IN THE MEDIA
Letter: Calling out racism
Mar 10, 2023 | Jeremy Jones
On 3 March, The Age printed an article by Maher Mughrabi which could be read as (i) arguing racism is not problematic if it is used to further a cause with which one agrees and (ii) that Jewish people who object to antisemitism have dishonest motives, implying their real agenda was defence of Israel.
Both of these claims are wrong and dangerous. AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones had this response published today, 10 March:
Calling out racism
Racism is insidious, harmful and malevolent, and when it infects public debate it can have destructive consequences. Maher Mughrabi (Comment, 3/3) discusses how racism is used by advocates of a cause when they believe they are engaged in a “no holds barred” battle.
Jewish Australians and others identified as racist certain social media posts from some invitees to Adelaide Writers’ Week. No objection was voiced to their politics in general or to other Palestinian or politically anti-Israel speakers who were invited. We also questioned why those who posted them were given a platform at an event that promoted its “truth-telling” element.
The racist language of the invitees furthered the classic anti-Jewish tropes which have plagued the world for millennia. It is untrue and offensive to portray our concern as some sort of disingenuous attempt to stop legitimate political debate. The proliferation of antisemitic imagery and tropes should concern all concerned with building respect and tolerance.
Racism and antisemitism do nothing to help Palestinians, but poison discourse concerning them and the atmosphere of debate in societies that don’t call them out.
Jeremy Jones, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council