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Antisemitism: A Good Idea to Find the Real Culprit

April 23, 2014 – 11:22 am17 Comments

By Sol Salbe:

anti-semitism1While translating an article about antisemitic attacks in Sweden it occurred to me that the automatic  blaming of the usual suspects occurs here, in Australia, as well.  Several incidents of antisemitism and/or attack on the Australasian Union of Jewish Students [AUJS} have occurred  over the past month or so. I’m far from convinced that the conventional wisdom that blames left-wing organisations especially Socialist Alternative [SAlt] is correct.

It isn’t as if there is too much love lost between me and that organisation. Of all the Left formations I’ve come across in 45 year of political activism it is  among the least rigorous in terms of scholarly research. So when Mick Armstrong a member of their National Executive sent me a leaflet  which had the Jordan river running 500 metres uphill, I wasn’t impressed.  On a more personal level, a large number of SAlt turned up to a debate where I discussed whether the Left should support the BDS campaign. They made sure their point of view was heard again and again from the floor. That was their democratic right but I wasn’t amused when of their leading members spent her shpiel time countering something I allegedly said. Never mind that I said the exact opposite — she had her prepared speech and wasn’t going to waste it just because she couldn’t guess what I would say.

But I’m a journalist and a sceptic so despite the popular acceptance that  members of the ANU Jewish Students’ Association were harassed and intimidated by members of the ANU Socialist Alternative I remain  sceptical. To my mind track record is no proof. Just like I queried the acceptance of a case of alleged bad behaviour by Sara Netanyahu. If you accuse somebody you have to have evidence, not a track record.

But a far more  profound reason is what I’d call linguistic DNA. All political organisations have their jargon, favourite words, common acronyms  and style. think of which parties would talk in terms of “refugee rights” and which in terms of “border protection”.  It’s particularly pronounced among the Left. Late last year I attended a memorial  meeting for an old housemate of mine where at the end of the formal part, the MC  had to step in and conduct separate singing of the Internationale. two groups of people present were singing different words!  These days we can use Google to search through piles of material.

So to return to the antisemitism, the easiest bit concern those obnoxious antisemitic comments in Adelaide.  Jew World Order is definitely not a left-wing term. One would associate it with those right-wing conspiracy theorists who see the hand of the Rothschilds  behind everything bad. I am not much of a connoisseur of right-wing tendencies but just Google Jew World Order combined with “the illuminati” or people like David Icke   and you’ll see what I mean. These people are very much opposed to the “Global Warming scam” which they often blame on the Leftists and the Jews. Socialists (of any kind) they are not.

Next I want to look at something else raised by AUJS. Quote: “Moreover, following various refusals to take pamphlets by Jewish students on the day, extremists responded ‘that’d be right, Israeli bitch’, and ‘filthy Jew’.  Mmm, you don’t have to be an extremist to decline a leaflet, any leaflet. Try it, you’ll find out.  And unlike my days on campus 40 years ago, these days you don’t need a  hard-line of any sort to be angry at Israel. At the park where I take my dog  I hang around with a cross section of society and when the subject comes up it’s hard to avoid the observation  that Israel is on the nose with many ordinary people.

But back to the language. Again bitch, is not part of the Left lingo and hasn’t been in my experience since the advent of the first Women’s Liberation groups  circa 1970.  You want to know who uses the word bitch? Take a look at the carbon tax demos presided by our current Prime Minister. On the other hand check the sa.org.au website and you’ll find in quotes from others and in cultural section where a poet bemoans the way political correctness is under attack.  It’s sexist and not to be used.

So we finally come to the big one: the paper aeroplane.  Pretty tasteless and as unsophisticated as they come. Take a good look at the pic. Two things struck me.  The first thing is the way our “scholar” referred to Hamas. Everyone who reported it instinctively  corrected it to Hamas but the writer actually used HAMAS as if it were an acronym. It is an acronym but of three words in Arabic not five. [Just like my parents’ old Mapam was an acronym of three words in Hebrew.] Therefore the writer is not only uninformed in relation to the conflict, s/he was not an Arab or Israeli either.  “Zionist entity“, however, is as Wikipedia puts it, a phrase used by Arabs[and Muslims as a pejorative for the State of Israel.  No left -wing friend of mine uses it on Facebook, but to be on the safe side I checked not only the Socialist Alternative but their rivals in the Socialist Alliance as well.  There are three  references all from overseas (and two of which are translated from Arabic) on the SAlt web site and none on their new newspaper site: redflag.org.au.  A search through Green Left Weekly which has had its 1000th issue out recently found 3,820 allusions to Israel and  8 allusions to the Zionist Entity [One a report of this  story,3 news quotes from Hamas and 4 outsiders’ comments.] Frankly You’d have hard time convincing an independent jury on the basis of this that we are dealing with members of left-wing organisations

But before anybody jumps to conclusions and starts talking false flag operations etc: don’t be stupid! Where is the cost/benefit? Why take a risk of somebody accidentally photographing you in the act (students carry cameras and you may be caught in the background of someone’ selfie)?   A high risk and what for —  to convince  the converted, get your artwork on the front page of the Jewish News? Really? I think whoever did this is a political idiot (no shortage of those) with minimal knowledge of the conflict. The only thing we know about them beside foolishness is that they picked up their raw material  from a SAlt stall.

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