Lee Rhiannon’s sin of omission

Lee Rhiannon's sin of omission

Greens spokesperson for Animal Welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon has never missed an opportunity to name countries that import live Australian cattle, especially when cases of abuse arise, and often right in the headline of her media releases and tweets.

For example, when Israeli animal rights activists distributed a video exposing cases of mistreatment of cattle at a Bakar Tnuva abattior a year ago, the headline of her media release read “Greens: abattoir cruelty in Israel more evidence of need to end live exports”.

In fact, she has been consistent about naming other countries when referring to all instances of live export abuse cases, in places such as JordanEgypt, Pakistan and Qatar.

It’s more than a little curious then, that when the abuse case occurred in the Gaza Strip, as what happened in the most recent incident reported in the Australian press on Thursday, Senator Rhiannon not only omitted the location where the abuse took place in the headline, but conspicuously failed to mention it once in her entire 277-word media release, on her Facebook page, or in any of her tweets on the subject that we’ve seen – despite the fact that she called the abuse “the worst we’ve seen yet”.

On this point, by the way, I agree with Senator Rhiannon’s assessment of the abuse captured on the video. This is the worst case of animal abuse of exported Australian cattle we’ve seen. I, for one, have never before seen a steer attacked with a Kalashnikov until I viewed Animal Australia’s video compilation, nor have I seen not one but several different crowds of people taking part in kicking and hitting bound bullocks as I witnessed on the compilation.

No wonder the animal rights group called its report “Tortured in Gaza”. Hamas, which rules Gaza, has to be held responsible for allowing the abuse of animals that were transported from Israel to Gaza to allow Muslims to celebrate the Festival of the Sacrifice.

(Incidentally, the pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon reported on the cattle shipment and the subsequent animal abuse back in October, although it was not known at the time that the cattle had been sourced from Australia. At any rate, the incident was ignored by the international media).

It seems abundantly clear that Senator Rhiannon and the Greens, who have been happy to mimic the language of Animal Australia’s media releases in the past, decided in this instance to filter out any reference to Gaza when discussing the incident in their statements in media releases, social media and to reporters. It’s almost as though it is impossible for them to admit any Palestinians, anywhere, are capable of immoral acts. Just who do the Greens think they are fooling, and who exactly are they trying to protect by doing so?

For a Senator who has a history of supporting a boycott of Israel and routinely singles out Israel for disproportionate criticism – most recently in a tirade on the Senate floor on December 3 – hypocrisy of this sort, unfortunately, is par for the course.

Ahron Shapiro