Clark in the dark
Reflecting on the challenges posed by Islamist terror and radicalisation, Australian Financial Review (July 16) senior writer Andrew Clark said that “existing laws which prohibit Australians from fighting for non-aligned military forces – whether Islamic State, Hezbollah, the Kurdish Peshmerga, or the Israeli Army – must be enforced more tightly.”
Clark is incorrect. Part 5.5 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code makes it illegal to join the terrorist groups he listed. Israel is a democratic ally of Australia whose army fights to defend its civilians.
Australian law classifies both Hezbollah and Islamic State as terrorist organisations, while specifically stating that it is not illegal for a person to serve “in any capacity in or with the armed forces of the government of a foreign country.”
Moreover, our intelligence services do not regard people who have served in Israel’s military as potential terrorist threats to Australia.
Quality control was glaringly absent on ABC TV‘s “Q&A” (July 25) when two offensive viewer tweets with little relevance to the discussion appeared on screen.
The first tweet stated, “I’d like to hear more Jewish leaders speaking up against the demonisation of Muslims.”
Australian Jewish leaders have condemned racism against Muslims on many occasions, including in op-eds this month from the ECAJ’s Peter Wertheim (Australian, July 18), AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler (Australian, July 20) and AIJAC Executive Director Colin Rubenstein (Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times, July 20).
The second tweet said, “Any young radicals who join Isis or Israel should not be allowed into Australia.” See previous item for the appropriate response.
The Australian reported on July 27 that the ABC apologised for this second tweet, saying, “An audience tweet was broadcast on Q&A which implied false equivalence between ‘radicals joining ISIS’ and Israel…It was a moderator error. Q&A apologises for any offence and removed the tweet from future broadcasts.”
An unidentified Sky News Australia host (July 12) introduced an interview with US Studies Centre analyst Tom Switzer on why US presidential candidates support Israel by asserting as true a series of extreme allegations against Israel that relied upon the highly prejudiced United Nations for their credibility.
According to the host, “More than $3 billion US tax dollars goes to…[Israel]…each year. Most of it ends up in the military coffers helping fund the acts so loudly decried by the rest of the world. The United Nations has put forward 77 resolutions condemning Israeli actions, including illegally occupying Palestinian territories, blocking aid and cutting off water to Palestinian communities, killing Palestinians in custody, destroying the family homes of terror suspects, and carrying out missile strikes on civilian targets…Why are the candidates so keen to promote themselves as friends of Israel?”
Switzer’s response focused on the US-Israel relationship, not the UN allegations.
The United Nations is not an impartial arbiter of truth.
Most UN resolutions on Israel are a carbon copy of previous ones that are based upon deceitful information provided by pro-Palestinian sources and enjoy easy passage courtesy of a majority-voting bloc of member states with shocking democratic and human rights records, many of whom openly want to see Israel destroyed.
The fact is Israel legally assumed control of the West Bank during a defensive war and under UN resolution 242 is entitled to hold the territory until its enemies make peace with it.
– Allon Lee