"My experience of extremists in Australia's Israel lobby summed up in two words: attempted bullying." - Bob Carr tweet, 21/7/18
"Former foreign minister turned political memoirist Gareth Evans has threatened to boycott the Brisbane Writers Festival after organisers decided to remove Bob Carr and Germaine Greer from the program. Mr Evans, who was due to speak about his new book, Incorrigible Optimist, at the festival... said he was 'gob-smacked' by the move. 'This a fundamental freedom-of-speech issue,' he told The Australian. 'I haven't decided yet whether to withdraw from the festival or to take part and tell them, on stage, in no uncertain terms, how stupid it is'." (Evans threatens writers festival boycott to back Carr, Greer, Stephen Romei, The Australian, 26/7/18)
"He said he would wait for a full response from BWF acting chief executive Ann McLean. In a detailed letter to her yesterday, he said the ban on Mr Carr and Dr Greer was 'utterly unworthy of any literary festival that wants to be taken seriously. What on earth can you guys be thinking? Have you even begun to think about the reputational damage this will do, here and internationally, to your festival and your capacity to attract participants in the future? Please think again'."
The answers to those questions is: OBVIOUSLY NOT.
"In response, Dr McLean said the festival decided in early June not to proceed with Mr Carr due to 'the need to provide engaging choices for our audience'."
What bullshit this is!
"Earlier, she told The Australian Mr Carr would 'just talk about his book' rather than the selected topic, 'What the World Needs Now'."
OFFS! You're kidding me!
"Dr McLean acknowledged there were concerns the media interest in Dr Greer and Mr Carr would 'overshadow' other writers at the festival."
By which she means, in fluent schmaltz: What the world needs now is love, sweet love... lalalalala...
"Their 'controversial' nature was also a concern."
At last we're getting to the NUB of the matter!
"Mr Carr's new book, the political memoir Run for Your Life, includes his thoughts on the US, China and the Israel lobby."
"In a letter to MUP (Melbourne University Publishing), Dr McLean noted BWF had to consider the 'brand alignment of several sponsors we are securing for the festival'. In response, Mr Evans outlined six questions he would like answered, including: 'Are you able to say which sponsors you had in mind, and precisely how you - or they - saw Carr as affecting their 'brand alignment'? Did it have anything to do with his well-known positions on Palestine-Israel and China?'"
You've nailed it, Gareth!