Jeremy Jones, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s Director of Community and of International Affairs, who has unparalleled experience in the operation of the Federal Race Discrimination laws, has responded to comments by a number of cross-bench senators who have called for the abolition of that federal legislation which gives recourse to victims of racist intimidation, harassment and vilification.
“The opposition to the law is ill-conceived, ill-informed and ill-timed,” Mr Jones who, was awarded the 2007 Australian Human Rights Medal, said today.
“It is ill-conceived as those senators advocating repeal of the law are, in effect, seeking to create a template in which society is neutral in judging bullies and those they bully. AIJAC believes that we should side with the victim against the perpetrator,” he argued.
Having been involved in successful matters involving propagation of denial of the Nazi genocide, distribution of leaflets framing a situation where all ills in the world were attributed to Jews, the claim Jews are responsible for destroying morality and western ideals and internet and newspaper advocacy of ideas found in notorious anti-Jewish hate documents such as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, Jones noted “The senators have provided no evidence that there is a single area of public policy where the law has limited robust and vigorous debate, and appear to believe defamation, libel and slander equate to reasonable discussion,” leading to the conclusion they are ill-informed.
Regarding the timing of this intervention, Jones commented “They are advocating negative changes at a time when far too many Australians express legitimate concern, even fear, that racist extremists are threatening the communal harmony we all value so much”.
“Obviously, laws can be improved – but what we are witnessing is destructive, not constructive,” he concluded.