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John Passant

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March 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



The campaign of slander against pro-Palestinian activists

Efforts to equate hostility to Israel with anti-Semitism are stock standard in the Zionist movement writes Diane Fieldes in Socialist Alternative. As the critical US Jewish magazine Tikkun recently pointed out, “The Palestinian-led call for BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] … has strengthened markedly over the last few years …

“Alongside BDS’s increasing strength have come increasingly virulent attacks on, and campaigns against it. These attacks tend to employ similar language and tactics – as if the groups are all cribbing from the same talking points – including tarring BDS supporters as ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘delegitimisers’.”

As the crimes of the Israeli state are becoming increasingly clear to people around the world, including many Jews, this strategy is being expanded.

Pro-Israeli student organisations are resorting to outright fabrication. In the last month, Socialist Alternative clubs and other student organisations on a number of campuses across the country have faced outlandish allegations of anti-Semitism.

Socialist Alternative has a proud record of opposing racism, including anti-Semitism. As a reminder to the fabricators of these allegations, it is worth recalling our numerous published articles and forums on questions of racism.

These include a range of articles specifically opposing anti-Semitism: a commemoration of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street in London against Mosley’s fascists, a major three-part series on the fight against anti-Semitism in Europe in the first half of the 20th century and an exposure of the hypocrisy of Western governments over this question in the same period.

At the end of 2013, we hosted a talk in a number of cities by Jewish socialist historian Janey Stone about the resistance to the rise of the Nazis.

The fabricated nature of the allegations is very clear. A complaint was made to the Curtin (WA) Student Guild about a “Boycott Israeli Apartheid Week” stall during orientation week. Problem was, the stall didn’t exist.

At another university, accusations were made relating to an alleged incident on a day that there was no SA stall on the campus. In another case, the use of specific phrases – “filthy Jew” and “Israeli bitch” – was alleged. This is even more ludicrous (and objectionable) than the imaginary stall.

Let us state unequivocally: none of our members would utter the vile anti-Semitic phrase “filthy Jew”. Given that we are also opponents of sexism, the word “bitch” is not part of our vocabulary, as anyone who was familiar with our strong stance on this issue would know. We condemn all such statements, including if they are made against political opponents, in public or in private.

Socialist Alternative makes no bones about our opposition to the apartheid state of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians, just as we opposed apartheid South Africa. We make a clear distinction (for anyone willing to see it) between Zionism as a political justification for the state of Israel, and the Jewish religion. We are critical of Zionism. Religion is a private matter. There are Jews, proud of their heritage, among our membership.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students and its campus affiliates very actively and publicly support the Israeli state and its policies.

But the reality of Israel’s brutal actions, from the death of more than 1,100 as Israel bombed Beirut in 2006 to the massacre of 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza in January 2009 (to name just two examples found unavoidably newsworthy by the mainstream media), makes it ever more difficult to present Israel in a positive light.

By resorting to fabrications of racial vilification against those who oppose Israel’s crimes, our accusers merely reveal that they are attempting to defend the indefensible.



Comment from Kay
Time March 28, 2014 at 6:45 am

Well, the equating of the BDS campaign with anti-Semitism seems to me the same as the Left’s constant linking of the ‘Stop the Boats’ program to racism. Both are completely wrong, cannot be substantiated, unfair – and lazy. But the Left continues to make these unfounded allegations. As I said, very unfair and lazy.

Pingback from The campaign of slander against pro-Palestinian activists | OzHouse
Time March 28, 2014 at 7:12 am

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Comment from John
Time March 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Kay:’If boat people were white people, we’d still lock them up. Right?’

Comment from Kay
Time March 30, 2014 at 6:36 am

Yes, we’d still lock them up. As you can see from some of the comments on that article, it is much more complex than that. There are a range of social and economic issues that indicate that Australia would not be wise to have a completely open door policy. I do however favour raising the number of humanitarian intake refugees, associated with appropriate re-settlement programs that help them integrate successfully into our community.

You just don’t like lazy and unfair epithets (“anti-Semitic”) directed at the Left. Neither do I like lazy and unfair epithets directed at me (“racist”).

The problem is that socialists appear to support ALL supposedly powerless and dispossessed people around the world. Maybe because of humanitarian reasons, but just maybe because socialists are desperate for greater support and numbers to effect their ‘revolution’. But socialists sometimes are faced with a dilemma – when the people you support appear to be attacking other innocent people, or start fighting amongst themselves (the Middle East uprisings, for example). Then you discover that things aren’t quite that simple.

Comment from John
Time March 31, 2014 at 7:15 am

Bullshit Kay. White people fleeing oppression would never be locked up.

Locking up asylum seekers is a policy of racism.

It is not as if Australia doesn’t have a history of institutionalised top down driven racism. It is part of being a white colonial settler state in the region. Locking up those seeking asylum and the Northern Territory intervention are just two current examples of the the same thinking that meant the ruling class adopted the white Australia policy for over 6 decades.

I support the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa against dictatorships and for both food and freedom. Pretty simple really. Which side are you on?

Comment from Kay
Time April 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm


You and your “racism” obsession – absolute bullshit! It’s about social and economic considerations. And you seem to imagine that only white people practice racism! What a joke! Racism crops up everywhere – it is all about the ‘other’. A couple of examples – Burma’s persecution of the Rohingya people – no whites involved there – and then there is Malaysia. And I even think white people were locked up not so long ago – you know, the Holocaust.

Of course Australia has a deplorable history of racism – like most other countries. But racism is not the reason for everything that happens in this country.

I am amazed at the utterly simplistic view you have of complex issues. The most recent example: Syria. A brutal Shia-aligned dictator, versus Sunni-aligned rebels who are themselves committing atrocities and fighting amongst themselves (the rebels include moderates plus the Al-Qaeda affiliate ISIS). The long-suffering population is fleeing from both sides. Whose side am I on? Neither.

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