Here we go again – more protests in store for Shahar

January 17, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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The Australians for Palestine group has announced it will protest Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer’s participation in the Australian Open “when she plays”.

The web site, edited by Sonja Karkar, states the planned protests are “to remind people that normalising relations with Israel while it perpertrates a barbaric ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their own homeland through violence and apartheid, makes us complicit in its crimes.”

The site invites readers who “wish to help protest” to make contact. Peer experienced on court protests in an Auckland tournament earlier this month which led to the arrests of seven demonstrators.

The group has already distributed leaflets and posters through the Melbourne CBD. [see below]

Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria, told J-Wire: “It is typical of this organisation to grandstand and disrupt normal life in an attempt to bring Israel and Israelis into disrepute. Shahar Peer has the same rights as any other competitor. It is completely against the Australian view that sports is an area in which people can come together. The Australians for Palestine are demonstrating to the Australian public just how much off target they are. It is emblamatic of the Palestinan approach to spoil and destroy instead of showing responsible interest towards making peace. If they go ahead with this protest it will be no more than a combative, aggressive attack on a State and its citizens.”

The president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria John Searle added: “I find it disturbing that members of the AFP  who have the ability and the intelligence to ascertain the true position can misrepresent that position so comprehensively.

A spokeswoman for Tennis Australia thanked J-Wire for advising them of the planned protest. When asked about preventative measures she said: “We cannot comment on our security.”

Sonja Karka was asked by J-Wire if the protests would be in a format to disrupt play and if the protesters were prepared to face arrest.

She replied: “Our campaign is focused on raising awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies and practices against the Palestinians, as well as the war crimes it perpetrated in Gaza.  As long as Israel continues to oppress and violate the Palestinian people, we consider it our right to challenge any efforts by Israel to normalise its standing in the international arena.”

J-Wire understands Shahar Peer is due on court on Tuesday.

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