Friday, March 6, 2015

Deconstructing Q&A's 'Anti-Semitism' Segment 3

Finally, I'll focus on the contributions of the final three Q&A panelists: Jamila Rizvi, Editor-in-chief, Mamamia; Andrew Leigh, Labor MP; and Trisha Jha, Centre for Independent Studies.

Unfortunately, none of them engaged with the point raised by Miriam Margolyes - the role of Israel in driving attacks on Jews in Europe.

I'll spare you, therefore, the full transcript and merely paraphrase their not terribly enlightening comments:

Tony Jones: Jamila, I will just get you to reflect on the question asked at the beginning about the Ride With Me campaign and asked the question would anyone ride with religious Jews if they went in religious clothing into parts of Sydney.

Jamila Rizvi (taking Gordon's question at face value): It's all about the media. The media jumped on that story and ran with it. It was a 'good news' story. "I think the anti-Semitic attacks, which have been on the rise in Australia, have gotten less press because there is [sic] less stories to associate them with in the broader press."

Jamila must've been out to lunch when the Australian media went bananas over the boofheads-on-the-bus incident in Sydney in August last year.

Finally, just don't read those nasty comments on the internet!

Jamila, Jamila, you just don't get it. Where would Australia's Israel lobbyists be without them?

Tony Jones: Trisha, I'll bring you in, and, I guess, amid all the optimism, we probably should reflect on the fact that the same country that did those good things you're [Andrew Leigh] talking about also produced the Cronulla riots.

Trisha Jha: Cronulla? 'Not a good example of multicultural Australia.' The kind of fear that Erin was discussing, the kind of fear that I know Jamila has felt, and the kind of fear I have felt, is something Australia needs to work on a bit.

Well, yes. But I'd be most surprised if Erin Gordon's ever experienced such 'fear'. The trouble is that no one on the panel bothered to ask her.

Finally, Labor's Andrew Leigh was a great disappointment,* engaging in an incredibly long-winded homily on how good Australians really are deep down. The quip about talking under wet cement came to mind.

Happily, however, Miriam Margolyes had the last - highly relevant - word (which, with minor omissions, I reproduce here in full):  

I would like to say Jews in Australia have made a huge contribution... But I would like to see [them] make an attempt to influence the government of Israel not to bomb hospitals and children in Palestine and innocent people. If Australians saw that not all Jews behave in the way the Israelis do, maybe there wouldn't be this anti-Semitism. And let's make it absolutely clear: anti-Semitism is a rotten thing, an ignorant, stupid, horrible thing, as is anti-Muslim feeling. They have to be together.

[* In 2012, in defiance of PM Gillard, Leigh had drafted a motion to recognise Palestine as a non-member state observer at the UN - see my 1/12/12 post While You Weren't Looking.]

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