Australia/Israel Review


AMUST’s latest anti-Israel conspiracy theories

Aug 29, 2023 | Ran Porat

Controversial article saluting a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist from the Australasian Muslim Times (Screenshot)
Controversial article saluting a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist from the Australasian Muslim Times (Screenshot)

Regular AIR readers know by now that the Australasian Muslim Times (AMUST) has been a recidivist offender when it comes to the dissemination of anti-Israel conspiracy theories, often including borderline antisemitic views, in recent years.

The past few months have been no exception. Here are some prime examples.

 

Israel “kills by intentional medical neglect”

In “Palestine: Allah’s baker, Khader Adnan is no more”, Dr Vacy Vlazna (posted online May 19) fires off one piece of misinformation after another, spreading conspiracy theories about the May 2 death in Israeli custody of Khader Adnan after an 87-day long hunger strike. Adnan was a senior operative of the terrorist organisation Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Adnan, cries Vlazna, “was murdered by the Jewish State of Israel… [He] was murdered by intentional Israeli medical neglect… Truth is Israel killed him.” In reality, Adnan refused all medical treatment following his fifth arrest in February, after he (again) incited the killing of Israelis. Vlazna then throws a broader conspiracy theory into the mix – that Israel deliberately denies medical treatment to wounded Palestinians: “This is one of the Israeli hands-off homicidal ‘weapons,’ like the too common murder of bleeding to death of Palestinians wounded because of the intentional denial of ambulance access.”

Referring to one of Adnan’s previous arrests by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Vlazna defends the “Palestinian resistance” and PIJ terrorism, insisting it is “legal, in international law, for all people under oppression to have the right to resist.” Adnan was, says Vlazna, “the spokesperson for the spirit of resistance of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement,” thus admitting he was a member of an organisation proscribed in many countries as a terrorist group, including Australia. Vlazna explains that the PIJ is “committed to restore the State of Palestine held, now over 7 decades, under Israeli brutal occupation.” In other words, she acknowledges that the PIJ seeks to destroy the Jewish state by force and create a Palestinian state on its ruins (“restore” is of course a misnomer, as no Palestinian State ever existed) – and that “occupation” actually refers to Israel’s existence in any borders, not just control over the West Bank.

Similarly, Mohamed Ainullah, another regular AMUST contributor, also labelled the PIJ a “resistant group” before and after the headline of the story – “Israel unleashes terror on Gaza: Assassinates entire families”, May 12.

 

A warped version of Israel’s history

In April, AMUST asked Sydney lawyer Ramia Abdo Sultan, a prominent pro-Palestinian Australian activist, to provide “her insights and feedback with regard to Palestine.”

Yet, the “information” and “insights” provided by Sultan were not “an eye-opener”, as AMUST ceremoniously declared. Instead, Sultan offered a stream of unfounded accusations, historical distortions and borderline antisemitic tropes.

For example, Sultan claims that when the Jewish state was founded in May 1948, “Israel entered Palestine by force and massacred/evicted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.” This popular Palestinian “invasion” and “ethnic cleansing” narrative is of course counter-factual – there was a Zionist presence in Ottoman and mandate Palestine since 1882 which came under sustained Arab attack in 1947-48, and a Jewish community lived there for thousands of years before that. While some Arabs were killed and evicted from their villages and cities during the War of Independence, the large majority of the 700,000 who became refugees simply fled the war, encouraged by the commanders of the Arab armies who actually did invade the area.

Similarly, Sultan alleges that “Israel is ethnically cleansing the original people of the land of Palestine and has been doing so for 75 years,” not only denying ties between the Jewish people and its ancestral homeland in the Land of Israel by insisting only Palestinians are the “original people of the land,” but also absurdly claiming a Palestinian population which has grown rapidly in every decade since 1948 is being “ethnically cleansed”.

Another historical fabrication is Sultan’s assertion that “Palestinians welcomed displaced Jews after World War II.” The well-recorded and close ties of the most prominent Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al Husseini, with the Nazis during the Holocaust, including his meeting with Hitler and services to Nazi recruiting and propaganda efforts, clearly contradict Sultan’s claim. Moreover, polls conducted in Palestine during WWII (documented by Israeli scholar Hillel Cohen) indicated overwhelming support for the Germans among the Arabs of Palestine and indeed, several pro-Nazi Arab movements operated in Palestine at the time.

About Gaza, Sultan states that it is “basically a massive refugee camp and this has always been the plan of the Occupiers.” The strip was under Egypt’s control until 1967, and it was Cairo that did nothing to rehabilitate the refugees living there at the time. There was never a “plan” to turn Gaza into “a massive refugee camp.” Responsibility for the dire situation in the strip can be directed at the Palestinian Authority, which controlled Gaza from 1994, and towards Hamas which took it over in a bloody coup in 2007. Israel, on the other hand, voluntarily evacuated all its settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Addressing recurring tensions in Jerusalem, Sultan muses that “the Palestinians residing in the Al-Aqsa area are hospitable and welcoming.” Alas, over the years, non-stop Palestinian violence, including terrorism, rock throwing and murders, in and around Jerusalem – including repeated attacks on Jews praying at the nearby Western Wall – strongly contradict Sultan’s words.

The question again arises – what can and should be done about AMUST’s continuing lack of professionalism and gross abuse of freedom of the press to spread untruths, conspiracy theories and ethnic hatred? Whatever happens, AIJAC will continue to monitor this publication’s unacceptable behaviour.

Dr. Ran Porat is an AIJAC Research Associate. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Reichman University in Herzliya.

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