10 July 2011

Bolt and Picketing Max Brenner

Andrew Bolt has long said things that others only thought. He is a strong voice for decency and has considerable weight in the journalism world of Australia today. And yet, he stops short in his article last week, on the 6th of July (2011) in the Herald Sun.

His full piece is online, and at the end of this blog.

I appreciate Bolt in a lot of little ways and some seriously big ones. He's not Jewish, but always seems to have a sensible view of our people. And of the situation with Jews in Melbourne where he lives and around the globe. You don't often get that from journos.

That said, the picketing of the Max Brenner Chocolate shops in Melbourne and Sydney by anti-Jewish people, well, that's certainly their right. But what's it about? Max Brenner. Who is he, after all? The company, Max Brenner was founded in 1996 in Ra'anana, Israel, by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner using a conjunction of their names. Max Fichtmann is no longer associated with the company. Since 2001, the company has become a part of Strauss Group. Their chocolate pizza was featured on a February 2011 segment of Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate/Pizza.

They have 20 stores in Australia (ACT, NSW, QLD and VIC) and a few others in Israel, the US, Singapore and the Philippines.

Picketing a Jewish business because of alleged ties to the land, because of anti-Jewish rhetoric and hatred... that's just not on. As Bolt addresses in his article. The article of venom back in 2009 by the leftist group which incited this picketing action is here: Greenies target Brenner

The problem is that our (mis)understandings of others' situations are often amplified by distance and by the clogged mechanisms of journalists who want to vent their own ideas rather than report what is 'news.' Maybe that's why I appreciate Bolt so much. He does his homework. He does his research and he calls spades 'spades.' That's refreshing.

Maybe you will enjoy his piece as well. And feel free to write him or the Herald Sun and tell him so.

And maybe we should all go get a Euphoria Banana Split Waffle Sundae. Just to celebrate freedom of speech. And freedom to overeat.


______________________________________________________

An ill wind of change in Australia

By Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun

Here are some things I never thought I’d see in this country I love.

I never thought I’d see people picketing shops because their owners were Jews.

But in Melbourne last Friday, 19 protesters were arrested as they tried to stop people from shopping at the Max Brenner chocolate and coffee store in Melbourne’s QV.

In Sydney last month, Leftist and Muslim protesters did the same to a Max Brenner shop in Sydney, claiming the Jewish-owned franchise company supported the Israeli Army.

I’ve seen pictures of Jewish shops being attacked before, of course, but they were in black and white, in another country at another ghastly time.

But this is Australia. Today.

Here’s another thing I never thought I’d see in this country I’ve loved for its fair go. I never thought I’d see academics sign a petition demanding someone be stopped from simply arguing.

But in Western Australia last week, that’s just what was done by 50 academics, from professors to a PhD candidate specialising in the representation of the Salvation Army in Finnish cinema, who demanded the University of Notre Dame stop warming sceptic Christopher Monckton from speaking there.

I’ve seen pictures of people being silenced for heresy before, of course, but they were in history books, drawn from inquisitions centuries ago, in another continent.

But this is Australia. Today.

Oh, and I never thought I’d see people getting doctorates in Australia on how Finnish films depicted the Salvation Army. But they do in the University of Western Australia, and, to be honest, that’s a first anywhere.

Here’s another thing I never thought I’d see in this country, which I’ve loved for those great home-making suburbs that artists once mocked for being boring.

I never thought I’d see parents killed after telling off naughty teenagers, or great masses of people brawling in our streets.

Yet this week, a Melbourne mum, with her 11-year-old daughter beside her, was stabbed to death after confronting youths who’d egged her house. Yet this week, 300 youths fought each other and police in a Melbourne suburb. Oh, I’d heard of such stuff about the meanest streets of the United States, years ago.

But this is Australia. Today.

Here’s another thing I thought I’d never see in Australia, a land I’ve long loved for its peaceful ways. I never thought I’d see clan members shoot at each other in road chases or kneecap each other, while their more glamorous members smiled for snaps in the society pages.

I never thought I’d see a man with a criminal record and links to the underworld given the honour of having his whitewashed memoirs published by a university.

Yet that’s what I have seen in Melbourne just last week, and in Sydney’s western suburbs for years. That what I have seen with Melbourne University Publishing, the preferred publisher of Mick Gatto. Sure, I saw such things in Hollywood movies about wild Chicago, and heard of them in the bloodier parts of the Middle East.

But this is Australia. Today.

Here’s another thing I thought I’d never see in Australia, a land I’d long loved for is sturdy good sense.

I never thought I’d see a government-funded arts festival treat a terrorist supporter as a hero and a former prime minister as a terrorist.

Yet at the Sydney Writers Festival last month, the audience cheered al-Qaida trained David Hicks and heckled John Howard. I’d heard of such insanities in Latin-American tyrannies, many years ago.

But this is Australia. Today.

Here’s yet another thing I never thought I’d see in Australia, where we have long loved to smell the air of careless freedom.

I never thought I’d see academics and activists agitate against democracy, while respectable journalists look away, too polite to protest.

Yet this week, 1000 Muslims met at a hall in Sydney last weekend, to hear a speaker tell them to reject democracy. Yet I’ve heard a former Greens candidate, Professor Clive Hamilton, suggest a “suspension of the democratic processes”, in case global warming got too bad.

I’ve read another professor, this time Emeritus Professor David Shearman, of Doctors for the Environment Australia, propose the world be run by “an authoritarian government” of environmental “guardians”. And last week I watched in amazement as Greens leader Bob Brown suggested we give up our sovereignty to a “global people’s assembly”.

I’d heard of such things in pre-Nazi Germany or the more oppressive Muslim theocracies, or read them in the pages of the wildest-eyed dreamers of a century ago.

But this is Australia. Today.

And one last thing I thought – hoped – we would not see in this country, which I’ve loved for insisting that we see each other as individuals, not marked off by birthplace, ancestry, wealth and, in particular, the absurdly trivial distinctions of “race”.

But stop. On legal advice, I must not comment one word further on this issue.

And of all the things I thought I’d never see in Australia, today, it would be this: that even I have been made too scared to speak.

In other places, maybe. In desperate times, long regretted.

But this is Australia. Today.

1 comment:

Roger Bourne said...

Revelations 22:11 says that we are to let the unholy go on being unholy and let the vile go on being vile and let the holy go on being holy and the righteous, righteous. At the same time Ezekial said that we are responsible for the sin of others if we remain silent and do not warn them. There is always this double standard where we are to put ourselves on the line and yet we are also to enjoy our freedom from sin, death and Satan.