After Brendon O’Connell, who had attended an anti-Israel action in Perth organized by Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA), was convicted by a jury of racial incitement, Alex Bainbridge of FOPWA announced that the group “makes a conscious policy of condemning expressions of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.” He added, “We are friends of Palestine, not enemies of the Jewish people.”
Regardless of how genuine Bainbridge’s claims were, there is very real and insidious anti-Jewish content within the discourse of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel people and organizations in Australia. Many supporters of the Palestinian cause claim their support is based on a social justice and antiracism platform. Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian individuals and organizations often make the claim that they are simply anti-Israel and not anti-Jewish.
However, many of these people and organizations cross the line from legitimate criticism of the State of Israel into outright anti-Semitism.
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel organizations utilize both websites and facebook to promote their beliefs, propagate articles and news and advertise upcoming protests, forums and other actions. Organizations set up many different facebook sites, often for specific events. Facebook is one area in particular where members can post comments, links and other material. It is on these official websites and facebook pages that anti-Jewish content is to be found.
When anti-Jewish comments, such as the post “i don’t give a f***, jews are pricks!!!!!” and another post advocating to protest in a “major jewish suburb” in Melbourne, are posted on the facebook sites of Students for Palestine (Melbourne), and are not removed, then a tolerance, or even approval, for anti-Semitism can be produced.