The Right Honourable Useful Idiots

Highlighting the idiocy of the small number of Jews who supported the Reclaim Australia rally is the focus of an article (reproduced below) by Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute​, in this week’s Australian Jewish News. The article highlights the origins of the Australian anti-Muslim hate movement, which comes out of the UK, and the way this hate has moved across countries through social media. It also highlights role of neo-Nazi ideology which underlies this movement, even if many of the ‘useful idiots’ are not aware of it.

We are already seeing some moves in social media to turn the anti-Muslim social movement in Australia against Jews as well. Specifically, there is a move to extend the anti-Halal movement into also attacking Kosher certification. Another article in the paper reveals that already some companies are dropping the Kosher symbol from their products.

Today is “Yom Hashoah”, Holocaust Memorial Day in the Jewish calendar, and today of all days it is hard to believe this is happening again, and happening here in Australia. This time, they came for the Muslims first, then for the Jews… it’s vital that all segments of our multicultural society stand together against the anti-Muslim bigotry, the antisemitic racism, the anti-Indigenous racism and every other type of prejudice that tries to tear our multicultural community apart.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute is proud to be standing against all forms of hate, we shocked at its rising tide. On a practical note, we are struggling to find the resources to meet the rapidly rising challenge we face, but letting some things fall through the net is simply not an option. There is too much real work to be done right now to make fundraising our primary focus, at the same time, but we are entirely reliant on public donations and without funds our work will grind to a halt. If you want to support the critical work we do, please make a donation at right now we need this more than ever. Whether you can make a donation or not, please help spread this message (share buttons can be found above).

Originally published as: Andre Oboler, “A new ‘useful idiot’, Australian Jewish News, 17 April 2015, page 18:

A new ‘useful idiot’

There is a history of antisemitism infiltrating leftwing movements. This leads to two anomalies. The first anomaly is anti-racism movements and campaigners who not only dismiss concerns about antisemitism, but use antisemitic messages to promote their cause. The second anomaly is the self hating Jew, often a Jewish social justice activists trying so hard to prove themself to their non-Jewish comrades, that they become the chief propagators of certain forms of antisemitism.

Left wing antisemitism typically promotes ideas of new antisemitism in which Israel is campaigned against and criticised in a unique way, quite unlike the approach which would be taken were it any other country in similar circumstances. There are also the useful idiots, those who promote the propaganda but don’t really understand, or even deny, the agenda behind it. These people are cynically used by those promoting the agenda to give their cause, and their hate, greater public legitimacy.

In the last year we have seen a new phenomenon, a new form of useful idiot, and a strong rise in a very old form of antisemitism. It all started online. Writing in the AJN last June I warned of a small number of Jews on Facebook, including from Australia, who were “so taken in by hate propaganda spreading fear of Muslims, that they have jumped in bed with neo-Nazi groups” (AJN, 27 June 2014). Tackling antisemitism, extremism, and terrorism is a good thing, but vilifying an entire community, that is all Muslims, is neither a rational nor an effective way to do it.

New ideas, including new forms of hate, almost always make their first appearance online. What starts online, however, doesn’t stay online. This is what makes the work of the Online Hate Prevention Institute so vital. We see the trends, work to stop the spread of hate, and put out the warning before things begin to go horribly wrong on the streets. Last June I noted that Jewish communal leadership has been taking a stand in opposing anti-Muslim hate, but I called for a response from the grassroots of the community as well. Tackling bigotry is not something that can be left to leadership, each of us must play our part.

Our response was not strong enough. Less than year later we had a small number of Jewish people marching on the streets, with neo-Nazis, as part of the Reclaim Australia rally. A few others expressed disappointment that the timing of the rally, which clashed with Pesach, prevented their participation. Then there was the “Jewish Communal Lobby” Facebook page, which for a time appeared to be officially supporting the Reclaim Australia rally, before claiming that post was unauthorised, after a huge backlash from the community.

What we are seeing today is a new form of Useful Idiot, people who promote the propaganda against Muslims, but don’t recognise or understand the agenda behind it. This anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, hate is a hallmark of the far right. The ideology, including the shift to focusing on Muslims, emerges out of the United Kingdom. This is the ideology of the National Front, the British National Party, and more recently the English Defence League. It is social media that is allowing these far-right ideas to spread, and people to organise.

The hard core at the centre of this bigotry can be summed up in a slogan the Online Hate Prevention Institute sees regularly: “Gas the Kikes. Race war now”. There is a direct line between the hard core neo-Nazis promoting another Holocaust and events like the Reclaim Australia rally. The glee with which one of these American based Nazis reported the apparent Jewish support for the Reclaim Australia rally through the Jewish Communal Lobby Facebook page was palpable. There is an underlying ideology here, and it boggles the mind that any Jew could be seen to be supporting this.

In a press release against the reclaim Australia rally (April 7, 2015) the JCCV stated, “The campaign against Halal certification is in reality nothing more than an attack on religious freedom. The JCCV is concerned that such attacks, fuelled by ignorance and misinformation, could easily spread to other targets.” Just days later we saw a supposedly “Patriotic Australian” Facebook page try push the anti-Halal activists into attacking Kosher certification as well. The Halal certification they ignorantly claim supports terrorism, while the kosher certification they ignorantly claim supports child abuse. This form of antisemitism again reflects trends coming out of Europe.

At the Online Hate Prevention Institute our monitoring gives us the information we as a community need to stay aware of these developing issues. Tackling these threats, including those posed by the useful idiots in our own community, remains a challenge for us all.

Dr Andre Oboler is CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute.

Article in the Australian Jewish News, 17 April 2014