BDS Goes West

September 21, 2011 by Sarah Robinson
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More than three hundred people have rallied in support of Israel outside the Commonwealth Bank Building in Perth’s Murray Street Mall. Local parliamentarians, including Shadow Minister, Kate Doust, and Member for Mount Lawley, Michael Sutherland, attended the event.

Rally in full swing

The demonstration was sparked by a Boycott Divestment Sanctions (“BDS”) protest scheduled for the same day. The anti-Israel BDS campaign advocates the boycott of Israeli businesses, a movement which has recently drawn criticism from both major parties and across the Australian community.

The demonstration, planned by the Friends of Israel Western Australia, drew a cross section of supporters, with some waving Australian and Israeli flags, as well as banners displaying phrases such as, “Israel. We stand with you”.

Various speakers addressed the crowd, including Bob Kucera, an ex Labour MP and President of the Friends of Israel WA. Kucera cited democracy as a key issue in the debate. “I support Israel because I believe fervently in democracy. What other country in the Middle East has accepted the right of all minority groups to live together and exist in harmony?”

Michael Sutherland also addressed the crowd which included hundreds of shoppers who stopped to observe the event. Sutherland urged people to “stand up and be counted”, dubbing the BDS a “…lunatic campaign driven by the Greens and socialist alliance”.

Young Labour President of WA, Matt Dixon, emphasised Kucera’s message, restating the importance of supporting a nation that “…loves life and not death”. Cheers of support continued as various people took to the stand, including a young man with cerebral palsy who praised Israel for its excellent treatment of people with disabilities.

Tom White, Young Liberal President in WA, and the Hon. Kate Doust, deputy Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Council also addressed the assembled crowd.

Meanwhile a group of thirty BDS supporters marched across Perth’s city, targeting The Body Shop, Veolia and Caterpillar – businesses that they claimed to have some connection to Israel.

A strong police presence kept a close watch over both demonstrations, with more than thirty police officers on patrol.

The pro-Israel rally garnered high levels of support from the public, reflecting increasing disapproval from the broader community towards boycotting Israeli products and anti-Israel sentiment.


One Response to “BDS Goes West”
  1. ben says:

    If they are opposing Veiola, caterpillar and Bodyshop, it exposes the hollowness of the slander that they are anti-semitic.

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