In November 1938, throughout Germany a major Nazi pogrom was conducted against the Jewish community who were subjected to violence, intimidation and persecution. About one month later, an Aboriginal man from the relatively obscure Australian suburb of Footscray Victoria, William Cooper, along with his Koori brethren descended onto the German Consulate in Melbourne where they attempted to present a resolution ‘condemning the persecution of Jews and Christians in Germany’. TheConsul-General, Dr. R.W. Drechsler, refused them admittance.
Nearly 80 years later, another Aboriginal man, Warren Mundine, is speaking out against the rising wave of anti-Semitism. Earlier this week the Labor party moved to ban sponsored trips to Israel. Mundine criticised the Labor party’s leadership, saying NSW Labor was at risk of becoming a fringe party over its extreme stance to the only Middle East democracy.
“It is an illogical, verging on anti-Semitic approach,” he said.
“We do not do this to other countries. Name another country that the Labor Party bans people from going to? There are none….what is the difference with this country? The only difference is that they are Jewish, and I just find that quite sickening that a party that I was president of would move down that road.”
But around the world an antipathy towards Jews and Israel seems quite ‘the thing’, almost elevating it to a type of civil rights movement. Even commercial industries are jumping into the fray. Typo stores recently pulled their world map globes from stores after it was pointed out by purchasers (some elated, others not so much) that Israel was left out of the map while Palestine was clearly marked.
And of course, since Europe and Western governments are largely hardline Left there is now nearly wholesale uniformity against everything Israeli. For example, the new Labour leader in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, is far left and outspokenly anti-Israel. President Barack Obama is part of the left wing of the Democratic Party, which has been more critical of Israel’s policies than other elements in the America. And Nordic countries are increasingly becoming unfriendly places for Jews. Some commentators believe anti-Semitic incidents in western Europe peaked to a level not seen since the close of World War II.
Eleni Arapoglou (AC Policy Researcher)