I'm referring here to a staffer of George Newhouse, the ALP's candidate for Wentworth in the election this Saturday.
Her name is Rose Jackson (daughter of former ABC presenter, Liz), and she had the audacity to make the following faux pas:
In an email addressed "Dear activists", Ms Jackson wrote to an internet education discussion forum last year: "I oppose Zionism because it calls for the creation of a Jewish state, and I think all governments should be secular.
Naturally, those great defenders of freedom and democracy (the usual suspects, I mean) have fallen over themselves, using Jackson's comments to demonstrate that all who criticise the Israeli government, or Zionism, are incurable anti-Semites, and inevitably of left-leaning persuasion.
'No Jewish, Islamic, Christian states anywhere in the world, just good, robust,
secular democracies,' she said. 'By speaking out on behalf of the Palestinians
and Lebanese people, we can give voice to those that some governments and media
would wish to silence...I'm just opposed to theocracy. I certainly support the
right of Israel to exist, but not as a Jewish state.' (source)
At one level, these critics of Israel's critics have a point. Jackson's characterisation of Israel as a 'theocracy' is confused, a point that Jackson herself later conceded.
The main objection to Jackson's comment, however, was not her mis-characterisation of Israel's Government - such slip-ups occur routinely, on all sides of politics. Rather, her detractors were outraged that she had the temerity to criticise the Israeli Government.
To clarify how the 'logic' goes - Palestinians are all either terrorists or supporters of terror. Terror is here used by the anti-Palestinian crowd to refer to attacks on civilians. Given that Palestinians can be more or less equated, wholesale, with terror, Israel's targeted assassinations can be understood as 'self-defence'. Collective punishment of the Palestinians is entirely appropriate - after all, they never learn in any case. Sure, the IDF feels free to kill with impunity, to execute without a trial - but special circumstances warrant special pleading. Sure, many more Palestinian civilians have been killed than Israeli - but these are 'accidents' (as if, after bombing or opening fire on civilians, IDF troops say 'Oops, my bad' when inspecting the aftermath). Sure, Israel may control almost every aspect of Palestinian life, and may have integrated Palestinian land and resources into their own economy, but hey - the Israelis won it fair and square.
This is more or less how the story goes, is it not? Supposed leftists who take issue with this narrative do not, as far as I can tell, endorse attacks on civilians, or support the Islamists' theocratic fetish, or deny that self-defence is a legitimate right. Nonetheless, these points are almost never granted.
Curiously, the Israelis themselves are not so squeamish when it comes to acknowledging that occupation may not be a barrel of laughs after all. Hardened Likudniks are ready to admit that the occupation is a nasty (though necessary) business - anti-Palestinians in the West are not willing to concede even this much.
As you can see, any criticism of the Israeli government, no matter how qualified, is liable to be 'rebutted' with accusations of anti-Semitism. After all, these charges against Israel have no basis in fact.
So never mind the ex-Israeli soldier who, writing of his experiences in the West Bank earlier this week, said:
[S]till the expansion continues, and still the stranglehold on the
Palestinians persists. While the Israeli public stays silent, while their taxes
swell the government's coffers, they are tacitly aiding and abetting slow
torture on a national scale. On top of the sporadic killing that the occupation
inevitably causes, the killing of an entire people's hopes and dreams takes
place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (source)
Perhaps he is one of those called 'self-hating' by the anti-Palestinians.
We should also ignore the death of a Palestinian teenager earlier this week:
Palestinian medical sources said nineteen-year-old Muhammad Al-Najjar was
riddled with 13 bullets.Eyewitnesses said Al-Najjar was standing in the door of
his house when Israeli soldiers disguised in civilian clothes approached him and
shot him without provocation. (source)
We should remain silent about the Palestinian children who are denied medical treatment by the State of Israel, according to well known Communist rag Ha'aretz - after all, 10-year old cancer patients are a threat to national security. And we should the alleged IDF storming of a refugee camp, shortly after Tony Blair visited it on a 'peace' mission. After all, any mention of such things would make you 'nasty and extreme', according to the blogosphere's least pernicious and most respected conservative commentator.