Palestine Action Group Sydney released this statement on May 2.
Supporters of Palestine have responded to a May 2 report in the Australian that asserted that Max Brenner Israel has no direct shares in Max Brenner Australia as irrelevant to the solidarity campaign for justice in Palestine.
Palestine solidarity activists are bemused that the Australian has given front page coverage to this “scoop”. The YouTube video of the rally in question, which took place on September 21 last year, has also just been released.
The “exclusive” report quoting Patrick Harrison, a spokesperson from the Palestine Action Group, is taken from a sarcastic YouTube made by Jeremy Moses from Varietygarage.com.
The article tries to make out that Harrison is undermining his own cause by “acknowledging” that boycotting the Max Brenner outlet in Parramatta will have no financial impact on its parent company in Israel.
It also alleges that Max Brenner International “has absolutely no holding” in Max Brenner Australia.
But just because the parent company doesn’t hold shares in the Australian Max Brenner doesn’t mean that the franchisee is not connected to the parent company. Often the franchise company takes a cut and charges the franchise holder fees for the name and sometimes the equipment and supplies.
In fact, the Australian just a few days ago admitted connection.
On April 29, the newspaper said in a report on a protest against the establishment of a Max Brenner outlet on the University of NSW campus which took place on April 30 that: “Max Brenner is a brand of food and beverage [company] Strauss group, which has been a supporter of the Israeli armed forces, including ‘adopting’ a platoon in the army’s Golani brigade.”
Raul Bassi, another member of the Palestine Action Group said: “This is the reason that those concerned about Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians have made Max Brenner a target for protest over recent years.
“As Patrick Harrison and other activists explain in the YouTube video in question, the protests outside Max Brenner are largely a consciousness-raising exercise. They are aimed at letting people know how close the Strauss Group — the owner of Max Brenner — is to the current Zionist government of Israel.”
Patrick Langosch, another member of the Palestine Action Group, said: “The protests outside the Max Brenner outlets are also about letting Australians know about the non-violent boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign which was launched six years ago by Palestine civil society organisations.
“In these aims, the rallies outside the Max Brenner cafes have been very successful. So much so, Australian supporters of the Israeli government — including Michael Danby MP and Paul Howes of the Australian Workers Union — have had themselves photographed patronising Max Brenner cafes.”.
The Palestine Action Group also rejects the Australian’s efforts to argue that any protest against a Max Brenner store is “anti-Semitic”.
“Anti-Semitism is the belief or behaviour hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish,” Langosh said. “The solidarity actions in support of Palestine are not anti-Semitic; they are opposed to the apartheid-like policies of the Netanyahu government, as are many Jews and Israelis.”
Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist and author of My Israel Question, says BDS is a legitimate and non-violent tactic, thriving globally, that targets the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
“Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with this movement; this is a convenient distraction by the Murdoch press and complicit Zionist lobby and I totally reject this as a Jew myself. Freedom for Palestinians will only come when Jews, Palestinians and others join together to demand justice for an occupied people. Universities and corporations who profit from this occupation deserve to be named, shamed and boycotted.”
The Palestine Action Group is calling on all supporters of Palestine to attend the al Nakba rally on May 15. The rally marks the date that Israel was created by illegitimate means. Between 1947 and 1948, about half of the 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs were driven from their homes or fled to neighbouring Arab states.
The protest will call on the Australian government to speak up against the ongoing displacement of Palestinians from their land, and the laws that discriminate against Palestinians within Israel.
[The rally will be held May 15, 6pm at Sydney Town Hall.]