Following the publication today of Overland’s smackdown of Zionist attempts to silence alternative views on the Middle East in Australia, leading Australian academic Scott Burchill – we like him on this site – sent me the following response:
Political apostasy is rampant amongst the Australian intellectual class. Overseas too. Think of Robert Manne (former right wing conservative), Keith Windschuttle (former Maoist), Piers Akerman (former leftist), Imre Salusinszky (former Edward Said guru), Christopher Hitchens (former Trotskyist), all the neo-cons (David Horowitz (former Stalinist) in the US), etc, etc. They now strenuously oppose the positions they previously held – and do not like to be reminded of their earlier incarnation.
Your posting about [Deakin University’s] Doug Kirsner is a perfect illustration of this phenomena. Political apostates need to purge themselves of the guilt they feel for their youthful ideological crimes and indiscretions (in Doug’s case as a leading Australian opponent of the Vietnam War), so they run to the polar opposite to prove their bona fides to the ruling class, usually with Stalinist-like denunciations of former comrades. There they can be lauded by the [Sydney Morning Herald columnist and Sydney Institute head] Gerard Hendersons of the world as people who have “seen the light”, been “mugged by reality” and “finally come to their senses” – in a very real Marxist sense, they become “useful idiots”. Many, like Paul Wolfowitz, are also opportunists who can read the political wind and know how state and corporate power can be used for personal gain. Their ideological “flexibility” suggests they actually hold their political convictions very lightly and see them merely as a means to an end.
For Kirsner and other Zionists, there is now a moral panic about increasing hostility to Israel in Europe and North America after 40 years of solid support, as well as schisms amongst pro-Israeli Jews. The tide is finally turning against them. Hence their desire to silence dissent while proclaiming themselves champions of free speech. Sadly, it’s an all too familiar story.