Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Media Week - Antisemitic poster boys; Radio daze; Go Canada

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Antisemitic poster boys

A Sydney Morning Herald story (16/6) on the Egyptian Supreme Court overturning a ban on the presidential candidacy of former Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq featured a picture of a male protester holding a poster of Shafiq covered in at least five Star of Davids.

The paper's accompanying caption stated: "Hatred....protesters hold a defaced poster of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq".

Perhaps "Stereotypical antisemitism that is a feature of Egyptian political discourse" might have been a more apt description.

Meanwhile, Channel Ten's "The Bolt Report" (17/6) featured a quick section on Kuwait Muslim Brotherhood senior official and TV personality Tareq al-Suwaidan who toured Melbourne and Sydney this month and has in the past made crude antisemitic remarks.

A globe trotting Islamist motivational speaker, Suwaidan was seen in clips warning "but at the end of the day, power lies with the politicians, who are influenced by two things only: money and the media, both of which are controlled by the Jews" and "The most dangerous thing facing the Muslims is not the dictatorships. The absolutely most dangerous thing is the Jews."

Andrew Bolt asked: "Why did Melbourne's Monash University let Suwaidan use its hall? And why is this tour promoted by allegedly mainstream Muslim groups like the Islamic Council of Victoria?"

Rowan Callick broke news of Suwaidan's visit on June 7 in the Australian.

Radio daze

ABC "Radio National" host Phillip Adams interviewed (12/6) Peter Slezak and Avigail Abarbanel on their exclusion at this year's Limmud Oz conference.

Adams introduced them as "a pair of anti-Jewish propagandists who happen to be Jewish and I suppose this following story tests the ability of the Jewish community in Australia to tolerate different views because they've been excluded from a Jewish cultural conference".

Slezak alluded to his advocacy for boycott, divestments and sanctions as the trigger for his exclusion: "they talk about these red lines you can't cross which they define in some more or less arbitrary ways and then people who cross those lines are no longer open to discussion."

Since no Limmud spokesperson was included, listeners did not hear any opposing argument. For instance, the hypocrisy of BDS advocates promoting the exclusion of Israeli academics and artists, but crying foul when they are themselves at the receiving end of any sort of rejection.

Slezak agreed with Adams' description of him "as proudly identify[ing]...as a secular atheist assimilated non-Zionist Jew". Adams stated that "both of us are familiar with the term self-hating Jew...I've lost a lot of Jewish friends in recent years, since 9/11. You know since the wagons were circled after that." He did not feel the need to explain how or why that might be so.

Go Canada

In the Australian (15/6) visiting Canadian academic James Allan praised the domestic and foreign policy changes in his homeland "under its right-of-centre Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper. So any UN body that pretends Israel has the worst human rights record going, as so many ridiculously do, will see Canada walk out. Likewise, when the UN tourism body appoints Robert Mugabe as an ambassador, Canada withdraws from that body."

- Allon Lee

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