Features Australia

Feeling Carr-sick

12 May 2018

9:00 AM

12 May 2018

9:00 AM

What gives with Bob Carr? Why, for that matter, has so much of the Left in the democratic world turned anti-Israel and anti-Jewish? (Obama: ‘A shitty little country.’) The former ALP premier and foreign minister’s loathing of Israel has passed mere disagreement with some of its politics to something like blind hatred, such as we would never expect in an Australian democratic politician, least of all for a successful parliamentary democracy which has many links to Australia and which continues to face threats to its survival.He has claimed Australia’s foreign policy has been sub-contracted to Jewish money, and has succeeded in turning at least part of Labor against Israel.

Carr once had anti-totalitarian credentials. He rubbished Jim Cairns’ Soviet fellow-travelling (as too many in the ALP did not), and Cairns’ refusal to condemn oppression and tyranny in communist countries when he headed the so-called ‘peace’ movement.

On the 70th anniversary of modern Israel’s foundation, and its defeat of Arab armies bent on its annhilation, the former foreign minister initially chose to speak at the AlQuds Community Centre, which proclaims an aim of the conquest of the whole of Israel (no ‘two state’, or any other form of peaceful solution) and which has been advertising a fund-raiser since April 1. ‘Al-Quds’ is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and can in itself be seen as a declaration of intent.

Initially two speakers’ names appeared on the publicity material on the fund-raiser: an Arab ‘poet’, Ahmad Al-Kandari and Bob Carr (or rather ‘Car’).

Ahmad Al-Kandari’s poetic works include: ‘We will never recognise Israel’ and ‘Say to Zion: We have brought slaughter upon you, and we will watch you dying.’ He was reported on Al Jazeera TV peviously as calling for jihad at a Kuwaiti student rally where he led the crowd in chanting, “We are the soldiers of Hamas, and jihad is our path.”

At the same rally, Kuwaiti MP Jama’an Al-Harbash told the crowd: ‘The war foretold by the Prophet Muhammad … is drawing near… this is a war of religion, not just a war between Arabs and Israelis,’ and Kuwaiti student leader ‘Abd Al-’Aziz Dahi Al-Fadhli said, ‘Today is the day for declaring Jihad… There is no path of reconciliation and negotiations – Jihad and Jihad alone.’ Kuwaiti Salafi leader Hamed Al-Ali called to establish a Kuwaiti Hamas movement.

As for Ahmad Al-Kandari, he declaimed further: ‘We call upon the Arab rulers to stop being naïve, to stop submitting [peace] initiatives, to stop tormenting the Palestinian people, to stop being so feeble and weak, and to support the mujahideen of Hamas, not [Mahmoud] Abbas, the traitor.’ There was, according to Al Jazeera, a great deal more of the same, with Al-Kandari declaiming: ‘We are the soldiers of Hamas, and Jihad is our path. Generation after generation – we will never recognise Israel. A voice arose: “Kill them, inflict endless wounds upon them. This is a message to the Zionists, the murderous, treacherous, and occupying Zionists, the Zionists who rob our history and steal our antiquities. Say to Zion: We have brought slaughter upon you, and we shall watch you dying. You will encounter our army of Al-Qassam, for whom death serves as a cloak”.’

The crowd then chanted, ‘Khaybar, Khaybar, Oh Jews! The army of Muhammad has begun its return!’ This is a reference to the battle, endlessly caressed in Muslim historical memory, in which the last flourishing community of Jews on the Arabian Peninsula was wiped out by Muslims in 629AD. Three thousand Muslims gathered outside the American Embassy in London recently to make this chant in frenzied protest against President Trump’s decision to move the US Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Al-Kandari, like so many poets, may be an ineffectual blowhard and fantasist, but it is pretty plain where he is coming from. Australia-Israel Review and Speccie columnist Jeremy Jones wrote, ‘More than a week after I started receiving daily publicity notices for the double act, Bob Carr declared he was “proud to be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestiunians at the event”.’ Actually, a much larger number of Jews were expelled from Arab states at the same time. Unlike the Palestinians, who were kept in poverty and misery as a political weapon, the expelled Jews were successfully integrated into Israeli society. Jones continued, ‘Only when the matter received mainstream media attention did Carr declare he wasn’t willing to share the microphone with Al-Kandari, then said he had found an “alternative function” at which the birth of modern Israel would be bemoaned and condemned.’

Carr once introduced a book of contributions criticising the Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators by the Chinese regime, and took a leading part in Australia in denouncing it and demanding a multi-party democracy in China as the only guarantee against future bloodshed. Now Carr has been recruited to run the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney, set up by the same party and regime that made the massacre. He has been pushing an aggresively pro-Chinese position, along with an anti-Israeli one, in the NSW ALP. Are his sudden enthusiasms for the Chinese Communist Party and his attacks on Israel somehow connected?

Meanwhile in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, who, despite protests from parts of the British Labour Party, has done nothing convincing to break with anti-Semitism, fired up the issue further by attending Passover with ‘Jewdas’, an oddball extreme-left anti-Israeli Jewish group, which has persistently downplayed anti-Semitism. Labour MP John Woodcock said his leader’s decision to attend the function was ‘deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they had pleaded with him to tackle anti-Semitism.’ Corbyn is, of course, notorious for his warm association with various extremist individuals. There is also a split in the party over the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial, and over an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party which was labelled a whitewash.

Despite the fact that relations with some of its neighbours have recently improved, quite dramatically although not necessarily permanently, and despite the fact that aspects of its policies, like those of all states, are not perfect, Israel remains a small island of democracy, religious toleration and modernity, surrounded by an ocean of enemies sworn to it annihilation. Support for it seems a basic litmus test of political decency.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments