It’s a new week and that can only mean more articles in Murdoch’s Australian on Israel/Palestine, BDS and damning anybody who dares speak up for Palestinians. The last weeks have seen a barrage of increasingly hysterical pieces attacking the NSW Greens for endorsing BDS and not uncritically loving Israel without thought or care.
Today sees celebrity, Jewish, Zionist lawyer George Newhouse accuse the Greens of backing genocide and making sure he places himself on the side of defending Israel; wonderful for his career, no doubt. Newhouse displays the usual ignorance about the Middle East – no mention of occupation or settlements or Gaza – just the kind of press release offered by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. No mention that the Palestinians themselves back BDS because Israel refuses to abide by international law (something that clearly doesn’t bother this lawyer).
This is what Zionism has done to my people; unthinking rhetoric in the service of being popular with other Jews:
So newly elected Greens MP Jamie Parker considers that “progressive” Jews provide cover for extremists because they don’t agree with the Greens’ policy of boycotting Israel.
Like most progressive people, I strongly support a two state solution for the Israel-Palestine problem and Parker has no right to disparage me, and single me out on the basis of my faith, simply because I believe that there are more constructive ways of achieving peace in the Middle-East than by demonising one side.
For the past 15 years I have worked closely and constructively with the Greens, as a local mayor, through my legal work assisting vulnerable refugees, in attacking the racist elements of the Northern Territory intervention laws and, more recently, in the battle against the decision to dump nuclear waste at Muckaty Station near Tenant Creek against the wishes of the traditional owners; and I will continue to do so.
But if New Matilda blogger Antony Loewenstein has quoted Jamie Parker correctly, Parker’s patronising and insulting comments about “progressive” Jews covering for extremists take the Greens into uncharted territory. There are plenty of progressive people who disagree with the Greens’ boycott of Israel so why does Parker feel it necessary to lash out at progressive Jews?
Since 586BC, when they were forced into exile from Israel, the Jewish people have been the canaries in the coalmine for extremism. Their treatment is a measure of the society in which they live. Modern history demonstrates that the persecution of Jews is not limited to fascists and the Right. Stalin and the Left perpetrated murderous campaigns against Soviet and other Jewish communities. Most people understand that Jews can expect another genocide under the “single state solution” proposed for Israel by the “watermelon” Greens.
People are entitled to criticise Israeli government policy but the campaign to delegitimise Israel’s existence and pillory any Jews who defend Israel’s right to exist is deeply offensive.
If the new Green MP for Balmain wants to be part of a team that promotes a far-left foreign policy agenda then he needs to be able to shoulder the criticisms that naturally follow, without blaming the Jews for his embarrassment.
George Newhouse was the former ALP mayor of Waverley Council