Yeah Nah Pasaran! #187 w Alana Lentin on race, antisemitism, Palestine +++ : November 16, 2023

This week on Yeah Nah Pasaran! on 3CR we talk to Alana Lentin [XTwitter/Substack]. Alana is ‘a teacher and writer, and a Jewish European woman who is a settler on Gadigal-Wangal land (Sydney, Australia)’ who works on ‘the critical theorization of race, racism and antiracism’ and is a Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. We previously spoke to Alana in May 2020 about her last book, Why Race Still Matters. On this occasion we spoke to her about race, racism, (anti-)antisemitism, the war on Palestine and more.

See also :

„Die Räume werden enger“, taz, Claudius Prößer, November 11, 2023 (On the German Bundestag introducing new laws targeting and racialising migrants purportedly to protect Jews) + Germany is a good place to be Jewish. Unless, like me, you’re a Jew who criticises Israel, Deborah Feldman, The Guardian, November 13, 2023 + The Extreme Ambitions of West Bank Settlers, Isaac Chortiner, The New Yorker, November 11, 2023 (‘A leader of the settlement movement on expanding into Gaza, and her vision for the Jewish state’)

Laundering Black Rage, Too Black, Black Agenda Report, September 7, 2022 (‘Rage is a natural human emotion that is denied to Black people. Black rage is dangerous and is washed away, laundered, as if it were an ill-gotten gain’: first of a two-part essay) + Philosemitism: An Instrumental Kind of Love, New Socialist, Michael Richmond, January 29, 2022 + Palestine, Feminism, and the Pitfalls of Liberalism—in Germany and Beyond, Noor Blaas & Anna-Esther Younes, New Socialist, January 9, 2022 + Philosemitism & antisemitism—anti racist tools for solidarity and resistance, New Socialist on The YouTubes, December 1, 2021 + Palestine Scholarship at Social Text (A collection of the journal’s writings on/about Palestine) + What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?, Robin D. G. Kelly, Boston Review, January 12, 2017

Up in Arms, James Butler, London Review of Books, Vol.45, No.22, November 16, 2023 (About the UK weapons industry and attempts to disrupt it) + The Boat That Wasn’t Blocked: ‘Australian’ edition, Backlash, November 14, 2023

A reply to Paul Sakkal (The Age) on Nasser Mashni (Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network) & 3CR (November 13) + Australian Unions on The War on Gaza (October 27) + “Unions [in so-called Australia]: Stop Arming Israel” (October 11) + Yeah Nah Pasaran! #182 w Antony Loewenstein on The Palestine Laboratory & The War Machine : October 12, 2023 (October 11) + Yeah Nah Pasaran! #171 w Max Kaiser on Jewish Antifascism and the False Promise of Settler Colonialism : July 27, 2023 (July 26).

4.30pm, Thursday, November 16, 2023 /// 3CR /// 855AM / streaming live on the 3CR website

• This episode will be available as a podcast on Apple, Spotify and other platforms after broadcast.
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Posted in Broken Windows, Death, History, Media, State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A reply to Paul Sakkal (The Age) on Nasser Mashni (Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network) & 3CR

1)

On Wednesday, November 8, Melbourne newspaper The Age published an article by journalist Paul Sakkal titled ‘Top Australian Palestinian slammed for radio comments on destruction of Israel’.

The ‘Top Australian Palestinian’ in question is Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network president Nasser Mashni, and the comments reportedly being ‘slammed’ were broadcast on Palestine Remembered on Melbourne community radio station 3CR.

In essence, according to Sakkal, The Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network president has advocated for the destruction of the Israeli state in comments criticised by a prominent extremism expert; an expert who draws a positive parallel between Mashni’s remarks and the text of the notorious antisemitic tract and Tsarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

For context, prior to the item appearing in The Age, Mashni was the subject of other reportage, including ‘Palestine activist Nasser Mashni accused of ‘inciting hatred” (Rachel Baxendale, The Australian, October 31, 2023) and ‘Australia’s leading Palestinian spokesman calls terrorist a ‘hero” (James Campbell, Herald Sun, November 4, 2023). Along with reiterations of the content published previously, this was supplemented on Friday by another article highlighting a prior, three decades-old criminal record (‘Top Palestinian spokesman Nasser Mashni’s criminal history revealed’, Jon Kaila, Herald Sun, November 10, 2023).

2)

According to Sakkal, Mashni’s ‘comments were made at various times over this year and last year on radio station 3CR’ and — from the many hours he undoubtedly spent listening to Palestine Remembered — he identifies the following remarks as being especially worthy of further scrutiny. Quote:

• A) On his radio show in July last year, Mashni said: “The power structures that exist in the world all focus upon Zionism.” “Israel is the domino. Israel falls over, not just the Middle East – South America, the Africans, the world is a far better place once we destroy Western imperialist control of the world.” “The liberation of Earth starts with the first domino, and that’s the overcoming and the decolonisation of Palestine and the ending of Zionism.”
• B) In a March conversation on what Mashni called the Zionist lobby’s “grooming” of Australian politicians, Mashni – who last year opposed the Australian government’s listing of Hamas as a terrorist group – referred to what he said was the “antisemitic myth”. “Do you think that we hate Jews just because they’re Jews?” he said. “I wouldn’t care if they were Buddhist, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims. If you take my house, I’m going to hate you. How you celebrate God is removed from the fact that you denied me my home, killed my father, raped my mother, stole my orchards and business.”
• C) Following a recent protest in Sydney at which demonstrators chanted “gas the Jews”, Mashni said the chants were “unconfirmed” but the reports suggested “really horrible antisemitic stuff and there should be absolute condemnation of those chants”. Unquote.

Mashni’s response to these matters can be read in the article. My own, much longer response is below.

While Sakkal doesn’t specifically identify which episodes he’s drawing upon, for the record, of the 60 or so episodes to have been broadcast between January 2022 and November 4, 2023, the quotes (with one exception) derive from three episodes broadcast on July 23, 2022, March 25, 2023 and October 14, 2023.

• a) Context (Palestine Remembered with Wesam Ahmad, Center for Applied International Law at Al-Haq, July 23, 2022, 11:25):

    (Ahmad) … The other reason I think it’s important for us to see it in this broader context of imperial dynamics and colonialism, is because we see a lot of similarities in other colonial contexts as well. There are nuances here, for sure, but when you step back and you see those broader connections, you see how the injustices that the Palestinian people are suffering are very much connected to injustices that are felt around the world in different contexts, and that’s why I always like to point out that the injustice facing the Palestinian people is a microcosm of global injustices, and the issues that are leading to those are very much shared in the obstacles that are created and the need to challenge them, those being neoliberal economics and white supremacy in the sense of entitlement and exploitation.
    (Mashni) I’ve said many a time that in fact the liberation of Earth starts with the first domino, and that’s the overcoming and the decolonisation of Palestine and the ending of Zionism, that in fact the power structures that exist in the world all focus upon Zionism, and that with its downfall, it becomes a domino that liberates so many other people because it’s the model that today Modi is using in India, that you know, we see across most of the developing world where minorities are oppressed by a ruling junta … one of the things I really like … I really like what you said about Cecil Rhodes. I mean the world recognises Cecil Rhodes as the world’s leading colonialist, imposing a non-Indigenous person upon another person’s land, and Zionists who claim that they are not colonialists, but in fact Indigenous and returning, that the founder of Zionism, the person who gave birth to the idea of an Israel and a Jewish state, in fact approached Cecil Rhodes, and said, I want to do some, I need your help, I’ve got a project that is colonialism 101, you’re my guy.

NB. Having listened to the episode, I cannot find the phrase “Israel is the domino. Israel falls over, not just the Middle East – South America, the Africans, the world is a far better place once we destroy Western imperialist control of the world” being uttered by Mashni, his co-host or guest, at any point within the broadcast. Presumably, it’s uttered on some other episode.

Or not.

Comment: Taken in isolation, I don’t agree that ‘The power structures that exist in the world all focus upon Zionism’ — especially if (and even if the term doesn’t actually appear in this episode), that’s meant to indicate a particular priority which exceeds that of ‘Western imperialist control of the world’ in general. But Mashni’s understanding of the relationship between Zionism and these ‘power structures’, along with the meaning of this term (imperialism and colonialism), is clarified by reference to his general line of argument. For what it’s worth, I also don’t agree that Israel is necessarily ‘the first domino’ which must fall before the other institutions of ‘Western imperialism’ also collapse, but the Israeli state’s position within the global order is one worth debating for those so inclined; in any case, the antisemitic inference cannot reasonably be sustained in my opinion.

• b) Context (Palestine Remembered with Susan Abulhawa, author and activist, March 23 2023, 20:22):

    I had an argument with a politician, recently. Many of these politicians are groomed, obviously, at University level, and they’re spotted by the Zionist lobby as potential leaders and taken on Rambam tours and what have you, and they buy into this antisemitic myth. And this guy said to me, you know, ‘la la la, I mean, if you just taught your kids not to hate’. You know just, just that, straight up … and I said to him, I said: ‘Do you think that we hate Jews, just ’cause they’re Jews?’ I mean, I wouldn’t care if they were Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims. If you take my house, I’m going to hate you. How you celebrate God is removed from the fact that you denied me my home, killed my father, raped my mother, stole my orchards and business. That’s the issue. It’s got nothing to do with anyone’s religion.

Comment: ‘Grooming’ typically has negative connotations, but if the Zionist lobby in Australia ‘grooms’ (aspiring) politicians and other VIPs, it does so in approximately the same sense as any other lobby or interest group and — irrespective of its merits — the fact, if not the effect, of such activity is generally regarded as being otherwise unremarkable, and constitutes the normal cut-and-thrust of normative forms of liberal (plural) governance. Of course, for those who oppose Zionism, especially Palestinians such as Mashni, it has particular relevance. As for ‘the antisemitic myth’, on my interpretation, Mashni’s point is fairly straightforward — his objection is to the colonialist subjection of Palestine, whatever its (religious or political) justification — and could, I think, be more justifiably be read as indicating opposition to antisemitism.

Here Sakkal also inserts the fact that, along with Mashni referring to the “grooming” of budding politicians, he also ‘last year opposed the Australian government’s listing of Hamas as a terrorist group’. Why add this detail here? Again, it’s possible to draw inferences *nudge nudge, wink wink* but it’s indeed true that, on March 22 last year, having already proscribed its military wing (the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades) in 2003, the Australian government proscribed Hamas in its entirety. In doing so, it joined Canada, the UK, US, Israel, Japan and the European Union; most states do not. Mashni and APAN’s objection was reported by the ABC at the time as follows:

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) says it “strongly disagrees” with the listing, adding that it will do nothing to advance the cause of peace.

The group has raised concerns that it will only “cause more suffering for the 2 million people currently surviving under a 15-year Israeli blockade”.

“The government has failed in its duty of searching for a peaceful solution and has shown it applies one set of rules to Palestine, and another to Israel,” APAN president Bishop George Browning said.

Rightly or wrongly, theirs was not the only voice raised in opposition:

The Australian decision is flawed on both procedural and practical grounds. Procedurally, there was a severe lack of transparency and fair representation in the recommendation process. Strikingly, no Palestinians were invited to give evidence to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security. Of the non-governmental witnesses providing evidence, only experts and advocacy groups with known pro-Israel positions were given a hearing. The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network told the authors that they were not even informed that the hearing was taking place, let alone asked to make a submission.

See : Criminalising Gaza, Dr Tristan Dunning and Dr Jeroen Gunning, Australian Outlook (Australian Institute of International Affairs), May 22, 2022.

• c) Context (Palestine Remembered with Samah Sabawi, playwright, scholar, commentator and poet, October 14, 2023, 9:44):

    … we’ve got now to the point in Western media where attending a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people is described by the Western media or mainstream media here in Australia as akin to supporting Hamas. We’re not even afforded an opportunity to be able to get together and show solidarity, mourn together, without being dehumanised and delegitimised. Palestinians are humans too, our babies’ lives matter as much as anybody else’s lives matter. And the fact that we’re having to explain that in Australia is disgusting.

    A couple of kids did an unnecessary action in burning a flag. I don’t condone that. I understand the frustration, and a desire to want to express an outrage at that, but there’s no space for that today. We need to be respectful of it. There were unconfirmed chants of some really horrible antisemitic stuff and there should be absolute condemnation of those chants. There is no room, no room, within our organisation for any sort of racism, homophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, any sort of hate. The movement for liberation for Palestine has to be, is, an anti-colonial, anti-racist, intersectional struggle for justice, for all.

Comment: Again, to note that reports of such chanting were initially ‘unconfirmed’ is understandable. I certainly found it difficult, at least initially, to determine exactly what happened on October 9 in Sydney (organisers later stated that ‘coverage had focused on a tiny fringe of “vile anti-Semitic attendees. Mostly young teens shouting ‘f*** the Jews'” who were quickly condemned and asked to leave, they said in a lengthy statement’). His initial response would be evidence of a determined hostility to Jews only if, when presented with evidence, Mashni was to deny its occurrence. In any event, Mashni states he deplores and condemns such behaviour.

Finally, Sakkal writes that: ‘Several guests on Mashni’s program have compared Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, including one who compared Israeli civilians upon whom violence was committed to plain-clothed Nazi soldiers on a day off. The show has also hosted members of a group called Samidoun, which is banned in Germany after its supporters celebrated the October 7 attacks.’

I’m unsure who the guests Sakkal refers to are, the episodes on which they appear and, consequently, the nature of their remarks or their context. That said, while the claim that the Israeli state is engaged in a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people is obviously topical, I think explicit comparisons between Nazi German and Israeli policy are rarely accurate or helpful and best avoided (others disagree, obviously). And I certainly reject the notion that Israeli civilians should be viewed as ‘plain-clothed Nazi soldiers on a day off’ as being sensible or worthy.

Regarding Samidoun, Palestine Remembered discussed it with two members on May 6, 2023, shortly after the death of Sheik Khader Adnan on May 2 following an 88-day hunger strike in protest at his detention without trial. According to German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (Germany bans Hamas activities, dissolves Samidoun group, Deutsche Welle, November 2, 2023):

Samidoun’s German wing had shown itself to be part of an international network that spreads anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda under the guise of solidarity for Palestinian prisoners.

Samidoun was behind an action in which a group of people handed out pastries in a Berlin street in celebration of Hamas’s attack.

“Holding spontaneous ‘jubilant celebrations’ here in Germany in response to Hamas’s terrible terrorist attacks against Israel demonstrates Samidoun’s antisemitic, inhuman worldview in a particularly sickening way,” Faeser said.

Further: ‘The ban adds that Samidoun compromises and jeopardizes the peaceful coexistence of Germans and foreigners and of different groups of foreigners in Germany, and compromises and jeopardizes public order because it supports violence to reach political goals and causes such violence. (Samidoun Ban para. 1.)’

At this point, it may be worth briefly considering how some have responded to Sakkal’s reportage, in this case on Twitter/X:

3)

The ‘prominent extremism expert’ in this instance is (Dr) Josh Roose, an Associate Professor at Deakin University. Previously an expert with a research focus on the various intersections between Islam, masculinity and terrorism (and so on), his attention in the last few years has turned to the far right and far left (often under the umbrella of countering violent extremism).

In the article, Roose:

… said Mashni’s comments on Zionism compared to those in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the book detailing a fabricated plot of Zionist world domination that has served as a rationale for antisemitism.

“It’s laden with the same conspiratorial underpinning that posits Jewish people as all-powerful and as wielding power behind the scenes,” he said.

Roose, who has spent years focusing on Islamophobia, has more recently taken an interest in antisemitism, which he said had surged across the far-left and far-right in the past decade.

He said the Holocaust and murder of 6 million Jews, and the antisemitism that underpinned it, was the key catalyst for the creation of the Israeli state.

“Critique of the state of Israel in a political sense due to its actions, particularly under the Netanyahu government, is perfectly legitimate. But the critique of Israel’s right to exist crosses a pretty clear line into antisemitism.”

In my view, there are obviously several points of comparison which could be chosen other than The Protocols which, because of its notoriety, certainly renders the kind of linkage Roose makes between it and the views of Mashni questionable. Equally certainly, the political effect is to marginalise Mashni: nobody who assumes its ideological framework deserves a place in any sensible discussion. Indeed, on Friday, The Australian reported that the presidents of both the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) have called for Mashni to be dumped from his scheduled appearance on Monday’s panel of ABC’s Q&A because Mashni is an antisemite who supports Hamas and ‘has been accused of being affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist group, known as the PFLP’. Thus award-winning investigative journalist Sharri Markson reckons: ‘The charity ‘Olive Kids’, founded by Australia Palestine Advocacy Network President Nasser Mashni, is sending money to a Gaza-based health organisation that is claimed [by NGO Monitor] to be affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, known as the PFLP.’

So … Mashni’s charity, Olive Kids, directs some funds to the Union of Work Health Committees (UWHC):

… a non-governmental organization that provides health services in Gaza with focus on women and children. Al Awda hospital is the largest facility of the Union of Heath Work Committees and was established in 1997 with community contribution covering 75% of the cost. The hospital provides all emergency, surgical, and maternity services in the north of the Gaza Strip. Olive Kids collaborates with UHWC to facilitate annual Australian medical missions to operate at Al Awda.

Markson’s claim that UHWC is affiliated with the PFLP relies upon two sources. The first is material published by the NGO Monitor, which she describes as having been ‘set up to assess non-governmental organisations claiming to advance human rights’ and which ‘identifies extensive ties between UHWC and the PFLP terror group’.

Without going into greater detail, I’ll simply add that NGO Monitor has a long history, and was described in quite different terms by Jean Hardisty and Elizabeth Furdon in The Public Eye (Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2004), published by Political Research Associates, a(nother)monitoring group, one which focuses on the (far-)right. According to it:

NGO Monitor … focuses on perceived threats to Israeli interests. Run by the Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA), which is based in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), NGO Monitor is a joint venture of B’nai B’rith International, ICA, and the Wechsler Foundation. Its website states that it was founded “to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of humanitarian NGOs in the frame-work of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” NGO Monitor cites examples of anti-Israeli “distortion” by humanitarian groups such as the UN Commission on Human Rights (which it accuses of regularly adopting 5-8 anti-Israel resolutions, and using meetings for one-sided discussions of Israeli policy), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Ford Foundation, the Israel Fund, Christian Aid, and the Advocacy Project.

In an article by two researchers at JCPA, titled “Monitoring the Political Role of NGOs,” the authors accuse “many NGOs” of “misquoting international law and overusing the terms ‘war crimes,’ ‘genocide,’ and ‘ethnic cleansing.'” They go on to say that NGO Monitor and similar initiatives serve to challenge the moral authority of NGOs, increase the accountability demanded from them, expose them to greater scrutiny by the press and by funding organizations, and question the “halo effect” that has protected them from criticism and scrutiny. The ideological slant of NGO Monitor’s work is unabashedly pro-Israeli. It does not claim to be a politically neutral examination of NGO activities and practices.

And so on. In support of her contention that ‘Olive Kids Funds Terrorism’, Markson also cites the writings of another bloke, Matthew Levitt, from another think tank, the Washington Institute but — as a thinker without a tank and better things to do — I’ll simply note that the Institute, like the Monitor, has elsewhere been described as ‘pro-Israeli’, and leave them both to one side for the time being.

Note: As I write, Al Awda is reportedly being bombed. On November 10, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHT) (Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel, Flash Update #35) stated: ‘In the early hours of 10 November, the vicinities of Al Awda hospital in Jabalia, and Al Quds hospital in Gaza city were bombarded; the intensive care unit at the latter sustained damage’. Previously, on the same date Sakkal’s article was published (Flash Update #33), the OCHT stated: ‘Al Awda Hospital indicated that its fuel stock will be exhausted within 30 hours. This hospital provides emergency services and specialized surgeries, and it is the only provider of maternity services in the northern Gaza Strip.’

Regarding the current surge in antisemitism, I’d suggest that what’s especially significant about what’s happened in the last decade is less the entrenchment of its presence ‘across the far-left and far-right’ but more its open expression by elements that have been incorporated into the political ‘mainstream’, both on an individual as well as an institutional level. By that I mean things like, first, the election of a succession of far-right governments in various parts of the world. Secondly, its ubiquity across anti-social media (and its ‘affordances’), which has temporarily peaked courtesy of The Richest Man in the World pandering to anti-Jewish and other racist sentiment on his latest, very expensive micro-blogging toy.

Finally, there are a number of critiques that could and have been made with regards ‘Israel’s right to exist’. Some advance a ‘political’ critique that denies its legitimacy on the basis of its standing as a colonial-settler and/or apartheid state based on ethno-nationalism; some do so on the grounds that it’s incompatible with the Jewish religious tradition or the interests of the Jewish diaspora as a whole; others reject the notion that ‘the state’ is a rights-bearing entity, or deny its legitimacy on more general grounds (a rejection of the ethical, philosophical and political validity of the state-form in toto). As I see it, the accusation is correct primarily if those advancing it admit to the rights of other peoples (or nations) to establish and maintain states (as a particular form of social relations) only to deny this ‘right’ specifically to ‘The Jews’.

In 2009, while noting that a ‘German hack named Wilhelm Marr is the man generally credited with coining the term ‘Anti-Semitism’ in the 1870s’, I wrote, badly, the following on the subject of anti-Zionism:

4)

‘Zionism’, like ‘Anti-Semitism’, may trace its roots back many centuries, but only really became solidified as an ideology and as a movement in the late 1800s, in particular by way of Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl (1860–1904). Like Uncle Ziggy, Herzl confronted Anti-Semitism during the course of his studies at the University of Vienna — unlike Freud, Herzl sought to confront it politically, most famously in his book Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), published in February 1896. (Note that Freud did join the lodge “Wien” of B’nai B’rith in 1897; he also responded to Nazi Anti-Semitism by proclaiming his Jewish identity even more strongly. Further disco on Freud’s Jewish identity is contained in the final chapter, ‘To Die In Freedom’, of Peter Gay’s biography, Freud: A Life For Our Time, Papermac, 1995 (1988). He certainly had a grim sense of humour: Just before 82-year-old Sigmund Freud was allowed to leave German-occupied Austria in 1938, the SS insisted he sign a statement claiming he had been treated well. He complied with a flourish: “I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone” — Ich kann die Gestapo jedermann auf das beste empfehlen [p.628].)

Of course, the realisation of the idea of a Jewish nation-state in/as Israel in 1948 has been considered a triumph for some, and a disaster for others. Like other Big Ideas — Australia, Christianity, Fascism, Germany, Islam, Marxism, Nationalism, and so on — nearly two thousand years after a Jewish carpenter got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, Zionism has a long and complex history (one antagonistic account is Ralph Schoenman’s The Hidden History of Zionism, 1988) and so too ‘Anti-Zionism’. An examination of the relationship between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism — one of many — is available by way of Robert S. Wistrich’s essay ‘Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism’ (Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol.16, Nos.3/4, Fall 2004). Wistrich argues that “anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two distinct ideologies that over time (especially since 1948) have tended to converge, generally without undergoing a full merger”; the strong link between the two is one of the principal criticisms [made by] the Anti-German camp (for further elucidation, see : ‘Communism, anti-German criticism and Israel’, An interview with Stephan Grigat by Jens Misera. First published in Israel Nachrichten, the German daily newspaper in Tel Aviv in 2004; first published in English at http://info.interactivist.net in 2005.)

Of contemporary ‘Anti-Zionism’, Jacques Hersh offers some Inconvenient Truths about ‘Real Existing’ Zionism in the Monthly Review (May 2009, Vol.61, No.1); further supplemented by Daniel Lang/Levitsky’s thoughts on how Jews Confront Zionism (June 2009, Vol.61, No.2). Probably the most well-known Australian Jewish critic of Zionism is Antony Loewenstein.

5)

Fourteen years later there’s a lot that could be added to the account I provided then, but the essential point remains: anti-Zionism is not synonymous with antisemitism.

It would be remiss of me not to conclude, as Sakkal does, by noting that ‘Melbourne’s 3CR radio has featured anti-Zionist voices for decades, for which it earned the tag of “the voice of terrorism” by The Bulletin magazine in 1978, a moniker the group rejected’. In which context:

a) 3CR does indeed reject being called “the voice of terrorism” (see below for a ‘3CR Statement on Palestine Remembered‘);
b) as Susan Price notes (New book celebrates four decades of radical radio, Green Left, August 26, 2016):

One early battle, in 1978, was in defence of 3CR’s programs Palestine Voice and Palestine Speaks against opposition from the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies. This led to the launching of an inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (ABT) into whether 3CR’s license should be revoked or suspended on the grounds that it had broadcast “offensive material”. The Bulletin even tried to scandalise 3CR as “the voice of terrorism” on its front cover.

3CR survived this attack, as well as surveillance by police and ASIO (some of which was revealed when the station’s 10-volume ASIO file became available last year).

The book colourfully portrays 3CR’s role as the voice of struggle as told by the range of community programmers, activists, including trade unionists, who have been a part of the station since its inception.

Volunteers from the Victorian branch of the Builders Labourers Federation were early programmers on The Concrete Gang — a show produced by unionists in the building industry that can still be heard on a Sunday morning. Programmers adopted aliases to avoid being blacklisted by the Master Builders Association — a tradition that continues to this day.

In summary:

• I think Sakkal’s article is, at best, inaccurate, and distorts Mashni’s views to — as Roose puts it — align them with the grotesque, antisemitic fabrications of The Protocols. This is unfair, and I invite the reader to actually listen to Palestine Remembered if they wish to better ascertain his actual opinions.
• I’ll leave it to others to ponder the disciplining effects this propaganda has upon the Palestinian solidarity movement in Australia.

Disclosure : I also present a show on 3CR. (Reportedly, in October last year, Paul Sakkal took part in a visit to Israel courtesy of the NSW JBD/The Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation.)

See also : 3CR Statement on Palestine Remembered, November 2023:

    3CR is an Australian community broadcasting licence holder based in Naarm / Melbourne. We broadcast on 855AM, 3CR Digital and online via www.3cr.org.au. We first received our licence in 1975 and went to air in 1976. The station has a long history of providing access to views not adequately represented by other broadcasting sectors, directly in line with the sector’s Codes of Practice.

    The community broadcasting sector nationwide consists of hundreds of stations and was specifically established to provide a voice to issues and communities that are misrepresented or underrepresented across other broadcast services. Consequently, this has meant that we have provided airtime to struggles against oppression across many decades, countries and communities including Apartheid in South Africa, the attempted genocide of the Tamil people and the struggle for freedom in East Timor.

    3CR firmly adheres to the sector’s Codes of Practice in relation to station activities and behaviour in seeking to ‘oppose and break down prejudice on the basis of ethnicity, race, language, gender, sexuality, age, physical or mental ability, occupation, religious, cultural or political beliefs’. We broadcast 24 hours a day across more than 100 locally produced shows, and we do not broadcast material that is likely to ‘stereotype, incite, vilify, or perpetuate hatred against, or attempt to demean any person or group, on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, language, gender, sexuality, religion, age, physical or mental ability, occupation, cultural belief or political affiliation’.

    Unsurprisingly the mainstream media has chosen to target Nasser Mashni and our Palestine Remembered weekly show for representing the views and struggle of the Palestinian people. Palestine Remembered will celebrate 20 years on air next year, and we are well-versed in the attention that providing the Palestinian issue with a voice brings. We also acknowledge that community knowledge of, and empathy for, the Palestinian cause has dramatically increased in the last month.

    We believe that mainstream media coverage of Nasser Mashni and the station’s Palestine Remembered show is inflammatory and misrepresents the station’s purpose and content over decades. We will continue to provide a media space for views not adequately represented by other broadcast sectors and believe that Palestine Remembered is the only radio program in English presented by the Palestinian community in Australia.

    Nasser Mashni is an experienced and well-respected broadcaster and advocate for the Palestinian community and is widely considered an authority on the Palestinian struggle. As a volunteer broadcaster, Nasser has presented Palestine Remembered for nearly 10 years, making a significant contribution to our station. We firmly stand with Nasser and whole-heartedly support his right to have a voice in the media on the Palestinian issue.

    3CR Community Radio
    Committee of Management

Posted in History, Media, State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

NOV 11 : A Night of Antifascist Oi! @ Cafe Gummo

Just a brief note to remind youse that tomorrow night at Cafe Gummo in Thornbury there’s ‘A Night of Antifascist Oi!’, featuring Permanent Revolution, Louts and Dire Need, and proudly presented by the Brisbane City Skinheads & Northern Suburbs Melbourne SHARPs:

Please note that at a previous gig, Balwyn Gauleiter Tom Sewell — last month convicted, along with a sidekick, of assaulting a small group of picnickers, and sentenced to a slap on the wrist by the courts as a result — instructed members of his neo-Nazi grouplet, some armed with knives, to disrupt the event. Unfortunately for his little gang, skinheads and other patrons told the neo-Nazis to shoo. The incident was the subject of some reportage, so it’s possible — but unlikely — that they may RETURN (or at least lurk nearby looking for easy targets to assault). As such, expect a visible police presence in the area, look out for yourselves and each other, and rock on!

PS. Another member of Sewell’s gang, Stefan Eracleous, was in court this week for a mention hearing. Currently, the ex-UniMelb Young Liberal turned neo-Nazi fanatik and fan of St. Tarrant* is facing charges for allegedly scrawling antisemitic graffiti at a public library and using a carriage service to menace Senator Lidia Thorpe.

*See also : ‘“Praise the saints”: The cumulative momentum of transnational extreme-right terrorism’ by Graham Macklin in A Transnational History of Right-Wing Terrorism (Routledge, 2022):

This chapter traces the transnational wave of extreme right-wing terrorism which began in March 2019 when the Australian extremist Brenton Tarrant murdered 51 people in two consecutive terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, an atrocity which he livestreamed on Facebook. It explores both the unique features of this attack as well as the other successful and attempted mass casualty attacks that followed in its wake: Poway, California; El Paso, Texas; Bæarum, Norway; and Halle, Germany. This is followed by an examination of the cumulative momentum that the Christchurch terrorist attack generated and the violent, subcultural milieu online that nurtured this “wave” of violence. It explores the “dark fandom” of this online environment and its construction of a set of secular “saints” and “martyrs” whose acts of racist terrorism are applauded and glorified as a means of inspiring and inciting others to commit further atrocities of their own.

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Yeah Nah Pasaran! #186 w Jason Wilson on Republicans, Rufo, Rumble & the Right : November 9, 2023

This week on Yeah Nah Pasaran! on 3CR we talk to our semi-regular Portland correspondent Jason Wilson [TwitterX/Mastodon]. We last spoke to Jason in August about conservatism and the Conservative Political Action Conference. On this occasion, we spoke to him about US and Australian politics, the Republicans, the right, the war on Gaza, and more.

See also : Revealed: Republican debate broadcast partner fueled by misogyny and extremism, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, October 24, 2023 & ‘Red Caesarism’ is rightwing code – and some Republicans are listening, The Guardian, October 2, 2023 /// ‘Discredit, disrupt, and destroy’: FBI records acquired by the Library reveal violent surveillance of Black leaders, civil rights organizations, Virgie Hoban, Berkeley Library (University of California), January 18, 2021 /// The Conservative Fault Lines Revealed by Debates Over Israel, Danny Postel, New Lines, November 7, 2023 & Get to Know the Influential Conservative Intellectuals Who Help Explain G.O.P. Extremism, Damon Linker, The New York Times, November 4, 2023 & In Search of Anti-Semitism (w/ John Ganz), Know Your Enemy, October 13, 2023 (‘John Ganz returns to discuss William F. Buckley’s 1992 book In Search of Anti-Semitism.’) /// An ultraconservative shadow network is forming, designed to influence you, Lucy Hamilton, Pearls & Irritations, November 1, 2023 & I went to anti-woke Davos, Sebastian Milbank, The Critic, October 31, 2023.

4.30pm, Thursday, November 9, 2023 /// 3CR /// 855AM / streaming live on the 3CR website

• This episode will be available as a podcast on Apple, Spotify and other platforms after broadcast.
• We also have a Facebook page for the show, which you’re invited to ‘Like’ and to ‘Follow’.
• I have a Patreon account which youse are also invited to support.

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Australian Unions on The War on Gaza

[Update (November 8, 2023) : A community picket @ Webb Dock in Port Melbourne (see below) succeeded in preventing trucks loading the Zim vessel and it’s been forced to re-join the queue and to try again (perhaps days) later.]

I don’t have much to add but, nonetheless, I thought it might be interesting to examine how Australian trade unions have responded to the war on Gaza.

To date, a month after the attack by Hamas and the beginnings of the IDF response, several statements have been made, both by union and related bodies:

• Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Statement on the humanitarian crisis in Palestine (October 16)
NSW Teachers Federation Executive Statement on Middle East Conflict (October 17)
• NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Statement on the Middle East conflict (October 19)
RTBU Statement regarding Israel-Hamas conflict (October 19)
NTEU Statement on Israel and Palestine (October 20)
• ASU (NSW & ACT) Australian Unions call for peace (October 21)
ACTU calls for an urgent ceasefire in Israel and Palestine (October 23)
• AEU (Federal) AEU Statement on the conflict in Israel and Palestine (October 24)
Executive of the Queensland/Northern Territory Branch of the Electrical Trades Union (October 26)
• ASU (VIC Private) Australian Unions call for peace (October 27)
• IEU VIC & TAS Statement on Israel and Palestine (October 30)
MEAA statement on Israel and Palestine crisis (November 6)
Statement of solidarity with Palestine from academics in Australian universities (Overland, November 6)
Unions Tasmania Statement on the Gaza Conflict (November 6)

I’ll add more as I discover them (on Twitter, Sarah Missen is keeping track).

In other news:

TARGETING PALESTINE: Australia’s secret support for the Israeli assault on Gaza, through Pine Gap., Peter Cronau, Declassified Australia, November 3
Palestinian human rights organisations launch court action to reveal ‘secret’ arms exports from Australia to Israel, Australian Centre for International Justice (November 6)

Finally, tomorrow in Naarm/Melbourne (November 8) and on Gadigal land in Sydney (November 11), actions have been organised in response to the docking of a boat belonging to the Zim shipping line. According to Jim McIlroy (Unionists for Palestine get organised, endorse call to boycott ZIM, Green Left, November 6): ‘The international effort is called #BlockTheBoat. ZIM, the Israeli shipping line, in the development of the Israeli war machine has been relentless. It is a major transporter of weapons of mass destruction.’

See also : “Unions [in so-called Australia]: Stop Arming Israel” (October 27, 2023) /// Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) /// Free Palestine Melbourne /// Palestine Justice Movement Sydney /// Stand With Palestine /// Unionists for Palestine /// Workers in Palestine.

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Yeah Nah Pasaran! #185 w Brandi Buchman on January 6, Trump, criminal trials & political tribulations : November 2, 2023

On this week’s episode of Yeah Nah Pasaran! on 3CR we talk to Brandi Buchman [X/Twitter]. Brandi is a writer and reporter for numerous outlets (including Daily Kos and Law & Crime) but, since January 2021, she’s been closely following the events surrounding the failed coup/insurrection by angwy Trumpists. Hence, Brandi:

covered the formation and rise of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol and later, reported on the committee’s work live and in-depth, ultimately receiving a citation in the committee’s final report. She went on to cover both of the marathon Oath Keepers and Proud Boys seditious conspiracy trials live from the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., and is currently writing a book about the historic trials.

We spoke to Brandi about the events of January 6, 2021, the subsequent criminal trials of many hundreds of its participants (including Proud Boys and Oath Keepers); Trump, his many trials and tribulations ahead of next year’s US presidential election — and more besides.

See : Proud Boy Henry Tarrio Sentenced to 22 Years for Role in Jan. 6 Seditious Conspiracy, emptywheel, September 1, 2023 | Right-Wing Militias Are Starting to Go to Jail for Jan. 6. Who’s Next?, Todd Zwillich, Vice, May 26, 2023 | With Friends Like These: A rough start to testimony from defense witnesses at Proud Boys sedition trial, emptywheel, March 21, 2023 | Memories of an insurrection: A reporter’s perspective, Daily Kos, January 1, 2022.

4.30pm, Thursday, November 2, 2023 /// 3CR /// 855AM / streaming live on the 3CR website

• This episode will be available as a podcast on Apple, Spotify and other platforms after broadcast.
• We also have a Facebook page for the show, which you’re invited to ‘Like’ and to ‘Follow’.
• I have a Patreon account which youse are also invited to support.

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‘Good luck with the future, gentlemen’ : Sewell, Hersant … and Hammerskins?

Having both previously plead guilty to a charge of ‘violent disorder’, at a sentencing hearing today in the Victorian County Court, Tom Sewell and Jacob Hersant, the Melbourne-based leaders of the neo-Nazi grouplets European Australian Movement/National Socialist Network, were spared jail.

Sewell, who had spent more than six months on remand after his arrest, was sentenced to one month and seven days jail recognised as time served.

Hersant, who had spent three days in custody, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service over the next 14 months.

Judge wishes prominent neo-Nazis ‘good luck’ as they avoid further jail, David Estcourt, The Age, October 27, 2023;
Neo-Nazis walk free from court, spared further jail time over attack on Victorian hikers, Kristian Silva, ABC, October 27, 2023;
Thomas Sewell and Jacob Hersant: Melbourne neo-Nazi leaders defiant after hikers attack, Liam Beatty, news dot com dot au, October 27, 2023;
Neo-Nazi leader sentenced to time served over attack on hikers in Victorian state park, Australian Associated press, October 27, 2023.

Remarkably, the sentencing magistrate said ‘good luck gentlemen’ as she left the bench, and believes the dynamic duo are good prospects for rehabilitation. I think this naive: [Judge] Blair wished the pair luck in their future, after which they turned and embraced neo-Nazi members who had attended court to support them. Shortly after stepping out of the court building, Hersant turned to the media and said: “Australia for the white man, Heil Hitler.”

Finally, … The judge also said that she did not believe the attack on the hikers was politically or racially motivated, and agreed it was not premeditated. This is also curious because the nazis argued exactly the opposite post-arrest, ie; the six victims of the violent affray were targeted precisely because they were identified by the nazis as ‘anti-fascists’. Sewell, outside court, further claimed that he, and two 18-year-old members, were run over during the exchange, which he blamed on “gay-Jewish-Communists”. “They’re anti-fascists, so they’ve got a political motivation to make false accusations,” Sewell said.

Cool story, bro.

In any case, further court dates loom for other EAM/NSN members and revolve around a Neo-Nazi charged over antisemitic graffiti in library bathrooms (October 20, 2023) and Notorious Neo-Nazis likely architects of ‘menacing’ video directed at Lidia Thorpe (October 11, 2023).

See also : Her Honour Judge Kellie Blair has handed down her sentencing reasons in the Director of Public Prosecutions v Thomas Sewell and Jacob Hersant., County Court of Victoria, October 27, 2023 | Neo-Nazi Jacob Hersant pleads guilty to distributing white-nationalist stickers promoting Nazism and more, Gemma Scerri. The Melbourne City News, October 18, 2023 | Unravel – Firebomb, Crispian Chan, ABC, August–October 2023 (‘Chinese restaurants are being firebombed in the dead of night. The police arson squad is racing against the clock to stop the next attack. It’s 1988 and as the rest of Australia celebrates the nation’s bicentenary, a campaign of terror is getting underway in Perth. Thirty-five years on, most of us have never heard about it, even though it’s one of the few sustained and coordinated terrorism campaigns in Australia’s history.’).

BONUS Hammerskins!

The boneheads known as Hammerskins belong to an earlier generation of neo-Nazi fanatik than the n00bs belonging to the EAM/NSN. Established in the US, the Australian franchise — the ‘Southern Cross’ Hammerskins — was the first (1992) to be thrown up outside North America, thanks principally to the efforts of Scott McGuinness (Fortress). Last month, having previously been outlawed in Portugal, Germany announced that it too was banning the group.

Disrupted by COVID-19 and lockdown, in Australia the boneheads appear to have closed their online domains 9% Productions, Blood and Honour Australia and Southern Cross Hammerksins last year (joining the ‘Crew 38’ site on the electronic scrapheap). And, while there’s been a close relationship between Australian, German and Portuguese Hammerskins in the (recent) past, I’m unaware if the decision to close the sites is related to the German legal repression.

In Canada, meanwhile, Hammerskins have been keeping busy by way of ‘Active Clubs’, a project also engaged in locally by the EAM/NSN. According to Tess Owen and Mack Lamoureux (As 2024 Looms, Neo-Nazis Are Returning to the Streets, Vice, September 14, 2023):

National Socialist Florida is another group that’s formed in the past year that has international ties. The group’s leader, Josh Nunes, who claims to be a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, says he partly modeled the organization after the Australia-based National Socialist Network (ASN), according to ADL. Nunes credits ASN’s leader, white supremacist Thomas Sewell, as a mentor and advisor to his group. In a recent interview with NPR, Nunes said that anti-LGBTQ activism has been hugely beneficial for attracting new members. “We’ve just seen the largest upticks in recruitment from the drag stuff,” Nunes said.

See also : Transgender movement next on Price hit list, Sarah Ison, The Australian, September 11, 2023.

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“Unions [in so-called Australia]: Stop Arming Israel”

1)

See : Against Fascism and War: Pig Iron Bob and the Dalfram Dispute, Port Kembla 1938, Mike Donaldson, Nick Southall, The Commons Library (2013).

As a result of the Israel-Gaza War, there’s an open letter in circulation addressed to workers and unions in relevant industries in so-called Australia, appealing to them to take action to stop the production and sale of arms to Israel.

    Unions: Stop Arming Israel

    Palestinian unions have issued an urgent global call to action, calling on workers everywhere to halt the sale and funding of arms to Israel — and related military research.

    “We are calling on trade unions in relevant industries:

    • To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel.
    • To refuse to transport weapons to Israel.
    • To pass motions in their trade union to this effect.
    • To take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution.
    • Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the US, funding to it.” (Source: Workers in Palestine, Progressive International)

    We ask workers and unions in so-called Australia to heed this call on every point. So-called Australia manufactures and exports arms to Israel, an act of material support for genocide.

    We call on unions in manufacturing, engineering, logistics and all other industries participating in the arms trade:

    • To direct their members to refuse to build or transport weapons destined for Israel, or to participate at any point in the supply chain for those weapons.
    • To support workers who refuse to participate in the manufacture and supply of weapons destined for Israel, whether members or not. This includes strike funds and legal support.

    We also call on unions and peak bodies whose members do not directly participate in the arms trade, but who share funds, spaces and affiliations with other unions and institutions that do:

    • To demand that these unions and institutions heed the calls listed above.
    • To enact all necessary steps to ensure these calls are heeded. This includes refusing to share funds, spaces or affiliations with those unions, peak bodies and institutions, until participation in the supply of arms to Israel is halted.

    Following the global call for solidarity from Workers In Palestine, Britain’s RMT union has voted to oppose the delivery of weapons to the Israeli regime. S.I. Cobas, a union in Italy’s logistics sector, has vowed to “oppose any shipping of weapons to Israel”. The All India Central Council of Trade Unions has called on workers worldwide to “unite and boycott manufacturing or loading of weapons and military equipment destined to Israel”.

    Solidarity with Palestinian workers.

    End union complicity in genocide.

    This open letter is an autonomous initiative in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Please share and circulate widely.

2)

On Wednesday morning in Naarm/Melbourne, ‘an alliance of Naarm/Melbourne activists entered the Port Melbourne building of Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems, with signs reading: ‘ELBIT DRONES KILL KIDS’ ‘FREE PALESTINE’ as so-called Australia wakes to the news that another 700 Palestinians being killed overnight by Israeli bombs’ (see WACA). On Wednesday evening, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – WAR and Free Palestine Melbourne organised a Blak and Palestinian Solidarity Rally. There will be furthers actions on the weekend.

3)

The Palestine Laboratory by Antony Loewenstein — whom we spoke to for the radio show a few weeks ago — is now available for free download from Verso Books.

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Yeah Nah Pasaran! #184 w Dr Kaz Ross on Bannon, Australia, fascism, freedom : October 26, 2023

This week on Yeah Nah Pasaran! on 3CR we talk to Dr Kaz Ross [Twitter/X]. Kaz researches far-right extremism, conspiracies and China and has been a previous guest on the show (July 2021 and July 2020). On this episode, we spoke to her about Steve Bannon, right-wing extremism in Australia (especially Melbourne), sovereign citizens and None Dare Call It.

See/hear also : What you need to know about the rise of alt-right extremism in Australia., Isabella Ross, mamamia, June 10, 2023 | Lidia Thorpe, ‘Posie Parker’ and the neo-Nazis, ABC (News Daily), March 24, 2023 | Rejecting Your Strawman: Dr Kaz Ross on the Rising Sovereign Citizen Movement, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, January 26, 2023.

4.30pm, Thursday, October 26, 2023 /// 3CR /// 855AM / streaming live on the 3CR website

• This episode will be available as a podcast on Apple, Spotify and other platforms after broadcast.
• We also have a Facebook page for the show, which you’re invited to ‘Like’ and to ‘Follow’.
• I have a Patreon account which youse are also invited to support.

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Yeah Nah Pasaran! #183 w Luke L Pearson on The Voice, racism, literacy & sovereignty : October 19, 2023

That this Conference believes that the destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in their ultimate absorption by the people of the Commonwealth, and it therefore recommends that all efforts be directed to that end.*

This week on Yeah Nah Pasaran! on 3CR we talk to Luke L Pearson [Twitter/X]. Luke is a Gamilaroi man and the founder and CEO of IndigenousX, ‘a 100% Indigenous owned and operated media, consultancy, and training organisation’. Luke has written numerous articles for IndigenousX (including most recently An open letter to mob about after the referendum) and we asked him on the show to provide us with some further reflections on The Voice referendum/campaign. Indigenous media, representation and politics, and the impact and significance of events such as this for Indigenous struggles, now and in the future.

See also : What is racial invisibility, and how do white people benefit from it?, January 14, 2022 /// Addressing deficit reporting is more than just telling positive stories, October 27, 2021 | Deficit Discourse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Policy [PDF], The Lowitja Institute, Summary Report, 2018.

*Aboriginal Welfare. Initial Conference of Commonwealth and State Aboriginal Authorities. Canberra, April 21 to 23, 1937 [PDF].

4.30pm, Thursday, October 19, 2023 /// 3CR /// 855AM / streaming live on the 3CR website

• This episode will be available as a podcast on Apple, Spotify and other platforms after broadcast.
• We also have a Facebook page for the show, which you’re invited to ‘Like’ and to ‘Follow’.
• I have a Patreon account which youse are also invited to support.

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