Thursday, December 20, 2012

Non-Jews Fly The Flag For Israel In South Australia

Non-Jews Fly The Flag For Israel In South Australia

We see much of Aussie BDSers on videos of their Israel-demonising vigils targeting Max Brenner and Seacret, so it's refreshing to learn of antipodean initiatives on Israel's behalf.  The following guest post by reader Shirlee tells of such a welcome development in Adelaide, and points out that the non-Jews involved deserve support from the Australian Jewish community.
South Australians Supporting Israel
 Shirlee Finn

Here’s a truly inspirational story of a small, newly formed, non-denominational group supporting Israel, started by three people, Ben White, Virginia Snape and Tania Fenwick, who have known one another for a number of years in Adelaide. Virginia has an information blog informing readers about the real situation in Israel. Ben is very involved in informing people about the historical and political truth about the region.

Along with Tania, they often posted comments to one another about issues and happenings in Israel on their Facebook pages. They noted for weeks before Israel actually took action during Operation Pillar of Cloud, that the rocket attacks were increasing and nothing was being said in the media. When the media became obsessed with Israel again, Ben suggested that they started a group and rallied to get support.

Tania has been to Israel and has in her own words
"witnessed the inclusive and multi-cultural society of Israel. I have spent considerable time in Jordan and Israel, mostly in my archaeological pursuits. I am a field archaeologist who has worked with the University of Adelaide, Israeli Antiquities, Associates for Biblical Research and a private contractor. I have a great interest in the history of Israel and find that the archaeological proofs back up that the Jews have indigenous connections to the land.
I have Jewish Israeli and Arab Israeli friends and along with Ben and Virginia are proud supporters of Israel."
A good friend of Tania’s suggested they make contact with the Jewish community. People were interested and supportive. One especially so. Another attended their rally and is now "in touch" with the group.

Tania’s dream was to hold a rally in support of Israel.

She said 
"I ordered posters to be printed and tried to get numbers for a rally, but it was difficult to get solid numbers. I had a lot of maybes, and it took a while to understand the process as none of us had ever been part of a rally like this. I informed the Adelaide City Council and Parliament house and contacted the Police who were very supportive.
Christopher Pyne has indicated that he will attend a future rally, as he is a great supporter of Israel but was unable to attend on that day.
The rally went ahead on 9 December. 13 people attended. Although it was a small group, all were enthusiastic. I gave a speech."
Tania continues
"The rally took place on the steps of Parliament House which is quite busy. The great thing is that we had members of the public who waved and cheered from their cars and many who told us they supported Israel. We handed out flyers and the whole thing was non-confrontational but underpinned that Israel wants peace, but it is impossible when Hamas and others are full of hate and have declared that they will never make peace."
She told me:
"I think our peaceful rally with a clear message said so much and highlighted that Israel wants peace.
I notice a lot of other pro-Israel rallies have done the same and I hope the peaceful sentiments speak louder than the aggression shown on the other side!
It went well - and I think it is a great building base for the future."
Tania told me that she has had many comments about the BDS protestors in Rundle Mall who have spoken about how nasty they are and how they harass everyone. In saying this, she then decided to confront this pro-Palestinian group, who picket the Mall, outside the Seacret Spa shop every Friday.

Brave girl!

She told me the obvious after attempting to engage them in meaningful dialogue: that
"they are utterly clueless and when questioned they know nothing of the real situation. I think they are bullies. I told them they were racist as they would not picket an Israeli Arab company, but by singling out an Israeli Jewish company they are.
We are not political activists, but find the anti-Israel and antisemitic undertones intolerable and feel that voices are needed at this time to support Israel."
One other thing she thought was odd was when she was questioned about what she was doing in Israel. She said
"I told him about being a field archaeologist and then he asked me if I was Jewish or Israeli. When I told him I was neither, he was lost for words - this bloke was a real goose!"
To quote Ben 
"It was cool to see a dream that Tania had several weeks ago turn into reality! Plenty more to come yet from SASI !"
I have become quite involved with this group and feel they merit some support from the Jewish community in South Australia. I’ll make contact with the community there. I do know someone personally I can contact. I have also had the offer of support from someone here, who will go down to Adelaide in February to offer any assistance he can.

I have followed the pro-Palestinian group there who are very active, for a couple of years now and who run totally unchecked without opposition. Now we have a group of people prepared to stand up and be counted and should be able to count on us for some support.

My question now is there anyone out there that can help in any way please? The South Australian Jewish community is small, and I doubt they have the finances to fund speakers to go there. We have plenty of educational courses here but they have nothing. I am open to suggestion as to what way we can help.

Daphne [daphnedotansonatgmaildotcom] has my permission to pass on my contact details, for those who’d like to help somehow. Thanks