What on earth does Gerard Henderson have against Lebs?
His most recent piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, an assault on anti-Israel protesters who allegedly hijacked a Sydney Hiroshima protest, contained the usual defence of hawkishly pro-Israel positions that even Israelis themselves are beginning to doubt.
Fair enough. Henderson supports Israel. Many Australians are sympathetic to Israel and hostile to Lebanon and/or Hezbollah in the current conflict. And yes, it is hypocritical for some protesters to mourn for Lebanese but not for Israelis. And I can’t say people like the Mufti Mel Hilaly (or should that be Tajeddine Gibson?) and his interpreter are my favourite Aussie Mossies.
But for Henderson to claim that an entire migrant wave came to Australia on the basis of false pretences is little more than an attempt to sound sophisticated whilst jumping on the same bandwagon Waleed Aly so deftly demolished last Sunday.
Henderson writes: “Many of the Lebanese Muslim Australians … were given refugee status during the civil war in Lebanon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, despite the fact they did not meet the requirements for obtaining refugee status.”
And the relevance of his point to the protest march and the current conflict in the Middle East is? Who knows? Indeed, who cares?
Is Henderson claiming that Lebanese Muslims engaged in migration fraud? Is he suggesting the Australian embassy in Damascus was party to this fraud? Is he suggesting Malcolm Fraser and his immigration minister were subverting due processes to favour Lebanese Sunni and/or Shia Muslims?
I’d love to see Henderson make this pitch to Ahmed Fahour should the Institute need NAB sponsorship.
I’d also love to see Gerard argue this point with Anne Henderson, who seems to have excellent rapport with Lebanese Aussies of all backgrounds.
© Irfan Yusuf 2006