Grand Mufti threatened Labor over Israel ‘bias’

Front page today at the Financial Review

Some background on the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed;

*Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric has met the leader of the Hamas government during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

The Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, is leading a delegation of Australian Muslim scholars to Gaza.

Local television has shown pictures of Dr Mohammed meeting with Hamas’s political leader, Gaza’s prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, on December 26.

“We came here in order to learn from Gaza… to learn steadfastness, sacrifice, and the defence of one’s rights from them,” Dr Mohammed said in remarks translated by Memri TV.

The military wing of Hamas is listed as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the Australian Government.*  Link:

Australia’s senior Islamic cleric threatened to withdraw community support for federal Labor in Western Sydney if union leader Paul Howes replaced Bob Carr in the Senate, a leaked email reveals.

The email, written on behalf of the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, by his chief political adviser, accused Mr Howes of a “blind bias for Israel” and said that if he was appointed to the Senate, community support for Labor that was mustered for the federal election would be withdrawn.

The email was sent to MPs and ­officials on September 9, two days after the election and the same day The Australian Financial Review revealed Mr Howes wanted to fill Senator Carr’s pending Senate vacancy.

Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, withdrew from the contest last week. Senior Labor sources said the Mufti’s warning was not a significant factor in the internal campaign to convince Mr Howes to withdraw.

The email says that as saddened as the community is at news of Senator Carr’s retirement,

“what is saddening and alarming us more is the rumour that Paul Howse [sic] will be replacing him”.
Pattern of blind bias

“Paul has had a repeated pattern of blind bias toward Israel. His appointment would not at all help the ­engagement effort between the ALP and the wider Muslim community,” it says.

“As you know we have worked very hard to marshal our community to ­support and successfully retain the majority of ALP seats in Western ­Sydney against all odds, and the choice of Paul will threaten our efforts to maintain this momentum, especially if new elections are called in the next year.

“I urge you to help us help you and present our concerns to the decision makers at the ALP so they realise the potential consequences of such a ­controversial choice.”

The email starts with “Dear Jason, Tony, Julie and E”, who are Jason Clare, the member for Blaxland, Tony Burke, the member for Watson, Julie Owens, the member for Parramatta, and Ed Husic, the member for Chifley. All have large Islamic communities in their Western Sydney electorates.

Never seen the email
It is understood the letter also went to NSW Labor headquarters. Mr Husic fell ill after the election and said he had never seen the email.

Senior sources said it was difficult to quantify how much weight the threat carried in the subsequent internal campaign inside the NSW Right against Mr Howes but believed it had very little effect.

They cited instead a rank-and-file push against Mr Howes filling a casual vacancy so soon after his friend, fellow factional powerbroker and now-former NSW ALP general-secretary Sam Dastyari took the vacancy created when Matt Thistlethwaite moved to the lower house.

New NSW ALP general-secretary Jamie Clements backed Deborah O’Neill, who lost her seat of Robertson at the election, on the basis of affirmative action and that the NSW Central Coast needed a Labor presence in Parliament.

Mr Howes, who has never been to Israel, first became aware of the Grand Mufti’s email on Wednesday when contacted by the Financial Review.

Inappropriate to intervene
Through a spokesman he said:

“Mr Howes strongly believes in a peaceful two-state solution in the Middle East”.

“He believes it is inappropriate for religious leaders to intervene in the deliberations of Australian political parties.”

The Israel-Palestine issue has long been a contentious one inside Labor. Labor, with its multicultural bona fides, has forged strong links with the Islamic community in Western Sydney, especially through the efforts of Senator Carr as both NSW Premier and then foreign minister. Senator Carr is set to resign after Labor’s new leader is announced on October 13.

In November 2012, Senator Carr led a cabinet and caucus push to roll then prime minister Julia Gillard, forcing her to withdraw Australia’s support for Israel in a United Nations vote on a resolution to give Palestine observer status in the UN. Australia abstained, rather than join the United States and Israel in voting against the resolution as Ms ­Gillard had wanted.

Mr Howes has similar views towards Israel as Ms Gillard and Kevin Rudd insofar as he supports a two-state solution and an independent, democratic and secular Palestinian state.

In line with mainstream opinion
ALP identity and businessman Michael Easson, of the Australia-Israel-UK Dialogue Forum, said Mr Howes’s views were in keeping with mainstream ALP opinion.

He likened the Mufti’s political adviser to the Islamic equivalent of BA Santamaria channelling Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix, giving direction on the minutiae of local politics.

“Any true supporter of Israel, like Paul Howes, sees the need for Israel to live within secure and recognised boundaries and supports the peace process with the Palestinians to achieve that end,” he said.

“It is outrageous to seek to veto him for views that are supported by 90?per cent of Australians. Hopefully this ‘adviser’ will see the wrong of his crude intervention, which can only be damaging to both the ALP and everything the Mufti has worked for.”

Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said Mr Howes was a supporter of both Israel and the Palestinian state. He said

“there was no place in society for religious leaders to blackball mainstream politicians, aspiring politicians or political parties”.

“Such behaviour is quite divisive and undermines core values of Australia’s democratic society and multi-cultural society,” he said.

Link behind a paywall by Phillip Coorey Chief political correspondent

Andrew Bolt’s take of this on his blog Friday 27th.

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  1. I have to say, as someone who knows so little about Australian politics, this is quite fascinating.

    I guess my first question would be, what percentage of the Australian public is Muslim at this time?

    • Unfortunately Mike L Americans are very insular and know nothing much about the world outside of the US. Here we are much broader in our views. You’d be very surprised at how many people here are au fait with US politics

      • Shirlee, Americans are insular, which is why we generally tend not to care about the rise of political Islam.

        Let me ask you this, however.

        When I think of Israeli Jews and Russian Jews and Australian Jews, I begin to wonder if they don’t think of American Jews as soft on Israel.

        This question is open to all you guys and don’t worry about offending my American feelings. I honestly want to know what you think on the question.

        • Don’t worry Mike, I am VERY well known for ‘saying it as it is’. I don’t worry about feelings. Like it or lump it and no hard feelings!! Right Pam?

          We tend to think of American Jews in the main as a whole other brand of Jews. I was quite appalled at the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, to hear three American kids, aged about 10, 12 and 14, say they had never heard of a kibbutz!! David, an aussie friend who lives, there as equally horrified. I doubt you’d find one Jewish child here with that lack of knowledge.

          The Australian Jewish Community is a Modern Orthodox one, with a good size Chabad, both in Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne being the larger of the two. Apart from Melbourne where a couple of ‘whacky’ congregations have formed. But then is is ‘loony left Melbourne’

          I get the impression that most American Jews don’t really care one way or the other about Israel. That’s why a wealthy benefactor in the US started ‘Birthright’

  2. Hate to disappoint, but there is plenty room in Australian politics for ANY leader of ANYTHING, but PRINCIPALLY religious groups to delve into all kinda politics. What else do yourse think leaders of any groups is supposed to do ??!! Tell us, please, what is the difference between a lay communal leader who would be ok as he/she roams all coridors of all kind of powers on behalf of his/her constituency and a religious head of practically the same community. Show us , please, the chapter and verse in ANY book where this absurd principle is stated !!!
    Do yourse want me to develop the argument ? I don’t think so, simply because it is developed enough, it is bigger, better and cuter than you blokes who reckon I could possibly be wrong !
    In Shakespearean terms ,the poor Morish sod is just doing his duty. Hope also he ends up same as the real McCoy ( aka Othelo ).

  3. Michael L. there are approximately 500,000 Muslims in Australia, although a Muslim survey conducted a few years back put that figure closer to 700,000 The Muslim community do not wish to alarm Australians by releasing true figures.
    There are approximately 120,000 Jews in Australia.
    Australian Politicians Labor MP’s from the previous government acknowledge the importance of the Muslim vote . The Muslim community is the largest growing ethnic/ religious group in Australia . The majority of illegal asylum seekers come from Islamic Countries.
    Lebanese Muslims are the largest group of Muslims in Australia, majority living in Sydney they are also the most extremist and vocal .

    • Michael you forgot to add they are not exactly law abiding either.

      Rapes – you recall amongst the worst, the Skaf brothers I’m sure, even though you aren’t in Sydney. Horrendous crime.
      The current spate of gun crimes is attributed them too.

      • Shirlee If would not be politically correct to acknowledge that that the only tried and convicted terrorists for attempting to massacre Australian citizens in our jails are Muslims and it would not be politically correct to acknowledge that out of all the religious minorities convicted of violent crimes Muslims are the most overrepresented.

    • Thank you, Michael.

      The next question, of course, is what are the effects of the rising Muslim demographic within Australia upon Australia’s relationship with Israel and its Jewish minority?

      That’s an exceedingly broad question from someone who is outside of the Australian Jewish community.

      {Although I hope some day to become an honorary member!}

      I do not expect you, or anyone else, to leap in with a definitive answer on the question, but if I were doing a research project that would be the next question to ask.

      You guys are great.

      And, once again – and probably for the last time! – kudos to Shirlee for putting this joint together.

      It looks really good and I think that it has significant potential.

      • Thanks Mike. You know how far this took me out of my comfort zone. Now I am about to embark on another as I transition to a Website

        So far the Muslim population hasn’t really been an issue in our two main ghettos in Sydney.
        Pam, Michael or Susan are Melbournians who could advise on that.
        They are getting closer in a suburb not far away. I shopped last week at the shopping complex there and it was ‘hijab central’ Hijabs I have no issue with but niqabs and burkas are a while other issue.

  4. The mufti seems to be able to exert a lot of influence on the Labour party, which is a worry, as Labour should act for the benefit of ALL Australians, not be beholden to the Muslim vote. Interestingly, there is no such thing as a Jewish vote, as Jews vote for both major parties, and are as divided as the general community.

    What is extremely puzzling is that Ed Husic was too ill to even check his emails. For most people – and he is a young man – even if they are ill, they can usually manage to struggle out of bed to go on their computer. Unless of course he refuses to condemn the Mufti out of loyalty, yet doesn’t want to destroy his nice guy image with the general Australian community.

  5. Australians should be very concerned that the mufti went to Gaza and met with the Hamas leader. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and the enemy of the free world. So why appoint a mufti who is obviously on the wrong side, rather than a moderate Muslim who wants to live in peace with fellow Australians? The Egyptians, who are mostly Muslims, showed their opposition to having a Muslim Brotherhood government. Surely Australian Muslims here should follow that example.

  6. Michael L just to bring you up to speed similar to the rest of the world we Jews live under siege.
    NO other religious or ethnic minority must spend Tens of Millions of dollars securing their community, Synagogues, Day schools, Community centers and visiting Jewish/Israeli politicians, speakers , athletes and entertainers. The only difference between our security is they do not carry sub-machine guns like they do guarding French, Italian, German or Sth American security guards protecting Jews do .
    Obviously it is not politically correct to answer the obvious question who are we protecting our selves and our properties from however I can tell you it is not form Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Hare Khrishna’s or Baha’i’s thats for sure.
    The frustrating thing is our wise Jewish community leadership just accept this siege as our { Jews] lot in life and continue to grovel , help, advise, play niceties and even go as far as advocate for their causes with the Muslim community .Go Figure .

  7. Ed Husic would not need to open his email box to receive inspiration from HIS spiritual guide, the Mufti. Our Edham Nurredin ( what, you thought Ed comes here from Edward !?) is a good Muslim boy, although he stated somewhere that he is not a “devout” Muslim, he was the first Fed. MP to swear his Govt. appointment on the Quran, not that there is anything wrong with that.
    And I am glad (??) that I wasn’t the first one to throw the little pebble, but out muslim mates ( or “brothers” as they preffer to call each other and here I must extend me digression, I look more Arabic than anything else for a Bucharest born Yid of Hungarian Jewish extraction it being a mystery, and when I venture into the Muslim DOMINATED subburbs with my wife, herself of healthy Ejiptian Sephardi stock, even more ME appearance, all shop keepers most definitely muslim call me “brother” so THERE !!) are revealing with aplomb and gusto their enthusiastic nature – Australians misuse the term “koltcha” – expressed in drive-by-shootings, a passion for illicit trades in all kinds of stuff and substances and, at least three times a year, traffic blocking festivals right in the middle of our Sydney CBD, scanting their favourite verses such as ” from the mountain to the sea, palestine shall be free !!” , which I still believe it refers to the Blue Mountains, NSW ,right onto Cronulla, a favourite beach location for the dreamers of a free palestine.
    True our Lebanese muslims are perceived as a bit more outspoken in spruiking there spiritual chattels, but let me tell you, brothers, that I have seen an impressive quality of similar devotion at the seeimngly more peaceful Bangladeshi new arrivals and here to stay, not to mention that famous non Lebanese newly arrived muslim mother of toddlers hanging that innocent sign ” Kill the Jews” around her baby’s neck at that well attended – mainly by our Police force – Sydney demonstration a yearana bit ago. Since that show of local muslim force and stupidity, we must agree proudly that the NSW Gov. and its constabulary have delivered quite a decisive message to the dedicated purveyors of public domain aggrandizment excessively anxious to deliver their own koltchural messages.

    • Otto, it’s interesting how Ed Husic has been portrayed as the all-round good guy, in a way no other new MP has. Yet, as you say, his inspiration comes from the koran, the same one that the mufti reads from. If as he claims, he is not a “devout” Muslim, surely he would have affirmed; sounds like he’s taking his fellow Australians for suckers – which they generally are.
      What is pathetic is the grovelling and refusal to criticise him, because people are scared of being seen as ‘racist’. Yet Ed is white, far more white than most of us who are writing on this website.

      Ed would prove his bona fides if he objected to the traffic blocking festivals right in the middle of Sydney CBD, where hordes chanted ” from the mountain to the sea, palestine shall be free !!”

      But he wouldn’t do that. Nor can I remember him objecting to the noxious BDS movement, nor to the Al-Quds Day parade where anti-Semitic imagery was used.

  8. Mike L
    Lebanese have been in Australia since the late 1800s, mainly Christians though.

    The most profound changes in terms of size, composition and settlement needs came with the exodus from Lebanon during and after the Civil War in 1976. The ALP was desperate for votes and had lost popularity. Here Bob Carr’s name pops up once again, he was the brainchild of this. It was also his chance to increase his voter base in Sydney’s Inner West . This huge vote got him across the line to be elected as State Premier a few years later.

    That’s how come, as you’ve no doubt read here, he was spruiking for votes at the Lakemba mosque during the run up to the Federal Election.

    The biggest problem with this was these people were allowed in WITHOUT back ground checks, so we ended with a great many undesirables. It’s the same to this day.

    Rowdy, uncouth, unemployable with the crime rate in their Community is extremely high. The Christian Lebanese are a whole different people.

    75% of these live in Sydney’s Inner west.

  9. A few examples of what is happening recently in our country.
    This was removed from Youtube. Fortunately I had already sent it to Canada, where it was titled in French and missed by Youtube for deletion.

  10. ”Shootings in Sydney suburbs with big Muslim populations are so common that police created a Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad”….Andrew Bolt Herald Sun 26/9/13

    .BTW / [ Melbourne] Herald Sun is the largest selling Newspaper in Australia

  11. Actually, the NSW Middle Eastern Org. Crime Sq. has been in “force” for quite some time and guess who has been lobbying for a few years now for its disbandment !!?

  12. Mike, there were Muslims in Australia in the nineteenth century, including the “Afghans” who introduced camels to the Outback.
    The White Australia Policy embedded in the 1901 Federal Constitution (a policy that had its roots in fears over “cheap” Chinese labour in New South Wales and Queensland during the 1880s) had the effect of keeping them out (it also discriminated against Mizhrachi Jews, and it’s interesting to note that the Federal authorities, who applied a language dictation test to any would-be settler considered undesirable, classified Yiddish as a non-European language and therefore invalid for purposes of the test – a worrying development that was righted following the intervention of Rabbi F.L.Cohen of Sydney). The White Australia Policy had begun to break down in the 1960s, enabling, incidentally, the arrival of Jewish refugees from Nasser’s Egypt, and was abolished altogether by the Whitlam government early in the next decade.

  13. btw, Mike, to intrude on the question you addressed to Shirlee re perceptions of American Jews as soft on Israel: it’s certainly been the case that the Australian Jewish community (which consists in substantial measure of Holocaust survivors and their descendants) has been markedly more inward-looking and less “universalistic” in attitude than the traditionally liberal Jews of America. You should try to get hold of W.D.Rubinstein’s “The Jews in Australia. A Thematic History, vol. 2” for a comprehensive discussion of this question by someone who’s an American by birth himself.
    I must say that when I see the Facebook comments of American relatives, I’m struck by how liberal, Obama-loving, and free of references to the fate of Israel they are.

    • It wasn’t only to me it was a general question

    • Hi Hilary,

      thank you for your responses.

      Most American Jews are left-leaning Democrats who continue to support Barack Obama… much to my horror and amazement.

      I voted for Obama in 2008, and was a Democrat throughout my life until quite recently, but 2012 I very much acknowledged my mistake.

      I think that American Jews are having a very difficult time facing some obvious truths. One of those truths is that the Obama administration has supported the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East, as we saw with the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Even if you present them with the most irrefutable facts, such as that Obama pledged F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks to the Morsi government, they will still deny and deflect and defame.

      I just find it very odd.

      Not all American Jews are so ideologically blinkered, of course, but I do find myself within a minority that was able to think past progressive-left partisan obligations.

      If you guys go to my blog (Israel Thrives) you’ll see that I’ve written a series of pieces criticizing the progressive Jewish left. Not the least of which, of course, is their absolute inability to criticize political Islam.

      So many of them honestly believe that if they stand up to a political movement that wants them either in submission or dead, it makes them “racist.”

      It never fails to astound.

  14. i was under the impression that not many American Jews supported Israel any more particularity the younger generation ?

    • Michael you are joking of course?

      Our youth are the most Zionistically minded in the world, as is the entire Community.
      We donate more per capita than any other country
      We have less intermarriage per capita than any other country
      We have the highest rate of Aliyah per capita than any other country.

      My G-d I do a great deal of work with our youth and with AUJS and our kids are amazing

      We also have the highest number of children per capita in the world attending Jewish day schools. Some 65% and those that don’t, attend after school classes

    • Michael B,

      Many American Jews do not concern themselves with Israel, period. That is certainly true.

      I think that it’s fair to say that most American Jews, particularly adults, do consider themselves supporters of Israel, but some of them have a funny way of demonstrating support.

      That is, there is a significant segment of American Jewry (represented by people such as Peter Beinart) who think that the best way to support Israel is to give it a good swift kick in the head.

      I am not a member of this particular school of geo-political stupidity.

  15. I refereed to ‘American ‘Jews not Australian Jews

    BTW AUJS are a joke they may be good at arranging Social events and handing out bagels
    But I can tell you in Melbourne they are useless and totally ineffective at fighting anti Zionism and can not be considered a serious Israel activist group . [ My own daughter was VP of AUJS many years ago ]

    I know this from my own experience from attending the many Anti- Zionist rally’s and demonstrations and monitoring what is happening at our universities as well as talking to Previous AUJS leaders.
    Students for Palestine here can teach our Jewish kids how to become activists thats for sure!

    • Well something has gone astray there. Sydney is amazing. The NSW President is standing for National President.
      Melbourne is supposed to follow national guidelines. I’d say the President of Victoria AUJS is not doing his/her work.

  16. Hi Hilary – which sounds better mit a Hungarian aktzent !!

    1st, the Egyptian (Ejiptian in correct phonetics ) Jews left Nassr’s regime latest by 1953. I know it too well, I have been married to some 37 of them for the past some 32 years.
    2nd, the generalisation of the Jews from Amerike the way you offered us is a bit over and under the top.
    Due to largest numbers in Diaspora, the various forms of Jewish expression in the USA requires volumes of analysis and description. I remember that sometime in the early 80s when I was doing my MA in History I picked the topic “Jewish Political Association in the USA” and all could find was a brochure size study which was quite inconclusive regarding allegiances.
    30 years later we have a plethora of studies and most of them are still careful in carving up major and minor sectarian Judaic practices as well as political inclinations.
    I would only add that the Ultra Orthodox segment is represented in very large numbers, Baruch Hashem !!! They are, however, far less vociferous on strict political matters as “against”, if you want , the less frumm segment. This makes them aparently more difficult to engage. USA has, however a very strong pro Zionist structure and this extends within and without the strict Jewish commual boundaries, well into the main political fora, Congress, Senate both federal and various State. American Jewish involvement in fundamental American institutions, admin., business, education, culture etc. is so massive, so impressive, that we can only admire their spirit, their incredible achievements. Jewsih general political input is so decisive that it has been attracting negative, unfair, comments so familiar to anyone looking at anti American policies throughout. They are ethically wrong, but in strict quantum terms accurate.

    …… be continued

    • I just thanked you above, Otto. Haven’t quite got the hang of this site, it seems!

  17. I very rarely if ever see AUJS representatives attend the BDS rally’s and wave Israel flags or give out material[ The usual excuse/ mantra from Jewish Leadership a way of getting out of anything hard work or controversial is ”not to give them oxygen ” so in other words our Jewish representatives including AUJS are happy when the media turn up only to interview the bad guys , film the wave of Palestinian flags and never any Jewish / Israeli response..
    At universities I have never seen or heard AUJs students take/ tare down anti _ israel posters and other propaganda.
    I have never heard or seen AUJS stage pro- Israel demonstrations or Rally’s on a ‘ regular ‘ basis like Students for Palestine .
    I don’t know of any Allies , relationships or alliances AUJS have formed to help our cause as activists such as the bad guys have done with say the Socialist alternative, Socialist alliance,Muslim/ Arab groups , Trade Unions , Refugee councils, Multiculturalism organizations all of which usually have representatives at anti- Israel rally’s. AUJS don’t understand they need alliances with other groups to help fight their cause.
    I can go on and on.. let me tell you as Businessman If AUJS was a public company trying to promote their brand i,e Israel I would have sacked the board long ago as incompetent and totally ineffective .
    I have spoken directly with some previous AUJS leaders here who tell me there is only a handful of hardcore activists who are willing to do the hard work but Jewish Kids in general are just not interested nor have the time for ongoing Political activism like the Palestinians , Arab and Muslim kids do however at a Social event they all turn up.
    Understandable from Jewish perspective that’s why Jews are successful and contribute to Australian society it is not a priority with them unlike the others I guess.. But as activists they are not… and the proof is is the pudding Israel is not represented at the same level as the Palestinians are..

    • No point in it. It more effective to ignore them. Standing there holding placards and screaming back at them only makes you look as stupid as they are.

  18. Shirlee is right. Stupid actions deserve better, smarter reactions. Problem is that the “mature” Jewish leadership cannot help the enthusiastic , young, less..experienced AUJS activists- whatever percentage of actual Jewish kids on campuses – because the mature, some with decades of communal service under their belt, haven’t got a clue on how to organise a piss in a kosher pub. Painfully, we must remember the last public massive Sydney demo (!!!!!) at the Mizrachi shule, the greatest achievemnt in more than a decade on Jewish suburban soil, organised by Jewish suburban sechels.
    Sure we are by far the fastest at getting offended, insulted etc., but as I said previously, they have Al Queda, Al Ahram, Al Jazeera, Al Fatah, we have Al Sueyou.

    • Did you see the Letter to the Editor on that issue which was published in the AJN Otto? I thought I was really going to get it in the neck but gurnisht. Eeve Zeddy (Editor) was concerned about publishing it.

      When I used to have things posted on J Wire I used to receive phone calls about it. I even had Vic Alhadeff telling me I should resign my position at the Board.

      Query over security at Sydney rally

      I THANK and congratulate the Zionist Council of NSW for organising the Solidarity Rally last weekend so well and so quickly. Though I am ashamed; ashamed that it was deemed necessary to hide away one-third of the people who attended the rally for supposed security reasons.
      Whose security pray tell? Seeing as how two-thirds of people were in the park. I inquired about the people outside, only to be told they would have to cope. So then, whose security were we speaking of? The elite few?
      If it was such a security risk, why then were there only so few police in attendance? Haven’t we done with hiding and running away?
      Haven’t we done enough of that down through the ages? No more running. We should be finished with that. Haven’t enough died?
      Why aren’t we openly displaying our support for Israel ?
      People like my father, who proudly and openly proclaimed their Jewishness in the East End of London, in the face of Oswald Mosley and his Fascist Party, must be turning in their graves. I can still clearly see the Blackshirt newspaper sitting on the kitchen table, showing a photo of my father with the words: “We have to put an end permanently to this man, not only is he a Communist, he is a Jew.” My father never hid, he never cowered. He stood proud and tall. He refused protection. It was instilled into me never to be afraid even while the death threats were current, and I was only allowed out with police protection.
      Let’s stand up and be counted with no more hiding.

  19. Oh, I guess thats why the Palestinians have the overwhelming support in Australia because what they are doing is so stupid…. Just maybe we should try their tactic and be so stupid…..

    • ” Palestinians have the overwhelming support in Australia”??????????????????

      Michael you are dreaming. Where did you get that rubbish from????????????

  20. mmmmm.. If I were a Martian and just came down under from Mars and visited any one of of Universities spoke to Academics and students and took a poll , if I switched on ABC, SBS, BBC, CNN , If I talked to any School teachers , Trade union officials, If I stopped people in the streets and asked them who do they think are the bad guys in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If I were to scroll through the myriad of Political web and blog sites and not only checked out the articles but the posts below… etc …
    I would wager I was regretfully right….

  21. I’d like to put in a good word for Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, Australia’s oldest and biggest Reform shul. . Under the leadership of the extraordinary Rabbi Sanger and his successor Rabbi Levi it used to be a thriving bastion of Zionism. I’m not sure whether that robust Israel-oriented ethos still reigns there now.

    • Just because it’s a non Orthodox shul Hilary doesn’t make it less Zionist in outlook.

      Pam and Michael might know the answer to your question. I know there is a shul down there that Pam has huge issues with.

      • Indeed, but the core congregation of Germans and Austrians may not have been so Israel-oriented had it not been for the infectious influence of the charismatic Sanger, a Zionist from way back (there’s a biography of him by Rabbi Levi, if you’re interested).

    • Hilary, Rabbi Levi is very good, but his successor, Rabbi Fred Morgan, who has recently retired, is one of the interfaith founders who has cosied up to Islamists and denounced any Jews who dare to question him.

      Just a few examples of his grovelling. In 2005, he held an inter-faith model Passover seder for Jews and Muslims.The Intercultural Society (which is Islamic!) reported “to accommodate the Muslim participants, grape juice was served instead of wine and the invocation “l’shana haba’ah b’Yerushalayim” (Next Year in Jerusalem) was omitted from the edited Haggadah.

      “It reminds us that we are required to speak out for freedom for all people,” Morgan said.
      This is sheer hypocrisy. The Friends of Palestine have no problem in including their vocal demand for next year in Al Quds, yet Morgan is fearful of standing up for Jews asserting their right to self-determination in their ancient homeland.

      As for not having alcohol, in Judaism the four glasses of wine are obligatory, so why deny this to pander to an Islamic prohibition on alcohol.

      The other progressive rabbi, Jonathon Keren Black from Leo Baeck, is equally craven and was one of the founders of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association, whose purpose seems to be to denigrate Jews who support Israel and promote Islam.

      • No wine at the Passover Seder?

        Not acceptable!

        The Passover Seder is about new life! The spring! The rebirth of the land and the people!

        (And, thus, the grape.)

        • Whilst I don’t hold with the views of these loony left rabbis Mike. There is no problem with grape juice. It’s just that it’s not alcoholic. Though in the Haggadah (Passover prayer book)it does say “wine”.

          I’ll ask my rabbi that one!!!

      • Pam, I know about the Kew Temple, unfortunately! Rabbi Morgan’s use of grape juice is one thing, his omission of “Next year in Jerusalem” quite another.

      • Pam, thanks – I responded earlier but in the wrong place (below) – am I a klutz or what?

  22. TBI Progressive Central under Morgan you have to be joking .. any visiting lefty anti Zionist loony are invited to TBI.. I Don’t know the new Rabbi but believe me that place is a hot bed of lefty anti Zionist looney’s ……..

  23. Most wellcome, Hilary.
    Your observation about the Austrian and German Jews is reinforced by the fact that Vienna in the 1920s was one of the strongest Zionist centres in Europe. Jabotinsky worked there, for instance.
    Incidentally, a small part of Arthur Koestler’s autobiography ” The Blue Arrow”, the part in which he is a university student in Vienna and member of feisty Zionist clubs, then as assistant to Jabotinsky in Vienna, reveals the curious fact that, in a place famous for a high degree of assimilation, the Jewish spirit was so active.

    • Thanks for the info, Otto. Goodness knows where this reply will end up, seeing as my responses to you earlier, and to Pam, are not where I hoped they’d be.

  24. Yeh there is A shule at Caulfield Park run by the head of our largest Jewish Study Dept in Australia at Monash
    This Looney apparently wants the Israeli Flag Changed and the Hatikvah removed because it offends Israeli Arabs.
    This guy gives a platform to the most high profile Palestinian activists to spew their hatred even those that are behind the BDS movement in Australia . He even has had one of his fellow academics participate in an Australians for Palestine propaganda event.
    At the same time this guy is very hostile to any Zionist organizations in Australia…
    To think some of our wealthiest Jewish families still fund this Department .

    • Mark Baker, of Monash Institute of Jewish Civilisation, has reached out to those who support the demonisation of Israel. At a Limmud Oz session in Melbourne a few years ago, he held a cosy chat with two of them – can’t remember their names – with the audience warned they were not allowed to interrupt or ask questions of these two who insisted that Israel was an apartheid state. All the while Mark was smiling at his friends and seeming quite happy with what they were saying.

      Most of the audience were stunned and angry. Afterwards several people complained, but any who dare question this anti-israel rhetoric are routinely shunned.

      If our own Jewish leaders are joining in with the propaganda against Israel, what hope is there?

      • Pam the Palestinian BDS activist Australians for Palestine spokesperson Samah Sabawi you refer to and who I referred to above ,Mark Baker head of Monash ACJC Jewish Study dept gave her a platform at Limmud Oz to spew her propaganda .

        I remember reading a comment at the time by Jewish Palestinian activist of Australian Jewish Democratic Society board member Sol Salbe in the audience who pointed out Baker gave her an easy ride …

        Sabawi is not the only Palestinian , Arab , Muslim left wing looney activist Baker has given a platform to .. what is disappointing is some of our wealthiest Jewish families still bankroll his department..

        • Sol Salbe “” pointed out Baker gave her an easy ride””?
          He must have been sick that day.

          I had to sit through her speeches to Council during the Marrickville BDS nonsense.. She was at every meeting sitting with none other than our own cute Anthony Lowenstein.!!

  25. ”Just because it’s a non Orthodox shul Hilary doesn’t make it less Zionist in outlook.”

    That is correct however in the case of Liberal shule TBI it part of the progressive movement which supports anti- Zionist Jewish Lefty fanatics NIF and J Street…….This shule has a history of inviting controversial israel bashers as their guest speakers .. and its Rabbi [ex I believe ] is a naive Multiculuralist , Interfaith meshugana

  26. I am persuaded by Michael and Pam that what goes on in the Progressive places in Melbourne is very consistent with what I always believed they ….. believe in and practice and promote and feel bloody good when the “others” are disgusted.
    Mind you, Sydney could be seen as worse. The majority of the NSWJBD has fallen dormant, indiferent, plain brain dead in the face of a far more aggressive Progressive onslaught. Let me tell you, the days of Leslie Caplan or the Freilichs are sadly gone. Shirlee, love, I hope you take all the blood pressure medication prescribed before attending the plenums.

    • Otto,
      The days of Leslie Caplan and the Freilichs may be gone, but the days of Shirlee Finn are here and the “Times they are a’changing” Let’s leave it there for an email, when I get a chance.

      It’s a sad indictment that we have approximately 42,000 Jews in NSW, of those less than 1,000 are members of the Board of Deputies.!! Says plenty in my book.

      You wait and see the ‘fantastic’ asylum seeker policy which was passed.(Sarcasm) I was out of the hall, having taken part in the count for representatives to the ECAJ. I was going to say unfortunately, but it wasn’t, it was a great victory, as Uri Windt was ousted. Only three voted against the motion, Paul Winter, my husband and a third person. That’s why I sent you the link to J Wire (abominable site ) because Paul Winter was having a go at Robin Margo and I’d like to see you get stuck in too.

      Come gather ’round people
      Wherever you roam
      And admit that the waters
      Around you have grown
      And accept it that soon
      You’ll be drenched to the bone
      If your time to you
      Is worth savin’
      Then you better start swimmin’
      Or you’ll sink like a stone
      For the times they are a-changin’.

  27. Shirlee, I have posted TWO comments on the same where Paul, my best friend , had a go to which a certain “Robin”, guess who, responded in HIS expected manner. I responded to “Robin” again and am still waiting for Henry to pass both or at least one of my comments…..
    I will repeat that NIF, a very insignificant numerical lot, have a grip on the leadership of the NSWJBD, the elected and the appointed one.
    Incidentally, two years back at the Syd. Limud Oz, Naomi Chazan was given the big arena. She was her usual obnxious. I manage to had my interpelation in which I ridiculed her big time to the hisses of the audience, including some NSWJBD office bearers. Chazan cracked some idiotic remarks about Zionists, saying that the halutzim were simple Polish chicken farmers ( as against her family of British academics ). I retorted that she has a great sense of humour and I hoped that she would accept my eitzes to consider a career as a stand up comic because she will have them rolling in the aisles from Gaza to Gdansk. To that you should have seen the faces turning against me and hear the chorus of hisses. Some even dared approaching me personally. The poor sods were from Melb. and did not know what I had in store for them. No longer friends……………

  28. Pam, Michael et al,

    I just noticed a piece in the current AJN pp.9, re “Understanding the other”. It has in it your interfaith dialogue protagonists, Rabbis Levi and Morgan.
    Rabbi Levi spruiks the banal, whereas Rabbi Morgan is quoted to state stuff that will amaze, sorry, provoke to spew any sensible Jewish mind.
    My eyes could not believe it; a so called Rabbi stating that :”……Judaism is a separate religion that was SUPERSEDED ( my italics) by Christianity and there has been a stop in the teaching of contempt”.
    The first part of the phrase is an acceptance of the Xtian dogma that Xtianity is superior to Judaism through its positive eschatology, acceptance of a certain Messianic redeamer. The second part deals with the farcical notion of a revised dogma within the Church, whereby the shift in the notion of a new covenant, a change in the status of Jews who no longer would be the chosen, is no longer accepted by the Church. This, simply, is not at all the case.Both aspects are heavily emphasised in the Vatican II documents, i.e. the superiority of xtianity over Judaism and the new covenant. It is stated almost on every page of the entire document.
    So here Rabbi (!!??) Morgan denies Judaic values while obfuscating Xtian dogma inimical – to say the least – to Judaic principles.
    I have no idea which Rabbinical organisation this Mr. Morgan belongs to, but he ought not to !!!

    • Firstly Otto, Michael can’t get the AJN unless he gets it online. He is an American.

      Here’s the article you are referring to.

      A THREE-DAY conference in Brisbane this weekend will bring together Jewish and Christian leaders, as well as proponents of interfaith dia¬logue from Australia and New Zealand, in a bid to embolden Australia’s interfaith relations.

      The event, “Engaging the Other”, is being organised by the Australian Council of Christians and Jews (ACCJ), with funding from the New Zealand Council of Christians and Jews and the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy of the Australian Catholic University.

      The gathering is set to explore soci¬ological and theological insights into interreligious and interracial engage¬ment. Those attending include Archbishop of Brisbane and Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia Dr Philip Aspinall, founder and patron of the ACCJ Rabbi Dr John Levi, and president of the New Zealand Council of Christians and Jews Reverend Jenny Chalmers.

      Chair of the ACCJ, William Szekely, said the conference will forge a

      “unique opportunity to bring together members of the main faiths to exam¬ine the important issue of religious values”.

      Set to deliver the keynote address is Rabbi Dr John Levi who told The AJN that the ACCJ has established

      “good and positive friendships between the Christian and Jewish communities in New South Wales and Australia”.

      He further highlighted the importance of bolstering Christian-Jewish dialogue at a time when

      “there are many church organisations which seem to compete in denigrating Israel”.

      Rabbi Fred Morgan, a longstanding leader in interfaith dialogue, flatly denied that inter-religious conversation is “simply a talk fest”, rather suggesting that a forum of this nature can yield positive “political results”.

      “The aim of dialogue is to learn different techniques of listening which will enable us to understand the other person’s point of view, even if we don’t agree with it.
      People don’t realise the Christian position has changed dramatically towards Jews … there has largely been an end to the effort to convert Jews; it is acknowledged that Judaism is a separate religion that was superseded by Christianity and there has been a stop to the teaching of contempt.There has been a major shift in the Christian attitude towards Jews, but there hasn’t been a corresponding shift in the way Jewish people relate to Christians. Many Jews are still wary of Christian theology.”

      • Shirlee, Rabbi Levi has been a most commendable participant in Jewish-Christian dialogue for many decades, cultivating such friends of Jews and Israel as Rev Professor Robert Anderson, Father William Smith, and the Sisters of Sion, and is on record as deploring the stance re Israel of the Uniting Church. He is a Zionist to his fingertips. I will not see him traduced!

  29. Shirlee
    I was reffering to a Burd of a different feather.

    Anyway, I think that the subject of interfaith and how it is “regulated” by that oxymoronic fraternity of sorts, deserves a special “chapter”. Needless , actually a very pressing need indeed, to add that the subject is of constant actuality, as it seems impossible to settle ideologiaclly. Incidentally, with almost each statement made by the Jewish side, as seen in the text you reprinted, there are serious issues of transgression.
    Maybe you open it as a distinct topic.

  30. Hilary
    I must stress that I agree with you in regards to Rabbi Levi. My comments relate strictly to the statement reported as being Rabbi Morgan’s. I am not at all surprised that Jews in responsible positions indulge in comments which derive from regretable ignorance in relation to the so called new attitude the Catholic Church in the main has adopted since the Vatican II.
    I had personally encountered serious lack of knowledge on the matter from some of the people mentioned in the above piece from AJN. Certain important leaders of our community attempetd to argue on the same issues with me while admitting not only that they never consulted the Vatican II docs., but telling me with “authority” that the said documents have never been made public !! I lent the bloke my copy of the SEVENTH edition of the docs., published 12 years after the 1st one. Meanwhile the same were representing us in the interfaith dialogues…………
    Rabbi Morgan’s statement demonstrates lack of knowledge of the same as well as a very strange, in fact Chalachically totally unacceptable philosophical attitude to matters fundamental to Judaism, being the ackowledgement and acceptance of Xtian dogma, in particular on eschatological matters.

    There is a lot more to be said about the famous “Nostra Aetate”…..

  31. Hilary, I have no problem with interfaith that much except when it comes to Islam. That’s where I draw the line.

  32. Otto, I hardly know Rabbi Morgan, but dear friends of mine speak very highly of his kind heart -I believe his American liberalism is at the root of his handling of that seder.
    Shirlee, as a female and a feminist (albeit one much mellowed from my younger days) I am also very wary of dialogue with Islam, because I fear that in the quest for consensus women’s rights might be sold down the river. To say nothing of Israel.

  33. Hilary

    as it hapens, I never met Rabbi Morgan, nor do I have any intimate knowledge of his “cardiac” condition. I am only dealing here only with a vey succint statement aparently made by him.
    Regarding the actual religious dialogue with Islam, the record of encounters is a lot poorer than the old and the recent Jewish-Xtian events. I will not bore you with the XI century disputations, Spanish and French, G-d forbid, but the much more recent ones are quite relevant and it looks like a new topic has just been launched on this site and I hope to meet you and a few more kindered ….spirits a-cross there.

    • Unfortunately Morgan does has a following in Melbourne and from my observations by the type of people [ including many of my friends and people I Know ] that like him are mostly as naive as him on the futility of groveling to the Muslims via interfaith. These followers are also mostly as naive on the damage he does to Israels interests here by giving a platform to lefty Israel bashing Jews that keep coming here acting as Palestinian useful idiots.
      Morgan is a the typical lefty democratic , Obama loving American Jew supporting J Sreet , NIF and other 5 th columnist Jewish groups in America.
      His predecessor Rabbi Levi who I know whilst I do not agree with his leftist politics at least is very aware of what goes on in the Middle East and understands what we Jews face with the Muslim threat ,he is very well read of this subject. He is certainly not naive or ignorant on Middle east issues like Morgan certainly is however this describes the Progressive Jewish movement.
      If this was 1930’s Germany these Progressive Jews would be arguing not all Germans are bad , the Nazis are only a minority of bad apples , we should not stereo type blah blah blah…

  34. Michael, maybe bcs of Monday morning, but I expect you to be a lot less gentle with those who do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. The term “naive” , you’d agree, if quite innapropriate. These people, a Rabbi with accomplished ambitions of communal authority ( that’s what a Rabbi is groomed to be, nes pas ?!) has “crossed” the line of naivete. This bloke, anyway, is quite capable to compose impressive volumes of intentionally leading legions toward his well designed targets, in this case the genuine Zionist , fundamental principles and practices. I am not suggesting that a Rabbi should not get involved in politics, but here we are dealing with religion cum ideology and in both cases tunnel vision and tunnel squeezing of one’s audience minds are the MAIN functions. He knows what he is doing, how to do it and how to attack his well profiled opposition.
    That the musings are incredibly badly bias and extrapolate in the most visible – and annoying – way is just a first, plain and simple observation. I’d goa s afr as saying it is intellectual abuse, a case where I cannot wait to see how you, for a preffered example , would deal with.

  35. Yes Michael, but this bloke is in it already and one ( or a few ) should attend to it.
    Anyway, this one is a dialectical push-over, as he specialises in easy, common variety absurdities.