Protesters condemn Israel's genocide while a complicit Labor government spreads 'antisemitism' lies

June 12, 2024
Thousands rally in Gadigal Country/Sydney, June 9
Thousands rally in Gadigal Country/Sydney, June 9. Photo: Peter Boyle

Palestine solidarity actions over June 8-9 entered their ninth month, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton launched their attack on those calling for an end to the genocide.

Their parliamentary opposition — the Greens — came in for particular condemnation.

Responding to this at the June 8 Palestine solidarity rally in Boorloo/Perth, Sam Wainwright, speaking on behalf of Stop AUKUS WA, criticised Albanese for “using parliamentary privilege — the ‘coward’s castle’ — to call me, to call you, to call the Greens ‘antisemitic’.”

Wainwright, who is also a national co-convenor of Socialist Alliance, said Albanese's attack “makes me boil with anger.”

However, he added: “We should draw strength from the fact that it is proof positive that they have run out of arguments.”

When the government has to resort to such shallow and false arguments, Wainwright said, it is “an admission that they are standing on nothing whatsoever.”

WA Labor Senator Fatima Payman also addressed the rally. She began by emphasising that “this is a genocide and we have to stop pretending otherwise.”

Pointing out Australia was on the “wrong side of history” for participating in the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, Payman called on her party to ensure Australia “does not end up on the wrong side of history again.”


Boorloo/Perth rally, June 8
Boorloo/Perth rally, June 8. Photo: Alex Salmon

Payman called for specific actions against apartheid Israel, including sanctions, divestment and halting trade. She supported a permanent ceasefire and immediate recognition of the Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders.

She paid tribute to the student solidarity actions with Palestine and implored people to continue speaking up for Palestine. “I sure as hell won't be silenced,” she promised.

Wainwright echoed Payman’s call to stand on the right side of history but said “that is not enough”.

“We actually have to make history,” he said.

He outlined three ways that Australia is complicit in arming Israel, contrary to Albanese's disingenuous attack on the Greens.

Payman’s and Wainwright’s speeches can be viewed on the Green Left website.

The rallies marked the 35th weekend of continuous protest since Israel’s latest genocidal attacks on Gaza began.

They coincided with emerging reports that Israel had rescued four hostages in a snatch military operation that killed more than 210 and injured more than 400 Palestinians.

The Israeli military, some of whom were disguised, used a fake aid truck and a civilian car to carry out the bloody operation, according Al Jazeera and The Palestine Chronicle.


The Israeli military have killed more Israeli captives than they've rescued
The Israeli military have killed more Israeli captives than they've rescued. Photo: Peter Boyle

Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida said that Israeli soldiers also “killed [several Israeli captives] during the operation”.

United Nations Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese expressed relief that “four hostages have been released” but said that “it should not have come at the expense of at least 200 Palestinians, including children, killed”.

“Israel could have freed all hostages, alive and intact, 8 months ago when the first ceasefire and hostage exchange was put on the table,” Albanese said. “Yet, Israel refused in order to continue to destroy Gaza and the Palestinians as a people.”

This action was a “crystal clear” example of genocidal intent turned into action, she said.


End genocide, Naarm/Melbourne, June 9
End genocide, Naarm/Melbourne, June 9. Photo: Jordan AK

Thousands marched in Naarm/Melbourne on June 9. Chloe DS reported that Greens leader Adam Bandt told the crowd that for 35 weeks Labor has “done nothing to put pressure on those carrying out this invasion”.

Bandt said Australia has failed to take the actions necessary to stop Israel's genocide.

Assala Sayara, a Palestinian activist visiting from Gadigal Country/Sydney, told the crowd: “My people have a right to peace, my people have a right to education, my people have a right to be raised by their parents, my people have a right to seek protection, my people have a right to resist and my people have a right to die in one piece!”

Police became violent and pepper sprayed peaceful protesters, including children.

“We have come here to ask for an apology,” Hash Tayeh told protesters as they later gathered outside the police station. “It doesn't look like we'll get an apology,” she added, saying “the police are rooted in racism and discrimination [themselves]”.

Hundreds had rallied the day before outside Labor MP Peter Khalil's office in another protest organised by Merri-bek for Palestine. They chanted “Peter, Peter, you can't hide, you're supporting genocide”. Khalil is under threat of losing his seat to the Greens over Gaza.

Socialist Alliance Merri-bek Councillor Sue Bolton, who chaired the rally, was endorsed by speakers, including Tayeh, who led a spontaneous “Vote for Sue” chant. The local government elections are in October.

Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi spoke at the June 9 weekly mass rally and march in Gadigal Country/Sydney. Peter Boyle reports that Faruqi condemned Labor for focussing its condemnation on anti-war activists and not Israel’s genocide.

“More and more atrocities are being committed by Israel, yet Labor would rather go on a confected outrage about those protesting the genocide than the genocide itself,” Faruqi said.


Marching in Gadigal Country/Sydney, June 9
Marching in Gadigal Country/Sydney, June 9. Photo: Peter Boyle

The crowd held a brief sit down in the centre of the city before completing its circuit of the city.


Hundreds rallied in Kaurna Yerte/Adelaide, June 9
Hundreds rallied in Kaurna Yerte/Adelaide, June 9. Photo: Jordan Ellis

Rallies and actions were also organised in many other locations, including a June 9 rally in Kaurna Yerte/Adelaide.

Two hundred rallied on the Gold Coast on June 8, where Sam Morris from Students for Palestine addressed the crowd, among others.

Pilbara for Palestine organised a screening of Palestine Under Siege on June 9 with the message “From the big city to the bush, we say Free Palestine!”. The group is planning a rally on June 22.


Protesters stepped onto the road outside state parliament, Magan-djin/Brisbane, June 11
Protesters stepped onto the road outside state parliament, Magan-djin/Brisbane, June 11. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

In Magan-djin/Brisbane, Justice for Palestine held a mass public organising meeting on June 5 and another group organised Prayers for Peace on June 9.

Sixty people protested outside parliament on June 11 against government support for weapons companies.

Five Broken Cameras was screened in Gimuy/Cairnson June 9, a fundraiser for Gaza-med.

In Boorloo/Perth, a Nakba exhibition was held on June 7 and a public meeting with Nasser Mashni from Australia Palestine Advocacy Network was organised on June 10.

Socialist Alliance organised a 40-strong film screening about Leila Khaled on June 7 in Gadigal Country/Sydney. Khaled will be speaking at the forthcoming Ecosocialism 2024 conference in Boorloo/Perth and online.

Hundreds also rallied through the streets of nipaluna/Hobart in a snap action on June 11.

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