Piercing studio defends 'No Israelis' sign on front door
A CAIRNS businessman who has been accused of racism by having a sign stating "no Israelis served here" in his piercing studio says he has merely been making a political statement.
Mark Bryce is the owner of Cold Steel Piercing on Lake St, who has been caught up in a firestorm of controversy after a tourist visited his business last week and noticed his controversial sign.
Israeli tourist Mohr Wenger posted on social media that Mr Bryce had told her he could not serve her "out of principal" after inquiring where she was from.
"He said he doesn't agree with what our government does and therefore we are not welcomed in his shop," she wrote.
"Principle? You can't discriminate people out of principle.
"He even pointed out a sign that we missed saying 'no Israelis served here'."
She criticised Mr Bryce for "sugar-coating antisemitism".
"I remember learning about things in history class but I never thought I would be in such a situation myself," she said.
"Not along at the other end of the world in the land of 'no worries'."
Speaking to the Cairns Post, Mr Bryce said his stance was not racist or anti-Semitic.
"It's purely about the Palestinian issue, and it has nothing to do with race or religion," he said.
"We support the BDS movement."
The worldwide Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement advocating boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Supporters say BDS is a nonviolent movement for Palestinian independence, but Israel says it aims to delegitimise the Jewish state.
Mr Bryce said his sign had been erected above his counter for 10 years, illiciting few complaints until now.
"We don't want the sign misinterpreted, so we've taken it down and we're going to replace it with one that says we support the BDS movement," he said.
"I don't hate anybody, but this issue, it's affected me."