Slashing and burning NSW is damn hard yakka. So our state politicians need to unwind, right? And what better way to unwind than a mass junket to the Land of Heart's Desire:
"NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell announced that a NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel delegation will visit Israel in January when he spoke at the community's official Yom Ha'atzmaut cocktail function last Thursday night. 'I know there's much to learn from each other and that's why I want to reiterate how much I want to continue to develop our friendship, trade and investment relationships,' O'Farrell said." (Parliamentarians to visit Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 8/6/12)
Now given that the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel is the largest political faction in the NSW Parliament, bringing together parties great and small, the obvious question is just how mass this mass junket is going to be? After all, 60 state pollies turned up for its inaugural meeting.*
Well, let's assume, for argument's sake, that it's not going to be a mega affair, that it'll be basically the (hard)core members, by which I mean the steering committee of 14. Now one of these, incredibly, is Jeremy Buckingham of The Greens.**
So if Jeremy Buckingham tags along with the other members of the committee (Upton, Clarke, Perrottet, O'Dea, McDonald, Harwin, Ward (LIB); Pavey (NATS); Secord, Roozendaal, Foley, Park (LAB); Nile (CD)), or even as part of a larger contingent, that'll mark a further crossing of the Rubicon for him, the first being his membership of the committee.
Yes, Buckingham could well be the first Greens politician to be rambammed! Talk about a coming of age.
But O'Farrell's announcement of the coming pilgrimage wasn't the only glad tidings he had in store for his Zionist audience on May 31. There was this:
"The Premier also announced that a parliamentary committee will be established to examine how the government can strengthen racial vilification laws in NSW." (ibid)
Now that puts the speculation about Buckingham in the shade, I'd say. What exactly is going on in this department? Has NSW become such a hotbed of anti-Semitism that Australia's Jewish community is afraid to venture out of doors for fear of being subjected to anti-Semitic abuse? With Australia's extreme right waving Israeli flags outside Max Brenner outlets, one would hardly think so.
No, it looks more likely that moves are afoot to criminalise the principled espousal of anti-Zionism (or even mere criticism of Israel) as anti-Semitism.
Will said committee be recommending, for example, that "singling out Israel for selective condemnation and opprobrium" be declared a hanging offence (because this is supposedly "discriminatory and hateful")? Will drawing attention to the apartheid state's apartheid character and practices be declared illegal? To see where O'Farrell's little committee may be heading here, check out the situation in Canada in my 24/7/11 post Criminalising Criticism of Israel.
And as to what may be driving O'Farrell, one need only note his words as the cocktail glasses were raised in a toast to the Zionist entity on the occasion of its 64th birthday:
"The bonds between my government and the Jewish community have great substance, extending beyond friendship to a meaningful relationship, recognising and deeply understanding the needs and aspirations of the Jewish community." (ibid)
Ah yes, the needs and aspirations of the Jewish community... as articulated by whom?
Watch this space!
[*See my 21/9/11 post Witches Brew 2; **See my 25/2/12 post Jeremy Buckingham Crosses the Rubicon. Related post: Criminalising BDS (9/8/11)]