STOP PRESS: No campaign publishes racist post!

Who would have thought it? The No campaign has published a blatantly racist post!

The Australian Jewish Association has been running a campaign against the Voice. It has been a clone of so many of the right wing campaigns poisoning Australian discourse with racism, misinformation and disinformation.

The only difference is that it is a rare example where the right-wing groups themselves may have to call enough – even though in social media posts and other outlets there are many other groups which are just as culpable.

The Association – despite its name – is not representative of Jewish attitudes – as indicated by the recent blog post about the grassroots Jewish community campaign.

His crimes – racist outbursts including posts about Stan Grant’s complexion and how it is pale if you ‘look closely’ and take away the ‘Black Face’ Adler thinks he may be using. To add to the plot he also questioned Lydia Thorpe’s heritage which, as she is supposedly on his side, is perhaps an indication of how odd Adler is.

Paul Sakkal (The Age 15/8) reported that: “Australian Jewish Association head David Adler, who sits on the advisory board of top No outfit Advance with former prime minister Tony Abbott, insists he was not trying to insult the prominent Indigenous pair when he questioned Thorpe’s Aboriginal heritage and repeatedly suggested Grant had artificially darkened his skin.”

Adler wrote that “Both these people [Grant and Thorpe] have put race as central to their political statements so raising questions, even uncomfortable non [politically correct] questions, is legitimate, not racist.”

Days after Grant stepped down from Q&A Adler posted pictures of Grant on social media that “STAN GRANT’S COMPLEXION SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED” (and) “Look at the 3 pics. Can anyone explain?”

In March, Adler posted the same image with the caption: “IS STAN GRANT DOING ‘BLACK FACE’? If so, why?”

Now ‘just asking’ seems to be one of his defences – a technique honed by Pauline Hanson and others. Along with ‘just asking’ he spouted that ‘some of my friends are Aboriginal’ – citing Warren Mundine who just happens may have to sack him. What’s more he says he has photos of himself with Mundine. Which has the advantage of reminding Mundine to delete them from his Google photos collection.

He’s also, according to him, 100% zero racism which suggests you shouldn’t employ him as maths tutor for your kids.

Mark Leibler, Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council chair told The Age: “The notion that someone who leads a so called ‘Jewish organisation’ could post such disgusting comments about anyone from another minority group, in this case the highly regarded journalist and author Stan Grant, is nothing short of grotesque.”

Gary Max, a presenter on the Jewish radio station J-Air has had Adler on his radio show after constant demands by Adler. Max is a Yes supporter but has strived to be balanced by giving radio time to two MPs who are opposed or doubtful. He has also called out Adler’s letters and comments to the Australian Jewish News.

Now he says: “Words cannot express how embarrassed I am to have had David Adler on my J-AIR show, Talking to the Max, in the supposed interests of ‘balance’. Slurs, especially antisemitic and racial insults against those with differing views are not an exchange of ideas ‘guided by Jewish values’, they are unacceptable and disgusting public statements not worthy of any organisation, especially one incorporating the word ‘Jewish’ in its title.”

But what is probably most significant is that Adler’s efforts and words represent just one small part of the massive racist disinformation campaign being conducted throughout Australia.

Mark Kenny Professor, Australian Studies Institute, Australian National University, says Advance was set up as right-wing counterweight to GetUp! It promotes itself as combatting “woke political and elitist activist groups.” (The Conversation 26/7) As John Howard is an advisor along with Tony Abbott you can perhaps feel some confusion about what constitutes an ‘elite’.

Kenny analysed Advance’s activities and tactics in The Conversation (26/7). He reported that Advance Australia  was formed in  2018 in the wake of the marriage equality referendum  “tasked with mobilising a hitherto disparate conservative citizenry whose adherents blame ‘wokeism’ for everything from the declining authority of the Christian church to gender fluidity, environmentalism, and the Voice to Parliament.”

It later dropped the Australia word and the brand is now just Advance. It also runs the Australia Fair anti-Voice campaign which is either a marketing masterstroke or a clanger depending on who is their real target audience.

Its PR adviser is, according to Kenny, the US firm RJ Dunham &Co which works with right-wing US faith groups and the Australian firm, Whitestone Strategic which declares itself “Australia’s conservative campaign consultancy.”

Kenny says: “For all its Australiana atmospherics Advances’ language, methods, and even its preoccupations seem more at home in the heated grievance invective of Trumpist America than the more temperate vernacular of Australian political exchange.”

And there’s the rub. Increasingly – as demonstrated by the flood of misinformation, disinformation and lies in the Voice campaign – The Trumpist invective is becoming the defining characteristic of the political approach of Australian right-wing parties and groups.

It is even possible Peter Dutton could be in favour of recognition of the Voice. He has said as much in stating that he would legislate one – not just have it in the Constitution – and he is also on record in favour of more Indigenous recognition in the Constitution.

The irony is that instead he has become captive of a political approach which might win for No or similar causes but will continue to ensure women and younger people vote for other parties. Scott Morrison, if his God organised a miracle which opened his eyes to reality, could testify to that.