Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why I Can't Get Too Excited Over Section 18C

This post was prompted by the report in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald - Jewish community opposes changes to 18C racial vilification laws. Inevitably, the headlined term 'Jewish community' reduces in the text to "the largest Jewish peak body in Australia," specifically, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

As far as the ECAJ (or those who take it seriously, whether Jew or Gentile) is concerned, the 4 nasties cited in Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, namely 'offending, insulting, humiliating and intimidating', represent more than just racist abuse requiring exposure and condemnation but are the first flickering signs of a potential pogrom or worse. As ECAJ's submission on the subject of 18C is reported to have put it: "Acts of violence begin with words."

Now if the ECAJ were merely just a "Jewish peak body," as Fairfax journalist Sarah Whyte terms it, I might be inclined to take its opposition to Senator Brandis' proposed removal of Section 18C from the Act seriously.

The problem I have, however, is that the ECAJ is also a Zionist organisation, that is a supporter of a Jewish state in Palestine with all that that entails for the dire fate of Palestine's indigenous non-Jewish population. In the words of the Council's constitution, one of its three objects is "To support and strengthen the connection of Australian Jewry with the State of Israel." (3.1(c))

Would that all the Palestinian people had to put up with were the 4 nasties of Section 18C. Or your common and garden bigots. Or the likes of Andrew Bolt.

But no, they've been under 24/7 assault by Israel's 4 nasties - colonization, dispossession, expulsion and occupation - since 1917. Any wonder why I can't get too excited over "Jewish community" objections to the removal of 18C?

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