Anti-Israel protestors bound their hands with Israeli flags and taped their mouths shut on the steps of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in Australia demonstrating against the trial of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists that began this week, The Australian Jewish News reported.
The so-called “Brenner 19” were detained for demonstrating against the Israeli chocolate retailer, Max Brenner, in July of last year and are facing charges including trespassing, besetting and assault.
The chocolate factory is owned by the Strauss Group, Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company, which also provides care rations to the Israeli army, including the Golani and the Givati brigades.
Defendant Omar Hassan said Max Brenner was targeted because it provides care packages to the Israeli Army.
James Crafti, a Jewish defendant who is among the “Brenner 19,” said that, “Anti-Semitism is caused by a false connection between Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
While protestors claimed the Victorian government was engaging in a political “witch-hunt”, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), Nina Bassat, said police had acted in accordance with the law.
“The legal system is in place and some people choose to see it as a witch-hunt,” Bassat stated. “The police escalated their reaction when the protestors became less mindful of the rule of law. That’s when the police had to step in and be more vigilant.”
The trial is expected to last two weeks.