Selective memory

The Australian Jewish News editorialises on the significance of Australia Day:

“We Jews – whose narrative has so much in common with Aborigines in terms of our associations to land, history and memory – know more than most the meaning of dispossession and, if not stolen generations, then massacre and, yes, genocide. It is here that the proximity to Australia Day of the United Nations-sponsored International Holocaust Remembrance Day resonates loudly, without in any way comparing the tragedies that have befallen both peoples. And while we can be rightly proud of our outstanding achievements Down Under, it is the injustices that continue to prevail that we must urgently redress.”

Jews have indeed suffer attempted genocide, discrimination and stereotyping over the centuries and our contribution to Australia has been significant, considering a relatively tiny population. Many have worked tirelessly for Aboriginal rights and the 1992 Mabo case was at least partly due to Jewish legal know-how (and moral certitude.)

The editorial, however, is dangerously selective when discussing “injustice.” While ongoing support for the Aboriginal community is vital, equal effort is not being spent attempting to readdress another tragedy within the Jewish state itself. If an Aboriginal person is dispossessed and disadvantaged, which many certainly are, the Palestinian people are also in need of international support and solidarity. Indeed, it was the formation of the Jewish state in 1948 that directly caused the dispossession of untold Palestinians. This injustice is yet to be resolved.

If some Australian Jews care about refugees, Aboriginals and low-income earners, they should not forget about what their silence is condoning in Israel.

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