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Is This a Worry? Grand Mufti Blackballs Pro-Israel Labor Candidate

September 30, 2013 – 12:16 pm3 Comments

From the editor:

grand mufti2On ABC’s Insiders yesterday, it was reported that Union Leader – and outspoken Israel supporter – Paul Howes may have been forced to withdraw his candidature for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Carr due to a strongly worded letter from Australia’s Grand Mufti who seems to be a Hamas supporter.

The story was first reported in The Australian Financial Review on Shemini Atzeret (while Galus was on a break) and can be viewed here.

In case you don’t subscribe to the AFR, excerpts from the article can be read at Micahel Smith News:

“Australia’s senior Islamic cleric threatened to withdraw community support for federal Labor in Western Sydney if union leader Paul Howes replaced Bob Carr in the Senate, a leaked email reveals.

The email, written on behalf of the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, by his chief political adviser, accused Mr Howes of a “blind bias for Israel” and said that if he was appointed to the Senate, community support for Labor that was mustered for the federal election would be withdrawn.

The email was sent to MPs and ­officials on September 9, two days after the election and the same day The Australian Financial Review revealed Mr Howes wanted to fill Senator Carr’s pending Senate vacancy.

Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, withdrew from the contest last week. Senior Labor sources said the Mufti’s warning was not a significant factor in the internal campaign to convince Mr Howes to withdraw.

The email says that as saddened as the community is at news of Senator Carr’s retirement, “what is saddening and alarming us more is the rumour that Paul Howse [sic] will be replacing him”.

Pattern of blind bias

“Paul has had a repeated pattern of blind bias toward Israel. His appointment would not at all help the ­engagement effort between the ALP and the wider Muslim community,” it says.

“As you know we have worked very hard to marshal our community to ­support and successfully retain the majority of ALP seats in Western ­Sydney against all odds, and the choice of Paul will threaten our efforts to maintain this momentum, especially if new elections are called in the next year.

“I urge you to help us help you and present our concerns to the decisionmakers at the ALP so they realise the potential consequences of such a ­controversial choice.”

The email starts with “Dear Jason, Tony, Julie and E”, who are Jason Clare, the member for Blaxland, Tony Burke, the member for Watson, Julie Owens, the member for Parramatta, and Ed Husic, the member for Chifley. All have large Islamic communities in their Western Sydney electorates.

It is understood the letter also went to NSW Labor headquarters. Mr Husic fell ill after the election and said he had never seen the email.”

Paul Howes is a fascinating character who overcame seemingly insurmountable odd to achieve enormous success. It’s worth having a look at his Wikipedia page and asking the question: is his withdrawal a loss not just for Zionists, but for Australian politics?

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  • frosh says:

    Is the situation now that a strident critic of BDS cannot become a Labor senator for NSW?

    To read Paul Howes’ criticisms of BDS, see here:


  • Grandma C says:

    Yes this is a great worry, if it is true. And it will only add to the feelings of alarm which some of our community have already re immigration and asylum seeker intakes from certain populations. And for those of us who are not quite there yet in terms of supporting our government and opposition stance on refugee intake, it may begin our feelings of disquiet.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Is this any different to the organised Jewish campaign against Bill Hartley?
    I am not comparing Paul Howes and – lehavdl – Bill Hartley. I am asking is there a difference between the Jewish community threatening to abandon the ALP for endorsing an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel campaigner, versus the Islamic community moving to block a candidate they feel blocks their agenda.
    The obvious issue of numbers is obvious – but is there a fundamental moral or political difference?

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