Mark Dreyfus weighs in to top support for Palestinians

Photo from the Australian: Attorney General Mark Dreyfus

Contributed from Victoria

Mark Dreyfus, Australia’s attorney general got it wrong when saying that some criticisms of Israel can be antisemitic. Antisemitic means attacks on Semite people because of their ethnicity. Criticism of Israel means the taking issue with a policy or act of a government. If we equate the two, it means that criticism of any government must be racist. This is plainly ridiculous.

The real intention is revealed in the Jillian Segal as the special envoy to combat rising levels of hatred against the Jewish community. Jillian happens to be an advocate of the Israeli state, partisan to its policies and openly supportive of its actions in Gaza and other Palestinian territories. She is also a member of and immediate past president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, an organisation sharing her views.

Photo by John Appleyard/NewsWire: Appointed special envoy to combat hate speech Jillian Segal

A proper and credible special envoy is one that is not partisan and able to consider hatred without the baggage of her own prejudices.

Other Jewish community organisations have been vocally critical of the appointment and Dreyfus’s posturing. One of them is the Jewish Council of Australia, which through its executive officer Sarah Schwartz expressed concern about “a pro-Israel advocate to this position.” She said that the move silences the voice of many Jews.

“We are concerned this antisemitism envoy will fail to distinguish between Jewishness and support for Israel.”

“This risks erasing the large number of Jewish people in Australia who, like us, believe in Palestinian freedom and justice and are opposed to Israel’s violence against Palestinians.”

At a Sydney vigil in November last year Jillian Segal stood side by side with the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia ty a pro-Israel rally. She joined in criticising Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong for saying “we all want to take steps towards a ceasefire” in Gaza.

So why is Mark Dreyfus involved in this game? Because he is a member of the Parliamentary Friends of the IHRA, which happens to have a close association with the Zionist movement and used it as a cover to reinterpret antisemitism as including any criticism of Zionism or Israel. He has made no secret of his Zionist sympathies and has spoken publicly in at a pro-Israel rally on 13 October last year, backing Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Photo by Dr Marawan Abu Saada/AP: Baby victims of Israel’s attack don’t merit by the defenders of Israel at all costs

The misuse of antisemitism to silence others should not be tolerated, and those who take part in this must be called out.

Real antisemitism is a problem and Israel actions have caused a rise in it. Real antisemitism that is truly based on putting others down and discriminating against them must be opposed. So must the denial of the humanity of Palestinian people and justifying the holocaust they are suffering right now. They too have a right to live and their home.

Since Palestinians and other peoples of the region are also Semites, discrimination waged against them is a form of antisemitism.

Another example of the misuse of the term are the disciplinary charges being brought by the administration of Melbourne University against 23 of its students for supporting the Palestinian cause. This is a direct attack on freedom of speech. Supporters have delivered a petition in support of the students with 20,000 signatures. Perhaps this too will be called antisemitism.

It won’t work voices won’t be silenced.

In speaking out for the rights of Palestinians and for an end to the killing, Australians must rally to the defence of the Jewish community in whose name the atrocity is being carried. The futures of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples are intertwined. One can’t be free without the other being free.

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