Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get Rhiannon! 1

It's not only the malevolent, defiant, dangerous, delusional, irrational and obdurate Iranian mullahs (See my previous post) Murdoch's Australian is gunning for. Oh no. The Australian has targets galore. Targets like federal Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, for example, the Green it most loves to hate. After a short absence from its pages, Rhiannon is back, the target of a puff piece by churnalist Christian Kerr: Secret past of Greens senator (28/1/12)

Hmmm, secret past! A supposed liaison, actually, but not quite the kind you'd expect to find in No Idea. Kerr, yawn, claimed to be in receipt of a 1970 "letter" by a former ASIO chief, yawn, to Britain's MI5, revealing not only that the young (18) Rhiannon was on her way to England on a Soviet cruise ship, yawn, but had received an on-board visit from a man "ASIO officers from that time confirm many in the security agency believed... to be the KGB rezident, the most senior Soviet spy in the country," YAWN.

But what a fizzer that turned out to be: "There is no evidence that Rhiannon... ever worked as a Soviet agent. But her activities earned her an ASIO file that runs to 5 volumes and more than 800 pages for the nine-year period 1969-1978."

So what was the point of all this? Well, here we go:

"The influence of former communists and members of hard-Left groups on the Greens has become a pressing issue in recent years, particularly with Rhiannon and a faction in the party declaring their support for the radical anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement, which equates Israel with apartheid-era South Africa. It calls for an end to business with Israeli-owned and linked firms, a call critics claim reeks of anti-Semitism."

Got that? Green's the Old Red, Rhiannon supposedly caught a rather nasty strain of anti-Semitic Stalinism from a Soviet agent in 1970, and now, some 40 years later, the terrible Stalinist affliction has surfaced as support for a BDS campaign poised to snuff out the Middle East's - nay the world's - only Light unto the Nations!

But don't just take Kerr's word for it. A follow-up letter from our old friend*, Monash University academic Philip Mendes, concludes: "Rhiannon's support for the Soviet regime during this period poses questions about the motivation behind her support for the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions campaign." (A pointed past, 30/1/12)

Need more be said?

Well yes. Bollocks!

I know, and you know, Kerr's smearing of Rhiannon is baseless, but let's survey the relevant history to see just how bloody baseless, shall we?

Rhiannon was born in 1952 to two leading lights of the Communist Party of Australia. Only two years before, Israel was born, a birth more than just welcomed by the Soviet Union. In fact, so supportive were the Soviets that they helped arm the Zionist forces through a Czech arms deal, giving Zionist forces their first dose of what they and their current American backers refer to as QME - qualitative military edge.

Rhiannon's parents, like the rest of the comrades who toed the pro-Russian party line, would have been equally supportive of the brat. In fact, so warm did the CPA feel about Israel that it wasn't until 1968 (!) that the first article on the plight of the Palestinians appeared in the party organ, Tribune. However, it wasn't really until the 1971 party split, that elements of the party's membership began seeing what they had hitherto been blind to, though never as clearly as their Trotskyist rivals.

Rhiannon though wasn't among them. She'd naturally followed mum and dad into the new Socialist Party of Australia (SPA), which continued to toe the lame Russian line of support for 'the just national rights of both the Jews and Palestinian Arab people living in Israel'. And after the Israeli seizure of the remaining 22% of Palestine in 1967, neither the Soviet Union nor the SPA contested Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, sticking only to a call for the Israelis to vacate the occupied Palestinian territories in line with United Nations resolution 242.

Hardly a source of inspiration for an embrace of the BDS campaign over 40 years late, I would've thought. Which effectively demolishes Kerr's Murdoch party line that support for BDS is in Rhiannon's alleged Stalinist DNA.

But don't take my word for it. Check out Craig Johnston's The Communist Party of Australia & the Palestinian Revolution, 1967-1976, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, November, 1979 (

Stay tuned for Get Rhiannon! 2.

[* See his comment on my 21/9/09 post Israeli Apartheid: The Jury's In.]

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