Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who Am I to Demur?

Chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and NSW Human Rights Award judging panelist, Vic Alhadeff (said panel having just been chosen by no less a luminary than NSW Premier Baruch O'Farrell*) had an opinion piece in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald.

Now in case you missed it, here are the opening lines:

"I'm a Seinfeld aficionado. I've watched every episode a ridiculous number of times, yet still find the humour brilliant. But then there's 'The Soup Nazi' - an episode about a surly delicatessen owner who refuses to serve customers who flout his excessive rules of decorum. It's witty and well scripted, but it commits a cardinal offence: it trivialises the meaning of what a Nazi is, and in doing so degrades the language associated with those who devised, planned and perpetrated the most grotesque genocide in history." (Don't call me a Nazi-Nazi: trivialising a word sends the wrong message about a genocidal regime, 17/5/13)

Got the idea?

Of course, Alhadeff has no such problem with the trivialisation of the word 'anti-Semitic', which once meant simply 'hatred of Jews as Jews', but is now routinely deployed by Zionist propagandists to blunt and deflect perfectly justified criticism of apartheid Israel and its ruling Zionist ideology. Nor, for that matter, did he have any problem, as far as we know, with the BDS movement being smeared as quasi-Nazi during the BDS 'debate' in the NSW Legislative Council in September 2011, despite being present in the visitors gallery throughout. (See my Witches Brew series from 17/9/11 to 17/12/11.)

Be that as it may, I was later reminded of Alhadeff's opinion piece when reading a review by Jordan Mainzer of the new Israeli film The Gatekeepers, which features the reflections of 6 former heads of Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet.

In his review, Mainzer quoted Avraham Shalom, head of the Shin Bet from 1981-1986, saying that "the Israeli occupation of Palestine is a 'brutal force, similar to the Germans in World War II'." (Is occupation sustainable? Thoughts on Dror Moreh's 'The Gatekeepers',, 25/3/13)

My first reaction was: Sort of leaves Seinfeld's 'Soup Nazi' in the shade, doesn't it?

But then, on further reflection, I began to have doubts. After all, I thought, what would a former head of Shin Bet know about the Israeli occupation of Palestine? I mean, if the Sydney Morning Herald's opinion editor, in his/her infinite wisdom, thinks that Alhadeff on Nazis is good enough for its readership, and if Baruch O'Farrell, in his infinite wisdom, thinks Alhadeff's the right man to size up contenders for a prestigious human rights award, who am I to demur?

[*See my 9/5/13 post Barry to Baruch in 60 Seconds.]

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