Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton witing in today's edition:
"As I predicted, the abusive emails and tweets have been thundering in all week, hundreds of them. The Israel lobby - or as I prefer it, the Likud lobby - rose in fury at last week's column about Israel's war crimes against civilians in Gaza.
"I lost count of the number of times I was called a Nazi. A man named Ziggy even did it in German: 'Die Nazi-Obst fallt nicht weit vom Stamm,' he sneered. 'The Nazi fruit does not fall far from the tree.'
"Ho hum. More disturbing was a broad streak of racism and bigotry every bit as vicious as the anti-Semitism some of these people claimed to find behind every rock.
"Unsurprisingly, a lot of this filth came from 30-somethings, keyboard warriors whose smartly coiffed heads beamed out from Facebook pages and Linkedin profiles. They showed a slender talent for undergraduate insult, although no evident enthusiasm for actually donning an Israeli army uniform and risking their comfortably upholstered lives to take part in the terrible conflict that has seen so many needless deaths - including, heartbreakingly, those Benjamin Netanyahu so elegantly described the other day as the 'telegenic corpses' of Palestinian children.
"To point out the bleedin' obvious yet again, it is not anti-Semitic to criticise Netanyahu or Israel, any more than it is un-Australian to have a go at Tony Abbott. It is a co-ordinated campaign to smear, to bully, and to browbeat the critics into silence. One bizarre slander doing the internet rounds, put out by an eastern suburbs travel agent, is that 'Carlton's business is bankrolled by the Obeids'. I kid you not.
"Some more civil Jews did try to reason. They showered me with documents, videos, photographs. Their arguments were mostly bog standard Hasbara, the Hebrew word for information, although better thought of as Orwellian Newspeak. This stuff is carefully crafted and widely disseminated so everyone is on message.
"Two lines were repeated over and over again: 'We gave them Gaza; they gave us rockets. Israel takes every care to avoid unnecessary casualties, but Hamas is using children and civilians as human shields.'
"In fact, Israel turned Gaza into the world's largest prison, a sink of misery under siege for the past 7 years. And the human shield has been a Hasbara staple since the 1970s, when Israel's fourth prime minister, Golda Meir, supposedly told Egypt's Anwar Sadat that 'we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children'.
"Happily, the vitriol was far outweighed by hundreds of supportive emails. Fair-minded Australians are disturbed by the murder of children and the widespread carnage. Quite a few were from Muslims, but not one was anti-Semitic. I was grateful for them, and even more for brave and often poignant letters from Jews aghast at the horrors of Gaza." (Clover Moore's worm offers a touch of whimsy in another brutal week)
The above was again accompanied by another wonderful cartoon by Glen Le Lievre, showing a sombre group of Sydneysiders standing outside a TV shop window, their attention riveted by those aforementioned horrors of Gaza, broadcast on a large, flat screen TV inside. A gesticulating Clover Moore, off to one side, can be seen vainly trying to divert them with the city's latest $9m display of outdoor sculpture.
Hang in there, guys!
See also Carlton's 2010 column, A Ferocious Beast, posted on MERC on 12/6/10.