Brisbane BDS demo a fizzler

August 28, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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It was Brisbane’s turn yesterday to face the fury of the pro-BDS campaign against the Max Brenner Chocolate shops – but the 40 protesters found themselves herded by 30 police into a prepared enclosure well away from the popular store.

Ari Heber reports:

Police contain protesters in a prepared area pic: Ari Heber

“The 40+ decidedly white bread protesters bleated their inane anti Israel slogans as if in a street theater production of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

A crowd of about 130 multicultural multifaith supporters rallied against the demonstrators drowning them out with jeers and generally positive messages.

Hot Chocolate, dancing and a sense of camaraderie made it an enjoyable afternoon.

In an email to the community this week QJBD President Jason Steinberg had asked supporters not to engage with the protesters and not to provoke them.

Many supporters at the protest felt that there was a need for the community to do something to challenge these protesters and not ignore them.

In the time it took to order a hot chocolate the protesters gave up and moved on down the street claiming a “moral victory” over democracy and free thought.

Max Brenner supporters pic: Ari Heber

Patrons of Max Brenner’s where not inconvenienced and many were unaware of the protest taking place behind the building.”

A community spokesman told J-Wire: “The protesters were heavily outnumbered. Not only was there a strong communal presence, but also support from non-Jewish groups against BDS.”

Dr Sylvia McCosker was also at Max Brenner’s. She said:  “I went into Max Brenner’s at around 1.30 and bought an excellent hot chocolate and a slice of cheesecake, as well as a few special chocolate treats to take home to the family.  The place was packed, and the people behind the counter said that many customers that day had told them that they had come in expressly to defy the boycott call.

A friend of mine from my parish church, having been alerted by me yesterday, met me at the cafe and brought his children and grandchild. We had a very pleasant cup of chocolate together whilst the rain poured down and, about 50 metres uphill from the cafe, a mob of about 60 rather damp BDS Useful Idiots screamed and yelled  (hampered somewhat by having to manipulate umbrellas as well as placards and megaphones).  I didn’t hear what they were saying.

There was a lively counter-demo comprising some twenty or thirty people.

The Queensland police were there in force and kept everything well under control.

By the time I finished my hot chocolate and went outside, the BDS mob had given up and vamoosed.  I was able to speak with some of those who had mounted the counter-rally – most of them members of Brisbane’s Jewish community.  I congratulated them, expressed my support for what they were doing and my support for the Jewish state of Israel and for the Jewish community in Australia, and told them  why I had come to Max Brenner’s that day.”

Jason Steinberg said he was pleased that there had been no serious incidents and praised the police for the way they handled the protest.

The protest pic: Ari Heber

Sheli Tvina gets added support from her father Amir pic: Ari Heber
















Danielle Keys published the following on the Menzies House web site:

On Saturday the 27th of August at 1pm, the Socialist Alliance and “Justice for Palestine” met at Merivale Street, Brisbane to march down to Southbank to bully and intimidate the customers and staff of popular chocolatier ‘Max Brenner’.

I, Danielle Keys, organised the counter-protest movement a month ago after seeing the Socialist Alternative at UQ handing out flyers about their protest. The flyers said to boycott Max Brenner as an agent of apartheid Israel. I thought it was so disgusting that I organised a facebook event just to see if some friends were interested in counter-protesting.

Little did I know that in a matter of weeks I would have many different groups approaching me to help support the cause, over 90 facebook friends attending and be in contact with the corporate management of Max Brenner. Little did I truly foresee that I would be speaking to almost every single newspaper I can think of as well as television and radio opportunities. I would have been happy to stand alone but I am really glad I didn’t have to! The reason that people stand behind counter-protest movements I think is because as just individual people we get bullied by the disgraceful agendas of the loudest most empty vessels of humanity – the Socialist Alliance. They are the unwashed aggressors who exist off the fringes of society prepared to violently demonise anyone who disagrees with them. I really had enough of it and I’m glad to see I was not the only one!

I guess the only way to properly describe the events of yesterday is like this…


When the Socialist Alliance marched down to Southbank they were not counting on being outnumbered by ordinary Australians telling them to go home and that their intolerance was not welcome. They quite seriously didn’t bank on it and were very upset about it (ha-ha!). I recognised quite a few faces from university so I look forward to whatever retaliatory aggression they will have for me in the coming weeks at the University of Queensland. Whatever it is, I am prepared. 🙂

It was amazing to see the Socialist Alliance and Justice for Palestine outnumbered and placed into a nice little contained area. There were stacks of people and in particular many young people out to stand up against the Socialist Alliance. Unlike in other cities, the Socialist Alliance were kept away from the Max Brenner store (as they would have had to get through 10 police officers and 70 regular Australians who were fed up). Max Brenner Southbank was really busy and business was booming for them. We had random people off the street so disgusted by the Socialist Alliance that they went and bought some chocolate then stood with us.

This rabble of socialist sycophants were chanting about Max Brenner’s support for genocide and how it has blood on it’s hands. I found this particularly disturbing as Jewish people have been systematically persecuted and subjected to genocidal attacks for thousands of years. The conduct of the Socialist Alliance yesterday made it clear their attachment to violent, aggressive and fundamentally antisemitic behaviour.

We responded with many different chants and songs, but I think one of the most amazing ones was when a Max Brenner staff member came up to join us before his shift started and chanted about how he loves the company he works for. I was happy to give that guy the megaphone for a welcome break… everyone’s vocal chords have taken a beating!

Anyone who was there would have seen how much fun it was. Everyone there was laughing, chanting, getting stuck into the SA, drinking hot chocolates and dancing around. The Socialist Alliance eventually walked away. Shamed into oblivion. They went and stood in a park somewhere continuing their little rant, where no one could hear them and no one could call them to account. This is unsurprising and indicative of their cowardice.

All fun and exciting times aside, there was a really powerful and beautiful element to this counter-protest movement. I was really humbled and overwhelmed by people from the Jewish community voicing their thanks for the support. It sounds insane but I never really thought of the Brisbane Jewish community when it came to organising this. I was so busy thinking of the political and ideological principles that I didn’t properly see how personally vilified and offended the Jewish community felt over this. They came out in force to stand up for Max Brenner and say no to Socialist Alliance abuses. I met so many wonderful Jewish people and I felt so touched when they said how surprised and happy they were to see non-Jewish people standing by them in an event like this. Honestly, I grew up in a Christian home in the leafy and fairly affluent Westside of Brisbane. I’m a white anglo-saxon protestant. Outside of going to a Jewish kindergarten and having one Jewish friend in primary school I hadn’t been exposed much to the culture and community. Words really can’t describe how much I feel I have gained something as a human being for organising the counter-protest.

As a young idealist and libertarian I got lost in the principled machinations of what is happening surrounding the BDS. What is really important for all people to remember is that there is a huge personal element to these things. Because ordinary Australians stood up and said no to the Socialist Alliance’s intolerance and hatred, the Jewish community has felt a level of support that I am not sure they felt was there before. I’ve been invited to an event at a synagogue! Who knows? I might meet a nice Jewish boy and be like Charlotte York from Sex and the City! Yeah… that would be funny and she was hot. My Dad got a real shock when I changed Christian denominations… okay okay okay let’s not get ahead of ourselves here hahahaha.

Max Brenner is not the only company that is being attacked by these people. In Brisbane there is a store called Seacret which isn’t even an Israeli company, but buys shells from the Red Sea (within an Israeli area) to use in its cosmetics. The Socialist Alliance have been spotted bullying and blockading entrance to their store in Brisbane City. Max Brenner is a company that started in Israel and has way more substantial ties to Israel than Seacret does! They are bullying and blockading the store because they buy shells from Jews… outrageous! Plus, if I may say so myself the cosmetic and nail-kits from Seacret are spectacular.

In summary, the counter-protest was awesome. If you weren’t there then I am sure there will be plenty more! If there is an anti-Max Brenner protest in your own towns, I encourage you to gather your friends together and stage a counter-protest!

Danielle is a student at the University of Queensland, and is the National Campus Action Plan Director for the Conservative Leadership Foundation (although this was an independent event and was not affiliated with the CLF)

First published


23 Responses to “Brisbane BDS demo a fizzler”
  1. Carola Hume says:

    if you actually look at & listen to these ‘anti-everything-israel’ protesters, they’re not very intelligent, ‘cos they ramble on with slogans and words learned from their team leaders.
    their brains are so vacuous they wouldn’t have the intelligence to actually research any information for themselves to verify its accuracy.
    IMO they have no skills, interests or hobbies to occupy their non-working free time, if they even have a job!! they’re losers who in years to come will go to their death bed having achieved zero in their whole life. what a tragic legacy to leave your descendants.

  2. stuart says:

    I can only hope that Sydney siders will follow the example set by Brisbane and show there disdain for these thugs.What if we stayed on the pavement outside Max Brennars on the 10th of September. We could up in a long queue to buy yummy hot chocolate and laugh at the ineffectual racist thugs

  3. Banjow says:

    Well done Danielle Keys, and well done Brisbane, Police and others.
    It does my heart good to see Australians together resisting thuggery.
    The Socialist Alliance, the Greens, the “BDS” goons, the “Friends of Palestine” apparatchiks couldn’t give a cent about Palestine – they are standard, medieval, run of the mill Jew haters and haters of civil society. That’s all there is to it.
    The world has had to deal with their kind for centuries. It is really heartening to see that Danielle and her colleagues acted against them, and succeeded.
    I wish that people like Danielle and her friends had existed all those years ago in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and the other places where the remains of some of my relatives rest with millions of others, never to be found.

  4. Banjow says:

    Well done Danielle Keys, and weel done Brisbane, Police and others.
    It does my heart good to see Australians together resisting thuggery.
    The Socialist Alliance, the Greens, the “BDS” goons, the “Friends of Palestine” apparatchiks couldn’t give a cent about Palestine – they are standard, medieval, run of the mill Jew haters. That’s all there is to it.
    The world has had to deal with their kind for centuries. It is really heartening to see that Danielle and her colleagues acted against them, and succeeded.
    I wish that people like Danielle and her friends had existed all those years ago in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and the other places where the remains of some of my relatives rest with millions of others, never to be found.

  5. Cinammon says:

    I wasn’t aware previously that Max Brenner was an Israeli company that gives support to the IDF. Knowing that, I’ll now go somewhere else for my hot chocolate until Israel ends the Occupation. I don’t agree with picketing a store, as I think people should have the right to decide for themselves whether to take their business elsewhere.

    Also, has anyone reading the claims in this thread that the Australia Tea Baggers oppose evil? These are the same folk who are anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and who proudly host a link on their homepage to a group called the Australian Defence League, who organise anti-Muslim rallies. I don’t mind people having counter-protests, but if you lie down with dogs, you’re likely to get up with fleas.

  6. alexthehood says:

    What do you mean by the term “The 40+ decidedly white bread protesters”. I’ll await a reply before making judgement and posting further comments.

  7. pam says:

    Well done to all those who stood up to the violent thugs and bullies who make up the BDS. There is no place for them in free and democratic Australia.

    Let’s uphold Australia’s freedom and democracy and not let it be turned it into a totalitarian hellhole like those the Socialist Alliance and Friends of Palestine so admire.

    Israel is a vibrant democratic country in a sea of totalitarian failed states. The only place where Arabs are truly free is Israel. Surely any people who want to support Arabs would want them to enjoy the same freedoms that democracies enjoy. We are not helping by pretending they are oppressed by Israel rather than by admitting their oppressors are their own countries and the racist, sexist sharia law system which is rapidly taking hold.

  8. Tlozuk says:


    People have had how long to learn about the supposed “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians? Too bad for you and your intellectually/morally challenged goons, people are seeing through your tiresome rhetoric and narrative, indeed support for Israel is only growing because people are learning more about the Palestinians.

  9. potb says:

    @ hasbaracentral
    No, every time those protesters show up other people see the hatred in their eyes. Every time I see one of those protests I’m going to buy Israeli products, just to piss those protesters off. And I’m not the only one.

  10. Ann Fink says:

    NB.The past participle of the verb “to be” is “were’ not “where”. So where on earth was the editor of J-Wire educated?

    • admin says:

      We appreciate all comments. However, Ann, you should be well enough educated to understand the difference between a typo and a grammatical error. This piece was dropped in by a correspondent and “where” instead of “were” was not picked up. We are always grateful when made aware of typos. However, criticism of a fine Scottish education and years on Fleet St may not be so well received! I am smiling, though. Thanks again.

  11. hasbaracentral says:

    Smear and slander by the rightwingers. Not a shred of truth. The BDS campaign is directed only against Israeli companies and those benifitting from the displacment of Palestinians and robbery of their esources. The campaign is supported by Jews and groups within Israel as well. The protestors include Jewish persons here. But truth cannot come in the way of slander and demonisation by the rightwingers.

  12. Lisa says:

    Dear Danielle and all those involved in the counter-protest,

    Firstly, THANK YOU!!!! Your courage and determination in making a stand against the vilification of Israel and the Jewish people is truly inspirational! I am not Jewish and have only recently been made aware of the BDS campaign, particularly in Australia, in the last year or so. It has been truly disturbing to see this happeing in our generation and in this great land of democracy.

    As a resident in Melbourne, I have witnessed a significant increase in BDS protests in our city. I became aware of the protests earlier in the year while attending uni over the weekend and subsequently notified not only Max Brenner but also centre managements for the stores. However to my dismay, when these concerns were brought to the local Jewish communities, the response was to ignore the protests and “not give it oxygen”. Although I was discouranged by this, out of respect for the Jewish community, I have refrained from doing any further activities in countering the BDS movement.

    Since then, the BDS protests have become more aggressive in Melbourne and as we know, violent protestors were arrested outside the QV branch last month and at least 2 more protests have been organised in the city. As an ardent pro-Israel supporter, watching this without the ability to counter these ludicrous “apartheid” claims has been agonising! I have nothing but the greatest love, admiration and respect for the Jewish people and I WANT to stand up for them!

    So, to read this has encouraged me SO MUCH! I am so very grateful for your fighting spirit that would not give up at the risk of your own well being! It has given me hope and renewed vigour that THERE ARE people in the community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who simply WILL NOT TOLERATE these acts of anti-semitism in our community and WILL NOT stay silent! Thank you!!

    I will be travelling to Israel in less than 3 weeks and am SO EXCITED!! It is a trip of a life time and I know it will impact me like nothing else! But this is only one way in which I want to show the Jewish community that there are people in this nation that are not afraid to stand with Israel and to make it known!

    Again, thank you. I am so encouraged and inspired to do what must be done to counter this stupidity. As false and misleading as the BDS campaign is, by NOT speaking up, we inevitably justify their cause because people who have no understanding of the issues in this conflict, do not have a counter argument given to them to consider. So…

    No more silence. It is time to SPEAK UP.

    Thank you!

  13. Sabra says:

    I admire you all, members of the TEA Party … checked your website, saw what you stand for, and I’M WITH YOU!! I hope you get in at the next election :)) And I love that you stand for freedom & democracy for everyone in this wonderful country we call home. No discrimination, no anti-semitism, no fear… and NO BOYCOTTS!! For a while I was starting to think that Australia was lost to the radical left & greens, but now I’m reassured … it’s wonderful & fully heartwarming having your support in these troubled times! Good luck with all your endeavours!!

  14. Rita says:

    hasbaracentral says: “…That is the real impact of the BDS movement…”

  15. Shirlee says:

    Thanks guys. A job well done.

  16. The Australian TEA party and many other less vocal groups were happy to support Max Brenner’s .We understand not wanting to get closely involved with these anti semitic socialists but they have to be defeated and their actions and message must be defeated.Ordinary Australians are righteously indignant to this outrageous BDS campaign. The TEA Party believes that evil must be confronted and opposed.. and if that means staring them down , shouting back at their bully boy attempts
    and responding to their chants with “We love chocolate”..and “Go home Nazis!” SO BE IT!…the result??? they gave up , slinking off with their tale between their legs… defeated. This didn’t happen in Melbourne they think they won. this didn’t happen in Sydney , but in Brisbane because we were all there and ready for them they were unable to get anywhere near Max Brenner’s. The chocolate shop was able to operate normally … victory.!! The sight of fear and confusion in these extreme leftists eyes when they realised not only that they were outmatched in numbers but in passion….was priceless.
    If our Jewish friends feel uncomfortable in standing up we will ! This is Australia ..protesting Jewish shops under false pretences about things they have obviously no influence over is 1930’s Germany ..NOT Australia. Your friends ..the TEA Party!

  17. Dani Keys says:

    It was such a fun day! If the sun came out more it would have been nice, but oh well!
    Apparently we got on the Channel 10 6pm news which is pretty awesome. I’d watch it but sadly my father deleted the recording 🙁 I look forward to more people standing up against intolerance. There will be a follow up article on this too 🙂

  18. Shirlee says:

    Shkoyach !!

    I am so glad that people listened to the call not to engage with the protesters and not to provoke them.
    I been slammed for doing that in Sydney

    Well done !!

  19. Dr McCosker says:

    I was there on the 27th, having heard about this idiotic BDS business and being determined to cock a snook at them (I am not Jewish; I am Anglo-Celtic Aussie, and a churchgoing Anglican). I arrived about 1.30 pm and had a nice hot chocolate – having walked there all the way from Roma Street. As you said, the protesters when they arrived were not permitted to harass or intimidate customers and passersby; congrats to Queensland Police, standing there in the rain in their fluoro jackets, I hope they got a hot chocolate after the protesters had gone and once they came off duty.

    Kudos to the Jewish and other folks who did the counter-protest; I went out and had a chat to a few of them after I finished my chocolate. If this happens again I will save my hot chocolate ‘fix’ for after the demo not before/ during, so as to be one more person visibly supporting Israel and supporting the right of my Jewish fellow-citizens to NOT be the targets of hateful harassment (for more on antizionism as the fashionable modern disguise of antisemitism, see Phyllis Chesler, “The New Antisemitism”).

    From a certain perspective these BDS mini hate-fests are laughable but although they presented as a small draggle-tailed group yesterday I do not think they should be ignored; they are a danger sign and I think people like Michael Danby are right to be alarmed.

  20. Dear Readers,

    Yesterday was a real low point for Queensland as the Anti-Semetic socialist BDS campaigners turned their attention to the Brisbane Max Brenner outlet.

    As a member of The Australian TEA Party, which as an organisation was influential in organising yesterdays counter protest, and as someone who has zero connections with Judaism or Israel, I must say it was was an absolute pleasure defending free enterprise and the rights of Israelis and Jews alike to go about their peaceful business without fear of persecution or hatred.

    Yesterdays counter protest was the first time the socialist BDS campaigners had actually come up against any real opposition on street level, and we did most certainly take them by surprise. After a 30-40 minute loud hailer exchange, the Green/Socialist Alternative BDS protesters retreated to lick their figurative wounds and possibly reexamine there vile campaign which up until now has met little street level opposition.

    What yesterday really demonstrated was the support for Israel and Jews from outside of the Jewish/Israeli community and it was a real privilege as an Australian TEA Party member to take part.

    Despite yesterdays success, we must always remain mindful that the BDS has defacto support from the Jullia Gillard government as she voluntarily formed a coalition with the Australian Greens who at a NSW level openly support the BDS campaign and at a federal level refuse to support Sen. Ron Boswell’s motion condemning the BDS campaign.

    Clearly this situation needs to change, and of course it will when this government either collapses or is voted out next election.


    Ashley McCallum
    (Australian TEA Party – Brisbane Coordinator)

  21. hasbaracentral says:

    Here goes the censor!

    Heber does not seem to realise the political impact of the campaign. Evert time there is a protest more people learn about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and opposition to Israe will grow. That is the real impact of the BDS movement.

  22. Amir Tvina says:

    Great day for Max Brenner; we were proud to be there!

    Amir and Sheli Tvina ( pictured ….not Asaf and Shelly Twina)
    Max Brenner Supporters.

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