27 June 2009


Received by email on 26 June 2009:

PO Box 2099, HAWTHORN VIC 3122 Fax: 9818 5009
email: info@australiansforpalestine.com
Connex “dumped” after 4 month boycott campaign

Connex has been dumped by the Victorian State Government as Melbourne’s train
system operator. Moammar Mashni of Australians for Palestine said that after four
months of campaigning and some 100,000 pamphlets distributed, Palestine
advocacy groups can take heart.

“This is the first step in what we hope will become a strong Boycotts, Divestments
and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Australia against Israel’s apartheid policies,” Mr
Mashni said. “Our boycott pamphlet asked people to send a detachable petition to
Minister Kosky and we understand that thousands have landed on her desk.”
The Dump Connex campaign had been run to alert Melbourne’s commuters to the
unethical agreement that Connex had entered into with Israel. Under the contract,
Connex had agreed to operate a public transport service to Jewish settlements that
Israel is continuing to build deep inside the Occupied West Bank in defiance of
international law.

“However,” said Mr Mashni, “Connex may be losing on that score as well. Only
recently, its parent company Veolia announced that it would be seeking to pull out
of its contract with Israel to build the Jerusalem light rail, due to some $7 billion
worth of losses. There is no doubt that the BDS campaigns run by Palestine
solidarity groups in Europe had a lot to do with that.”
These worldwide boycotts have become necessary as Israel continues to ignore
calls to halt its illegal settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian territories.

“They are,” said Mr Mashni “nonviolent actions that were shown to be most
effective in ending apartheid rule in South Africa and Australia can expect to see
many more such actions being taken against companies doing business with

For further information phone Moammar Mashni on 0419 999 773
Campaign details available on the website www.boycottconnex.org
Providing a Voice
prepared by SK/AFP

21 June 2009


The delegation from the Australian government which is due to visit Israel shortly can only be described as a disgrace. This government actually supports the terrorism
showered on the Palestinians by the Israelis during the Gaza campaign in December 2008/January 2009 and continues to support the concentration camp called Gaza, and the stealing of more and more land on the West Bank which is called "expanding the settlements"!

The following report is by Antony Loewenstein and is published here in full:

Australian government out of step with public opinion on Israel/Palestine

Published by
Antony Loewenstein

18 June 2009 in Israel. 4 Comments

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

Antony Loewenstein writes from New York:

During this year’s Gaza war, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was incapable of condemning Israeli brutality against the Palestinians. Her upcoming visit to Israel (and a few spare minutes with the Palestinian Authority) has caused loud protests across the country.

A petition that I signed asked that, “Every parliamentarian ought to think seriously about the moral implications of Australia normalising relations with a state that is still under investigation for war crimes committed during Israel’s Cast Lead operation.” The Australian smeared critics of the propaganda trip as “Israel’s enemies”.

A new study, released last week by Roy Morgan polling, suggests that the Australian government, Murdoch press and Zionist leaders are profoundly out of step with public opinion over the Israel/Palestine conflict. Israel’s own extreme actions are killing its image and chances of long-terms survival.

Commissioned by the Sydney-based Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) and Adelaide’s Australian Friends of Palestine (AFOPA) organisations, the figures reveal public scepticism towards Israeli claims.

When the 636 Australians aged 18 years and over were asked whether they knew about January’s Gaza war, 38 percent said they knew “a lot” or “a fair amount” about the crisis and 61 percent said they did not know much at all or “nothing”. Of those 38 percent informed respondents, a far bigger percentage expressed sympathy for the Palestinians (44.5 percent) over the Israelis (29.5 percent).

When asked which side of the conflict they supported more, 28 percent sided with the Palestinians, 25 percent with neither and 24.5 percent with the Israelis. Twenty-three percent were unsure.

Journalist and academic Peter Manning, the CJPP Convenor, says that, “the national poll shows the federal Labor Government is out of step with public opinion when it cuddles up to Israel. Julia Gillard’s current delegation to Israel is out of step not only with President Obama’s policies but with what Australians think.”

In relation to Gaza – where Jimmy Carter said this week that the Palestinians there were being treated “like animals” thanks to the Israeli and Western-led blockade – Manning is even harsher:

“Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was well out of step with public opinion when she expressed sympathy [in January] for the few Israelis who died from rocket attacks rather than the 1400 Palestinians being slaughtered by Israeli gunfire on schools, hospitals and residential buildings.”

These results shouldn’t be surprising. Consistent polling in the US shows that American Jews are fundamentally opposed to the neo-conservative worldview and believe in engagement with the Palestinians. A 2007 study by the American Jewish Committee found decent support for a Palestinian state and even a majority of American Democrats polled in January this year questioned the necessity of invading Gaza.

Even more ominously for Israel’s supporters, a new study by The Israel Report finds only 49 percent of American voters call themselves supporters of Israel, down from 69 percent last September. Other results from the study are equally startling; a minority of respondents believe the Israelis are serious about reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

This is significant and represents the gradual decline of support for Israel in the West. Many Americans I am meeting here in New York confirm the polling; Israel is heading towards permanent apartheid. The “special relationship” between Israel and America is being challenged like never before.

The Australian government is still waiting for the press release from the White House.

Antony Loewenstein is a journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution.

08 June 2009


8 June 2009
Sexual abuse is already taking place by the Federal Government before the same-sex relationships Bill reforms, passed by the government in December 2008, come into effect on 1 July 2009.
Elderly, infirm, frail, unemployed, those living with HIV/AIDS members of our communities are about to be legislatively, but illegally, outed by the government because they have to declare any same-sex relationships they are in.
Those failing to declare such relationships, and found to be living as same-sex partners, will be penalized by Centrelink in various ways, because the government has refused to provide a grandfather clause for this legislation, the first of its kind in Australian history. The legislation has not been properly thought through by the government, and they want to get it out of the way as soon as possible before the next election is due in about 18 months time so that they will get the gay vote – so they believe.
However, those numerous community members – not forgetting that so far they have not been identified by any government statistics to show how many couples there are – will be found by various means on Centrelink’s database connections, and their private lives will be exposed to the public gaze.
This constitutes sexual abuse of these community members when they are at their most vulnerable and many will be unable to defend their situations. In other words, after lifetimes of discrimination, abuse, homophobia and bullying – just some of the aspects of the lives they have led for the past 40 or more years, when homosexuality was illegal throughout Australia, specifically for gay males, they will now have their sex lives exposed and vilified by the very government which is supposed to be introducing “equalizing” reforms for the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) members of our communities.
It is quite obvious that the government expected a backlash if they introduced the change to pension age from 65 to 67 without a lead-in time, and have stated that that time will be about 8 years before the changes are GRADUALLY introduced. The backlash from the GLTH communities doesn’t worry them at all.
Well, it worries us, and we will remember that we are not considered worthy of consideration when it comes to so-called equality legislation.
To compound the illegality of the government’s position, it has refused categorically to provide marriage recognition to same-sex relationships, while touting the “fact” that gays and lesbians are now the same sorts of couples as heterosexual couples – another blatant lie.
The Centerlink advertisements, first with toothbrushes, then with towels, are demeaning and disgraceful, because the advertisements state “couples are couples” but decline to show two gay or lesbian people on one side in an advertisement and male and female people in the other side of the advertisement.
It is not too late for the government to provide a grandfather clause and provide peace of mind to elderly, frail, disadvantaged, unemployed, ill people in the GLTH communities and show they are able to be humane after all, at considerable savings financially to the whole community in health services, both mental and physical.


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm