Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Limits to the Lucky Country – Australia's Islamic Israel-bashers (and their allies)

Please bear with me if you’ve heard this anecdote before, but it’s said that when Ava Gardner was in Melbourne to make On the Beach (1959), based on Nevil Shute’s apocalyptic novel, she remarked that the city was an appropriate location for a movie about the end of the world. Actually, Melbourne is a very fine and stately city, perhaps not as instantly appealing as its traditional rival, the brasher and more hedonistic Sydney, with its iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, but certainly no less attractive once you let its subtler charm enrapture you. Nevertheless, back in the 1950s it was a dull place – a friend of mine who travelled to London at the end of that decade to embark on postgraduate studies recalls that he felt a delightful culture shock on being transported to the capital of what was then still regarded as "The Mother Country".

Post-war immigration, which eventually transformed Australia from a not-quite-homogenous “British” society into a multicultural one, ultimately livened up the Staid Old Lady – Melbourne today is a vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis and, if you’ll pardon the word, a “mecca” for shoppers.

However, as the city’s Jewish community was reminded during Operation Cast Lead – when local Muslims made common cause with hardline lefties and other suspects of the usual Israel-hating type – there is a downside to the multiculturalism that has enriched Australia. This picture, taken outside the august State Library of Victoria in central Melbourne, provides a glimpse as to why. Also in 2009 some 350 Muslims from eastern Australia held a protest in Canberra, organised by the extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which aims at a global caliphate under a draconian system of sharia law. They held placards calling for Muslim armies to launch Jihad against Israel and proclaiming such things as “Khilafah will soon liberate Palestine”and “Resistance will continue all the way until Israel is reduced to clay”.  Although the bulk of those Canberra protesters appeared to comprise people of Lebanese background (who muster strong in the Muslim community of Sydney) rather than Turkish people (who make up the majority of Muslims in Melbourne) marchers included Indonesians and others.

Explained an Australian Hizb ut-Tahrir media spokesman tellingly at the time : "We urge the resistance movements in Palestine to beware of the diplomatic drama, to abandon the political process, which is being used to weaken them, and to return to the battlefield. The Muslims around the world too must play their part by continuing to push the Muslim armies toward the battlefield, understanding full well that the major obstacle in our path is not the feeble Israeli state nor the coward Israeli army, but it is the Muslim rulers who, in agency of the Western powers, collude in facilitating the perpetuation of the illegal state of Israel. Israel can do what it likes. The Muslims will never recognise its legitimacy, nor will we accept anything less than all of Palestine, under Islamic rule."

And just recently Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has operated in Sydney for some years, has established a presence in Melbourne, flexing its muscle by renting a suburban town hall to hold a conference devoted to denouncing the Zionist Entity and justifying Jihad against the West.  The realisation that four police representatives were among the 40 participants probably ensured that speakers toned down the rhetoric for fear of being nabbed on charges of incitement to racial hatred.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (“Party of Liberation”), founded in Jordanian-held east Jerusalem in the early 1950s by the rabidly anti-Western Sheikh Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, has been linked to the fostering of terrorism. Consequently, it’s been banned in Russia, Germany, China, Egypt and Jordan, but is active in some 40 countries, whose existing political systems it wants to be replaced by Islamic theocracy. It hasn’t been banned in Australia, despite governmental misgivings, since the national intelligence agency ASIO, while not exactly giving it the all-clear, advised that there are insufficient grounds to proscribe it. And following police advice that it posed no security threat it was allowed to hire that suburban hall in Melbourne on the grounds of the council’s “strong belief in political and religious freedom”.

Its leader in Sydney, Wassim Dourehi, the Australian-born son of Lebanese immigrants, has refused to denounce 9/11, 7/7, or the 2005 Bali nightclub bombings that cost 88 Australian lives. His organisation insists that insurgents fighting in Iraq against Australian and other Coalition troops are obligated to do so as a "universal right and religious duty". Just weeks before the Melbourne conference it caused concern when a major conference of 500 adherents in Sydney on the theme "The struggle for Islam in the West" (afterwards described by a non-Muslim attendee as "unbelievable" and "frightening") was told by Hizb ut-Tahrir’s UK leader Burhan Hanif that Muslims must “adhere to Islam and Islam alone” rather than "secular and erroneous concepts such as democracy and freedom" – they must “not be conned or succumb to the disingenuous and flawed narrative that the only way to engage politically is through the secular democratic process. It is prohibited and haram".

Wassim Dourehi, among others, echoed that view, asserting that Muslims should not support "any kafir political party" and should spurn the notion of a moderate Islam encouraged by "this godforsaken country" of Australia and other western governments."We need to reject this new secular version of Islam," he declared. "It is a perverted concoction of Western governments. It is a perversion that seeks to wipe away the political aspects of Islam and localise our concerns. We must reject it and challenge the proponents of this aberration of Islam."

While this blog will never degenerate into a mindless and mean-spirited Muslim-bashing one, it won't be cowed by accusations of “Islamophobia” into soft-peddling the danger that unrestricted Muslim immigration into Australia and other western nations poses for the existing populace and polity of such countries. In my view Australia has reached a crossroads and needs to take stock. And not only because of Hizb ut-Tahrir.  In Australia there have been statements by several radical imams of a misogynist and antisemitic nature – involving justifications of rape and of wife-beating and Holocaust denial, as well as notorious incidents such as the racially motivated gang-rapes of “Australian” girls by youths of Lebanese background.

When the Sydney columnist Janet Albrechtsen pulled no punches in commenting on those rapes, she was excoriated by leftwingers bent on censorship. And, believe me, a mild article that I wrote for an Australian Jewish publication on the apparently "taboo" subject of Muslim immigration some years ago had remnants of the old hard left coming out against me like their political forebears did a generation or two ago against those who dared to suggest that antisemitism existed in the Soviet Union! Alas, in my experience, no one does intolerance quite like the hardline left. Apart from the Islamists, of course.


  1. Heavy immigration from fundamentalist Muslim sources ought not to be permitted to Western democracies, not unskilled peasants and their families. H. Spicer

  2. Indeed, Herbert - this is surely one of the most pressing issues of our time, and must be confronted head-on.

  3. Its's like a cancer with secondary growths spreading throughout the world without any possibility of a cure. When will the west wake up and realise Israel is only an excuse and the whole none Islamic world are next in line.

  4. In an Aussie phrase, Steve - "You're not wrong, mate!"

  5. I'm informed that the number of people at the Sydney Hizb ut-Tahrir anti-democracy conference this July ws as high as 1000 - not a mere 500 as I posted in the blog.
    Tony Abbott has promised to outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir if he becomes PM, saying Jews shouldn't be made to feel threatened or persecuted in Oz by this hate group. Hizb has retaliated thus: "The influence of the Australian Jewish Lobby is obvious in this change of attitude by Mr Abbott. Hizb ut-Tahrir's strong and principled stand against 'Israel', articulated in the last few weeks, has been predictably used by various Jewish groups to cry victimhood".
    In 2007 the group spokesman said on "Lateline" on ABC television that Muslims should kill Jews.