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Dual Loyalty Accusations Arise from the Ben Zygier Case

February 14, 2013 – 7:25 pm149 Comments
israeli australian passports

Image taken from an “Australians For Palestine” scare piece titled “Dual loyalty is compromising our national interest”.

By Yaron Gottlieb
The revelations this week about Prisoner X on the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program has lead me to reflect about elements of my life and my relationship with Israel.

I am a dual citizen after having made Aliya on Boxing Day 2006 (the day of Warnie’s 700th), but I currently live in Australia. This is entirely due to meeting my wife in Australia and her unwillingness to move to Israel.

However, I have complete loyalty to both of my countries, although I told my Israeli friends that I would never support an Israeli sporting team. According to the Tebbit Test, this would make me significantly more Aussie than Israeli.

However, I am loyal to both of my countries and would never use my privileged position in one to undermine the other. Therefore I would not allow access to my Australian passport and nor should any any dual citizen. And if the Australian government wanted access to my Israeli documents I would turn them down as well (although I am not sure what possible advantage an Israeli passport could confer).

The Prisoner X story has thrown these issues into stark relief. It would seem an Australian using his Australian passport to the advantage of a foreign power eventually fell foul of his masters and was locked up until his untimely death. How should we, left here in Australia, respond philosophically to this horrible series of events? Do we have dual loyalties?

The phenomenon of Australians serving in a foreign army has long existed. Jews are not unique among dual citizens in this regard. Australians with a background from the former Yugoslavia, for example, fought in the Balkan wars in the 1990s. This is not a phenomenon that can be regulated by the ethnic communities in Australia themselves. Rather, it is up to the Australian government to legislate on this issue and to ban Australian citizens from serving in foreign militaries should it feel that dual loyalties are an issue.

I personally believe it is possible to serve in a foreign army without compromising loyalty to Australia, as long as the military activity does not in any way compromise Australia’s security. But Australian Jews cannot have it both ways. If we as a community feel uncomfortable with, for example, a Jordanian-Australian fighting on behalf of the Jordanian government to the extent that we would want such service banned, we cannot expect service to Israel to avoid criticism.

This story of espionage and intrigue is unusual only in that Israel got caught. In the world of cloak and daggers there are no doubt constant efforts to get a leg up on other countries, and if it involves recruiting a dual citizen then it will be done.

However, Israel has a decision to make, and it comes with a tremendous responsibility. It must decide: is it like every other country or is one of its missions as a state to protect the Jews around the world?

If it is just another state, then it has not done anything worse than any other state in their pursuit of intelligence. But because of this action – and the resulting suspicion all Australian Jews will now likely face in many quarters – the Jews in Australia are a little less safe. Therefore, Israel has failed in its duty of care to protect all Jews – including those living outside of Israel – if that’s what it claims is one of its reasons for being.

Many Australians following this story will now be wondering about every Australian Jew and where our loyalties really lie: what proportion of Australian Jews sacrifice their passports to the Israeli government if asked?

I am not suggesting that Israel should be held up to a moral code of a state in peace. Israel’s position in the Middle East means that it exists in a particularly tough neighbourhood and it is technically at war with a number of countries in the region. Under such circumstances, sometimes certain actions must be taken that can be easy to criticise from the safety of our Australian armchairs.

But this does not mean that Israel can receive a blank cheque to do whatever it wants. I want the country of my second citizenship to be a moral and upright country, and if the accusations currently levelled against it with regards to Prisoner X are true, criticism is richly deserved.

The murky story of Prisoner X is not just a story about one man. It is also a story about Jewish Australian loyalty and our ability to distinguish between right and wrong. National loyalty is often presented as a zero-sum phenomenon. But this does not need to be the case. I live with two passports and this creates no challenges to the essence of my being. I am Israeli and I am Australian, and like so many others in this country who are dual citizens, I am absolutely loyal to both.

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  • Albert says:

    I’m Jewish and have always felt uncomfortable about Australian citizens serving in the Israeli army without relinquishing their Australian citizenship. I guess it wouldn’t have made a difference in the Zygier case because he was just an Israeli/Australian dual citizen at the time of recruitment. There’s also the fact that military service or training is compulsory so many young olim might not have much of a choice.

    I do question the bond that some young Jews I know have with Australia. Some would join the IDF and move to Israel in a heartbeat but I honestly doubt they would ever join the ADF. I don’t think they take enough interest in the history or constitutional values of their native country. Of course I am only talking about a relatively small subsection, but this is the subsection likely to move to Israel and join the IDF. It either has something to do with youth movements, upbringings or formal education.

    You make a good point about the Mossad having made Australian Jews less safe, which is a foreseeable risk that comes with using Australian/New Zealand passports. It’s reckless and I am angry that we have been put in this position. I’m no idealist and fully understand that spy agencies often have to do what they have to do. I’d rather they stole or forged passports instead of making dual citizens betray their Australian citizenship.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rarely have I read more infantile tripe cum confessions of gutless ( see tripe again !!! ) inane remarks – and the immediate retort from one Albert.
    Your opinions, guys, gelled along the marble floor of some Bondi Junction Westfiled shopping centre prior to buying new fashion sun glasses or latest IPod and coolest board to match, made me think seriously about using MY dual citizenship to join at once the IDF, if at 66 is allowed.

    ….soryy I must cut it here, I’m off to vomit…………

  • Albert says:

    I’m not surprised that you have foreign citizenship, Otto.

    Your comment come across as if it was written it in one language, then put through Google Translate and translated into Swahili. The resulting comment was then translated into German, then Mandarin, then Spanish, then Tagalog and then finally into English.

  • Yaron says:

    Thanks for the comment, but something to think about is how the Jewish schools and youth groups are educating for this outcome. And how do we change it.

    I read the name and ignored the rest

    Life is too short to read your semi-literate offerings with no discernible point.

    I imagine I am not alone.

  • Albert says:

    In fact I just put Otto’s comment through Google Translate a few times and actually think the final translation makes more sense than what he wrote:

    “Maha, some children Come coward is empty comment (see dare!) – Albert quick response.
    Your comment, you guys who are working on the ground for several days prior to the purchase of new fashion sunglasses gangster junktyon the time or the latest iPod and West Filed cold table, and that’s why I think the two views at the same time to participate in IDF Israeli citizenship, if not 66

    …. Sorey is here, and vomiting …………”

  • BHA says:

    An excellent piece Yaron. As an Australian oleh, I too have been contemplating this issue in the past few days.

  • Barry says:

    I would like to have seen the ABC taken to task for the inflammatory suggestion that Jewish Australians are an easy touch to do the work of Mossad, and that they do it well because they are assumed to have an “innocence”.


    What I would really like is to see people calling themselves Jewish Australians, as I did above, or Jewish Englishmen/women, or Jewish New Zealanders, rather than Australian or British Jews. It might seem a small point, but my background is as establishment as it could possibly be; and my non-Jewish peers would be referred to as Catholic or Anglican Australians, not the other way round like some census note.

    I am not Other. I just happen to be Jewish. The inability to understand that there could be such a thing as a Jewish German is one of the things that led to tragedy before.

    You would never have heard the term American Jew in the past, only Jewish American. Now, however, people are using the expression, and only for the most nefarious of reasons.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    ….and to boot, your honest confession that plain English is foreign to you.
    Back from vomoting, what we are witnessing here are a bunch of spoilt brats venturing un-baked musings on the “tribulations” of negotiating some serious, some callenging notions which are not at all that problematic. Jews having to debate the inner questions of :
    “Well, my citizenship implies obligations and moral dilemas. I do have dilemas because I have been driving since I was 16, I ay Council rates, my wife and I must pay regular credit card instalments, have a mortgage and one child whose intellectual need must be well satisfied by a otherwise deficient Jewish edcation system, which, because I can write stuff on web sites, I am going to fix up BEFORE forking out those gastly school charges etc. etc. …”
    I grew up with fist fights on the corridors of the Bucharest University fending off REAL anti Semites, anti Semitic snipes on the street and all other public spaces from former nazis, with real numerus clausus at my History Faculty where out of 50 students per year only ONE ostensive Jew was allowed, maximum 2 Hungarians and there was NO way one could complain. My Parents spent years in concentartion camps with their Hungarian ghetos being decimated. I lots one sister and the other one was given to a peasant family to survive the war and all I hear from the funny Swahili joker bloke is that his dual citizenship causes him to ponder if being simply Jewish answers the Australian civic commitments vs his Israeli passposrt !! Problems, problems, problems. Yet, there is a silver linig !! Retreat out in the green lash spaces of Hunter Valley with a good drop of Chard with your mates and even drop a line on some web site spelling out your spleen and, bingo, you have sehel !!!!
    But, look I got carried away and forgot that more than two monosyllabic words would deem my text un-readable. How un-cool of me !!

  • frosh says:


    I think it’s up to each person to define themselves. Personally, I’ve always considered myself more of an Australian Jew than a Jewish Australian, and I make no apologies for that.

    In a purely hypothetical example, if my wife and I were to move to Canada and then had a child, that child would likely grow up considering themselves a Canadian Jew, rather than a Canadian Australian or an Australian Canadian. The noun stays the same, but the adjective changes. For countless generations, my direct ancestors have been Jews, but we can assume that the adjective would have changed numerous times.

    None of this prevents one from being a model citizen. Furthermore, it doesn’t require a dual identity to be far from imperfect citizen.

  • Yaron says:

    This leads back to Albert’s question – are the schools/ youth groups educating Jews in Australia with only an Aussie passport to have more loyalty to Israel than to their own country?

    Blah blah blah.

    Again did not read it but I am sure it is irrelevant.

    I am sure you are trying hard to insult someone, but what good is an insult if no one can understand it.

  • frosh says:

    Hi Yaron,

    I’m not sure I can give an educated opinion on that. I didn’t go to a Jewish high school, and if anything, that experience probably contributed to defining myself as an Australian Jew, rather than a Jewish Australian.

    Again, I don’t think that makes me disloyal in any real sense. I certainly wouldn’t knowingly engage in any activity that risks Australia’s national security or interests in anyway.

  • Abe says:

    Hi Yaron,

    I actually think that to try and judge the “morality” of an action by Mossad without all the relevant facts is kind of ridiculous. Your very local context (putting some Jews in Australia at a tiny risk of being distrusted) is, I am sure, one of the tiny parts of the risk matrix that the Israeli intelligence considers when it looks at the issue from a global Jewish perspective. In addition, your knowledge of all the interconnected issues/dangers and norms within the world of intelligence is, I am sure, probably quite limited. Would you comment on the correctness of latest scientific theory in the field of astrophysics?

    In terms of identity, I agree with Frosh. The Jewish part won’t change no matter where I live. Nevertheless that doesn’t contradict the notion of being an upright Australian citizen more than having loyalties to my family or my friends would. Is your loyalty to Israel or Australia compromised by your relationship with your wife or can they co-exist?

  • TheSadducee says:

    I’ll give 2 personal anecdotes;

    Back in 2005, when I was undergoing my Aust. Govt. security clearance for my current job, I was extensively questioned about my links to Israel, the Israeli Embassy, my feelings about being Jewish and Australian etc – no one came out and directly suggested dual loyalty, but the implication was clear. Presumably it was because I identified my religion as Judaism in the clearance data and it was assumed (confirmed at the meeting) that I attended the Canberra synagogue (the only synagogue in Canberra btw).

    2 days ago, a senior Aust. Govt. public servant I work with made the (crass and offensive IMHO) comment that he thought about me while watching the Prisoner X report on the ABC the other night. No explanation as to why that association was made other than (I presume) I’m quite open about my Judaism in the workplace.

  • letters in the age says:

    Thanks Galus for this posting and its great that its outside of the mainstream media.

    Interesting remarks about the Jewish schools and very, very valid points.

    I have met Mr Zygier’s father and he was a lovely man to deal with.

    Identity and ethnocentrism are prevalent not just amongst Jews but all children of migrants/minorities in this country.

    Many people play identity politics to suit their agendas and personal circumstances.

    You can be whatever and whoever you want to be , if and when it suits your environment.

    The question to be asked is…when and why do people adopt an identity crisis?

  • letters in the age says:

    Furthermore Yaron many people abuse their privileged positions in their respective positions……..

    That’s the essence of human nature and ego.

  • Albert says:

    Abe, I don’t judge Mossad for detaining Zygier because I don’t know what he did but I sense it would be pretty severe. I can’t judge the morality of that action.

    I can, however, judge the recruitment of dual Australian/Israeli citizens by Mossad who are then encouraged to betray their Australian citizenship for Israel’s strategic advantage. That is quite a particular choice that would have a very clear and predictable outcome in relation to how Australian Jews are perceived. It’s not putting a global issue in a local context – this is the entire context.

    In my opinion it should not be up to Mossad to decide to put Australian Jews in such a position by balancing the risk of doing so against some vague global risk matrix. Mossad should not be the arbiter of what is an acceptable risk to Australian Jews.

    I am not saying the risk is great or that the community will suffer significantly, but it does create a sense of alienation and mistrust that is very unhelpful.

  • letters in the age says:


    The Jewish brand has been tarnished……….


  • letters in the age says:

    Otto, i get you…….!!

    In a weird quirky way…


  • Otto Waldmann says:

    As Yaron and Albert hold hands happy in their comfy strict and restricted compass of comprehension ( come back to me later if me wording too complicated and will tellya what I mean in schoolyard lingo ), it seems that we must define, once again that recurring theme of : WHAT’S A BLOODY JEW and what makes him tick the Jewish way, meaning from right to left !!!
    Hey, Mossad does not force ANYBODY to work for them, quite the opposite, the screening process is so bloody rigid and severe that one has to be excessivelly willing to work there. Second : if one decides to take residence in Israel as a citizen – meaning that one qualifies as such, got it !! – that person’s alternative “allegiance” to another country is incrediby IRRELEVANT, as it is also incredibly LEGAL to partake in all activities of the country of your choice.
    Once inside any intelligence agency, the use of deceit, illegal methods, documents and anything else of this kind is such a M.O. that debating the “whys” and “why nots” is beyond the lowest standards of intellectual maturity.
    Otherwise, children, if you feel like being busy filling in web sites with your considerate opinions and reciprocal support, go ahead, I cannot wait to have a go at yourse – boring as your musings “happen” to be, including the still-born sarcasm you picked up at some high class wine bars.

  • letters in the age says:

    Danby et al should apologise to Rudd for his overeaction to that passport scandal now…….

  • letters in the age says:

    If one is to believe the a.f.r article today,that compensation was offered by Israel to the family….

    Israel was badly at fault here…..

  • letters in the age says:

    Its time not to defend Israel at all costs….

    Media beat up or not….maybe this is the wake up call for the community

    The truth hurts sometimes……

    Time to cleanse…..

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    I’m a little lost over the notion thats being spun aroud here that Jewish Australians who join the IDF or work for Mossad and use their Australian passports would be accused of betraying Australia and having duel loyalties…unless Australia had an alliance with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah? Can someone please help me out? Can someone name one spy agency that does not use foreign passports? Can one honestly claim that ASIO does not use foreign passports with a straight face?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Levi formerly of CCCP
    you are right and just above yr comment I said the very same stuff , but and what makes it even more “intersting” is the way some moron by the name of Bob Carr makes an issue about why an Israeli citizen in the employ of HIS country’s secret services ( kinda Israeli ASIO )is not also responsible to…… Australia !!!
    In other words, being a double agent, which could well be the very reason this poor bugger ended up the way he did , is ok with our Bob as long as Israel “pays” for it and is also taken to task for the same.

    Never mind, a few more months till Yom Kippur and we shall be cleansed of this clown. Meanwhile why not enjoy his princely performance parading his pretence of trouble international shooter while aiming his shooting target at his feet well placed into his mounth.

  • Albert says:


    Firstly, let’s separate the issue of Australian Jews becoming Mossad agents and Australian Jews joining the IDF. My point about Australians joining the IDF is that they are willing to move halfway across the world to fight for a country that they were probably not a citizen of before they moved, but would never even think to join the military of the wonderful country where they were born and raised. This doesn’t necessarily raise questions of dual loyalty (or at least treason) since these loyalties wouldn’t be in direct conflict, but it does make one question the depth of their ties to Australia. Is Australia merely a safe place where their parents earn a good wage while they attain an education, or do they believe in its values and have a stake in its future?

    In relation to Mossad, my issue is not the use of foreign passports per se. The basic rule is that you can use them but you can’t get caught using them. Steal them, forge them, do whatever you have to do because everyone else is using them as well.

    My problem is with Mossad specifically recruiting Israeli-Australian citizens, using their Australian citizenship in order to conduct illegal (but often necessary) overseas missions for Israel’s strategic gain and also asking them to spy for Israel in their native country.

    If you don’t think this raises issues of dual loyalty that have the potential to detrimentally affect how Australian Jews are perceived in Australia then I can’t help you. Other countries like the USA might engage in this practice as well, but I would also go so far as to say that the risks are much greater when Israel does it because people are much more likely to question the loyalty of Jews in such circumstances in light of their historical depiction as cosmopolitan, rootless and wandering.

  • Barry says:


    Your sensitivities deserve sympathy. But.

    You can’t assume that Mossad went out of its way to recruit nice Jewish Australian boys and girls. That is what the ABC has done, and it stinks.

    I’m sure many people, if they thought they could be of real help to Israel without compromising Australia, wouldn’t hesitate to meet the challenge. They might well make the first contact. But it doesn’t in any way suggest dual loyalties. And I’m equally sure many people wouldn’t think of doing any such thing. The problem is that the ABC, again, is suggesting that Jewish Australians cannot be relied upon.

    It may seem an awkward comparison but when people went off to fight/drive ambulances/whatever in Spain in the 30s (for whichever side), no one saw it as a conflict of loyalties among the many British, French, Irish and Americans taking part. Neither side in Spain was at war with those countries, just as Australia is not at war with Israel.

  • Albert says:

    Barry, I don’t think I have read a single article from the ABC in relation to this issue. If it were up to me the ABC would be privatised. Don’t mistake me for a person of the left.

    Given Ben Zygier’s numerous name changes, and given reports that several other Australian-Israelis are suspected of having done the same thing, I think it is safe to say that at least part of the reason for their recruitment was their Australian citizenship. The use of forged Australian passports in the Dubai assassination confirms the value of Australian passports to Israel, as do Warren Reed’s comments that Australian/New Zealand passports are seen as ‘clean’ by foreign governments.

    I don’t have much idea what Zygier actually did so am not in a position to say whether the measures Israel took were justified. The only thing I can definitively fault Israel for is not sufficiently monitoring Zygier during his detention, an error which ultimately enabled his suicide.

  • letters in the age says:

    The innocence of being “Australian” is a very valuable commodity globally……..

  • letters in the age says:


    Please refrain from insulting the intelligence of readers on this blog with white collar criminals like him…

    Cmon guys….

    Life is way too short to waste reading that…

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    “My point about Australians joining the IDF is that they are willing to move halfway across the world to fight for a country that they were probably not a citizen of before they moved, but would never even think to join the military of the wonderful country where they were born and raised.”

    Thankfully Australia is not at war and is not facing existential threats and challenges to its natonal security. If it was – and Sydney, melbourne and Perth were under rocket threat and the government called up a mandatory military draft – I have absolutley no doubt that Australian Jews would be the first to sign up. I’m convinced that would include many expats who current serve or had served in the IDF – they would be on flights back to Australia. So I’m sorry, your comparison doesn’t really stand. I would dare go as far as to say, that far from suggesting dual loyalty, it’s a very honorable thing for diaspora Jews to join the IDF and help defend the home land of the Jewish people – especially when Israel has common interests with countries like Australia.

    “Is Australia merely a safe place where their parents earn a good wage while they attain an education, or do they believe in its values and have a stake in its future”

    The media likes to parrot an empty mantra every time Israel decides to defend itself in conflicts with terrorists – “disproportionate.” I would like to borrow this exact same term – taking it away from complete falsehood – and use it for something thats actully best on reality. I’m going to apply this term to Australia’s Jewish community and it’s contribution to this country. Given how small the communtiy is (less than 1%) their contribution to bettering and advancing this country has been far greater than any other community – completely disproportionate. That should pretty much answer your question.

    “but I would also go so far as to say that the risks are much greater when Israel does it because people are much more likely to question the loyalty of Jews in such circumstances in light of their historical depiction as cosmopolitan, rootless and wandering.”

    So you believe in a double standard – one for the Jews and one for everyone else. I don’t. I was never a fan of the nuremberg laws. I appreciate your honesty though. I wish everyone was that honest.

  • Steven says:

    Thanks to Yaron and Albert for their thoughtful contributions on the prisoner X scandal.

    The question is where is our fearless communal leadership on this issue?

    I too worry that our whole community is at risk of being suspected of disloyalty. Using Australian passports for foreign intelligence purposes is illegal, and our leaders, rabbis and school teachers should be saying so, loudly and publicly. Their silence is shameful and underscores, if not legitimises, the defamatory suspicion that some now have of our entire community.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    So you prefer to choose Aunty, Fairfax, George Negus, Paul Mcgeough etc as a “credible source” when it comes to israel, especially when they intend to cast Israel in a negative light or suggest that Australian Jews have dual loyalties…to Andrew Bolt who actually posted a myth busting column on his blog countering all the Fairfax and ABC hype with actual facts. You have an interesting set of priotirities there.

  • frosh says:

    I am not a fan of Bolt’s general world view, but I have to admit that in this specific article, there is nothing that I would much disagree with. It’s actually pretty spot on.

    Letters, what are the specific parts you disagree with, and why?

  • Yaron says:


    Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    However listening to Phil Chester on Radio National, I would prefer them to keep quiet.

    He failed to answer any answer straight, and claimed that the ZFA were the ones who sent people on Aliya etc (where they are only a roof body), so over-reached his authority. No doubt with skills like that a career in politics beckons.

    I will now give you the answer your (still un-read) rantings deserve:

    I trust that you will accept this answer in the spirit of disdain that it was intended.

  • Barry says:

    Levi’s comment at 1.08:

    Beautifully put.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    The abundance of provocative half-baked notions of the ethics of locum loyalties makes for good, healthy dialogue. One Albert and another one Steven launch the cute naive attropine eye openeners which can only compete with lovely puppies, but canvassing worthy thoughts, forget it !!
    Still unable to join together a modicum of respectable retorts to my well intended – and even better executed – offensive against unworthy utterings, Yaron is putting on display his entire arsenal of soft toys laced with dribbling pubertine venom, completely innocuous to an old bastard like me.
    Once again :
    Individuals have the ethical choice of siding with whatever, whoever they please. Being born in a certain place does NOT imply that the place and people thereof, has an undisputed hold on one’s freedom of choice. Sorry but I must resort to this : Nazis considered Marlene Dietrich a traitor as she was fighting the GERMAN 3rd Reich from the comforts of the arch -enemy, USA.
    Not a good example you may say because Australia and Israel are not at war. So what, it is still a matter of one’s choice. in Dietrich’s case she sided with an ideology distinct from the one to which the vast majority of Germans adhered and THAT is the point.
    Any Australian who happens to be Jewish and, by an incidence of legal access, can become the citizen of Israel, if partaking in all LEGAL aspects of Israeli life he does what the AUSTRALIAN officials ( and after that all Australians !!) expect him/her to do by the simple virtue that Australia accepts……………..dual citizenship, dual loyalty, dual army service, secret service, blood donation, public toilet use…….ai capito Yaron, the one with sevre reading/comprehension challenges !!!
    Carr or anyone else can not have it both ways: YES, you can be both Ausie and bloody Israeli, NO you may not really be Israeli because that dual citizenship creates the derivate of……..dual loyalty, but, yes, again, you can hold both citizenships. Go figure !!!
    Has anybody come across the old canard that Jews cannot be trusted as loyal to the local communities, be it in XIII Century Sothern Germany, Navara France or Spain, same time England wehre all Jews were kicked out so at the time of Shakespeare there was no longer one singly Jew living in England because they ” could not be trusted ” and the list goes on.
    Strangely enough, the enthusiastic minds of our seemingly Jewish educated ( to some modicum extent ,to my liking ) young are humming the same anti Jewish contagious mantra, unaware that they have fallen into the traps of treacherous mind games.
    The anxiety to express must NOT be stronger than the passion to contemplate/inform/study seriosly well before thoughts are trusted to the tongue or, in our case, the key-board.

  • Frosh – what a pleasure to see there are still people in the world who can read a Bolt article all the way past the name without forming a conclusion about the content.

    For a news story that, by its nature, is short on facts (and many facts of the case will never come to light), much has been written, and so much of it is pure speculation and innuendo. Worth doing a thought experiment of switching the country names and considering how the same story would have been covered.

    Has anyone for just a minute considered how painful this must be for Ben’s parents, who have grieved his death when it happened, and are now being put through it all and more 2+ years later?

  • Yaron says:

    It is always painful for families when their personal pain moves into the public domain, and that is why I did not try to speculate on the actions of Ben.

    My aim is rather to use this opportunity to think about the relationship between the Jews of Australia and Israel in isolation of the current situation.

    I agree with you that Ben’s family do not need his name thrown around to prove a point.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:


    ” if we as a community feel uncomfortable with, for example,Jordanian-Australian fighting on behalf of the Jordanian government to the extent that we would want such service banned, we cannot expect service to Israel to avoid criticism.”

    A very disingenuous comment & comparison to say the least. Firstly, not sure how you came up with “Jordanian Australian”, seeing that most Arabs here are of Lebanese origin. And it’s certainly no secret that members of the Arab/Muslim community of Australia and other parts of the world are currently fighting on behalf of banned terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. Just this past week alone, Bulgaria has given the name of two suspects who are linked to the murderous terrorist attack of 5 israelis over to Europol – one of the suspects is Australian. Hmm I wonder if any Australian passports were used? Perhaps the ABC, Fairfax, Bob Carr and K Rudd can all band together and get Hezbollah to release a disclaimer – “no Australian passports were used in perpetrating this terrorist attack”, so as to ensure that Hezbollah does not appear to be as naughty as the Israelis…

    Jokes aside, I wish to emphasize once again that groups like Hezbollah and Hamas are banned terrorist organizations in this country. Joining these groups is a crime under Australian while joining the IDF is not. Hamas and hezbollah collaborate and work alongside terrorist groups that also attack Australian soldiers in Iraq and have also murdered close to 88 Aussie civilians in Bali. In contrast, Israel is an ally of this country. As allies they share common interests and…common enemies. How you can even suggest or entertain the comparison that you made above, Yaron, is anyone’s guess. I’m certainly scratching my head. I’m also scratching my head over why media orgs like the ABC and Fairfax have devoted so much coverage over heavily scrutinizing Israel and questioning the loyalty of Australian Jews while not devoting anything near as much coverage to the possibility that an Australian was involved in murdering 5 civilian tourists in Bulgaria. But then again, after spending 7 years defending David Hicks – a terrorist traitor who fought and tried to kill Australian soldiers- it’s a little rich for Fairfax and ABC to be accusing anyone of dual loyalties, least of all the Jewish community. How you, yaron, have gleefully decided to adopt their narrative and want youth groups and other jewish orgs to be scrutinized in a mcarthyist style witch hunt…is anyone’s guess. If anyone dared suggest the same level of scrutiny be placed on our Muslim community over how many of their members join terrorist orgs and countries that attack australians, her interests and her allies, they will be shouted down as a racist and islamophobe by the abc, Fairfax, the AJDC and by people leaving comments on this very blog! Perhaps it’s got to do with applying Albert’s double standard? If only everyone was as honest as Albert…

    While we’re on the topic of dual loyalties, David hicks, Fairfax and the ABC, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon – the same people who usually accuse Jews of dual loyalty in countries like Australia and the US almost always either back or are sympathetic to totlatrian regimes and terrorist groups who attack or seek to undermine these two countries. Chuck Hagel is a case in point. Here is a guy who went out of his way to say that he was not an “Israeli senator” but an “American” Senator. The obvious implication here is that any senator or us citizen who is sympathetic or supports israel has dual loyalties – aka is an “Israel firster”. Well Hagel certainly made his point. But is he really an American senator? Why did he refuse to disclose what foreign sources funding he has received over the years to the committee that is overlooking his nomination? Could he have received funds from groups linked to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas? We do have partial disclosure on who Hagel has received money from in the past – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. He’s definitely not an Israeli senator…but an American one? The most trouble part of the entire Hagel and “Israel first saga” is that many Jews are only too willing to jump on the bandwagon and support the likes of Hagel and the notion that Jews have “dual loyalty”. We don’t need to go further than this blog…

    There certainly exists an interesting ph

  • Yaron says:


    So because the majority of Arab Australians are not Jordanian you deny the reality of a Jordanian Australian?

    I spoke of Jordanian Australian, you deny their existence. Rather you claim that the Arabs in Australia are Lebanese and they are all members of Hamas/Hezbollah.

    So I suppose Joe Hockey, who is of Lebanese/Palestinian lineage must be a supporter of Hamas?

    It is important to discuss the arguments that are put forward. Instead you seem to wish really really hard that someone is making an inconsistent argument and proceed to destroy it.

    This is the textbook definition of a strawman argument.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:


    “Using Australian passports for foreign intelligence purposes is illegal, and our leaders, rabbis and school teachers should be saying so, loudly and publicly. Their silence is shameful and underscores, if not legitimises, the defamatory suspicion that some now have of our entire community.”

    Ok let’s put set aside the notion that using foreign passports is the modus operandi of every intelligence ( Inc ASIO) and Albert’s subsequent rule of applying a double standard and pretend they don’t exist. As I mentioned in an earlier post – Bulgaria just released the name of an Australian who they suspect was involved in the Burgas terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 5 Israelis. We also had the highly publcisized case where Australian passports were allegedly used to assassinate Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Al Mahbouh in Dubai. Mahbouh was responsible for the entire Hamas rocket and terrorist offensive against Israeli civilians. At the time of his death, he was on the verge of forming very close pact with the Iranian revolutionary guards were he was supposed to get more sophisticated weapons for murdering israeli civilians. When it comes to stopping individuals like Mahbouh or individuals like the Australian Hezbollah terror suspect, not only should our community leaders refrain from condemning Israel and the Mossad but make it obligatory for all australian Jews to help Israel in anyway that they can – includling help with passports :)

    I’m very troubled by what you wrote and really can’t get my head around it. Perhaps it’s just a matter of up bringing.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hi Yaron,

    “I spoke of Jordanian Australian, you deny their existence. Rather you claim that the Arabs in Australia are Lebanese and they are all members of Hamas/Hezbollah.”

    Valid point. Hope the following will pacify you –

    “Australian Jailed for helping Hamas”

    The Australian in question is…a jordianian-Australian. He tried to enter israel with a…wait for it…Australian passport. Despite it being illegal under Australian law for being a member of Hamas and *cough* (clear throat) use an Australian passport while conducting an operation for an illegal terrror group against a key Australian Allie…I don’t recall their ever being a Fairfax or ABC expose into the the loyalties of dual Arab – Australian citizens- or a governmnet enquiry.

    In any case, when I said that your comparison was disengenious, I should have clarified that it just refered to joining the jordanian army…when in reality they join illegal terrorist groups.

    Now that I’ve pacified you with a lovely story featuring the travel adventures of a patriotic jordanian- australian who made the most out of his aussie passport, care to address my other points?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Some people , when frustrated by their inability to aduce pertinent arguments to the strictness of the topic, resort to analogies, some of which are not even close to the subject matter. Take the Spanish civil war. Let’s just say that in my extend famly at one stage I had no less than SIX voluntreers fighting in Spain, both males and females. They were all communists and the issue of DUAL citizenship had NOTHING to do with them being there fighting the Falangists. The French Communist Party published in the sixties a very valuable account of the Jewish volunteers in the Spanish Civil war, and let me tell yourse that there were a very large contingent of Jews originating from USA, England, France, Germany, Romania, USSR and even Palestine.
    Escaping the tenure of the subject in this case and plucking analogies with anything that looks like flying, eating shawarma, and lending their suport to ANY cause away from the Ausie shores may make for a busy space filling exercise, but relevance : GURNISCHT !!!
    Stuff like that does not even qualify for a ” blah, blah, blah “.
    Yoram, Albert, Steven, yourse has been told !!!!

  • Albert says:


    I’m not sure if you are trying to miss my point on purpose or by accident.

    Despite your ‘quote and response’ formatting, you don’t seem to be addressing anyone’s points so much as using them to launch into your own preprogrammed rants.

    Regarding the IDF, I don’t think it’s a matter of Israel being under threat and Australia not being so – the issue I am raising is not so crudely distributive. I can say that out of the 12 or so young Australians I know who have joined the IDF in recent years, most are either hopelessly idealistic youth movement kids, modern orthodox types, aimless kids looking for some sense of purpose or discipline, or those seeking an opportunity for acculturation into Israeli society. These are generally confused and hapless 20 year olds. Let’s not pretend their main motivation is to nobly foil the efforts of Hamas and Hezbollah. The issue that I am trying to discuss is whether a subsection of young Australian Jews have ties to Australia that run deeper than merely living here, which apparently only Yaron seems to understand. Are they knowledgeable about Australia’s history and its constitution and any of its values beyond the multiculturalism that allows them to live comfortably not knowing any of these things? My tentative assessment was that Jewish schools and youth movements need to do more to assess the attitudes that they are fostering. At no point did I seek to question the standing or contribution of the Jewish community as a whole to Australia, although you don’t come across as someone who is able to perceive let alone debate the finer points of an argument.

    Your point that I believe in a double standard (‘one for the Jews and one for everyone else’) which you have now taken to be some great admission on my part, requires further examination. I believe in seeing things as they are and all the complexity that doing so entails. If you can’t see the problematic difference between America recruiting someone from another country (say India) to act as a spy within their own country and to use their native citizenship to America’s advantage, and Israel doing so in relation to Australian Jews, then you are either being smug or stupid. When most other countries do it, questions as to dual loyalty of an entire subpopulation do not arise. If you don’t understand this point then sorry I can’t help you.

    As I mentioned prior your comment that accused me of believing otherwise, I fully accept that foreign passports are used. As I said, the rule is not to get caught with them. The point where we differ is in my belief that it is all-advised for Mossad to be recruiting Australian Jews to gain access to their passports, and also apparently asking them to conduct Mossad business and intelligence-gathering in Australia.


    I don’t understand a word you said but bless your heart. I wish my grandfather was as good with computers as you are.


    As difficult as this is for Ben’s family, this is a major international news story. Of course it should be reported as sensitively as possible, but their pain is not a reason not to report on it or discuss it. I would go so far as to say that this comes with the territory of being an Australian-Israeli who is recruited by Mossad and then uses his Australian passport for Mossad’s gain. I wouldn’t speculate on the actions of Ben beyond this or what he actually did to attract such a harsh reaction from Israel. In fact a lot of our community representatives seem to be disingenuously using his family’s suffering as a convenient cover for staying out of a story that they are rightly staying out of.

    @Levi (again)

    Yaron did a good job of taking you to task for changing his hypothetical then saying that he is wrong on the basis of your altered hypothetical.The only thing I would add is that according to Australian law, you can’t fight for a terrorist organisation, and you can’t fight for a country that is an enemy at war with Australia, but the rest is fair game and morally grey. Therefore there wouldn’t be anything legally problematic about a Jordanian-Australian joining the Jordanian military, which is Yaron’s point.

    I do agree with a lot of what you are saying about Fairfax, ABC, David Hicks, cries of Islamophobia, Hagel, lack of scrutiny of terrorist organisations etc. However, bringing up these points doesn’t do much to neutralise or negate many of the substantive points that people on this forum have made, as much as you wish it would.

  • Barry says:


    Israeli parliamentary probe for Zygier affair
    DEBKAfile February 17, 2013, 10:28 PM (GMT+02:00)

    The intelligence subcommittee of the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Sunday decided to launch an “intensive probe into all aspects” of the death of Ben Zygier-Alon in an Israeli prison cell two years ago. The inquiry and its findings will be confidential.

  • Yaron says:

    You have given me one story. That is an anecdote not statistics.

    On your logic because we have one Australian Jew who has joined Mossad, we are all willing to join up tomorrow. Statistics require a sample size of more than one.

    I could also make the claim that based on a sample size of one (our dear Otto) that all Australians are have serious trouble with literacy and struggle with basic logic.

    We cannot expect broader Australian society to look at us in a balanced manner if we do not offer the same courtesy to others.

  • letters in the age says:

    Bolt uses the very sophisticated measure of mixing truth with falsehoods………

    Its insidious and I take his writings with a grain of salt…..

    Even if he has a valid point to make its bastardized….

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Yaron – good piece. I think it provides analysis of an issue that is very complex and which hasn’t been addressed well in the media (see below for why that might be) – even though it’s implicit in much of the cover.

    Albert – I agree about the community leadership silence. There has to be a balance between what the family wants and the broader public interest, And I think that speculating about the family’s silence to support one’s own position (as Bolt has done) is also ugly.

    By not saying anything the community leadership has left a vacuum for people with views that are unrepresentative of the community, to be given a good loud broadcast. Loewenstein is having a field day with the media attention he is getting. But if the leadership is silent, who does speak for the community?

    Ignoring a media circus doesn’t make it go away. It just means you can’t influence what gets said. The points made by Bolt are (mainly ) quite good . The ECAJ or ZFA should have made some of those points – particularly that Zygier was not ‘disappeared’ as suggested by Foreign Corespondent and that he always had access to lawyers. They would have a different kind of authority and perhaps be given more of an airing, coming from Jewish community roof bodies than from an op-ed by one of Australia’ most controversial journalists, in a tabloid paper.

    And yes there needs to be a mature discussion about dual loyalties – the discussion on the issue is is happening anyway. Doesn’t is make sense to have a nuanced community voice? This piece is a better start to the conversation than just about anything else I have read.

    And finally, I think there is a broad community/public interest in seeking answers to how a former member of our community came to die in custody. The ECAJ should ask for those answers to be made public.
    Of course intelligence has its own rules and it would be naive to expect that details about the charges could be disclosed but Zygier died before he was tried, in circumstances that we should all find concerning.

  • letters in the age says:

    Its the same technique Geert Wilders used in his article with The Australian today

    A snake oil salesman that uses Israel to make his extremist viewpoints palatable to the public as being moderate….

    Read that Frosh???


  • &rew says:

    For me, family arguments about this issue have been most enlightening as to the nature of what’s really been stirred up in Melbourne following Prisoner X, in and of itself, and as an extension of the Bruce/Krycer abuses.

    1. Dual loyalty has not been mentioned once. In fact, my whole adult life my colleagues, and some of my friends even, have had the working assumption that since I had South African and Australian passports, I must also have an Israeli passport. And more so, that my roots, as a Jew, are in Israel, and that my loyalties really lie there. For some reason, noone thinks I’m going to rush back to Joburg…

    2. The tacit Zionism and uncomplicated financial support to ‘Israel’ as a monolithic, benevolent entity, which has been the mainstay of of the Melbourne Jewish community at least, has been seriously undermined. Notwithstanding any actual treason, Ben Zygier was not treated as would have been befitting of a citizen of a civilised democracy, regardless of who the neighbours are. As an ex-Hineni-ite myself, I would suggest that youth movement education about the Israeli state and Aliyah is adapted to suit this new era — kids need to know to be critical, and to be aware of the realities of fighting, living and working in the modern Middle East.

    3. Recent olim from Melbourne, schooled in the monolithic ‘Israel’ feel particularly vulnerable. Questioning the nature of the Australia-Israel relationship, and interrogating the operational brutality of the Mossad jar strongly with the heartfelt sentiment involved in committing yourself to a life in Israel.

    3. My contention is that one-way support of Israel, in which we send our children, send money and invest, plant trees, lobby politicians, and frame our entire communal existence around old-school Zionism, should be reasonably reciprocated by the state we so materially support. The Australian Jewish community is now effectively in an abusive relationship with Israel, and we should not be lying down, waiting for more.

  • &rew says:

    And yes, I can count…apologies.

  • letters in the age says:


    Spot on!!!

    Thats the brand aspect of Australian Jewry thats been tarnished

    The entity needs change.

    My thoughts exactly

  • Albert says:


    I might not understand community politics as well as you seem to but these are my thoughts…

    I see your point about the vacuum that the community silence creates, but there is also the danger that by appearing in the media in relation to this issue, the Jewish communal leadership could almost be seen to be held accountable for the actions of Israel and Mossad. This would only add to perceptions of dual loyalty. While I have no problem with someone clarifying the facts like Bolt did, I think there is also something healthy about not taking such a publicly permissive approach and not being seen to grant Israel carte blanche every time there is an international ‘incident’.

    It’s similar to the situation in the USA with Chuck Hagel who has in the past been critical of the influence of the Zionist Lobby. AIPAC and similar organisations have stayed very silent on the issue, because they know they can’t win and because the Zionist Lobby objecting to the confirmation of someone who says that US politics is unduly influenced by the Zionist Lobby is a bad look.

  • david segal says:


    “My problem is with Mossad specifically recruiting Israeli-Australian citizens…”

    MY problem with your problem is, that you think that Mossad is a order of nuns, not realizing that any intelligence organization, and any such organization whether it is Israeli, Russian, American, or Australian will use any trick in the book to achieve their goal the only code of ethics intelligence organizations have, is not being caught.

    See http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/politics/1.1930471

    מפעילי סוכנים, באגף שנקרא לפנים “צומת”, או קציני-איסוף, הם טיפוסים שהתמחותם התבייתות על חולשות-אנוש וניצולן לצורך גיוס מקור לבגוד בארצו או בארגונו. הם ניחנים מראש ובעיקר מטפחים בהמשך עורמה, מתק-לשון ומידה של אכזריות, לדעת את מי ניתן לקנות ואיך (לרוב בכסף או בשווה-כסף, אבל גם בטיפול רפואי, במעמד או בסיפוק נטייה וחולשה כלשהן) ועל מי אפשר ללחוץ ובאיזה אופן. הבוגדנות היא מומחיותם: לפתות מקורות לבגוד, אבל לעתים גם לבגוד בבוגדים, אם כי לא בדרך שחשיפתה תרתיע בוגדים-בכוח חדשים.

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    Albert, unless i have indeed missed something @ i think i have pretty much addressed your points and questions. You asked why there are jewish kids who travel to the otherside of the world to serve in the idf, instead of opting to serve for this country and i gave you a very clear and direct answer. You don’t have to like my answer and disagree with me, but please don’t cry foul and claim that i either missed your point and/or purposely distorted it. That’s dishonest at best. You did acknowledge that a many of the kids are “hopelessly idealistic youth movement kids,” which in fact reinforces my response to you – i.e. They end up joining out of a feeling of duty to defend the jewish homeland because it is under constant existential threat. The youth movement, their parents, grandparents etc gave them that sense of under the slogan of “never again.” while acknowleding that “they are hopelessly idealistic” you later state that we shouldn’t pretend that they join the idf to foil the likes of hamas and hezbollah – there is absolutely no contradiction b/w the two. And i’ll repeat what i said earlier – most these idealistic kids would fly home to join the ADF, if australia was attacked as they still maintain a deep connection to the old country. You also made a valid point that in addition to the hopelessly idealistic kids there are also kids who join because of a feeling of a lack of purpose. Interestingly i’ve come accross kids like these – from oz and the US -and found that they all came from non zionist haredi homes and made aliyah because they wanted a fresh start in life. I’m only speaking from own personal encounters of course. You also emphasized that you were only questioning the loyalty of a subsection – fair enough. Nevertheless, this all comes within the context of there been accusations leveled at the entire community by fairfax and abc in addition to yaron’s article which made no mention of a subsection. And when yaron called for the need to examine how jewish schools and youth groups educate kids, he was refering to mainstream jewish institution, not merely susections. Whatever your intentions – whether its just simply acknowlging “guilt” and “responsbility” over a “subsection” it all feeds into the abc’s and fairfax distorted reporting implying that the entire community cannot be trusted. It plays into the hands of antisemites and gives them the ammo – i.e. That jews themselves are questioning the loyalty of their own- to convince the authorities to conduct a witch hunt. In regards to your stating that your open admission of a double standard needs to be examined furthes – you can make as many justifications as you like over just how complex the situation is etc, i honestly don’t care. There should only be one standard and one rule for all. Israel has an obligation to defend its citizen and use every means necessary to do this – just like every other nation on earth. Members of the local jewish community can and should defend israel in the face of the fairfax and abc onslaught. Acknowledging some “guilt” (where there is none) and or taking the sha shtill approach is not going to work and will back fire.

  • Albert says:


    You are also right about various people popping up who are largely unrepresentative of the Jewish community yet have no qualms about purporting to represent it.

    I hope all 6 of its members don’t come on here and start attacking me but the AJDS comes to mind.

    While the Jewish community and its views are not monolithic, the AJDS is definitely outside of the establishment and so are a lot of its views. Naturally, no one group should have a monopoly on Jewish opinion, but at the same time appearing on the ABC to discuss this issue as a representative of a group called the ‘Australian Jewish Democratic Society’ gives the average person the wrong impression about what the community thinks. It is a delicate and challenging issue and there aren’t any easy answers, other than for the establishment to not give these people a chance.

    From my perspective, AJDS comes across as a group offering unrepresentative, fringe opinions to a press (ABC, The Age) that is more than willing to lap them up.

    I hope I haven’t steered the conversation in the wrong direction by writing this but it’s an interesting aspect of the issue that Mandy brought up.

  • Mikey says:

    @Albert re

    My point about Australians joining the IDF is that they are willing to move halfway across the world to fight for a country that they were probably not a citizen of before they moved, but would never even think to join the military of the wonderful country where they were born and raised.

    Australia is not the former USSR, which banned its citizens from freely emigrating and branded those who did so as “defectors.” Australian Jews, citizens of a democracy have the right to move to the country of their choice as they see fit. If they move to Israel and accept Israeli citizenship, then they have the obligation to comply with Israeli law as Israeli citizens, which means military service if they are of the proper age. Australia, the US, Canada, the UK and most English-speaking democracies have no requirement for mandatory military service (unlike Israel), therefore Aussie Jews cannot be faulted for not doing something that they are not required by law to do. These days, few Australians of any ethnicity typically volunteer for the ADF but in the past when called to serve, Australian Jews have fulfilled their duty as Australians to serve in both world wars, Korea, and Vietnam when they were drafted and Australian Jews have continued to volunteer despite not being required to so. One young Jewish citizen in Australia’s army, Gregory Sher, was killed in Afghanistan a few years ago.

  • ariel says:

    I just saw this article and must agree with Yaron.

    I contemplated aliya a few years ago, but decided against it for several reasons.

    Had I done so, I would have become a dual Australian-Israeli citizen and passport holder, but I would NEVER use my Australian citizenship and passport for spying purposes.

    I hold both countries dear and would not jeopardise my relationship with the country that has given so much to my grandparents, my parents and me over many decades.

    I think Mossad needs to think vary carefully about asking dual citizens to do such things, especially when the second passport is one from a close ally.

  • Mikey says:


    Australia’s standing army is less than 80,000, including reserves. So not even 1% of the current Australian population of any background does any military service. (In the US, just about 1% of Americans do are in the military.) It’s bizarre that you question the patriotism of Aussie Jews for not doing something that almost no other Australian does. Again, like other Australians, they have the same right to emigrate to Israel (or anywhere else) but if they go to Israel they must fulfill their obligations a Israelis. And I’ve met plenty of Aussies (Jewish and non-Jewish) who’ve permanently moved to Toronto,Vancouver, London, and NYC–none of those places require military duty, so they don’t do it there.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Please forgive all the typos etc in earleir post – It’s hard to type on a cell phone!

    @Albert (again) re:Yaron

    I didn’t change his hypothetical, I just merely called it disingenuous. Again, Yaron stated that we don’t have a right to feel uncomfortable and have it both ways when “… a Jordanian-Australian fighting on behalf of the Jordanian government to the extent that we would want such service banned, we cannot expect service to Israel to avoid criticism.” It’s no secret that Australian Jews – in addition to other Australians – feel uncomfortable when members of the
    Arab and muslim community go to fight overseas. Yaron got that part right. But how many of these Australian passport holders actually end up joining say the Jordanian army? can you name one…just one? The fact that there are hardly any arabs (let alone jordanians) who are willing to fight for the unpopular Hashemite royal family is beside the point. Are Australian Jews really concerned about the jordianian-Australians joining the Jordanian army? Are we seriously trying to have an honest discussion about the issues at hand here? And if one does acknowledge the reality – i.e. when Jordanian-Australians or other Arab-Australians go overseas to fight, they don’t join the hated Hashemite army but illegal terrorist organizations like Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon or Al Qaeda in Iraq or Afghanistan etc, etc. Sometimes they even stay closer to home in melbourne or sydney and plan attacks on native soil – fortunately all the attacks have been foiled. And this is a second reason why Yaron’s point and comparison to Jewish Aussies joining the IDF is totally disingenuous and completely in the realm of the absurd. To say that I missed his point and/or distorted by attempting a straw man argument…is well…dishonest on your part and his. If anything, I think you are just both clutching at straws.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    @Yaron, “Levi,
    You have given me one story. That is an anecdote not statistics.”

    I’m happy to provide you with more “anecdotes” if you like – ”

    The Australian man was allegedly the bomb maker; the unidentified Canadian bomber died after the backpack bomb he was carrying and attempting to place in the hull of the Israeli tourist bus either went off prematurely or was remotely detonated.

    “The Burgas bombers were maintaining part of Hezbollah’s structures in Canada and Australia and had contacts with other representatives of this organisation,” Mr Tsvetanov said, adding further links between the three bombers and Hezbollah had been established.


    Yesterday’s raids are the most significant counter-terrorism operation in Australia since Operation Neath in August 2009 during which five men were arrested for an alleged plot to launch a suicide attack on Sydney’s Holsworthy army base.



    “On your logic because we have one Australian Jew who has joined Mossad, we are all willing to join up tomorrow. Statistics require a sample size of more than one…
    We cannot expect broader Australian society to look at us in a balanced manner if we do not offer the same courtesy to others.”

    You’ve completely missed my point over why I brought this up in the first place. Perhaps I can refer you to my last comment to Albert Re your statement on Jordanian-Australians, to get a clue. in any case, are you saying that you’re willing to retract your statement over the need to investigate or scrutinize how and what Jewish day schools and youth groups teach kids? Are you willing to retract your article and write letters of complaint to Fairfax and the ABC over their hounding the jewsih comnunity and implying that they are a 5th column?

  • letters in the age says:


    Drum roll please………..

    (excuse the pun)


  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hey letters, it’s certainly great to see that you finally decided to respond to Frosh over what you found that was disagreeble with Bot’s article – by posting more myths.

    A little ironic that comparisons were made to the USSR, considering that accusing Jews of “dual loyalty” to Israel was standard soviet government practice.

  • letters in the age says:

    Levi et al,

    I posted the article for your “perusal” only.

    Along with this one..


    Food for thought….

    Cheers Guys!


  • Albert says:


    I just read the Drum article. I do wish these people would be a little bit more consistent. I can never remember if I am meant to be a right-wing Nazi extremist or a radical left-wing Communist.

  • Yaron says:

    I will try this one more time.

    I am not denying that it is bad (or even illegal) for Australians to fight for Hamas/Hezbollah. I am not denying that there are such people in Australia (even possibly in significant numbers, although I have no knowledge about this).

    I am making the point that IN THEORY if ONE INDIVIDUAL who is of Jordanian origin wishes to join the Jordanian army (and we are not questioning his motives here), would you have an issue with that?

    I am not looking for a rant on some other question, but a yes/no answer about the one above, which is the one I posted in the article.

  • letters in the age says:


    Food for thought mate!

    You may be suffering from an ideological identity crisis in that respect?




  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Yaron, the whole issue is not whether you deny that fighting for Hezbollah for Australians is bad or not etc.

    Although, you gave us a hypothetical scenario you still nevertheless stated matter of factly that the Jewish community would be uncomfortable with that, would want that type of activity band and can’t have it both ways. You’re right, in regards to Arab-australian citizens going overseas to fight, they have always been uncomfortable and would want this type of activity band. However, I just wish you were more honest when making such comparisons. It’s no secret that radical fundamentalism is a major problem in the muslim community of Australia and other Muslim communities around the world and that for over a decade groups like Al qaeda, Hamas and hezbollah ran really big recruiting drives for young westen muslims and were very successful. Keeping this in mind, please don’t try to feign ignorance.

    Again, I would like to ask you the following – if you’re not a fan of “anecdotes,” and believe they are a misrepresentation, than perhaps you can write a letter of complaint the ABC and Fairfax over their peddling of an “anecdote” re the Jewish community to show that Jews can’t be relied upon? Perhaps you can retract your earlier statement where you expressed a desire to scrutinize and review what jewish day schools and youth groups are teaching children? Once you do that, then we can call it a day and live happily ever after.

  • Yaron says:


    That is very long answer to a yes/no question.

    Clearly you have no intention of actually discussing the article, but rather a fictional version of the article that you’ve imagined.

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    No, i don’t have an issue with that, because jordan and israel aren’t in a state of war. I’m fairly confident that the majority of jews will not. nevertheless, i like most jews do have an issue with arab-australians going overseas to engage in conflicts and you’re right many of us want such activities baned (so you didn’t really raise a hypothetical)…but its not the jordanian army that we are all worried about…please try to be more honest when discussing the issues at hand. Don’t opt to be disengenous and feign ignorance about the issues

  • Yaron says:


    We seem to be going around in circles so this will be my last response.

    I was not attempting to bring any statistics or discuss the prevalence of Aussies in Hamas.

    I deliberately did not discuss Hamas/Hezbolah in the article because of the legal issues and it would not have been analogous to the case I was discussing.

    I therefore had the choice of two examples in my mind:
    a) joining the Jordanian army or
    b) joining the Palestinian police force.
    I went for the former.

    But it would seem that I chose my example poorly. What if our theoretical Australian citizen joined the Lebanese army in the early 80s in order to fight Israel.

    While it would have been distasteful to most Jews in Australia it would have been legal and legitimate since Australia and Lebanon were not in a state of war.

    Our commitment as Australian citizens must be to Australia and not to Israel

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    In regards to Lebanon, israel was fighting the PLO terrorist organisation and not the Lebanese army. not sure what the legal status of the PLO was in western countries, but nevertheless they did attack western targets – murdering American diplomats and civilians, hijacking civilian airlines, bombing European cities etc, etc.

    In any case if we were making “hypothetical” scenarios and analogies within the context of what is going on now, it’s absolutely imperative that the analogy is honest, factual and relevant to what is going on today. Intentionally overlooking the fact that groups like hezbollah and Hamas run successful recruitment campaigns for western Muslims and making up your own analogy…isn’t very constructive to the discussion at hand.

    “Our commitment as Australian citizens must be to Australia and not to Israel”

    Sure, so does that mean you will go and cancel your Israeli citizenship tomorow? You don’t need to talk to me about commitment, because I only have 1 passport. Of course peope are welcome to have dual citizenship. However, if you want to go above the latter of the law and talk about patriotism and commitment, than you need to practice what you preach. Personally, from my perspective, there is no contradiction at all between helping Israel to eliminate terrorists who try to murder civilians, since Australia and Israel are allies, have common values and enemies. as someone else said – this ain’t the Soviet Union.

    Going back to “anecdotes” and “statistics” etc, I’ll try to ask you once more – are you now willing to retract what you stated about the need for Jewish days schools etc to be scrutinized? Will you also complain to the ABC and Faifax for using anecdotes to demonise the Jewish community?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    There have been times when I needed to decide if we are dealing here with two efusive cretins ( Yaron AND Albert ) or, in fact “Albert” is, in fact, Yaron’s alter ego. Speking of which, EGO has a massive place in the hydrocephalic profle of Yaron/Albert.
    I will chance that “Albert” in actually Yaron.

    There are two reasons I used, for the first time, mind yourse, the term “cretin” in my numerous years of web chats. But this one (two ) deserve(s) it for these two reasons:

    1 – EVERYTHING, but everything we read from Yron/Albnert reeks of stupendous intellectul limitations, albeit coming in torrents of vacuous vessels.
    2 – In an attempt to imply intelligence, both (the same ) admit that they (he) do(es) not understand what I say. Now, I have a FEW Uni. degrees, pretty good at some six languages, by the time I was , say, 23 I published some 120 newspaper articles, while still a student etc. I am very creful in my choice of words and for ANYONE to constantly confess inability to comprehend what I say, it mkes for a genuine admission of plain stupidity.
    Should the YA tandem make the slightest attempt at replying to my criticism of their/his incongruities, the vanity of the said deficient poster(s) would have been dealt with.
    In addition, the mere fact that Mandy Katz agrees with both, or just one of them ( being in fact both ) confirm to me in spades that are are dealing with confirmed oligphrenes.

    Incidentally, Alber?yron, where on earth did you find, or how did you arrive at the notion of “subpopulation” and its respctive associate “subsections”.
    delving in matters sociological, philosophical and alike from the stanpoint of a verbose empty barrel can only provide hilarious reactions, respect, however, FORGET IT.

    I am flying to UK/Spain in the morning, so more exciting stuff is now on me mind and wont let “subpopulation” of the Yaron/Albert ilk occupy mi thoughts ny more…………

  • Mikey says:


    You didn’t ask me, but I’ll answer your question about a dual national Jordanian-Australian or Lebanese-Australia serving in the military of either of those countries. It’s not illegal and not a problem, even if they potentially might fight Israel. Australia and Jordan are not in a state of war, neither are Australia and Lebanon, therefore in this hypothetical situation, such a dual citizen would not be showing any disloyalty to Australia by serving in the military of either of those countries, whether or not they may come into conflict with Israel.

    It is my understanding, however, that as neither Jordan nor Lebanon have military conscription, and Australia offers a better lifestyle and opportunities than either of those countries, it seems unlikely that many children of Jordanian or Lebanese immigrants to Oz will be rushing over to Jordan or Lebanon soon and even if they do, unlike Israel, they won’t be drafted into the military.

    If you’re talking about an Australian Arab/Muslim rushing to join Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Taliban, then you’re talking about them joining illegal terror organisations.

  • Mikey says:

    Just checked wikipedia and apparently Jordan does have conscription, as of 2007.


    So one can then easily imagine a scenario where an Australian- born and reared child of Jordanian immigrants with an Australian passport finds himself back in Amman, say, because his family returned to tie up loose ends or for business reasons, and he is 18 years old, and finds himself subject to the mandatory military draft in Jordan. It’s not a problem. He should be able to comply with Jordanian law and serve in that country’s army and then come back to Australia for uni studies, marriage, work, whatever — without his loyalty as an Australian citizen being questioned.

  • Yaron says:

    I agree with regards to the legalities, but my point was more about the philosophical question of would we as Jews in Australia want the government of Australia to stop this in Lebanon and allow it for Jews in Israel.

    And Levi has pointed out that he wants the Australian government to set up a foreign policy based on what is good for Israel.

    Still not reading any of your drivel, so anything you may be saying about me would be like talking about me behind my back.

    This is the height of rudeness.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    I want to set up a policy based on what’s good for israel? So what time did you say your appointment was with the Israeli embassy to get your citizenship with that country cancelled?

    Rather than stating that I want the Australian governement to do “what is good for Israel”, my only crime was to point out that Australia and Israel are not at war – they are allies. supporting Israel’s right to defend herself is not treason. On the other supporting someone like David hicks is – the ABC, Fairfax and the rest of the left did a good job of that. But keep parroting your anti-Semitic tripe.

  • Jonny says:

    Thanks for the article Yaron.
    Well done Mikey. Good summary.
    Otto… play the ball not the man.
    Levi… I think Mikey summarised your concern.
    I was at Hashy with Ben. There was nothing extremist in our education. No need for review. Just people making choices. No easy-touch manipulation. No monolithic rose coloured blindness.

    Mandi, as usual spot on that the leaders need to stand up and say we as a community are:
    1. Upset by the situation generally – it is all aweful;
    2. A Proud loyal Australian community without hasitation;
    3. Sad for Ben’s family and community who loved him;
    4. Await Israel to confirm that all elements of the process were legal; and
    5. Highlight the importance of vigilance in the protection of Aus/Israel relations which we are all responsible for.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    The ECAJ has now issued a statement – http://www.theage.com.au/national/jewish-group-breaks-silence-on-zygier-20130219-2eopp.html

    It should be welcomed but it’s interesting to see how unwilling the ECAJ was to take the lead, preferring to wait until certain official statments had been made.

    One would hope that the body representing Australian Jewry would have taken the lead in advocating for more transparency in the circumstances of Ben Zygier’s death. The understandable sensitivity to his family should be balanced by the broader public consideration of the need for scrutiny of a death in custody.

    The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (“ACRI”) frequently advocates for prisoners in Israel and the territories, where it believes that prisoners have not had the benefit of due process.

    ACRI attorney Dan Yakir has written a letter to Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan as follows: ”If there is any truth in the reports that the man in question was a Mossad employee, and if the assessment voiced by Australian intelligence experts is correct that the case concerns the transfer of highly sensitive and secret materials, it may well be that the gag order on the details of the case is justified. However, there is an absolute public interest in knowing what conclusions were made following the affair and what lessons have been learned to prevent similar cases in the future. The answers to such questions do not have to relate to the role of the employee or his area of work, but they do concern the conduct of the organization, as well as the supervision and regulation of its activities.”

    Australian Jews should stand behind calls by Israelis along those lines.

  • Mikey says:


    re “the philosophical question of would we as Jews in Australia want the government of Australia to stop this in Lebanon and allow it for Jews in Israel.”

    Does it matter what Australian Jews want about dual citizenship and army duty broad? If it’s not illegal, then it’s okay. Five years ago, Georgia and Russia fought a war. It’s plausible that there were dual citizen Australians of both countries fighting on opposite sides. It’s not for the Georgian-Australian or the Russian-Australian community to lobby Canberra to ban this.

    Full disclosure: I’m a triple citizen–US/Canadian-Israeli–one of those!–who did make aliyah and briefly served in the IDF–very briefly–as I was already older when I made aliyah in the late 1990s and essentially just did basic training–what’s called “tironut” Despite being born in New York to Canadian-Jewish parents, it would never have entered my mind to join any branch of the US military or the Canadian Forces unless there was a war on and I was drafted. For that matter, I probably wouldn’t have served in the IDF either if they never drafted me.

    But I think the discomfiture about potential dual loyalty accusations is very revealing of the fundamental insecurity that Jews living in these open democratic societies, Australia, the USA, etc. feel. We live in a globalized world, there are large Australian expat communities in the UK, North America, they move for professional and personal reasons and often become dual Canadian-Australians, dual US-Australians, and then sometimes they move back and have dual citizens kids (like my Canadian citizen parents and me). Why is that okay and why isn’t their patriotism questioned?

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    Because the question of israel & jewish identity isn’t involved. I think u should stay clear of all “anecdotes” relating to dua candaian-aussie citizens etc. They only serve to create negative sterotypes- especially when the “anecdotes” concern citizens of Arab/muslim extraction. Ok, so we have had around 3 anti terror raids in australia where a number of attacks that were suposed to occur on australian soil were foiled with dozens of home grown terrorists arrested. We’ve had many cases of muslim clerics – including leaders of the aussie muslim community- incite hatred against this country. We’ve had a jordanian australian jailed in israel for plotting a hamas terror attack and another australian suspected of being involved in the burgas attack. We’ve had many other cases of aust muslims going on excursions to afghanistan, iraq and lebanon, etc. But these are all “anecdotes” and your a racist if you dare bring this up. What we really need is to take out the knives and conduct a grand inquistion against the jews and smoke out any traitors that only want to do what is “good for israel.” and like all soviet style show trials you need to ensure that the inquistors themselves are jews. Take out the pop corn, demonstrate your patriotism and enjoy the show.

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    I forgot to throw in a couple of more “anecdotes” – the recent muslim riot in sydney where there was incitement to murder and a number of cops were bashed to a bloody pulp and the sydney gang raping incident spree of 8 years ago – where over 2 dozen lebanese youth specifically targeted “white aussie sluts” for rape. Of course based on these “anecdotes,” if i ever had the audacity to imply that muslims have dual loyality and suggested that their schools and youth groups be scrutinised then i would have committed the three cardinal sins of “racism,” “islamophobia” and “right wing” extremism. But Heaven forbid if i ever suggested that yaron was an anti-Semite for implying that jews have dual loyalty. That would stifle his free speech and right to “criticise” “Israeli policy.”

  • Mikey says:

    @Levi I agree that there’s a double standard.
    I think the Muslim communities in Oz, North America, UK, Europe should be scrutinized. A few years ago, former London mayor Ken Livingstone (Red Ken) drew a false moral equivalency to Brit-Jewish youth joining TZAHAL and British-Muslim kids running to terror training camps in Afghanistan, so of course I think that’s rubbish. But Yaron’s question was about a dual Aussie-Jordanian or Australian-Lebanese joining the legally constituted militaries of those countries, not Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, etc., so in answer to that narrow question, I think it’s not the Jewish community’s business if they do. We may prefer that they don’t do so, but it’s not our business as much as we Jews may not like the policies of those countries, Australian-Jordanian dual nationals are doing nothing technically disloyal by serving in the Jordanian military. I think my analogy of dual Australian-Georgian citizens potentially meeting dual Aussie-Russian citizens on the battlefield in 2008 would be more pertinent in that case.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hi Mikey,

    As I’ve mentioned in the next thread, it really depends – if they join the Hezbollah dominated Lebanese army or the syrian army, it’s in Australia’s national interest (and not just the Jewish community) to ban such service. There is no comparison b/w joining these two armies and the IDF.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    There’s going to be an Islamic peace conference at the Melbourne show grounds in march with leading islamic clerics from all around the world.


    The highlights –

    “Another invitee is from the Islamic Online University of Bilal Philips, who has been linked to jihadists and terrorist groups:

    But the choice of Philips is even odder given the United States named him as an “unindicted co-conspirator” over the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Centre, and our own security agencies judged him such a threat he was banned from coming here.”

    How’s that for loyalty and patriotism!

    Next highlight –

    “Another invited speaker – described by the conference organiser as “my boss’s boss” – is Sheikh Zakir Naik, who has said he was a supporter of Osama bin Laden if he was attacking enemies of Islam:

    Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

    the ABC, Faifax, ASIO, Bob Carr, K rudd are all going to be all over this one!

    Next is the Imam of the mosque of Mecca…by his title alone he doesn’t really sound like a marginal Muslim figure with a minority view –

    “Al-Azhar Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, is the highest-ranking cleric in the Sunni Muslim world. He has prayed to God to “terminate” the Jews and is a virulent anti-Semite to judge from his sermons:

    [Jews are] the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs…”

    Wow, another great lead for our tax payer funded ABC to follow up! This is going to be breaking front page news – “hate preacher comes to Melbourne”

    Andrew Bolt (aka as Haman and the Devil himself by some readers here) poses an interesting question which is also pretty much relevant to the shrill accusations that “Jews have dual loyalty…”

    “But for me there are even bigger questions. Why are politicians, journalists and Jewish leaders now demonising Geert Wilders for warning against exactly the ideology of Islam as preached by many speakers at this conference?

    Why do they pretend Wilders has misrepresented Islam when the very things he describes are preached openly?

    Why are they silent over or even complicit in attempts to silence or frighten Wilders – who has not advocated violence – yet apparently happy that true hate-preachers who preach death for gays, Jews and enemies of Islam may speak freely in this country?

    Why the hypocrisy? Why the fear? “

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Of course the above conference is just another one of those “anecdotes.” That would not only explain the inaction of the government but also the inaction and mixed up priorities of so many people in the Jewish community. It also explains why Australian passport holders are taking part in terrorist atrocities such as the recent atrocity in Bulgaria.

  • Reallity Check says:

    I may be wrong, but there has never been a problem with dual citizenship till Israel started taking advantage of the situation.

  • Reallity Check says:

    with little consideration for the consequancies

  • Reallity Check says:

    Look after yourself in UK/Spain Otto. Heaps of Muslims there just waiting to slash your throat.

  • letters in the age says:

    That very relaxed guy on q and a asking those pertient questions to the panel was so relaxed……..
    Watch his body language….

    Is he known by Galus et al??

    Wow,what drug was he on??


  • letters in the age says:


    Pertinent questions

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    The Jews take advantage of everything. The Jews are our misfortune

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Thanks Reality for your considerate words.
    Arrived Ldn, muslims all over incl. security checks at LHR. Feezing.
    Visit Son in Cambridge serious absence of ostensive islamc attire spcially women. Listened to Trinity College boys choir concert, again not many muslims. Son teaches at Trinity and would not get involved in talk abt presence or otherwise of any type of specific traditional cum religious stuff,he reckons it is bellow his moral standards and if I feel like it to visit “some” sites where prejudice rules.
    I am now just outside Valencia on sunny mediteraneean hills and throat in one piece so why not indulge in “that” site stuff.

    Given a quarter chance and certain joyful seemingly Jewish characters will spill the beans of irrlevance and farcical analogiese like there is no tomorrow, let alone next week.
    All this nonsense about duality of loyalty where such animal does not exist, but why not throw the existing animal in the mix he don’t belong.
    Any elemenatry mathematician would tell you that one’s attendance to any type of activity which runs contrary to the very essence of the Australian political ethics can not be analogue to the activities of a dual citizen ( Australian and Anythingelse ) partaking in activities of his/her OTHER citizenship – endorsed by the Ausies !!! – which are consistent with the political agenda of the Australian regime. Used of fasified passports ACCEPTED within the equation -.
    Mandy Katz is proposing a highly irresponsible policy of disclosure of secrets fundamental to the very security of Israel and for that she can only be treated as a highly useless idiot, even if names of known people and orgs is being used, as if those irrelevant names and entities would carry sway over the relevant important Israeli institutions and principles of security.
    Whoever said that there is no analogy between what one does in the service of a terrorist org and what one does in the legitimate service of a worthy state entity such as Israel is right simply because Israel is legitimately engaged in staving off a massive network of terrorist structure, an activity in which Australia is also involved. Both Australia and Israel are on the same side of the divide, use of any type of documents notwithstanding.
    Soryy if I interfere in hat seems to be the unstoppable urge with some to carry on erratically regardless of the demonstated farcical value of their argument, for, in any debate the INDIVIDUAL remains responsible for what the individual allows to go publicly under his/her name and dvorcing pinion fro the opinion maker is impossible, hence attack ad hominem being such a valuable, indispensible and LEGITIMATE tool, one I am flashing quite proudly.

  • Reality Check says:

    No Levi, you are the Jews misfortune with your ghetto mentality and pananoia.

  • Reality Check says:

    Letters to Fairfax, who do you mean?

  • letters in the age says:

    Adam Kaye…..!!

    If youre that “comfortable” on t.v.mate you need a gig in the media

    Question was in relation to Zygier…great panel and discussion between Turnball and Carr

    Funnier q and a than usual

    Not a fan of q and a but this one was palatable and quirky

  • Reality Check says:

    Thanks letter. Yeah, that guy was pretty hopeless.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Otto – It seems that you have not read the extract from ACRI’s letter very carefully.

    The letter includes these words: “it may well be that the gag order on the details of the case is justified. …The answers to such questions do not have to relate to the role of the employee or his area of work…”

    ACRI most certainly does not advocate that justifiably “classified” information be disclosed.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Great article from Gerard Henderson –

    I’m going to post some quoted highlights from this article and hope it will provide food for thought for certain people here…

    Talk of dual-citizen disloyalty in Zygier affair simply irresponsible


    “Te concept of dual loyalties in Australia has an unpleasant connotation since it invariably implies disloyalty…
    Today, the allegation tends to be made against Jewish Australians, whether or not they hold both Australian and Israeli nationalities. The imputation is some Australian Jews put their loyalty to Israel before that to Australia…”

    “Australia is a remarkably tolerant and accepting society. Yet there has always been a degree of anti-Semitism within it. An accusation of dual loyalties against Jewish Australians from an anti-Semite is regrettable but not unexpected. When such claims are made by those who should know better, it is a matter for genuine concern.”

    “The AM report is an example of the media’s rush to judge an intelligence matter on which there was scant information…”

    “If the likes of Saul or Walker had specifically referred to the (alleged) dual loyalty, or divided loyalties, of any other group or nationality they almost certainly would have been publicly rebuked. But it seems a different standard applies when accusations are made against Jewish Australians and Australian/Israeli dual nationals.”

    “Te Jewish community in Australia spends considerable funds guarding its synagogues and schools from attack. Some costs are also borne by state and federal police. In such an environment, it is irresponsible in the extreme for prominent Australians to imply some of their fellow citizens are disloyal.”

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    To add –

    “If the likes of Saul or Walker had specifically referred to the (alleged) dual loyalty, or divided loyalties, of any other group or nationality they almost certainly would have been publicly rebuked.”

    See the Islamic “Peace” conference which will be held at melbourne showgrounds in March…it should have been held on Australia day seeing how patriotically Australian this conference is…

    Hey “Reality” Check, excuse my “shtetl” mentality, but are you, Yaron and David Langsman going to picket this patriotic Aussie conference? Will you contact the Australian government and demand why this conference is taking place? Will you demand answer to why and how an Australian citizen is suspected in taking part in the Bulgaria terrorist attack and what the Aust Govt knew about this suspect and how he used his australian passport? Is the ABC going to run an expose on all of this?

  • letters in the age says:

    Jason Koutsoukis interview with Raph Epstein is worth a listen….

    No mention if this thus far.

    By the way Jason is married to an Israeli/Jewish woman

    Now I know why The Libs hate Turnball after last nights q and a…

    I anticipate a movie out of this…

    Its a classic story of espionage etc and Deborah Conway of course with her husband…

  • letters in the age says:

    Adam Kaye was auditioning for the jewish version of Jersey Shore in Australia…

    I got it reality


  • Reality Check says:

    Levi, you are 100% correct. There is every reason to be fearful.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    thnx for answering my question about your selective outrage, “Reality”

    @Letters “By the way Jason is married to an Israeli/Jewish woman”

    great, nice 2 know that koutsoukis comes with a heksher.

  • letters in the age says:

    Quirky relationship…..


  • Reality Check says:

    Married to an Israeli woman. No wonder he looked so nervous!

  • letters in the age says:

    Unlike maybe being married to the lovely Dr Leslie Cannold and her opinion on this issue in The Drum today??

  • Mandi Katz says:

    This is a good piece on this topic – http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4540858.html

    And this piece (Yaron’s) is quoted which is interesting.

  • letters in the age says:


    Thats the one I was referring to…..

    I like the refreshing views of Ms Cannold

    Shes great!!

  • Reality Check says:

    I believe Kim Rubenstein’s and Danny Ben Moshe’s article in Fairfax’s National Times is much better than Ms. Cannold’s, which is pretty shallow.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Another half baked article on the “prisoner x story” that peddles anti-Semitic propaganda and draws on false analogies such as-

    “The Prisoner X story may be to Australian Jewry what the “uncovered meat” comments and the Sydney “Innocence of Muslim” riots were to Australian Muslims: teachable moments that can either be leveraged to deepen understanding and faith in Australian multiculturalism, or squandered.”

    Thanks for sharing that Mandi. With so many Jews like that, we don’t need enemies.

  • letters in the age says:

    Ms Cannold isnt shallow at all!!

    Shes named as Australian Humanist of the year

    Its shallow as she is culturally Jewish as opposed to being Orthodox et al

    Read it within that context…

  • Reality Check says:

    Steady on letters, a bit presumptuous of you to say that. My thinking of her article shallow had nothing to do with what brand of Judaism she subscribes to; it’s just that she had no new ideas, Besides, I didn’t say she was shallow, only her article. And what is your problem with orthodox Jews anyway? One beat you up on the way to school once?

  • letters in the age says:

    Reality et al

    Howard Stern is shallow and out there!!!

    Thats a crazy Jewish guy not Ms Cannold

    Jon Stewart is smart and I would love to know how he would analyse this issue???

    That would be a great piece of writing or show!!!

    Anyone….send him this issue of diaspora jewry please!!

  • letters in the age says:


    Just shit stirring today…..

    Thats all!!!


  • Reality Check says:

    Levi, being a USSR refo and all, you should be embracing our multiculturalism. Maybe Iran would have suited you better. There no one is allowed to be different, shame you’re Jewish though.

  • letters in the age says:

    Not into violence Reality…..

    People who do that are loathsome individuals anyway

    Its not my thing ….


  • Reality Check says:

    Letters, so pleased to hear you’re not into violence, but what’s that got to do with anything I have said, or dual citizenship?

  • letters in the age says:

    the bullying analogy of orthodox jews

    Thats all

    Move on!!

  • Levi (a refugee from the ussr) says:

    multicultralism? As in singling out jews for dual loyalty and establishing a double standard? Sounds a lot like iran. Thanks 4 that “reality” check

  • letters in the age says:

    Y http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=35112

    Mendes in Eureka street

    If I was a producer of a current affairs show,the line up of experts on this issue would be locked in with all of these lovely people…

    Great jewish minds who have responded more eloquently than the leadership per se

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Mandi Katz

    The so called leadership of the Aust. Jewry is quite incappable to handle complicated matters. A taylor cuts shmate, a pharmacist dispenses medicine, a dentist fills in cavities and occasionally pulls out certain teeth. A peoperly schooled political philosopher does what he is supposed to do and we do NOT have anything like that up there.
    On the other hand, the issue at hand has been mlked to buggeries by all corners of irrelevance to the issue itself but quite relevant to intentional prejudiced derailments.
    I said it before and wont repeat, dual citiznship uder Aust. law is very clear. What is also very clear is that cretins such as Bob Carr who hav no idea and therefore respect for the preciison of logic, but a sickening predilection for distortions for political gain, would prmote farcical notions of “responsibilities”, “ethics” and as such under the vast and nebulous banner of “national loyalties”.
    The general and hghly distorted consumption of any known AND unknown facts that relate to anything that may call in prejudice of all manner, and here anti Semitism is at the forefrint, make for an abundancy of OPINIONS, as distinc from facts. Andrew Bolt has a definitive agenda, one that favours Jewish interests, so does Gerard Henderson. Politicians of all shades in Aus. dont give a shit about Jewish interests and at times even the Jewish ones pander to the political party loyalties (!!!) against what we, the mere Yids perceive as OUR rights and interests. So we are left with a coterie of web site commentators wo, maybe just like me, have a lot of time to burn and brain cells to do the same. And when toboganing on te shutes of verbal delights, why not throw ina few idiotic musings, a couple of cynical throwaways, a few invectives and then go to bed satisfied that Galus print any crap……….
    Australians are brn, bred and wsted in the strict confines f the PUB subculture and over there ne is NEVER serious about politics, religion, logic and ethics. As such, if a blood forbetwo is seen to cause trouble or be IN trouble, the entire establishemnt is on THE HAPPY HOUR !
    Get it and see it the way it is !!!!!

  • letters in the age says:

    Thanks for the laughs Uncle Otto!!!

    There is some truth in all that there….

    Seek and you shall find!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    I just read parts of the Carr Turnbull interview on ABC about dual citizenship.
    The 2002 Law would have no precise qualfications by the looks of it. There are, however, circmstances which, by virtue of relevant laws , address transgressions. If not directly specified in the said 2002 Law, any act that breaks the Australian Law as such carries indictmets when the perpertrator is within the respective country’s jurisdiction.
    Modifying the existing law, as suggested by two NON legal minds, neither of whom I personally regard as intellectual inspirations ( yes, Malcolm has manners but nothing much of impressive substance beyond that and some turns of phrase, but so does Bob, and Bob is a dedicated imbecile frothing at the residues of his excessive ears stuff that requires industrial cleaning products, ’cause his thoughts stink )is something the two popularised political manic media seekers are now extemporising without having the slightest idea how to go about it because, if they did, they would have told us. Irrelevant words such “review”, “sanitise”, “reconsider” mdan crap to the one expecting meat on the bone. Malcolm must be seen not just a mere Member for Wentworth but as a contender ( here I must recall the scene in the car in ” One the Waterfront” where Brando cries out to his gangster brother: ” …I wanned to be a contender, all I wanned to be was a contender !!!!”, for I can only portray Mal crying to the electorate : ” I wanna be a contender, I wanna be a contender !!!!” but would a too cosy a relationship with the Yids in his plush electorate be an “ostacle” !!!. I reckon a resolute YEP !!!. So we have to show a bit of distanc, space for the comfort given by those popular numbers called votes in the Party room, the same room wallpapered with subtle anti Semitic musings of the true blue kind. So can Mal really, really be seen as to have been joined the Order of Knits of The Temple Emanuel !!?? If so, then no good for business, hence stupid, out of school comments about stuff he knows f..k all about. Question now is, will I ever receive the “Dear otto ” messages from me memba !!?? Why not, mate ’cause you never answered my considerate replies anyways ).

    So, soon the Zygier case shall dissipate in the air thick with other, more important, issues and we shall all return to the bosom of the web site comments about ” Why being a Jew is so difficult when choosing a reverse cycle air conditioner !!??”


    this one is just for you, “Lettres..”

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Levi- saying something is anti-semitic and then repeating a paragraph of the piece, does not make an argument.

    What propaganda does Cannold repeat?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    There is sonething excessively nationalistic about the discourse which questions the loyalty of Australian Jews.

    The critical responsibility of citizenship is adherence to the rule of law and the vast majority of Australian Jews, like the vast majority of all migrants and children/grandchildren of migrants, adhere to the law. People’s emotional and spiritual connections to other places is private and does not make them unfit citizens.

    Kim Rubenstein and Danny ben Moshe’s piece addressed that.

    And it is particularly odd that some of the voices questioning “loyalty” (a jingoistic idea in this context) of Australian Jews are people whose subtantive politis are left leaning – like Ben Saul.

    But what Cannold was saying is that there was an opportunity for community leaders to say loudly and clearly that the discussion is wrong, that one case isn’t the norm, as well as to correct some of the ongoing misinformation about the isssue itself. I really don’t read Cannold as saying that there is case to answer – although more than one intelligent person I know, has read her piece in that way.

    I guess it’s a question of opinion as to whether this was a time for strategic silences or an opportunity to explain and educate.

    But either way it demsntrates that for whatever reasons (including some which reflect ugly motives) , just because the ‘official’ representatives of the community choose to remain silent, it doesn’t mean the noise will stop.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    To clarify- I’m referring to ugly motives on the part of the people questioning ‘loyalty’, not anyone else.

  • letters in the age says:

    The nationalistic umbilical cord to Israel needs to be cut off…

    A more organic relationship needs to be developed

    Look at other groups for instance

    Do you see Australian Greeks going crazy at the events back in Greece within the mainstream press??

    Read the A.F.R and you will see events that address that issue without the hysteria written by prominent Hellenes

    Sinidinos is one of many to voice their erudite opinions on the matter of Europe et al

  • letters in the age says:



  • frosh says:

    Letters from Fairfax,

    I don’t see many Jews “going crazy” either. I have seen members of some other Australian-European ethnic groups “go crazy” at sport stadiums, but I have no reason to assume those members are representative of their wider ethnic group.

    I also wouldn’t assume that writers in the AFR are representative of the communal leadership of the ethnic group they stem from.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Actually Letters – I think that Jews are very similar to other ethnic groups and the way they relate to their homelands.

    More nationalistic in some ways, less in others. I’m thinking Hezbollah flags at a rally in Sydney last year.

    Whatever – to me the only question is whether people break the law.

    We can have a discussion about how we might best support Israel in a way that reflects the diversity of views and vlues in the community, or whether it is worth investing community resources into fostering a strong identifucation with Israel (I think it is) but people have the right to support Israel or any other country as they see fit.

  • letters in the age says:

    Fair call Mandi

    I remember reading ,”Under The Sun”,and being astounded with the pedagogy of some Jewish Day schools.

    They are only pertinent to the current problems you have today with identity etc


    Those A.F.R letter writers are as far removed from the community on purpose

    Thats another story altogether!!

    Point taken


  • letters in the age says:

    Im hoping Ms Cannold would love an Abbott coalition

    It will do wonders for her career!!

    Good for her.

  • letters in the age says:

    Im thinking Ms Cannold would love an Abbott coalition

    It will do wonders for her career!!

    Good for her.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    As religious canons go, this Jewish one seems most suitable in our “loyalty” case: one may not engage in religious exchanges with unsuitable counterparts lest hillul HaShem may be committed .”
    Now , I have seen and heard Philip Chester a few gtimes and I reckon he is a very decent bloke, maybe not the greatest orator, but he knows and loves his Zionist stuff. He has a son who last I knew was in the IDF etc. If Philip Chester “failed” to address the current “crisis”, as Mandi Katz and Dr. Leslie Cannold feel, he has his ( and mine ) reasons.
    Leslie Cannold is a most anxious pro bonno eitzes counsel simply because she is an ethicist and that’s what these gys do, tell all and sundry what to think, say, scramble eggs, boil water and, mostly how to swim in boil water. Her unsolicited “how to” reply on behalf of the Jews of Aust. to the Zygier case reeks of so many laughable inconsistencies that I am sure The Sword of Frosh would have chopped her musings well before seeing the fost word of print. ( just joking because , look the head article above is repleat with the said inconsistencies ).
    And why me critical , once again, of anything that flies in from of me reading eyes !! Because Leslie and Yoram pretend that lecturing in good manners while juxtaposed over the corpse of a fresh incident, a kinda stabat matter of the real Jewish kind, can only attract that “hillul HaShem” of relentless anti Semitic attacks not just on the subject matter per se, THE Zygier poor shaygetz case, but the perfidy of the ENTIRE Jewish argument/case/nation/religion/gift of the gab etc.Can anyone imagine the torrents of pleasurable anti Semitic onslaught !!!
    We do NOT live in a fair world and Phillip Chster knows that. This is precisely WHY he is proud of he fact that one of his sons , a dual Australan (born) Israeli citizen is active in whatver IDF does and kol hakavod to him and them !!!!

    I want yourse guys to tell me how many OTHER dual Aust./Whatever nationals are currently in the service of their “other” country’s secret service !!! Answer is: no bloody idea, adding maybe hundreds, but since those services is secret how would one know, unless we is talkin’ about countries like Israel which CANNOT attract ANY analogy, right Dr. Leslie and Mandi and zuweiter !!!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    just realised bad syntax on the above.
    What I meant was that Cannold, Katz and Gottlieb are not aware or concerned with the fact that sitting juxtaposed to the fresh case of the Zygier type and demanding explanations in the spirit of ethics not emasculated of “common sense “, can only be exploited within the pervasive climate of antipathy to almost anything Jewish.

    Can ethics be “tailored” to circumstances !!!!

  • letters in the age says:


    Take a deep breath before you write all that stuff

    It saves on grammatical errors

  • letters in the age says:

    Last post on this

    Sometimes events happen for a reason and its Gods way of exposing our truths,lies and sense of morality and peace with each other

    It makes us wiser and stronger

    We need more crisis in the world

  • Yaron says:


    How sad for you that there was bad syntax.

    Had I read your permanently impenetrable drivel I am certain that I would have encountered bad logic.

    I have corrected for the bad logic and unfortunately there was no comments left.

    I know the Galus readers dream of such an advantageous outcome.

  • letters in the age says:


    The Galus readers expect interesting and informed debate and articles

    Everyone has their quirks and that also includes the more logical contributers and arguments here

    Its part of being Jewish warts and all!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    as usual you have nothing, but nothing of note to contribute to this topic. Cheap sling shots are the domain of the shallow vanity you display with such passion. Dont know your age but you are not completely illiterate, yet acquiring worthy notions, cum serious dedication to serious stuff, forget it. Popular with your drinkin’ mates no doubt, vane and superficial where matters of the brains matter,you awesome !!!


    grammar is important but when one types thoughts in a forum as this , certain “liberties” are quite ok. At least I come back to tidy up.
    As you always notice, the substance matters more than form. I happen to think a lot quicker than typing………normal.

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hi Mandi,

    Only a twisted mind is capable of drawing an equivalence b/w the passport case and the uncovered meat comments (which probably explains what motivated/incited more than 2 dozen Lebanese youth to go on a gang raping spree targeting “Aussie sluts” in Sydney) or the recent Muslim riots in Sydney where dozens of cops were bashed to a pulp and calls were made to behead those who insulted Islam.

    Making such a false equivalence and parroting the same talking points that advocate a double standard makes the article reek of anti-Semitism.

  • letters in the age says:

    Fair call Otto……

    I think??

  • Levi (a Refugee from the USSR) says:

    Otto, don’t get too disheartened by Rabbi Gottleib. while giving you a rabbi’s sermon on logic (his forte), deep inside the sermon was a hidden message of Ahavas Yisroel. You have read in between the lines. He is full of too much love for his fellow Jews. That’s why I’m shocked, absolutely shocked, that the Beis Din never got back to him in regards to his job application…

  • Otto Waldmann says:


    there is a “scene” in The Master and Marguaritte where the cat offers to re-compose its masters soul.The offer is refused exactly because the Master preffers to wallow in his own abissmal self-deceit……..
    Counter Faustian, but, in some cases, such is leiben.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Levi – she didn’t say they were the same. She said that the two incidents are/were occassions where a minority view, or conduct by a minority, triggered a response from the nasties, that whole communities are suspect as a result.

    I think you are being too literal in the way you read some of this stuff.

    (Incidentally when it comes to Muslims it tends to be the right that impugns whole communities; on this issue several left leaning commentators have done the same vis a vis Jews – nastiness and hatred across the political spectrum, no surprises there)

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:


    it’s nice to know that Cannold’s writing comes with a Rashi style commentary.

    lets have a look @ the quote again –

    “The Prisoner X story may be to Australian Jewry what the “uncovered meat” comments and the Sydney “Innocence of Muslim” riots were to Australian Muslims: teachable moments that can either be leveraged to deepen understanding and faith in Australian multiculturalism, or squandered.”

    How is that not drawing on an equivalence?

    “Incidentally when it comes to Muslims it tends to be the right that impugns whole communities; ”

    If we had cases where dozens of Jews were arrested for conspiring to commit terrorist attacks in this country & massacre as many Australians as possible, or cases where Jewish youth were arrested for racially motivated gang rapes where “Aussie sluts” were targeted, or violent riots where police were brutally bashed & calls were made to behead anyone who insulted Judiasm, or a case where the leader of the entire Jewish community stated that Muslims control the world through sex, sexual perversion, promotion of espionage, treason, and economic hoarding or etc” or where we had a Jewish “peace” conference at the Melbourne show grounds where international Jewish speakers included those who participated in terrorist attacks or called for the eradication of other minority groups etc….I would be the first person to demand that the entire Jewish community be investigated and scrutinised! I promise you!

    & yes, is a tad bit ironic that the same people who usually resort to shrill cries of racism when it comes to any issue related to scrutinising the muslim community & defend the likes of David Hicks are almost always the first to jump on the “Jews have dual loyalty” band wagon.

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