Friday, August 11, 2006

Is a Lebanese lobby emerging?

It looks like Lebanese Aussies are finally getting themselves organised.

The Australian Financial Review on 10 August reported on meetings in Canberra of “a group of concerned Lebanese and Australian academics, doctors and business people … to brief MPs about their concerns the government has not backed an immediate ceasefire.”

It’ll take time before the Lebanon lobby gains direct access to lawmakers which Israel’s supporters take for granted.

Until now, Lebanese lobbies were hampered by the absence of any singular Lebanese interest crossing all religious divides. Lebanese organisations are ridden with internecine conflicts often played out publicly.

All this hasn’t been helped by the embarrassing antics of some Lebanese spokespeople (including the very non-Lebanese Mufti of Australia – Sheik Hilaly is Egyptian – and his interpreter).

During the 1982 invasion, the Israelis could at least claim that one faction invited them. But this time round, the Israelis have managed to pull off a miracle, uniting every Lebanese faction against them.

But with Syrian troops out of Lebanon and with Hezbollah in the democratic process, even the more rightwing among Maronite groups are angry. When former Israeli allies like General Michel Aoun stand with Hezbollah, things don’t auger well for any Israeli “divide-and-conquer” strategy.

With so much unity inside Lebanon against Israel, and with public opinion (including some influential pockets of Jewish communities) in Australia not completely Israel-friendly, now is as good a time as any for the Lebanese groups to work together. Or at least to not get in each other’s way.

Lebanese Aussies are politically disorganised, but they are well-heeled and well-placed. Just about every metropolitan marginal seat in Sydney and Melbourne has substantial Lebanese communities. Add the broader Muslim voters and you have a formidable block of votes.

Now we all know that ethnic and religious groups rarely vote as blocks. But the prospect of having your relos blown to bits is enough to make even the most partisan voter think again.

Howard might also think again before commenting on “self-appointed leaders”. One such leader, Dr Abraham Constantin, is a Western Sydney Liberal who almost knocked off Bill Heffernan in a Senate preselection ballot some years back.

Another figure in this emerging lobby is Rouba MacDonald, spokeswoman of Australians for Lebanon. She states at a press conference on 9 August 2006 that Lebanese Aussies felt betrayed by the Australian government. AFR quoted her as saying:

“I wonder sometimes if it is not sort of a tinge of racism … maybe Lebanese
lives are not as important as Israeli lives …

“I would just like
to ask Mr Howard why he is not making it a priority to listen to Australians
from Lebanon about their concerns about their country which has been destroyed
within a month.

“Is the Lebanese community not as important as
some other communities?”

Another emerging voice is that of lawyer Maha Melhem. Citing a Human Rights Watch report released last Monday, she said:

“While our government does not condemn Israeli actions, while our government
does not call for an immediate ceasefire it may appear to be condoning the
commission of war crimes.”

Will Lebanese Aussies exercise the muscle which their wealth and numbers makes them more than capable of showing? Time will tell.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have a safe and pleasant plane trip.

Demand that the government get MUSLIMS OUT!

Anonymous said...

We need to convince Israel to stop this pointless skirmishing. They must immediately start bombing every mosque in Lebanon. And then bomb the survivors and rescue workers with napalm. All the surviving Lebs should be herded into one refugee camp and then nuke it. This strategy is scalable to include the entire middle east.
In Western country all patriotic volunteers should be given flamethrowers and dum dum bullets containing pig grease. Medals should be given for high score exterminations. We can call them World Peace Medals.

Irfan said...

Thanks, Kyle.

Anonymous said...

Fat paki slugs who have invaded Australia are just as dangerous as paki moslem thugs who have grown in the UK.

MUSLIMS OUT!

Law Student said...

Anonymous. What a racist son-of-a-bitch you are!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I doubt it. Organising a political lobby is somewhat more complex than organising a gang rape or a ram raid/drive by shooting.

Lebanese lobby? Isn't that the waiting room of that brothel you frequent Irf?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 324, is that the brothel where your mum and sister perform lesbian doubles for free?

Anonymous said...

"Isn't that the waiting room of that brothel you frequent Irf?"

Yes it is. On one of those occasions irfan was banging your mama. And nine months later, you popped out you anti semite bigot slut, bitch, whore, cunt, dick, fag, arsehole, poof, good for nothing red neck bastard school drop out burger flipper.

Anonymous said...

MUSLIMS OUT!

Anonymous said...

Will Lebanese Aussies exercise the muscle which their wealth and numbers makes them more than capable of showing?

That depends if you are talking about sucessful non-Muslim Lebanese, like John Symons or Marie Bashir or 'successful' Muslim Lebanese, like Bilal Skaf.

Not seperating the two does a terrible disservice to the Maronite/Christian Lebanese population who have made a wonderful contribution to Australia and keep having this tarnished by being lumped in with the Lebanese Muslim community who have the highest rate of unemployment of any ethnic group in the country.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 501, would you include in your category of successful migrants that bankrupt developer who is stacking branches for David Clarke?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5.01

What bout Muslim one's like Ahmed Fahour, CEO of National Australia Bank; and Adam Houda, prominent criminal defence lawyer compared to the likes of Ian Barker QC?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5.01pm

The increasing lebanese leadership and take over of the Comancheros bikie gang are all lebanese christian. Drug dealers, murderers, thiefs. You name it.