Australia/Israel Review


AMUST’s post-October 7 rampage (part 2)

Jan 25, 2024 | Ran Porat

Left to right: A post by Laura Allam published on AMUST; other social media posts by Laura Allam (screenshots)
Left to right: A post by Laura Allam published on AMUST; other social media posts by Laura Allam (screenshots)

In the previous AIR, I addressed the extreme and sometimes antisemitic content that is being published by the Australian Muslim Times (AMUST) following the October 7 massacre by Hamas. In this second part of the series, I will review more AMUST material published recently.

 

Anti-Israel buzzwords 

The buzzwords which are a core part of global anti-Israel messaging – “apartheid”, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and more – have featured prominently in almost every relevant story published on AMUST since October 7. Here is a selection of such content:

Zia Ahmad, AMUST editor-in-chief (Jan. 9) – “Israel, with its racist, apartheid and colonial ideology, intoxicated by its brutal military power backed by the US with unlimited supplies of armaments and absolute diplomatic support, and with its global lobbying network of Zionist rich and the (sic) powerful, is getting away with its brutal decimation of Palestinians in Gaza and oppression in the West Bank.”

Fadlullah Wilmot (Nov. 27) – “In spite of the best efforts of the Israeli and Western propaganda machines, millions of people all over the world are now saying loudly and clearly that the unimaginable atrocities committed by the Israeli military death machine simply cannot continue. There is massive international opposition to the genocide in Gaza and the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.”

Fatima Killeen (Oct. 27) – “The prolonged terror inflicted on Gaza has exposed the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians and especially children by Israeli forces… [Israel is] targeting innocent children and their mothers under the pretext of self-defence!… This co-operative blueprint for a genocidal war against the exhausted populace of Gaza, exposes a joint conspiracy [US-Israel] to commit pre-meditated war crimes.”

Rayana Ajam (Oct. 31) – “We are witnessing the Israeli apartheid state commit a violent occupation, genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population…

“Disproportionate treatment and institutionalised discrimination cast a shadow on the legitimacy of Israel as an apartheid state, perpetuating Israel’s violent colonial pursuits in Palestine.”

Daud Batchelor (Nov. 10) – “In a terrible replay of the Jewish WW2 holocaust, Israeli Zionists are now conducting holocaust massacres against Palestinians, who are fellow Semites… Israel treats Gaza as a concentration camp, and Palestinians like human animals, similar to genocidal treatment of indigenous Australians by colonial British who killed them in many massacres and took other measures to eradicate them.”

Kafrawi Abdurrahman Hamzah (Nov. 28) – “It has now passed more than 40 days of public genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and bloodshed in Palestine.”

Ali Kazak, former head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia (Jan. 8) – Life in Palestine was good until “European Zionists came to our shores, not to live with us, but to colonise our country, ethnically cleanse us from our homeland and racially discriminate against us. With the help of the British colonialists, and through tens of massacres they were able to ethnically cleanse over 70% of our people who were denied their inalienable right to return to their homeland, colonised, oppressed and treated as second-class citizens because they were not Jews.”

Shakil Ahmad (Jan. 7) – “If the world could unite against Hitler, why wouldn’t it unite against Israel now? It’s a total deception that Israel is bombing to recover its 240 captives and to eliminate Hamas. It appears that the purpose of bombing hospitals, schools, relief facilities and killing of journalists and relief workers is to kill the Palestinians and to encroach on Gaza for their settlements.”

AMUST also ran a very disillusioning article (Nov. 27) by a Muslim school student, Umaima Binte Faroque, who wrote this about the lessons she learnt from her visit to the Sydney Jewish Museum: “Israel’s excuse for its inhumane actions in Palestine parallels that of Nazi Germany’s attempt at excusing the extermination of Jews by claiming they are racially inferior – these are excuses made at the cost of humanity.”

 

Antisemitism 101

Zahid Jamil, head of the South Asian Muslim Association of Australia, in his explainer on AMUST, “Understanding Jews: Their achievements and hijacking by the Zionists” (Nov. 27), presented an idiosyncratic and rather antisemitic version of Zionist history.

Alluding to the conspiracy that Jews aspire to control the Middle East, Jamil contended that after the 1967 Six-Day War, “The Zionists (sic) movement… became more ambitious promoting the idea of Greater Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile. Using the same tactics of Nazis from whom they had suffered from (sic), Israel and its supporters ran hate campaigns and demonisation of Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular justifying their occupation of Palestine.”

He then condescendingly ‘lamented’ that, “It is a shame that the majority of this highly intelligent, best educated and rich community [Jews] does not apply the principles of humanity in dealing with Palestinians who they consider as enemies to be eliminated from the land of Palestine.”

His article finished with tropes about Jewish control over world politics, asserting that various pro-Israeli organisations in the US are “embedded in US power structures [and] exert total dominance in favour of US foreign policy in support of the state of Israel.” In Australia, “the highly influential Israeli lobby” has similar power over the government, he claimed.

Western civilisation extinguishes its underpinning values by failure to denounce Gaza genocide” by Daud Batchelor (Dec. 22) also seemed inspired by antisemitic tropes – “Are you surprised that the US and UK are now under Zionist control, both government and major opposition parties? … Palestine’s lesson is that Zionists will remove whomever stands in their way, even an ally.”

The metaphor Imam Ali (Dec. 15) used to graphically describe Israel bore a painstaking likeness to Nazi-style propaganda – “The State of Israel resembles a vampire squid on the face of Palestine with blood funnels strategically plugged to the vital organs. Masquerading as a victim itself, Israel is slowly but surely snuffing out life in [the Palestinian Territories].”

Ali concluded by defending Hamas’ October 7 massacre, arguing that it should “be more usefully seen in the context of the fight for freedom from the brutal coloniser– Israel.”

 

Distorted narratives 

Regular AMUST contributor Bilal Cleland boldly claimed (Nov. 25) that “Muslims are not and have never been anti-semitic” – despite all the evidence that some Muslims can be and have been antisemitic in AMUST itself.

Based on this misunderstanding of antisemitism and the denial that Muslims can ever be guilty of it, it’s no surprise AMUST published an article by Dr Abdullah al-Ahsan (Nov. 2) that relied on the theories of the antisemitic British historian Arnold Toynbee, as well as American anti-Zionist writers John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, to support his own contentions.

In “Unraveling the tapestry: Navigating truth and narrative in the Israel-Palestine conflict” (Nov. 25), Sydneysider Rashid Siddiqui introduced a warped narrative about October 7.

Hamas’ terror tunnel network in Gaza under schools and hospitals, Siddiqui claimed, is just the “ominous claim of a Global Jihad Conspiracy”. He then falsely asserted that “the Israeli army has said that Hamas eats people’s hearts.” This was a conspiracy theory spread on social media – the IDF never made any such claims. “They [Hamas] put children in ovens and cook them. They have killed old people. But these claims are proving to be false,” said Siddiqui. In fact, there is at least one reported case of a baby being put in an oven, possibly by an Israeli parent who tried to save the baby from invading Hamas killers. And Hamas definitely did kill at least 80 people who were more than 70-years-old on that dark Saturday.

Siddiqui also rehashed a conspiracy theory that was also promoted by the Palestinian Authority, stating that “Now, it is clear that Israeli military killed many Israeli citizens on 7 October. They were not able to understand the situation, shooting blindly.”

Finally, ignoring the clear evidence now available on this issue, he insisted that Israel is lying about “the alleged command and control center under Al Shifa hospital in Gaza.”

The social media page of AMUST’s December 2023 edition (Screenshots)

Mocking the hostages 

On its Facebook page, which has more than 10,000 followers, AMUST ridiculed (Dec. 2) the robust evidence that Hamas terrorists seriously abused Israeli hostages. AMUST’s post cynically stated, “If you want a free 5-star luxury inclusive of food holiday just get taken in by Hamas.”

The social media page in AMUST’s December edition featured a post praising the Iran-backed Houthi for attacking ships in the Red Sea (“Get you a friend that loves you the way Yemen loves Palestine”) and a ‘coded’ version of the antisemitic slogan “From the river to the sea” hidden in watermelon slices (increasingly used as a pro-Palestinian symbol because the fruit has the same colours as the Palestinian flag).

Another post highlighted on AMUST is by Laura Allam, allegedly promoting coexistence with Jews. Yet on her private X (formerly Twitter) account, Allam has been suggesting Israel is worse that Nazi Germany and Prime Minister Netanyahu worse than Hitler, and boosting Hamas propaganda falsely claiming the Israeli hostages the terrorists kidnapped and took to Gaza ‘loved’ their captors.

Ran Porat is a lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern Affairs at Monash University and an affiliate research associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. He is also a research associate at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at Reichman University in Herzliya.

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