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Our second Christmas of protests in Adelaide– now kids ask, ‘What is Palestine?’

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Adelaide protests

An extraordinary thing has happened since this site published an article I wrote reviewing our Adelaide Seacret protests. These protests promote the BDS movement and criticize the presence of Israeli company Seacret in our premier shopping precinct, Rundle Mall. We have now been protesting for 62 weeks and since the publication of “44 Weeks of protesting and not a word in print” (August 4) nearly every problem mentioned in the piece has changed. I can only conclude that this website is widely read and influential even in places as far flung as Adelaide.

Most obviously a short time after the Mondoweiss article our local newspaper, News Limited’s “The Advertiser” (23 August) produced a handsome, full page article on the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement in Adelaide titled “Boycott boiling point”. For months this newspaper had studiously ignored dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters and their colourful, noisy counter protesters facing off on arguably the most important political issue of the 20th and 21st centuries in the heart of our small city. 

Also our paparazzi admirers have all but disappeared. For a while we almost felt like celebrities we had so much attention from covert and overt photographers. We could never see their fascination with our small peaceful protests. There we were – a fairly ordinary bunch of Australians dressed in the same green T-shirts with the same background every week. Yet anywhere between 5 and a dozen photographers and film-makers thought we were worth filming. We have wondered where all the photographers have gone but more importantly why were they there in the first place? And who were ”the friends in Israel” they kept telling us they were sending the photographs to?

In another development, the Christian Zionist counter protesters have found themselves the subjects of counter-counter- protesters, a group of young kids brought together by Facebook and organized by the gay rights group called Equal Love. The Christian Zionists now have this group to contend with plus court cases stemming from their use of loudspeakers to abuse Christians attending the Paradise Christian church, not to mention ongoing actions by the Adelaide City Council to limit their abuse of shoppers in the Mall. As you can see in this You Tube celebrating our first anniversary we have been able to stage our protests with not one Christian Zionist in sight.   This is also partly due to us changing the times of our protest to a Sunday afternoon and also due to fact they have bigger fish to fry. Our Christian street preachers did not achieve a word of media attention while harassing us but are all over Adelaide’s print and television media when confronting any other group. 

What hasn’t changed is the commitment of the protesters to continue the protests. We have just held our 62nd protest. Our latest You Tube celebrates our second Christmas season in the Mall. Nearly 30,000 leaflets have been distributed and hundreds of thousands people have seen these protests. We constantly overhear teenagers asking their friends or parents “What is Palestine?” It’s a great question and one that never would have been asked without our presence in the Mall. The conversation about Palestine is continuing and people are looking for information and want to ask questions. And we are only too happy to provide them with the facts and some answers.

Margaret Cassar is Executive Member, Australian Friends of Palestine Association.

Margaret Cassar

Margaret Cassar is Executive Member, Australian Friends of Palestine Association.

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16 Responses

  1. Daniel Rich on December 19, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Palestine is an invented word, dealing with invented people, who dwell on an invented rock, ruled by an invented entity that cares more about his invented people than it does care about other invented people. Now touch your holy book!

    • Vacy on December 19, 2011, 8:13 pm

      Palestine has been referred to in Egyptian documents circa 1150 BCE. ‘Invented’ has become the new hasbara buzz word since spluttered by a newt.

      • Hamishe_Sabz on December 20, 2011, 2:18 pm

        how big was it?

    • JuliaNoel on December 20, 2011, 3:55 am

      Good Lord Daniel Rich, why would you want to deny the human rights of the Palestinian people? You know, those men, women and children whose forefathers have been tilling the land, raising children, building homes and towns in Palestine for thousands of years. Surely it’s not because they don’t belong to the same religious club as you; that would be just spiteful and bigoted.

    • Shingo on December 20, 2011, 4:35 am

      Palestine is an invented word, dealing with invented people, who dwell on an invented rock, ruled by an invented entity that cares more about his invented people than it does care about other invented people.

      Thank you Joan Peters

      You do realize that Zioism was invented 114 years ago, and that Zionists ruled by an invented entity that cares more about his invented ideology and history than it does care about other invented people.

      • patm on December 20, 2011, 6:25 am

        I’ve had a quick glance through Daniel Rich’s previous comments.

        I think he has written a sardonic comment. It’s difficult to tell sometimes if an online commenter is being flippant; s/he should always leave a clue.

      • RoHa on December 20, 2011, 7:39 pm

        “who dwell on an invented rock,”

        Isn’t that a big enough clue?

  2. Justice Please on December 19, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Kudos to the activists.

  3. annie on December 19, 2011, 3:40 pm

    hey Margaret , and all the awesome activists in adelaide and all over australia, you’re doing an incredible job there, the energy and solidarity coming out of your region is mindblowing.

    i love australia, the people are some of the best on the planet. i’ve spent several months there and plan on going back for my third trip one of these days.

    thanks for all you do to make the world better. we’ll be freeing palestine together. we might be all the way across the world but were not far apart where it matters.

    • Vacy on December 19, 2011, 8:20 pm

      The tenacious commitment to creating awareness about Palestinian rights and the illegal exploitation of Palestinian resources by AFOPA ‘s BDS action in Adelaide has been crucial in countering the Australian government’s shameful obsequiousness to Israeli policies of apartheid and occupation. Now 70% of Australians are concerned about and support Palestinian rights. AFOPA’s contribution has been invaluable and effective in that regard. They do us proud. (Sydney, Australia)

      • JuliaNoel on December 20, 2011, 3:59 am

        Amen to that. AND, we still need to know who were the people who ousted Rudd in favour of Gillard. Rudd may not have been perfect, but he at least made an attempt to change Australia’s foreign policy in a fairer manner……..then Gillard was foisted on us. Her weak and cowardly subservience to the Zionist lobby group shames us all. TIME TO GO JULIA GILLARD.

  4. JuliaNoel on December 20, 2011, 4:23 am

    I feel that Julia Gillard’s infamous “Israel has to protect itself” as it rained white phosphorus down on the men, women and children of Gaza says it all about her. We are all shamed in having such a Zionist stooge as PM.

  5. patm on December 20, 2011, 6:48 am

    Margaret Cassar, What an achievment! Thank you!

    It’s curious that Christian Zionists have been your worst tormentors. Here you are in a previous post describing their actions:

    “Most worrying has been the revelation that Christian Zionists play a powerful role on the ground in countries like Australia in stifling debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

    “Our Christian Zionist counter-protesters have used an arsenal of techniques to scare us away from the Mall. They turn up in groups and loudly proclaim a most un-Christian hatred and condemnation of the protesters and many other sections of the Australian community.”

    “This particular group usually arrives with Israeli flags, soap boxes, a full size cross on wheels and loud speakers to stridently broadcast their repugnant views to hapless shoppers in the Mall. Some verbally abuse the protesters and all promote a similar message, “You are doing the devil’s work and you need to repent or you will end up in hell.” Protesters have been called murderers and we have witnessed certain protesters being targeted in an attempt to provoke violent reactions.”

    In Canada, it is Jewish Defence League thugs who perform this role. I’m glad you’ve succeeded to a large extent in silencing this very un-Christian mob.

    • gadfly on December 21, 2011, 5:10 pm

      Thank you for your good wishes.
      I wish I could say we have silenced them. The “street preachers” are still in the Mall and still loudly proclaiming their views. They’ve just changed targets. Friends in the London BDS movement say that Welsh Christian Zionists were bussed in to their Ahava protests. They didn’t display many of the Christian virtues either. Very loud. Very aggressive.
      Who are the Jewish Defence League? I don’t think they exist in Australia.

  6. RoHa on December 20, 2011, 7:40 pm

    “I can only conclude that this website is widely read and influential even in places as far flung as Adelaide.”

    See, Phil, I was right! It isn’t just New York.

    (I grew up in Adelaide, and I can tell you that when it comes to being flung, Adelaide was indeed flung pretty far.)

  7. RoHa on December 20, 2011, 7:44 pm

    ” We have wondered where all the photographers have gone but more importantly why were they there in the first place? And who were ”the friends in Israel” they kept telling us they were sending the photographs to?”

    You aren’t really wondering, are you? Expect your faces to turn up on the documents of a Mossad hit squad soon.

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