The new released report on anti-Semitism in Australia by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) makes for interesting reading. The ECAJ has focused on the rise of a new far-right group Antipodean Resistance, which is campaigning around universities and inner-city areas, with markedly increased activity.
Antipodean Resistance channels European anti-Semitism of the old skool: Jews as simultaneously untermenschen and running the world through everything from the White House to Greenpeace — an ideology that many thought had been chased to the fringes of life in the West. But it has been roaring back since the crash of 2008, and the failure for any recovery to follow it.
Like the vast bulk of anti-Semitism/Jew-hatred, it is a product of the right. Christian nationalism requires a notion of purity and totality; Jews, original witnesses to Christianity’s non-Christian origins, and transnational people, shatter that myth. Other types of racism — especially Muslim-hatred — often recrudesce to Jew-hatred. It’s a necessary journey for the right-wing paranoid mindset. Such beliefs will, are, ushering in street violence and intimidation against Jews, by the broken and malign people who form the bulk of the hard right.
But the willingness of the ECAJ to call this out, is in stark contrast with other Australian-Jewish peak bodies and groups — in particular The Australian Jewish News, which is so obsessively focused on left-wing campaigns critical of Israel, that it barely turns its attentions to these matters at all. This takes the AJN into some strange places. The daily read of a fairly elderly population is currently billing and cooing over Nick Cave, for his decision to play gigs in Israel.
You won’t find much about the rise of the far-right in Australia in the AJN. Nor of the increasing acceptance that anti-Semitic and Nazi-sympathetic/accepting figures are getting. Bottle-blonde right-wing troll boy Milo Yiannopoulos was recently outed as sympathetic to outright racist and anti-Semitic US hard-right figures. His tour of Australia has gone unremarked in the AJN. Local five-act tragedy Mark Latham has hooked up with Canadian outfit The Rebel Media, which publishes the bile of Tommy Robinson, the former leader of street-fighting group, the English Defence League.
The Spectator Australia (still publishing at time of writing) publishes the “High Life” columns of ageing playboy Taki, which endlessly restates the “shifty Jews make good lawyers” sort of crap that the eurotrash love. And the hard work of covering the ever-mutating combinations of hard-right groups is left to the anarchist Slackbastard blog.
Why does the AJN turn so little attention to the hard-right anti-Semitic threat? If they’ve done any newspaper reports on such figures, they haven’t made it to the paper’s online archive. Because it wants to label left-wing criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic — and real, actual, violent anti-Semitism would make such a charge look absurd.
The most recent time the AJN landed a blow on “anti-Semitism” was a beat-up about a “Judas” accusation levelled at a Port Phillip City councillor, Dick Gross, relating to planning matters — a stupid stunt in which someone left a mock-up of 30 pieces of silver on his desk. Gross, who has inspired, erm, strong opinions over the years on his varying trajectories on planning matters, is Jewish, so the stunt was taken as anti-Semitic, especially when it was found that the accuser was, shock, a Greens donor! The horror! Not a donor! The Oz was happy to take up the beat-up.
This sort of nonsense — attacking a political party for the actions of someone who has no official role in it — may serve as part of a wider war of position. But it doesn’t do much for Jewish-Australians, especially Jewish youth, who will be facing increasing — though still small — risks of violence from hard-right groups. Right-wing Zionist groups have a bad history of giving a free pass to right-wing anti-Semitism, for political gain. For the AJN more tell it as it is, less Tel Aviv, would be the go.