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Are The Greens Kosher?

July 29, 2010 – 12:04 pm86 Comments

By Arielle Perlow and Ittay Flescher

The Rabbis of the Talmud teach us there are 70 faces to the Torah. Is it possible that one of them is green? Many Jews in Australia believe in the progressive ideas put forward by the Greens, but don’t vote for them as there is a perception that Greens policies are too radical and anti-Israel, or that they are a single issue party. After the 21st of August, the Greens will most likely hold the balance of power in the Senate, giving them the ability to amend each piece of legislation approved by the House. In the absence of any compelling vision for Australia coming from the two biggest parties, we decided to research several of the Green’s policy positions that may be of interest to members of the Jewish Community, in order to help us decide whether Greens really are ‘good for the Jews.’

Asylum Seekers: One does not need to be Jewish to realise that the policy of the last two governments towards asylum seekers has been more cruel than humane, but it does help. Our experience of being strangers in strange lands, of crossing borders illegally to save our lives, make many in the community resonate with the plight of refugees who seek the safety and security of Australia.

The Labor Party shamefully decided to suspend asylum applications from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in April, despite evidence that these are still very unsafe countries for Hazara Afghans and Sri Lankan Tamils, who constitute the majority of the people who seek asylum in this great country. Labor’s policy will not reduce the number of boats in the long run. Furthermore, having our detention centres filled to capacity due to the non-processing of these applicants in their hour of need should not be one of the goals of our society.

The Liberal Party’s policy is even worse. They advocate the return of Temporary Protection Visas that leave refugees in limbo for years, as well as sending people to remote islands like Nauru (who are not signatories to the UN Refugee convention) where there is no interaction with the local community. They also want the Navy to turn around boats at sea. I guess they forgot what happened to the StrumaExodus and SIEV X.

The Greens’ policy on this issue calls for the end of mandatory detention and offshore processing immediately. They also call for increasing the number of places for off-shore refugees and humanitarian entrants and the housing of asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa in publicly owned and managed open reception centres.  In addition to this saving taxpayers an enormous sum of money (it costs $1,830 per detainee per day to keep someone on Christmas Island, compared to $238 per detainee per day in Villawood, Sydney), the Greens advocate these polices because they believe that the presence in Australia of people of many cultural backgrounds greatly enriches our society. They also believe that Australian society, culture, and the economy has benefited, and will continue to benefit, from immigration of people from around the world.

Finally, the Greens are the only party whose policy statement in this issue avoids using misleading words to such as ‘border protection,’ ‘illegal immigrant’ ‘queue jumpers’ or Abbott’s ‘peaceful invaders.’ The Greens state unequivocally that “Asylum seekers and refugees are no more of a threat to our borders or to our society than anyone else and must be treated with compassion and dignity.”


Despite the fact that the position of the Australian government on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is unlikely to have significant ramifications on the lives of people there, many Jews feel strongly that they want their government to hold views in line with their own on this issue. The myths spread about the Greens that they support the BDS campaign or seek to delegitimise Israel are not true. As progressive Zionists, we have looked closely at the Greens’ policies and have found them to be almost identical to the dovish pro-Israel lobby group J-Street.

For example, both J Street and the Greens recognise Israel’s right to exist and the need for a two state solution. Both J Street and the Greens recognise that attacks on Israeli civilians are wrong and inexcusable, and see settlements as standing in the way of achieving peace. While the Greens’ approach is perhaps equivalent to left wing Israeli political parties, it must be kept in mind that the Greens are not an Israeli political party. Their primary goal is influencing Australian policies.

Furthermore, one of the biggest problems Zionist Jews often have with human rights organisations’ approaches to Israel is not so much the content itself but their apparent fixation on Israel to the detriment of other legitimate causes. Put simply, Jews feel that they are unfairly being singled out. The Greens cannot be accused of doing this. They have a record for speaking out against atrocities committed (human and otherwise) worldwide. In fact, in its page of policy on international relations,  the Greens present a viewpoint on Iraq, East Timor, West Papua, in addition to Israel. Indeed, on Bob Brown’s website, the side bar mentions Tibet but not Israel. This means that by voting for the Greens, your vote would not go to a party which is obsessed with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but rather it would go to raising awareness of and tackling important international human rights issues that are not addressed by the other major parties.

Sustainable Economy:

Judaism has always held strong the idea of striving to build an economy that respects the Earth and operates within physical ecological limits. Indeed, the Torah mandates that the land should lay fallow every seventh year (Exodus 23:10-11) and that fruit trees may not be cut down to be used to lay siege (Deuteronomy 20:19). Judaism also supports the idea that the community should take care of those in need and holds dear the practice of tzedakah. Both the Greens and Judaism find these two principles of supporting fellow man and the Earth to be inseparable.

The Greens believe that the Australian economy must embrace ecological sustainability and incorporate these principles into all levels of planning, infrastructure and government. They also believe that environmental practices are economically sustainable and argue that their policies on carbon taxation will save Australia $2 billion. These values are coupled with the idea that the rights of workers should be upheld. This includes fair and equitable remuneration for labour regardless of gender, ethnicity or marital status. That is, a strong, fair and accessible industrial relations system. Through these policies and measures, the Greens truly support the kind of sustainable economy that Jews can be proud of. In the words of Isaiah, “Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

Climate Change:

In 2007, Kevin Rudd commissioned Ross Garnaut to examine the impacts of Climate change on the Australian economy. Garnaut’s climate change review panel recommended that Australia push internationally for carbon dioxide equivalent concentrations of 450 ppm, which would commit Australia to reductions of 25% on 2000 levels by 2020, and 90% by 2050. More recent climate science shows that much deeper cuts are needed to avoid catastrophic climate disruption. Most importantly, the Garnaut Review concluded that acting on the climate crisis early was better for the Australian economy than delaying action.

The Labor government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) aimed to reduce emissions by  5%, well short of the recommended target. The Greens did not support the ETS because it would have given $24 billion to the biggest polluters with any emissions reductions being done off shore through the sale of dubious offsets. Whilst there are those who argue that something would have been better than nothing, passing the ETS would have meant Australia would not seriously be investing in proven technologies that can reduce climate change now. Rather, it would have meant transferring to foreign countries the economic prosperity, the technological breakthroughs, and the export opportunities derived from tackling climate change.  Furthermore, there would have been no domestic reduction in carbon emissions.

In regards to the Liberal Party’s policy on climate change, one need look no further than Tony Abbott who said in 2009, “The argument is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.” At least Abbott believes the world isn’t flat.

The Greens’ target on climate change is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as is feasible and by no later than 2050 with a minimum of 40% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020. They plan to do this through making sure future energy needs are met by using sustainable, renewable energy sources. This will result in the creation of thousands of new green jobs in business and manufacturing.


We now return to answer the question posed earlier, whether the Greens are ‘good for the Jews.’ Through their policies directed to the environment and climate change, we see that the Greens uphold the Biblical notions of valuing the Earth and respecting that which sustains us. Through their policies on asylum seekers and their stance on non-violent resolution of the crisis in the Middle East, they place a high value on humanity and respect for the Biblical refrain of “loving the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:19). Most importantly, the Greens ask both the voters and the government to care and be involved, fulfilling the ethics of our fathers when they say “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.”

Ittay Flescher is a Jewish Educator in Melbourne and Arielle  Perlowis a student at Monash University. Neither of them are affiliated in any way to the Australian Greens Party.

This article is part of a series Galus Australis is running for the election.  We plan to publish articles by supporters of the other major political parties.  Please contact us if you are interested in contributing.

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  • ariel says:

    Of course Judaism is very in tune with what can be called “practical Environmentalism”, i.e. finding the balance between looking after the planet and providing for humanities needs.

    Unfortunately, your research on The Greens is incomplete. You have failed to site the most important aspect of policy. That is, what they DON’T say.

    A) The Greens support an almost “open borders” policy as you describe. In contrast, they also want a debate on introducing to Australia a one-child policy, like China (you won’t find this on their website). So, do we want more people living here or less?

    They clearly contradict themselves here.

    B) Whilst the old-school greenies like Bob Brown and Ian Cohen are focused primarily on the environment, this breed is dying out. The younger generation (and not so young, e.g. Lee Rhiannon) are – frankly – watermelons, i.e. green on the outside and red on the inside.

    Like most political extremists, they spend their lives protesting against corruption and largesse…until they get a position of power:

    Anyone who witnessed Senator Chrstine Milne’s performance on ABC’s Q&A programme on Monday 26/7 would be aware that the Greens are dangerous for Australia. In fact most of the tweets coming into the show stated that they would never vote Green again…

    Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us this planet to look after, but to also provide for our needs.
    Any carbon trading system is garbage. Any market invovled in trading intangibles is bound to lead to corruption and only make more wealth for the big polluters.
    Secondly, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it’s what florae and faunae live on.
    The most Jewish approach is actually that of the Liberals: plant more trees.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Congrats to Galus for running this series.
    one comment I would make – holding the balance of power in the Senate is not quite about the ability to amend legisation. It really only gives power to stop legislation being passed and while the party holding the balance of power might propose amendments which would make it aceptable to it in order to approve the legislation, the amendments still can’t be passed without majority support. Where a third party holds the balance of power it’s really just a check on the power of the major parties – I think generally good for the democratic process. (Having said that, I’m not suggesting there’s anything sensible about voting for a party in either house, if you don’t agree with its policies) .

  • Jdoc says:

    Interesting. I looked at the greens website this week, because as a doctor I am convinced that climate change and the environment is the number one issue in terms of our survival in the world today, and we will certainly start to see it’s irreversible effects within our lifetimes. The greens mention environmental refugees, this will certainly become a reality as lack of water, “freak” natural events & lack of food become a reality. However, my overwhelming concern with the greens is their Israel policy which I believe you have not explored properly. They actually have an Israel statement on their website from 2006, which I find unacceptable, especially as there is no mention of Hamas ( or no update in mention where they stand re Hamas in the current day conflict), and are v vague about a number of other key issues ( eg no mention of Jerusalem)
    Have the authors read this policy statement?
    So no one for me to vote for in this next election!

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Mandi,
    If the polls are correct the greens should pick up one Victorian seat in the senate from family first after august 21. If this happens, then whichever party wins will need to negotiate with the greens to pass their ETS/CPRS/Action Plan or whatever they call it at that point. For my part, I would much rather the larger parties discussing amendments to their bill with a party whose view reflects the consensus position in the scientific community on climate change(greens) than one who pretends that climate change doesn’t exist(family first).

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Jdoc,
    If you look at the greens website you will notice that they do criticise Hamas. In a media release during last years operation cast lead they write “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is deepening as every hour passes. The international community must come together and criticise the increased violence in the region from both sides, including threats from Hamas to target Israeli children in retaliation, and promote the need for an urgent international peace operation.”

  • Pauly says:

    Great article – after voting Labor for many years I have decided the only progressive option is The Greens. Labor no longer represents social justice or ecological survival – and I agree with the doctor above that climate change is the most important issue.

    Us jews may worry about anti-semitism and assimilation, but climate change will get us first unless we do something urgent and profound – like go to 100% renewable energy, which I’ve recent found out is possible and affordable (http://beyondzeroemissions.org/).

    I’ve always found it interesting how there seems to be a double standard for the smaller parties compared to the two big ones. People seem to find one little thing wrong with a minor party position and decide not to vote for them – even if most of their policies are great, while the big parties can have atrocious policies and people still vote for them. Like they are the default option.

    I hope this time the green vote increases, that would be best for all of us.

  • ariel says:

    For the record, nobody – not even Family First – believes climate change “doesn’t exist”. Of course the climate is changing!

    What many believe is that human effects on climate change are not as serious as some will have us think. The climate has always changed cyclically, but we’re led to believe that the Earth came into existence 100 years ago and since then we’ve been heating up uncontrollably!

    There are strong indications that the Earth was warmer 1000 years ago than it is today (e.g. grapes grew in England because it was warmer). In the 1970s, scientists predicted a coming Ice Age because the Earth was cooling!

    We must minimise polluition for health reasons; health of humans, animals and florae and faunae. But hurricanes, volcanic erruptions and mudslides will continue to occur.

    Needless to say, the volcanic erruption in Iceland earlier in the year had a greater effect (probably 1000-fold!) on the atmosphere than anything humans have done in the last century!!!

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi Ittay -Nice piece. I was hoping my point augmented yours – in that I’m saying that even if one has reservations about the Greens, I still think the Greens holding the balance of power is healthy, they cant just get their amendments through regardless – those amendments still need majority support.
    And the Labor party’s policy on asylum seekers is beyond disappointing.
    An interesting question about identity – how much should Zionist voters (like me) take a party’s policy on Israel into account when exercising their right as Australian citizens to vote?

  • Marilyn Shepherd says:

    And how many jewish MP’s have supported the torture of refugees here?

  • scientist says:

    Please – can climate denialists like ariel please stay off these forums? We are trying to solve the biggest problem to face humanity. If you can’ accept the scientific evidence (just today a new report came out that the last decade was the hottest on record due to human activities) then people’s lives should not be lost just because of your psychology.

    Ariel – all your claims, such as the ridiculous one that it was warmer in Europe 1000 years ago, have been disproven by actual climate scientists. If you can’t face the facts, that’s fine, just don’t spread your lies and prevent others from acting to prevent catastrophe.

    Go to http://www.skepticalscience.com

    look up your favourite lie as to why climate change isn’t real and read about why you are wrong – with actual evidence to back it up rather than baseless claims and conspiracy theories.

    Climate change denial has nothing to do with science, it is a political and psychological phenomenon.

    This discussion is about The Greens and their policies. The debate has moved on.

  • Jdoc says:

    Thanks for the Hamas update Ittay, I hadn’t seen that, but my main barrier to voting Green is doubts re: their Israel statement/ policy (which are unlikely to be assuaged). Having said that, the 2 major parties are not viable as far as their climate change policy goes, and these are the 2 issues that would win my vote. I do like the idea that Green representation might force the major parties to modify their policies in order to get them passed though.
    Pauly, I second the support for Beyond zero emisons – they are a great group with a great plan, it is just too bad that the big coal/ power coorporations have such a powerful lobby that is a major impediment to getting viable alternative energy strategies heard. If Spain can do it, with their lower sun power potential, then we certainly can. The BZE plan makes so much sense!

  • Mandi Katz says:

    check out AIJAC’s position as an alternative Jewish perspective on the Greens
    (or perhaps this is the alternative perspective – but you know what I mean…)


  • Eli says:

    Hmmm with a smiling Bob Brown staring down at you on the greens website
    This little snippet
    “We call on the acting Prime Minister to speak out against the violent & disproportionate action by Israeli leaders which has led to the death of 400 Palestinians including many women, children & innocent men,”
    Senator Hanson-Young said that with more than 600 Palestinian civilians killed thus far, the effect this conflict has had on children has reached crisis point.
    “No child should ever be used as a weapon of war, nor should they be subjected to violence and forced to flee their homes in fear.”
    Of course no mention of Hamas’s use of those children as shields as well as other civillans
    Transcript from Senate Hansard – Dec 2, 2008
    More disturbing is the picture (Graffiti reprint) added at the bottom of the page, portraying an Israeli soldier pointing his gun at a small child. Although you can’t see it on the picture, the small child has “Palestine” emblazoned on it. You can see the original here http://www.flickr.com/photos/diodoro/199075742/
    Interesting the picture is from 2006.

    In a media release during the Gaza conflict
    “Australia needs to be part of global diplomatic efforts to get the Israeli government to stop this sickening violence,”
    Always the emphasis on the Palestinian tragedy coupled with the standard bland disclaimer
    “The Australian Greens have consistently condemned the violence from both sides, including the rocket attacks on Israel.”

    Yes some of my best friends are Jewish!

  • Jdoc says:

    Thanks Mandi – that certainly sounds more like the impression I have had from the Greens re: Israel.
    So for me, still no viable option in this election

  • frosh says:

    I write as someone who commenced their electoral life by voting for the Greens.

    Indeed, at that stage of my life, I could not understand why the vast majority of the people did not vote for the Greens!
    Didn’t these people care about the environment etc?

    Somewhere in the last decade, I moved from voting for The Greens to more often voting for an ass (or as some of you may know it, the donkey vote).
    A big reason for this is that through a research project I was conducting, I came in close contact with many people involved with the Greens. While I still saw these people as well meaning, I also began to see them as having a poor knowledge base about a wide variety of topics, from economics, to science, and certainly the situation in the Middle East

  • Jdoc says:

    Yes Frosh, dh was explaining your voting technique to me, and I still don’t really understand why. You must prefer one of the other options? Or dislike one of them more. Surely?? Isn’t wasting a vote the same as casting a vote for the partiesnyou wouldn’t vote for iykwim (sort of?!) although may need to adopt your MO

  • frosh says:

    Allow me to explain:

    Whenever you vote for a candidate or a party (if you vote above the line in the senate), assuming they receive at least 4% of the vote (or whatever the threshold is nowdays), they receive electoral funding from your vote.

    Therefore, by voting donkey, I am not contributing to providing electoral funding to politicians that I do not support.

    Having said, I don’t always vote donkey. I often just vote (in the lower house) for the local candidate that I prefer, rather than basing my vote on the party.

  • jack says:

    Are the Greens Kosher?

    Let’s ask the RCV…

  • Aussiebattler. says:

    Here we go, Israel again! Enough of the dual citizenship/duel loyalties! Be either one or the other. For those so concerned for Israel and its continuation of racist policies and land theft in the M.E., Perhaps you could serve your interests better by living in Israel and doing good for your first priority, Israel.

    Australia is a democracy made up of multiple nationalities and religions. The sons and daughters of non Jewish Australians should not be expected to fight in wars in the M.E. to protect Zio/American racist/economic hegemony?

    The Greens have called for an exit of Australian troops from M.E./Afghanistan. How many Australian Jews see that as more of a bugbear for them than either the climate change debate or Asylum seekers?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I am not persuaded by the AIJAC article mostly because of its own admission that these policies are unlikely to be relevant and I want to use my vote for the most bang – on critical “local” issues, and I’m leaning towards a preference to have the Greens as an alternative voice on those in the Senate.
    The AIJAC article is so heavy handed. It was making sense on the issue of security and then this:
    “Further, the (Greens) resolution demands “an end to Australian taxation deductions for donations to states, institutions and organisations engaged in violation of human rights including settlement activity.” In other words, it calls for an end to all tax deductability for donations benefitting Israel because it sponsors “settlement activity”, that terrible “human rights violation” – building houses.”

    Besides the fact that they spelt “deductibility” wrong, the statement is disingenuous. No, building houses is not a human rights violation but building houses as part of settlement activity in the West Bank is a serious obstacle to peace, and saying that you oppose it does not place you in a radical ant Israel minority!Many Israelis would endorse the Greens view on that – evidenced in the current freeze on settlement activity.
    I also think the AIJAC analysis of the Greens education policy is unbalanced. My kids are at Jewish schools but we do need to acknowledge that the two speed school system (public,private)is inequitable in many, many ways. Its a very complex issue and on the funding question I am not sure the Greens are wrong.
    Aussie Battler shame about your tone because what you say is quite interesting.
    Your comments about Israel are so simplistic and reductionist that its hard to see past them to listen to your comments on, and have the discussion about identity in a global world.

  • Frosh et al,

    The informal vote has always been a reflection of protest & dissatisfaction with the major parties. While this has probably changed with the emergence of the Greens as a possible holder of the balance of power, it still exists. With so little between the major parties and such a lacklustre campaign, I wonder if it might be significantly higher this time.

    Remember also that the vote in the lower house only “counts” for those in marginal seats. Probably 90% of Jews live in safe seats which even a 4% swing will have little effect. As you say, the only place everyone’s vote has *some* influence is in the Senate.


    Foreign policy is part of any party’s electoral platform, and that will influence voters. This is especially the case in multicultural Australia.

    On one hand, you speak against so-called “dual loyalties” which suggests we should only have Australia’s interests at heart. But on the other hand, you seek policies that are against Israel with as much vigour as some Jews promote pro-Israel policies! This smacks of hypocrisy.

    Does your world view allow for the notion that perhaps the interests of Australia and Israel are aligned with respect to fighting wars in the Middle East? Could it be that the implications of said wars *do* matter for Australia (and indeed for the whole world) and isn’t just a local matter or a proxy for the US and Israel’s joint plans for world domination?

  • frosh says:


    It is so interesting that racists like yourself (as evidenced by your now many comments left on this site) love to call Jews racist.

    It might surprise you, but Israel has absolutely nothing to do with Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, and there is no cabal of Jews controlling Australia’s foreign policy.

    As Jews, we’ll vote how we want to vote, and as racist crack-pot, you’ll vote for the C.E.C.

  • ariel says:


    like many often do, you haven’t read what I wrote.

    I said that climate change is real, but has little to do with you and I breaking wind and more to do with Icelandic volcanic erruptions and the like, which have absolutely nothing to do with human pollution.
    They are two separate issues. Human pollution must be drastically reduced. Even so, the volcanos will continue to errupt and heat the planet beyond any way in which you and I contribute.

    as a scientist, I’m sure you are aware that if you collect the right data you can create any link you want between them.

    Regarding Greens policy: i would sooner give Austen Tayshus and the Sex Party the balance of power in the Senate than the Greens…

  • ariel says:

    PS Scientist:
    If the globe is warming, then why am I constantly freezing cold?

  • ariel says:

    I went to the skeptic website and the tweet refutations to my comments are hardly convincing.

    If CO2 is the primary driver of climate change, then we should plant more trees and preserve forrests to absorb the excess CO2.

  • Pauly says:

    @ Jdoc – It is disappointing to me that you don’t vote greens because of the Israel issue, when climate change will destroy Israel in a matter of decades if we don’t prevent catastrophic warming.

    Both Labor and Libs have policies that will see our emissions increase. While I care deeply about Israel I just don’t see how the Greens policies on this are even in the same ball park as the climate issue.

    To me, it’s far more important to keep Israel a viable state by preventing runaway climate change than by not voting for a party that has israel/palestine policies you don’t agree with – when lets face it, the Green policy on Israel won’t make any difference in practical terms to what happens there.

    The Greens get my vote simply because the climate crisis is the most important issue, and no other party comes close to their level of policy development on this.

  • ariel says:


    How – pray tell – will the Greens in Australia have any effect on climate change in Israel?

    Israel is already one of the most advanced countries in developing green tech and green infrastructure; certainly light years ahead of Australia.
    I don’t think they need Christine Milne to pontificate in the Australian Senate…

    Sorry folks, but as important as the environment is, there are more more immediate issues to deal with, e.g. health education and – dare I say – Islamofascism.

  • Scientist says:

    ariel – I did read your comments – your view that climate change is a natural phenomenon not caused by humans has been proven wrong, many times, by actual climate scientists in peer reviewed journals.

    Your PS that you are cold just goes to show that denialists don’t really get it, as you are always mixing up weather with climate.

    It is scary to think that our lives are under threat and that we need to urgently change the way we do things – but denying the scientific evidence won’t get us anywhere. We need to address the risk that human caused climate change is causing.

    As I said before – your views have nothing to do with the science – if they did you would accept the evidence by now. You have psychological or political barriers to accepting climate change. Maybe you hate environmentalists, maybe you are a conspiracy theorist – I don’t know, but science has nothing to do with it.

    Almost every climate scientist in Australia, and around 95% globally (see university of illinois study), agree that climate change is urgent, catastrophic, and caused by human activity.

    Not one single climate denialist in Australia has published in a peer reviewed journal over the last ten years – their work just isn’t up to scratch and most aren’t climate scientists – they are petroleum engineers or geologists or mining magnates.

  • Pauly says:

    climate change is a global issue, Australia is the biggest coal exporter in the world, and one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases (up there with Germany).

    We have also been one of the key barriers to a global agreement.

    What we do here affects climate change globally – simple as that.

  • ariel says:


    We are only a top emitter per capita.
    Obviously this is the case seeing as we have a large industry with only 20M people, as opposed to China and India with 1 Billion each. You see, elementary mathematics dictates that when you divide a number by 20 million the result will be larger than when you divide it by 1 billion.
    So the per capita argument is irrelevant: only the TOTAL counts. In which case, it’s the USA, China and India who are the big emitters not us.

    Whatever the 20Million of us do here in Australia will have negligible effect on the environment if China, India and USA continue to emit at their current rate.

    What we do will effect our IMMEDIATE environment and therefore we must reduce pollution for OUR OWN health reasons.

    Mark my words though, the volcanos will continue to errupt in Iceland…

  • ariel says:


    Please produce one scientific study that has linked Australia’s emissions pattern to Icelandic volcanic erruptions.

  • Pauly says:

    aaah ariel – you just don’t get it do you? And what are you talking about with volcanoes?

    If you think Australia should do nothing because China, India and USA are bigger, then you think Germany, France, UK, Italy, Japan, Canada, etc, should do nothing too. Should they or not?

    It’s meaningless coming from you anyway as you’re a climate change denialist.

    However, every country has a role to play. Just like every citizen pays tax, rather than just the rich. Should I get out of paying tax just because my contribution of tiny? is that fair? will that lead to a fair society?

    Only the Greens accept Australia’s responsibility to act on the climate crisis.

  • ariel says:

    Pauly, once again your analogy doesn’t stand up.

    The system only works if EVERYONE contributes.
    Unfortunately, China and India are not going to contribute. Therefore the whole system falls down.

    If we put in our 2c and China and India don’t put in their $200, the kitty will be negligible…

  • ariel says:

    And I don’t appreciate being called a “climate denialist”.

    That term means that either I deny there is a climate, or that the climate is changing. I adopt neither of these views.

    Once again – at risk of banging my head against a brick wall – we must reduce pollution for OURSELVES. But what we do will have ZERO effect in China, India, Israel and Icelandic volcanos.

  • Elliot says:

    I note the comment made by Eli: “Always the emphasis on the Palestinian tragedy coupled with the standard bland disclaimer
    “The Australian Greens have consistently condemned the violence from both sides, including the rocket attacks on Israel.”

    Exactly why are these words “bland”. Non-violence is a core principle for the Greens. The alternative has not exactly been a roaring success at resolving conflicts.

    Perhaps their is a reasonable explanation for the emphasis on the Palestinian tragedy. While both Palestinians and Israelis suffer from the ongoing conflict, there can be little doubt that the Palestinians are having the hardest time. Most Israelis are able to live a relatively normal life. This cannot be said about the Palestinians.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Ariel,
    If I am understanding you correctly, you seem to be arguing (like family first) that climate change is happening, but deny it is caused by humans, with the major factors being volcanos. This is incorrect.

    When Volcanoes erupt they Volcanoes produce tiny particles – aerosols – which have a net cooling effect on the world because they reflect solar energy back into space.
    They also produce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
    Historically, the cooling has outweighed the warming. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The Philippines lowered global temperatures by about 0.4-0.5C – but Eyjafjallajokull, dramatic as it looks, is simply not in that league.

    In fact, the extra CO2 produced from the volcano is probably less than the volume “saved” by having Europe’s aeroplanes grounded.


    Secondly, Weather is different from climate. You seem to be confusing the two.
    Whilst the weather changes from day to day, climate is the average temprature over a long period of time.
    The surface of the Earth has warmed by 0.74°C from 1906–2005 (IPCC, 2007). When the annual data are adjusted for short-term fluctuations due to El Niño and La Niña, the warming trend is even more obvious (Fawcett, 2008). This is a statistically significant climatic change and it is very unusual in the context of the past 1700 years.

    There are clear answers to the other questions you raised on this website run by the Government of Australia.

  • This seems to have descended into a debate on climate change (formerly known as global warming) rather than a discussion on why Jews may or may not want to vote for the Greens.

    As I understand Ariel’s view, climate change is something that happens over a long period of time (Ittay: far longer than since just 1902), however, the impact of human activity on this change is not necessarily causal. Pumping CO2 into the air may not be the main reason for the change, and pumping less may not fix it. This is a view that I share, and branding it with a loaded term like “denial” is putting these views in the same basket as those who used to believe the Earth was flat.

    Scientists seem to be happy with the world being millions of years old, but are quick to extrapolate long term climate patterns based on a relatively tiny period of observation.

    The main issue is this: given that most people feel we should not abuse the natural resources in the world we live in, and look after it in a sustainable way, and given that these views are consistent with a Jewish perspective on the world, should we vote Green?

    You might easily say that because the Green’s attitude to climate change is closer to an extreme “we’ve all going to die” one, they aren’t level-headed enough to deal with it in the context of other policies, and may over-emphasize its importance, or allow it to swap other policies that may be totally unrelated.

  • ariel says:

    So we should ground Europe’s planes?

    I don’t deny climate change is caused by humans; I claim that Australian humans have a negligible effect on it.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi David,
    Thanks for bringing the discussion back on track with your question,
    “given that most people feel we should not abuse the natural resources in the world we live in, and look after it in a sustainable way, and given that these views are consistent with a Jewish perspective on the world, should we vote Green?”
    Below are a list of a few things greens would do that the other parties wouldn’t in relation to treating our planet with more respect.
    This links to a table that takes all of 30 seconds to read.

  • Ittay – I’ve read their “scorecard” – with unrealistic policies like those, it’s no wonder people don’t vote for them!

  • Ittay says:

    Hi David,
    I agree with you that the greens targets on reducing emissions are highly ambitious in comparison to what is being offered by Labor and Liberal. However, i also think they are essential to prevent permanent damage to our planet and way of life. But climate change is not only a threat, it’s also an opportunity to transform our economy from one based on exporting minerals from the ground to one that is based on harnessing the sun and wind(given that we have both of these things in abundance). By being world leaders in this field, we would create 100s of new jobs.
    Beyond Zero emissions have created a fully costed position paper on how we can be emissions free by 2020 with exiting technologies.
    Their plan requires polictial will, but it is no more unrealistic an option than hoping we do nothing and that our world won’t change.
    If you will it, it is no dream.

  • Pauly says:

    ariel – good to see you’ve come around and accept the evidence for humanity causing climate change. Well done!

    Australia is actually doing less than the USA, India and China on climate. China’s wind energy capacity has been growing at 100% per year for the last four years and they are about to introduce an emissions trading scheme. India has a carbon tax on coal and the USA is investing in massive solar thermal power stations that can replace baseload from fossil fuels.

    Australia is doing practically nothing.

    And @ David Werdiger – you are also out of touch. The Greens policies are the closest to what the climate scientists advise. They are not unrealistic at all, in fact, they fall far short of what we need to do to avoid catastrophic climate change.

    A Potsdam Institute report that came out last year (Europe’s foremost climate science body) showed that to give ourselves a 2/3 chance of avoiding a two degree temperature increase, the USA and Aus needed to go to zero emissions in around ten years.

    Two degrees increase in itself will probably cause runaway warming due to the arctic sea ice melting.

    The Greens fall far short of this goal, even though as mentioned above, Beyond Zero emissions has shown it is technically feasible and affordable.

    So the greens policies may look “extreme” to you, but they don’t go far enough if you are a climate scientist and actually understand the size of the crisis we face.

  • Aussiebattler. says:

    frosh, you said in reply to my post: “It is so interesting that racists like yourself (as evidenced by your now many comments left on this site) love to call Jews racist.” Where have I called Jews racist?

    You also said: “As Jews, we’ll vote how we want to vote, and as racist crack-pot, you’ll vote for the C.E.C.” I notice the editor has permitted you to call me a “racist crackpot.” A bit odd coming from you, a regular writer of articles Galus.

    You have also branded me as a C.E.C voter, which could not be further from the truth!

  • Sam says:


    You have named yourself very well. One click on Editorial at the top on home page would reveal that Frosh is editor as well as contributor. I s’pose that is a bit much to expect. The rest of us seem to know this.
    How about this excerpt from your post on the 30th July
    ” Australians should not be expected to fight in wars in the M.E. to protect Zio/American racist/economic hegemony”.
    And you say on the 31st.July “Where have I called Jews racist?”

    Do you like this site because you get off on insulting the majority of the readers and contributors, or are you just that dumb?

  • philip mendes says:

    Ittay and Arielle, an interesting discussion. You may want to have a look at my earlier online reflections:

    “The Australian Greens: Taking Sides on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict”, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission Special Report, No.22, September 2004.

    “The Australian Greens are right on illicit drugs”, Online Opinion, 14 June 2007.

    My judgement: the Greens are very good on social issues, particularly on welfare, illicit drugs, indigenous rights and refugees.

    But they are not good on Israel, and you seriously under-state their hostility. They are a bit like the old ALP Left faction before it lost its ideology: some support Israel’s right to exist, and some don’t. Bob Brown is a moderate in this regard. Former Senator Kerry Nettle was an extremist. I suspect their new NSW Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon would hold similar anti-Zionist views given her Stalinist background in the old Communist Party.

    My personal conclusion: support them in the Senate to block repressive welfare legislation on compulsory income management, particularly if the far-Right Abbotites win. But vote for someone else in the lower house as they are not sympathetic to Israel.

    Philip Mendes

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Philip,
    putting aside the question of whether the greens are ‘good or bad for israel’ (what a simplistic phrase) i’d be interested to hear your opinion on a few questions.
    1) What, if any impact would there be on the people of Israel if there was a government of Australia was led by a member of the Labor, Liberal or Greens party? Would it it make peace come sooner or later? Could any Australian government stop kassam rockets or suicide bombers? Could any Australian government lift the siege on gaza or make Israel use it’s military force in a more restrained manner? Do the governments representing Israelis and Palestinians care what Canberra thinks?
    2) If, as you state correctly, most Australians Jews really care about the environment, the treatment of refugees, indigenous rights and social issues, why do they continually vote for parties like Labor and Liberals that have policies that are so much less progressive than the Greens on these issues?

    Surely this election is about the people of Australia voting for the party that’s best for Australia.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Ittay

    with respect that you have asked Philip to make a response to your questions, and this will not affect his reply, I would like to also offer an opinion.
    To the first question you must already know the answer that whatever political party of the three you mention, there will be no difference in Israel, or we would have seen an example under the Rudd and before him the Howard government. I am not aware that apart from a vote in the UN and then not in the Security Council nothing at all happened that had a material effect in Israel during the past 14 years. If you look at the 5 countries comprising the permanent members, nothing too impressive there for Israeli support (except for the US). The 10 current non-permanent members are an even worse bunch from our perspective so the Australian vote is effectively useless anyway.
    The Greens have never had power and are unlikely to do so in the future but are a bit one dimensional and no one seems aware of the detail of their economic policy.

    Your second question does not mention the economy and importantly how any new initiatives or taxes impinge on the voter. Don’t you think that these issues usually take precedence for most people when it comes time to vote?

  • philip mendes says:

    Ittay: not quite sure what specifically you are asking, but you seem to be implying that Party attitudes to Israel shouldn’t really influence how Australian Jews vote.

    For sure, most Israelis couldn’t care less what happens here. Really only the Americans and maybe the major European powers matter in the international debate. Sorry if that makes either Julie Bishop or Stephen Smith feel insignificant.

    But most Australian Jews do feel a strong attachment to Israel, and they feel that positive Australian attitudes to Israel serve as a barometer of the generally welcoming and tolerant atmosphere for Jews in Australia. Conversely, a government that was more critical of or overtly hostile to Israel would make them feel less welcome. This correlation may be less significant for the younger generation, but nobody has really done the empirical research, although Andrew Markus’s recent study at Monash provides some insight.

    I have no idea whether most Australian Jews share my concerns about social justice issues. Most of the people I went to school with probably don’t as I think most vote for the Libs, but then short of a serious study of Jewish political attitudes, we don’t really know.


  • Ittay says:

    Hi Philip,
    If you look at the comparison between the divish pro Israel jstreet movement and the greens policy on Israel, you will find them to be very similar. No progressive Zionist would claim j street is ‘hostile’ to Israel because it believes ending the occupation of the WB is in Israel’s interests? So why do people say this of the greens? Is the problem that many of us think that ‘jews can demand israel make compromises but non jews can’t?
    Furthermore, are these policies not very similar to the ideas suggested by Olmert at Annapolis when he was head of Kadima?

    Settlements – The Greens
    the termination of the occupation of the Palestinian territories
    J Street
    “Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace. They have drained Israel’s economy, military, and democracy and eroded the country’s ability to uphold the rule of law.”

    Jerusalem- Greens
    the termination of the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the establishment of a secure and viable state of Palestine alongside Israel, based on 4 June 1967 boundaries with both states sharing Jerusalem as their capital
    J Street
    “J Street would support … the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem would fall under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty. “

    Two state solution – Greens
    and the establishment of a secure and viable state of Palestine alongside Israel, based on 4 June 1967 boundaries with both states sharing Jerusalem as their capital
    J Street
    “J Street believes that reaching a sustainable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is both a fundamental American interest and essential to the survival and security of Israel as a democracy and home for the Jewish people.”

    “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is deepening as every hour passes. The international community must come together and criticise the increased violence in the region from both sides, including threats from Hamas to target Israeli children in retaliation, and promote the need for an urgent international peace operation.”
    J Street
    “We have believed that the closure as implemented was not serving Israel’s best interests, was strengthening Hamas’ capabilities and hold on the Strip, and was imposing an unacceptable level of hardship on the civilian population.”

  • Aussiebattler. says:

    Hello Sam. ” Australians should not be expected to fight in wars in the M.E. to protect Zio/American racist/economic hegemony”. Yes I did, and I say it again.

    Let’s look back to 2003 – ABC The World Today – Friday, 25 July 2003 Kevin Rudd visits Israel.
    TANYA NOLAN: Well, under fire from sections of the Jewish lobby in Australia over the comments of some of its backbenchers, Labor is moving to show its support for the state of Israel.

    Labor’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman Kevin Rudd is visiting Israel to meet with the Sharon Government, as well as Opposition leader Shimon Peres, and officials from the Israeli Defence Force and Foreign Ministry.

    During his trip, Mr Rudd’s also having talks with the central committee of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, and Palestinian non-government organisations. But it’s the threat of Australian Jews shifting their support from the ALP to the Liberal Party, which is worrying many Labor figures.

    Middle East Correspondent Mark Willacy caught up with Kevin Rudd on the phone in Ramallah, and he asked the Foreign Affairs Spokesman to outline Labor’s policy on securing a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

    KEVIN RUDD: Plainly we in the Labor Party did not support US policies on Iraq or those of the Howard Government. However, we do support US policy as far as the Road Map to peace is concerned. There is an alternative show in town and all political parties of goodwill – both in Australia and other western countries – need to get behind this current US proposal.

    MARK WILLACY: Well, obviously Labor copped a lot of flak over its position on Iraq and the Jewish community also had some problems with Labor’s stance on that and other issues.

    But has your visit got anything to do with that disquiet within Australia’s Jewish community about the reported comments about some Labor MPs – comments that Israel is a rogue state and that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is “a war criminal”?

    KEVIN RUDD: Well, I think all of this has been grossly overblown and in fact, backbenchers in the Australia Parliament always say what backbenchers want to say. The key question at stake here is what the official policy of the Labor Party as the official Opposition in Australia is, and what the official policy of the Australian Government is, which to all intents and purposes on the Road Map to peace is bi-partisan.

    MARK WILLACY: You must be quite concerned though, that we’ve got the Australian Jewish News saying, and I quote, “that it’s quite conceivable that some Australian Jews will shift their support from Labor to Liberal at the next Federal Election based on one factor and that is Israel”.

    Have you managed to allay any concerns over that, or were there any concerns expressed at this end about that perceived view of Labor?

    KEVIN RUDD: I’ve received absolutely no expression of concerns of that type from the Israeli Government and I’ve spoken to the Israeli Government at multiple levels in recent days. Nor have I received expression of such concerns from other parties represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.

    And frankly, there’ll always be debates about the nuances of Australian foreign policy within Australia and within particular communities within Australia. That’s understandable, that’s desirable, that’s just part of Australian democratic political life.

    The key question is all parties, mainstream parties, in Australia getting behind the Road Map to peace and that’s where the Australian Labor Party lies supporting President Bush, the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, and trying to hammer out a feasible outcome from the current negotiations in Washington and what will come after it.

    TANYA NOLAN: Labor’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman Kevin Rudd.

  • Dee says:

    I think that some fundamental points have been missed here. I agree with many of the concerns the greens have on the environment, and on refugee matters.

    However, it is not just about their opinions, it’s also about their approach. The responsibility of government necessitates compromise and engagement with differing views. The greens have an all-or-nothing approach as evidenced by their rejection of the ETS. Ironically this plays more into the hands of the coalition than the greens, the greens were not willing to negotiate or compromise. I take issue with a party that is so gun-ho, rightfully, on an issue yet refuses to engage unless things are done exclusively their way, it just doesn’t work like that.

    Secondly, their approach to policy making is rather dubious. They have a concensus approach whereby policy is only passed by concensus and if there is no concensus the passing of policy is very strange and convoluted. It is simply unrealistic and is a testament to their flawed approach which does not lend to having much ability to function should they hold more power in parliament.

    Thirdly – Israel. It’s an issue because we are Jews, many feel an affiliation with Israel, plus there is the issue of shared ideals with Israel and commitment to the spread of democracy and support of democracy where it exists. There is an international relations theory that liberal democracies do not go against other liberal democracies, seems to hold quite well, but it doesn’t apply for Israel for some reason. Also, quite often anti-Israel rallies will have the greens logo on the poster, or a greens stall at the rally. For example the lead greens senate candidate from NSW Lee Rhiannon stood on stage at a recent anti-Israel rally in Sydney spewing hatred and vile comments, continued to stand there while Sheik Taj A Din al Hilaly said quote: “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Turkey is coming and Iran is ready”. This extends to support of BDS and objection to a parliamentary condemning the captivity of Gilad Shalit by Hamas (read the hansard for th NSW legislative council from October last year). Not someone I want to sit on my behalf in the senate.

    Iraq and Afghanistan – without getting into the debate whether or not the initial involvement was justified, the greens call to “immediately withdraw” is simply untenable given the current circumstances. The radicals will resume control, those collaborating with NATO forces will be executed, Australia may very well be fine, but the local populations, probably much less so.

  • Dan Lewis says:

    I was referred to this site via a forwarded email to the effect ‘can you believe there are Jews who would seriously consider voting Green’?

    Newsflash: The Greens are the most toxic, anti-Israel party around. Their members have engaged in openly anti-Semitic activity and have stood shoulder to shoulder with angry mobs waving Hezbollah and Hamas flags.

    The rest is simply making excuses, and looking at the comments above, there appear to be plenty.

    I’m also quite surprised to see Marilyn Shepherd showing her face here. Then again, considering Shepherd spends hours a day (fully taxpayer funded) spamming blogs with her anti-Israel invective, perhaps I shouldn’t be.

    What I should however point out is that Marilyn Shepherd is a Holocaust denier (See: http://theblankpagesoftheage.blogspot.com/2009/05/politics-of-marilyn.html ) – so it’s a bit of a worry when an ostensibly Jewish blog attract such a horrible person.

    And before I get slapped down for not “Being nice” per the comment policy, bear in mind, we are talking about a HOLOCAUST DENYING ANTISEMITE. Not sure how nice one can be.


    [Eds: We are aware that some anti-Semites leave comments on this website. The obvious reason for why these anti-Semites are attracted to this website is that we primarily publish Jewish related content, and these people have a hostile obsession with Jews.

    We generally prefer not to remove comments by anti-Semites, as we feel it is preferable for our readers to be aware of the types of perverse attitudes that do exist in the community, albeit in small numbers.]

  • Aussiebattler. says:

    Shame on you Dan Lewis. There are Australian Jews I know of who support human rights for all people of the world. You appear to not be of like mind.

    I suggest you read the following before continuing with your anti-Green smear. “Israel-Palestine of National Conference” Passed by Consensus at Greens National Conference, Adelaide – 27-29 October 2006 http://greens.org.au/system/files/israelpalestine.pdf

  • Feebee says:

    The most important issue by far is climate change. I will be basing my vote on that.

    In that regard I will be voting Greens – as a Jew and a human no other issue threatens to kill and impoverish billions of people.

    As much as I care about Israel/Palestine, it pales in comparison with what we face on climate.

  • ariel says:


    You prove your hypocracy. Apparently when Dan Lewis condemns the Greens for supporting Hamas and Hezbollah – who, btw, would force you to convert to Islam on pain of death if they had the chance – he is AGAINST human rights.

    So in your lexicon, human rights means the right to cheer for the mass murder of Jews. Well done. Now please get in your Delorian and drive at 88 miles/hr back to Germany, 1939 where you will feel quite at home.

  • Aussiebattler says:

    ariel. You may have a few gaps in your education or your upbringing may have created elitist delusions for you. Try learning facts instead of conjuring up the collective ‘the anti-Semites hate us,’ victim mode for yourself.

    As for your “Germany 1939,” I don’t pray to the war god of the old testament. I prefer to be one of the “Pagans.” But if I was an Australian Jew I would be vary wary of any politician who dons a kippah and schmoozes to Israel. It seems so shallow, and non sincere of such politicians don’t you agree?

  • ariel says:

    Aussiebattler, you yourself may have a few gaps in your education or your upbringing may have created elitist delusions for you. I don’t know this god of which you speak, it sounds scary…

    How will voting Greens in Australia have an effect on the lives of billions in China and India?

  • Aussiebattler says:

    ariel. “Feebee” – laughter is the best medicine!

    “How will voting Greens in Australia have an effect on the lives of billions in China and India?” Less uranium, less nuclear bombs! : )

  • ariel says:

    More uranium = less Carbon emissions

  • Sam says:


    OK so it as I said. You are happy to announce that you are a racist.

    “Yes I did, and I say it again.” your posting, August 8th.

    Do you also claim that this is mainly directed against Israel and the US? Is there a reason that anyone should even read your views re Jews or Israel as by your own admission they are biased by your hatred? So then, why bother writing anything on this forum as no-one is likely to be interested. As the editor has said, we choose not to remove anti-semitic comments as the author is best served by being exposed for what he really is, and I couldn’t agree more.

    The longwinded 2003 interview with the then shadow foreign minister,
    Kevin Rudd adds nothing of relevance unless the reference to this-

    “about the reported comments about some Labor MPs – comments that Israel is a rogue state and that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is “a war criminal”?

    constitutes a type of proof for your views.

  • Aussiebattler says:

    Sam.“about the reported comments about some Labor MPs – comments that Israel is a rogue state and that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is “a war criminal”? By there deeds, the Israeli administration and Sharon are known to be rogues and war criminals.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Dee,
    You wrote that the “responsibility of government necessitates compromise and engagement with differing views. The greens have an all-or-nothing approach as evidenced by their rejection of the ETS”

    You may be interested t know that Bob Brown wrote to Kevin Rudd 5 times asking to meet and offering to negotiate about the CPRS. The Senators prepared 22 amendments they wanted to put to the government. Christine Milne kept requesting to meet with Penny Wong. Instead Rudd and Wong shut out the Greens and negotiated with only the Coalition whose interests were driven by the big coal and other extractive fossil fuel industries. The Greens Safe Climate Bill is underpinned by an Emissions Trading Scheme. The Greens believe an ETS will be an effective market based mechanism and there are many variations that they would be able to support. The Greens could not support the ALP version that would cost taxpayers money in the future when trying to buy back permits given away for free. For example, the situation that arises now with water permit buybacks.

    The stimulus package – The greens successfully negotiated with the government to add a $400 million package for job creation* and ecologically sustainable design principles for social housing to name just two amendments. Without the Greens, the package would have been blocked by the Coalition in the Senate. The Greens would have liked to have seen more for social justice programs but compromised to see the package quickly passed through the senate.
    *($60 million for heritage projects; $40 million for building, extending and improving ike paths; $200 million towards local community projects to create new jobs; $10 ,illion for new jobs to regenerate and protect the Lower Murray).

    Fair Work Australia – The Greens worked positively with the government to achieve this legislation to see the worst of the Workchoices excesses removed from the system. They did not and do not believe the legislation went far enough but it was an excellent first step.They still want to see further flexible arrangements for all carers and want to see the ABCC dismantled so that all workers, including building and construction workers are treated equally.

  • ariel says:


    The ABCC was put in place precisely because building and construction workers were recalcitrant – bullying their bosses and co-workers – and will revert to such if the commission is abolished. This is the culture of an industry which acts differently from others and therefore must be treated differently.

    In fact, after watching the way construction work is conducted in Israel, I’d recommend they institute their own form of ABCC!!

  • The Master Builders Association tells me its 7500 members are scared. Hence this new ad campaign for the election:

    Go here: http://www.thinkbeforeyouvote.com.au/

  • Sandy says:

    A commentator on one of the Jewish blogs in Perth posted this great summary of Greens issues, and why we should put the greens last on voting cards.


    Greens Candidate for the Victorian seat of Flinders, Bob Brown (not the same person as the party leader), believes that the US was behind the 9/11 attacks, not Al Qaida. (Aust; 22/7/10)

    NSW Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon condemned Israel’s “crime against humanity”, referring to the flotilla incident at an anti-Israel rally in Sydney, speaking alongside Sheikh Taj el-Din Hilaly, who was quoted as saying “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Turkey is coming and Iran is ready” on the same night. (SMH; 7/6/10) She defended herself by saying there were “more than 4000 present” at the rally, which reflects “the breadth of concern about recent events”. (SMH 8/6/10) The number 4,000 was based on the organisers’ estimate and does not reflect news reporting at the time. She has featured as a speaker at similar events going back to 2002 (Illawarra Mercury; 20/4/02)

    Ms Rhiannon has recently been fingered by Mark Aarons as a born-and-bred Stalinist. She vehemently opposed the imposition of anti-terror laws in NSW parliament.

    Melbourne candidate Adam Bandt spoke at the May 31 rally on Bourke St Mall to protest the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla.

    Party Policy

    The official Greens policy is in favour of “a peaceful solution to the conflict and lasting peace and stability to the Middle East as a region, upholding the rights of the Palestinian peoples to statehood through the creation of a viable state alongside the state of Israel, based on the pre-1967 borders.” However, according to the Greens international Secretary Elliot Gringold, there is a large element in the party “agitating to revisit this policy”. This resulted in a one-state solution forum as part of their national conference in November 2009, where invited speakers included Anthony Lowenstein. (AJN; 20/11/09)


    The Greens reacted strongly to Operation Cast-Lead, with leader Bob Brown saying that he was “appalled at the Australian government’s failure to condemn the bombing of Palestinians in the Gaza strip”, and that he thought “the Rudd government, like the Howard Government, [was] simply listening to the silence from the White House and the biased attitude from the White House.” (ABC News; 3/1/09)

    Also, a Greens eBulletin dated 7/1/09 and authorised by Lee Rhiannon, then MLC and now a candidate for the federal senate, called for Greens supporters to join in anti-Israel protests. These protests were characterised by many anti-Semitic slogans/posters, including several equating the Magen David with the Swastika. The bulletin also made the following points on policy:

    • Immediate steps must be taken to end the attacks on Gaza and the brutal, immoral and illegal siege of Gaza

    • Urge President elect Barak Obama to enforce the US Arms Control Export and Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits aid to countries that abuse human rights or use weapons purchased from the US for offensive purposes [this is ostensibly to deny Israel US aid]

    • Urge the United Nations to ensure Israel respects the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

    • There will be no peace in the Middle East until the plight of the Palestinian people is recognised and resolved

    From Hansard

    On June 17, 2010, Senator Bob Brown moved with Senator Nick Xenophon a motion expressing concern at Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The motion made no mention of Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.

    The text of the motion:

    Senator Bob Brown: I, and also on behalf of Senator Xenophon, move that the Senate (a) notes that basic food products, including pasta, coriander, fruit jams, instant coffee and fresh meat, none of which have any link to national security, have been banned under Israel’s blockade on Gaza; and (b) expresses its concern for the social, humanitarian and economic impact of Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

    On March 24, 2004, Senator Bob Brown strongly supported a motion put forward by then-Senator Kerry Nettle that condemned Israel for the killing of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, leader of Hamas.

    On October 15, 2008, Senator Scott Ludlam, whilst commenting on Australian sanctions on Iran due to concerns about its nuclear program, implied that Australia should also place sanctions on Israel for the same reason.

    He said:

    Perhaps of greatest relevance here are the legitimate security concerns in the region that exist about Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its nuclear program, which have to be not only recognized but finally addressed. So where, we could ask, are the sanctions on Israel for its nuclear program, its nuclear weapons arsenal created through a clandestine nuclear program that is such a cause of concern and tension in the Middle East?

    On May 15, 2008, Senator Kerry Nettle moved:

    That the Senate acknowledges and sympathizes with the Palestinian families whose homes were destroyed or seized, and family members killed or injured, 60 years ago at the inception of the State of Israel which the Palestinians call ‘Al Nakba’, the catastrophe; remembers with shame the failure of the international community to prevent the bloody events that followed the unilateral declaration of independent statehood by the Israeli leaders and the many millions of victims who continue to suffer to this day; acknowledges the unique relationship which exists between Australia and Palestine, a bond highlighted by our commitment to the rights and liberties of our citizens and encouragement of cultural diversity; commends the Palestinian authority’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law and pluralism; reiterates Australia’s commitment to: Palestine’s right to exist and our on-going support to the peaceful establishment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and the pursuit of peace and stability throughout the Middle East; and on this, the 60th anniversary of Al Nakba, pledges our friendship, commitment and enduring support to the people of Palestine as we remember this dark chapter in history together.


  • Robert Weil says:

    I am perplexed at how one can be ‘Green’ and ‘gay’ at the same time as their leader Bob Brown is. Surely ‘Green’ principle demands that they follow and respect the natural order of nature in regard to, for example, natural germination for ecological sustainability of the plant kingdom, and natural male/female reproduction for the preservation of fauna. I am not intending to be provocatively crude, but by way of illustration, how can one claim to respect nature while indulging in a homosexual act that involves inserting a male organ that nature clearly intended for the purpose of reproduction into an apeture that nature clearly intended for the elimination of bodily waste materials. I contend that the fact that this act, in many cases, results in an insidious disease is no different to other cases of man, industry, governments etc.tampering with the environment or with ecology and (correctly) being berated by our ‘Green’ friends when these actions genuinely cause adverse environmental consequences. If any one wishes to debate me on this, please do so but without reference to terms such as ‘homophobe’ which I am not, or other inane terms like ‘judgemental’ and such.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Robert,
    Until about 30 years ago, many people believed that homosexuality was against the laws of nature. Today there is an enormous mass evidence today to prove this is false. Firstly, homosexuality is found in the animal kingdom and well as the human world and is common in about 10% of the population.
    see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html

    As a result of research accumulated by professionals in medicine, mental health, and the behavioral and social sciences in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975.

    Despite the change in the DSM, there are still orthodox rabbis who promote therapy for their students who are gay. Dr. Abba Borowich, an Orthodox psychiatrist who practiced reparative therapy for Orthodox homosexuals for nearly 30 years concluded that this was an ineffective course of therapy which only increased suffering among his patients and their families.
    see: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a903744101~frm=abslink

    In response to your second comment about the ‘insidious disease’ ( i assume you are referring to HIV) you may be interested to know that infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. The four major routes of transmission are unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth.
    It is possible to be HIV positive as both a homosexual or heterosexual person.

    There is no such thing as a disease that gay people suffer from which heterosexual people do not, except homophobia.
    The Greens are a party which stand for ending the homophobia which exists in the Labor and Liberal parties by promising to put forward a bill in the next parliament to ensure that gay Australians have the same rights in marriage as the rest of us.

  • Robert Weil says:

    Hi Ittay,
    Thanks for your response. It is exactly kind of self-deluding, politically correct drivel that I was expecting with the ‘homophobe’ card thrown in for good measure. Unlike the media, I do not fall for the “10% of the population is homosexual” ststistic. It has never been scientifically measured although it is a convenient figure for the gay movement to toss around. Be that as it may, I have no argument that people are born gay and are deserving of respect, inclusion, compassion etc. I do, however, take offence at being labelled a ‘homophobe’ for merely questioning or commenting on any thing that spokespersons for the gay movement put out there.
    You trot out the old “HIV is not a gay disease” message. Really? Believe it or not, I am an avid reader of newspapers and this extends to the “Star Obserever” and similar gay-oriented publications. My heart weeps as I turn the pages to see obituary after obituary, tribute after tribute, with accompanying photos of beautiful young men whose lives have been so prematurely snuffed out by this horrible disease. Is my empathy a symptom of ‘homophobia?’
    Ittay, you quote a study that has found what appears to indicate that there are some homosexual tendencies to be found in the animal kingdom. You can find “studies” to show almost anything you want. In fact “studies” have now become another weapon in the war against good old common sense being waged by the politically correct left and movements such as the gay lobby, whose self-delusional propoganda appears to have worked on you. You rightly state that HIV also affects heterosexuals, and you cite examples of how it is transmitted ie through blood transfer, breat milk etc. But medical fact (note: fact not “studies”) clearly prove that these means of transmission are invariably secondary in nature. For example, when HIV first became prevalent in the 1980’s, it was found to occur in males who had indulged in anal sex, and blood transfusions from homosexual blood donors. HIV in breastmilk was found to invariably be confined to women who had been in a sexual relationship with a gay or bisexual male. Again, these are not “studies” but medical fact.
    So, Ittay, it is not as simple and as ‘motherhood’ as you make out. As a kippah-wearing Jew, bearing in mind what the Torah also has to say on this matter, I am surprised you are so accepting, without questioning, of all the spin out there. If you were to open your mind and rid yourself of the politically correct blinkers, I will personally defend you against anyone who would dare label you a ‘homophobe’.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Robert,
    I commend you for writing that “people who are born gay and are deserving of respect, inclusion, compassion”
    Does that mean that gay Jews can receive aliyot, be invited to Shabbat dinners with their partners or even serve on the board in your shule? When it comes to kiruv, our community has no problem accepting those who don’t keep Shabbat or speak lashon hara? Why can’t we extend the same welcome to gay Jews?

    Last year Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights held a panel titled “Being Gay in the Modern Orthodox World.” It was run by the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and the Yeshiva University Tolerance Club. Three alumni and a current YU student spoke about their homosexuality. Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani of Yeshiva University, was the moderator. In his words, the panel was meant to address “the pain and the conflict that is caused by someone being gay in the Orthodox world.”
    You can watch a video of the panel here.
    If you choose to watch it, you will see how perspectives that view homosexuality as akin to a disease or something worse cause great harm to frum gay jews.

    There are a number of reasons why I see no contradiction in both wearing a kippa and voting green. Firstly, despite the fact the halacha forbids gay marriage, I do not believe that Australia should be governed by halacha. If gay Australians which to marry each other, I don’t see how the government permitting this does any harm to people who wish to marry people of the same gender.

    Secondly, the most repeated pasuk verse in the torah states
    וְגֵר לֹא תִלְחָץ וְאַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם אֶת-נֶפֶשׁ הַגֵּר כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
    Shmot 23:9. The fact the both major parties have entered this disgusting competition of who can be more cruel to refugees sickens me. Voting Green sends a message to the big parties that our policy towards asylum seekers should be guided by compassion rather than fear.

    Thirdly, the midrash states,
    “In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He,
    created the first man,
    He took him and let him pass before all the trees of
    the Garden of Eden and said to him:
    “See my works, how fine and excellent they are!
    Now all that I have created, for you have I created.
    Think upon this and do not corrupt and desolate My World,
    For if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it
    right after you.” (Kohelet Rabba 7:13)

    The Greens are the party that will take action to stop any new coal fired power plants which are ruining our planet. They will instead invest in building solar thermal plants like has been done in Spain and California so that we can continue living our lives the way we do with a smaller carbon footprint.

    Even though we both daven from the same artscroll siddur and read the same torah every Shabbat, I believe it is good that we interpret it differently. Looking for which of the seventy faces of the torah most speaks to me does not mean I’m stuck with “politically correct blinkers.” It means I’m a proud and serious engaged Jew, just like you.


    Ittay, your replies to Robert Weil, are typical of the replies that those of us who are able to distinguish between homosexuals as human beings, and the sexual activities in which they engage, are used to receiving. The typical accusations of this made up word homophobia, come to the fore every time.

    Without wishing to preempt a possible reply from Mr. Weil, let me, as a member of the CHC answer the first paragraph of your last post.I am unaware of anyone being refused an Aliyah at the CHC because they were gay. The only people who cannot be given an Aliya at CHC or any other shul for that matter due to the Halacha, are those that have married out. I have had gay couples at my dinner table both on Shabbat and Yom Tov. I am sure that if a gay person wished to stand for the board of the CHC and received enough votes to get on that board, he/she would be welcomed with open arms.

    You make a ridiculous sweeping statement about Kiruv. I know of many people in various strictly observant communities and congregations in Melbourne, that are NOT welcomed with open arms because they are purveyors of Lashon Hara and don’t keep Shabbat.

    I am surprised that someone with your philosophical and political views would deny a persons freedom of choice to decide with whom they wish to communicate, come in contact with, or have anything to do with. If people don’t want to have anything to do with Homosexuals and Lesbians, then that is their choice. We do, after all, live in a Democracy. If people want nothing to do with you or me or Mr.Weil, for whatever reason, then that is their choice. There is NO difference between these two examples.

    I hope that you would be aware, that a phobia is a disease of the brain. The word homophobia gives the impression that anyone who finds the sex acts that take place between gays disgusting and abhorrent, as having a phobia, a mental disease. Oh that’s right. people like you find it impossible to imagine that someone like myself, or Mr. Weil, could have as many gay friends like I do, have them at my house for Shabbat and Yomtov, conduct business with them, yet find that the sexual acts in which they engage disgusting. I have openly told them my views, and they, unlike you, can accept my concerns. Therefore, they do not label me a homophobe. In fact, they tell me that it is perfectly natural for a straight heterosexual man to feel the way I do. Oh, and by the way, the fact that some heterosexuals engage in anal sex, does not make the act any less disgusting.

    What you have posted on here, is typical of the defensive rubbish that appears whenever someone says something like Mr. Weil did. Rather than stay on point, you delve into a mountain of material to try to prove….well I don’t know what you were/are trying to prove.

    It’s time for you, and others like you, to face the facts. Just because, heterosexuals like me and Mr.Weil and millions of others find the sex acts that are conducted between homosexuals abhorrent, does not mean that we all discriminate against them as human beings.
    Unfortunately, it is people like you who, by your inability to accept this fact, that make the acceptance of gays into the wider community so much more difficult.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi caulfield shule goer,
    I don’t know who you are, but i have never called you or Mr Weil homophobic. What I wrote in my earlier comment was that homophobia is something that gay people suffer from.
    The fact that you are invite gay jews to be members of your board and for shabbat meals is admirable and I believe you should be commended for not excluding these people.

    The point of my last post was that there are unfortuntley jews in the orthodox community who are not as welcoming to gay jews as you are: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56raYrCqA0c

    When you write, “I am surprised that someone with your philosophical and political views would deny a person freedom of choice to decide with whom they wish to communicate, come in contact with.”
    I think you have misunderstood the issue. The greens policy does not coerce anyone to communicate with homosexuals or adpot a gay lifestyle. All its asks for is that homosexuals are treated with equality before the law when it comes to marriage. I don’t think one needs to be gay in order to support this right.

  • Caulfield Shulgoer says:

    You have got to be kidding Ittay. You pull the oldest trick in the book and then deny it. You said “there is no such thing as a disease that gay people suffer from which heterosexual people do not, except homophobia.” This means that you classify this so called “homophobia’, as a disease. The fact that it’s in Wikipedia gives it as much credibility as me saying that tomorrow, I’m going to board a Cessna and fly to the moon.

    Secondly, even though you didn’t point the finger at Mr. Weil directly, by doing so, you have inferred that because Mr. Weil commented as he did, and I as I did, then as heterosexuals we are afflicted with this so called disease. On that point alone, you have no credibility.

    As is the case with people other than the friends I referred to in my post, you will never confront the issue of the disgusting sexual practices performed with each other by gays. A second display of a complete lack of credibility on your part.

    Instead, you decry the fact that gays aren’t allowed, under current legislation, to marry. I agree with that law. The fact a small minority want to change the law to give legitimacy to the fact that they are not heterosexual, does not mean that it is correct to do so. Will you also defend the rights of people to marry and have sex with their dog? What about a man who wants to marry and have sex with a 10 year old? Following on from your logic, men should be allowed to marry and have sex with 10 year olds. Why stop there? Let’s make it 5 year olds.

    By all means, I agree that same sex couples who live together and have established long term relationships, should have the same rights as defacto couples. That’s where, in my opinion, it should begin and end.

    You want to support gay marriage, that’s your prerogative, but don’t try and convince me that by denying 2 men or 2 women to marry, which is not, nor has it ever been through history, considered to be normality, as a denial of their human rights.

  • Ittay says:

    Results are in from Melbourne Ports. The Greens massivley increased their vote from the last election recoding a +6.18 swing. This is proof that more and more members of my tribe are rejecting the fear campaigns spread in the AJN by Barry Cohen and others and are choosing to vote for a party that is standing for our environemnt and demanding justice for the weakest members of our society.
    Overall this election, the swing to the greens was larger than that to the coalition.

    Latest Results –
    Candidate Party Votes % Swing (%)
    EKENDAHL, Kevin Liberal 23,391 36.86 -2.82
    PLOWRIGHT, Sue Australian Greens 13,460 21.21 +6.18
    DANBY, Michael David Australian Labor Party 24,568 38.72 -3.75
    VEGA, Christian Australian Sex Party 1,363 2.15 +2.15
    STORER, Gregory Secular Party of Australia 264 0.42 +0.42
    EMMERSON, Daniel Family First 408 0.64 -0.21

  • But on a two-party preferred basis, this made virtually no difference. The net swing has gone in Danby’s favour!

    Candidate Party Votes This Election (%) Last Election (%) Swing (%)
    EKENDAHL, Kevin Liberal 26,253 41.37 42.85 -1.48
    DANBY, Michael David Australian Labor Party 37,200 58.63 57.15 +1.48

    The swing to Greens could either be a rejection of the major parties in general (or of Labor for voters who couldn’t bring themselves to actually vote Liberal) or a vote for Green.

    Bottom line – they are certainly the winners this election, with a lower house seat and far more influence in the Senate.

  • Caulfield Shulgoer says:

    So the Greens won the seat of Melbourne. They only won it because the Liberals prostituted themselves and directed their preferences to the Greens. If they had not done so, then Labor would have won the seat easily.

    The Greens increased their vote in my opinion based on two factors. Firstly, their policies, such as they are, appeal appeal to mindless 18, 21 idiots out their who haven’t learnt how to think yet and don’t understand that policies can only be implemented by the House of Representatives. All that the greens in the Senate have been good at, is blocking Government initiatives.

    Secondly, there is no doubt that most of the votes the Greens got, were from dissatisfied Labor voters. I am sure that these Labor voters, having voted for the Greens, then put their second preference straight into the Labor box. Bruce Hawker on Sky a who works for the Labor party as their main political strategist, said that an an extraordinary number of Green preferences were going to Labor in many seats, and that this ensured that what should have been a complete decimation of Labor, did not occur.

    Finally, Unless Ittay, you can provide proof of your statement “that more and more members of my tribe” etc. i.e. that Jews have voted for the Greens in numbers never seen before, I respectfully suggest that you restrict your comments to actual fact. Unfortunately, your previous posts are evidence that you find such a proposition impossible.

  • ariel says:

    Regarding the seat of Melbourne, the Greens member-elect has said that two of his demands for supporting a Gillard government (he has already ruled out supporting Abbott) are:

    1. gay marriage; and
    2. solar panels on the MCG roof.

    #1 has been discussed at length, so let’s leave it for now.

    #2 proves Caufiled Shulegoer’s point about who the Greens appeal to and what they stand for. this new member has absolutely ZERO understanding of the constitutional responsibilites of federal parliament.
    does he really think we’re that stupid as to think federal parliament is even capable (let alone responisible!!) of installing a solar panel at the MCG?!

    if this is what he stands for, they should make him speaker of the house. that way he won’t get a vote on anything and we can leave the important decisions up to the more mature members…

  • frosh says:

    Caulfield Shulgoer,

    Will you also restrict your comments to actual fact?

    Or do you only propose this restriction for Ittay?

  • Sam says:

    Caulfield Shulgoer

    Am am no expert in political strategy but it appears plain to me that Liberals did not prostitute themselves in th seat of Melbourne but expecting an extremely tight result overall had to make a strategic decision to try and unseat any incumbent Labor MPs.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Caulfield Shule Goer,
    the link on the aec website to Melbourne Ports clearly lists the results of every both in Melbourne Ports.
    If you click on any of the boths where a high number of percentage of jews live(Caulfield, Stkilda, Elsternwick etc), you will see that there is a swing in the greens in almost all of them.

  • ariel says:

    How many Jews voted in pre-polling because of Shabbat and would not have been counted in any of these lists yet?

  • It’s impossible to know whether Greens voters (whether in Melbourne Ports, Melbourne or anywhere else) were voting for the Greens or as a protest against Labor.

    We won’t see the pre-poll votes for Melbourne Ports for at least another week because the seat has already been called for Labor. Would be interesting to see the breakdown … not sure if the AEC site shows that.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Ariel and David,
    The results for the pre poll votes in Melbourne Ports are not up on the aec site yet.
    When they are, they will be available at this link:

  • Geoff says:

    Just happened to trip across your site. Now firstly I am not jewish although have spent many months in Israel over the years, secondly at the ripe old old of 70 I have joined the Greens Party. No – I do not like all their policies and I do not like all their politicians. What I do like, is their consistency – the policies of today will be the policies of tomorrow unless fully debated; their inclusion – I dont have to be a lawyer or a trade union apparatchik to have a say, and finally anybody that has done a lot of flying and looked down at the smog filled atmosphere, deafforestation and all the other detritus of mankind must realize that this cannot continue, good planets are hard to find. If you look around the party you will also find the extremists of yesterday are being replaced.

    Oh by the way the real elephant in the room. When I was born there were 1.9 billion on the planet, now there are over 7

  • Ittay says:

    To all those who commented on this piece, join us at Limmud Oz this year where Senator Richard Di Natale will be holding a Q&A on Monday from 3:45-4:45 at Monash Caulfield.

    Engaging with the Greens – the Third Force in Politics
    Room: H2.22
    This workshop is an opportunity for the Jewish community to ask the Greens questions directly about what they stand for on a range of issues such as climate change, health, public transport, infrastructure planning, education and the Israel/ Palestine question. At times, our policies are misrepresented by others so this is an opportunity for a direct dialogue.


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