The rally in support of Gaza was held outside Sydney’s Town Hall, in the plaza. On the majestic steps and podium, and in the crowd, dozens of the black jihadist Shehada flags and Hezbollah flags were flying high. Speakers were dwarfed by a huge Palestinian flag behind them.
Antisemitism was also flying high. It was open, unashamed and palpable. The images through posters and flags were not just anti-Israel, but antisemitic to its core.
A particularly odious poster was of a Star of David with a swastika embedded within it and the words “Holy Cost” playing on the word ‘Holocaust’. The implication was a mocking of the Holocaust against the Jews, while accusing the Jews of committing a holocaust against the Palestinians.
Other posters were emblazoned with themes denigrating Jews and Judaism, and equating Israel with Nazi Germany. These posters included the words: “Khazar Jews out of Palestine”, “God chosen who?”, “Gaza is the Warsaw ghetto”, “God is not your real estate agent”, “First it was Hitler….. Now it is Israel!” and “You cannot continue to victimize someone else just because you yourself were a victim once. Zionist do not do onto Palestine what Nazis did to you!
Referring to Jews as “Khazars” is a means of delegitimizing the Jewish ancestral connection to Eretz Yisrael, and of Jewish nationhood. The references to God aim to make Jewish claims appear airy-fairy whilst ignoring the historical national connections to Israel.
There were many mock-ups of the Israeli flag. Some replaced the Star of David with a swastika, others embedded a swastika inside the Star of David. One had the Israeli flag, with a swastika inside the Star of David, bespattered with red as though it was blood, and the words “See humans but no humanity”
A particularly egregious flag was one in the Nazi colours, with red background, black stripes, white circle in the centre, but instead of a swastika in the circle there was a black Star of David. Another Israeli flag had the centre peeling away to reveal a Nazi swastika flag underneath, with the description of “Nazism Zionism is the same”.
The vileness of comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany is expressed by Howard Jacobsen when he said: “Its aim is a sort of retrospective retribution, cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow. It is as though, by a reversal of the usual laws of cause and effect, Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday. Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial…”
The antisemitism displayed at this rally was not without precedent. The organizers of the rally, the Palestine Action Group (PAG), posted on its own Facebook event page a link to a neo-Nazi, white supremacist website. They linked to an article about a town in Guatemala expelling its Jewish residents.
This website was replete with swastikas, iron crosses, White Pride logos, Blood & Honour logos, and more. There was enough to indicate the kind of website it is. Perhaps the ethnic cleansing of Jews from this Guatemalan village struck a chord with those who desired the ethnic cleansing of millions of Jews from Israel/Palestine.
An earlier comment on the same Facebook event page was that “Jews will never ever have rights.” Another comment was the recitation of Muhammad saying that “Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the tree and the stone, and the tree and the stone say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah , there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’ – except for the Gharqad tree.” U think the tree is going to protect u but instead it’s going to be ur enemy beware.”
After the rally on Sunday, comments on the PAG’s event Facebook page included: “you filthy Jewish dog… Go have a shower everyone knows u pigs only wash once a month”, “we Dont want u Jews in this country” and “These putrid people… U r the chosen ones!! Chosen to go fuk yourself you scummy chatty dogs.”
One can only surmise that the protestors, organizers, and Facebook commentators either do not understand what antisemitism (ie Jew-hatred) is, and so do not recognize it, or else they do and are very comfortable with it but recognize that antisemitism is not yet publicly respectable, and so must deny being antisemitic while engaging in antisemitism.
Perhaps it is simply a case of cognitive dissonance, as seen when the MC for the rally accused “the Jews” of “burning people” then stated that “Our struggle is not against Jews or Judaism but against the Jewish state.” One dreadful act allegedly by a handful of renegade Jews becomes a crime of which all Jews are held guilty – a classic case of antisemitism.
To claim that one is not against the Jewish people or the Jewish religion but is only against the Jewish state whilst at the same time vilifying Jews, denying their national rights and mocking their religion, is nothing less than antisemitism.
Lee Rhiannon, Greens MP, claimed that “Israel is targeting the civilians of Gaza with these bombings, and that is shameful and that is what we condemn.” This is the ‘big lie’ at the heart of Rhiannon’s message. Israel does more than any other nation at war to avoid civilian casualties. It is Hamas, not Israel, which fires indiscriminately in the hope of killing civilians. It is Hamas, not Israel, which uses its own people as human shields and makes mosques, hospitals and schools military targets by stashing weapons and munitions there. Rhiannon has uttered a contemporary equivalent of the ancient Blood Libel against Jews.
It is about time these people grew up, stopped hiding behind their fraudulent mantras and acknowledged their racism against Jews. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to discard their antisemitism.