The charge that ‘Jewish money’ corrupts politics in Western countries is certainly nothing new, but we continue to marvel at the evolution - as this blog has observed on many occasions - by which such Judeophobic narratives about the injurious influence of Jews typically associated with the far-right are increasingly fashionable amongst commentators claiming a progressive orientation.
There was a good illustration of this disturbing trend in excerpts of new autobiography by Bob Carr, the former Australian foreign minister, as reported by the political editor of Guardian Australia Lenore Taylor. The article, published on April 9, included the following passages:
Bob Carr: Diary of a Foreign Minister includes a detailed account of a period in October and November 2012 when Carr campaigned against [Prime Minister] Gillard’s insistence that Australia should support Israel and vote against Palestinian observer status in the United Nations.
The bitter fight became entwined in the leadership tensions that were reaching a crescendo at the time.
As it reached its height, he describes [former Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd arriving at his parliament house office “purse-lipped, choirboy hair, speaking in that sinister monotone. A chilling monotone”.
Rudd’s had a “morbid interest” in the issue which had the potential to impact both on Australia’s fate in the upcoming vote for a seat on the UN security council and on his own chances to return to the prime ministership.
“How much of this is about money, I asked him,” Carr writes. “He said about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community.”
Carr concludes that “subcontracting our foreign policy to party donors is what this involves. Or appears to involve.”
First, it’s important to note that Australia ended up voting to ‘abstain’ from the UN vote on ‘Palestine’, rather than voting ‘no’ as the U.S. and Israel was reportedly lobbying them to do. So, if, as Carr suggests, the government’s decision on the ‘Palestine’ vote in the UN was indeed dictated by Jewish donations, why did they choose the course of action opposed by Israel and the Jewish community?
Further, Gillard’s tenure as prime minister was widely seen as a shift away from the staunchly pro-Israel policies of the government under prime minister John Howard, which governed the country for 11 years prior to Labor’s victory in 2007. So, again, if money from Australian Jews dictated the government’s policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, why didn’t Gillard continue with the policies of her predecessor?
However, putting aside the specious reasoning behind Carr’s imputation of Jewish influence in Australian politics aside, it’s quite interesting how the Guardian framed the story. Here’s the headline and strap line to Taylor’s article:
The strap line text is curious in that it frames Carr’s accusation (per the reasonably accurate headline) as ‘casting light‘ on the government’s alleged support for Israel – a term referring to something which provides an explanation for a phenomena or makes it easier to understand.
Additionally, there’s nothing in the passages in Taylor’s report following Carr’s quote which would suggest that his accusation was at all problematic, controversial or tinged with bigotry.
To be fair, it’s far less than clear how Taylor interpreted Carr’s remark.
However, it is indisputable that narratives suggesting the money and influence of Jewish or pro-Israel groups undermine the foreign policy of democratic countries is something akin to conventional wisdom within a segment of the U.S. and European Left. And, it’s fair to conclude that – for most within the Guardian-Left political milieu – Carr’s words would likely represent ‘important insight’ into the root cause of the putatively pro-Israel bias in the West.