Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The infallible one turns his attention to disloyalty ... with infallibly inerrant results ...

(Above: the feud about papal infallibility boxes on).

It being Tuesday, the tedious chore of tending to the neuroses of Gerard Henderson becomes the duty of every reader watching the decline and fall of the house of Fairfax.

So let's start with a joke, which happens to involve two Fairfaxians feuding.

For those who came in late - or for those in a galaxy far, far away - Peter FitzSimons cracked a joke about papal infallibility, which got a rise out of Henderson, who believes himself infallible (according to one pond reader, and who can argue), and who charged the Fitz with being ignorant of Catholic theology when Fitz's real crime was cracking a joke about crows warning about 'cahs', but not trucks.

So last Sunday the Fitz couldn't resist a return bout and a neat jab. After pleading guilty to being ignorant of the finer points of theology, and suffering under religious studies, he shoved it up Hendo:

I do love the line from the American intellectual Sam Harris, who once noted: ''Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance.'' Most amusing is those who defend theology most vociferously are those who have embraced just one theological belief, while totally rejecting all other theologies as complete nonsense. 
To use an old line, we're actually not that different - I have rejected just one more than them (here).

Ouch, but who can argue that accepting any form of papal or institutional infallibility, however nice or fine the theology, remains fundamentally absurd.

But that's Hendo, always willing to grasp the nettle of the fundamentally absurd.

Now today's duty calls. Those suffering mental health issues or  PTSD may leave the room, there's no need for needless suffering, and here's a cartoon for you before you leave:

(More First Dog here)

Now we must turn to contemplating Hendo's offering of Talk of dual-citizen disloyalty in Zygier affair simply irresponsible (Fairfax have switched off Hendo's comments section, so you know what that means)

Hendo opens with what chess experts have dubbed the Irish Catholic gambit:

The concept of dual loyalties in Australia has an unpleasant connotation since it invariably implies disloyalty. A century ago, some sectarians labelled Catholics as possessing a dual loyalty. This was cover for an imputation that their real loyalty was to the Pope or to the Irish nation, usually both.

Ah to be sure, to be sure, and let's not have any mention of the Fenians (or that attempt to knock off Australia's first British royal visitor Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1868), or Ned Kelly or Daniel Mannix, may the long absent lord bless his anti-conscriptionist, anti-English heart.

And then Hendo moves on to the Jewish manoeuvre:

Today, the allegation tends to be made against Jewish Australians, whether or not they hold both Australian and Israeli nationalities. The imputation is some Australian Jews put their loyalty to Israel before that to Australia.

Actually the allegations tend to be made against Australians who head off to any war zone, be it Serbia or Lebanon or Syria, and you wouldn't want to be David Hicks heading off to a silly jihad before copping the wrath of Hendo for being disloyal.

But let's cut to the end game, the final par, which could save many a tedious trawl through much Hendo agitation about the ABC and fellow Fairfaxians.

Yes, it's the usual suspects, before the pious prattler draws himself to his full height:

The Jewish community in Australia spends considerable funds guarding its synagogues and schools from attack. Some costs are also borne by state and federal police. In such an environment, it is irresponsible in the extreme for prominent Australians to imply some of their fellow citizens are disloyal. 

It's irresponsible to note that someone might have collared some Australian passports for use by a foreign intelligence agency?

It's wrong to discuss such matters because somehow loose tongues will generate attacks on synagogues and schools?

We should all shut up, while Hendo spends an entire column discussing these very things, only so he can stick solidly by the Jewish lobby?

Merely discussing these notions are offensive, as in the burblings of Ben Saul, who dared to raise the matter?

Last Wednesday, Ben Saul wrote an article in The Age as a professor of international law at the University of Sydney. It was another rush to judgment, replete with such giveaways as ''may'', ''if'', ''would'' and ''could''. 
Yet, on the basis of virtually no known facts, Saul accused those whom he identified as ''Australian Jews'' of ''divided loyalties''. He went on to make the offensive claim that ''there comes a point where a Jewish person cannot faithfully be both Australian and Israeli''. Saul said ''the same goes for Australians who are also American or Chinese''. No reference was made to any other nation.

What? He should have listed every other nation that has nationals residing in Australia, including a few who've used Australia as a place for R&R before heading back to Africa to tackle the bad guys?

Now idle talk of disloyalty always makes the pond nervous - as an Irish Catholic with a dash of German blut, the pond has always been in the bad books of the Melbourne club.

But Saul phrased it quite neatly, because there comes a point where a dual citizen must make a choice, and there comes a point where it isn't possible to be true to both Australia and Israel, and that point surely comes when the Australian citizen might be involved in purloining Australian passports for illegal use by Israeli intelligence agencies.

And the notion that this form of illegality and criminality shouldn't be discussed, should be swept under the carpet, shows what a strange notion of freedom of speech the commentariat, and Hendo in particular have.

It's too easy to say that Israel is in mortal peril and it's a democracy surrounded by enemies determined on its destruction and so anything goes.

Here's how Hendo does it:

Australia is a remarkably tolerant and accepting society. Yet there has always been a degree of anti-Semitism within it. An accusation of dual loyalties against Jewish Australians from an anti-Semite is regrettable but not unexpected. When such claims are made by those who should know better, it is a matter for genuine concern. 

QED. If you talk of dual citizens favouring one nation over another, to the extent of performing illegal acts in one nation to aid another, you're just an anti-Semite, and you get Hendo all agitated and genuinely concerned.

Hendo spends a goodly amount of his column noting that the media has been reporting on matters related to the death of Ben Zygier without much information, and in the absence of hard information, all sorts of theories have flourished.

But rather than blaming the media, how about blaming the Israeli government for its secretive, furtive and sometimes outright deceptive behaviour in this and other matters, and its refusal to reveal anything at all about the Zygier matter, on the grounds that the security-related charges involving Zygier are between him and Israel, and his other nationality, Australia, can just bugger off.

It's the belated discovery of the matter, and the slow drip of information that's done the damage, along with the paranoid secretive ways of the Israeli government and its intelligence arm.

It's such a serious issue that the pond alarmingly finds some common ground with Bob Carr.

Now that's a crisis.

Yes last night the pond watched Q&A - oh it only takes one sip, even after years on the bandwagon and then you're gone - and as you can see here, both Bob Carr and big Mal Turnbull both raised questions and concerns in relating to conflicting loyalties in dual nationalities.

Now it's well known that these days Hendo suffers from long and short term memory loss, and so he's forgotten the many questions raised in relation to many nationalities in Australia, usually with problematic results.

The pond's mind drifts back to the story of the Croatian six, which was used to blacken the Croatian community in Australia, involved the Yugoslav government, and all sorts of nasty people, including a NSW police force that then had the likes of Roger Rogerson performing dramatic raids (you can read about it in Framed: the untold story about the Croatian six, forced video at end of link).

All sorts of ethnic groups and ethnic communities have copped charges of disloyalty and a lot them have suffered more damage at the hands of institutions than the Jewish community can claim, even in the days when neo-Nazis were more visible (now they just generally lurk online).

These days it's the Muslim community that cops charges of disloyalty, or loyalty to international forces that are foreign to, and damaging to Australia. The classic example is the demonising of Lebanese Muslims, and the riots in Cronulla. in which Alan Jones played a significant role.

Which perhaps helps explain why Henderson sometimes defends Jones, because he too has played his role in demonising particular ethnic or religious groups.

Here you go, and you only have to head back to February 2012, to read Threat from enemy within makes anti-terrorism laws indispensable:

Decisions have consequences, even if decision makers sometimes go into denial. In the weekend edition of the Herald, Debra Jopson provided case studies of the 21 men who have been convicted of terrorism-related charges following Operation Pendennis in Sydney and Melbourne and Operation Neath in Melbourne. A large number are of Lebanese Muslim descent. 
In his address to the Sydney Institute on January 24, the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, David Irvine, pointed out that ''of the 38 people prosecuted for terrorism-related offences in Australia, 37 were Australian citizens and 34 were either born here or lived here since childhood''. Clearly home-grown terrorism is a threat in Australia.

Oh yes it's that old sweet song of divided loyalties, and since Lebanese folk can be called part of the grand Semitic tradition, it's often sung by anti-semites.

Oh Hendo was in fine righteous voice, howling about the disloyalty and criminality of Lebanese Muslims, and naturally it was all Malcolm Fraser's fault, and ASIO was top notch, and John Howard's anti-terrorist laws were excellent because there were many disloyal citizens amongst us intent on jihad for benefit of foreign religions and foreign forces.

And now we can't say boo to a goose about the behaviour of the Israeli government and Mossad, or talk about the possibility that dual nationality Jewish citizens might have the occasional bout of disloyalty?

Sssh, don't mention the unquenchable thirst for Australian passports, thereby bringing under suspicion anyone travelling on an Australian passport?

Oh shades of pickled Irish green, the pond is sounding like Bob Carr again.

Anyhoo, it's just another example of that splendid bible passage which the pond is forced to trot out at least once a day in relation to the commentariat:

...why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

In the world of Gerard Henderson, the way is clear.

Bashing Lebanese people is quite fine, asking questions of the Israeli government is jolly unsporting and a tad caddish, old chaps.

The ways of the infallible are truly inscrutable ...

(Below: and now since it's got too dull, pompous and serious in the usual dullard prattling Polonius way, here's a couple of cartoons for defiant fellow Fenians. Click to enlarge).


  1. On divided loyalties and hypocritical treatment by the likes of Hendo and such (you can add the usual suspects from News) - just two names, Mordechai Vanunu and David Hicks.

    On Catholics professing commitment to freedom of speech, another two names - Matthew Fox and Hans Küng.

  2. DP, how do you manage to read Henderson’s entire weekly sermon? I always fall asleep halfway through.


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