Three days ago, Andrew Bolt published an attack on this blog in the Sydney Herald Sun in which he implicitly accused contributors to this blog of anti-Semitism.
It is clear that neither Mr Bolt nor the majority of commentators to Mr Bolt’s blog posting have bothered to read Khaldoun’s policy statement. Note that it states quite emphatically that we do not support bigotry of any kind, against race, religion or gender. Take a closer look at the site and what you will see is that at no stage do we focus on Jews, Christians or Muslims (and we have taken to task any commentators who do). What we do focus on is the way that the Middle East is shaped by particular material and discursive power relations.
Criticising the State of Israel is not a criticism of Jews. How is it anti-Semitic to draw attention to newspaper coverage of the Israeli Defense Force killing children, or to Benny Morris’ provocative call for preemptive nuclear war against Iran? We would venture to suggest that to claim so, as Bolt and several commentators on his blog do, is itself anti-Semitic because of the implication that Jewishness equates with the brutality of an occupying colonial army, or the ideology of a war-mongerer. Such is offensive to the many Jews who refuse to identify with the ideology of Zionism. One contributor to the blog, Noah Bassil, has also written strongly against the Sudanese government and military, on a number of occasions, and their role in the death and destruction occurring in Darfur. Does this make Mr Bassil a Muslim-hater? From the logic of Bolt and the letters to this page, apparently so. Yet, not one of them has mentioned Mr Bassil’s hatred of Muslims, or the Sudanese.
The simplistic and quite offensive way that our work has been depicted is just further evidence of the bigotry, narrow-mindedness and ignorance of some people and provides greater impulse to carry on with our work.
Centre for Middle East Studies,
Dr Lisa L Wynn
Department of Anthropology
Associate Professor Joseph Pugliese
Department of Critical and Cultural Studies
Dr Gennaro Gervasio
Department of Politics and International Relations