The head of a Palestinian group in Australia has implied vision of protesters chanting “gas the Jews” outside the Opera House might not be authentic.

Nasser Mashni from the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network appeared on Today on Channel 9 this morning where has faced a grilling from the show’s co-host Sarah Abo.

New South Wales Police will deploy more than a thousand officers to an unauthorised pro-Palestinian rally set to take place in Sydney this weekend. The response was sparked by ugly and unruly scenes on Monday night when several hundred people massed at Circular Quay.

In footage of the demonstration, men in the crowd can be heard chanting “f*** the Jews” and “g** the Jews”.

The protest came a day after Hamas militants massacred hundreds of Israelis, most of them civilians, in co-ordinated attacks. The death toll has now surpassed 1200. Israeli’s defence force launched strikes on Gaza in response, which Palestinians say have killed more than 800 people.

“I’m not condoning those images,” Mr Mashni said of the protest.

“But as to the veracity of what was on those tapes, I’ve been advised by another senior journalist [that] nobody has been able to verify the veracity of that audio.”

He butted heads with Abo when she suggested the “disgraceful and unacceptable” scenes in Sydney were in stark contrast to a “peaceful” protest in Melbourne.

“I refute the fact the protests were different,” Mr Mashni said.

“They were the same protests. The reality of people coming together to express concerns about situations is that, at times, unwanted people come along and provoke unnecessary and unwanted actions. Violence is never going to be an answer as is anti-Semitism is never the answer.”

Despite questioning the authenticity of the “gas the Jews” video, he conceded such language is “absolutely unacceptable”.

“Palestinians, we’re Australians, the most important thing is for us to come together. We’re all in pain. As human beings, we are sharing the pain and suffering, not only of the deaths of Israelis, we should also be feeling the pain of Palestinians.

“I’ve barely slept in two days. I’ve got a friend whose grandmother has been told to leave Gaza and she said: ‘I was ethnically cleansed in 1948 as a two-year-old, I don’t want to leave Gaza, and I’d rather die here than die in diaspora.’

“The situation in Gaza is 16 years of air, sea and land blockade. This is the sixth war on 2.5 million captive people in an area of 165 square kilometres.”

Mr Mashni claimed “the West” was engaged in “manufacturing consent for genocide” and raised several examples of Israeli politicians making pointed comments about Palestine this week.

When Abo attempted to bring the interview’s focus back to local matters, specifically the conduct of pro-Palestine protesters in Sydney, he hit back.

“It is absolutely unacceptable. That’s five times I’ve now said it.

“What’s also unacceptable is the police telling Jewish Australians they can’t attend the Opera House based on some Islamophobic construct that supporters of Palestine are Muslim. Jesus, the most famous Palestinian was a Christian.

“The babies getting pulled out of the rubble in Gaza today, they look like the baby Jesus. We are Australians too. Someone needs to speak up and say our humanities matter.

“No-one has asked me if there are Palestinians in Gaza. There is no effort to evacuate Palestinians in Gaza. No sea port, no train station, no egress to the rest of the world.

“Children in Palestine in Gaza have no hope. No education. They’ve not been to a rock concert. They don’t have educational opportunities. Our kids matter too.”

Abo pressed Mr Mashni again, saying no-one would dispute “the heartache those communities are experiencing” and asked him to deliver a message to Palestinians and Israelis in Australia “about coming together and uniting”.

“My statement is we’re all human beings, we have a shared humanity,” he said.

“Our Foreign Minister calling for restraint is seen as a bad word. What’s wrong with our country? We need to be calling for restraint, asking for an immediate ceasefire. Apply international law.

“Increasingly the world has determined Israel is an apartheid regime. We need to apply international law.”

The fiery interview concluded with Abo saying: “The point about us all being humans is what we should remember.”

The conduct of NSW Police has come under criticism, with the only arrest made on Monday night being of a man holding an Israeli flag at Town Hall.

And it emerged police had told Jewish community representatives in Sydney to “manage the movement of those people” by staying away from the city.

“I bear no grievances towards them but I think it’s a lamentable state of affairs when you have members of the Jewish community in the city unable to go to our CBD unable to gather and rally to observe an act of solidarity such as this,” Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-head Alex Ryvchinsaid told the ABC.

“The fact that the mobs, those who preach violence and intimidation and harassment and racism have dominated the streets in such a way I think is a shocking state of affairs.”

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