"Jewish leaders are preparing to fight the [Federal] government's plans to weaken race hate laws, saying they could encourage persecution and racially-motivated violence." (Jewish concern at plan to change hate laws, Jonathan Swan, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/11/13)
Hm... persecution and racially-motivated violence.
Presumably, these guys are concerned about anti-Semitism, right? Jews coming under attack because they're Jews.
But read on and you find it's not that simple:
"Mr Wertheim [the executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)]* has warned that the 'wholesale repeal' of sections of the [Racial Discrimination] act would not only prevent vilified groups from defending their reputations legally, but would also encourage more sinister forms of hate speech. 'It would... open the door to importation into Australia of the hatreds and violence of overseas conflicts'..." (ibid)
So that's it: what they're really worried about is the spillover effect of overseas conflicts, specifically, the spillover effect of the Middle East conflict on the community they purport to lead.
The trouble is, and the average reader is unlikely to pick this up from such a report, Wertheim and other Jewish leaders also act as lobbyists/apologists for Israel. In that capacity, they emerge as partisans in the very conflict they fear could affect the well-being of Jews here in Australia.
As political Zionists, of course, they routinely conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, which is to say anti-Israelism. For them, criticism of Israel, its ideology and practice, is either anti-Semitism pure and simple, or verging on anti-Semitism, or crossing the line into anti-Semitism, the circumlocutions for smearing a critic of Israel as an anti-Semite being many and varied.
Unfortunately, this is where the matter becomes problematic for the community they supposedly represent - as veteran British journalist and author Alan Hart so lucidly points out:
"In my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the answer to the question of what Zionism would do in the event of mission failure was given to me by Golda Meir in one of my interviews with her for the BBC's flagship Panorama programme. She said that in the event of a doomsday situation, Israel 'would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.'
"The Jewish paradox comes down to this. Israel was created by Zionism to guarantee the well-being and existence of the Jews, but that well-being and perhaps even existence is most seriously threatened by Zionism's policies and actions.
"How can that possibly be true?
"What we are witnessing today is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism. It is NOT a manifestation of anti-Semitism, meaning that it's not being driven by prejudice against or loathing and even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews. Anti-Israelism is being provoked by Israel's arrogance of power, its sickening self-righteousness and its contempt for international law in general and the rights of Palestinians in particular.
"The danger for Jews everywhere is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into rampant and rabid anti-Semitism. The most explicit warning that this could happen was given by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel's longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel's Fateful Hour, published in English in 1988, he wrote this (my emphasis added):
'Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world'." (The Jewish paradox arising from the curse of Zionism, Alan Hart, sabbah.biz, 11/5/13)
(The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, who is behind the push to remove those sections of the RDA that make it an offence to offend another person on grounds of race or ethnicity, has the interests of the right-wing commentariat, particularly Andrew Bolt, very much at heart. At the same time, however, Brandis has been rambammed (2009 & 2010) and has form in raising the concerns of the Israel lobby in the Senate. (See my 29/5/09 post Her Brilliant Career.) The question arises: can he please both interest groups with his new legislation? Watch this space...)
[*For a critique of the role of ECAJ and other Zionist lobby groups from within the Jewish community, see my 20/6/13 post Join the Dots...]