FROM offensive and dangerous incitements last week, Palestinian demonstrations have mostly fallen back on using familiar “euphemisms calling for Israel’s destruction”, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said this week.
His condemnation came after rallies attacking Israel and supporting Palestinians were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide in recent days, drawing thousands to each event.
The fresh round of rallies came as police around Australia were already on high alert – after chants of “Gas the Jews” and “F**k the Jews” were chorused at a pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Sydney Opera House last week, and demonstrators at Lakemba in Sydney’s south-west heard one man express jubilation over the massacres of Israelis.
A weekend rally in Sydney’s Hyde Park attracted thousands despite NSW Premier Chris Minns joining police in a plea for the rally not to proceed, after the shameful conduct of pro-Palestinian supporters last week.
However, there were reports that one man had yelled, “Get the f***ing Jews wiped out”. He was told by another attendee that his outburst was “not acceptable” but continued his rant.
Police monitored the rally, and NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Tony Cooke told media afterwards, “I am pleased to say that people listened to the message that we would provide a very strong policing presence to ensure that the behaviours we saw last Monday [at the earlier Sydney rally] were not repeated.”
Before last weekend’s rally, NSW Acting Commissioner David Hudson had said NSW Police were considering authorising reserve powers enabling them to search and identify protesters.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Melbourne’s CBD, from the State Library to State Parliament. During the demonstration, a flare was launched despite police warnings to keep the event peaceful.
When police moved into the crowd to extinguish the flare, they were met with violence from the protesters and there was a scuffle before police were able to put it out.
Melbourne demonstrators chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Victoria Police stated afterwards, “Our top priority was keeping the peace to ensure the event did not impact the safety of the broader community … We will continue to retain communication with all communities which have a strong interest in events unfolding in the Middle East.”
A rally at King George Square in the Brisbane CBD, which drew hundreds of demonstrators supporting Gaza, put Queensland Police on a high-level alert, but there were no reports of violence or threatening slogans.
More than 1000 people gathered in Adelaide to demonstrate against Israel, with the crowd chanting, “End the siege on Gaza” and “Long live Palestine.”
Friends of Palestine Australia’s Mike Khizam accused Israel of “embarking on an ethnic cleansing campaign”.
Assessing the rallies, Ryvchin told The AJN, “The Palestinian ‘resistance’ was revealed in the horrors of October 7 and on the steps of the Opera House. The more disciplined among them have simply reverted to chanting in euphemisms calling for Israel’s destruction and the murder of civilians.
“The fact that these rallies are taking place – just days after the deadliest slaughter of Jews for 80 years – says it all.”