Against censorship, against Zionism, for refugee rights

[As reported in GLW #819 a performance of the play Seven Jewish Children that was to be held at the venue Kulcha on November 21 in Fremantle was cancelled.  It was scrapped following the intervention of the Jewish Community Council (JCC).  The comments below are based on the contribution to a November 25 Fremantle Council meeting by Hilton ward councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright.]
I want to congratulate the members of Friends of Palestine WA and the fifty other supporters of Palestinian human rights and free speech who gathered on the footpath last Saturday evening for a protest performance of the play Seven Jewish Children. By now most of you will be aware of the sorry sequence of events that lead to the effective censoring of this artwork. Amnesty International who were hosting the play felt pressured by the venue managers to cancel it after they in turn had been leant on by the JCC.
 In their attack on the play the JCC resorted to the entirely dishonest charge that it was anti-Semitic. Extraordinarily their spokesperson even claimed that the play resurrected the medieval “blood libel” myth that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children. The claim of anti-Semitism is a complete fabrication, the play’s script is freely available on the internet and people can judge it for themselves.
 I attended the street performance with my partner Janet who is of Jewish origin. Her Mum Dorothy fled fascism in Europe on the eve of the Second World War. She’s a tireless fighter against racism and campaigner for human rights known to many in the Perth activist scene. The Australian Jewish Democratic Society criticized the lobbying efforts of the JCC as “acute but very misguided anxiety.” They are just some of the Jewish voices who have rejected the attempt by the JCC to stifle any criticism of the policies of the Israeli government and the recent bombing of Gaza.
As the pro-Israel lobby has consistently done, it pretends to be sole “owner” of the memory of the Holocaust which in turn it places at the uncritical service of Israel. For it any discussion which deals with both the Holocaust and the dispossession of the Palestinians on the same page, such as this play, is unacceptable. Tragically, by labelling any criticism of the Israeli government and its actions as anti-Semitic, by crying wolf and using the term as a play thing to be wheeled out on a whim; the JCC actually undermines and diminishes the rights of both Jews and Palestinians.
The federal Labor government’s siding with Israel and it’s refusal to support the legal and moral rights of the Palestinians is a disgrace. However our federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke, who has worked as a UN human rights lawyer in Gaza, was spot on when she told the Fremantle Herald, “I’m acutely aware that there are relatively few avenues in Australia for the Palestinian perspective to be voiced and heard. If not at Kulcha, if not in Fremantle, then where?”
In the spirit of opposition to censorship I’m not suggesting that the council should be telling Kulcha what plays they should or should not host. However we do want Fremantle to be a place that supports a vibrant and diverse artistic scene. Censoring art that some people don’t like in order to avoid controversy is not only doomed to failure as this episode demonstrates, but it’s a recipe for only promoting art that pleases no one and fails to stimulate reflection.
At a time when Palestinians are enduring conditions akin to apartheid or the Warsaw Ghetto, we cannot accept the censorship of a play that attempts to portray the reality of their suffering.

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Combined union float - Fremantle Festival Parade

Unions: Part of the Fremantle Community

 Join the combined union contingent in the Fremantle Festival Parade

3pm, Sun 15 Nov
Carpark #11, Marine Parade

Sam Wainwright  0412 751 508 (MUA)
Michelle Sheehy  0412 772 137 (ASU)

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Hilton Harvest Lunch

On Sunday I attended the "Lunch in the Park" put on by the Hilton Harvest Community Garden

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Save Beeliar Wetlands - 1000 people rally on Oct 31

Around a thousand people rallied to show the continued and determined oppostion to the proposed Roe 8 extension that would seriously damage the Beeliar Wetlands. Local residents, state MPs, local government representatives and members of the Nyoongar community all addressesd the rally. 

A number of speakers emphasised how expanded rail freight and public transport infrastructure would be a far better alternative to the endless expansion of freeways to cope with increased road congestion. 

Congratulations to the Beeliar Heritage and Conservation Council for organising such a spirited and colourful display of opposition to Colin Barnett's freeway addicted madness.

To find out more or to get involved in the campaign go to

[Photos by Zeb Parkes.]

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Thanks to all those who supported my campaign

[On the right is a paid advertisement in the Fremantle Herald. Below is the text of a letter I've submitted to the Herald.]

I’d like to extend a big thanks to everyone who supported my council election campaign. I believe council can and should be trying to get greater community participation in decision making, involve in community life people who are often excluded, take a lead on protecting the environment and stick up for workers rights. If I can make even a small contribution in this regard it will have been worthwhile.

I’d also like to acknowledge the other candidates for Hilton Ward. We’re all pretty passionate about our ideas on how to improve our community, but there was no mud-slinging or dirty stuff. Outgoing councillor Alice King as well as fellow candidates Bob Smith, Dave Hume and Frank Acocella were all quick to wish me well and I thank them for it.

Furthermore there were some areas where we were in strong agreement; such as the desperate need for proper public toilets that meet modern accessibility requirements at the Hilton shops, and improving public transport use through a Fremantle Free Transit Zone and an eastern CAT service reaching into suburbs such as Beaconsfield, Hilton and Samson. I hope we can make some progress on these two issues soon.

Thanks again,

Sam Wainwright
(Councillor, Hilton Ward)

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Neighbourhood Watch Community BBQ

Congratulations to everyone who made the community BBQ in Grigg Park on Sunday October 25 such a success.

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Duck and Cover Hop

WHEN: Friday 6 November 2009

WHERE: Fremantle Town Hall

TIME: 7.30pm-midnight

TIX: $30 unwaged / $40 waged / $60 solidarity
*all tickets include supper

Fully licenced bar available


Travel back in time, dust off your cool threads and get crazy for a cause at the Duck and Cover Hop – Fremantle’s first and finest retro radioactive ball.
Dance the night away to Harry Deluxe and DJ Atomic ‘Burn’, with special appearances by the radioactive ladies of Sugar Blue Burlesque and the Swing Academy.

The DUCK COVER HOP retro radioactive 1950s ball

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