Last Friday (July 1) a group of 150 or so people staged a rally outside of a Melbourne branch of the Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner. The rally was organised by the ‘Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid’ in support of the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) campaign against ‘Israeli Apartheid’.
Police arrested 19 protesters [video] who have been charged with a variety of offences including trespass, besetting, resisting arrest, and behaving in a riotous manner. 16 will be required to front the Magistrates Court on September 5.
For further details, see : Police attack Palestine solidarity demonstration, Socialist Alternative, July 1, 2011 | 19 arrested at anti-Israel protest, Mitchell Toy and James Campbell, Sunday Herald Sun, July 3, 2011 | Police make vicious attack on Palestine solidarity protest, Sue Bolton, Green Left Weekly, July 4, 2011.
A previous protest outside of a Max Brenner outlet in Sydney in June (at which two protesters were arrested) prompted the newly-elected NSW MLC Walt Secord to demand police take action to protect businesses being targeted by the campaign:
“With the BDS gaining support, the NSW Government and the Police Minister must ensure that companies with an Israeli connection are protected and are not unfairly targeted,” Secord said. “BDS is part of a worldwide attempt to isolate Israel, to boycott Israeli products, creativity, programs and culture. It has reached Australia and that is of concern. I vehemently oppose the BDS campaign.”
Local Melbourne MP Michael Danby has condemned the protesters as “prejudiced fanatics”; blogger Gavin Atkins reckons Max Brenner chocolate: tastes like freedom. Neither are likely to attend a public meeting organised for Tuesday, July 5 @ 6:30pm @ Trades Hall to defend those arrested and to assert the right to protest.
Even though most of the activists involved are just using the suffering of the Palestinian people as a soapbox for their political parties, that the cops have gotten involved and are arresting people is pretty messed up. The right to protest is extremely important, but it seems a lot like seeing the Australian Defence League protesting KFC for being Halal or something.
Any decent government would have banned Max Brenner and cut ties with Israel as was done with apartheid South Africa. Brenner cannot continue to profit from ethnic cleansing and pretend to be an honest business. Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is worse than apartheid South Africa’s treatment of black South Africans, just look at the barrier cutting into Palestinian towns and villages, the expanding Jewish settlements connected by exclusive roads and the check points which have turned the West Bank into open air jails, not to speak of the collective punishment of Gaza.
Having never heard of Max Brenner until the recent demo in Melbourne I decided to go and try a coffee there. It was delicious and I am cheered to know that my small contribution goes to supporting the IDF. There is no such thing as a Palestinian (unless you count the Jews who never left the Holy Land) and idealists would be better advised to protest to the Jordanian government and demand that it opens its borders to its own people. Shalom and God bless you all.
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Email to Whittaker’s Chocolate in New Zealand. Hi. This is to notify you that since I have become aware that your product is Halal certified, I will no longer be purchasing it. I had chosen your products over Cadbury’s and Nestle because they are Halal certified. I take it you are aware that Halal certification receipts are forwarded to Islamic charities and often go to fund terrorism and jihad worldwide. I shall be advising all my socially aware friends on facebook to avoid your product for this reason. It looks as though Max Brenner’s may be the only company not cowardly enough to succumb to the dhimmitude of appeasing supremacist Islam. Good day to you. (I hope that Max Brenner’s chocolate is not Halal certified).