Race hate explodes over Israeli orange protest

From WAtoday.com.au, 18 Jan 2011:

A man is standing trial on racial hatred charges after being filmed attacking a young Jewish man’s religion as full of “hate, homicide and ethnic cleansing” during a supermarket protest in Perth.

Brendan Lee O’Connell, 38, is representing himself before a jury in the Perth District Court after firing the lawyer who was defending him against an accusation that he posted an anti-semitic video online.

O’Connell is facing seven charges related to the blog posting of a argument he had with Stanley Keyser and Timothy Peach, who are both Jewish.

An argument broke out between the three men at an IGA store in South Perth on May 2, 2009, where a Friends of Palestine group protest was being held against Israeli oranges.

Giving evidence via video link from London today, Mr Peach, 19, said he was a member of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students at the time and had attended the rally to ”observe” and hand out flyers to educate the protesters about Israel.

”We just had a look at the oranges, (but) they weren’t from Israel,” he said.

Mr Peach said he took some photos of the group on his mobile phone to show members of the union but decided to delete them because they weren’t good-quality photos.

He said he was ”angry”, ”confused” and ”offended” by O’Connell when he started to film them and argue with them about their religion.

Mr Peach, a secular Jew, said he was a member of the union for a few months because some of his friends had joined, but he was no longer a member.

O’Connell questioned Mr Peach extensively about the behaviour and values of the group, even asking him if the members received firearms training.

”There’s been no firearms training, that’s ridiculous,” Mr Peach replied.

During opening submissions, prosecutor Anthony Eyers said O’Connell had made several anti-semitic posts on his blog in October and November 2009, including the video he posted of Mr Keyser and Mr Peach.

When Judge Henry Wisbey entered the court yesterday, O’Connell refused to make the customary bow to him and became agitated during an opening submission in which he repeatedly referred to common law and the King James Bible.

He also repeatedly referred to the judge as an ”adjudicator”, but today he referred to him as ”your honour” for the first time.

About a dozen of O’Connell’s supporters have been sitting in on the trial.

The court was shown the video O’Connell posted showing him at the IGA store talking to Mr Keyser and Mr Peach.

”You have a religion of racism, hate, homicide and ethnic cleansing,” O’Connell says on the video.

”You are a racist, homicidal maniac.”

The trial continues.