anti-Jewish themes, classical and modern, were expressed in abundance shows that the protesters’ protestations that they are not antisemitic to be nothing but empty rhetoric.

Speakers included Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Lynda Voltz, Labor State MP, Peter Perkins, RTB unionist, Antony Loewenstein, and others. Leading the march with the Grand Mufti was Father Dave Smith, Anglican cleric.

Some speeches and signs were unambiguous – not only was the West Bank and Gaza designated as occupied, but also Green Line Israel itself.  Such a position is not for peace and justice, nor about creating a Palestinian Arab state.  Its priority is the denial of Jewish peoplehood and hence of the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination, the very right claimed by the Palestinians for themselves.  This is the racist conception that underpins their calls for the destruction of the one Jewish state in the world, as expressed clearly in the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

Antisemitism was present not only at the Sydney rally, but also on the Sydney protest event Facebook page, set up Palestine Action Group (PAG), the organizers of the rally. On this page antisemitic comments, images and links were posted. This has been the standard scene on PAG’s Facebook event pages for each of the three rallies.

A link to the “Audio book of – The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (Complete)” was posted in a thread naming the speakers for the rally. Within two minutes of the link to the “Protocols” being posted, PAG posted a comment directly underneath it, on another matter. PAG organizers of the anti-Israel rally, a rally in support of Gaza, cannot deny having seen that link to the “Protocols”. As well, several other people in this and another thread voiced their concerns at PAG for allowing such antisemitic content being promoted and for remaining online

The historian Norman Cohn referred to the “‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” as the “Warrant for Genocide” used by Hitler as justification for his quest to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The “Protocols” is a fabrication written by antisemites within the czarist empire to incite and try to legitimize antisemitic laws and acts. The “Protocols” is claimed to be the plan by Jews conspiring to dominate and control the world, through banking, media, politics, and other means.

There was a call for genocide on the PAG Facebook page for the 27 July protest. In reference to Jews, one person stated “They already control the worlds media organisations and most of Hollywood. These nutcases need to be eradicated from the Earth or put behind bars before the start world war 3.”

Another comment on Facebook include: “This is an open GENOCIDE. What German’s did to Jews during the WWII, Israhell is doing the same thing to PALESTINIANS . If you are a good Judaist (I’m guessing you are) you must disown the state of Israhell’s actions like any other peace loving JEWS” and “You and your genocidal apartheid state are finished. Even rats have the sense to flee a sinking ship, but fuckwits like you seems to insist on going down with it. Everyone with a shred of humanity is going to enjoy the hell out of watching you all sink.”

Other comments are “Israel has no place in the Middle East nor does it have any legitimacy in Judaism. It is an illegitimate state that relies on genocide, PR campaigns, wars and foreign aid to remain alive” and “Zionists intent to eradicate and wipe out Palestines not just Gazas Kids their future… all laws in the U.N. they have broken so they should be kicked out of the U.N. but the problem with that is THEY OWN THE U.N.”

Several antisemitic images were posted. One image compared Netanyahu with Hitler and had the words: “Same shadow, different year”. There was an image of the Israeli flag composed of a skull and crossbones but with the skull wearing a kippah (skull cap) and peot (side curls). Another image has the State of Israel, Arik Sharon and Ehud Barak as pigs. In traditional Islamic literature, Jews are often referred to and portrayed as pigs.

An image by David Icke of Netanyahu with the words “… cold-blooded mass killer… genocide” was posted. Icke is a conspiracy theorist who promotes the “Protocols” and other anti-Jewish and bizarre conspiracy theories. In another thread a person gives a quote by David Duke, antisemite and former Grand Wizard of the KKK.

An image of a young boy about 5 years old sweeping a blood soaked floor, with the comment “This Is Palestine This Is The Work Of The Zionists. Pictures Speak A Thousand Wrds” and the clear implication that this is Gazan blood from Israeli strikes. In fact, it is a photo of a boy cleaning up his father’s butcher shop. Images do matter, and so does the attribution given them.

For an organization and campaign that claims to have nothing against Jews (apart from a Jewish state), a disinterested observer could easily conclude that Jews are seen as fair game, and that there is free and frequent denigration and demonisation of Jews and denial of rights to Jews. These rallies and their online conduits have become platforms for expressing and promoting antisemitism.

Julie Nathan is the research office for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry




5 Responses to “Antisemitism continues at third Sydney rally”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    How all these vitriolic protesters love the opportunity to distort context and unleash their hatred of Jews! They’re revelling in it. The lynch mobs are gathering and the crowd psychology taking over. Dangerous times indeed.

  2. Gail says:

    I would like to know the legal position in Australia on hate speech. Are there any lawyers that could advise on this. It seems to be becoming more and more of an issue.

  3. Brad says:

    While Isreal has the right to exist, it’s land grab through illegal settlements on Palistinian land needs to be highlighted as one of the many reasons my people in Gaza are left with no option an no hope.

    • Simon Goodman says:

      “Your people” Brad, were given the whole of Gaza in 2005 when Israel withdrew unconditionally. Since then they haven’t stopped firing rockets and missiles at Israel ever since. Hamas has used the mountains of aid money it received to build tunnels and assemble a huge store of rockets. That’s why the people of Gaza are suffering.

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