Jeremy Jones on "Anti-Semitism" in Australia

- compiled by Peter Myers

 

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From: Peter Myers

Sent: Tuesday, 23 August 2005 7:43 PM

Subject: Jeremy Jones on "Anti-Semitism" in Australia

Jeremy Jones on "Anti-Semitism" in Australia

Jeremy Jones, when president of the executive council of Australian Jewry, obtained a Federal Court order dated 17 September 2002 requiring Adelaide Institute, operated by Frederick Toben, to remove Holocaust material.

Jones' victory may have gone to his head. Subsequently, he and the Jewish Lobby in Australia tried to prevent the awarding of the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize, by the Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, to Dr Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent Palestinian advocate. The Jewish Lobby failed, because Left-wing sympathisers demurred, and emerged with egg on its face.

Fredrick Töben v Jeremy Jones:

 

"Australia's leading Zionist, Jeremy Jones, is now free to label anyone he does not like, a 'hater', a 'Holocaust denier', an 'antisemite', a 'racist', a 'neo-Nazi', a 'whatever-phobe'." http://www.adelaideinstitute.org/Dissenters/toben.htm

In Jeremy Jones' article below, item 2, he acknowledges the obeisance of the Australian Federal Parliament to the Jewish Lobby, but notes one courageous, dissident, MP: {quote} one well-known public detractor, rather than address her critics' arguments, claimed in the House of Representatives that the "Jewish lobby" effectively controlled Australian political debate and made critics go "through hell."8 {endquote}

Footnote 8 reads: {quote} 8. Julia Irwin of the Australian Labor Party in the House of Representatives, 9 December 2002 {endquote}

Item 3 is Jewish rage at her pro-Palestinian position. In item 4, the Jewish Lobby threatens to withdraw funding from the Australian Labor Party (ALP - the Opposition in Federal Parliament). In item 5, Julia Irwin puts her case. As Labor backs down, funding is restored - as implied by Colin Rubenstein's approval in item 9.

 

(1) An article removed from the Adelaide Institute website

(2) Jeremy Jones on "Anti-Semitism" in Australia

(3) ALP Policy Left Stranded On The West Bank - NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (Nov 11, 2002)

(4) Jewish lobby threatens Australian Labor Party with loss of funding (July 8, 2003)

(5) Labor MP Julia Irwin says she was muzzled over Israel (August 19, 2003)

(6) Crean bid to soothe Jewish community (September 1, 2003)

(7) No muzzle on MPs, Jewish lobbyists say (September 2, 2003)

(8) Memo Simon Crean: be honest in dealing with Israel (September 4, 2003)

(9) Crean's analysis of Israel is compelling - by Colin Rubenstein (September 9, 2003)

 

(1) An article removed from the Adelaide Institute website

This is G o o g l e's cache of http://www.adelaideinstitute.org/Beauty/intifada2_conference.htm as retrieved on 14 Jul 2005 22:17:16 GMT. G o o g l e's cache is the snapshot that we took of the page as we crawled the web.

International Conference on Palestinian Intifada 19-21 August 2003

17 August 2003 Australia's leading Zionist, Antisemite and Racist

Before the commencement of the Intifada Conference, a preliminary comment about Jeremy Jones Jones wishes to deflect from his own hate-filled motives in pursuing those who disagree with his Zionist politics, in particular his support of Israel's continued oppression of the Palestinians.

Any criticism is regarded a personal attack, something that is quite an infantile attitude to adopt.

But then we need to recall that Jones is in a bind: he is either expecting, just getting out of, or finds himself in a Holocaust, quite a paranoid mindset.

It is the classic case of anyone who has a persecution complex, as exemplified by the wild look that anyone would receive from, for example, a spaced-out individuals sitting in a carriage. Travellers on the New York underground are regularly challenged by drug-crazed individuals who will do anything to catch your eye, then accuse you: "What you lookin' at me for?"

Here is an article from the Sunshine Coast Daily, 10 August 2003 Prize winner Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent advocate for the Palestinian cause, had won the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize, it was reported yesterday. But the award to Dr Ashrawi has drawn heated opposition from Australia's Jewish community. The judges unanimously awarded the prize to Dr Ashrawi, who lives in the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, professor Stuart Rees, said the award recognised her commitment to human rights and the Middle East peace process.

But Professor Rees said the foundation had been pressured not to confirm Dr Ashrawi as the winner. The president of the executive council of Australian Jewry, Jeremy Jones, said that Dr Ashrawi had consistently opposed peace and was an old style propagandist".

In the above newspaper article comment Jeremy Jones clearly displays his own moral and intellectual bankruptcy. He forgets that the Palestinians are the real Semites, and his hatred for them is so obvious. The Zionist's mode of operation is now in the open and Fredrick Töben has a classic example from the past that he used in his court documentation, but to no avail. It is rumoured that the Federal Court of Australia (FCA), as a 'federal' court, is heavily populated by Jewish Zionists. Töben's example involved a former Jewish Queens Counsel, Alan Goldberg, who is now a Federal Court of Australia judge!

In the long drawn-out action before the FCA, four judges found in Jones' favour and Fredrick Töben now has a gag-order, and he may now not talk openly and freely about the Holocaust. Jones, on the other hand, is free to label and libel Töben.

That Töben cannot openly discuss the Holocaust issues, but that Jones can continue to tell lies, is an offence against the principle of natural justice.

Jones may repeat the lies while Töben, because of the court order, cannot respond and expose these lies.

Jones successfully obtained this court order on the grounds that he was hurt by such material. Fortunately for Jones, he did not have to provide the court with evidence that his mental state is such that he has been traumatised by the material on Adelaide Institute's Internet website.

Another story of recent date: At an Australian snow resort some individuals, who would consider themselves to belong to the 'polite social scene', were dining and wining. They had all been introduced to one another by the host. One gentleman around the sixties immediately after mentioning his name exclaimed, "I'm a Holocaust survivor".

So what? Who cares?

When one of the rather attractive ladies exclaimed that she had been born in Germany during the war, the Holocaust survivor froze. At the end of the function the 'Holocaust' survivor and his wife personally farewelled all the fifty-odd guests, except the lady who was born in Germany.

That's the social effect the stupid 'Holocaust' story has on a group of individuals meeting socially. Here we have individuals who claim to be 'survivors', then most likely to their dismay, they find people don't pay them that much-yearned-for respect. The lady born in Germany didn't bend to their will, and the retaliation is a public snub. Luckily the lady has inner and outer beauty, while the self- confessed 'Holocaust survivor' displayed nothing but an infantile tantrum, and lots of ugliness.

©-free 2003 Adelaide Institute

 

(2) Jeremy Jones on "Anti-Semitism" in Australia

Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 08:14:17 +0930

From: Adelaide Institute

From: aaarghinternational@hotmail.com

From: JCPA -

Post-Holocaust & Anti-Semitism phas@012.net.il

Sender: phas-owner@jcpa.org

Reply-To: phas-owner@jcpa.org

Jewish Political Studies Review

In addition to the following article, we would like to draw your attention to two articles which were recently posted on the JCPA website "The Columbia University Report on Its Middle Eastern Department's Problems: A Methodological Paradigm for Obscuring Structural Flaws" by Noah Liben which can be seen at the link http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-liben-05.htm, and Laurence Weinbaum's article "Penitence and Prejudice: The Roman Catholic Church and Jedwabne" which was recently posted on the JCPA website. The article can be seen at the following link: http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-weinbaum-f02.htm.

Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 (Fall 2004)

Confronting Reality: Anti-Semitism in Australia Today

Jeremy Jones

Australia has a well-earned reputation as being not only accepting but welcoming of Jews. Successive Australian governments have believed Australia has a role in combating anti-Semitism internationally, and acted accordingly.

Anti-Semitism has often been spoken of as an illness of the Old World and the Third World, with Australian opinion leaders suggesting that the Australian national ethos of giving everyone a "fair go" effectively renders their country immune from anti-Semitism. In recent years, however, there has been a growing acknowledgment both of the presence of anti-Semitism in Australia, and that it is the responsibility of political and moral leadership to confront it.

On 16 February 2004, the House of Representatives of Australia deliberated on the issue of anti-Semitism.

A Private Member's Bill, introduced by Peter King, a government parliamentarian representing the electorate of Wentworth in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, stated that the parliament took note of:

{quote} the long history of anti-Semitism and its lethal capacity to influence many people to express hatred and carry out violence against Jewish people; [an] alarming rise in the incidence of violent anti-Semitic acts in many countries which have killed Jews and non-Jews alike, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and memorials and targeted assaults on individual members of the Jewish community; and [a] disturbing upsurge of anti-Semitic propaganda in print, on the Internet and circulated through emails, often in the form of false accusations that Jews are involved in conspiracies against other people. {endquote}

The parliament then expressed "its unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, of violence directed against Jews and Jewish religious and cultural institutions, and all forms of racial and ethnic hatred, persecution and discrimination on ethnic or religious grounds, whenever and wherever it occurs"; resolved "to condemn all manifestations of anti-Semitism in Australia as a threat to the freedoms that all citizens should enjoy equally in a democratic society and commits the Parliament to take all possible concrete actions at a national level to combat this threat to our peaceful and diverse nation"; and further resolved "to encourage Australian ambassadors and other officials engaged in bilateral contacts with other countries to use their influence to oppose and counter anti-Semitic expressions and to promote all possible efforts at fostering tolerance and community harmony."1

Tellingly, this resolution was not only unopposed but attracted the support of the governing Liberal and National Party coalition, the opposition Australian Labor Party, and smaller parliamentary factions.2 In the months before the resolution was passed, a developing awareness of anti-Semitism had been identifiable in Australia.3 The bill's formulation, with reference to "manifestations of anti-Semitism in Australia" and encouragement of the use of "bilateral contacts with other countries to use their influence to oppose and counter anti-Semitic expressions," reflects the view that while there may be anti-Semitism in Australia, the position of Jews in other countries is not only far worse, but Australian governments have a responsibility to speak out on their behalf. Australia's Jewish community has long found the country a congenial home.

Since the first days of European settlement of Australia in 1788 there have been Jews present, with the Jewish minority always being small in number but with a disproportionately high profile. Never having reached even 1 percent of the population, the Jewish community has supplied two governors-general, several senior military figures, and contributors in the arts, sciences,

professions, academia, entertainment, and business. No professions have been formally banned to Jews, and even when what is now Australia was a group of British colonies, Jews were permitted to be elected to the various colonial parliaments, with a number of notable successes, before it was legal for Jews to contest elections in the United Kingdom. Although anti-Semitic elements were present in Australian society from the earliest days of European settlement, there has also been a strain of philo-Semitism, which was often more significant than the anti-Semitism.

The condition of contemporary Australian Jewry reflects its ability to thrive in culturally diverse, religiously pluralist Australia.4

Australia's stances on international matters of direct interest to the Jewish community are evidence of the community's political role in Australia and its success in advocacy. Issues of importance to the Jewish community have been understood to be relevant to the whole of Australia. For instance, Australia was the first country to raise the plight of the Soviet Jews at the United Nations.5

The General Assembly resolution that, on 16 December 1991, overturned the United Nations' equation of Zionism with racism followed active lobbying by the Australian Labor Party government of Bob Hawke. Australia pursued the rights of Syrian Jews in the 1980s and 1990s.6 In more recent times, Australia was the first country to protest when a number of Iranian Jews were arrested on trumped-up spying charges, and Australia was also the country that spoke out most forcefully against anti-Semitism at the UN conference in Durban in 2001.7

According to the strong national ethos of modern Australia, what matters is not the country, society, or community a person comes from, but whether he or she is willing to contribute to and be part of Australian society. For most Australians, whether or not a person is Jewish is completely irrelevant or certainly far less relevant than his or her societal contribution.

Nevertheless, at times of stress there have been peaks in documented anti-Semitism, testifying to the presence in Australia of an anti-Semitic subculture. This anti-Semitism is manifested in a variety of ways and through a number of distinct vehicles.

One of the common defamations used by Australian anti-Semites is the association of Jewish people, language, and symbols with the Nazi genocide, such as accusing Jews of being "Nazi-like," committing "Holocausts," or maintaining "concentration camps." To some extent, such claims have been made in Australia for more than two decades, reaching a crescendo during Israel's Peace for Galilee campaign in Lebanon in 1982 and during the Arab anti-Israeli violence that commenced in late 2000.

Critics of Israel sometimes respond to the exposure of the fallacies of their arguments by invoking hostile anti-Jewish caricatures. For example, one well-known public detractor, rather than address her critics' arguments, claimed in the House of Representatives that the "Jewish lobby" effectively controlled Australian political debate and made critics go "through hell."8 Others have depicted Jews as having great drive and political power, from substantial influence on governments to "world domination." One of the sources used to support this notion is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is advertised in many anti-Semitic, extreme right-wing, and New Age publications and reportedly sold at Arabic-language bookshops.9 This view is also tolerated or espoused by a number of self-described left-wing groups. For Australian Islamic and fringe rightist groups, the statements on "Jewish power" by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia to the Organization of the Islamic Conference10 were sources of inspiration and encouragement.11

Predominantly in Sydney, during the last quarter of 2003 after mainstream Jewish organizations opposed the award of the "Sydney Peace Prize" to PLO propagandist Hanan Ashrawi,12 a so-called Jewish lobby was invoked as typifying the misuse of influence.

The presentation of Jews as holders of mysterious power can potentially spread the image of Jews, all Jews, as part of an implicitly conspiratorial elite, who cannot be treated as simply another group of Australians involved in public policy debates. For example, part of the reaction to revelations that there are Nazi war criminals in Australia holding Australian citizenship has been to stereotype Judaism as driven by the pursuit of vengeance.13

In the conspiracy theories of some extremist organizations, Judaism has been portrayed not only as un-Christian but also as anti-Christian. The Australian League of Rights, the Adelaide Institute, the British-Israel World Federation, "Identity" churches, and some self-styled "Biblical fundamentalists" cast Jews as religious, racial, or political opponents of Christianity.14

Some far-right activists have promoted the idea that Jewish power and influence has duped Australians into believing that the Nazis committed genocide, allowing Jews to impose their will on a guilt ridden population.15 Indeed, virtually all Australian far-Right and anti-Semitic organizations either advocate Holocaust denial or argue that Holocaust deniers have a right to serious academic consideration. Holocaust denial is usually a central plank in the anti-Semitic organizations' platforms, even though some of these groups simultaneously express admiration for Hitler's policies toward Jews. In the Federal Court case Jones v. Tobencm,16 the judgment established that Holocaust denial committed in Australia is racist as a matter of law. Nevertheless, Holocaust deniers have been establishing their own historiography and have shown an ability to exploit media opportunities and modern communication techniques to harass and intimidate Jews while attempting to mislead the Australian public.

The stereotyping of Jews as stingy or ostentatiously wealthy reinforces prejudices, leading in turn to further vilification.

Organized Extremist Groups

Let us turn now to a closer look at some of Australia's anti-Semitic organizations.17 On the far Right are the Australian League of Rights, active in promoting anti-Semitism since the 1930s, which claims to consist of Christians who believe that Judaism is responsible for all the sins for which right-wing Christian churches have blamed the Jews historically, as well as the neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant Australian Nationalist Movement, which sees Jewish influence behind anything it regards as a social evil. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has identified the Australian League of Rights as the country's best-financed racist organization.18

The far Right also includes small organizations claiming, among other things, that the Holocaust was an invention of Jews to extort money and guilt from Western societies. Historically, the most important of these has been the Australian Civil Liberties Union, which has links to the Institute for Historical Review in California. The highest profile Holocaust-denial group is the Adelaide Institute, a collection of extreme right-wing propagandists whose activities, as noted above, have been found to be in breach of Australia's racial hatred laws. This group had previously gained prominence through its online presence. Indeed, the Internet permits some small organizations to maintain an existence and gives potential recruits a point of contact.

Some extreme left-wing organizations in Australia also publish material that is extremely defamatory of Jews, generally but not exclusively in the context of their attacks on Israel's existence. Most of these groups compare Israel to Nazi Germany,19 and imply that Jews control or unduly influence important national and international governmental instrumentalities.20 An Independent candidate in the 2003 New South Wales state election declared publicly: "I am standing at the NSW elections to offer this to the people, to understand the fact that the US and China and Russia are the greatest threats to world peace. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the Zionist bankers, who appear to be financing all sides of the conflicts as well."21 There have been many reports by individual Jews - some of whom attended the rallies out of sympathy with the specific causes, some of whom were passing by - of being subjected to overt anti-Semitic abuse at extreme leftwing meetings and rallies, a logical consequence of this incitement.

Although the small groups on the Australian far Left often denounce racism in all its forms, demonization of Israel is a common thread and so is "Jewish internationalism." Thus, the far Left's themes are almost indistinguishable from those of the far Right. Most of the far Left groups say ambiguous, sometimes internally contradictory things about Jews and Middle East politics.

Not all the anti-Semitic organizations can be classified as far Right or far Left. Conspiracy-theory groups identified with quasi-New Age, Libyan-inspired "Third Way," and political Islamist ideologies also provide their followers a steady diet of anti-Jewish propaganda.

In addition to organizations, though not necessarily separate from them, are individuals who are actively involved in distributing anti-Semitic material via the Internet, leaflets, and hate mail, or who express themselves via the mainstream media in the form of calling talkback radio, letters to the editor, soliciting attention from journalists, and so on. Often these individuals act in the name of an organization of which they are either the only member or the only active member.

Recent years have seen an increase in anti-Semitism from organizations and individuals representing a New Age or other fringe, alternative ideology.

These groups' rhetoric is heavily laden with conspiracy theories, as they seek to portray their views as rational alternatives to lifestyles imposed by forces acting to suppress or control "natural" behavior. There is a large overlap between far-Right organizations and those more directly concerned with promoting stories of visitations from other planets, nonconventional medical alternatives, and opting out of the organized economy.

Paranoid and extremist views about the "political and economic establishment" have drawn together far-Right, far-Left, and some anarchist groups in opposition to "globalization," to various government policy proposals that they perceive as empowering a state that is an enemy, and to Israel. There has been almost interchangeable anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from groups that would regard themselves as being diametrically opposed, politically and ideologically.

Arab and Muslim Groups

Some of the most overt anti-Jewish rhetoric in recent years has come from the Muslim and Arab communities, despite the fact that key Muslim organizations have been active in speaking out against anti-Semitism and in collaborative ventures with Jewish groups.

In 1988, Sheik Taj El-Din El-Hilaly, then the imam of the largest mosque in Australia, gave a speech at Sydney University in which he described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity. The speech was entirely devoted to "the nature of the Jews."22 At that time Hilaly was already in breach of the visa permitting him to live and work in Australia, and had attracted public attention because of speeches denouncing not only Jews but also Christians and women. Despite an attempt to deport him, political events transpired that allowed him to remain in Australia, and he was subsequently made the first and, so far, only mufti of Australia.

Hilaly's principal adviser, a prominent member of the Lebanese Muslim Association named Keysar Trad, has not only acted as chief apologist for Hilaly but also linked his community with a number of extremist organizations. For several years Trad's website was linked to Radio Islam, hosted by the notorious anti-Semitic Swede Ahmad Rami. In 2003 Trad addressed a meeting of the Australian League of Rights, and in 2004 he signed a petition promoted by Lyndon LaRouche's followers in Australia.23

Within the Arab and Muslim communities there is a group of activists who seek at every opportunity to denigrate Jews, not only in association with attacks on Israel. In 2003 one Arab group, the Australian Arabic Communities Council, urged Australians to boycott certain Australian businesses, along with international companies, some of which had committed no greater offense than to have Jewish members on their boards of directors. Several Arabic-language newspapers have published vehemently anti-Jewish articles, including some promoting blood libel,24 some espousing Holocaust denial,25 and others maintaining that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion26 are not only historically accurate but are used by Israel as a guide to military and political strategy.

A real challenge for Australians concerned at the growth of anti-Semitism is the emergence of an Australian-educated Islamic generation that includes unambiguously anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish elements. For example, the president of the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth, Seyed Sherifdeen, was quoted in 2003 as saying he was "deeply saddened by the genocide and collective punishment that is taking place against humanity in Palestine."27

The discussions on Islamic and Arab Internet forums, and the content of postings to newsgroups, testify to a vigorous anti-Jewish subculture.28 For example, on the Islamic Sydney forum, postings claimed that "Jewish power" in the United States was the cause of most or all of the world's problems, making a direct analogy between Israel and Nazi Germany. It was stated that "the 13 million Jews around the world are the most prosperous and powerful ethnic group in the world," that "Anti-Semitism" has "NOTHING to do with Jews or Judaism," that the U.S. media is Jewish controlled, that "'expert' Jews flow with ease between important national security jobs in the Government and Jewish owned or Israeli funded Washington Think Tanks," that Jews donate to American political parties on the basis of which party "allows Israel a free hand to drench the soil of peace in the Holy Land with Arab Christian and Muslim blood" and that the existence of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is "illegal and outrageous."29 A long commentary asserted that the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils was involved in "Betrayal of Truth" for not promoting the view that the war in Iraq was part of a plan for the "dramatic territorial expansion of the Jewish State" that will "then seek to become the ruling State in the world."30 A Sydney academic posted an enthusiastic review of Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak, the late Israeli radical leftist, with an alleged quotation from Ariel Sharon stating that: "We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it."31

It should be emphasized that this situation is only one facet of a complex relationship between Jewish and Muslim Australians, which also includes dialogue between representative organizations and active cooperation on social justice issues as well as educational and youth projects.

Churches

In contemporary Australia, Christian churches are often in the front line of defense of Jews against overt anti-Semitism, with most mainstream denominations making sincere and extensive efforts to understand the relationship between anti-Semitism and traditional church teaching. Although this is very much a dynamic process, complicated in some cases by political positions on the Middle East issues, it was significant that most mainstream Australian church figures took advantage of the screening of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ to caution their followers against anti-Jewish prejudice.

The Catholic Church in Australia was not only among the first national Catholic bodies to publicly disavow anti-Semitism and declare it a sin, but actively works against groups that seek to dishonestly proselytize Jews. Some of the Church's leaders are closely aligned with the attitudes toward Jews of Pope John II, and others are clearly products of post-Vatican II teaching.

Within the Protestant churches, however, there is a range of attitudes toward Jews and Judaism. To begin with, Australia's Anglican Church has varying attitudes from diocese to diocese regarding groups such as Jews for Jesus, Israel, and the legitimacy of Judaism as a religion.

The Uniting Church in Australia, for its part, has been involved in a national dialogue with the Jewish community for more than a decade. The Uniting Church constantly reviews its theology and its understanding of its relations with other faiths and other streams of Christianity. Within this Church there is a vocal anti-Israeli element, more influenced by the politics of the Middle East Council of Churches than by anti-Semitism, as well as a highly philo-Semitic group.

There are a number of Orthodox churches in Australia, some with a theology that is quite unfriendly toward Jews. In Australia, however, this aspect of their belief is rarely emphasized.

There are, however, Christian figures who publicly express hateful views toward Judaism and Jews. Recent examples include a letter published in a major tabloid in which a priest claimed that Christianity and Islam are religions of peace but "Zionists" are promoting "an apocalyptic show-down between the forces of Judeo-Christendom and Islam";32 on national radio, a bishop who said that the "problem with Israel" continues "because there is Judaism and there is Zionism and when these two things are brought together [it] seems not compatible with the desire for peace and justice for anyone";33 and a letter published in Australia's largest circulation tabloid, written by a reverend, that referred to "the parasitical influence of Zionism on the US administration."34

Media

The mainstream media's coverage of issues, both foreign and domestic, relating to the Australian Jewish community is extensive and out of all proportion to the community's share of the Australian population. Moreover, on a range of issues, sections of the mainstream media seek the views of the Australian Jewish community. The coverage is generally responsible and does not unduly play on the "Jewishness" of individuals or of the issues. On some subjects, particularly those relating to the Holocaust, the coverage has generally been sympathetic to the community, though there is less sympathy when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. Sometimes, when discussing matters involving the Jewish community, Israel, or individual Jews, simplifications and inappropriate analogies are used in a way that arouses concern.

The behavior of Australian anti-Semites over a long period indicates that when they believe their activities are tolerated or even rationalized by sources of authority, which can include the mainstream media, they are far more likely to act on their ideology. This is particularly the case when anti-Semitic views are broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) (in the form of anti-Semitic comments that are permitted on talk shows, stridently anti-Israeli material on television, or anti-Semitism in ABC-hosted Internet discussions), since this seems to signify that bigotry has received a government imprimatur.

Physical Manifestations of Anti-Semitism

In 1991 the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, an autonomous, government-funded institution that administers national antidiscrimination legislation, published a report on racist violence in Australia.35 The report, which contained a section on anti-Jewish prejudice in Australia, defined racist violence "to include verbal and non-verbal intimidation, harassment and incitement to racial hatred as well as physical violence against people and property." Using this definition, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the umbrella organization of the Australian Jewish community, has been documenting more than 350 incidents of anti-Semitic violence, vandalism, or harassment over each of the past five years.

Earlier, over a much longer period, the ECAJ was logging close to 250 incidents a year.

Such incidents include assaults prompted simply by the fact that a person was wearing a kipah; vandalism of synagogues or other communal institutions, with several arson attacks on synagogues being recorded in Australia over the past twenty years; anti-Semitic graffiti; hate mail; telephone threats and abuse; anti-Semitic emails, posters, and leaflets; and cases of verbal abuse of Jews in the street. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator's identity cannot be established. Very few perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts have ever been apprehended, and those who are identified are not necessarily representative of those who get away with their acts.

Based, however, on the content of anti-Semitic abuse and threats and on the impressions of the victims of attacks, in recent years it has been possible to hypothesize as to the perpetrators of approximately 50 percent of the attacks.

Around 65-70 percent of the attacks appear to come from extreme right-wing or neo-Nazi groups, several of which exist in various parts of Australia. The next largest group of perpetrators appear to come from the political extreme Left, accounting for about 18 percent of all the acts that could be identified, with the remaining 12-15 percent attributable to Arab or Muslim perpetrators or people purporting to act in the interest of Arabs or Muslims.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry releases an Annual Report on Anti-Semitism, with most media attention focusing on the physical incidences of anti-Semitism that it records. However, these do not necessarily constitute the most serious manifestations of anti-Semitism in Australia, and even when there are increases in such incidents it does not necessarily mean Australian society has become more anti-Semitic.

Responses to Anti-Semitism

The Australian Jewish community has adopted a range of responses to anti-Semitism. These include working toward the introduction of legislation giving recourse to victims of anti-Semitism, then using such laws; seeking political condemnations of anti-Semitism; and developing antiracism coalitions within civil society and through community education. Political and moral leadership is vital, especially when it stresses that anti-Semitism is an issue to be dealt with by the society as a whole, not just the anti-Semites' targets.

Education to combat prejudice, both formal and informal, gives the society a basis for responding to anti-Semitism.

In the first half of 2004, the Federal House of Representatives, the Federal Senate, and the parliaments of the largest states, New South Wales and Victoria, all adopted resolutions condemning anti-Semitism in terms identical or similar to those in the resolution cited at the beginning of this article, with most state and territory legislatures having passed motions condemning racism generally, and affirming the values of tolerance and diversity, during the past five years.

The good cooperation between different religious communities is marked by a number of joint statements and activities to combat racism and intolerance.

For example, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the National Council of Churches in Australia, and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils made a joint call for tolerance;36 a number of Christian groups and the Baha'i faith condemned anti-Semitic attacks;37 and Jewish groups have joined others in condemning racism against Australian Arabs and vilification of Muslims.38

One of the important ways in which church and civil organizations have asserted moral leadership against anti-Semitism has been to refuse to allow racist and anti-Jewish groups to hire their premises, while advising representatives to refuse to share platforms with known extremists. Extremist anti-Jewish groups have had increasing difficulty in finding premises in which to meet and in convincing Australians to participate in their activities.

The New South Wales government's Community Relations Commission, and equivalent bodies in other states, have taken steps in recent years to involve broad sections of the community and government in both planning and implementing strategies to combat racism and build communal harmony.

The federal government has instituted a National Harmony Day, on the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racism, which is marked by the government and the community in many ways, but is generally used to honor individuals and organizations that have been active in promoting Australian multiculturalism.

One of the most encouraging recent developments in responding to anti-Semitism and racism is the broad spectrum of educational initiatives, stemming from government, community organizations, the business sector, and individuals.

In January 2000, the Australian government participated in the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust. Australia was one of the countries that endorsed the final declaration,39 which included commitments to strengthen "efforts to promote education, remembrance and research about the Holocaust" and to "promote education about the Holocaust in our schools and universities, in our communities and encourage it in other institutions" as part of the reaffirmation of "humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice."

Jewish community organizations have increased activities directed at school-age Australians, promoting visits to schools by community representatives, visits to institutions such as the Sydney Jewish Museum, and the production of teaching materials on tolerance and on the harmful effects of racism.

Conclusion

In the report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on Racist Violence,4o in the section on anti-Semitism, the report's authors republished the assessment of Sam Lipski, the then-editor of the Australian Jewish News.

He had argued that {quote} in Australia, it makes sense to distinguish between at least seven categories of anti-Semitic behaviour:

1) Physically violent acts or threats directed against Jews, Jewish institutions and Jewish property;

2) Verbal abuse against Jews in Jewish neighbourhoods;

3) Political agitation on the fringe by extremist groups accompanied by the dissemination of propaganda literature material of the racist (anti-black, anti-Asian) and classic anti-Semitic variety;

4) Public expression of hostility to Jews in the mainstream, church and ethnic media or in the mainstream ideas marketplace;

5) Private or casual prejudicial statements against Jews, sometimes described as 'ritual anti-Semitism';

6) Acts of discrimination against Jews in the work place;

7) Acts of terrorism against Jews or Jewish property by anti-Israel elements.41 {endquote}

Despite the social unacceptability of anti-Semitism in Australia, there have been well-documented incidents of each of the manifestations set forth by Lipski. The contemporary challenge for Australia is to develop effective strategies for limiting the impact of anti-Semitism, protecting the Jewish community from violence and harassment,42 giving legal recourse to victims of anti-Semitism, and ensuring that the positive historical experience of Jews in Australia continues well into the future.

* * *

Notes

1. For the full debate, see Australian House of Representatives Hansard, 16 February 2004, pp. 24, 528, 534.

2. A resolution supporting the House of Representatives' Bill was adopted by the Senate of Australia on 22 March 2004. Contributions in support of the Bill came from the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the National Party, and the Australian Democrats. Green Party senators did not participate in the Senate debate, but later associated themselves with the resolution in a letter written to, and circulated by, the Anti-Defamation Commission of B'nai B'rith Australia.

3. For a compilation of articles published in Australia during 2003, see Jeremy Jones, Report on Antisemitism in Australia (Sydney: Executive Council of Australian Jewry, 2003), pp. 100-146; Jeremy Jones, "Terrorist and Racist Realities: The Jewish Community's Concerns," Australian Mosaic, Winter (August) 2003; Shelley Gare, "We're Crossing the Red Line of Racism," Sun Herald (Sydney), 14 September 2003.

4. For a summary of the factors in Australia militating against anti-Semitism, see W. D. Rubinstein, "The Politics of Anti-Semitism: The Australian Experience," in Australian Anti-Semitism and Human Rights, Proceedings of a seminar held under the auspices of the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs and the History Department of Melbourne University (Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1985).

5. Suzanne D. Rutland, Edge of the Diaspora (Sydney: Collins Australia, 1998), pp. 386-388.

6. Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Development and Trade of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, A Revision of Australian Effects to Promote and Protect Human Rights, December 1992 (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Services, 1992).

7. Jeremy Jones, "Durban Daze," The Review, October 2001, pp. 32, 21-22. 8. Julia Irwin of the Australian Labor Party in the House of Representatives, 9 December 2002.

9. On 18 May 2003, columnist Tim Blair of The Bulletin magazine reported that he had been to an Islamic bookstore in Sydney's Lakemba suburb that sold discounted copies of The Protocols. In its February 2003 edition, the New Age publication Hard Evidence advertised The Protocols with a long article asserting that they are true and that Jews were responsible for the Bali terrorist bombings.

10. 17 October 2003.

11. On 29 October 2003, a letter to the Central Coast Herald asserted that "I believe Dr. Mahathir was right when he said that Jews are the global financiers of wars that benefit them, with interest." On the web forum Islamic- Sydney, 18 October 2003, a series of contributors criticized "Jews who control the world's wealth."

12. On 25 October 2003, Sydney Morning Herald political reporter Alan Ramsey claimed the fact Hanan Ashrawi "is a Palestinian" is "enough to ensure a virulent campaign of distortion and ridicule by Jewish critics to brutalise her image." Philip Adams, writing in The Australian, criticized the "so-called Jewish lobby" for "its efforts to suppress and censor" its enemies.

13. The most notable public figure to make this equation was Jeff Kennett, at the time premier of Victoria state and generally regarded as highly sympathetic to Jewish concerns. His views were reported by Tom Salon in the Herald Sun, 22 August 1997, p. 7, and condemnations by Jewish leaders were also widely reported at the time.

14. According to Betty Luks in On Target, 4 April 2003, Rhodesia was "lost" to Christianity because of "the Jews."

15. See Jeremy Jones, "Holocaust Denial: Clear and Present Racial Vilification," in Australian Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1994).

16. Jones v Toben (includes explanatory memorandum) [2002] FCA 1150 (17 September 2002) at http://www.ecaj.org.au.

17. Jones, in Report on Antisemitism, pp. 51-90, refers to twenty-eight different groups that had come to the Jewish community's attention during the previous twelve months. 18. Racist Violence: Report of National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Services, 1991), p. 200. 19. On 19 March 2003, The Guardian, the weekly newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia, published an article that opened with: "Under the cover of a war against Iraq the Israeli Government is preparing drastic measures against the Palestinian people in an outrageous [sic] act of suppression which, if they are implemented, could only be compared to the measures taken by the Nazis against the people of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and other countries during WW2." 20. See P. Mendes, "The Australian Left and Anti-Semitism," ADC Special Report No. 15, November 2003, B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission. 21. Nic Faulkner, Byron Bay Echo, 4 March 2003. 22. James Murray, "The Imam of Invective and His Doctrine of Hate," The Australian, 21 November 1998, p. 7. 23. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2004. LaRouche runs an international political cult that promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. For more details on Lyndon LaRouche, hismovement, and the anti-Semitism at the base of the theories, see Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (New York: Doubleday, 1989), esp. pp. 280-285. 24. For example, An Nahar, published in Sydney, printed an article "The Zionist Plan" that claimed Jews "have awakened the Christians' hatred for them when they boldly embarked upon kidnapping Christian men and children and slaughtering them to obtain their blood for the purpose of kneading it with the unleavened bread of the Passover celebration," 12 September 1985 (authorized translation). An Nahar was censured for this article by the Australian Press Council (Adjudication No. 294, 21 August 1986). 25. "The presumed holocaust was disproved by great writers and historians of the second world war events....The purpose is to blackmail the world" (translation by Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales Translation Unit), Michael Haddad, An Nahda, 16 July 1992. 26. For example, an article by Charlie Ayoub, "Chattering in the Face of the Death Machine," El Telegraph, 29 April 1996, led to a formal apology after a successful complaint was lodged by this author under the federal Racial Hatred Act (1995). 27. Salam, August 2003. 28. See Jones, Report on Antisemitism, 2001, 2002, 2003. 29. Mohamed Khodr, Islamic Sydney, 9 January 2003. 30. Sheikh Imran Hosein, Islamic Sydney, 2 April 2003. 31. Hana Dover, Islamic Sydney, 16 April 2003. 32. Vincent Rankin (Anglican priest), Daily Telegraph, 12 April 2003. 33.

Tom Frame (Anglican bishop), ABC Radio, 20 April 2003. 34. Rev. Dallas Clarnette, Herald Sun, 22 September 2003. 35. Racist Violence: Report of National Inquiry. 36. Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 24 March 2004, http://www.ecaj.org.au/media/240304.htm.

37. One example of this was the letter to Prime Minister John Howard from the National NGO Coalition against Racism, 29 April 2002. 38. "A Call by Jewish, Muslim and Christian Leaders in Australia," 11 April 2002, issued by the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews. 39.

http://www.preventinggenocide.com/files/declaration.pdf. 40. Racist Violence: Report of National Inquiry. 41. Sam Lipski, Australian Jewish News, 9 November 1990. 42. For a recent comment on concerns of the Jewish community in this regard, see Martin Daly, "Walking in the Shadow of Hate," The Age, 14 June 2004.

* * *

JEREMY JONES is president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and senior contributing editor of The Review, published by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. He lectures and writes on anti-Semitism, and produces annual reports on anti-Semitism in Australia that have been published in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Israel for more than a decade.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The above essay appears in the Fall 2004 issue of the Jewish Political Studies Review, the first and only journal dedicated to the study of Jewish political institutions and behavior, Jewish political thought, and Jewish public affairs.

Published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (http://www.jcpa.org/), the JPSR appears twice a year in the form of two double issues, either of a general nature or thematic, with contributors including outstanding scholars from the United States, Israel, and abroad. The hard copy of the Fall 2004 issue will be available in the coming weeks. This issue focuses on "Emerging Anti-Semitic Themes."

 

(3) ALP Policy Left Stranded On The West Bank - NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

(Nov 11, 2002) {probably this piece was in The Australian},

Monday, 11 November 2002

By Glenn Milne

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies website:

Simon Crean may be about to pay a heavy price for pushing Labor's policy on the Middle East and Iraq to the Left in a bid to differentiate himself from John

Howard and confront the electoral challenge posed by the Greens. Crean now risks losing the legacy of support built by Bob Hawke in the Australian Jewish community just as the country faces a new crisis in the Persian Gulf in which our troops are likely to be involved.

The Jewish community is a substantial lobby, well-organised, financially powerful and politically influential. Due principally to Hawke's passionate defence of Israel and friendship with the likes of Peter Abeles and Frank Lowy, and despite constant courtship by Howard, it has generally supported Labor.

The story of why the Jewish community is now threatening to walk away from the ALP demonstrates Crean's increasing lack of authority within his own party.

It is another sign his internal political capital is on the ebb.

The cause of the Opposition's problems is an otherwise anonymous Labor backbencher from NSW, Julia Irwin. Irwin was originally a member of the Left but followed her husband, a NSW state member, into the Right as part of piece of factional hackery designed to save his preselection. In the only thing of note she has done since being elected to parliament in 1998, Irwin has proposed a private member's motion to be debated today.

The motion states: "That this House 1) notes the continued occupation by the state of Israel of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in contravention of UN resolution 242 passed on November 22, 1967; 2) supports the right of Israel to exist within secure borders; 3) Calls on the UN to insert a peacekeeping force into the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza and the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces; 4) calls for the recognition of the state of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza; and 5) calls on the international community to encourage and support the resolution of outstanding differences between Israel and Palestine based on the Oslo and Camp David agreements."

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the elected representative organisation of Australia's Jewish community, is outraged at Crean's failure to quash Irwin's motion, so outraged it has now written privately to every member of the federal parliament in the following terms: "The elected representatives of the Australian Jewish community do not believe the motion will have any positive impact on the Middle East peace process and, if anything, is counter-productive . . . The wording of the motion, as tabled, contains internal contradictions which appear to be based on an ignorance of Middle East history and recent diplomatic moves aimed at securing a just peace in the Middle East.

"Israel supports both UN Resolution 242 and the Camp David Process (sic).

The motion's appeal for an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied by Egypt and Jordan from 1948-67 contradicts the letter and spirit of both these processes and the Oslo Accords. The absence of any reference to the terrorist atrocities which have been aimed not only at murdering civilians but also at harming any short-term prospects for peace is another reason the motion is unanimously opposed by the elected leaders of Australia's Jewish Community .

. . Elected representatives of organisations representing all Australian Jewish communities and all major Jewish mass membership organisations unanimously oppose the motion, which contains errors of fact, is contradictory and fails to treat seriously enormous complexities, and believe the motion brings discredit to all who lend it their support."

The letter is signed "Yours faithfully" by Jeremy Jones, president of the council. But increasingly, it appears, the Australian Jewish community has little faith in the ALP.

When the motion is debated at 12.30pm today there will be six speakers, three from Labor and three from the Government. The ALP will be represented by Tanya Plibersek, Irwin and the only Jewish member of parliament, Michael Danby.

The Government speakers will be Tony Smith, Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop.

Danby forced himself on to the Labor speaker's list only after an extraordinary round of rows, stand-up blues, filthy phone calls and vicious e-mails. And that was with his colleagues. Danby agrees with Smith, Pyne and Bishop that the motion is an outrage.

But when the original list of speakers was drawn up the other left-wing Labor MP who got the nod from party whip Janice Crosio was Anthony Albanese. Albanese, along with a raft of other ALP members, including Irwin, Plibersek, Leo McLeay and Crosio, spoke out against war on Iraq during the recent parliamentary debate brought on by Howard. In her contribution, Plibersek referred to Israel as a "rogue state" and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal".

No wonder the Jewish lobby believes Labor is becoming increasingly anti-Israel.

And where does Crean stand on all this? Does he support or oppose the Irwin motion? If he doesn't support it, why doesn't he use his authority as leader to stop it? In the eyes of the Jewish lobby he has signally failed to publicly condemn the likes of Plibersek. Yes, Danby finally replaced Albanese on the Labor speakers'list, after talks with Crean. But the simple fact remains that in Hawke's day, Irwin's motion would never have seen the light of day. Hawke would have made sure of it.

So why hasn't Crean responded or intervened? There are those in the ALP who see his refusal to kybosh Irwin as further evidence of Crean's need to pay back the Left ? long pro-Palestinian ? for its support at the ALP rules conference.

That was the conference that was meant to clean up internal ALP corruption.

But there's an argument too that it's the very same corruption that's driving Labor to the Left on Israel; that the reason NSW right-wingers such as McLeay are shifting position on the Middle East is because they need the support of the ethnic groups that have been used to stack their branches. The "stacks" are now driving the policy positions of the "stackers".

Watching all this with interest are young, ambitious and hard-nosed Liberal MPs such as Smith and Pyne. Pyne chairs the Parliamentary Friends of Israel group.

Smith is also a member. Both have visited Israel and are deeply committed to its survival.

The ground Crean cedes within the Australian Jewish community will be occupied by the likes of Smith and Pyne. And the way Labor is going about it, that ground will be taken without a fight.

Simon Crean is leader of the Australian Labor Party, and facing a challenge from Bob Carr.

 

flashback: Jewish lobby loses faith in Labor By Dennis Shanahan The Australian July 8, 2003

 

With Crean's recent pro-Zionist stance, the threat to the ALP's funding is over; and a member of Friends of Israel told me, some years ago, that Bob Carr is a member of that grouping.

3 items ALP submits to Jewish Lobby

 

(4) Jewish lobby threatens Australian Labor Party with loss of funding

Jewish lobby loses faith in Labor

By Dennis Shanahan

The Australian July 8, 2003

LABOR'S traditionally strong relationship with the Jewish community has fractured over Israel, and Simon Crean has become a target for Jewish anger.

Leading Jewish voices are suggesting Jews will shift their support from Labor to the Liberals at the next election, and donations to Labor are at risk.

Senior ALP sources are aware of the deep Jewish discontent with Labor and concede fundraising from the Jewish community may not be as "dependable" as it once was.

Jewish antipathy towards Labor stems from the ALP's policy on Iraq and trenchant criticism of Israel from Labor back benchers who described Israel as a "rogue state" and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal".

The Jewish frustration with Labor re-emerged after Kim Beazley - who is seen as a friend of Israel - failed to win a leadership challenge.

The Australian Jewish News has editorialised on relations with the ALP, saying it was "quite conceivable that some Australian Jews will shift their support from Labor to Liberal at the next federal election based on one factor - Israel".

The newspaper said Israel had endured an "unrelenting public-relations battering" played out in parliament with "an implicit green light under Simon Crean's stewardship".

"The Labor caucus has chosen Crean, whose recalcitrant back bench proffers policies on Israel that differ diametrically to his own and which appears to have swayed Labor from its traditional moorings," it said.

"Whether he was ill-informed or ill-advised is irrelevant; his non-performance was a glaring lack of leadership which was damaging to Israel, to the Jewish community and, perhaps, to Labor at the next ballot."

The Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has also said it is "disturbed" at the "far-ranging anti-Israel comments" emanating from ALP parliamentarians.

The Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, the only Jewish MP in federal parliament, has attacked colleagues for criticising Israel but defended Mr Crean.

"The editorial in the Jewish News which portrays Simon Crean and Labor as ambivalent on Israel is factually wrong and misleading," he said in a protest letter to the newspaper.

"Simon Crean, as Opposition Leader, took quick and decisive action following the anti-Israel comments made by some members of the Labor back bench last year."

The Jewish News said Mr Crean had "sat in silence during the attacks" in parliament and should have "immediately distanced himself publicly from such sentiments".

A special report by the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, called Israel and the ALP, says recent debates over the Middle East "have led to the emergence of a common view in the Australian Jewish community that Labor has abandoned Israel".

"Opinions like that must worry ALP leaders concerned with ensuring the maintenance of political, electoral and financial support for the party from Jewish Australia," the report said.

Both the Jewish News and the B'nai B'rith report said that while Labor's stocks are falling with Australian Jewry, John Howard and Peter Costello, and Liberal back benchers Christopher Pyne and Anthony Smith, are working hard on building relations.

"John Howard has shown his staunch support - politically, diplomatically and militarily - for Israel, and is backed in this regard by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Treasurer Peter Costello," the Jewish News said.

 

(5) Labor MP Julia Irwin says she was muzzled over Israel

The Age Date: August 19 2003

By Annabel Crabb

A Labor MP says leader Simon Crean's office is muzzling her for being pro-Palestine, amid Mr Crean's attempt to regain favour with the Jewish community.

Mr Crean yesterday took the extraordinary step of intervening directly into a backbench debate about Israel, substituting himself for pro-Palestine MP Julia Irwin on the speakers' list and replacing the other planned speakers with foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd and Kim Beazley, who has just returned from Israel.

All praised Israel's role in the Middle East peace process.

The original speakers on the motion were to have been Ms Irwin, fellow Palestine supporter Leo McLeay and the Jewish Melbourne Ports MP, Michael Danby.

Ms Irwin told The Age yesterday: "I do believe that I have been muzzled in this debate.

"The Labor Party has been hijacked by powerful interests."

Mr McLeay, whose Sydney electorate has a large Arab population, supported Ms Irwin and said he felt "the matter could have been handled better".

Mr Crean has come under fire from some parts of the Jewish community over past speeches by Ms Irwin and others, including the member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, who referred to Israel as a "rogue state".

It is believed Mr Crean met Jeremy Jones, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, on Wednesday last week. On Thursday, Ms Irwin and Mr McLeay were told they were being replaced on the speakers' list for the Israel motion, which was moved by Liberal MP Alan Cadman. On August ‘1, Mr Crean is due to address to the Zionist Council of Victoria in Melbourne.

It has been reported in recent months that pro-Palestine speeches by Labor MPs may be costing the Labor Party sizeable donations from Jewish supporters.

Mr Crean's spokesman confirmed yesterday that the leader's decision to intervene in debate on a Liberal backbench motion was unusual.

"But the leader felt that it was such an important debate that he should take precedence," the spokesman said.

"It's got nothing to do with funding - Simon just thought that we should take this opportunity to put Labor's position formally on record."

Mr Crean told the chamber that while former Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies had "opposed the establishment of the state of Israel", he fully supported Israel.

He told the Parliament yesterday that "all Australians have applauded the Government and the people of Israel for their determination in pushing ahead with the peace process".

 

(6) Crean bid to soothe Jewish community (September 1, 2003)

The Age Date: September 1 2003

By Michael Gordon National Editor

Federal Opposition leader Simon Crean last night vowed he would never retreat from his commitment to Israel or from his support for the Australian Jewish community.

Addressing a public meeting in St Kilda convened by Jewish community organisations, Mr Crean repeatedly insisted that Labor's support for Israel would remain "unequivocal and unshakeable".

The speech follows tensions within Labor over Middle East policy and concern in the party that Jewish donors have become alarmed over what they see as the anti-Israel sentiment from some Labor MPs.

But Mr Crean risks angering those on his backbench who say a more even-handed approach to the Middle East is required.

Mr Crean called for more action from the Palestinian leadership to disarm terrorist groups, while applauding Israel for making "important concessions in recent months". He said the recent mass murder by a suicide bomber showed the terrorists remained on the streets and undeterred.

He also expressed concern that "young Palestinian children are still being taught that martyrdom is honourable".

"There is no honour in murder, and none in training those who do it," Mr Crean said. Although he argued the Howard Government could do more to promote the

"road map" to Middle East peace, Mr Crean said the Government had taken "a constructive but mostly pragmatic view" of the peace process.

He called for a return to the type of "concerned activism and foreign policy engagement" displayed by former Labor foreign minister Bert Evatt, who chaired the United Nations Committee of the Partition of Palestine.

Stressing that there was strong bipartisan support in Australia for the twin goals of "security for Israel and self-determination for the Palestinians", Mr Crean said Labor had also taken a "fair and balanced approach" to the Palestinian self-determination issue.

"I assure and guarantee the Jewish community here today that they will always have my support, and so will the state of Israel," Mr Crean told his audience at the Werdiger Family Hall.

"I would again urge the Palestinian leadership to fulfil the expectations of the road map and immediately to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism. "I know that this will be a difficult task. And it is one that the new Palestinian leadership should not be expected to do alone."

He called on Australia to be more actively engaged in the Middle East peace process by "working with like-minded countries and international organisations" to promote the road map.

"We should also devote more of our diplomatic resources towards engaging in the technical and legal issues that confront the negotiators," Mr Crean said.

 

 

(7) No muzzle on MPs, Jewish lobbyists say (September 2, 2003)

The Age, September 2 2003

By Orietta Guerrera

Canberra

The Jewish community has rejected claims that Jewish lobbyists are pressuring MPs and others in the ALP not to speak out on Middle East policy.

Labor backbencher Julia Irwin, speaking after Opposition Leader Simon because of influence being exerted by members of the Jewish community.

Last month, Ms Irwin and fellow NSW Labor MP Leo McLeay were removed from a speakers' list in a parliamentary debate on the Middle East, amid concern their anti-Israel sentiment was alarming Jewish donors.

"There are two sides to the story," she told ABC radio yesterday. "And I'm just very concerned that there are certain people within the Jewish community that have put pressure on certain people within the Australian Labor Party."

However, Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy said it was natural in a democratic society for each community to lobby for its cause. "I meet occasionally with members of Parliament, from all parties, and I try to convince them as best as I can on my Government's positions. I don't know what's wrong with this," he said.

Mr Crean impressed the 500-strong audience at the public meeting in St Kilda arranged by Jewish community agencies. He was commended for his strong leadership, and decisiveness, in setting the record straight on the party's policy on the issue.

"I think it's a mistake to try and present this speech as pro-Israel, because when you say pro-Israel there is a sense of bias in it," Mr Levy said. "I thought it was a balanced, very principled, very well-founded speech.

"And coming on the background of what some backbenchers in the Labor Party have been saying in recent months, I think the (timing) of the speech was really important."

He would not comment on whether it would lead to renewed financial support for Labor from the Jewish community.

However, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the idea that the Jewish members were withdrawing donations because of the backbenchers' comments was satire.

"Members from our community... support the parties, both parties, so this constant emphasis and reference to donations, I think, is entirely improper, and inappropriate," he said. "But, of course, there has been concern in the community, and I think the concerns (have) been very substantially allayed by the leadership shown last night."

Dr Rubenstein was equally dismissive of Ms Irwin's claims of excessive lobbying leading to censorship of MPs.

Ms Irwin said she backed Mr Crean's speech and rejected any suggestion her pro-Palestinian comments were racist. The only federal Jewish MP, Michael Danby, hoped the issue was laid to rest. "One of the things... everyone agrees on is that we have a balanced policy that supports there being a Palestinian state alongside Israel," he said.

 

(8) Memo Simon Crean: be honest in dealing with Israel (September 4, 2003)

The Age, September 4 2003

The Opposition Leader had an opportunity to speak frankly about Israel. He chose not to.

Dear Simon Crean,

Let's get a few matters straight right from the start. You know much, much more about politics than I'll ever want to. I suspect, though, I might be a bit ahead of you on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I've tried to understand the context in which you spoke about the conflict the other night. You were, after all, talking to a distinguished gathering of the Australian Jewish community. And you were, after all, chasing votes; no shame in that.

But it's a pity you squibbed on some of the big issues, including how we, in Australia, look at and talk about this conflict. Instead of offering a close, critical examination, you ducked for cover behind platitudes. These might make you a smaller target for criticism, but they won't make a jot of difference to the lives of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.

I don't wish to sound insensitive, but condemning terrorism these days is a motherhood statement. To say, as you did, that terrorism is "the enemy of democratic, free people everywhere" is, at best, a nothing comment and, at worst, egocentric nonsense.

I'm certainly not one for suggesting that behind every terrorist there is simply a misguided individual who didn't get enough parental love and who can be sorted out with therapy. Too many Palestinians now see the killing of Jews as an end in itself. The real challenge for Israel, and its friends, is to drain the pool of anger and bitterness in which this mentality thrives.

Where were your words of advice on this? Advice to your audience that Israeli sophistry over settlements feeds Palestinian sophistry over violence and terrorism. All you could manage was a weak-kneed reference to the dismantling of "unauthorised" settlements as an "important" confidence-building measure by the Israeli Government.

Unauthorised by whom, we might ask? Why, the Israeli Government, of course.

The 400,000-plus Israelis living in other settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were all authorised, and subsidised, by successive Israeli governments. No one else "authorised" them. Not the international community, certainly not the Palestinians, not even the Australian Labor Party. You had an opportunity to talk candidly about settlements, and you blew it.

Similarly, what you had to say about a Palestinian state glossed over the inconvenient.

You observed that most Israelis continue to support a two-state solution.

This is based on opinion polling - which you, of all people, regularly tell us to treat with caution. More importantly, it ignored last year's vote by the Likud central committee against the creation of a Palestinian state. And the Likud party is the dominant element in the Israeli Government. Where were your insights into resolving this dilemma?

There's another, broader issue on which you might have taken a lead but didn't.

Much is made of Israel's democratic credentials, its lone and lonely voice in a supposed jungle of Palestinian and Arab authoritarianism. (Let's leave aside the fact that Yasser Arafat was democratically elected in a process overseen by the international community, including Australia. His behaviour all too often warrants the opprobrium it draws.)

You know better than most that the price of the democratic system is criticism.

Yet all too often Israel and its supporters try to shut down legitimate debate by accusing critics of being "anti-Israeli" or, worse, of being "anti-Semitic".

If criticism of Israeli policies is the yardstick for defining anti-Semitism, you'll know from your own visits that there's an awful lot of it in Israel!

When you next speak on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, my advice would be to shut your eyes. Without the audience to distract you, you've got a much better chance of seeing and articulating a few home truths.

And unless we are honest with Israelis and their friends, as well as with Palestinians, we do them - and ultimately ourselves - no favours.

Peter Rodgers is a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

 

(9) Crean's analysis of Israel is compelling - by Colin Rubenstein (September 9, 2003)

The Age, Melbourne, September 9 2003

The Labor leader, unlike some of his backbenchers, knows the path to peace, writes Colin Rubenstein.

Predictably, Simon Crean's powerful speech to a gathering of Jewish community leaders in Melbourne recently about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been denounced in the usual circles (for example, former Australian ambassador to Israel Peter Rodgers, "Crean must be honest in dealing with Israel", on this page last Thursday).

But in fact the federal Labor leader's comments were perceptive, appropriate and straight-forward.

Unlike so many of his critics, addicted to a model of "reconciliation" that requires denunciations of both sides no matter what, Crean was prepared to look at what really needs to be done to make peace possible. And he achieved his aim of setting the record straight by contrasting the official Labor policy with the extreme anti-Israel sniping of certain Labor backbenchers at the margins.

Most importantly, with regard to terrorism Crean was forceful: "The terrorist leaders must be isolated and delivered to justice, their networks destroyed and their moral justifications exposed as the rationalisations of fanatics."

He acknowledged the indivisibility of terrorism; that it does not distinguish between Israeli, Indonesian, Iraqi or Australian victims, and that the fight against terrorism is as relevant in Bali or Baghdad as in Jerusalem.

Anything less would have created a most unacceptable double standard.

And he acknowledged the problem of state sponsors of terror, stating that Syria and Iran's "continuing support for terror organisations will not be tolerated".

With regard to Israel and the Palestinians, Crean was balanced in the correct way - the legitimate needs of both sides must be met, not their behaviour criticised equally.

He acknowledged Israel's right to fight attacks on its civilians, yet called on all parties to the conflict to exercise "maximum restraint".

He recognised Israel's "important confidence-building measures" such as the dismantling of several settlement outposts, and welcomed the initial efforts of the now-resigned Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in partial fulfilment of "road map" responsibilities.

Most importantly, Crean noted that "peace in the Middle East cannot be secured without addressing security for Israel", but also called for a "democratic, independent and viable Palestinian state" by 2005.

He called on neighbouring Arab states and Iran to lend their support to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, a vital element all too often ignored.

Alluding to the Palestinian leadership's power struggle between Mahmoud Abbas and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, whose sabotage of his Prime Minister has succeeded, Crean called on Mahmoud Abbas to do more to implement the road map, including the requirement to destroy the infrastructure of terrorist organisations.

Crean expressed his "concern that young Palestinian children are still being taught that martyrdom is honourable". He could have added that the Palestinian Authority media broadcasts just such lessons, but did call on the authority to end all incitement to violence. Crean upset some of Israel's more strident critics because he did not engage in the type of moral relativism that plagues many elements of the left.

He did not fall into the trap of arguing that Israeli settlements, most of which Israel agreed to remove in exchange for peace in 2000, were either somehow equivalent to terrorism, or somehow its cause.

(After all, Arab rejection of Israel and Palestinian terror both pre-date the 1967 war and the establishment of Israeli settlements in later years.) Crean did not equate murderers with their victims, those who incite with those they incite against. He made it clear that the goal must be a genuine peace including a Palestinian state, but the point is not to achieve that state at all costs.

A non-democratic Palestinian state with the desire to continue the "armed struggle" or export terrorism against Israel is not a prelude to peace, as Crean acknowledged.

Rather, he said, "If the Palestinian Authority is prepared to undertake genuine reform, to crack down on the terrorist groups, to end the incitement and the violence, they will find an Israel and a world that is ready and willing to negotiate."

Crean is quite correct. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that a majority of both the Israeli public and parliament will back a two-state solution once these conditions are met.

Unfortunately, events of the past three years have demonstrated that, paradoxical as it may sound, major elements of the Palestinian leadership, still dominated by Arafat, are not interested in a state on these terms, preferring to continue the "struggle" into the indefinite future so they can continue to seek Israel's demise.

For the factual and moral clarity of his balanced and compelling analysis and prescription, Crean's views on the Israel-Palestinian issue should be commended.

Dr Colin Rubenstein is executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council and taught Middle Eastern politics at Monash University for many years.

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