Monday, July 28, 2014

Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel

The cynical partisan appointment last year, by former NSW Premier Baruch (Jerusalem Prize) O'Farrell, of Israel lobbyist Vic Alhadeff to the chair of the NSW Community Relations Commission  was never going to work, given that one cannot credibly advocate for multiculturalism in NSW while publicly advocating for the exact opposite in occupied (River to Sea) Palestine

In fact, it is a mystery why Sydney's Arab/Muslim community - or anyone else in the know for that matter - waited until the latest Israeli rampage in Gaza before actively protesting the appointment and/or boycotting the appointee.

New Matilda's Chris Graham covers the resignation of NSW Community Relations Commissioner/NSW Jewish Board of Deputies supremo better than most:

"The Chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission has finally resigned, after supporting the Israeli assault on Gaza. Vic Alhadeff's job as the Chairman of the government-appointed Community Relations Commission was to promote harmony in New South Wales between different ethnic groups.

"He sure had a funny way of going about it. Two weeks ago, Alhadeff, in his other capacity as chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, sent an inflammatory pro-Israel email to Australia's Jewish community, just as the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza began to gather pace. At the time, the death toll in Israel's latest assault on Gaza was nearing 200. All of the dead were Palestinians. None of them were Israelis. Without a hint of irony, Alhadeff accused Hamas of 'violating international law and engaging in war crimes as its militants launch rockets indiscriminately at civilians from civilian areas. Israel has made it clear that it is not interested in further escalation, but will do whatever is needed to defend its citizens. All options are on the table.'

"That 'disinterest in further escalation', and 'those options' apparently included wholesale slaughter - Israel has leveled large sections of Gaza, and targeted civilian infrastructure including hospitals and schools.

"Today, Vic Alhadeff finally resigned his position as Chair of the Community Relations Commission after NSW Premier Mike Baird refused to stand him down... And it came after a boycott by Muslim leaders of a dinner staged on Thursday night by Premier Baird to mark Ramadan.

"In a written statement issued this afternoon, Alhadeff - ever mindful of community harmony - pointed the finger of blame at others by noting that 'the reaction from some' to his email 'has become a distraction to the work of the CRC and the role of the chair. It is with considerable regret that I have decided to resign from my position... I have chosen to do so in the interests of the CRC and its important work in fostering social harmony within our society. It is clear that a briefing paper issued under my name inadvertently caused offence to some, and this is greatly regretted. While this was unintended... the reaction of some has become a distraction to the work of the CRC and the role of the chair'...

"NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge welcomed the resignation, but noted Alhadeff should never have been appointed to the position in the first place... 'Given his deeply partisan approach to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, he should never have been considered a viable candidate'." (27/7/14)

The Sydney Morning Herald's editorial of 26/7/14 is also of interest here. The editorial declared Alhadeff's position to be "virtually untenable," and spoke of him "betraying the sensitivity of his role as CRC chairman."  (Alhadeff & Baird should do right thing over Gaza row)

The editorial continued: "Mr Baird should have demanded an unreserved apology and received one. He did neither. Instead, the Premier said the CRC chairman 'had his full confidence' after Mr Alhadeff apologised for any umbrage his comments might have caused. Notably, he did not resile from his views, nor accept blame for airing them in his important role. Mr Alhadeff's was a poor example of caveated contrition. The timing was particularly poor too. The apology came after Muslim groups threatened to boycott an iftar dinner at NSW Parliament House hosted by Mr Baird to mark the breaking of the fast in the holy Muslim month [sic] of Ramadan. Mr Alhadeff attended, along with many of the Premier's supporters, but those who refused to attend included the Lebanese Muslim Association, the National Imams Council, the Arab Council, Muslim Women's association, some Muslim councillors and the first Muslim MP in NSW, Shaoquett Moselmane."


Anonymous said...

@Instead, the Premier said the CRC chairman 'had his full confidence'

Bairds of a feather flock together!

Anonymous said...

"All options are on the table". This is a very dangerous threat from a nuclear state.

Anonymous said...

"Multicultural leader caught in Gaza crossfire..." hold your breath! It's Victoria now.

Anonymous said...

The Alhadeff affair exposes a gaping gulf between the interests of the Australian Israel lobby (presumably mostly Dual Australian/Israel citizens) and the (rest of) Australia's loyal citizens.
Alhadeff quite openly , & during the currency of his official role in NSW , breached the Australian trust placed in him , by favouring the interests of the foreign state of Israel .
He was caught & dealt with , only because he had the gall to act publically - understandably confident that he would get away with it .
He was obviously quite comfortable with sponsoring the interests of Israel over that of NSW & Australia .
I wonder whether he has ever been tempted - given in to that temptation - to favour Israel over Australia , privately , in secretly .
We shall never know .
I suggest that this is perfectly valid & reasonable comment .