One Nation's Pauline Hanson looks on during a news conference in Brisbane, Monday, July 4, 2016. The One Nation leader believes her party could win two Senate seats seats in Queensland, one seat in NSW and Western Australia and possibly one in each of Tasmania and South Australia. While Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have been phoning key crossbenchers about their support for a possible minority government, neither has spoken to Ms Hanson. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

Pauline Hanson and Australian Jewry

If there is word such as Trumpism, then it is expressing itself in Australia via the rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. To be fair, Pauline Hanson has possibly been promoting these views long before Donald Trump even thought of them, but when you are the president-elect of the USA and the incoming leader of the Western world, then I suppose you get some naming rights.

Some controversy has now arisen over a public event where Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts have been invited to speak to the Melbourne Jewish community.

Our community is not politically homogenous with allegiances ranging from the centre-Right to the far Left.

Jewish Australians are proud and loyal citizens of this country although we naturally have a strong interest in Israel because of its biblical and ancestral connection to the Jewish faith, as well as its status as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

So when political parties such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation come along, our small community watches with interest.

But as the saying goes: “two Jews, three opinions” and there is no uniform group consensus on whether One Nation is good or bad, both for our community or for the country.

Two components of Hanson’s party are of particular interest, namely her views on Israel and Middle East and also her views on Islam. Our communal leadership certainly leans towards a critical view of One Nation, but many individuals resist this position and are personally more supportive of Hanson’s policies.

The conventional wisdom of our leadership groups is akin to many others, i.e. Pauline Hanson allegedly espouses racist policies that have no place in modern day Australia. Overlaying this, from our perspective, is the implied notion that if someone is critical of Muslims today, then it is only a matter of time until they are against Jews.

On Jews and Israel, One Nation appears to have no specific views but has made comments prior to her election that were supportive of Israel and Jews.  However, Malcolm Roberts’ conspiracy theories do raise some concerns, particularly the one about climate change science having been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”.

However, One Nation’s outspoken comments on Islam and Muslim immigration do generate some discussion within the Jewish community because of the relationship between Islam and Judaism.

This relationship can be tense at the best of times, and there is no doubt that there are many fine and decent Muslim Australians, but that is not the problem.

Islamic holy texts contain mixed opinions of Jews, beginning early on with a friendly disposition to Jews as the original chosen people, but then descending into vile and insulting descriptions of an implacable enemy that must be destroyed, along with all the other infidels.

However, as many people like to point out, the Torah also contains passages of violence in which the Israelites are commanded to destroy their enemies, e.g. the Hittites, Amorites, and Jebusites among others, however fortunately for us, there are none of these people around now so we don’t have to wrestle with how to deal with them.

It is also apparent to this writer that as immigration from Islamic lands rises, so does anti-Semitism. One need only look to Europe and Scandinavia to see an environment that has grown so hostile to Jews that many are either leaving, or considering leaving.

So, when Pauline Hanson expresses concern at our government discussing an increase in Muslim immigration, many in in the Jewish community privately wonder where this could eventually lead.

Jewish institutions and schools are already employing armed guards for protection and it is obvious who we are being protected from; it is not from ethnic minorities such as Buddhists, Sikhs, Chinese or even from the Christian majority.

Like most Australians, the Jewish community is welcoming of any person or culture that wants to live here, providing they accept the Judeo-Christian values this country is built on. That’s what happened when our parent’s generation arrived here in the 1950s, and it’s what has happened with the Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and all the other immigrants that followed.

But something seems different now. Radical Islam is on the rise and people are nervous about allowing people in to this country with questionable documentation and no real avenues of checking an immigrant’s bona fides. After all, if someone from Iraq or Syria arrives on our doorstep, who will the immigration officer call? ISIS?

Not all Jews are suspicious of One Nation, and so the proposed public meeting with Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts will provide an opportunity to question them on issues of concern to our community.

Many of us feel that the pendulum has swung much too far towards globalisation, political correctness and an agenda driven media, so we don’t mind parties like One Nation advocating for a correction, as also evidenced by the Trump victory and Brexit.

Alan Freedman has an interest in Israel advocacy and issues of importance to the Jewish world and, with co-host Michael Burd, runs a radio program called Nothing Left on J-Air, the Jewish community radio station in Melbourne.

[This article was published in The Spectator.]