18 February 2019

Australian Greens have two faces and one is the ugliest of bigots

From The Australian, 13 February 2019, by JANET ALBRECHTSEN:

If Greens leader Richard Di Natale is appalled by bigotry and genuinely believes in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, he must flush out the anti-Semit­ism in his party.

.. the [Australian] Greens ...is a party of bigotry at the organisational level, yet no Greens MP is brave or honest enough to expose the hypocrisy. On the one hand, Greens spout sweet-sounding words about moral­ity, compassion and tolerance; on the other hand, the party endorses bigotry.

There are a few good people in the party. Last year, NSW Greens upper house MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field said the party had fallen victim­ to “extreme­-Left ideology”. NSW Greens lower house MP Jamie Parker engages with the Jewish community too.

But even the good people have allowed the NSW party to fall into a habit of bigotry. History warns us that silence emboldens bigots, and that bigotry is a necessary pre­cursor to the sort of political ­fascism responsible for monstrous crimes against humanity.

We can disagree over Israeli politics and policies, the future of the Middle East peace process, settleme­nts, refugees and much more. We can condemn the action­s of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too. It’s a free country. We get to speak our mind and choose who to associate with. But when a political party treats the members of a religious group as ­person­ae non gratae, refusin­g to meet them or speak with them, that is bigotry.

If the Liberal Party of Australia refused point blank to engage with credible Muslim groups, we would banish its members as ­bigots.

If the ALP continually ­rebuffed efforts to engage with Christian groups, we would out its members as bigots.

If the Nationals rejected overtures, over many years, to meet with a community on the basis of its members’ religio­n, race, sex or sexuality, we would vote them into political irreleva­nce as extremists.

Yet the Greens have a history of out-and-out organisational bigot­ry towards the Jewish community in NSW. A few turn up to mark Hanukkah in NSW parliament. But none of them have attended special events arranged by the Jewish community to build tolerance and respect.

Last Friday in Allawah, in ­Sydney’s south, Jewish leaders arrange­d a regular Shabbat dinner for different community groups, one of many dinners where people meet, eat and talk to other people from different walks of life.

There was a Shabbat dinner for Liberal Party leaders and member­s last year and another a few months earlier that included members of the LGBTI community. There was a dinner the year befor­e for Labor politicians, member­s of Young Labor and union leaders. Another one includ­ed many members from the Chinese community and other civic groups. Yet another dinner involved people and groups who help settle new immigrants.

You get the picture. You would be hard-pressed to find more genuinely inclusive events. These are non-political. Yet still the Greens have, for years, refused to be part of these dinners.

At last Friday’s dinner, guests included Labor and Liberal politic­ians, state and federal, councillors, leaders from the local Anglican church, a leader of the Sikh community, the chairman of Advance Diversity Services, a leader from the Korean community and the president of a local Rotary Club too. But no Greens politician.

In his closing remarks, Vic Alha­deff, who leads the NSW Jewis­h Board of Deputies and started these dinners, glanced around the room at the broad array of people, thanking them for laying down their arms to be there and on “the degree of stillness which we have collectively ­achieved in removing ourselves from our frenetic, hectic lives”.

The purpose of the dinners is simple yet important, “engaging as Australians … and using the opportunity to explore our commonalities, beliefs and shared values”.

Not to command agreement or to proselytise. To speak to one another­ as respectful human being­s.

Many Jews might be drawn to genuinely green policies about the environment. Yet the Greens’ extremism towards Jews precludes engagement. That is not tolerance. That is anti-Semitism.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order, given that the Greens read­ily condemn the bigotry of others. Last year, the party’s federal leader Richard Di Natale slammed ­senator Fraser Anning for using the language of the Nazis when he referred to a “final solution to the (Muslim) immigration problem”. Di Natale said such language was “vile, racist, bigoted and has no place in our society”. Agreed.

The bigotry of the Greens has no place in Australia either. Sadly, the NSW Young Greens have learned the oldest hatred from their party organisation. A few years ago, they refused to attend a conference held at NSW Parliament House by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students. Labor and Liberal students attended.

There are plenty of reasons not to attend a bolshie student conference, but refusing to speak to or be near Australian Jewish students is anti-Semitism. As the AUJS said at the time, the ­boycott, under the cloak of the Palestin­ian problem, reduces all Australian Jewish students to one political issue 12,000km away. Not all Jews share the same views on any issue.

In recent months, neo-Nazi cowards hiding behind the Antipodean Resistance label have posted vile, bigoted and racist posters around Sydney and Melbourne. near schools, synagogues and other buildings.

They are the likely beasts who painted Nazi swastikas on a promenade wall at Sydney’s Bondi Beach at the weekend. Their active recruitment of more bigots is a moral monstrosity.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The organisational bigotry within the Greens is a slyer form of anti-Semiti­sm.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2017, the NSW Young Greens posted a Venn diagra­m on Facebook stating that Liberals and Labor love “locking people in concentration camps”.

They’ve learned from their Greens elders to engage in abhorrent Holocaust minimisation, likening offshore processing to determine refugee status to concentration camps where millions of Jews were murdered.

If Di Natale and other Greens are appalled by bigotry and vile, racist behaviour, if they genuinely believe in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, they need to flush out the anti-Semit­ism in their party.

Until then, the next time a Greens politician brags about their progressive credentials, remember the organisational bigotry by the Greens towards Australian Jews.

Right now, a vote for the Greens — primary or ­preference — is a vote for bigotry.

13 February 2019

The University of Sydney sacks academic Tim Anderson

From J-Wire, February 14, 2019:

Image result for tim anderson
Tim Anderson
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The University of Sydney has dismissed controversial academic Tim Anderson following the suspension of his employment in December.
An employment review panel voted for Anderson’s dismissal by a 2-1 majority. Anderson has announced that he intends to legally challenge his dismissal.Anderson was found to have circulated lecture materials to his students in 2018 which, according to a letter from the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton, contained an “altered image of the Israeli flag” featuring a “cropped swastika.” The materials were allegedly used in a course on ‘Human Rights and Development’.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim commented: “The University did the right thing both in terms of principle and its own interests. Anderson has been an enthusiastic apologist for the regimes in Syria and North Korea which have systematically murdered their own people, while likening Israel, a genuine western democracy, with Nazi Germany. These sorts of statements fall squarely within the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the 31 democratic nations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”
Mr Wertheim noted that the IHRA working definition gives examples that “may serve as illustrations” of antisemitic statements, including:
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
According to Mr Wertheim, much of the material distributed by Anderson concerning Israel and international affairs amounts to “little more than propaganda”.
“This material has been presented with a gossamer-thin veneer of what passes for‘scholarship’ among the University’s small number of anti-Israel academics, in an attempt to make it seem respectable to the public and impressionable students. Anderson is entitled to his own outlandish views, but he does not have the right to impose them on students, or to compromise the reputation of the University and its wider academic community for maintaining high intellectual standards.”

06 February 2019

Amnesty International has lost its moral way with regard to Israel

The following article has been published in The Australian, 31 January 2019, by Alex Ryvchin:

Amnesty International has unveiled a new campaign to pressure digital tourism companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor to delist properties held by Israelis living in the West Bank, and calling on governments to pass legislation that would result in the total boycott of those living in Israeli settlements.
It is just the latest attack in a long war waged by Amnesty and other once-respectable human rights organisations intent on turning public opinion against Israel and bringing about its economic and political isolation.
The origins of this lie in an infamous non-governmental organisations forum of the UN World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The conference lives long in the memory for the appalling racism that marred an event convened for the very purpose of combating such conduct. Posters displayed Jewish caricatures and Nazi icons, and participants circulated copies of the anti-Semitic fabrication, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. US congressman Tom Lantos called it “the most sickening display of hate for Jews since the Nazi period”. The UN’s human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, told the BBC “there was a horrible anti-Semitism present”.
Against this backdrop, the conference of more than 1500 representatives of international NGOs adopted a resolution that defined Israel as a “racist, apartheid state”, and called for the launch of a “global solidarity campaign” targeting governments, UN agencies and civil society to achieve the “complete and total isolation of Israel”.
This co-ordinated attack on Israel’s very existence and legitimacy, including through various forms of boycott, divest and sanctions campaigns on campus, and among trade unions, government and civil society, became the vehicle through which new generations of thought leaders would be exposed to the characterisation of the Jewish state as a uniquely wicked, unjust project that had to be unwound for the good of humanity. Amnesty was a key player in Durban and in the adoption of the resolution, and has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.
In 2002, following an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in response to the Passover massacre in Netanya, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 30 civilians during a celebratory feast, Amnesty accused Israel of carrying out war crimes and massacres of Palestinian civilians. The allegations, promptly reported by the BBC and other news outlets, placed the Palestinian civilian death toll at more than 500. But 52 Palestinians died, the majority of them combatants, along with 23 Israeli soldiers, in fierce urban combat.
False allegations of a massacre made by Amnesty lubricated the machinery of the political campaign against Israel, leading to street protests, campus hearings, reams of condemnations and anti-Israel resolutions across civil society and government.
In 2015, Amnesty was forced into a humiliating admission that it had lobbied the Australian government to accept murderous Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis as a genuine refugee.
Last April, Amnesty’s secretary-general called Israel’s democratically elected government “rogue”. In 2010, the head of its Finnish branch called Israel a “scum state”. Its British campaign manager has likened Israel to Islamic State and been condemned for his attacks on Jewish parliamentarians.
Perhaps as revealing as Amnesty’s fixation on Jews living on the “wrong” side of a long-defunct armistice line has been its relative silence on the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitism. In April 2015, Amnesty UK rejected an initiative to “campaign against anti-semitism in the UK”, as well as “lobby the UK government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-Semitism closely”. It was the only proposed resolution at the annual general meeting that was not adopted.
The skewed morality revealed by Amnesty’s obsession with Israel reflects a broader decline in the non-governmental sector. Whereas groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch once led the struggle against Soviet tyranny and actively defended the rights of political prisoners, today they serve an increasingly narrow political agenda, one aligned with anti-Western, anti-capitalist forces. Amnesty’s apparent contempt for Israel, its ho-hum attitude to anti-Semitism, and its inordinate condemnations of democracies all stem from this malaise.
Of course, the settlements are a point of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, the parties identified settlements as a final status issue in the historic Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1993. It was agreed that the questions of which settlements will be annexed to Israel and which will be dismantled or transferred to Palestinian sovereignty are to be resolved in direct negotiations in the context of a final peace agreement. But the pursuit of peace is not aided by Amnesty’s political manoeuvres and attempts to isolate Israel, which perpetuate conflict by other means.
Alex Ryvchin is the author of The Anti-Israel Agenda — Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Gefen Publishing), and co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.