Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

The Last Word: March Of Hatred

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Jeremy Jones

March Of Hatred

In recent weeks, Australians have witnessed outbursts of antisemitism, ranging from attacks on synagogues to the use of past Jewish suffering as a tool with which to attack Jews today.

In the space available, it is not possible to comprehensively address the way in which anti-Jewish hatred and prejudice is being manifested, or the way it is and is not causing a reaction by opinion leaders and by the Jewish community. However, a few matters warrant special attention.

Hilaly: a history of antisemitism

Sheikh Taj el-din al-Hilaly’s "sermon", reported last month in The Australian, in which he "attacked the Western press for being afraid to admit that the Holocaust was ‘a ploy made by the Zionists’," and then "trivialised the number of Jews killed by the Nazis", should not be allowed to slip beneath the anti-racist radar.

This was overt denial of the crimes of the Nazis and was delivered in a manner designed to impart the message that the Western media is dishonest and controlled by malevolent Jews.

It came from a man who has made a number of repulsive antisemitic comments over an extended period of time.

It also came in the context of other extremist, anti-Jewish comments, directed at an audience who were listening to him as a spiritual and ethical guide.

Sad to say, there is no evidence that any person in his audience found a reason to object to overt Nazi apologia, his description of Israel as "a cancer" or his reportedly regular classic anti-Jewish rhetoric.

The Australian government has made clear its objections to the Sheikh’s disgusting racist invective and appears geared to reverse the very questionable decision to include him in the process of consultation with Muslim representatives.

While the inexcusable imam has been whitewashing the Nazis’ evildoing, some other Australians have marched in support of the genocidal terrorists of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is not a "cause", it is an organisation, and to support it is to support an overtly anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-non-Muslim, anti-Sunni-Muslim programme. A contemptible clique has also been waving banners with the Nazi swastika and the Jewish Star of David used in graphics to make an analogy between the two.

In a strand of antisemitism known widely as "anti-Jewism", the banner wavers were making an intellectually and morally obscene comparison between those who murdered Jews and Jews who do not accept that they should or can be murdered.

Even many of the most fanatical critics of Israel acknowledge that Israel has the military capacity to cause a great many more deaths than have been the tragic result of a response to aggression and provocation.

So what can one make of statements by Lebanese community representatives who accuse Israel of "genocide"? Or of those in the media and beyond who do not immediately respond to what is not only offensive and slanderous but calculated to incite hatred?

Similarly, most editors of newspapers’ letter pages will claim that they do not publish abusive or defamatory contributions, yet a plethora of letters have been printed accusing Israel, identified as the successor to the victims of Nazism, of behaving in the manner of past persecutors.

Thrown into this volatile mix has been another inflammatory image — that of alleged Jewish "control" of the policies of Australia and/or the USA.

While letter writers, marchers in pro-Hezbollah rallies and the occasional imam bizarrely accuse Jews of dictating the actions of the Australian government, the image of America acting servilely towards Jews has also appeared in editorial cartoons in otherwise respectable newspapers.

To the credit of the Australian media, a vast spectrum of views, analyses and commentary has been included in coverage of Israel’s response to Hamas and Hezbollah aggression.

It would bring even more credit to the Australian media if there was more editorial abhorrence at the all too many examples of anti-Jewish racism which have been before the Australian public in recent weeks.

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