Palestinian flags were flown at Melbourne’s Federation Square last Friday, despite efforts to get them removed.
The flags were flown ahead of a vigil by Palestinian groups including the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), who originally booked Federation Square to mark Palestine National Day.
Deputy Liberal Leader David Southwick was critical of the decision, saying, “Obviously those responsible for putting them up have misread what the impact of those flags would have on those in the Jewish community who are living in fear at the moment; many of whom are not going into the city because of the huge rallies of hate [organised] by the Palestinian network over the last few weeks.
“When you’ve got flags literally plastering our main city square it’s completely insensitive and inappropriate,” he said.
But Zionism Victoria took a more relaxed attitude. President Yossi Goldfarb said, “While many in the community have been understandably unsettled by the sight of Palestinian flags at Federation Square last week, I know that the management and board of this critical public space are doing their best to balance community sentiment with freedom of expression.”
Goldfarb said Federation Square has in the past raised Israeli flags on Yom Ha’atzmaut and Zionism Victoria is actively working closely with the venue’s team on a number of events for the Jewish community, where he said all members will feel welcome and safe.