For those who talk about the influence of the Jewish lobby on western policy, we’ve tried to take a moderate and level-headed stab at exploring some of the issues.

My only tenuous experience of an Islamic community was at the 1999 cricket World Cup in England where the Pakistani supporters were certainly more inclined to be obnoxious, obsessive and intimidatory than their Indian, Australian, English, West Indian and Zimbabwean counterparts.

But having never been to the Middle East or even Indonesia, this is obviously no basis for making sweeping generalisations about Muslims.

After 12 years in journalism, Crikey reckons there is no more PC-sensitive area than talking about the influence of the Jewish lobby in Australia.

When you even mention that someone is Jewish the emails pour in demanding to know how this was possibly relevant.

When Crikey was at primary school in the 70s, a child who wanted to give something away would call out “Jew-jump” and then throw it into the air – the unexplained meaning being that only Jewish kids would scramble to get something for free.

Thankfully, this sort of thing has now largely been stamped out of Australian schools in the same way that “eenie, meanie, minie, mo” no longer includes “catch a nigger by the toe”.

Anyway, in light of what happened it is entirely legitimate to have a debate and a level-headed discussion about western support for Israel because clearly it is partly behind the hatred against the US by murderous Islamic fundamentalists.

Firstly, let’s look at this interesting article from The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com):

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism

By BERNARD WASSERSTEIN

A century ago, anti-Semitism was called “the socialism of fools.” Now something similar threatens to become rampant: anti-Americanism.

Psychologically, it fulfills some of the same functions as anti-Semitism. It gives vent to a hatred of the successful, and is fuelled by envy and frustration. It attributes responsibility for all the ills of the world to one primary source. It ascribes to a supposed ruling clique of the despised group an ambition to control and exploit humanity. This new conspiracy theory has been embraced by large sections of the thinking classes in many countries. Like historical anti-Semitism, it transcends ideological boundaries and brings together economic, social, religious, and national animosities in a murderous brew.

Americans are advised by many abroad (and by some at home): “Ask yourselves why you are so hated.” It might be worth remembering that similar questions were put to Jews in the 1930s. And to recall that, as Victor Klemperer recorded in his diaries of the war years in Dresden, some Jews internalized the worldview of their enemies and persuaded themselves that such violent hatred must, indeed, have had a rational source in their own behaviour.

The parallel between anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism is more than just an analogy. The two paranoias are linked, and the nodal point of connection is the American-Israeli alliance. To some, the Israeli/Jewish hand is detected behind, controlling, the American leviathan. Perry Anderson (a British historian teaching at the University of California at Los Angeles), for example, writes in the latest New Left Review: “Entrenched in business, government and the media, American Zionism has since the sixties acquired a firm grip on the levers of public opinion and official policy towards Israel.”

The recent United Nations conference in Durban, South Africa, showed the degree to which anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism seem to have combined in a symbiotic relationship.

As an ideology, anti-Semitism dehumanized its object and so helped prepare the way for mass murder. So, too, with the new anti-Americanism.

But the answer to irrationalism is not more unreason. I detect strong support here in Europe for firm action — including, if necessary, the use of force — to capture those responsible for terrorist acts and to forestall further attacks. But the United States must not strike out like a blinded giant. It must not sacrifice its own civil liberties. Above all, it must not repeat the mistake of internalizing the discourse and values of unreason by ascribing a rational basis to this new socialism of fools.

* Bernard Wasserstein is a professor of history at the University of Glasgowand president of the Jewish Historical Society of England.

ends

In Crikey’s view, the global Jewish community are a form of super-race – and their contribution is overwhelmingly positive. Wherever you look in business, politics and the professions you see intelligent Jews at or near the top.

A friend of Crikey is tenured as a professor at one of America’s top universities and swears that the vast majority of his brilliant students are Jewish.

The best Australian example of Jewish brilliance is the BRW Rich List. Whilst the Jewish community comprises about 1.5 per cent of the Australian population, they would control, and this is a complete guess, at least 20 per cent of the national wealth. Now please don’t take this as a criticism. Put simply, they are brilliant businessmen who came here with nothing earlier this century and worked hard to make a fortune in one of the most egalitarian and multi-cultural societies in the world.

Dick Pratt, Solomon Lew, Frank Lowy, the Myer family, the Smorgon family and Harry Trigaboff all feature in Australia’s richest top 10 and are all Jewish.

And most of these people are prominent political donors. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, who is of Lebanese descent, was able to spend up on advertising during the last Victorian election thanks to some hefty donations by some prominent Jewish businessmen who wanted to hedge their bets.

The question of Jewish influence in the media is said to be far more pronounced in America than in Australia because a couple of WASPs – Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch – control so much of the Aussie media.

There are said to be 1.5 million Jews in New York making it the biggest Jewish city in the world. Australia and America took more Jewish refugees after the holocaust than any other countries and are highly eclectic societies today so it is not surprising that the Jewish community has succeeded in both our societies.

An example in New York is obviously the billionaire founder of the Bloomberg financial information group Michael Bloomberg who is a highly successful Jewish businessman now running to be Mayor of New York.

Now I’ve got no intention of naming all the powerful and influential Jews in western society but can guarantee that they would massively outweigh their Muslim and Islamic counterparts.

Both communities tend to be closely knit but it is an undeniable fact that the Jewish community have risen to greater positions in our western society. Without doubt this has to be a factor in the formulation of western policy in relation to the Middle East.

Now Crikey is not yet across the complete scale of the so-called pro-Israel US policy. You hear grabs on the radio such as the $US2 billion a year that Washington commits to Israel’s defence needs, but if anyone can point us to a well-researched and dispassionate chronicle of this we’d happily publish it.

It is interesting that the Republicans are now in the White House supposedly carrying out this anti-Palestine conspiracy when 80 per cent of the American Jewish community vote Democrat. The same probably applies in Australia although all sides of politics do court the Jewish lobby.

Before anyone sends an abusive email to [email protected], please remember that Crikey is a WASP with no interest in supporting one side or the other. For the record, we’re supportive of the approach George W Bush has taken so far and believe the pro-terrorist Taliban government needs to be overthrown – if only to save the Afghans from poverty and to liberate their oppressed women.

Crikey was brought up in a church-going household but stopped regularly attending when he sneakily organised for tennis lessons to clash with Sunday School at about the age of 14.

If everyone in Australia was like the people at the Uniting Church in those days then clearly crime, corruption and general sin would be much reduced in our nation. Australian churchgoers are peaceable law-abiding citizens but the same cannot be said for other religions.

Brian Toohey’s suggestion in the Weekend Financial Review that maybe religion should be downplayed in the future is a good one.

His article was headlined “For God’s sake, let’s have less emphasis on religion” and included this opening paragraph:

“It’s a pity President George Bush felt the need to bring God into his speech to Congress on terrorism. Terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden have already done enough damage in God’s name without democratic leaders also claiming to have God on their side.”

So maybe that’s the answer – ban all religion and especially all fanatical religions.

* Crikey is Australia’s most successful independent ezine with 1700 subscribers who for $55 get a tee-shirt, 5 sealed section emails a week and access to our 800,000 word searchable archive so why not join the Crikey army by clicking here.

Peter Fray

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