6th August 2013
by Julie Nathan,
Executive Council of Australian Jewry
Palestinian and Hezbollah flags flew at the Al-Quds Day rally in Arncliffe, Sydney, last Friday. Around 150 people attended, plus a police contingent of over a dozen officers. An Israeli flag at the rally had the words “Delete Zionists” painted on the blue stripes, and the Star of David was circled and crossed out.
Inciting people to “Delete Zionists” is a call not only for the destruction of Israel, but for the destruction of Israelis, and of those who support Israel and the right to self-determination of the Jewish people. It is a call for the annihilation of millions of Jews, in Israel and the diaspora. It is a call against people, not against a belief or a state.
The protestors gathered outside Arncliffe railway station and after several speeches, the crowd marched to Arncliffe Park while chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, “Down down Israel”, and “Netanyahu you will see, Palestine will be free.”
Let no-one be fooled into thinking that the protest was simply against Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank. Designating the whole of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which includes Israel’s heartland, as “Palestine” is a statement against Israel’s very existence.
Father Dave Smith (left in pic), of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Dulwich Hill, addressed the crowd in the park, most of them Shia Muslims from the nearby Arncliffe mosque. He stated that “the greatest crime ongoing in the world today is the oppression of the Palestinian people. From 1948 until now, the Palestinian occupation continues. How has humanity allowed this injustice to go on for so long? The injustice of the Palestinian occupation stains the whole world with the blood of the innocent… We call on governments to remove this stain.”
Just listen to his words: “the greatest crime ongoing in the world”, “from 1948 until now”, “this stain”. He was saying that all of Israel, not the West Bank, is an “occupation”, a “crime”, a “stain”. He was inciting people to hate and destroy Israel. Yet he began his speech by saying that he did not agree with those calling for Israel’s destruction. That sentiment rings hollow in light of his subsequent rhetoric.
The MC for the event demanded “We want the Zionists out of Muslim lands. If it wasn’t for the USA, Israel would not last a day.” A female speaker referred to genocide being committed against the Palestinians.
Jamal Daoud, an organizer of the rally, lamented that the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war had “shifted the focus from the Palestinians.”
Several Shia sheiks addressed the crowd. Sheikh Nami Farhat al-Ameli called on “humanity to stand against the evil Zionist regime and big devil America.”
Tim Anderson, another speaker, said that “imperialism has its tools, and Israel is one of those tools.”
This was the second year that an Al-Quds Day rally has been held in Australia, both times in Sydney. This year saw the first rally held in Melbourne. An early video of the Melbourne protest was embedded with the antisemitic imagery of a Jew eating a gentile child.
Al-Quds Day was inaugurated by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran in 1979 as a call for international protests against Israel and to promote the Muslim rule of Jerusalem.
The Al-Quds Day Committee Australia stated on its Facebook page in July that “Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, which along with all of Palestine is under occupation by the Zionist Regime.” In 2012 this Committee called “Israel, the enemy of mankind, the enemy of humanity…”
A few days before the rally last week, the Committee made a bizarre accusation: “this year the Zionists have left the job of trying to sabotage the rally to organisation/s that claim to be pro-Palestinians” and of “plots to sabotage the movement.”
It is unclear what they are referring to, but perhaps it fits in with Iranian leaders who see “Zionist plots” anywhere and everywhere, even under the bed, and apparently too even in the Sydney suburb of Arncliffe.
Peter Wertheim AM | Executive Director
phone: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888