Dutton, Zionists and far right exploit stabbings to incite racism, Islamophobia

April 23, 2024
Peter Dutton compared the October 9, 2023 pro-Palestine protest to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Photo: Zebedee Parkes. Right inset: Peter Dutton

Opposition leader Peter Dutton joined Zionist and far-right groups ramping up attacks pro-Palestinian protests and Muslim communities in the wake of unrelated stabbing incidents in Westfield Bondi Junction on April 13 and an Assyrian church in Wakeley on April 15.

Six people died and 12 were injured in the first attack, allegedly carried out by a white Australian with mental health problems. It was not declared a terrorist act.

Within hours of the second attack — allegedly carried out by a 16-year-old boy from a Muslim community who is being assessed for mental health problems — NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb officially declared it a “terrorist incident”. No one was seriously injured or killed.

The conservative Zionist Australian Jewish Association (AJA) on April 15 accused Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of being “asleep at the wheel”. 

“How many warnings have they had about rising Islamic extremism in Australia? Months of radical incitement has gone unchecked … All the Albanese Govt does is attack Jews and Israel and pander to terrorist groups,” the AJA said.

It said Labor is allowing “thousands of people from the Middle East” into the country “without adequate security checks”.

“The fact that the alleged terrorist is a child is not surprising. This is the reality that Israel and the Jewish people face and now it seems Australia has imported the problem.”

It called for an “urgent crackdown on Islamic extremism” in Australia.

The AJA opposes the admission of a few Palestinians who have fled the Gaza genocide because it claims the “vast majority of Palestinian Arabs support terrorism”.

This contrasted sharply with calls for tolerance by religious leaders of all faiths.

The AJA’s exploitation of the Wakeley church incident to incite Islamophobia chimed in with the views of far-right figure Simeon Boikov, who spread anti-Semitic lies about the identity of the Bondi Junction stabbing.

Other far-right figures, including Paul Golding, a co-founder of the racist British First Party, had earlier lied that Islamic terrorism was behind the Bondi Junction stabbing.

In an April 14 post on X, which has still not been taken down, Golding said: “How many more must die before we admit that we have a huge problem with Islamist extremists?”

The AJA has labelled the sustained mass protests against Israel’s genocide in Gaza as “antisemitic”. Dutton has gone along with this, focusing, in particular, on an October 9 pro-Palestinian protest that marched to the Sydney Opera House.

The AJA is still circulating the discredited, doctored YouTube video, alleging the protesters were chanting “Gas the Jews”.

Speaking on April 10 at the Sydney Opera House, Dutton compared the October 9 protest to the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre where gunman, Martin Byrant, killed 35 people and wounded 23.

“While no one was killed during the October 9 protests, the events at the Sydney Opera House were akin to a Port Arthur moment in terms of their social significance,” Dutton said, before calling for tougher police repression of pro-Palestinian protests.

His comparison was widely condemned, including by Liberal MP Bridget Archer.

Dutton’s attempts to slander and suppress the pro-Palestinian protest movement are a twisted recognition that it is winning the battle for hearts and minds over Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

Four out of five people support the demand for an immediate ceasefire, according to a recent poll.

This is a huge blow to the Israeli government’s failed attempt to use lies about the October 7 break-out from Gaza to justify its blatant genocide in Gaza which, by April 22, was estimated to have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians (more than half of them women and children), injured more than 77,000 and displaced 1.7 million.

The AJA accuses Labor of “betrayal” but the government continues to give political and military support to Israel on the basis of the lie that its war on Gaza is an act of self-defence.

In sharp contrast, the progressive Jewish Council of Australia, together with Islamophobia Register Australia and the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations, said misinformation and fear must be rejected.

Calling for the amplification of “facts over falsehoods” they said: “We must reject any attempts to use these incidents to perpetuate antisemitism, Islamophobia or any form of racism, hatred or intolerance.”

“Unfortunately some community leaders, media and politicians have fostered community division and racism. This must end now. People of different faiths and backgrounds must not be demonised or dehumanised.”

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