Monday, February 19, 2007

Raphael’s only friend …

Well, at least Raphael Israeli has one friend in Australia.

Rupert Murdoch’s star columnist Andrew Bolt has made not one, not two but three defences of Dr Israeli’s views calling for Australia to implement discriminatory immigration policies and to ensure Muslim migrants are marginalised.

It seems Bolt regards religious bigotry and prejudice as acceptable forms of discourse. Personally, I think this runs counter to his proclaimed Christian beliefs. It seems his Christian ethics and morals fall out the door when it comes to another group of people who believe in Christ.

Should Andrew’s views surprise anyone? Nowhere in his blog posts has he suggested that Israeli might be exaggerating. Nowhere is there recognition that perhaps not all Muslims are the same, that perhaps some Muslims are making positive ontributions to Australia. Bolt accepts the literal meaning of Israeli's words and endorses them.

Further, he does not refute or even comment on some of th most virulent comments posted by his supporters.

Since Andrew is speculating about the motives of 360,000 Muslim Aussies, I might ponder over the motivrs of 1 or 2 Dutch Aussies. I wonder: Is Andrew part of a long line of political activists of the far-Right Dutch variety?

(I'm sure he will accuse me of being a racist now.)

During the Second World War, the Dutch Right were active in assisting the Nazis. Hardly any German soldiers set foot on Dutch soil. Yet there were no shortage of Dutch Jews sent to the Nazis to die in concentration camps.

How did these Jews end up in death camps? Simple. Members of the Dutch Right, apparently Andrew Bolt’s ideological ancestors, ensured that German troops weren’t needed to implement the Final Solution.

Recent letters of Otto Frank (father of Anne) show that he desperately tried to get his family to the United States. Thanks to restrictive immigration policies (of the type Dr Israeli calls for and Bolt supports), Anne Frank and her siblings could not get to safety. They died in the death camps.

Of course, the far-Right in the Netherlands still hates Jews. Theo van Gogh was a notorious anti-Semite and a known Holocaust denier. That doesn’t stop Andrew Bolt, Janet Albrechtsen and others from defending him.

It also doesn’t stop Andrew from applying the same hatred to Muslims which his ideological ancestors applied to Jews.

Bigotry is bigotry. It doesn’t take bionic vision to see that so many allegedly conservative columnists in Australia are using rhetoric about Muslims that their European equivalents during the 1930’s and 40’s used about Jews. Holocausts and genocides don’t happen overnight.

What makes Andrew Bolt different is that he has the courage to come out and openly declare his hatred of Muslims. For that, he at least deserves some credit.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007