WE SAY “NO” TO NETANYAHU VISIT TO SYDNEY
By Executive member Peter Manning
Ten members of Friends of Bethlehem’s membership turned out last Thursday evening to protest the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister’s presence in Sydney.
The banner flew high, held by President Peter Jennings and Treasurer Peter Manning, throughout the protest at Sydney Town Hall Square, attended by about 1,500 people. Many Palestinian flags fluttered in the breeze.
There were 10 speakers, most focussing on Benjamin Netanyahu’s record of being the “champion” of illegal settlement-building on Palestinian land throughout his period as Prime Minister. He was also condemned for his crimes in Gaza where the Israeli Defence Force killed more than 2,200 civilians in a month of bombing during the Operation Protective Edge attack.
His statements before the last Israeli election that there would never be a Palestinian state while he was Prime Minister was repeated and his racist election campaign demonising Arabs as a race was decried.
Speakers like Mona Abu Zalaf (chair), Randa Abdul-Fattah (novelist) and David Shoebridge MP (Greens, NSW) spoke with passion about Netanyahu’s drive to kill the two-state solution and make Israel a “Jewish” state (not secular).
After the speeches, the crowd marched down George and Pitt streets in Sydney’s central city to get as close as possible to the Hotel Continental where Netanyahu was staying and let him hear how un-welcome his visit was in Sydney.
Throughout, there was a high police presence with battle-dressed police, police horses and several police helicopters overhead.
Friends of Bethlehem members Ken and Sarah Enderby (see pic. above) took over the banner during the march. Members Marcia Corderoy, Carole Lawson, Peter Griffin, Melanie Morrison and others – all from the Marrickville-Leichhardt area – wore Palestinian scarves during the protest and march.
A large media contingent turned up and Friends of Bethlehem’s banner was photographed many times.