This week we discuss ex-MP Matt Brown’s terrible excuse for being caught with the drug ice. Possibly the worst ever? We look also look at some of the ‘great’ political excuses of our time.
We weigh in on misogyny in federal parliament and Sarah Hanson-Young’s stunning speech in reply to Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan’s smutty stupidity. And we take a look at the right-wing of Australian politics, and why they’re so damned odious.
Come to Australia it’s easy money and Murdoch Media will actively promote you as political opinion dressed as entertainment deserving of free police protection. The more the protest thegreater the gate returns which you don’t have to pay.(ODT)
A petition with 81,000 signatures calling on the Immigration Minister to ban the American founder of far-right “men’s organisation” the Proud Boys from Australia has been delivered to Parliament House in Canberra.
The Proud Boys are listed as an extremist organisation by the FBI
Their founder is touring Australia along with the UK’s Tommy Robinson
The petition’s organiser says the Proud Boys have a “clear record” of inciting violence
Gavin McInnes and UK activist Tommy Robinson are due to bring their The Deplorables speaking tour to Australia in February.
The Proud Boys were founded by Mr McInnes in 2016, and describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organisation for men who refuse to apologise for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists”.
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption charges.
Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik loses a human rights case, with a court ruling his near-isolation was inhuman.
Greg Sheridan’s eulogy of the Abbott Prime Ministerial era in The Australian yesterday, says a lot about his loyalty to a close friend, but little by way of a believable appeasement for what was probably the worst performance by any national Australian leader in our short history. Sheridan is brave in predicting that, “History will…
A few weeks before Benjamin Netanyahu’s delivered his controversial address to Congress, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Prime Minister was considering a campaign trip to Hebron, a right-wing settler community in the Israel-occupied West Bank. The proposed March 10 trip to Hebron, which would have been the first by an Israeli PM in more than a decade, raised eyebrows among Israel’s political class and inflamed tensions with Palestinian groups. Last week, Netanyahu called it off, citing security threats.
“The Hebron Fund has supported, either directly or indirectly, a wide array of acts that are definitely not charitable,” says Avaaz lawyer John Tye.
Here in the United States, meanwhile, few politicians have questioned why American taxpayers continue to subsidize the Hebron settlers, accused by international observers of human rights violations that include thefts, battery, and murder. In 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available, an estimated 45 percent of the settler community’s funding came from the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund, whose status as a tax-exempt nonprofit allows Americans to write off donations to the group.
“The Hebron Fund has supported, either directly or indirectly, a wide array of acts that are definitely not charitable,” says John Tye, the legal director for the global activist group Avaaz, which last week petitioned the IRS to revoke the Hebron Fund’s nonprofit status. “They are basically using a small group of Jewish settlers in the West Bank to push Palestinians out of their homes. These settlers are arming themselves, they are engaged in military and paramilitary acts, some of them have connections to terrorism, and they are committing a wide range of crimes against Palestinians.”
The Hebron Fund declined to make anyone available for comment for this story, or to respond to my written questions.
Hebron, a community of some 200,000 Palestinians located about 30 miles south of Jerusalem, is home to several ancient Jewish holy sites. The modern Jewish occupation began in 1967, after the Six Day War. The Hebron Fund was founded in 1979 to support the settlers, who now number around 850.
After years of conflicts between Palestinians and settlers, the historic center of Hebron has come to be known as “The Ghost Town.” It is largely abandoned, with the doors of Arab shops welded shut by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the second intifada. Palestinians are forbidden from entering much of the area. In other parts of downtown Hebron, Jewish settlers live in buildings above Palestinian shops. The shopkeepers have stretched nets and metal grates over the streets to catch the garbage that settlers routinely throw from their windows:
The behavior of Jewish settlers in Hebron has been repeatedly denounced by human rights groups. In 2001, Human Rights Watch called Hebron “the site of serious and sustained human rights abuses,” including “a consistent failure [by IDF] to protect Palestinians from attacks by Israeli settlers.” In 2011, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem wrote that settlers “have been involved in gunfire, attempts to run people over, poisoning of a water well, breaking into homes, spilling of hot liquid on the face of a Palestinian, and the killing of a young Palestinian girl.”
In 2013, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed “deep concern” at the abusive treatment and harassment directed at a Palestinian activist in Hebron by settler groups and the IDF. Breaking the Silence, another Israeli human rights group comprised of IDF veterans, offers guided tours of Hebron—but only rarely, the group writes on its website, due to “the Hebron settlers’ violence towards our tours and the limited ability of the Hebron police to protect our tours from this violence.”
Just in the past two months, according to B’Tselem, vandals in the Hebron area have destroyed Palestinian olive groves in four locations.
At least one former member of a terrorist organization has joined the Hebron settlement. Baruch Marzel, a one-time spokesman for the extremist Kach Party, which is listed by the United States and Israel as a terrorist group, lives in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida outpost. In 2011, he helped organize a manhunt for a Palestinian man, Hani Jaber, who’d just been released from jail after serving 18 years for killing a Jewish settler. Posters appeared on Hebron walls with Jaber’s face and the words, “Rise up and kill him.”
At times, the Hebron Fund has specifically sought to raise money for controversial settler activities. In 2007, according to Salon, it held a fundraiser on a cruise ship in New York’s Hudson River to support a settler who’d taken property from a Palestinian family. A year and a half later, the Israeli government ruled that the house had been illegally seized from the family and ordered the settlers out. Once evicted, the settlers set fire to Palestinian houses, olive trees, and cars—25 people were wounded, including a man shot at close range.
The United States tax code does not provide detailed information about what can disqualify groups from nonprofit status, though precedent suggests that it includes illegal and discriminatory behavior. In 1974, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that the IRS was justified in revoking the nonprofit status of Bob Jones University over its refusal to admit black students.
The Hebron Fund has not released detailed financial information, making it impossible to determine whether it directly bankrolls prohibited activities. Yet Tye of Avaaz argues that the settlements’ finances are sufficiently fluid and dependent upon the Hebron Fund to make it inherently complicit in any abuses. “I can’t tell you precisely where every dollar has gone,” he says. “But when there is a doubt, the legal burden is on the Hebron Fund to produce documents that show how its money is spent.”
This isn’t the first time a group has asked the IRS to revoke the Hebron Fund’s nonprofit status. In 2009, a similar complaint was submitted by the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The IRS never responded.
Though Tye believes there’s already sufficient public evidence to revoke the fund’s nonprofit status, he at least wants the IRS to conduct a thorough investigation. A spokesman for the IRS declined to comment on the case, citing a federal law that bars the agency from discussing specific taxpayers.
Britain’s far-right is the weakest it has been in 20 years largely due to its own incompetence, a report finds.
Despite “favorable” conditions such as the rise of Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) and the Rotherham child grooming scandal, which saw organized child abuse perpetrated by a group of Muslim men, the far-right in the UK is “shrinking.”
The decline of groups such as the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL) is largely down to the neo-Nazis’ own ineptitude, as they are “divided and increasingly leaderless.”
The findings were published in an annual report by Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism and anti-fascist group backed by the labor movement.
The report, titled: “The state of hate in 2014” found cause for concern in the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK.
“Against a depressed economy, fear of violent Islamism and rising anti-immigrant rhetoric in the public mainstream, this should be the time to make hay. Instead, the far-right is shrinking, divided and increasingly leaderless,” the report contends.
“The British far-right ends 2014 in its worst state for almost 20 years,” it says.
Hope Not Hate point to Nick Griffin’s fall from grace in the BNP, the rise of UKIP, and the departure of EDL founder Stephen Lennon – who goes by the alias Tommy Robinson – from the group as causes of the far-right’s weakness.
Nick Griffin was given the sack as leader of the BNP after the party lost both its MEPs in the European Elections last year and 56 out of 58 of its local councilors.
The drop in support is partly down to the rise of the populist right-wing UKIP, the report argues, which despite not being a far-right party itself, has nonetheless “steamrollered” through their support base.
“While UKIP is not the BNP and Farage is not Griffin, it is clear that most former BNP voters feel quite at home in the UKIP stable.”
However, the report also places blame on a shift of focus away from the ballot box and towards street activism.
Following Stephen Lennon’s departure, “the EDL has stumbled on with little success. It set up a collegiate form of leadership but further resignations and personal and political feuds have largely rendered the group ineffective.”
Lennon left the EDL in October 2013, claiming the party had become too extreme and he wanted to use democratic ideas instead of violence.
However, Hope Not Hate claim that Lennon is currently considering a return to the EDL, as soon as his probation for a mortgage fraud conviction is served this summer.
Despite the decline of Britain’s far-right groups, Hope Not Hate expressed concern over the emergence of anti-Semitism in the UK.
Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger received 20 death threats and over 2,000 hate tweets last year, after Garron Helm was convicted for sending anti-Semitic messages to the MP.
Good news: support for UK far-right groups at an all time low. Bad news: some of their ideas have gone mainstream.
Far-right politics in the UK first emerged in the 1930s.
At this time it was made up of Nazi co-thinkers such as Oswald Mosley, who founded the British Union of Fascists (BUF).
Banned at the outbreak of war with Germany, the BUF was dissolved in 1940. At the time of its dissolution BUF membership was approaching 20,000.
As more and more former colonies were granted independence in the 1950s, the British far-right re-emerged under the banner of empire.
The League of Empire Loyalists initially campaigned against granting colonies independence, but later shifted its focus to opposing immigration from the same colonies they once strived to maintain control of.
“Support for British Far Right at 20 Year Low” …but only because their supporters have a mainstream political right wing party to support.