Solidarity rallies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane

May 23, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Some of the Australian Jewish community united today to show solidarity with Israel with rallies in Australia’s three biggest cities.

Supporters at the Melbourne rally

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler, who attended the Melbourne rally, said, “The Australian Jewish community with support from representatives of the Government and Opposition came together today”, he said. “We came from the left and right, from religious and secular backgrounds – to declare one simple message: Israel has a right to live in peace and a right to defend itself when attacked.”

Mr Leibler continued, “The people of Israel and, indeed, the members of the Australian Jewish community desire peace between Israel and its neighbours.”

Mr Leibler welcomed the cessation of violence. “We mourn the loss of innocent life”, he said, “and we were deeply relieved when the ceasefire began. The people of Israel and, indeed, the members of the Australian Jewish community desire peace between Israel and its neighbours. We call on the international community to ensure that Hamas is not able to rebuild its capacity to attack Israel.”

Due to credible threats against the rallies, their times and locations were kept secret until Sunday. A large police presence protected the rallies.

“It is a sad indictment that in 2021 we have seen a dramatic increase in antisemitism – blatant hatred of Jews and equally as sinister, antisemitism hidden under the guise of anti-Zionism. From London to New York to here in Australia, it is completely unacceptable that the Jewish community’s ability to express support for Israel and call for peace is a security risk requiring significant protection from police and private security”

State and federal politicians from both sides of politics attended the rallies.

In Melbourne, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said, “The recent violence has caused much suffering in Israel and Gaza. Australia should continue to support Israelis and Palestinians in reaching a just and durable peace.”

He was joined by this parliamentary colleague, Labor MP Josh Burns, who told the crowd, “If those rockets were flying over Melbourne or Canberra or Sydney, the Australian Defence Force would be doing the same thing as Israel. Australia would defend its people, and Israel was defending its people… Israel is a leader, it is a friend, and we gather here today standing with Israel.”

They shared the stage with state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who said, “Israel has not only a right but a responsibility to defend itself and her people. We wish for long-lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to violence. Lasting peace will only be possible with the acceptance of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.”

Acting Victorian Premier James Melino wasn’t able to attend, but sent a message, which was read to the crowd by ZFA CEO Ginette Searle. “I have visited Israel”, read Mr Merlino’s statement, “and I know of its people, its culture, its pride and its history. In a complex and crowded Middle East, Israel has been, and will always be, a safe haven to the Jewish people… I condemn the actions of Hamas, conducting terrorist activities which put the lives of millions across the entire region at risk. It’s despicable – there is no justification.”

Dr Katie Allen, federal Liberal MP, Paul Hamer, state Labor MP and Tim Smith, state Liberal MP also took the stage.

A large police presence protected those present. This came after credible threats were made against the rallies.

“It is a sad indictment that too many of those who say they support the Palestinian cause wish to show that support by threatening the safety of Jewish Australians”, said Mr Leibler. “We have long said that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, and the threats made against today’s rallies is further proof.”

Reports on the Brisbane and Sydney rallies will be published on J-Wire tomorrow.


One Response to “Solidarity rallies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    It’s truly a disgrace that the location of the Jewish rallies could not be publicised in advance in order to attract the optimum number for support of Israel.

    Was this a police recommendation? I understand the threats that had been made beforehand, however, are we going to downsize our events and modify our behaviour because of bullies with evil intent?

    To my knowledge there was no media coverage of these events, at least not on television. And there needs to be. Otherwise, what is the point? We need to fight antisemitism and those who would see us destroyed and to do that we need to use the media as effectively as the Palestinians and their supporters do.

    I applaud all those who attended in Melbourne, including the politicians, but we needed heavy reporting of it.

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