What is it with Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and BDS?
What do we really know about this guy?
We know that he believes that until the creation of Melbourne's parliamentary bearpit in 1851, Victoria was engulfed in darkness, and we know that he's been successfully rambammed:
"The Chanukah Menorah was lit in the Victorian Parliament House by the Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, in attendance were the Deputy Premier of Victoria Rob Hull and leader of the Opposition Ted Baillieu, as well as other ministers and members of Parliament and leaders of the Melbourne Jewish community... [T]he head Shliach of the Chabad of Melbourne CBD, Rabbi Chaim Herzog explained that this festival teaches us of the need to ensure that the light overshadows the darkness especially when the deeds of the terrorists may their memory be erased make the darkness so plain to see... The leader of the Opposition Ted Baillieu was then invited to speak, he told the gathering that in relation to Parliament House, this house demonstrates that freedom and democracy arrived here 160 years ago, which like Chanukah demonstrates the victory of light over darkness, therefore it's appropriate that it be celebrated in this building. Mr Baillieu spoke of his trip to Israel, where he visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre, in which the darkness and suffering which the Jews endured was so obviously noted, therefore the festival of Chanukah will bring light on the nations to ensure no repetition of such events could occur." (Chanukah at Parliament House, chabad.org.au, undated)
Speaking of Chanukah, had Ted been around for the following Chabad event he would surely have been inspired by this wonderful tale of a bravely flickering Jewish light in a sea of Arab darkness:
"Chabad of Melbourne CBD was the venue of 'A Lunchtime Encounter with the Rebbe's Shliach in Hevron'. When Rabbi Chaim Herzog... introduced Rabbi Danny Cohen the Rebbe's Shliach in Chevron, he said we may both be Shluchim of the Rebbe, but my shliches is the easier one at least I am not surrounded by hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs. Rabbi Cohen who lives in downtown Hevron with his wife and 6 children came to Melbourne to share the thrills and chills of living on the front lines of Jewish history - past, present and future. Chevron: The Biblical city of the founders of the Jewish nation is currently the home to hundreds of Jewish residents, a thousand Jewish soldiers and hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs. A large crowd came to show their support of what Rabbi Cohen is doing there, he encourages the soldiers to have faith, tour groups are invited for Shabbosim, young students are enlightened as to where the beginnings and endings of their forefathers took place. The lecture was followed by Lunch and Mincha."
What a shame he missed it, but all is not lost! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, for a real inspiration fix Ted need only access chabadhebron.com where he can read for himself all about those thrills & chills. If I may digress, my fav is the Youtube video with the following caption: "As worldwide media strains to portray Jewish soldiers as powerful brutes, a group of soldiers in Hevron boogied their way down an Arab street in full combat gear. See for yourself how the soldiers change the screech from the local mosque to a sweet melody of rhythm and outright fun!" (Combat gear coreography [sic] rocks the street!, 8/7/10)
We know that Ted should choose his friends more carefully:
"The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has extended 'sincere congratulations' to Victorian Liberal Party leader Ted Baillieu on his 'stunning election victory and on becoming the 46th Premier of Victoria'. Mark Leibler, AIJAC's National Chairman, also expressed appreciation for Mr Baillieu's 'long-standing support of Israel and genuine understanding of the interests and needs of the Australian Jewish community'. 'We have no doubt that as Premier, you will continue to be a true friend to both the Jewish people and the Jewish state', he added." (AIJAC congratulates Ted Baillieu on his election as Premier of Victoria, aijac.org.au, 30/11/10)
We know that although Ted's election victory was like unto the victory of the Maccabees, Melbourne's Greek community was thankfully not put to the sword:
"The seventh flame of the Chanukah Menorah was kindled at an event in the Victorian State Parliament... Premier Ted Baillieu addressed the crowd regarding the significance of delivering his first speech at a community function, since his election as Premier, being during Chanukah for 3 special reasons. The Premier first acknowledged that Chanukah marked a personal victory for himself, as election results revealing his appointment to Premier were released on Chanukah. He later expounded on this comparison, by stating that Chanukah celebrates not just an ordinary victory, but the defeat of the masses by minority groups, even in the face of tremendous adversity. The Premier thus paralleled his emerging from his position as head of a minority party to head of the Governing party, to the miraculous win of the Maccabees over the multitudes of Greek soldiers. He also emphasised that Chanukah is celebrated as a festival of victory for the Jewish nation, marking an end to religious oppression." (Chanukah celebration Victorian State parliament, chabad.org.au, undated)
We know that Ted is more than happy to see tax-free Australian dollars flow into Israeli coffers:
"'Anything is possible', was the message from The Hon Ted Baillieu MLA, Premier of Victoria, who was the guest speaker at the United Israel Appeal Community Evening held on Tuesday 15th March at Lincoln of Toorak. In stating that 'the Jewish Community is vital to the whole world', Mr Baillieu particularly noted the solidarity in our community which works so well together as we are [a] strong, inspiring and innovative unit... His sentiments highlighted the importance of the State of Israel in that Israel 'makes it possible' for their own but also for the others and UIA 'makes it possible' as it grows for the future of Israel." (2011 community evening, uiavac.org, 17/3/11)
While Ted may have missed hearing all about the thrills & chills in liberated Hebron, how lucky was he not to have missed these tales of Israeli daring-do in the evil kingdom of Hamastan:
"Second speaker for the evening was Australian-born IDF officer Captain Benjamin Rutland, Head of the NATO Desk, IDF Strategic Division. Rutland discussed his experience as a spokesperson for the IDF, particularly during the Gaza War and shared personal stories of Olim that he has been fortunate enough to have served with, many of whom would not have been able to if it wasn't for the assistance provided by the Jewish Agency and UIA." (ibid)
We know he's a party animal:
"<strong>Baillieu addressed a large gathering at Melbourne's Windsor Hotel last Wednesday as part of Israel's 63rd Independence Day celebrations. The habitual swimmer also made a 'teetotaller's toast' to the Jewish state... Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem commended Victoria for its support of Israel... The crowd was also addressed by Jewish Community Council of Victoria president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Sam Tatarka, whose organisation hosted the event." (Teetotaller toast to Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 10/6/11)
Finally, we know Ted'd be out of his depth in a puddle.