Friends of Israel WA launched in Perth…with astounding success

August 8, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article

1500 West Australians, including over 100 Federal and State Parliamentarians and community leaders converged on the Victory Life Centre in Osborne Park to stand up and support Israel.

In May, 2009, footage shot by 39-year-old Brendan O’Connell sent waves of anguish throughout the city’s 9,000 strong Jewish community.

Brendan O'Connell with text - YouTube still

O’Connell, took his viewers on a trip across the Swan River to a demonstration in South Perth being held by the Friends of Palestine,  protesting outside an IGA supermarket selling Israeli Jaffa oranges. O’Connell told his “viewers” that he was hoping to find some Jews at the scene…and he did. He videoed himself harrassing two young Jewish men and creating an argumentative situation. He faces trial in Perth this month, in only the second case in WA invoking the Racial Vilification Act. The Friends of Palestine group distanced itself from O’Connell

Steve Lieblich

Community leader Steve Lieblich told J-Wire: “The Jewish community wanted to show support for Israel after O’Connell had been charged and a group of us got together with one purpose in mind…to find support for Israel not just from the Jewish community but from all Australians. Today’s event was the culmination of this initiative. Instead of the usual 300-400 diehard Jewish supporters we got 1500 of which about 75% were not Jewish.”

Steve Lieblich reports:

The Centre’s main auditorium, which seats 800 was quickly filled to capacity, followed by the second overflow auditorium (linked by video to the proceedings) , necessitating a third overflow room to set up in the Centre’s lobby.

Stephen Smith

Attendances at the pre-Launch seminar and book launch were also beyond expectation demonstrating a powerful bond between Western Australia and Israel.

Bob Kucera

The event was chaired by inaugural Chairman of the FOIWA, former State Minister Bob Kucera  and Vice Chairman, former State Upper House member Ray Halligan. Apologies included Hon. Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition  but her statement of support was made by Ray Halligan.

Bob Kucera passionately expressed the importance of support for Israel as a “friend in need” and urged everyone present to join the organisation and look forward to hearing quality speakers, seminares and being kept informed.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith re-iterated Australia’s support for Israel’s right to live in peace and security, from the outset and across the political spectrum.

Ambassador Yuval Rotem

Michael Keenan, Federal Member for Stirling and Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs urged all Australians to support Israel, especially our leaders. Keenan  delivered a message of support from Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbot.

Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly Michael Sutherland and Deputy State Opposition Leader  Kate Doust  are co-conveners of the State Parliamentary Friends of Israel.  They spoke of their recent study tour of Israel and urged all West Australians to join the organisation and help it work for peace.

The meeting was addressed by Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem and through a videolink by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon.

Lieblich told J-Wire that O’Connell was ranting outside the meeting and was moved on by police.


4 Responses to “Friends of Israel WA launched in Perth…with astounding success”
  1. neville friedman says:

    can someone please contact me urgently re FOI membership applications

  2. Dorothy Ozols says:

    I have just finished reading Friends of Israel W.A. Newsletter vol 2 Summer 2011. As always, when I read of the great injustices committed against Israel I am incensed. The articles are true, the problem is, they are not front page news in our newspapers nation wide. Why is this??? Why cant we have at least weekly…an update on the insane accusations against Israel…revealed for the hate inducing propagander that they are.( I mean isnt this the very tactics Hitler and his propagander minister used 10 years before he actually declared war,and look what happened…are we going to stand by and let them do this again????? the world didnt utter a peep, well, except for Winston Churchill who could see exactly what was going on)) compared with the equally (only more so) insane justifications of the Palestinians and their co conspiritors and their never ceasing plans to destroy Israel.

    The article on the Methodist Church annual conference calling on that boycott absolutely sickened me. How could they do that ??? and I was thrilled to read Mr Oberman’s article about the many things that the Nation of Israel has done to help the people of the world regardless of their nationalities or beliefs…and he could have added many,many more great things that they have done, like enabling the Africans to grow crops, enabling autistic children to have a better life, the list is endless. Yes come to think of it, let these great informing TV stations, inform us about the many GREAT and I mean GREAT things that Israel has done for the world..and let them DO IT NOW. My daughter bought me a beautiful hard cover, coffee table type, book about all of Israels accomplishments…It is so beautiful it makes you want to cry..I asked my Son to take it and show it to his Boss.

    I dont want to just read these things in newsletters, as great as they are, seeing that there is nothing else….I want our newspapers crying out, our TV Media (instead of going over and getting in with the poor Mogadishi pirates to give us their side…why they have a right to terrorise,capture steal, and kill innocent people because thats the only way they can get some money) I want it to be talked about on our TV shows….I want a relentless barrage of fact filled information…to counteract the dozens of years that the false accusations about Israel have been left anchallenged by the worlds media. I would venture to say..deliberately left unchallenged…while even the tiniest suspicion of wrong doing by Israel has been shouted to the rooftops. I dont want to read about announcements that these other world leaders have made at meetings behind closed doors…I want them to shout it out from the main media.. non stop to the world…proving and reproving just what is being done to destroy Israel. My daughter and husband are attending the meeting for friends of Israel? held in America this month in Virginia???if I have got the venue correct.

    Here is what Gods word says Zech2:8 he who touches you touches the apple of My eye. Isa 41:8-16 the descendants of Abraham My friend.Isa 41:9-14.fear not for I am with you,and more.Gen12:3…Gen 49:8-10..Zech 12:2-4,8-9 (most important). God also says in another place that He loves those that love Jerusalem If I were crying out anything right now…it would be that Almighty God said He would bless those who bless Abrahams children and curse those who curse them…..we see the evidence…..For me …Id want to be on Gods side.

    Regards Dorothy Ozols

    • Natasha Jean says:

      Hi Dorothy, I know this is a long shot but I believe I may be your niece if your husband was Raitis Ozols as I am his brothers daughter. If you see this I would love to get in contact with you!!

  3. When I was asked to run an educational session two hours before the launch of Friends Of Israel W.A I thought I would be lucky if I got to speak in front of a crowd larger the 50 people. This was the furthest thing from the truth. By the time I started at 2pm there were over 400 people in the auditorium, at to 2:30pm the main hall which I was speaking in was almost at capacity with over 700 people present. By the time the Offical launch had begun at 4pm there were over 1500 people at the Victory Life Center. Our kind hosts had to open two extra over flow rooms.

    Being on stage and viewing these large numbers was incredibly uplifting and beautiful experience. I for that I thank you. I thank the non-Jewish and Jewish communities for coming out in support of Israel, freedom and democracy.

    I just hope Friends of Israel W.A can go from strength to strength and continue demonstrating how wonderful Israel is to the wider Western Australian community.

    If you have not signed up to become a Friend Of Israel yet please head to

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