Context and explanation meant absolutely nothing to the outraged leftist media complex collaborating with self-interested politicians when accusing Senator Fraser Anning of Nazi levels of racism for saying the words “final solution”.
Senator Anning declared:
In the days of Menzies, immigrants arriving here were not allowed to apply for welfare and that attracted exactly the right sort of hard-working people this country needed. We should go back to that and ban all immigrants receiving welfare for the first five years after they arrive. The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote.
Turnbull called the reference a “shocking insult” to the Jewish people. Left, right and centre, people rushed to condemn Fraser Anning’s entire speech on the strength of a phrase commonly associated with Adolf Hitler, despite the Senator’s protestations that he had not intended any reference to Nazism.
There was plenty wrong with Senator Anning’s speech and policies – plenty; but Nazism wasn’t one of them. If the media and political classes had stuck to the facts and dealt with what was unworkable and unpopular their commentary would have been less hysterical and more credible.
But when one of their own made the outrageous comparison of Australia’s offshore detention policies to Nazi concentration camps, all of a sudden the progressive liberals were once again capable of nuance and appreciation of context and intent.
Father Bob Maguire, a loveable octogenarian known for a larrikin defiance of authority, caring for homeless youth and advocacy of left-wing politics, casually tweeted his thoughts that haunting photos of the Nazi’s concentration camp at Auschwitz reminded him of tweeted photos of transferees on Manus Island.
The fact of this flippant comparison is that it is profoundly ignorant of the liberty and choices afforded transferees, bar residency in Australia. Photos taken through fences conveniently exclude a wide open gate just out of frame. Transferees are free to come and go as they please on the tropical island, getting local employment, going to local schools and shops, even marrying locals. 71 of them recently declined an invitation to live without welfare in the United States. I replied to Bob’s tweet with photos of Auschwitz prisoners contrasted with photos transferees had famously taken of themselves frolicking on the idyllic beaches of Manus Island.
Father Bob’s comparison is not only indulgent hyperbole, but it’s deeply offensive to survivors of the Holocaust. Responding to the rush from progressive liberals to explain and excuse the comparison, the Australian Jewish Association commented:
The Holocaust was a systematic attempt on an industrial scale to exterminate an entire people. Whatever your views on off-shore detention, it is nothing of the sort and to try to link one with the other is outrageous.
One of those very liberal NSW Liberal members called the critique Bob received “hatred for an inelegantly drafted tweet”, and ridiculously suggested “the Right” was less upset about sexual assault in churches. At least he didn’t say far right or alt right, correctly identifying that many people on the Left have infiltrated the Liberal Party.
Kristina Keneally asked her Twitter followers if Father Bob should be named Australian of the Year instead of Alexander Downer, one of those critiquing the regrettable tweet. The echo chamber provided the desired response to the personality poll, which the Left must suppose will do instead of an actual argument.
Protesting at the “abuse” (a.k.a. critique) he was receiving, Father Bob’s explanation without apology was, “I simply said the barbed wire of the Auschwitz Museum photos REMIND me of a dehumanising detention camp operating on our watch.”
This kind of rhetoric is exciting to liberals who simply adore an emotion-laden dog whistle regardless of its veracity. Led by their feelings and partisan loyalty, they relish any opportunity to marginalise people who dare to dissent from their dogma as “Nazis”.
Perennial show-pony Rod Bower unhelpfully changed his poetically corroded street sign to enjoin, “Manus is how the Holocaust started.” I’m quite certain Nazis had no need for New Guinea let alone Manus Island. The Holocaust started with a despotic tyrant determined to divide society by identity and marginalise those he conveniently blamed for perceived problems.
The CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and former Chairman of Multicultural NSW Vic Alhadeff tweeted:
Comparing #Manus to the murder of 6 million Jews is inaccurate and undermines the enormity of the Holocaust. Irrespective of one’s position on asylum-seekers, such analogies are irresponsible and hurtful to Holocaust survivors and the families of the victims.
He’s identified the hypocrisy of leftists and liberals in their circling the wagons around this silly tweet. Our position on the policy, party or person should never blind us to the merits of the message, or lack thereof.
It was astoundingly ignorant and insensitive to use the phrase “final solution” in a speech which Anning and his speech writer had ample time to consider.
It was also if not equally ignorant and insensitive to compare Australia’s policy regarding immigration via human trafficking with the Nazi Holocaust.
If you want to talk about bad immigration policy then talk about bad immigration policy and don’t make false comparisons with Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. Likewise, Warren Mundine sensibly said:
If you want to stand up for people on Manus Island then talk about Manus Island. Stop making false comparisons with Auschwitz. There is no likeness.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want to hold your political opponents accountable for the manifest ignorance of their words, you have to use the same standard for your side as you do for your opponents, and not simply look the other way because it’s convenient to your agenda.
Dave Pellowe is a speaker, writer & political commentator and blogs at PelloweTalk.com.
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