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Bondi and The Holocaust: The Fallout From The Attacks

October 29, 2013 – 9:57 am51 Comments

From the editor:

bondi attack2Along with horror, the Bondi attacks have elicited much debate.

Was the Anti-Defamation League cheapening the memory of the Holocaust in its comparisons?

Was the Australian media missing in action?

Did the Greens take too long to respond when the Muslim Women’s association was able to condemn the attacks almost immediately?

Is racist violence worse – as a number of people are suggesting - than other kinds?

Was there a rush to blame Muslims for the attack?

Are laws against racial vilification the solution to such violence?

Was the attack a freak occurrence or was it a symptom of a greater problem?

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51 Comments »

  • frosh says:

    In short:

    Was the Anti-Defamation League cheapening the memory of the Holocaust in its comparisons? Yes

    Was the Australian media missing in action? Somewhat

    Did the Greens take too long to respond when the Muslim Women’s association was able to condemn the attacks almost immediately? Perhaps, but probably the NSW ALP were worse.

    Is racist violence worse – as a number of people are suggesting – than other kinds? Depends if racism is the real motivation, or is just opportunistic violence.

    Was there a rush to blame Muslims for the attack? Not in the mainstream media, but probably privately and on blogs and social media etc. I’m guilty as charged as I privately assumed it was probably Lebanese youth. Shame on me for believing unsubstantiated trash I read on the internet.

    Are laws against racial vilification the solution to such violence? No, I am yet to read one good argument for this. There is no evidence these perpetrators were influenced or even exposed to ‘hate speech’.

    Was the attack a freak occurrence or was it a symptom of a greater problem? At this stage, it’s a freak occurrence as far as racial or anti-Semitic violence goes. However, for the perpetrators, it seems this is far from their first violent act.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I think this was an extreme manifestation of a growing anti-Jewish sentiment in society.

    Generally speaking, the violence is conducted by the poorly educated/issue-ignorant segment of the population inspired by the social elites’ openly epxressed various anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish statements/positions.

    The poorly educated don’t bother to (can’t?) make the distinction between ordinary Jews and the problems in Israel and conflate these. They then resort to violence as a social expression, when opportunity presents itself, feeling somewhat validated by their innacurate understanding of the issues expressed by social elites.

    Ordinary manifestations of anti-Jewish sentiment today would include verbal abuse, online abuse, propagation of tropes that are harmful to Jews and their concerns across a variety of media, religious intolerance expressed within religious orgs, discrimination (in a variety of forms) – this is deeply depressing and all well-documented. Physical violence is just an extreme manifestation of this growing problem in my opinion.

    I think perpetrators of crimes which openly identify racial/cultural/religious markers of their victims should be charged with something akin to hate crime legislation with significant penalties.

    I also think that social elites need to articulate their anti-Israeli sentiments more carefully to avoid conflation with anti-Judaism – not use the weaselly caveat that criticism of Israel is not anti-semitic, while usually highlighting Jewish-specific themes/issues that create confusion in society.

  • MargB says:

    One more question. Are there some small-minded racist bigots within the Jewish community who hijacked legitimate discussions on social media about this incident and through their unfounded (and as it turned out incorrect) speculation about the attackers, and disgusting attacks on fellow members of the Jewish community bring the reputation of the whole Jewish community into disrepute? Hell yes.

  • EM says:

    I don’t understand why the Mamamia article called this a racist attack. Jewish people are not a race.

  • Gedalia says:

    EM, please go and ask any geneticist about whether Jewish people are a race. For example, testing for cohanim, or various coding associated with diseases.

    I can be Jewish because of my religious belief, my identity from birthright, my ethos and cultural conduct, and in many (but not all cases) because of my genetic code. To embrace the Jewish experience I need a blend of the above, but even if I dissasociated my belief and behavior from my DNA, I would still be a member of the Jewish race. It’s in my genes.

    Of course, we are not racist, because I can still join the Jewish nation even if I was not born with the privelege of maternal Jewish genetic ancestry.

  • Here’s one more question: This article posed seven questions, one of which related to Holocaust comparisons. Is GA being sensationalist by including that in the article headline?

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Ant,

    A turn for the books, I agree with most of you say. The biggest difference is in regard to Greens. I may be a formal member of the Greens but as a journalist I’ve to tell the truth and that is that the ALP got in well ahead of the Greens.

    But I would like to add a further question: Was Michael Danby right in being deliberately obtuse and not mention the apparent Pacific Islander background of most assailants? He appears to have been aware of it from the beginning. He told J-wire “Let’s have no political correctness over who these thugs are.” Now, not being a fan of Danby I assumed that if the attackers would have been Muslim he’d have found away to mention it, even if requested by the police not to do so. Therefore, given that there was no explicit mention, or remez dak a’ave kesak as we say in Hebrew, I took it that the perpetrators were in some way atypical members of the community.I therefore sent some of my Indigenous friends scouting (I wasn’t that far off the mark). But I’m told that other people took Danby comment as pointing the finger at Lebanese Muslims. And I’d contend that Danby should have aware of that possibility.

    Now in fairness to M Danby MHR, I don’t think it would have required too much of a hint for many members of the Jewish communities, in both Australia and Israel, to have assumed that it was probably Lebanese youth. I don’t think that three wise reporters of Israel Hayom who reported yesterday (p17) that three Muslims were arrested in connection with the vile attack necessarily got it from Danby. But if he would have explicitly mentioned the specific connection I dare say that the word would have got around and that far fewer people who would have assumed that Muslims did it.

  • George Peters says:

    EM – Jews are not, and were never a race, but certain powerful people *claimed* they were, and used this theory of “biological racialism* to justify mass murder. The theory of races (Gobineau, Galton, etc.)was very popular in the second half of the 19thC and beyond, and led to the rise of modern anti-Semitism, against Jews as a race, rather than on traditional religious grounds. The theory of races (always bad science) continues to persist to this day. Personally, I don’t think there are any differences of substance between the early identified major races – Caucasian, Negroid, Mongoloid)other than superficial ones, skin color, hair type, eye shape, for example).

    Editor, who wrote “Is racist violence worse – as a number of people are suggesting – than other kinds?”

    In recent decades we have hate crimes and racial vilification laws on the books. Personally, I am skeptical that these laws are useful. A crime is a crime, and should be punished accordingly. Motivation (racial, religious hatred etc.) should not be an element in sentencing. Is matricide a worse crime than a common garden homicide? The law gives it no special treatment.

    Just as we don’t need the much abused term “social justice” (whatever happened to old fashioned “justice”?), so we don’t need laws based on the above. As a by-product of such laws, it also becomes impossible to speak the truth openly, and without fear in contemporary society, for example about the many depredations of Islam, The Religion of Peace (“TROP”). Such is the impact of these over-arching laws. This is of course, the dystopia of which Orwell wrote, where literally everything in contemporary social and political discourse is both inverted and perverted. The treatment of Israel by the media of the world being a prime example, of course. But that is another discussion.

  • George Peters says:

    Further to above, regarding motivation of a crime, a minor correction. I think that judges can and should and do use their discretion in sentencing. Clearly some crimes are more heinous than others. I don’t see the need for over-arching laws to tell the Bench how to sentence those found guilty.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Imagine Jews in Germany having these conversations soon after the Nazis win power. they won’t be menstioning the Holocaust.

  • frosh says:

    RC,

    Your comment is a disgraceful trivialisation of the Shoah.

  • frosh says:

    Sol, I said NSW ALP, since it happened in NSW.

    Coincidentally, the NSW ALP has in recent time had a lot of parliamentary representatives (Sydney based, rather than rural based) who like to make comments in the media to show they’re not supportive of the State of Israel.

    Could you point me to a link to the NSW ALP condemnation (not saying it isn’t in the ether somewhere, just saying when I googled it (nsw alp bondi anti-semitic), the first item that came was my own comment about it in this thread :-)

  • Reallity Check says:

    I do apologise frosh, I didn’t know that linking anti- Semitism to the Holocaust trivialises the Holocaust.
    And I thought is was common knowledge that the Holocaust stated with hateful language and individual violent attacks on Jews before they built the death camps. And when can you mention the Holocaust. If we are not allowed the Holocaust it will be forgotten and that the Holocaust was an aberration. It wasn’t it was the culmination.
    The silly banter here is what is trivialising the Holocaust. My last sentence means that before the Holocaust, no one thought that such a crime of such mass proportions could happen. But it did. And the more we recognise what racism can leed to, we are not learning from it.

  • frosh says:

    RC,

    You need to hit the history books, and hit them hard.

    Then following that, you need to learn how to contextualise history and current events.

    A once ever random violent attack by some drunken youths (who themselves had a history of committing random violence, including assault of a police officer) but who had no systematic exposure to anti-Semitic indoctrination has absolutely nothing in common with the vast history of European anti-Semitism (including a massive history or heinously violent anti-Semitism) that precipitated the Shoah.

    Samuel Johnson said:
    “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier.”

    But you don’t need to think meanly of yourself for not having suffered through 1930s European levels of anti-Semitism.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “no one thought that such a crime of such mass proportions could happen”

    – aside from the Armenians who had been genocided a few decades before…

    @frosh

    I would be curious to examine their early childhoods before making such a blanket statement – it is possible that they were exposed to classical Christian anti-semitism through particular ethnic community religious groups as children – but that is purely speculative of course.

  • Reallity Check says:

    frosh, do you mean books like Eichmann in Jerusalem, A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt or The Holocaust by Peter Neville, or The Years of Extermination by Saul Friedlander. Steven Beller’s Antisemitism?
    “A once random violent attack by some drunken youth”? I believe its’s you who should be reading some books.
    Suddacee, the Turks didn’t build a sophisticated machine for the pure purpose of exterminating Euposes Jews, but that doesn’t lessen the crime.
    Also, those thugs in Bondi attack were brought up to hate Jews, whether by their parents or others, just like the brown shirts.
    Which brings in the BDS pr..ks. All the people saying they were like the brown shirts, frosh, are they also trivializing the Holocaust?y

  • TheSadducee says:

    RC

    I’m not in disagreement with your position now that you’ve articulated it more clearly and accurately.

    I think your asserting a definite position concerning the intentions of the accused perpetrators without an iota of proof which doesn’t help your credibility. It is also probably libellous.

  • Reallity Check says:

    What, to call someone who cries dirty Jews and attacks them, a Jew hater is libellous?

  • TheSadducee says:

    No RC, to assert as a fact that they were brought up to hate Jews by their parents or others, without knowing this to be a fact is potentially libellous.

    Their current behaviour is certainly anti-semitic, but that does not prove your assertion.

    @frosh/sol salbe

    The comments you are making about the NSW ALP etc are merely what I remarked earlier on about – social elites stating their criticisms of Israel (and Jews) which are often/usually misunderstood/misconstrued by the less educated segments of society who are prepared to utilise violence as a form of social expression and feel/understand that these criticisms validate/confirm their own muddled anti-Jewish (and in other cases anti-foreigner) sentiments.

    The critical statements concerning Israel need to be very carefully articulated to avoid these problems – something which is not being currently done. Hence you have a Dep. Leader of the Opposition who has made statements which are easily misconstrued without context which has caused her own repudiation of them publicly.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Suddacee, does that mean it’s in their genes to hate Jews? Seems like a good defence for them. They can’t help themselves.

  • TheSadducee says:

    No RC – imagine, if you can, the possibility that they developed their own prejudices in a short time from reading an anti-Jewish book or literature or seeing something on the internet or tv – and this wasn’t given to them by their parents or others to them to form their views.

    So no, not genetic, most likely just good-old fashioned stupidity fed by a growing public sentiment of anti-Judaism.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Sorry Sudducee, I should have said other sources rather then others. But by calling these thugs stupid, isn’t that defamation. Anyhow, let them sue me for libel, I would welcome it.

  • TheSadducee says:

    RC – that’s why I said “most likely” – I have raised the possibility, which is relatively defensible, rather than stated a direct fact. :)

    And you wouldn’t be sued by these guys but rather by their parents.

  • frosh says:

    Sadducee,

    You wrote:

    I would be curious to examine their early childhoods before making such a blanket statement – it is possible that they were exposed to classical Christian anti-semitism through particular ethnic community religious groups as children – but that is purely speculative of course.

    However, these perps were drinking heavily and already had a recent history of violent criminal behaviour unrelated to anti-Semitism, including the assault of a police officer.

    Did they get that from their church also?

    Far more likely, the problem with these perps is not that they were listening to their Christian preachers and practicing Christian parents – the problem is that they were NOT listening to their preachers and their parents!

  • Jenny says:

    I live in Bondi, not far from where the attack happened.
    I can’t tell you how gross and disgusting the whole suburb is on friday and saturday nights – quite, quite different to how it is during the week.

    On the weekend, it’s much as you will have read in reports about King’s Cross – an influx of people coming in from outside to drink, drink, drink, except that in the case of Bondi, it isn’t cash-strapped teenagers from the far-flung suburbs, it’s boofheat footy players, cahsed up men with big biceps and too much agro. There are ALWAYS brawls outside the Beach Rd Hotel (where the perpetrators had been drinking) and often inside the pub too. And when I say boofhead, I mean the sort of people who would pick on anyone with an accent, anyone looking distinctly un-sporty, dare I say, peaceful.

    I hope the anti-discrimination board investigates thoroughly, but I am positive that the attack could just have easily happened to an Indian family or somesuch, walking down the street quietly at the wrong time.

    Outside of Friday and Saturday nights, there is a such a visible and significant Jewish presence in Bondi that it would be quite bizarre to think of any such thing happening.

  • TheSadducee says:

    frosh

    I’m not sure we are on the same page so I’ll try to explain – a person’s upbringing can provide them with values/beliefs which are completely antithetical to their current behaviours/beliefs/values – an atheist brought up in a religious fundamentalist family is a good example.

    Similarly, Christian anti-semitism can be instilled in a child who then goes on to become a drunken lout who exhibits little/no Christian values – nonetheless, they still maintain their anti-Jewish beliefs at some level.

    Isn’t this generally the nature of prejudice/bigotry?

    Whatever the case, it is purely speculative but it would be interesting to see what exactly is being taught in ethnic community religious groups concerning Judaism.

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/12/26/1135445527191.html

    Its a conservative government.

    The ugly anglo comes out to play.

    Isolated incident but sadly as this article suggests it’s not amongst lower socio-economic groups only.

    Shalom

  • frosh says:

    I have to agree with Jenny. These perps probably would have attacked anyone who looked a little bit different, be it different clothing, a limp, or whatever.

    Sadducee, your argument fails Occam’s razor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

  • Reallity Check says:

    Frosh, as the last paragraph says in your Wikipedia reference, Occam’s razor is not recognised as a scientifically irrefutable result, not to different to Murphy’s Law.

  • frosh says:

    “not to (sic) different to Murphy’s Law.”

    Another idiotic comment. With each additional comment you make , I somehow lose additional respect for you in a new way, despite not having any respect for you in the first place. It’s a paradox, I know. It’s no wonder you are so disinclined to put your real name to such narishkayt.

    Likening Occam’s Razor to “Murphy’s Law”? If only you knew how foolish that sounds.

    How shall I explain it to you, the completely scientifically ignorant?
    I guess it’s a bit like likening the entire history of European anti-Semitism to a single one-off random incident in Bondi. Oh wait…

  • letters in the age says:

    Mumma mia is a conservative blog…

    Lets say that Mia Freedman loves the stay at home mum crowd for her clickbate responses that are rather ill informed

    Her blog is akin to McDonalds journalism

  • Reallity Check says:

    frosh since you rely on Wikipedia, I’ll let the readers decide who is the idiot. But if you want to understand the concept of Accom’s Razor, try reading a more reputable reference.

  • Reallity Check says:

    I am being a bit unfair here. Occam’s or Ockham’s razor has it that when there are several explanations of a phenomenon, the simplest should be taken. The way frosh used it sounds more like if an improbable event occurs, such as a Jewish family bashed by some nasty drunks, it’s more likely that Jews would be bashed by confirmed anti-Semites, and far less likely than by some hoodlums. Thus Murphy’s law. frosh is using Ockham’s razor to say that the simplistic explanation to an anti-Semitic attack is that some thugs did it, whereas a more probable reason would be that is was done by confirmed anti-Semites. See the connection? Probably not.

  • frosh says:

    The reference was for YOUR benefit, as I wasn’t that your ALP Guide for Frequent Letter Writing Hacks would have much info on Occam’s Razor, although evidently, they’ve published a fair bit on the lesser known “Accom’s Razor” :-)

  • Reallity Check says:

    I’m happy being an ALP hack, but if you read my other letters you would also know that I have a doctorate in physics, so I don’t really need your help in understanding Ockham’s razor.

  • letters in the age says:

    Reality…

    Which faction do you belong to if i may ask?? smirk.

  • frosh says:

    Any anonymous sock-puppet can claim any qualification they like. If you have even a conceded pass mark in a single unit of an undergraduate degree in Physics, then it’s an indictment of both the physics department and the university that awarded you credit.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Editor: please do not debate moderation policy in thread. Email the editor with any queries.

  • Raoul says:

    Editor: Khazarist conspiracy theories are not welcome on this site. They flout science and history and constitute misinformation used – by anti-Semites and anti-Zionists – to bolster denial of Jewish connection to Israel.

  • Zvi Saita says:

    Can Frosh be wrong by rushing to insults instead of carefully looking at RC’s suggestions !!?? Let’s say that the use of “idiotic” was unwarranted in relation to RC and his use of Ockham’s Razor principles.
    For starters Frosh does not accept that the attacks were proven as having anti Semitic motivations. To oversimplify the event by excluding ample evidence of antiSemitism in the disposition of the attackers is at least irrational. Everybody knows that the louts in question attacked THOSE people because they were clearly Jewish. The “telephoned” their intentions and then went on and did what their nature demanded, resort to violence. To dismiss the specifics here does not serve truth, but may imply that one should be careful in the use of certain offensive terms as they may turn against the user in the final, even the Ockham Razor wash.
    The other thing is that speculations regarding the more complex character features of individuals Frosh has never met and/or consult professionally, as a certified Psychologist, carry as much weight as deeming valid anyone he dislikes on obviously other accounts as being idiotic.
    I am sure, though, ht any legal head employed to defend those nti Semitic hooligans would be “vigorous” in pretending that his “clients” don’t even know what anti Semitism means. Then why not Frosh Psychologist, Philosopher AND Solicitor.

  • frosh says:

    Zvi,

    You’ve ignored one key aspect. The perpetrators have a history of random violence, so much so that they were on parole, and none of their other victims have been identifiably Jewish.

    Again, sorry to break up your little fantasy that you are living in 1930s Europe (or even current day Europe).

  • Reallity Check says:

    frosh is not only a solicitor Zvi, he’ll be appearing as their barrister and expert witness using Ockham’s razor to prove that they weren’t at all motivated by anti-Semitism.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Editor: please email the editor with any press releases.

  • Zvi Saita says:

    Well, Frosh, if this the best challenge you can offer, I suppose we will have to deal with it.
    Your brief response could be considered of the Swiss cheese kind, holes all over the place.
    One at a time. Your assumption that the Bondi Beach attack was not motivated by anti Semitism based on the fact that the little we know about ONE assailant out of EIGHT, that being that he is at the age of only 17 already a recidivist in a similar type of unlawful behavior, does not offer previous anti Semitic motivation, is based on on the irrational negative conclusion from affirmative premises. In logic, which I was “forced” to do at Uni., it is called “Illicit affirmative”. Let me assure you that with such a fallacy the judge wont let you continue defending the anti Semitic charges against the assailant(s).

    The other one is your kind invitation for me to desist from harking back to the 1930’s nazi regimes in Europe ( which I did not do anyway ) or even push the “fantasy” of me living now in the same Europe.
    What escaped you is that the incident we are discussing here happened some ten days ago, right in the heart of Sydney’s Jewish Eastern Suburbs, some 30 minute drive from my place in the South Western Sydney suburbia. How is that Europe some 70 years back or even now, when six Jews ended up in St. Vincent’s badly hurt because they were so obviously people like you and I practically today !?

    I think you owe RC, forget about me, at least a sincere “oops !”

  • frosh says:

    Zvi,

    I’m a busy person. I’ll tell you what I told a certain fellow who used to frequent these pages (hint: his first name is a palindrome):

    You’ll need to communicate with more clarity and parsimony if you’d like me to reply.

  • Zvi, your comment contains bizarre syntactic and lexical properties that resemble those of a banned poster.

    Failing to write in clear English is a violation of Galus commenting policy.

    Further infractions will result in suspension of your account.

  • Zvi Saita says:

    Galus and Frosh

    I don’t know what you are talking about in regards to my bizzare syntax and lexical properties and lack of clear English as it being an “infraction”.

    Anyawy
    here is my simple explanation on the issue we are debating here.

    Frosh claims he is busy and that is the reason he cannot reply my last posting.
    Clearly, we have seen arguments by Frosh that the perpetrators of the vicious attacks could not have been motivated by anti Semitism. Frosh argues that because there were no reports of previous strict anti Semitic attacks in regards to only one of the attackers, the attacker could not possibly be accused of being anti Semitic.
    My logical argument is very simple. It says that a prior positive
    occurence ( here the absence of anti Semitic attacks) , cannot be used as an argument that a new event cannot possibly be anti Semitic. In logic it is called “illicit affirmative”. Look it up.
    Then, I am accused of “fantasising” about violent attackes against Jews in Sydney as recent as ten days ago.
    The reports we all know from the same sources mentioned clearly that before attacking the Jewish group, all males wearing kippot, the attackers made verbal offensive, anti Semitic attacks. That proves that they knew that the people they were about to attack were Jewish. There were no reports of provocations by the known Jews against the eight attackers. So the eight attackers started it all bymaking it clear that the Jewishness of the victims was the reason they resorted to violence. Waht is bizzare about that ?
    Frosh called another poster offensive names while mainating the above argument of a non anti Semitic nature of the attack, using the word “idiotic”.
    That was uncalled for.
    Frosh did not answer my “bizzare syntax” in a substantive manner and being “busy” is the most common exit when one runs out of logical suport for his/her stances. The same Frosh was not busy replying on numerous occasions on the same thread persisting in the above mentioned unacceptable “explanations”.

    Now, is this better, acceptable and clear ?

  • Reallity Check says:

    frosh, if you’re such a busy person, why do you even bother? Your condescending remarks, know-all attitude and boorish nature aren’t helping further this discussion.

  • frosh says:

    “Clearly, we have seen arguments by Frosh that the perpetrators of the vicious attacks could not have been motivated by anti Semitism.”

    Zvi/Otto, the above statement, like many you have made, is plainly false, and thus constitutes a straw-man argument.

    If you want to have a dialogue with me, you’ll have to retract all your false statements, and make no further false statements.

  • Zvi Saita says:

    Frosh

    could you please check your own posting of Oct.30. @10.55 a.m.
    YOU state with “some” authority that the “drunken youth …had no systematic exposure to anti Semitic indoctrination”.
    What we deduct from your above statement, which has not been extrapolated unfairly, is:

    – the youth were drunken – there are no positive reports that the THREE only out of EIGHT youth involved were drunken. In addition the rest of FIVE were not identified at all. So how can anyone say in what state they were. Yet, you DID seem to know.
    No “straw man” in sight !

    – “..no systematic exposure to anti Semitic indoctrination.”
    How do you know that ?!! Have you gained access to data in respect to their – all eight or just a single one – private lives etc. ?

    So, where is the straw man, Frosh ?!
    What you are , actually, saying is that you refuse to respond to people who prove you wrong. And, to be honest, I am not at all surprised and/or worried, considering the basis on which you build your beliefs and dialectics.

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