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Trial of Israel boycott backers begins in Australia

JTA

May 3, 2012 | 10:33 am

The trial of 19 pro-Palestinian protesters backing an Israel boycott began in Australia.

The defendants in the trial that started Tuesday in Melbourne Magistrates Court took part in a demonstration that turned violent last July outside an Israeli chocolatier Max Brenner shop in Melbourne. Three policemen were injured in the fracas.

The charges against the defendants, many of whom are aligned with far-left Socialist and pro-Palestinian organizations, include trespassing and assault. One of the protesters is a Melbourne Jew.

The protest was part of a broader boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Max Brenner stores located in Australia’s major cities. Activists targeted the chocolate shop chain, owned by the Strauss Group, because it supplies the Israeli army.

Protesters demonstrated on the steps of the courthouse, with some of them taping their mouths shut and others binding their hands with Israeli flags, the Australian Jewish News reported.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

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