Letters to the editor

April 17, 2011

Supporting Palestine is not anti-Semitic

With the NSW elections, we saw the ALP and Coalition stooping to the lowest common denominator attacking the Greens for supporting the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign in Marrickville Council.

The anti-Greens campaign was also supported by the far right Australian Protectionist Party

There was a filthy smear campaign with anonymous signs and graffiti slandering the Greens as anti-Semitic and Greens billboards were spray-painted with swastikas.

The hypocrisy of the ALP is that in lining up against the Greens with forces such as the Australian Protectionist Party they are allying with a real anti-Semitic party that hates both Jews and Arabs. They are supporting the racist campaign to ban the burqa.

The fact is that supporting Palestine is not anti-Semitic, but anti-Zionist. Israel says it speaks for all Jews, yet many Jews are anti-Zionist and against Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. Many Jews risk jail time in Israel for speaking out against the occupation.

Anti-Semitism is a word that should not be used lightly. The real anti-Semitic parties are on the far right, not the far left, such as the Citizens Electoral Council, who are conspiracy theorist nutters, who accuse Jewish bankers of running a drug ring for the Queen of England, and Jewish communists of wanting world domination. These hateful ideologies of the far right are what we need to be fighting against.

The real danger is that when a genuine anti-Semitic party does arise, a real fascist movement against Jews and Arabs, the two major parties will collaborate with them or simply dismiss them.

In 2006, the Murdoch press accused Green Left Weekly of being anti-Semitic and in bed with Hamas, because it published an Arabic supplement supporting the people of Gaza under Israeli attack. This is so ridiculous it is laughable.

As the revolutions in the Middle East and Africa have seen US-backed dictatorships falling like dominoes, the noose is tightening around Israel's neck. The Arab people fighting for democracy and supporting the liberation of Palestine are not Islamic fundamentalists, but secular, pro-democracy activists against tyrants like Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd are both members of the Australia/Israel Chamber of Commerce, which gives financial backing to Israel in expanding the settlements in the West Bank. Using the atrocities of the Second World War committed by Adolf Hitler to justify the creation and expansion of a purely Jewish state in 1948, saw the annexation of Palestine by Israel. Zionist militias went from house to house evicting Palestinian families, loading their possessions on the backs of trucks, and shipping the people off to Gaza and the West Bank.

They were relocated to the most barren land, where it was difficult to grow crops; forced to carry ID cards; restricted in their movements; limited in their access to food and water; and forced to live in ghettoes. The Australian and American evangelical Christians who supported the expansion of Israeli settlements were racists. These same elements today are the ones accusing the Greens and socialists of being anti-Semitic.

Sam Bullock,
Brisbane, Qld

Barry O’Farrell’s totalitarian attack on Marrickville council

I would like to commend the four Labor Councilors who all voted to support Marrickville Council's boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) motion against Israel last December. But their newly found commitment to overturn the policy shows the spineless lack of commitment to social justice issues that their party embraces.

The media, driven by the influence of Rupert Murdoch's NewsLimited, actively campaigned for the replacement of one despotic State Government with another.

With the self assurance of his over-inflated mandate Barry O'Farrell is attempting to dictate that a democratically elected local government cannot take action in support of its Palestinian sister city of Bethlehem — by giving the council a 28-day ultimatum to rescind the BDS motion or face the sack. Barry's threats are reflective of the sort of totalitarian “democracy” that the State of Israel employs with targeted oppression of dissenting viewpoints of minorities.
Is Barry O'Farrell suffering from a belated dose of candidate fever or does he truly believe that he is the re-incarnation of Bob Menzies who saw nothing un-constitutional or un-democratic in trying to outlaw groups holding a dissenting political position?

What will he do next; sack Sydney City Council because Clover Moore holds the dissenting view that cyclists should be able to travel along cycle-ways?

Tony Backhouse
Narraweena, NSW

Planet Earth in trouble

There are people who say our climate is not changing and therefore humanity does not need to alter our behavior towards the earth. Unfortunately, even if it was the case that climate change was not happening, our earth is still in dire environmental trouble from human impact.

Our demands on the planet are excessive and the viability of life on earth is at stake. Since 1966, human demand on the planet’s natural resources has doubled.

These days we are using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our way of life and other human activities.

Australian consumption of natural resources is even higher, if the rest of the world lived like us, humanity would need nearly four planets to continue to survive. Clearly, this depletion of the earth’s finite recourses is unsustainable and we cannot keep going on in this careless way.

As additional livable planets are not easy to find, we have to change our lifestyle, to learn to live more simply, so that humanity and other life forms (and the earth itself) can simply go on living. And with each passing year of inaction the problem grows worse.

We need to stop our over consumption of natural assets, use our resources more sensibly and begin to repair the damage done to the ecosystems. It is now urgent that we change our attitudes and act to save the earth from looming disaster.

Steven Katsineris,
Hurstbridge, Vic

Twiggy is no philanthropist

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, of Fortescue Metals Group, claims he is a philanthropist. He claims that he employs Aboriginal folk, and hence is pro-socially changing their lives. Great.

Firstly, the Aboriginal folk he employs earn their quid. It isn't charity. All workplaces should equitably employ Aboriginal folk, and there should be no discrimination whatsoever. Andrew should not boast that FMG pays more than $27 million annually to Aboriginal employees. There is no philanthropy and rather at best some proactive employment of Aboriginal folk.

Secondly, I can't step back from Forrest’s hypocrisy in describing his care for community and that all companies should take responsibility for this as he and FMG apparently have.

Forrest fore-fronted the excessive self-interest of the mining echelon with a $20 million plus campaign to destroy the democratically elected Rudd government because they did not want to cough up to community the billions in tax revenue from their excessive profiteering.

This wealthy group led by Forrest brought down a prime minister and government because they had the financial capacity to leverage this improper recourse. In the process they destroyed the remnants of democracy that we desperately clung to.

I would suggest people view the following YouTube clip and come to their own conclusions as to FMG native title discussions with the Yindjibarndi peoples, and maybe consider that this is a usual manner of business across the board from the wealthiest when dealing with those not as wealthy.


Gerry Georgatos
Bridgetown, WA, Abridged

Open letter to NSW PSA General Secretary

The following is an open letter to John Cahill, NSW PSA General Secretary from Anabel Morales Nogues, rank and file PSA member. The letter is a response to the NSW PSA’s request for members to vote for ALP members in the recent State election.

As a member of the Public Sector Association (PSA) at Community Services, I am writing in response to your letter dated March 22, 2011. Your letter states that the PSA had not made an official position to support the ALP, nonetheless urges PSA members to vote for ALP members in the previous state election.

The PSA openly endorses Carmel Tebbutt over Greens candidate Fiona Byrne for the reason that Carmel Tebbutt has signed the Better Services Pledge. However, you fail to mention that in the seat of Marrickville, Greens candidate Fiona Byrne as well as other candidates publicly signed the Better Services Pledge.

In your letter you stated that Carmel Tebbutt has been a “friend of the PSA” and that Carmel Tebbutt has supported PSA “campaigns opposing the privatisation of electricity and gaols, amongst other things”. This is not the case.

As deputy premier, Carmel Tebbutt played a leading role in attacks against the NSW public sector. Examples of this include her support for the sale of electricity, the privatisation of prisons, and the sale of state lotteries.

A real friend of the PSA and supporter of PSA campaigns would have opposed the privatisation process in parliament instead of supporting it.

It is clear that when comparing the platform of the Greens and the ALP, the Greens have a far better position than the ALP on protecting public assets.

Most recently a leaked report of the Boston Consulting Group and commissioned by then Director General of Education, Michael Coutts-Trotter, highlighted the ALP’s secret blueprint to slash $800 million from the public education budget through school closures, mass lay-offs and the sale of public assets.

This would have serious implications for PSA members working in public schools as well as our teacher colleagues and the children we protect.

As you are aware, in the public service candidates are selected wholly on merit and the PSA correctly defends this principle.

It is inappropriate that the PSA endorsed political candidates based on party loyalty instead of a merit process.

It is disgraceful that the PSA has misled members on the role that Ms Tebbutt and her party have played in attacking public sector services and the working conditions of employees.

It is improper that our union uses our finances to support candidates and political parties that have a long history of attacking public sector employees and services.

As members we expect our leadership to put the needs of PSA members and the public we serve ahead of party political loyalty, and to be honest with members about supporting candidates based on real merit.

Just as we expect integrity and honest behaviour from the politicians running the state, we also expect the same of the leadership running our union.

Yours faithfully,
Anabel Morales Nogues


The latest quarterly data report from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China's gross domestic product rising 9.5% y/y during the second quarter -- a touch above market expectations of 9.4% -- while the key industrial output growth indicator surged 15.1% y/y in June, far outpacing both May's 13.3% reading and the market's expectation of a 13.1% rise. The second quarter data report followed Saturday's announcement that consumer inflation rose 6.4% y/y in June, the highest level in three years and a harbinger of yet another move on interest rates this year, some analysts believe. "Inflation is still the most important concern, and there will be at least one more interest rate by the end of this year, with one as soon as August," said Mizuho Securities economist Shen Jianguang, reports http://www.IMarketnews.com China's steelmakers produce half the world's steel and the government has long been pushing industry leaders to consolidate and add value to an energy-sapping sector where unbridled production has often resulted in turf battles and volatile prices.

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