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Article
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Activism

Islamophobia revives anti-Semitism

Progressive Jewish Australians, such as academic Ned Curthoys and journalist Antony Loewenstein, both published in Overland, along with Michael Brull, one of Overland’s regular bloggers, have written a statement appealing to Australia’s major political parties to publicly and unequivocally denounce Islamophobia:

As progressive Jewish Australians we are deeply disturbed by the recent outbreak of politically motivated attacks on asylum seeks and Muslims. As Jews we know that most of the criticisms being directed at Islam, that it is a ‘totalitarian’ religion incompatible with Australian civic norms, that its practitioners are obdurate and backward, and that the religion itself is too atavistic to be incorporated within the modern West, are simply anti-Semitic stereotypes now applied to a softer target. For example the argument that Jews are incapable of being truly loyal to the modern state was a perennial argument against full Jewish emancipation in Europe. We call on all major parties to unequivocally denounce Islamophobia and to recognize that rhetorically disenfranchising and othering any section of the Australian community will have appalling long term consequences for Australian democracy.

Signed:
Ned Curthoys
John Docker
Michael Brull
Eva Cox AO
Sara Dowse
Antony Loewenstein
Peter Slezak
Susan Varga

They are still collecting signatures, so if you’d like to sign, please email Ned Curthoys.

In our current political climate, one in which Muslims are vilified and the likes of Scott Morrison and Cory Bernadi are given airtime to whip up racism, we feel a stand is important. Take a look at the video below to see the kind of racist hatred being projected at Muslims today in the US:

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a similar scene in Australia.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Jacinda Woodhead is the editor of Overland. Her PhD research examined abortion politics in Australia and nonfiction as political intervention.

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Comments

  1. In the US there was a major Gallup study of prejudice towards Muslims in the US. You can read the study here
    http://www.abudhabigallupcenter.com/144335/Religious-Perceptions-America.aspx

    43% of Americans self-reported prejudice to Muslims, 15% to Jews. It found that

    “The variable most strongly linked to self-reported prejudice toward Muslims is self-reported prejudice toward Jews. Respondents who say they feel “a great deal” of prejudice — or extreme prejudice — toward Jews are about 32 times as likely to report feeling “a great deal” of prejudice toward Muslims.” It also found that “By far, the attitude most strongly associated with no self-reported prejudice toward Muslims is no self-reported prejudice
    toward Jews.”

    Jews and Muslims have intertwined fates. Therefore, we in the Jewish community have a particular interest in opposing prejudice against Muslims, besides the more general lessons one hopes our community has learned from history.

  2. Am I the only one to think that the way these attendees dealt with the hostility and racism suggests they get this treatment on a regular basis?

    • The irony was the passivity of those people labelled terrorists and the aggression of those who call themselves Christians and who supposedly want a peaceful America. It was utterly sickening.

      The petition is to be applauded – how many sign it will be telling in itself.

  3. ‘It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a similar scene in Australia.’

    I don’t know, the political disorientation and rabid anger of the American petty bourgeois seems to be of a particularly novel type at the moment. You might get people here saying that stuff on talkback radio but would they really come out for a rally?

    Last year’s attempt by the ‘Australian Defence League’ in Melbourne was a total flop with only a small cadre of lumpen Nazi types daring to show.

    But yes, it is totally fucked up. Watching those big, buff, white young men yell abuse at children and elderly women made me want to vomit in my lap.

  4. Michael (or anyone else who knows), what has the response been so far? How many people have signed?

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