When Muammar Gaddafi’s regime unleashed deadly force on people who no longer would silently tolerate their lack of basic human rights, apologists were thin on the ground.
This despite his recent strategy of first cultivating Western academics and foreign policy operatives, some of whom from naivety, self-aggrandisement or financial benefit have been falsely portraying the UN Human Rights Council member state as a responsible member of the international community, or even a beacon of progress.
Gaddafi’s earlier strategy had been to sponsor overt extremists and it was abundantly unimportant to him whether they were revolutionary, far left or simply antisemitic.
His activities in the Pacific region, which centred on financial rewards for anti-US, anti-Israel and anti-Australia rhetoric and actions, were at one time a matter of considerable concern to opinion makers. But as with so much of his agenda, this chequebook diplomacy proved a failure.
Nonetheless, in Australia, Gaddafi has had a few supporters who from time to time promoted his “wisdom”.
In fact, my copy of Jamahiriya: Era of the Masses, which contains Gaddafi’s poetry as well as philosophy, was obtained gratis at the now-defunct Sydney bookshop of the pro-Soviet Socialist Party of Australia, while the Libyans were simultaneously working with a white supremacist outfit based in Melbourne.
In the UK at the time a far-left group, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, was embroiled in a scandal when it was found that its leadership was selling personal details of prominent Jewish Britons to Libya in exchange for funding, with a key Australian connection courtesy of activist/journalist Alex Mitchell.
After the incredible malevolence of these so-called leftists received media coverage in the UK, Mitchell returned to Australia, where every so often his writings have raised eyebrows.
The most recent occasion came with the gushing epitaph he penned for a man he described as first a contact then a friend – taxi driver and bigot Faruque Ahmed.
Ahmed was a vigorous promoter of anti-Jewish bigotry, via electronic media, print and radio.
One example of his hateful writings was “Who Deserves the Gas Chamber?” He listed “Israetards, Israeo-Nazis and Zio-Nazis and also behind Salmon Rushdie, Bin Laden, Ershad Manji, Ayaan Hirshi Ali, Norma Khouri, 50% mosque spaces for Women, Tanvir Ahmed, 72 Virgins to Nothing, Muslim Women Priests, Actual Australia Muslim Virgin, Meal Ticket in Germany, Monica Ali, Burqa, Bushfire, Dog and many other anti-Muslim and anti-Arab vendetta”.
In case Alex Mitchell or anyone else ignored or glossed over such comments while eulogising the so-called “critic of Israel” as simply a person with passionate political views, on the same page Ahmed called for “the Jews” to be denounced for such things as “conspiring to murder Jesus”, “Harlot, Mishnah and Sex with Children” and “Rabbi’s Teachings on sex with infants and animals”.
The only way he could be considered “progressive” was by someone who thinks racism is progressive (which I suppose isn’t too far from the promotion of Gaddafi as some sort of Arab pan-African hero).
Either treading clumsily or simply trampling on decency, NSW Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon gave her opinion on Ahmed, a man who had worn his anti-Jewish fanaticism on his sleeve, as “always active and doing good work”.
As Gerard Henderson has noted, there is diversity in the Greens, with some members socially progressive or genuinely concerned with environmental issues, while others are simply reactionary – opposed to progress, jealous of and angry at people who have been socially or economically successful, and in need of hatred and diversion elsewhere to complement their own contempt for others.
The Israel boycotters are in the latter category, and it is not surprising when their protests are joined by notorious individuals such as imprisoned WA racist Brendon O’Connell.
Once it was the green flag of Libya which rallied political extremists and racial bigots. It does the Green Party anything but credit when they associate themselves with the current magnet for bigots and bullies, the boycott Israel movement.