Beware the words of a wolf dressed in sheikh's clothing
On the steps of Sydney Town Hall in the wet dusk of last Tuesday, the former mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly, raised his arms and asked for silence as the crowd chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved the flags of Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and the Socialist Alliance.
''Israel is a terrorist state. Yes?''
The crowd cheered. A series of chants drowned out his next sentence, which ended with the words, ''a clear message to the Israeli government.''
''Listen!'' cried Hilaly, and the crowd grew silent.
He then lifted a Turkish flag and said, ''Turkey is coming!''
More Cheers. A section of the crowd, young men, broke into a chant of ''Allahu akbar!''
Hilaly continued: ''Turkey is coming. And Iran is ready!''
This was greeted with more cheers.
Iran is ready? For what? If you were to ask Hilaly, his record suggests you would receive disingenuous piffle of the type he has been offering for years whenever questioned about his war-mongering, especially the comments he has made in Arabic when he thought he would not be scrutinised in the wider society.
For this you can thank Paul Keating and his government and the NSW Labor machine, for overriding the advice of the Australian intelligence community that Hilaly be deported. He was too useful to Labor.
Hilaly's latest message is clear. Turkey has turned against Israel. And Iran is ready, through its military and its foreign proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to wage war against Israel. It has sent thousands of rockets to Lebanon and tried to do the same in Gaza, and is prepared to confront and destroy the Zionist entity, with Hilaly and his followers cheering them on.
Sharing the stage outside the Town Hall was Paul McAleer, the Sydney branch secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. He chose his words carefully: ''This flotilla [confronting Israel's military blockade of Gaza] was hijacked by state-sanctioned murderers, who carry out their orders with deadly precision.''
State-sanctioned murderers who act with deadly precision. Sounds like Nazis.
The irony in McAleer's comments was elements of the union now known as the MUA functioned for decades as a criminal organisation, practising system-wide blackmail, extortion, intimidation, pilfering and featherbedding on the wharves. During World War II, the wharfies' union, controlled by the communists, undermined Australia's war effort. After the war, when dock operators began to introduce mechanisation on the wharves, union leaders pushed forklift trucks into the harbour.
When the Howard government and Chris Corrigan broke the MUA's stronghold on the ports 12 years ago, the union again used violence and intimidation. After the MUA lost the strike, the ports doubled their productivity. This is the moral authority on which the MUA stands.
Next on the Town Hall steps was a Greens NSW MP, Lee Rhiannon. She condemned Israel's ''crime against humanity''. Rhiannon is the embodiment of the common cause the hard left has made with the hard right of Islamic militancy. It is an interesting alliance. After the first modern Islamic revolution, in Iran, the new regime wiped out the communists, whose activists on university campuses had helped bring down the shah. Within its first two years, the Islamic regime had executed thousands of communists, student leaders and feminists.
Despite this warning, the hard left and Islamic militancy continue to find common cause because of a shared and defining antipathy to Western capitalism and Zionism.
Where does the Australian Human Rights Commission stand on matters such as calls to religious war made in Australia? It has nothing to say. It prefers softer targets. Earlier on the day of the Town Hall demonstration, the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, told the Herald he thought it was time for racial profiling of crimes. Not racial profiling of perpetrators, of course, just victims. ''Racial profiling perpetrators is little more than a guess which often reinforces incorrect stereotypes,'' he said.
This is typical of the patronising hypocrisy permeating the human rights industry. Since when did identifying the ethnicity of people convicted of a crime ever involve guesswork? And if racial stereotypes are unfair, then racial profiling of both crime victims and perpetrators would exculpate any stereotyped group. If, however, racial profiling confirmed an ethnic group was disproportionately involved in crime, then it would not be an ''incorrect stereotype'' but a truth.
Yet even the selective suggestion by the Race Discrimination Commissioner was too much for the president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, Stepan Kerkyasharian, an inveterate ideologue on matters of presumed prejudice. In a letter to the Herald, Kerkyasharian wrote having police asking victims about their ethnic origin was ''dangerous''.
Why? ''Publicity about the ethnicity of a victim,'' he wrote, ''when there is no suggestion of a racial motive, could lead to copy-cat attacks.'' This is an argument made out of thin air. It is predicated entirely on the notion Australian society is seething with prejudice and in no way should crime and ethnicity be a subject fit for public consumption or transparency.
This is the bedrock belief of the human rights industry. Society is prejudiced and needs the civilising buffer of a large human rights machinery, and a human rights charter, policed and interpreted by the human rights industry, all funded by the taxpayer.
Just don't ask too much about the most basic human right - freedom from violence. Don't ask about who is populating our prisons, our criminal justice systems and the organisations on the published watch lists of ASIO. Because we can't handle that sort of truth.