“I’m over God”, Peter Goers wrote in a column in Adelaide’s Sunday tabloid in October.
Whether or not Goers actually now is “over God” is far less of a concern, or even interest, than the fact he appears to be “over” some other things – such as truth, decency, dignity and civil discourse.
In a column two years ago, he had compared himself to Jesus, in the course of a manic and malevolent attack on Israel (and Jews).
The 2014 column gave him the rare distinction, as a person with a mainstream platform, of having written something which gained a place in the annual reports of antisemitism in Australia.
In his latest screed, he appears to be trying to ensure that he will continue to maintain notoriety.
He begins by claiming “I go to Jerusalem where three people were shot by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers in the street while I was there, including one unarmed child who raised his arms and said ‘Allahu Akbar’- God is great. Israel’s God is greater. His people are armed.”
Not only is his claim offensive and false – the “unarmed child” was a teenager who tried to stab a soldier with a knife – but think about that image for a moment. No reference to terrorism, to violence, to the reality of individuals and organisations in far too many places who have killed, tried to kill and sometimes are killed in the process.
One correspondent argued that Goers “is clearly now beyond all help. How else can one explain Goers invoking Allah’s name in the hope that the Palestinians will launch even more terror attacks against Israelis, instead of encouraging them to return to the negotiating table and make peace?”
Arriving in a country which takes tourism very seriously, the media figure (it is an insult to journalists to accord him that title) managed, in his own words, to not only find but to “hire the world’s worst tour guide/driver”.
Apparently unable to distinguish between Light Horse and Cavalry, he went to what I can only assume was a Potemkin War Cemetery in Beersheva, as it bore so little relationship to the place I go to regularly to pay respects to those who fell in service to Australia.
While I have stood in prayer and reflection, with parliamentarians, journalists and religious leaders, in front of well-maintained graves and monuments, Goers displayed an inability to respect the Fallen, instead devoting his attention to his “boorish and inept” guide.
At the Park of the Australian Soldier, which serves not only memorial and educative purposes but also contains playground equipment especially designed to enhance the experiences of children with special needs, the grumpy Goers managed only to be inspired by the sight of gates locked to protect the park and its visitors, and the apparently noteworthy appearance of “broken toilets”.
He writes, “Jordan is a modern nation” – not mentioning that it is an undemocratic monarchy with serious human rights problems – “and the people are the most considerate people on Earth.”
Goers’ comments are less of a compliment to Jordanians than a way of contrasting them with people he clearly despises, referred to in his article, variously, as “Israel”, “the Israelis”, “the Zionists” and “the Jews.”
It was reported last year, in a discussion of problems at some Islamic schools, that “local ABC radio host and actor Peter Goers has had a 15-year association” with the Islamic College of South Australia “as a volunteer drama teacher.” However, I doubt that, in this article, Goers’ intention was to teach people how to play the fool.
Whatever his motivation was for penning such rubbish, it raises serious questions as to whether he has the ability to properly fulfil the requirements of an employee of the ABC.
The national broadcaster needs to take seriously racists who target Israelis,and Jews, just as they should take seriously racism against any group.