AN ugly rally in Sydney’s CBD last Friday marked the first time Al-Quds Day, a yearly event proclaimed in 1989 by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has been commemorated in Australia.
Billed by organisers as a day promoting “a just peace for Palestine and opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem” and held on the last Friday of Ramadan each year, Al-Quds Day overseas has become a forum for anti-Semitic hatred and calls for Israel’s destruction.
In Sydney, around 150 protesters with Iranian, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags gathered in Hyde Park and called for the end of Israel before marching to the United States consulate in Martin Place chanting slogans such as “Down, down Israel, up, up Khalifah [caliphate]”.
Speeches accused the Jewish State of being “the most tyrannical regime in the world today” and being “the only terrorist organisation”, with Hamas and Hezbollah merely being resistance.
“We want the removal of the entire Zionist regime from the land of Palestine,” one speaker said. “We don’t want the little dots on the map. We want the entire land. We want the removal of every single Zionist.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said even many of the usual “motley crew of Israel haters” stayed “well away from this appalling event”.
“As one would expect from people who wave the Hezbollah flag and support an event promoted by the theocratic dictatorship in Tehran, the protesters called for the destruction of the only real democracy in the Middle East, the extermination of its Jewish population and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate,” he said. “This sick nightmare is their vision for the future, nourished by hatred, religious supremacism and violence. Such messages are thoroughly repulsive to most Australians and to all people who value life, freedom and dignity.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff commented: “As Australians, it is of great concern when people take to the streets of our cities and whip up the crowd with racially motivated hatred. Whatever language the activists use when demonstrating, such hateful incitement has no place in a civilised society.”
Anti-Israel protestors call for an end to the Jewish state at a rally in Sydney.