From: The Australian, May 02, 2013,
A KEY supporter of the
boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has been caught on camera admitting
"there isn't really any connection" between Australian Max Brenner
chocolate shops and Israel.
Palestine Action Group spokesman
Patrick Harrison made the admission in a video of a BDS protest last November
at the Max Brenner outlet in Parramatta, in Sydney's west, posted recently on
YouTube by a graduate filmmaker.
Promotional material for the
protest claimed: "Max Brenner is an ongoing target of the BDS campaign for
its support for Israel and the Israeli Defence Forces..."
But Mr Harrison appears in the
video saying: "Max Brenner itself is a franchise. So financially speaking
there isn't really any connection between this Max Brenner store in particular
and Israel. It's become really a kind of cultural ambassador for Israel, this
Mr Harrison did not respond to
calls from The Australian yesterday.
A Max Brenner spokeswoman
confirmed the local operations were wholly Australian owned. "Its sole
shareholders are a young Australian couple," the spokeswoman said.
The company was established more than 13 years ago, in 2000, and has the
franchise rights to Max Brenner in Australia."
The spokeswoman said the Strauss
Group bought the International Max Brenner brand in 2001, after the
establishment of Max Brenner Australia. "Max Brenner International
thus became part of the Strauss Group," the spokeswoman said.
"The Strauss Group or Max
Brenner International has absolutely no holding in Max Brenner Australia."
Executive Council of Australian
Jewry chief Peter Wertheim said the video was "revealing".
"This exposes the unthinking
prejudice underpinning the BDS movement," Mr Wertheim said.
He said Intel, Microsoft and
other similar companies operated in Israel and supplied the Israeli Defence
Force without being targeted by BDS activists.
"It is not difficult to
understand the reason for this hypocrisy," he said. "Any attempt to
boycott the products of these other companies, which are integral to the lives
of most people in Australia, would be met with derision."
The video revelations came a day
after a BDS action against the planned opening of a Max Brenner at the
University of NSW.
University officials reacted to
that with a statement condemning "in the strongest possible terms"
anti-Semitic comments made on a Facebook page promoting the rally.