Conservatives from both sides line up to put the boot into prominent Human Rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC for having the gall to tweet about 62 murdered civilians.
Late last month Human Rights Watch released a report detailing three specific attacks on Palestinians living in Gaza.
These attacks left 62 civilians dead, including women and children. The report found that there was no military purpose for these attacks with no militants injured or killed in the guided-missile attacks, only civilians. The Human Rights Watch report stated these attacks;
“violated the laws of war and apparently amount to war crimes”
“Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby,”
With that many innocent civilians slaughtered for no reason, there was always going to be some anger related to the murder of families, and in Australia and it certainly didn’t take long to appear.
Quick off the mark were several parliamentarians including Sarah Henderson, Alan Tudge, Michael Sukkar, and State Members Tim Smith and David Southwick. All these Liberals were quick to voice their condemnation, and rightly so you’re probably thinking.
Their anger however was not for the deaths of innocent civilians. It was directed towards Julian Burnside AO QC for tweeting an article by the Washington Post about the report.
In his now deleted tweet, Mr Burnside compared the deaths of the innocent families forced to live in sub-human conditions in a man-made ghetto under military occupation to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis. This drew the vitriol of the usual suspects that think you can bag China, Iran, and even invade Iraq under false pretences killing over half a million people, but mention a massacre by Israel in occupied Palestine and they’ll burst a blood vessel.
To his credit, Mr Burnside was quick to apologise for any offence.
The attacks on Mr Burnside came from a string of Liberals, Jewish lobbyists and one lone Labor parliamentarian amongst a sea of conservatives, Senator Kimberly Kitching.
I contacted all of these MP’s and Senators and asked them if they could point me in the direction of their condemnation of the illegal acts that left 62 innocent people dead. None of them could do so.
Interestingly these people who claim to care about human rights can shrug off the death of 62 civilians but kick up a storm about a tweet referring to it.
Senator Kitching is currently pushing for the Magnitsky Act to be passed in Australia. This is a bill meant to target human rights violators like those that committed these attacks and other alleged Israeli war criminals currently being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. The original Magnitsky Act was designed to target Russian criminals and some say Ms Kitching’s involvement is ironic after being referred to as “Labor’s Moscow Mule” by the Daily Telegraph after it was discovered approximately half of her Twitter followers were Russian bots. It was alleged that these followers were ‘purchased’, which if true may make Ms Kitching the first Australian Senator to directly fund Russian cyber fraudsters.
For failed MP and last-minute Senator Sarah Henderson it wasn’t enough to just abuse Mr Burnside, she wanted to see him punished. So she lodged a complaint with the Victorian Bar Association to try and have his Queens Consul status stripped on the false premise that his tweet was antisemitic.
Whist drawing no response from the Victorian Bar due to them having no jurisdiction over the area’s she complained about she did draw a response from the Western Australian Bar Association who wrote to “express concern” at her conduct as an Australian Senator stating;
Mr Burnside reiterated to Wixxyleaks that he regretted the comparison he had made in his tweet, responding;
“A colleague from the Bar (who lost family members in the Holocaust) rang me and made the point that the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians is about land; the Holocaust was about genocide.”
I asked Mr Burnside why he thought that 26 words from his hands were more offensive to these people than 62 murdered civilians at the hands of the Israeli government. To this he had no answer, instead offering this suggestion to those who chose to spew their misdirected anger at him;
“I wish the people who are so keen to attack anyone who says anything about the Holocaust would be equally vocal about the current and continuing genocide of Uyghurs, Hazaras, Kurds and Rohingyas.”
People who are critical of the Israeli government are often falsely accused of antisemitism, so I was keen to hear Mr Burnside’s views, as a human rights lawyer, on speaking out about the behaviour of the Israeli government.
“I think it is essential that reasonable criticism can be made without the person making the criticism being attacked.”
In relation to the attacks on him, he responded;
“Part of the blame rests on the Murdoch press, who drummed up the story, perhaps because I stood for the Greens against Josh Frydenberg in 2019, and they wanted me to stand against him at the next election. So, criticism of me involved the Murdoch press saying:
- That my tweet was anti-Semitic (false)
- That I am anti-Semitic (false)
- That the tweet was the reason I am not standing against Frydenberg again (false)”
Julian Burnside, as we all know, didn’t finish up a parliamentarian. However, those parliamentarians that sought to promote themselves at his expense could maybe learn a thing or two about taking responsibility for their words and perhaps put a greater emphasis on the lives of innocent civilians rather than the will of a foreign government. Particularly one that appears to have a commitment to breaking international law while falsely claiming to be the victim.
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