Disaster is approaching (but nothing to see here)

Murdoch’s Australian broadsheet tackles the big issues in the election campaign. Such as this front page yarn today:

The accident-prone campaign of star Labor recruit George Newhouse has hit another pothole, with a leaked email revealing his campaign manager has espoused anti-Zionism.

The revelation that Mr Newhouse’s campaign manager, Rose Jackson, has spoken out against the Jewish state has the potential to hurt his chances in the marginal eastern Sydney seat of Wentworth, which has the largest number of Jewish voters of any electorate in Australia.

The Liberal Party also stepped up its attack on the legitimacy of Mr Newhouse’s candidacy yesterday, naming him among 13 Labor candidates across the country it claims may not be able to run.

Labor dismissed the claims, raised by Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb, as baseless and a sign of desperation by the Government.

But a cloud continues to hang over Mr Newhouse’s candidacy — with conflicting legal advice on whether he resigned from a paid position with the NSW Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal in time to nominate for the seat — and Ms Jackson’s comments could further damage his campaign.

In an email addressed “Dear activists”, Ms Jackson wrote to an internet education discussion forum last year: “I oppose Zionism because it calls for the creation of a Jewish state, and I think all governments should be secular.

“No Jewish, Islamic, Christian states anywhere in the world, just good, robust, secular democracies,” she said. “By speaking out on behalf of the Palestinians and Lebanese people, we can give voice to those that some governments and media would wish to silence.”

Ms Jackson, 22, the daughter of ABC television journalist Liz Jackson, was president of the National Union of Students at the time she wrote the email.

She stressed yesterday her email was directed against rabid anti-Israel comments on the website which, she believed, shaded into racism. In it she chastises a forum member who accuses Jews of “a fetish for genocide”.

Asked if her views sat uncomfortably next to those of Mr Newhouse — who is a leading member of the Jewish community and whose father, Arnold, was president of the State Zionist Council of NSW — Ms Jackson said, “I don’t know George’s position on Israel. “I’m just opposed to theocracy. I certainly support the right of Israel to exist, but not as a Jewish state.”

Later, Ms Jackson released a statement retracting her 2006 comments.

“Last year, when I wrote the email, I did not understand the definition of Zionism,” she said in the statement.

“Since then, I have discovered that Zionism is about a homeland for the Jewish people.

“I support Israel. I support Israel’s right to exist.”

Informed of Ms Jackson’s clarification, Wentworth resident Ron Weiser, immediate past president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said: “It is very important to the Jewish community and to a proper understanding of the conflict in the Middle East that there be a two-state solution with a Jewish state and a Palestinian state.”

This is truly a hilarious article and reinforces the point I’ve been making for years. Expressing anti-Zionist views is simply unacceptable for much of the mainstream media. Furthermore, supporting a Jewish state – a racist enterprise where non-Jews are discriminated against and occupied – is taken as a given. After all, who would want to denigrate the poor Jews and their plucky Jewish state? As it turns out, a growing number of people around the world. The fact that the Newhouse staffer was probably forced to issue a press release “clarifying” her position and unequivocally endorse Zionism – what is this, Communist China, and the need to praise the wonders of Mao? – just shows how staid this debate has become.

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in the run-up to the upcoming Annapolis “peace” conference in the US, said that Israel must remain a Jewish, democratic state and negotiations with the Palestinians must continue to “avoid [the situation] ending up like South Africa.” In other words, there is a realisation that the status-quo is unsustainable (the fact that apartheid already exists in the Palestinian territories seems to have been ignored by Olmert.)

But in the meantime, let’s focus on a candidate manager’s supposed anti-Zionism.

A head in the sand mentality has never looked so pathetic.

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