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Victoria's Jewish Community Supports for ACCC Probe Into BDS Movement

Victoria's Jewish Community Supports for ACCC Probe Into BDS Movement

08 August 2011

The Jewish Community of Victoria expressed its support for the Victorian Coalition Government’s call for a probe into the legality of the demonstrations that have been held as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement campaign.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to examine whether BDS campaigners are in breach of Commonwealth law by engaging in secondary boycotts for the purpose of causing substantial loss or damage to Max Brenner’s business. The protesters have gathered outside Max Brenner stores on several occasions, preventing potential customers from entering the store.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria President John Searle said: “We heartily support the call for an investigation into the demonstrators’ activities and congratulate the Minister for his good understanding of the pernicious intent of the protesters. Whilst demonstrators have the right to freedom of speech, they do not have the right to break the law, threaten someone’s livelihood and harass and vilify innocent shoppers”.

“I expect that all breaches of the law as a result of targeting certain stores in this manner and preventing the stores from trading will produce a positive response from the ACCC such that this thuggery on our streets will soon be brought to an end.”

Searle noted that in addition to the harm the protesters were causing to stores, their behaviour intimidated and harassed other shoppers and “this is something that families on a shopping trip do not want to contend with”.

“We believe that it is highly un-Australian to try to force the closure of law-abiding businesses, as is the playing out of foreign conflicts on our shores,” Searle concluded.

For further information, please contact:

John Searle, President JCCV – (03) 9272 5566
Michelle Coleman, Executive Director JCCV – (03) 9272 5579

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