19 September 2016

World Vision's funding of Hamas

From NGO Monitor, September 07, 2016 (updated on September 08, 2016):

 

World Vision, as an Israeli entity, was founded in 1988, and is registered with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (R.A. 580110641).

World Vision claims that it only receives funding from World Vision International and local donations. According to the organization’s financial report, revenue in 2014 amounted to $16.3 million.

In 2016, the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits served the organization with a notice, warning that it had failed to comply with transparency regulations regarding the use of its funds, in addition to failing to submit necessary documentation to the Registrar. It is unknown whether the NGO presented the missing documents to the Registrar.

World Vision claims that “it began working in Jerusalem in response to the Palestinian population needs that as a result of the Israeli occupation the development of infrastructure were severely lacking. Today, World Vision Jerusalem includes 56 projects of community development that help to 150,000 people living in the Gaza Strip and Israel.”

Several senior officials in the World Vision Jerusalem branch have ties to NGOs promoting BDS activities and demonization of Israel:
  • Sami Khoury, listed as the financial manager in the latest available documentation, is a member of Sabeel’s General Assembly. Sabeel is highly active in church divestment campaigns, utilizing overtly antisemitic language to demonize Israel.
  • Raffoul Rofa, who has led Jerusalem operations since 2009, is also the director of the Society of St.Yves, a Catholic NGO that joins with other highly politicized groups to demonize and delegitimize Israel internationally.
  • Anton Asfar is a member of the World Vision Jerusalem board of directors, and serves on the board of directors of St. Yves.
There is a lack of clarity regarding the nature of the relationship between the israeli entity, and the World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza (JWG) office implicated in the Hamas aid diversion case.


Tim Costello who will give an oration entitled '"Charity in a Time of Terror - From Gaza to Nauru: My World Vision" to Jews in Australia

World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello contends that the total budget for Gaza operations was only $22.5 million over the past decade, in stark contrast with the $16.3 million annual budget reported in 2014 by the Israeli entity, as well as the Israeli government allegation that over $50 million dollars was diverted from the Gaza budget over ten years.

According to NGO Monitor research, from 2004-2015, the World Vision JWG budget was $134 million. The amount designated for operations in Gaza is unclear.

15 September 2016

In contributing to Australia's welfare, the Jews found theirs

From The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 2016, by Alex Ryvchin*:

Australia's Jewish community has always understood that its fortunes will rise and fall with the fortunes of the nation.

And so, when Jews gather in their holy places, they pray for the welfare of this country in a tradition that originates in 594BC, when the Jews lived in exile in Babylon.
"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile," wrote the Prophet Jeremiah, "… and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
These words, contained in a letter sent from Jerusalem to the leaders of the exiled community in Babylon, came at a time when the Jews faced a profound dilemma. Now also a people of the diaspora yet a distinct nation with enduring ties to their homeland, the Jews would need to reconcile their longing to return with their new reality of living as foreign subjects in distant lands.
Jeremiah's decree became a pillar of Jewish life in exile. It counselled the Jews to see themselves as a part of the societies in which they lived and, most crucially, it compelled them to do good, not just for their own community, but for all citizens of the land – for in their welfare, they would find their own.
By AD135 the Jews would see their autonomy collapse under the weight of Rome and the focus of Jewish life devolved from Jerusalem to the far-flung reaches of the Empire. Adapting to their new reality of statelessness, the Jewish sages developed further doctrines to maintain a national identity while achieving genuine integration.
A central plank of Jewish life became the principle of "Dina d'malchuta dina", (the law of the land is the law), by which the Jews were compelled to respect and observe the laws of the countries in which they now lived.
These values nurtured a sense of agency and civic duty, and engendered a tradition of full participation in all aspects of society.
But there is another reason why Australian Jews pray for this country and have served the nation with unimpugnable devotion and rigour. It is because they love it.
Many in the Jewish community came here to escape communism's tyranny, or from the ashes of the Holocaust, or having witnessed the shame of apartheid. This has given the community an acute awareness of its blessing to be called Australians.
The Jews trace their beginnings in Australia all the way back to the First Fleet. At least eight Jews made that journey – convicts who evidently didn't get the memo about respecting the laws of the land.
The most famous of these was Esther Abrahams. She later became the wife of NSW governor George Johnston and administered vast areas of land in her own right.
She was described by a contemporaneous source as being "of eccentric habits, hasty in temper, and with an abrupt mode of expressing herself"; thereby removing any doubt she was Jewish.
In times of great peril for the nation, Australian Jews served and sacrificed. In the Boer War, Rose Shappere, was notable among nurses who volunteered to tend the sick and wounded. She inspired generations of Australian women to make immense sacrifices for the Australian war effort.
In World War I, 13 per cent of the Australian Jewish population enlisted to serve King and Country and fight great battles in distant lands. Three hundred of them would make the supreme sacrifice.
And of course from the Jewish community there came the greatest soldier that this country has ever produced, and arguably, one of the most gifted battlefield commanders the British Empire has produced, Sir John Monash.
And the first Governor-General to be born in Australia, Sir Isaac Isaacs – a man eulogised by a Melbourne newspaper as "perhaps the greatest Australian of our time, or any previous time".
What makes their achievements truly great is that they gave the best of themselves to this country and did so for all Australians. They are not just icons for Jewish Australians, they are national heroes.
Ever conscious of their history, Australian Jews have drawn a central lesson from the lives of Monash, Isaacs and Shappere – that as Australians we have the power to overcome and the duty to contribute.
*Alex Ryvchin is the director of public affairs for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

11 September 2016

Free speech warriors are missing the point about 18C

From The Australian, 1 September 2016, by Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council:

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has been subject to intense criticism on ideological grounds, but many opponents misrepresent its actual operation. These efforts have been overwhelmingly rejected by a broad cross-section of Australia’s diverse communities — reflected in strong bipartisan support, federal and state, for racial hatred laws.
 
Section 18C, subject to numerous qualifications and safeguards, prohibits specific speech that would “insult, offend, humiliate or intimidate” persons on the basis of race. Opponents of the clause paint a simplistic and misleading picture, saying 18C makes “hurt feelings” illegal or that it allows “feelings to trump reason”.

In fact, the law does not simply ask if an individual has been offended — the courts have treated “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” as one test rather than four. And case law says that, in light of “the words chosen as its partners”, offend refers only to “profound and serious effects, not … mere slights”.

Moreover, the words “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” are lifted directly from section 28A of the Federal Sex Discrimination Act — yet no one has argued that this provision must also be repealed to protect free speech.

The act also specifies that it applies only to acts “done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person” — that is, it requires an intent to target someone for abuse or harassment on racial grounds.

More important, section 18D of the act exempts any “fair comment on any … matter of public interest” done reasonably and in good faith. The wide-ranging exemptions also include expressing a sentiment “in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose”. This almost certainly would exempt, for example, the recent controversial cartoon by Bill Leak.

Furthermore, this act really offers only a civil, not criminal, process to confront the most naked, blatant, intimidatory and abusive expressions of racism directed at specific individuals or groups, and this is actually how 18C generally has been applied and has functioned across its 21 years of existence.

The vast majority of claims under 18C have been conciliated through the Australian Human Rights Commission, withdrawn or dismissed. Many cases end with a simple apology.

The positive accomplishments of the law in the small number of cases that involved a more substantive decision include: directing a webmaster remove from his site volumes of material alleging that Jewish people created a myth of Nazi genocide to achieve financial and other gains; halting a woman from distributing huge volumes of material alleging every social ill was due to Jewish malevolence; requiring an online newspaper to moderate comments accusing Aboriginal Australians in general of “criminal behaviour” following the deaths of some Aboriginal juvenile offenders; requesting an apology and future safeguards from a political party that had published in its newspaper vicious material alleging Jewish people were corrupt and pornographers; sanctioning a lawyer who, on entering a court building, refused to be searched, abusively screaming at the security guard that he was a “Singaporean prick” and not welcome in Australia; and helping an Aboriginal woman who was subject to a constant stream of public racial abuse from a neighbouring family.

In fact, excepting the 2011 case Eatock v Bolt, in which prominent columnist Andrew Bolt was ordered to withdraw two columns, no other finding under 18C has proven at all controversial. The two other examples generally offered by the “free speech warriors” are not findings and likely never will be.

As noted, the Leak cartoon is almost certainly exempt under 18D (and there is specific case law on this — see Albert Corunna and others v West Australian Newspaper Ltd).

Meanwhile, the Queensland University of Technology computer labs case appears to have been badly handled by the Australian Human Rights Commission but, based on publicly available information, looks quite unlikely to end in significant findings against the students accused.

The rise of One Nation and other populist, extremist groups and the associated ugly rhetoric that has burgeoned demonstrate the necessity of maintaining strong protections against racial hatred. Those enabling their agenda and stated intent to repeal section 18C should look closely at the views of these extremist elements and the heightened concerns and fears in multicultural communities around the country.

Free speech, of course, is fundamentally important to modern democracy, but this right has never been absolute.

There have always been legitimate limits placed on it — from defamation, to incitement, to false advertising, to laws about perjury and other forms of lying to authorities, to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. Moreover, laws similar to 18C exist in the overwhelming majority of Western democracies.

Racial vilification can strongly compromise other important human rights, including the right to live free from harassment, intimidation and violence, and indeed to feel able to participate freely in society.

The fact is that 18C and 18D have formed a vital pillar of successful Australian multiculturalism, helping maintain social harmony and cohesion and minimise hatred and hostility between groups.

From Baghdad Bill to Beijing Bob

From The Spectator, 12 September 2016, by Luke Walladge:

The 5th World Peace Forum Opens In Beijing

You’ve got to feel for poor old Sam Dastaryi, dragged through the stocks last week for a spot of unusual household budgeting involving a travel bill, a chummy donor and some artificial islands in the South China Sea. Could’ve happened to any of us.

$1,670 is a fair amount of money, to be sure. But if taking money from Chinese interests is enough to get the media’s attention then Bob Carr must be sitting by his phone awaiting interviews.
Carr, of course, is no longer an elected representative and sits in no Parliament or holds no office. But as the eminence grise of NSW Labor, he wields an influence on his former colleagues and associates bears considering.

And not everyone’s a hypocrite. Some of us still remember Bill Hartley.

Hartley was a vile little operator, associating himself with such elements as the Rejection Front, a loose coalition of Palestinian guerrilla groups that rejected any peace settlement with Israel, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He also provided intelligence for Saddam Hussein’s brutal Iraqi Ba’ath regime as well as working for Colonel Gaddafi’s government in Libya.
All this, it must be remembered, occurred while Baghdad Bill variously served as Secretary of the Victorian ALP, sat as a delegate to numerous internal bodies and ran for the Senate on the Labor ticket.

Of course, we now know that Hartley had at least 20,000 good reasons to behave in such an extraordinary way (when adjusted for Malcolm Fraser’s economic policies, that’s about $100,000 in today’s money). However, we didn’t know this at the time because Hartley received these payments from the Iraqi regime in secret and hid them right up to his death in 2006.

As Bob Hawke pointed out at a Victorian State Conference in the late seventies, there’s nothing left-wing or even vaguely “progressive” about supporting radical Islamist regimes that strip women of all rights and return them to purdah, impose theocratic regimes and sweep away all democratic norms contemptuously or threaten their neighbours with ethnoreligious holocaust and genocide.
$20,000 buys a lot of conscience.

The ALP finally expelled Hartley in 1986. It goes without saying that what Hartley and his ilk engaged in was not a contribution to wide debate on international issues within Labor and politics more generally – it was entryism, pure and simple, an attempt by a virus to infect its host. It was bribery, deception and very likely treason. It was an attempt to pervert the policy direction of Australia away from our own values and interests (and those of social democracy itself) and towards the interests of thuggish, brutal, expansionary dictatorships who had foreign political figures on their secret payrolls.

In many ways, the attempts by Arab Islamist groups to infiltrate Australian democracy parallel similar, more widespread attempts in the same period by Eastern Bloc nations, especially the Soviet Union, using the Communist Party of Australia. ASIO files released over recent years, along with the memoirs of people such as Mark Aarons (whose father Laurie was the long-time general secretary of the CPA) show a long-running system of dual party membership in the ALP and CPA, whereupon Communists loyal to foreign governments gained positions within Labor and sought to influence public policy. Figures including Senators and Government Ministers have been named as members of the Communist Party; policy positions were pushed and at times accepted that were designed to rupture the ANZUS alliance, a long-standing goal of Moscow.

Some of us still remember the likes of Bill Hartley, because Bob Carr wasn’t always a hypocrite.
In the nineteen-seventies Carr founded Labor Friends of Israel with Michael Danby, now the Member for Melbourne Ports, specifically to combat the malignant influence of Hartley and his paymasters. Carr would refer to “Soviet-occupied Victoria” when dealing with the extreme left in that State; language that seems mild when compared to the scorn he heaped on Communist-aligned left-wingers in his home state of New South Wales.

Of the international Communist movement, Carr wrote several years ago while reviewing Donald Rayfield’s ‘Stalin and His Henchmen’, that “the founder of the organization that was to become OGUP, then NKVD, then the KGB, was to be conferred hero status in every subsequent Marxist regime, giving them all a model to emulate. Pol Pot’s regime probably being the truest approximation of the Marxist ideal of enforced equality, class warfare directed at the exploiting bourgeoisie and thorough-going collective ownership.”

For good measure, Carr concluded by inviting his readers to,
“Read this book and learn to revile the bastards all over again. To think that it took Australian communists like Lee Rhiannon decades to bring themselves to criticise the tyranny spawned by the 1917 revolution is to be educated again on the infinite gullibility of the idealistic.”

Strange, then, that Carr would shift to praising Lee Rhiannon as “very strong and very brave” over her commitment to an Arab narrative on Israel, in comments that also praised Labor frontbencher Tony Burke last year.

Stranger still is Carr’s sudden enthusiasm for policy positions that advantage the Communist dictatorship of the People’s Republic of China – even when they conflict with international law, the findings of international tribunals, with Australian interests or with the most basic moral concepts such as democracy or human rights.

Even stranger again is that Carr would accept millions of dollars from Chinese donors in his capacity as Director of the Australia–China Relations Institute (ACRI). ACRI was established with the “generous assistance” of Mr Xiangmo Huang, Founder and Chairman of the Yuhu Group. (You might remember the Yuhu Group from such donations as Senator Dastaryi’s travel bill). The amount donated by Mr Huang was $1.8 million. In 2014, Mr Chulong Zhou – the Director of the Jiexi Rural Commercial Bank, also of Guangdong – pledged $1 million to ACRI.

ACRI’s donors closely are linked to the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC). While it describes itself as a spontaneously-organised, non-government, community-based organisation, the ACPPRC is, in fact, one of several “patriotic” “united front” organisations which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) organises, supports, and possibly funds to some degree— although financial arrangements remain opaque.

It has been a practice of the Communist Party of China, since it came to power, to rely on prominent “patriotic” business persons who are prominent in organisations such as the ACPPRC to provide any funding required for front organisations. Such organisations are overseen by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.

The name of the ACPPRC is a reference to the “Peaceful Reunification” of mainland China and Taiwan. However, the organisation pursues a range of activities which support the international aspirations of the PRC, including influence on foreign governments.

And, it would now seem, funding the Australia China Relations Institute and its Director, Bob Carr.
Since ACRI commenced operations in early 2014, Carr’s remarks on issues of strategic importance to the People’s Republic have become so monotonously pro-China that a fellow academic has labelled them, “Bob Carr’s China-whatever comments”. Carr has sung tirelessly and tunelessly from the Chinese song sheet on matters including the South China Sea, a dispute in which virtually no one from international tribunals to experienced academics has taken China’s side.

Except for Bob Carr of the Australia China Relations Institute.

The Carr who once railed against the brutality of Communist dictatorships is now an agent of influence of one. The Carr who founded Labor Friends of Israel to combat the influence of Bill Hartley is now adopting Hartley’s long-dead policies and friends as his own.

Bob Carr is that rarest of occurrences, a reverse metamorphosis – a butterfly turning into a slug before our very eyes.

And with a compulsively narcissistic diarist like Carr, there’s a trail of hypocrisy with enough self-detonating petards going off to light the way to Guangdong and back.

Writing in his ‘Diary of a Foreign Minister’, Carr was scathing of what he perceived as the “Israel lobby” and its influence on Australian foreign policy. “It’s an appalling position,” Carr thundered, “if Australia allows a group of businessmen in Melbourne to veto policy on the Middle East.”

Elsewhere in his Diary, he linked fundraising from Jewish community organisations and individuals to Australia’s diplomacy at the United Nations, volunteering “subcontracting our foreign policy to party donors is what this involves. Or appears to involve.”

Yet strangely, Carr has had no qualms about raking in the yuan while continuing to emit policy motions in ALP fora and lobbying NSW Right MPs.

If only Huang and Zhou were well-known Jewish names.

From anti-Communist to PRC spokesman, from founding Labor Friends of Israel to conspiratorial notions of an evil “Israel lobby”, from denouncing the effect of donations on foreign policy to accepting them gratefully, Bob Carr has come a long way – a good deal of that journey in the first class seats.

The former NSW Premier is now a shell of his once-great self, a moral vacuum propelled by greed. To see him descend into such a pitiable state of luxurious nothingness is perhaps more sad than anything else.

The usual political point-scoring aside there’s no serious suggestion that Carr acolytes like Dastaryi, Tony Burke and Jason Clare have been anything other than proper, either in fundraising or policy terms. They certainly haven’t hidden their transactions – in fact, the only reason the much over-praised Latika Bourke found the Dastaryi donation was because it was listed on the Parliamentary register of interests. But politics is perception. And taking money from the same sorts of people as Carr while spruiking the same lines might produce an unfair conclusion on the part of an onlooker, especially when Carr is still an influential figure in the NSW Labor Right.

Former WA Labor Premier Geoff Gallop had to forbid his MPs to meet with lobbyist Brian Burke over a decade ago because you just never knew who was really paying for Brian’s free advice.

Politicians as canny as Dastaryi, Burke and Clare won’t need to be told to disassociate themselves from Beijing Bob or to disregard his policy thought bubbles – steering clear of Carr is now just good sense.

Or do we really need to be educated again on the infinite gullibility of the idealistic? One Bill Hartley was, after all, more than enough.

22 August 2016

WA Liberal Party Rejects the BDS Movement

The WA Liberal Party unanimously passed a motion at its annual State Conference rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
 
The motion specifically called on the Federal Government to
"condemn any attempts by Australian organisations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement at home or abroad as well as take measures to prohibit such organisations from receiving support from or be associated with public agencies or government departments". 
 

State Vice President Anthony Spagnolo applauded the motion stating: 
“The BDS movement hurts Jewish businesses and further divides people instead of working towards a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The unanimous passing of this motion is testament to the WA Liberal Party’s longstanding support for the State of Israel.”

18 August 2016

Repeal of 18C would send 'worst possible message'

Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said if the Coalition backed a bill by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi to remove “offend” and “insult” from section 18C of the RDA, it would be the worst possible message.

“The removal of the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from section 18C would send a signal from government that the public promotion of racism will be tolerated in Australia and will no longer be considered to violate community standards...That would be the worst possible message to send at a time of increasing fear, insecurity and polarisation. It would be a serious abrogation of principled leadership by government.”

Cory Bernardi: ‘While some want to abolish [18C], a good start would be to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the act.’
Cory Bernardi: ‘While some want to abolish [18C], a good start would be to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the act.’ Photograph: Stefan Postles/AAP

Repeal of 18C would send 'worst possible message'

Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said if the Coalition backed a bill by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi to remove “offend” and “insult” from section 18C of the RDA, it would be the worst possible message.

“The removal of the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from section 18C would send a signal from government that the public promotion of racism will be tolerated in Australia and will no longer be considered to violate community standards...That would be the worst possible message to send at a time of increasing fear, insecurity and polarisation. It would be a serious abrogation of principled leadership by government.”

Cory Bernardi: ‘While some want to abolish [18C], a good start would be to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the act.’
Cory Bernardi: ‘While some want to abolish [18C], a good start would be to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the act.’ Photograph: Stefan Postles/AAP