Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Friday, February 19, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Can someone who criticizes Israel and Jewish supporters of Israel in harsh terms be called antisemitic? That question may go before the courts in Australia.

From The Guardian:
A defamation suit against News Corp journalist Sharri Markson by a New South Wales MP aims to test when criticism of Israel can be equated with antisemitism, according to a solicitor running the case.

Labor’s Shaoquett Moselmane will on Friday serve Markson, a senior writer with the Australian, with a statement of claim about a column published online on 2 February under the headline “ALP’s antisemitic views behind push for trip ban”. It ran in print on the same day under a different headline.

The piece highlighted a May 2013 speech by Moselmane in which he attacked the Australian’s coverage of Israel and Palestine, referring to a “political lobby group that is cancerous, malicious and seeks to deny, misinform and scaremonger”.

Markson wrote in February that Moselmane, the first Muslim MP in the state, had been referring to “Jewish advocacy groups” and said the speech was “racist commentary” that expressed “antisemitic sentiments”.

She was writing about a debate within the ALP over whether to ban study trips to Israel funded by Jewish organisations.

A letter of concern by Moselmane’s lawyer, Rick Mitry, said the Labor MP “opposes some policies of the government of Israel and some actions of the group that lobbies on Israel’s behalf”.

“But his views in this regard are entirely free of prejudice against or ill-feeling towards Jews,” he said.

Guardian Australia understands News Corp offered Moselmane a right of reply, which he declined. Mitry said the matter aimed to “test whether criticism of the Israeli government’s policies by anyone can be called antisemitic or racist, as often happens, and that’s why my client is pursuing this”.

The statement of claim, obtained by Guardian Australia, accuses Markson of saying or implying Moselmane was a racist, antisemite, “a hypocrite because he decries racism but holds racist views”, and deserved to be expelled from the NSW parliament.
The article he was referring to, which was an op-ed, said:

Jewish advocacy groups are “cancerous” and “malicious” and try to “deny, misinform and scaremonger”.

A NSW Labor politician voiced these incendiary words — the first NSW Muslim MP, in fact, Shaoquett Moselmane.

He didn’t utter them in the privacy of his own home. He felt comfortable enough broadcasting this anti-semitic sentiment within the walls of the NSW Parliament. This is terrifying in itself.

The MP, who ironically decried racism in his first speech to parliament, made the remarks just two years ago, in May 2013. He was not shouted-out of the high office he holds for racist commentary. On the contrary, Labor continues to support him and Moselmane is now a vocal advocate behind a push to ban Labor MPs from visiting Israel on trips funded by Jewish organisations.

A group Moselmane is aligned with, Labor Friends of Palestine, supports the ban on the trips while the Netanyahu government continues settlements, refuses a Palestinian state and “brutally mistreats Arab residents of the West Bank.”

This is one of 39 resolutions critical of Israel submitted to the NSW Labor conference this month.

By comparison, just 17 motions have been put forward that relate to other countries, including Iraq, Syria, China or Libya. There are none on Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Countries that kill women for adultery. That jail writers, like Raif Badawi, for supporting free-speech. That censor the news. That destroy ancient relics. That fund terrorists who kill innocent people as they go to the theatre or draw cartoons.

But no, NSW Labor is most worried about Israel, a tiny Jewish state. A democracy. A country that has lively political debate within its society and media. Where one of its mainstream newspapers, Haaretz, criticises the government daily. Where some of its population complain and campaign loudly about Netanyahu and illegal settlements.
Here is what Moselmane said about "Israel lobby" groups in context:
In a democratic country such as ours there are many ways in which people can express their views - the opportunities are wide open. I am a person who will not shy away from having my say. I will always say and do what is right, even in the face of the trash I have read in the Australian-Israeli media. One or two reporters writing in the Murdoch press - namely the Australian - have been attacking me and denying the truth of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and the killing and dehumanising of the Palestinian people. This is utter garbage. I accept the right of people to express their views, even when they are wrong, naive, ill-informed, indoctrinated and blinded by the power of a political lobby group that is cancerous, malicious, and seeks to deny, misinform and scaremonger. What I do take exception to is foreigners intervening in the right of Australian politicians to speak out. Therefore, I say to the Israeli ambassador, Yuval Rotem, 'Butt out and stay out. Your perceived right to bully as you do in the Middle East does not extend to the Australian political arena.'
Moselmane is echoing antisemitic stereotypes of a Jewish lobby and a Jewish stranglehold on the media - but he is careful to use the word "Israeli" instead of "Jewish" (as if The Australian is an Israeli paper!)

One person at least is not fooled by Moselmane's use of language to pretend to distance himself from antisemitic attitudes. That person is proud antisemite David Duke, who reported the 2013 story as "A Lebanese-born lawmaker in Australia has attacked the Jewish lobby in that nation as 'cancerous' and 'malicious.'" In other words, Moselmane knows that his fans will understand that he really means "Jews" when he says "Israelis."

This lawsuit will be quite interesting.

(h/t Joe)

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