MEDIA RELEASE: Comment by the Hon Bob Katter MP on Q&A program

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Comment by the Hon Bob Katter MP on Q&A program

Anton Block, ECAJ President

28 August 2018

On the Q & A program on ABC TV on 27 August 2018, one of the panelists, the Hon Bob Katter MP, was asked a question about the reason for his support for the call by Senator Fraser Anning for “a final solution to the immigration problem” in his maiden speech. Senator Anning was calling for a popular vote on the issue, but his use of the words “final solution” in that context was widely condemned, including by our organisation, which described it as “a chilling reminder of how the process of dehumanisation begins”.

In seeking to justify his defence of Senator Anning’s speech, Mr Katter read out a supporting statement by a lone member of the Jewish community, a Mr Avi Yemini of Melbourne, who regularly publishes radical right-wing views on his social media page. Mr Katter then concluded: “That reflects the Jewish position in this country”.

The opinions of Mr Yemini which were read out by Mr Katter most certainly do not reflect “the Jewish position in this country”.

Mr Yemini is in no way associated with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, which is the elected national representative body of the Australian Jewish community, or with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, which is the roof body representing the Jewish community in Victoria, or with any other elected Jewish communal roof body or representative organisation, and he does not in any way represent the Australian Jewish community, or any State Jewish community or mainstream Jewish thought.

Contrary to the assertions of Mr Yemini, the use of the expression “final solution” by Senator Anning, and his positive references to Australia’s former White Australia policy, were as repugnant to the vast majority of Jews in Australia, especially to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants, as they were to the vast majority of
Australians generally. It was heartening to see the rare cross-partisan consensus in condemning those aspects of Senator Anning’s speech.

We deeply regret that Mr Katter, who is well disposed towards the Jewish community, chose to highlight Mr Yemini’s views and to attribute them to the Jewish community.

Peter Wertheim AM | Co-CEO
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