"Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association." Article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
In response to the organisation of a Nakba commemoration march for May 15 (6 pm) from Sydney Town Hall, the traditional Sydney venue for political rallies and marches, the NSW Police have taken the unprecedented step of going to the Supreme Court tomorrow, May 14 (10 am) to demand that the rally be moved to a different location and the march cancelled. That this is happening against the backdrop of the trial in Melbourne of 19 BDS activists arrested at a peaceful demonstration outside a Max Brenner outlet last year can hardly be coincidental. (See my 28/4/12 post Australian Activism Goes on Trial.)
These attempts by the police forces of NSW and Victoria to suppress public expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people are something never before witnessed in this country and should be of the gravest concern to anyone who values human rights.
The question is: who or what is driving this apparently concerted attack on our most basic human rights?
I, of course, am as in the dark as the rest of you, but two documents in particular have appeared in the public domain (in The Australian Jewish News to be specific) which would seem to be relevant to the phenomenon we are currently witnessing.
In my 15/9/11 post Wielding Zionism's Big Stick in the Senate, I quoted these words of Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies:
"Our response to BDS forms part of a coordinated national strategy... endorsed by counterparts abroad and Israel's Foreign Ministry. That response has included... engagement with civil society and politicians... cooperation with police..."
And in my 28/10/11 post Israel 101 for Cops, I quoted the same individual speaking about the provision of a seminar for NSW Police in which his organisation would lecture the plods on such subjects as terrorist threats to Jews and Israel, the history of Zionism, and the Jewish community's connection to the Holy Land:
"It's to inform them and assist them in their work when they are dealing with issues that come up... This is testament to the close and strong working relationship between the NSW Jewish community, through the CSG (Communal Security Group), and the NSW Police... Informing them on these issues can only be positive in terms of the way the police deal with situations going forward."
Interestingly, as far as I'm aware, the Melbourne trial of the Max Brenner 19 has drawn zero ms media coverage. To my surprise, however, there was some coverage tonight of the Sydney story on SBS Television's 6.30 pm news bulletin, but try as I might, I couldn't find it on SBS' website. What gives here?