Monday, November 4, 2013

More Hounding of Jake Lynch 3

November 2, Day 4 of The Australian's attack on Professor Jake Lynch, finally saw the sound and fury move from the front page into the paper's equally arid interior, probably because the attack's principal spear-carrier this time around, Ean - with an E - Higgins, was getting too little joy from Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who "condemned the BDS campaign against Israel, but backed down on a Coalition promise to cut funds to academics who promoted it." (Coalition backs off on BDS)

That "promise," of course, had come from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. However, "[i]n response to questions from The Weekend Australian, Mr Pyne... declined to say he would uphold the categoric policy enunciated by Ms Bishop..." (ibid)

Higgin's fizzer notwithstanding, one of the paper's bigger guns, associate editor Cameron Stewart (rambammed: 2005), was wheeled out to blaze away at the BDS campaign in an opinion piece, which oddly never even got around to mentioning Professor Lynch. Stewart's aim was simply to smear the campaign, in the usual fashion, as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Much of it consisted of a recycling of the nonsense trotted out on Day 1 of the current attack.

First, there was that convenient springboard, the "violent assault on a Jewish family at Bondi... last weekend." This obviously random attack, by a group of Islander youths, although typical of countless other unprovoked, alcohol-fueled, Saturday night bashings of people of every stripe by thugs of every stripe in Sydney, allegedly had "[t]he Jewish community on tenterhooks," and, according to Cameron, became the occasion for an outpouring of support for the community by religious (including Muslim), ethnic, and sporting groups, and federal and state politicians such as Turnbull, Danby, and O'Farrell.

Juxtaposing an alleged "deep unease" in the Australian Jewish Community with a bald assertion that "anti-Semitic acts are on the rise overseas," Stewart then cited "an anti-Israel protest in Denver, Colorado, as well as demonstrations in France and Belgium" as evidence of the latter. Thus is the dross of a vicious and deplorable, but not particularly unusual, assault, having bugger all to do with genuine anti-Semitism, let alone Palestine/Israel, transmuted by the Murdoch press into yet another manifestation of a supposed rising tide of anti-Semitism, of which anti-Israel protests are, of course, merely the current manifestation.

So let's pause and take a closer look at the "anti-Israel" protest in Denver. Here's The Times of Israel account: "Advertisements accusing Israel of 'ethnic cleansing' appeared on Denver-area buses while the Jewish National Fund held its annual conference in the city. The ads, which include the slogan 'Want Peace? Stop ethnic cleansing in Palestine', were sponsored by the website and the Colarado BDS Campaign... Colorado BDS held what it called a 'counter-conference'... to coincide with the JNF session. It included plans for protests outside the Governor's mansion and the JNF conference..." (Denver buses carry anti-Israel ads during JNF conference, 29/10/13)

Photos of the protest at another website show people, including anti-Zionist religious Jews, holding placards reading: Jewish National Fund: Racist; JNF: Violation of Judaism & Godly compassion; Judaism Condemns the State of 'Israel' And its Atrocities.

Enough said.

Interestingly, even Stewart felt compelled to play down the hysteria being whipped up by his own paper over the incident at Bondi: "A closer examination... suggests it was almost certainly a random attack..." This statement of the bleeding obvious, however, was not going to deter him from his work of smearing criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism: "... but it has served to cast a spotlight on anti-Semitism in Australia as some anti-Israel fringe groups are blurring the boundaries between race and politics." The sly implication here, of course, is that anyone who criticises Israel is a demented fringe-dweller who just can't help crossing over to the Dark Side at times.

That other hyped 'incident' of Day 1, involving a pair of UNSW student buffoons and your stereotypical 'offended' Jewish student - "Today I had the worst experience of anti-Semitism in my life" - was again trotted out, and reflected on at length by a "child survivor of the Holocaust and an expert on trauma," called upon by Stewart to dilate on the nature of such 'suffering': "It's like their nightmares coming true again."

Amusingly, in stressing Australia's "relatively easy assimilation of Jews into all aspects of Australian society," Stewart must unwittingly have offended the usual suspects by citing as an example of Jewish success in Australia onetime (1931-36) governor-general Sir Isaac Isaacs, who was firmly of the view that political Zionism "is founded on principles that bear a striking resemblance to the slanderous doctrines that Hitler put forward in justifying Anti-Semitism" and "detracts from the noble principles of our religion." And how right he was when he predicted that the Zionist project in Palestine "would deny equal rights of citizenship to Arabs and others, and would imperil the security of the Holy Places of other faiths." (Isaac Isaacs, Zelman Cowan, 1967, p 234)

Finally, there was the usual spray of letters, falsely conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Too wearisome to repeat, I'll leave you with the shorter of the two more clear-thinking efforts (the other was by Greens senator Lee Rhiannon):

"George Fishman (Letters 1/11) goes much too far saying 'supporters of the BDS are a mask for hatred of Jews.' The fact is there are many people like me who want to see Israel treat Palestinians in a humane and just way. Supporting the BDS is one small way of protesting against Israel, not the Jewish population." Judy White, Rose Bay, NSW

Judy must be one of Cameron Stewart's fringe-dwellers.

PS: Response (4/11/13) from Daniel Lewis, Rushcutters Bay, NSW: "While I'm sure Judy White would never identify with anti-Semites, there is a simple test. Besides Israel, who else are you boycotting? Syria has killed more Palestinians in the past year than Israel. Hamas killed more Palestinians in 2008 than Israel did. Jordan killed more Palestinians in a single week than Israel did in the following 50 years..." So says Daniel Lewis, but here's a question for him: What were those Palestinians doing in Syria, the Gaza Strip and Jordan in the first place?


Anonymous said...

You'd be a lot more persuasive if you'd acknowledge that the anti-Semitic attack in Bondi was in fact an anti-Semitic attack. The fact that you can't recognize that suggests that despite protestations you are in fact prejudiced against Jews.

MERC said...

Nice try! If the fact that the victims were wearing skull caps and the attackers used the term 'dirty Jew' is sufficient evidence (and yes, I know these are merely allegations at present) to describe this as an anti-Semitic attack, then yes, it was an anti-Semitic attack. However, were the victims targeted because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak, like countless others, or because they were identifiably Jews? IOW, were Jews as such being singled out for attack? The answer, on the evidence so far presented, appears to be no.