The Israeli owned Max Brenner chocolate shop has again been the target of anti-Semitic protests.
At Southbank in Brisbane on Saturday 27th of August a contingent of around 40 anti-Israeli protestors from the Socialist Alternative and the Justice for Palestine groups showed up and tried spreading their belief that Max Brenner is somehow to blame for the Palestinian problem.
They were met by a larger counter protest of over 60 people from a diverse range of groups such as the Australian Tea Party, the Australian Patriots Defence Movement, student groups, Israeli community members and politicians.
These different groups which may respectfully disagree at times united at short notice and despite the rain to take on the Max Brenner protestors. These groups see the reasons for the protests as nothing more than a cover for inciting racial hatred.
Leading the charge was the Australian Tea Party. The Tea Party’s David Goodridge stated he was protesting because the nature of the anti-Max Brenner protests was racist saying if you protest against the actions of a nation it is done outside that nations embassies’, not outside of businesses from that nation.
Danielle Keys from the student groups was quoted as saying “We're all turning up to say, 'No, in Australia we support tolerance.' "
When protest arise against other countries the protests are directed at those countries government, not its businesses but when it comes to Israel it seems the anti-Israel protestors’ blame all Jews and all Jewish businesses are legitimate targets of protest and violent action.
I don’t know how all Jews and Jewish businesses are somehow responsible for the problems in the Middle East and I don’t expect a straightforward answer on the subject from the anti-Jewish groups either.
Conspicuous by their absence was the presence of people from a Palestinian background, only one of the protestors may have been from Palestine.
Why weren’t there a large number of Palestinian people? Maybe they see these protests as using the Palestinian problem as a cover for spreading intolerance.
In other states the anti-Max Brenner protests were unopposed and caused disruption to business and ended in violence and arrests. At Southbank the larger counter protest has shown the anti-Jewish brigade that their intolerance is not welcome.
The protestors chanted “there’s blood in your chocolate” prompting one Max Brenner patron to joke to his friends that they better check their chocolate. So instead of delivering an awe inspiring slogan the protestors’ credibility took a blow by people getting a laugh from their slogans.
The counter protestors yelled “We love chocolate!” which spread to some passers-by who yelled it out as they went on their way.
The protestors referred to apartheid in Israel even though there is no apartheid there. Jews, Arabs and other groups can and do freely associate. This includes Palestinians living in Israel. Another blow to the protestors’ credibility because they are protesting against something that simply doesn’t exist.
If they are so concerned with the welfare of Palestinians why don’t they protest the treatment of Palestinians in the countries around Israel?
Palestinians in countries outside of Israel and the Palestinian territories are subject to discrimination, sectarian violence and ruthless killing by several governments and various militia groups.
An example of this is Palestinian neighbourhoods’ such as al-Doura and al-Hurriyya in Baghdad are often attacked and the attacks are not done by Israel.
The protestors called for freedom for Palestine while ignoring that there could be freedom for Palestine if they stopped attacking Israel and accepted statehood. The Palestinians rejected statehood in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008 and that’s certainly not Israel’s or Max Brenner’s fault.
The counter protesters shouted that we aren’t living in Hitler’s Germany and countered any accusations of Israel oppressing Palestine by referring to the Jewish civilians who are killed in the constant attacks on Israel and called the anti-Max Brenner protestors’ racists and Nazi’s
A fair call since the protestors’ anti-Jewish agenda seems to use spurious reasoning similar to what the Nazi’s used to target Jewish businesses.
Logan Councillor Hajnal Black put herself to the front of the counter protest and was several times restrained by police from charging forward and leading the shouts of Nazi’s go home!
After the Nazi references were made a few of the anti-Max Brenner protestors were seen leaving. Either they were not pleased with having opposition or they realised that their protests are indeed racist.
After a lot of shouting and posturing the protestors decided to leave prompting the counter protestors to mock the protestor’s courage as they appeared to be running away.
And what did the protestor’s achieve? Not a lot. Israel is not likely to change anything just because some intolerant people yelled racist slogans outside a successful and popular business.
The protestors actually gave some people a laugh and also showed people around Southbank that their protest against the so called apartheid in Israel is nothing more than a front for racist attitudes which have no place in Australia.
When their failure became obvious they slinked away having failed spread their intolerance
The counter protestors’ achievement is immense. They showed that racism won’t go unopposed in this country. Hiding racism under another issue will be seen through.
Also it showed that people can have their voice heard and stand against intolerance as well. Several Max Brenner patrons decided to have their voices heard and joined the counter protest.
And for the first time an anti-Max Brenner protest failed in its goal of disrupting business. Max Brenner patrons were able to enjoy their chocolate uninterrupted.
This famous (and updated) quote may well have inspired the counter protestors, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”
When the protestors came to spread their hatred good people stood up to them and told the protestors in no uncertain terms that their brand of hatred will be opposed.