Poking a Zionist Hornet's Nest: Defending the Right to Boycott Max Brenner

On Saturday 20th August, about 100 protestors crowded the King St footpath as they marched from the Newtown community centre passing inquisitive customers and shopkeepers while pressing Boycott Max Brenner leaflets into their hands for the four or five hundred metres to confront the Max Brenner shop while chanting with full force, “Max Brenner you can’t hide, you support genocide.”

Ten or so well-behaved but nervous police formed a last line of defence between the marchers and the shopfront, getting more and more uneasy the longer and louder the protesters took the footpath hostage. Inside was a counter-protest of pro-Israeli occupation customers wearing ‘I love Max Brenner’ t-shirts.

Bewildered passers-by had no idea of what it was all about and that’s what made it a significant march: the first public sally in a Sydney main street with a single focus of the BDS message against Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid policies for which Max Brenner is fast becoming a symbol.

The Max Brenner chain, owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, is ripe for boycott for its direct support of the elite IOF Golani and Givati brigades that have been implicated in war crimes during the 2009/10 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and in Israel's illegal war against Lebanon in 2006.

The Golani brigade also participated in operations in Nablus and Jenin in 2002.

"Amnesty International reported that there was "clear evidence" that the IDF committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians, including unlawful killings and torture, in Jenin and Nablus. The report also accused Israel of blocking medical care, using people as human shields and bulldozing houses with residents inside, as well as beating prisoners, which resulted in one death, and preventing ambulances and aid organizations from reaching the areas of combat even after the fighting had reportedly been stopped. " The Battle of Jenin, Wikipedia

In 2004, a Givati officer, Captain R, emptied his entire magazine into the body of a 13 year old Palestinian child, Iman Darweesh Al Hams and was typically forthwith acquitted of all charges, promoted to the rank of major and compensated generously for his time spent in jail. The Strauss Groups’s pride in supporting the Golani and Givati brigades is reprehensible in light of their systematic defilement of the Israeli military code of conduct, Ru'ah Tzahal.

Addressing the protest was Vashti Kenway, a slip of a student with a heavyweight commitment to Palestinian human and political rights. Vashti was one of the 19 peaceful protestors arrested on 1st July outside a Max Brenner shop in Melbourne. For her feisty civil disobedience of the ban by the court to go within 50 metres of a Max Brenner shop, she was slapped with a $10,000 fine for which she announced money was pouring in from around the world. Sylvia Hale and Vivienne Porszolt, who recently returned to Australia after being held in Israeli detention for the fly-tilla action and subsequently pioneering a critical legal precedent for travel to the West Bank and Gaza, also led the march.

The protests against Max Brenner have intensified since the Victorian arrests and with the anger against the threat to Australian civil liberties with the call by the Victorian government and echoed by Senator Boswell in the Federal government for the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to examine the legality of boycotting Max Brenner which would allow the fascism that is infesting Israel with its widely condemned Boycott Bill to infect Australia.

The non-violent Australian BDS movement has poked a Zionist hornet’s nest of vicious and vitriolic media assaults, misrepresentations, and character assassinations. Boycotters have been smeared in mainstream media (mainly the Murdoch press) with absurd anti-Semitism slurs and histrionic comparisons to Nazis for targeting ‘Jewish’ businesses when the BDS movement specifically boycotts Israeli profiteers of the occupation. Since the campaign to overturn Marrickville Council’s support for BDS in late 2010, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has bravely withstood a despicable character assassination. Victorian Labor backbencher, Bronwyn Halfpenny is the latest target.

Some politicians, including the Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, Daniel Andrews, Michael Danby and journalists, such as Gerard Henderson and Jana Wendt are shown up as morally-limp puppets dangling on Zionist Lobby strings. Even Aboriginal Warren Mundine joined union leader Paul Howes et al in a photo-op sipping Brenner chocolate when much of Indigenous repression and land grabs under the Australian government Intervention reflects the Israeli abuse of Palestinian rights.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela support BDS against Israel, it is clear what side of the moral fence Rudd, Wendt, Henderson, Danby, Mundine, Howes and other Zionophiles stand on.

Dr Vacy Vlazna is coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. www.palestinematters.com
Thanks to Brian Davies for suggestions and sharing the march.



At last the Australian public are being exposed to the facts about the occupation of Palestinian land and the actions of the Israeli Occupation Force. For 44 years the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been living in prisons.....how long can world leaders who say they believe in democracy condone actions which subjugate those who have lost their land and their livelihood.

Zionophiles love it what a great word to counter the Anti-Semitic label.When people use comparisons of the Nazi boycott of Jewish Businesses, it should be pointed out that it was the world Jewish community that boycotted Germany first, Jews held a protest at Madison square Gardens on 27th of March 1933 where 40,000 Jew attended to declare a Jewish war on Germany, it was only then did the Germans counter the Jewish people by Boycotting Jewish businesses,While the Nazis were wrong for everything they did to the Jews during WW2 we must record history as it happened.So I would like to thank the Jewish community for showing us how Boycotts put pressure on countries,Hopefully this will wake up Israel and Max Brenner

Influential as the Jewish lobby is in Australia it is not as strong and deep as in the USA. As time goes on and more mixed immigration to Australia occurs the influence of the Jewish lobby in Australia will slowly decline. At that stage the local Jewish population currently possessing dual loyalty will have to decide whether they want to be Australian or Israeli.

Seems that the "Zionophiles" have poked a hornet's nest of bigotry. Thanks to Mark Z for pointing out that the Jews actually started invented the boycott and no doubt to blame for bringing World War II on themselves. Straight from a neo-Nazi's playbook that one. Also to The_Observer for questioning the loyalty of the Australian Jewish community - that one is straight from Joe Goebbels. Decrying the undue influence of the "Jewish lobby" and media, again straight from the Nazis.

You lot are blinded by a misguided conviction that you are "social progressives", defending the human rights of "the oppressed". Reality is you're the vilest form of racist scum. You hide behind sophistry in pretending to draw a distinction between "Zionism" and "Jews", although clearly some are starting to drop the pretense and unadulterated race hatred is starting to show through.

'Proffessional Jew Hater'? dont make me laugh! jews against the occupation were there, as well as supported by anthony lowenstein and other ordinary jewish people who dont want this disgusting apartheid regime to stand in our name.

the people that yelled '2000' dead in gaza are supposed to stand for what is jewish? fuck you and your racism. I stand with my palestinian brothers and sisters being oppressed by a colonial settler state thankyou very much!

max brenner, come off it! theres blood in your hot chocolate!

So Anonymous considers the BDS protesters the same as the Nazis as the Nzi's only reacted to a suggestion (yes only a suggestion amongst many others at the World Jewish Congress in 1933) And you know I agree- the BDS people are exaclty the same as the Nazi officials led by Goebbels who announced a boycott in 1933 against Jewish-owned businesses, and as Goebbels warned that their boycott will continue ".. until German Jewry has been annihilated." with the BDS placards pretty well mimicking the same placards the brown shirts had such as "Don't Buy from Jews" and "The Jews Are Our Misfortune" posted. Despite physical violence against Jews and Jewish-owned property, the police intervened only rarely.

I don't know which rally this writer was at but I counted no more than 50 and I understand that half of those were from the Melbourne "rent a crowd". I went into Max Brenners exactly because of the BDS rally The slogan itself you are promoting is the same as all other blood libels that jew haters/antisemites have tried to do for centuries, using the same analaogy such as the "blood of little children being crushed for the matza" one- it's the same idea isn't it. Again it just shows the true basis of the BDS morals. The other unfortunate part is that you have radical left wing ranters such as Sylvia etc who only choose to call themselves jewish when it suits their agenda. She is neither culturally or spiritually jewish and only labels herself thus so that it benefits those who would say "see even jews support us".

As for being non violent I have never seen so many ugly looking people- their faces contorted with such hatred, shouting with such venom at the people inside the shop. It may also be something to consider that the reporter actually reports the truth about Jenin and Nablis where the only "crime" the Israeli solders did was to let in the Lebanese soldiers looking for terrorists, who then killed a number of militants. Can't see BDS against Lebanon though as that would mean going against Hezbollah.

Unfortunatly all that I and other passerbys came away with was the impression that the socialist alliance and the BDS are truly disgusting to target a chocolate shop with a jewish owner and secondly that there is no way I or anyone else will be stopped from shopping whereever and whenever I want to.

you are truly delusional, if you think comparing a boycott on an apartheid colonial settler state (admitted by herzl himself) and the nazism which killed and oppressed my family are synonymous. it is pathetic, and does nothing more then degrade the history and memory of my family and all other jewish families as long term fighters against oppression, and long term sufferers of anti-Semitism. how DARE you be SO RACIST to not consider the "never again" we utter at yom hashoa to be applicable to the arab peoples of palestine.

your israel is not the home of the jewish people, but a land of colonialism, apartheid and of massive war crimes that should not be committed in anyone's name, least of all Jewish people who have suffered under such massive atrocities as the holocaust.

~Bec Hynek