Australia/Israel Review

Australian fans of Iran and Russia at it again

Dec 15, 2022 | Ran Porat

Former academic turned Iranian regime advocate Tim Anderson (Screenshot)
Former academic turned Iranian regime advocate Tim Anderson (Screenshot)

Regular AIR readers would recognise Dr. Tim Anderson from his role as the Australia General Coordinator of the Iranian propaganda network, Al-Tajamu. Anderson is a fervent anti-Israel activist and a fan of Hezbollah and the regimes ruling Iran, Syria and North Korea.


Applauding Iran’s “Achievements” regarding women

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anderson has become one of Moscow’s mouthpieces in Australia, repeating Russian propaganda and attacking the US and the West in every possible medium and media outlet.

Meanwhile, since widespread protests broke out in Iran in September, Anderson has been using social media to share the ayatollahs’ narrative that the protests against mandatory veiling laws and the regime more generally are “riots [that] had nothing to do with women.” As a regular guest on Russia’s propaganda network RT and Iran’s own Press TV, he reiterates messages that originate from officials of the Putin and Khamenei regimes.

Anderson heads the Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies (CCHS), a quasi-academic institute that is yet another platform for disseminating his pro-Iran, pro-Russia and anti-Israel content.

For example, like Anderson himself, the centre hosts the official Iranian report into the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, and the protest that followed her death on September 16. This report insists she died of an existing brain disorder and was never struck by morality police while in custody as was widely reported, while all the protests were initiated and orchestrated by foreign governments and terrorists.

Meanwhile, as the women of Iran have been fighting bravely for basic freedoms, the CCHS website proudly published a report titled “Achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Improving the Status of Women and the Family.” Toeing the same line, CCHS also published “Iranian Hijab: Working-class symbol in an anti-imperialist class war”, sourced from the Hezbollah-affiliated network, al-Mayadeen.

The editors of the CCHS website also don’t seem to mind breaking Australian law. In a blatant violation of copyright laws, they have published the full text of the 2018 book by renowned Israeli analyst and New York Times reporter Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. The book is available in full downloadable format on the website (AIR will not provide a link in this case, so as not to encourage theft of intellectual property. Dr Bergman has been informed of this theft by the author of this article).


Nazi Germany equals “Apartheid Israel”

In 2019 Anderson was sacked from his position at Sydney University after superimposing a swastika over an Israeli flag during a lesson. Following a series of court appeals, aided by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), on Oct. 27 Anderson won his case against dismissal.

Meanwhile, Anderson has been doubling down on his antisemitic comparison of the Jewish state to the Nazi regime, tweeting (Oct 10):

“Australian #Zionists struggle to understand the parallel between Nazi Germany and #ApartheidIsrael. The specific parallel is between large-scale racial massacres based on pseudo-racial theories.”

In November, Anderson was interviewed by the small far-left blog “Sydney Criminal Lawyers” about his court case and his views on Israel.

Referring to the image he used in class of the swastika superimposed on Israel’s flag, Anderson described it as “a pedagogical tool, showing how to read conflicting sources, in relation to the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and the relative scale of civilian casualties from Israeli forces and from the Palestinian resistance.”

Anderson went on to blame the “war media” for “misrepresentation of my Gaza graphic as the image of ‘a swastika on an Israeli flag’ [which] is a gross distortion.”

Slide used by Anderson during a lesson in 2017, including a swastika superimposed on the Israeli flag. (Source: National Tertiary Education Industry Union v University of Sydney [2021] FCAFC 159)

Anderson explained his real intentions about using this graphic later in the interview. “The background image of an Israeli flag partly obscured by a swastika is a visual comment saying that the Israeli army was acting like Nazi Germany in this racialised massacre of more than 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians,” said Anderson. This apparent distinction without much of a difference may have left readers wondering what the “gross distortion” was.

Much of Anderson’s ire was directed at Prof. Stephen Garton, who was University of Sydney Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2017. During the interview, Anderson commented on an exchange of messages with Garton relating to Anderson’s depiction of Israel as an apartheid state. Anderson alleged that “This was not just a difference of opinion. We both knew that an Israeli-linked group was one of the largest donors to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and that Stephen Garton wanted to defuse the media trolling of the university through their attacks on me.”

The interview concluded with Anderson’s infamous accusations that the “racialised colony” which is Israel is performing “slow genocide” of the Palestinians.

Anderson went even further in his interview on Nov. 19 on the Hezbollah TV channel, Al Manar – sanctioned by the US as a terrorist entity since 2006. As well as again mumbling Iranian and Russian propaganda on air, he defended his choice to superimpose a swastika on an Israeli flag in his presentation to the students by talking about “racial massacres of Palestinians in Gaza.” Without mentioning Zionism explicitly, but hinting at Israel, Anderson made what appeared to be a classically antisemitic claim by alleging that these alleged acts against the Palestinians are based on “pseudo racial theory about some mythical people that owns the land of the Levant.”


Tharappel: “Women crying on TV”

Anderson’s close ally, and fellow Al-Tajamu member, is radical anti-Israel activist Jay (José) Tharappel. For his extreme views and for wearing Yemen’s Houthi badge with the slogans “Curse on the Jews” and “Death to Israel”, Tharappel was recently expelled from the NSW Labor party.

Just like his mentor, he has also enlisted himself to defend Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. For example, repeating typical propaganda from Moscow that Ukraine is being controlled by the CIA, oligarchs and Jews, Tharappel claimed (Sept. 2) that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “does not control his country. If he wanted peace, he would be accused of treason, removed from power, and replaced, by the West, with someone willing to keep throwing Ukrainian soldiers at the Russian army.”

Over the last few weeks, Tharappel has decided to take a stand with regard to the recent wave of protest in Iran, sanctimoniously defending Teheran’s violent repression of its own people.

“Condemning the Iranian government,” explains Tharappel in his blog (Sept. 24), “serves only one purpose: to manufacture consent for aggression against Iran, which is the far greater crime in terms of how many lives have been lost.”

Living in the West and voicing support for Iran’s people is counterproductive, in Tharappel’s view, because it might lead to, God forbid, Western action against Teheran. “The media will interview a bunch of people, especially female exiles,” Tharappel posits, and “cite that as evidence that there is ‘growing global condemnation’ of Iran.” He adds, with what could be understood as misogynistic undertones, “women will start crying on TV to ‘do something’, then the West will start escalating their destabilisation campaign against Iran even further.”

The internal Iranian protests against the theocracy, muses Tharappel in another post (Sept. 26), are dangerous because they may result in “liberalism”. “If default liberalism were to win power in Iran, what would its national strategy be? Economic and military capitulation to Israel and the West of the kind witnessed in the USSR under Gorbachev and Yeltsin? Capitulation to Kurdish and Balochi separatism? These outcomes are more likely with default liberalism,” he claims.

And we don’t want a liberal or free Iran that respects human rights, do we? Anderson and Tharappel certainly don’t seem to.


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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