Australian Democracy; Jewish news

A brief guide to democracy in Australia.

But the funds will be needed. Labor, the Coalition and the Greens spent more than $100 million at the 2007 election, according to Australian Electoral Commission figures compiled by Joo-Cheong Tham, a lecturer at Melbourne Law School, for his book Money and Politics.

Third parties, mostly businesses and unions, chipped in another $50 million in 2007.

Unions contributed about $27 million and businesses about $16 million.

About half of the party’s costs will be subsidised by the taxpayer. Once parties achieve 4 per cent of the vote, the AEC pays them $2.31 per vote. This money, about $50 million, will start flowing in about a month.

Jewish News

Okay, so I’m a bit behind, and haven’t had time to comment for a little while. So I’ll do it this week on the last two issues.

20 August 2010 AJN

There’s a pretty awful story about people urged not to vote for Dreyfus because there will be “another Australian Jew” elected, and the previous two are “Zionist Jews”. If accurate, they’re disappointing and in my view unacceptable. And stupid. What difference does it make if the Zionists are Jewish or not? Is the fanatical support for the Israeli government of say Julia Bishop any better or worse than that of a new Jewish Liberal MP? I mean, I think it’s amazing how inept and incompetent campaigns against fanatical Zionists have been in electorates with large Muslim and Arab communities. But I think this is also symptomatic of a broader problem – there’s a complete disconnect between leftist Jews, so-called pro-Palestinian groups, the handful of liberal and progressive types that support Palestinian rights, and Muslim and Arab community groups involved in Palestine related issues, which cross a spectrum. I mean, groups like Sheikh Hilali’s mob are in no way progressive. If support for Palestinian rights is to expand, it has to be principled, secular and liberal. It should be noted, UPDATE: I got Dreyfus mixed up with Eric Roozendaal, who was targeted with racist graffiti before. Nothing can excuse anti-Semitism, and no excuses should be made for it.

The next story is about AJDS. The title says “Jewish group adopts partial Israel boycott”. This is of course a fabrication. The story is by Peter Kohn – I think he also did the “story” full of what I suspect were Philip Mendes’ fabrications about what I wrote in Overland, corrected the next week. AJDS hasn’t adopted a partial boycott. It says it will consider a partial boycott case by case. The reactions are ridiculous, as expectable. ZFA President: “nothing more than a deliberate and concerted campaign to delegitimise… Israel. … deserves the most severe condemnation.”

The editorial comments on Getreu’s comments –  “Hardly” those “one would expect to be voiced so openly by someone at the forefront of the community…” (etc). Also, “In the face of overwhelming, widely unjustified and ill-informed condemnation of Israel, Getreu’s comments seem to question the united front we require from our leadership to defend the country against the weight of criticism stacked against it, to bring balance to the debate and to turn the tide agaisnt the global attempts to demonise the Jewish State.” However, “specific policies or actions of the Israeli Government may trouble us.”

On the other hand, AJDS is “resolving to support consumer and academic boycotts, as well as military divestment”. This is another fabrication – they’ve resolved to consider them. But who cares about facts? It concludes by doubting whether the “Establishment” can “accomodate” actions “so anathema to its principles and so damaging to the Jewish State.” They quote AJDS saying they support just an end to the occupation and blockade, but that’s considered irrelevant. The letters were fun. One complaint about Getreu. Professor Douglas Kirsner complaining about the Greens – “voters should vote below the Greens and put The Greens last.” Remember how that leftist wrote to Overland to complain about me? Because he’s really left-wing? Him and his buddies like Mendes? Abbot and Gillard both got op ed space to say why they’re good for the Jews. Vomit.

Oh, and they note a letter sent to AJN saying that the Greens were a party of “compassionate, intelligent politics”. This letter wasn’t printed. Even though it included signatories like Peter Singer. AJN apparently refused to print it. How appalling.

AJN August 27 2010

Letters are fun. Paul Winter writes in that AJDS is “anti-Zionistic”. “Societies can argue about aborition and even contraception. But no civilised society will debate the merits of infanticide.” (“Even” contraception. This guy must be so right wing). Note also how he alleges the only place where politicide is contemplated is against Israel.

Judy Segal writes in to call for JCCV to expel AJDS. Tom Borsky says it emboldens “all anti-Semites”, and endangers the “physical safety of Israelis and the well-being of all Jews.”Another letter complains about Getreu. And Rabbi Ingram writes in to defend the Israeli soldier photographed on facebook with Palestinian detainees.

Jamie Hyams in his media review claims Gaita’s book on Gaza is “sharply critical of Israel” though it “unsurprisingly drew enthusiastic reviews”. He notes one in Australian by Hal Wootten (!) and another by Loewenstein in the Age. I think Wootten’s review is worth commenting on (some of it is admirable, though some of it I disagree with, and some I disagree with strongly), but another time.

Ginette Searle has a remarkable article on BDS. She says its reminiscent of the Nazis. Gee who do you think she’s talking about? And note how Nazi comparisons are always inappropriate when against the Israeli government’s interests, but always appropriate when in favour of them? Searle is impressed that Jews and Arabs (does she mean Palestinians?) “eat in the same restauarants.” Wow. I’m so impressed. You mean, Israel lets Arabs into the same restaurants as Jews? Tell us more about the most wonderful country in the world, oh Exec Director of Zionist Council of Victoria.

Oh, and Dvir Abramovich has another column. I’ve commented enough on his columns here before. But the fun thing is – he quotes my blog. He misquotes it of course – I wrote the following, and he quotes the bold and underlined bit, as though it is the start of a sentence.

In the Jewish News (13/08/2010) (I can no longer be bothered writing up each week), Liam Getreu – head of AUJS – says the “primary impediments” to peace is “Hamas hatred and extremism, Fatah ambivalence and corruption, and Israeli occupation and trigger-happiness.”

Now obviously I disagree, and is even on the face of it absurd (how would Fatah corruption contribute to the lack of peace?), but note that he attempts to be even handed and share blame. In the Jewish News. And this is the head of AUJS. I think this is significant, because it shows the change in environment in the Jewish community and AUJS. Complete zealous fanaticism is no longer required in the “pro-Israel” group for youngsters. And it should be noted – Getreu is not trying to impress the general public by being neutral or even handed or whatever. He is writing to the Jewish community, as head of AUJS.

Abramovich quotes me as blogger and IAJV supporter. I’m pleased that Abramovich reads my blog. I hope he enjoys it more than I enjoy reading the things he writes.

Anyway, he writes that this “speaks volumes about the inroads anti-Israel propaganda has made.” The rest of his column is his usual left of insight. The funniest bit is “How intelligenct people can put on the blinders every morning is a mystery. The left has reconfigured a small country of seven million, a symbol of western democracy, into a colonial, oppressive power.”

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