In my last post, I discussed the extraordinary spectacle of an Australian state premier threatening to sack an Australian council on behalf of a foreign power. But, as if that weren't extraordinary enough, we also have the even more extraordinary spectacle of that power's embassy laying down the law to the same council:
"Israeli trade commissioner Ehud Gonen has warned that the Greens-dominated Marrickville Council's policy of boycotting Israeli goods could contravene international trade rules that Australia has signed up to. Mr Gonen told The Australian Online that, under the World Trade Organisation charter, Australia was forbidden from discriminating against goods imported from another member... It's not permitted within the WTO/GATT charter for elected bodies, including local governments, to do any boycott', he said." (NSW Greens-led Marrickville Council boycott illegal, Israeli trade commissioner Ehud Gonen says, James Massola, The Australian, 1/4/11)
But, as the Good Book reminds us, verily, there is nothing new under the sun. History's been here before, and not that long ago either. In thirties America, a propagandist for a foreign power, which had begun abusing part of its population, laid down the law to those who would organise a boycott against it in support of the oppressed:
"[George] Viereck [the leading pro-German propagandist in America]... [lent] his prestige and oratorical powers to a movement directed against the Jewish boycott of German-made goods proclaimed in 1933. The boycott was intended as a protest against Hitler's mistreatment of the Jewish minority in Germany... At Madison Square Garden, on May 17, 1934, he joined with 7 other speakers in denouncing 'the unconstitutional Jewish boycott'. The rally, attended by 20,000, was sponsored by the Friends of New Germany (forerunner of the German-American Bund), and Nazi symbols and trappings were in bold display." (George Sylvester Viereck: German-American Propagandist, Niel M Johnson, 1972, pp 183-184)
Now if only that boycott had succeeded.