We are facing a growing threat of left-wing anti-Semitism that we must not allow to fester and infect Australia.
Anti-Semitism — long a part of human history dating back to before Christianity — has appeared in different forms and with varying intensity.
The new toxic mutation has emerged among the postmodern left.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (EJAC) 2018 antisemitism report noted the growing incidence of anti-Semitism masking itself as anti-racism.
ECAJ’s report catalogued numerous anti-Semitic remarks made by those on the Australian political including the ALP and the Australian Greens. As outlined in Toxic Mutation of an Ancient Hatred: Left-Wing Antisemitism, the latest paper from the CIS Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society program, the left’s obsession is with anti-Zionism, which can be a mask for anti-Semitism.
The real concern is that the anti-Semitism we see occurring in the UK and USA will become commonplace here.
Already, left-wing critics of Israel who are suspicious of supposed Jewish influence in finance, politics, and the media, are becoming increasingly vocal in Australia.
Left-wing anti-Semitism focuses on opposing the alleged supremacist claims of Zionism and the questionable legitimacy of Jewish national consciousness.
It adopts the language of international human rights groups and NGOs, in criticising Israel’s ‘neo-colonial ambitions’ and campaigning for the ‘long-oppressed’ Palestinian people.
In other words, this new left-wing anti-Semitism casts itself in moral terms as being in opposition to alleged colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism.
Criticism of Israeli government policy is legitimate. But criticism that denies the legitimacy of Israel itself, or questions the motives of Jewish communities and people is anti-Semitism.
Those on the Australian left must distinguish between criticism of the government of the state of Israel and attacks on the legitimacy of the Jewish state, or on Jews in general.
A vital opportunity now presents itself to the Australian left to ensure that its commitment to the pursuit of justice and human decency is freed from the ugly taint of anti-Semitism.
Peter Kurti is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and also Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
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