Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A week or two ago, on a public holiday in the central business district (“downtown area”) of “The World’s Most Liveable City” (Melbourne, Australia), two rival gangs of violent youths composed of Sudanese on the one hand and Pacific Islanders on the other traded blows with – among other weaponry – tables and chairs they’d wrested from local cafes while law-abiding citizens celebrating an iconic annual carnival fled in fear and while outnumbered, defied and taunted police attempted in vain to cope. The scenes were ugly. Next day, an “elder” of the Sudanese community expressed shame and disappointment at the behaviour of these children of refugees, and so, soon afterwards, did a football star of Sudanese parentage. (Members of the Sudanese gang have been linked to criminal activity including a recent spate of luxury car thefts across suburban Melbourne.)
Australia’s popular conservative columnist Andrew Bolt (“Our immigration and refugee program has become a public menace”) has a good piece the above, including the self-censorship imposed by certain leftist media regarding the ethnicity of the miscreants. [http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/gangs_brawl_in_melbourne_why_did_we_import_this_danger/]
Yet for reasons that I for one fail to comprehend, the local Jewish community has over the past fifteen years or so fostered a so-called “special relationship” with the Sudanese. Why the Sudanese and not, say, the Cambodians or the Pacific Islanders? Or the down-on-their luck pensioners and welfare recipients, Anglo-Celtic, Italian, Greek, Maltese, Aboriginal – whatever – of this increasingly economically bifurcated city, one in which homeless “have-nots” seem doomed to rent for the rest of their lives or, worse, pitch sleeping bags by the side of the River Yarra, as a result of ridiculously inflated house prices being driven ever upwards by foreign buyers and overseas investors, a scandalous state of affairs that no mainstream politician seems to want to solve? Why the “ethnic” consciousness? Performing charitable works on behalf of the Sudanese is, it appears, the default “social justice” position for the Jewish community’s boys and girls. Every Jewish day school, it appears, is involved.
Don’t get me wrong. The pursuit of social justice is a component of Tikkun Olam, and therefore enjoined upon Jews. It’s not the concept that I find puzzling but the constituent. Why the focus on a particular ethnic group? Are the others not “black” enough? And why focus on one particular ethnic group anyway? Isn’t that discriminatory, as well as paternalistic and rather patronising (the “white man’s burden” and all that)?
The institutional “leadership” of the Melbourne Jewish community is firmly on a “social justice” bandwagon, but what actually constitutes “social justice” is of its own interpretation, one that has been hijacked by the community’s Left. Question a component of what the Left deems de rigueur and you almost risk the “heretic” label. In the past few days I’ve seen a well-known member of the Orthodox Jewish community who cannot in conscience accept some of what the secular “leadership” considers acceptable – indeed, not merely acceptable but absolutely necessary to promote – named and “shamed” on social media for clinging to what he considers “Torah-true” beliefs.
And the Left, I’m afraid, includes not only the political left but the Reform (renamed the Progressive) strand within Australian Judaism, one in which many political conservatives such as myself feel increasingly marginalised. The absurd incident in which Muslim conversionists strutted their stuff at Australia’s oldest Reform Temple still rankles. I suppose we should be grateful that, so far, Israel and Zionism have not been in the firing line of the Progressive congregations (though, sadly, in contrast to the halcyon days when such a thing was unthinkable and a great unapologetically Zionist Reform rabbi bestrode the Melbourne stage, the Progressives’ Zionist body has taken a few pot shots at Israel in recent months. An egregious example was a press release issued electronically, and to my mind quite gratuitously, last Pesach; it arrived in my “in-box” just as I was leaving for a seder, and had it not been for the entirely contrasting enthusiastic pro-Israel sentiments I found there – among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, no lessthe bitter taste of that press release would have remained with me all evening. Political leftists at work again, I fear.)
The leftist hijacking of the Jewish community’s secular “leadership” has its parallel in the general leftist hijacking of the debate over immigration to Australia, or, to be more specific, the question of “asylum”. On that issue, as on so many others, the ABC (Australia’s counterpart to the BBC, and similarly obliged, as a publicly-funded national broadcaster, to be objective, an obligation it flouts with impunity) spruiks the narrative of the Green Left, and in particular an all-too-ubiquitous interviewee in ABC news broadcasts about “immigration and detention,” federal politician Sarah Hanson-Young.
Like the BBC, the ABC spins the vexed question of large-scale Muslim immigration into championship of the latter. A recent example is the enthusiasm with which the ABC touted a report entitled Islamisation’ and other anxieties: Voter attitudes to asylum seekersbased on research led by Dr Denis Muller from the Centre for Advancing Journalism and launched at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.
A look at both the latter institutions suggests definite left-wing influences, and, given its leftist agenda, the ABC was quick to imply that those who fear the islamisation of Australia are just bigoted ignoramuses: Focus groups from rural towns and cities have demonstrated how ingrained fear and mistrust of new arrivals coming by boat are across the country. This new research, commissioned by Melbourne University’s Social Equity Institute, shows that prejudice against people seeking asylum is not grounded in evidence but in an unfounded fear of Islam, which is being falsely linked to terrorism. People from ten regional communities and capital cities were asked to answer a range of questions involving refugees, the media and community and their responses highlight how common ill-informed, Islamophobic attitudes are amongst the population. [http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnafternoons/an-afternoon-of-muslim-speed-dating/7255460]
It’s a though no terrorist incidents and threats involving Muslims have occurred in Australia, as though no Australian Muslims have gone off to fight for Islamic State, as if no Australian Muslim there has photographed their offspring triumphantly holding up a severed head, as if no Australian Muslims have called for a Caliphate in this country, scorning democracy and gender equality in the process, as if no Australian Muslims have blamed Lebanese gang rapes of Anglo-Celtic young women on those young women themselves (“uncovered meat”) or proclaimed (as did one of the gang-rapists) “It’s not a crime to f**k a white slut”, as if no Australian Muslims have voiced the vilest antisemitism while inveighing against Israel.
It’s as if no Australian “Islamophobe,” looking at the current Muslim invasion of Europe, should tremble for Western civilisation and fret about the future of his/her own land, children and grandchildren. It’s as if Australians must turn a blind eye to the fact that virtually all chickens in this country are Halal-slaughtered and grin and bear it when confronted with so many Halal-compliant products in Aussie supermarkets that even buying a pot of yoghurt is a challenge.
It’s as if no Australian Jew or lover of Israel should look at the number of Muslims already in Australia (500,000) compared to the number of Jews (120,000) and draw his/her own conclusions about the deleterious impact on governmental support for Israel inherent in the consequent voter figures.
Yes, the Left strives to make heretics of the rest of us. If it continues on its path unchallenged it may succeed in consigning all of us – and with us its own adherents and progeny to an ignoble and untenable dhimmitude.

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