Suddenly, an Epidemic of Moral Deafness

I scarcely thought it possible, to be honest, but my contempt for the academic and cultural Left in this country has lately reached new heights. Ever since Hamas’ pogrom on October 7, much of our intellectual elite has seemingly decided to work pro bono for the terror group’s PR team.

Nick Riemer, a linguistics lecturer at Sydney University, spends so much time on activist pursuits that it’s a wonder he has a spare moment for students. “It’s simple,” Riemer averred as the Israeli body count was climbing, “everyone who wants a just world must stand with Palestine, for an end to brutal occupation, siege and apartheid. Unconditional solidarity with Gazans. Free Palestine.”

Unconditional solidarity, it turns out, really means the moral impermissibility of showing any sympathy towards murdered Jews, or any unease about the manner in which Jews are murdered. The cause of liberation, apparently, is too important for such considerations. Riemer, who is also a union president with experience in rallying the troops, has been a major promoter and organising force behind the protest marches that have defiled the streets of Sydney. It’s hardly surprising, then, that such get-togethers have brought out Hamas cheerleaders and other assorted goons — it’s simply a reflection of the leadership at the top.

Another prominent figure in this rogue’s gallery is Sara Saleh, a Palestinian poet, author and lawyer.

She seems at least to acknowledge that — well, sure — Hamas may occasionally misbehave, but no one should be too hard on them. “As a matter of fact,” Saleh wrote not long after the stories of beheadings and mass rape began to emerge, “Palestinian resistance has, by and large, shown considerable restraint.” Saleh’s compassion only extends to the Palestinians who die for the cause. “Glory to our martyrs always,” she added, a sentiment which some might think might be of interest to ASIO. Instead, you’re much more likely to find Sara Saleh headlining an academic conference on Aboriginal-Palestinian solidarity, or perhaps as an expert heckler on ABC’s The Drum.

The most ubiquitous figure has undoubtedly been Randa Abdel-Fattah, an author and Macquarie University Fellow. Whenever Hamas gets up to its genocidal mischief, Abdel-Fattah is quick to appear on television screens to contextualise —  that’s her word — the latest atrocities. She manages this task by noisily dodging condemnation of Hamas and banging on about Israel’s supposed settler colonialism, ethnic cleaning, and whatever else has lately been added to the charge sheet. She did all this in the now-viral interview with Erin Molan on Sky News, embedded below.

After Molan on a few occasions tried to describe Hamas’ war crimes, like the decapitation of babies, Abdel-Fattah got very huffy and denied such allegations, dismissing them as Israeli “propaganda.” She then added — and this still wasn’t her most odious claim — that Hamas should not be considered a terrorist organisation. Towards the end of the debate, Molan played a video clip of protestors at the Sydney Opera House chanting “Gas the Jews” and asked for a reaction: Abdel-Fattah tersely replied: “I didn’t hear anything.”

That sums up Abdel-Fattah and her co-thinkers. All can be reliably counted upon to accuse Israel of fabricated crimes, like the bombing of the Al-Ahli Hospital, while they pretend not to notice the mass murder of Jewish civilians, which now includes babies torn from their mothers’ wombs.

Australian campuses and institutions are not the only ones infested with cretins. The war in the Middle East has triggered an outbreak of Hamas excuse-making and glorification all across Western universities. “It was exhilarating, it was energising,” enthused Cornell professor Russell Rickford about the 1400 dead Israelis. “Settlers are not civilians,” stated Yale professor Zareena Grewal, who has probably served up the most laconic justification for the massacre of Jews. “Intifada until victory,” declared a group of Oxford academics and union members.

If there’s anything useful to be gleaned from all this, it might be the broader public’s belated realisation of how disgustingly corrupt our universities and elite institutions have become. Konstantin Kisin, a thoughtful observer in the UK, has written of how many people must have woken up as a progressive on October 7 and turned into some kind of conservative as the horrors unfolded. It should go down, he writes, as “the day the delusions died.” All this talk of decolonisation, intersectionality and siding with the so-called oppressed turns out to have practical and bloody implications. If academics, intellectuals and their student followers can applaud the violent “decolonising” of Israel, one might easily suspect they have similar plans for our societies.

I’m slightly heartened, then, by a cultural turn against these villains in our midst. This ought to involve, first of all, a willingness to call apologists for terror and murder by accurate descriptors. In that Sky News interview there was a missed opportunity to get started on such an endeavour. Randa Abdel-Fattah, after detailing her various moral idiocies, asked a flummoxed Erin Molan, “Do you think I’m a monster?”

Well, yes. Yes, I believe many do.

31 thoughts on “Suddenly, an Epidemic of Moral Deafness

  • cbattle1 says:

    Surely the problem has been created by British and French occupation of the Middle East, post WW1, and therefore the answer is to return the area to Turkish rule? There was peace and stability within the Ottoman Empire.

  • rosross says:

    I fail to understand how so many seemingly intelligent people can talk about a pogrom by the Palestinian Resistance and yet ignore the growing rate of pogroms by the Jewish settlers against the Palestinians.

    The attack by Hamas, a part of the Palestinian Resistance, happened in response to crushing and deadly Israeli occupation and continued colonisation over 75 years.

    The recent pogroms by Jewish settlers happened because while they have always rampaged around, heavily armed, setting Palestinian homes on fire, destroying orchards, vineyards, crops, the Israeli Government has encouraged them to launch such attacks on those they occupy.

    While we may condemn violence, is it really all equal? Is the violence of an occupier seeking to punish those who resist no different to violence used by those who are occupied and brutalised to fight for their freedom? I doubt any court of law would say so.

    Despite the parlous state of academia on many counts, are they truly in the wrong to seek to defend the rights of the oppressed?

    As to cries of Gas the Jews, as intelligent and sensible adults, should we not leave such extremes in the same box that we put Jewish calls for Death to Arabs? I certainly do not judge all Israelis or Jews on the statements of their extremists. People say foolish things, like the Israeli MP who said the children of Gaza were to blame for what was happening to them. Really? How could anyone of conscience say such a thing?

    Name-calling does not make a case. The charge of monster could settle on many voicing genocidal plans in Israel at this point.

    • Jason Gardner says:

      I knew you’d crawl out of your spider hole. The horrible irony is that you’ve proved the author’s point. You’re big on “proportionality”, right? So, show us examples of how the Israelis have pack raped Pallie women, cut babies out of wombs, beheaded, mutilated, incinerated entire families tied together with wire. Oh, wait, you can’t. That’s because there is a fundamental moral difference between the IDF and your mates in Hamas. The fact that you don’t get it is utterly vomitous.

      • rosross says:

        You said:So, show us examples of how the Israelis have pack raped Pallie women, cut babies out of wombs, beheaded, mutilated, incinerated entire families tied together with wire.

        Please provide proof for your hyperbolic claims. We now know that no babies were beheaded, the Palestinians treated their hostages humanely and the Israelis bombed the hospital. The facts are coming out.

        Your purple prose, without proof, is just propaganda. What I find fascinating is how people ignore the facts which prove such claims to be lies and then invent even greater unproven atrocities.

        It’s a bit like the aboriginal activists adding 10,000 more years to their time-frame. Never let facts get in the way of propaganda.

        Stick to facts not hyperbolic ranting and ad hominem attacks.

    • Simon Mundy says:

      Understanding the circumstances that incubate hate within Gazans does not excuse the horror and primitive savagery of their behaviour. Nor does it excuse the incitement to “Gas the Jews”.

      If you read the Hamas Covenant, you will find therein explicit commitment to genocide of Jews. There is no commitment on the part of Israel or any Western society to extermination of Arabs or Muslims.

      The choice is not between moral or civilisational equals.

      • rosross says:

        The Covenant quotes anti-Jewish scripture. I put that in the same place as I put anti-goy scripture in Judaism. In the not to be taken seriously basket.

      • rosross says:

        @Simon Mundy,

        You said: The choice is not between moral or civilisational equals.

        Does it not concern you that such a view was promoted in 1930’s Germany? It concerns me.

        Dehumanising others leads to atrocities. That is guaranteed.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    There is nothing quite so dangerous to a civil society as a fanatic who will not/cannot/refuses/ignores anything and everything concerning the ‘other’ side’. Zealots or fanatics, sympathisers or secret police, comrades and cousins, etc., are the type of people who will spend hours looking through their curtains in support of Neighourhood Watch (Yes, our very own Comrade Citizen’s Cadre) who are so enmeshed in the lives of others that they have no idea of how to think or act for themselves. These are the party members who slavishly watch the ABC, or to be more accurate, the Voice of the Party, just as Pravda is for the those Russians who still read it. No, in my society there is no welcome mat for a one-eyed fanatic, for they are dangerous. They are the type who will end up wearing a black shirt sporting the chromed SS on the collars. They (you) disgust me.

    • rosross says:


      I agree with you that:

      ‘There is nothing quite so dangerous to a civil society as a fanatic who will not/cannot/refuses/ignores anything and everything concerning the ‘other’ side’.

      And that is exactly why I am deeply troubled at the one-sided view regarding this issue that the occupier and coloniser can be deemed to be in the right and those occupied and colonised are strangely in the wrong. Yes, I do understand the political agendas at work but in terms of what is moral and what is not moral we need to be more objective surely?

      I have spent time in Israel, have you? And that, sadly is exactly the position of most Israelis. There are exceptions but they are punished for challenging the narrative and some live in fear for their lives. Their courage is truly impressive.

      Facts and reality do sicken some but you will recover.

      We also need to revisit the meaning of moral:

      concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.
      “the moral dimensions of medical intervention”
      holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.

      Perhaps you can make a case as to what is moral about occupation and violent colonisation. We can then move on to the moral aspects of a people fighting for freedom from occupation, which is deemed in international law as their right.

      We may deem all violence immoral and I have no issue with that. But the reasons for the violence can be assessed from a position of what is moral and what is not.

  • Sindri says:

    From today’s (London) Telegraph:
    How many of the supposedly pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the streets of London marched against the Chinese genocide of the Uyghurs, the country’s Muslim minority? How many marched against Islamic State, or President Assad, murderers of so many Muslims? The Western cultural elites, the far-Left and the Islamist extremists don’t care about the millions of Muslims around the world who desperately need rescuing from tyrants, genocidal dictators or poverty: they are more interested in hating Israel and Jews.”

    • lbloveday says:

      “How many of the supposedly pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the streets of London marched against……”
      Or the rape/murder/persecution… of Rohingya Muslims in Burma/Myanmar?


    An appropriate answer to Randa Abdel-Fattah’s “Do you think I’m a monster?” is: “How do you see yourself?” or “Do you think you are not a monster?”

  • Alistair says:

    running late on this but seem to remember Randa Abdel Fattah …

    “Consider this exchange, from 2002, aired on the ABC between Ms. Randa Abdel Fattah, a member of the Islamic Council of Victoria,in an interview with Radio National‟s Terry Lane:
    Randa Abdel Fattah : But the whole idea of an Islamic state does differ from a Western concept of democracy, because it‟s not about majority rule in terms of the majority deciding what is okay for the time being, and the majority of citizens deciding what is legal and what is illegal, we base it on the Qur‟an and what God decides, so that there isn‟t any people‟s own input into what is moral and what is immoral, that it‟s something that God decides, otherwise…
    Terry Lane : Are you suggesting that the laws of the Qur‟an, in an ideal state, should be the laws of the state?
    Randa Abdel Fattah : In an ideal state, in an Islamic state, yes.”

    So much for democracy … But notice more importantly – “God decides what is moral and what is immoral.” Gassing Jew? Apparently that’s OK by God so it should be OK by Randa I suppose.
    See Frank Pledge October 2015 …

    • rosross says:


      Terry Lane : Are you suggesting that the laws of the Qur‟an, in an ideal state, should be the laws of the state?
      Randa Abdel Fattah : In an ideal state, in an Islamic state, yes.”

      You are aware that the views of orthodox Jews are the same as those of orthodox Muslims? This is at the heart of the deep rift in Israeli society where fundamentalist Jews want the same sort of religion run State as fundamentalist Muslims want.

      AP news: Similar incidents have long upset the tenuous balance between the communities. But with ultra-Orthodox parties now wielding unprecedented power in Israel’s new government — and playing a key role in a contentious plan to overhaul the legal system — they are aggravating concerns among secular Israelis that the character and future of their country is under threat.

      And I suppose to be fair, since fundamentalists expressions of religion tend to be backward, this is what Christians also once believed in centuries past.

  • Gordon Gielis says:

    Can the taxpayer get their money back on all these academic salaries, funded almost entirely by the taxpayer it seems to be Islamic extremists rather than say a linguistics professor.

    I dont care one way or the other about their opinions, the world is full of insane academics, i just dont want to pay for it…

  • guilfoyle says:

    I am surprised and somewhat disappointed at the name-calling and personal abuse directed at rosross for his quite reasoned opinion. Quadrant is a publication that encourages thinking, and thinking must be predicated on freedom. I would imagine that all the commenters herein would be the first to quote Voltaire on the rights of free speech, ‘I disagree with what you say but I defend your right to say it.’

    It seems that anything to do with this subject mandates personal attack and requires complete adherence to the narrative.

    I, myself, do not take either side – I see it as a very sad exploitation of the people of both sides. I do, however, take issue with the horror and outrage at the violent sentiments expressed by the pro-Palestinian side when these sentiments are sweepingly applied by the media to all of us, as ‘Australians.’

    To take a step back for one minute: we and the whole of the western world, have been subjected to waves of Islamic immigration for generations. The Muslims detest the Jews. We know this and have always known this. The rest of us do not hold the same feelings as the muslims. And yet, when there are demonstrations against Israel, sentiments expressed are attributed to a generic person, supposedly representative of all of us.

    My response: if Muslim immigration is allowed in mass numbers, why is there surprise when people who are now Australian express sentiments that are strongly against the Jews? Secondly, why is the (now ubiquitous) ignoring of the national origins of those exhibiting behaviour directly in conflict with the Christian foundations of our values still being applied, together with the same ‘shock/horror’ at the unexpected behaviour?

    This behaviour was not unexpected to my mother back in 1986. I find it strange that there is surprise at it in these circumstances. Perhaps someone might examine our immigration policy and ask if this will lead to harmony within our culture or whether, as seems to be the objective, it will result in divisiveness and conflict.

    • lbloveday says:

      “…rosross for his …”
      It’s her, not his.
      Articles in Quadrant:
      I’ve not read them, so am neither recommending nor discouraging reading them.

      • guilfoyle says:

        Your point is a bit subtle for me – I don’t understand (& I also don’t know how to access the articles to which you refer).

        • lbloveday says:

          You used the masculine possessive pronoun “his” in reference to “rosross” and I pointed out that in English (at least prior to the last few years), as rosross is not a male, you should use “her”, or more definitely, not use “his”. If you did not know whether rosross was male or female (or whatever else people are purportedly these days) you could use her/him, or whatever is in vogue these days, but not “him”.
          I see that as more blunt than subtle.
          Her Quadrant articles can be accessed via a browser (I use FireFox, more popular others are Chrome, Safari and Edge) by keying
          quadrant.org.au/writer/roslyn-ross/ and pressing Enter.
          I have not read the articles, nor the “quite reasoned opinion” to which you refer, so proffer no opinion on them..

    • rosross says:


      Thanks for your voice of reason. I find the ad hominem attacks childish but I have also found some males become incensed when females challenge them and do so with reason and substance. It seems to be a kneejerk response that being substantively challenged by a female truly upsets them. I put this to the test for a time by using a male name and found that the same comments did not receive anywhere near the same level of abuse.

      As to Muslims hating Jews I think that is a propagandised conflation pushed by the Zionist lobby to make a case that poor little Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, is threatened by the powerless Palestinians and indeed the entire Arab world if not the entire Muslim world. It is propaganda.

      This is a colonial war waged by Israel against Palestine for nearly a century. The Palestinians have indeed been long-suffering and as an occupied people have right on their side. This is not a war between Muslims and Jews and indeed many Palestinians are Christians. Most Jews do not live in UN Mandated Israel.

      The attack on October 7, put paid to many of the delusions Israelis have had about themselves, their superiority as humans and their military prowess.

      Let us hope sanity prevails even if too many in the no longer civilized world support Israel’s genocidal hatred of the native people of the land it has colonised.


    He claims the virtue to have been in Israel but rosross is a moral equivalence shill for genocidal terrorist organs like Hamas and Hezbollah.

  • Jack Brown says:

    First when the Palestinians started hijacking airliners and blowing them up in the desert and the Munich Olympic games terrorist event and them post 9/11 when more people realised that jihad was a fact of Islamic life public sympathy was for the Jewish Nation State. Not so much because of sympathy for the Jewish people but in recognition that Muslims hated Jews on account of following Mohammed’s perfect example and the realisation that jihad was coming for the West too so we had common cause.

    One of the main vectors of jihad is Muslims emigrating away from Islamic countries into kafir countries. There was a rule of thumb back then predicting the impact on the kafir host cultures of such immigration listing manifestations of Submission as the percentage of the population became increasingly Muslim.

    A bit of Googling showed such a scale at https://www.chess.com/clubs/forum/view/the-4-stages-of-islamic-conquest5 and there were other versions around.

    The way support has swung away from sympathy for the Jewish underdogs over the past forty years to viewing them as perfidious devils certainly tracks alongside those rules of thumb.

  • rosross says:

    Seriously boys, does it really matter if someone is male or female? Does it really matter if people have different opinions?

    Millions have died fighting for our freedom which included the freedom of speech. I will always defend that.

    And we are a long way from the time when females were believed to have inferior brains.

    It’s all a bit schoolyard for me this inability of some to cope with a woman, Quelle Horreur, expressing not just her opinion but a different one. Sigh.

  • Davidovich says:

    Whilst I applaud Quadrant for allowing diverse and often repugnant views to be aired, it becomes more than a bit tedious to have certain people going on and on with their views, warped or not. Perhaps it is time to limit commenters to a single comment per article and, possibly, limit the number of words per comment.

    • lbloveday says:

      “Ceres” commented recently “Unfortunately, like the other day, the scroll wheel needed again”.
      I also just scroll past those from someone whose comments I I consider to be generally of no informative value or interest to me whether “going on and on with their views, warped or not” or wrongly asserting falsehoods as facts, or…….

  • cbattle1 says:

    I also am not happy with the level of bellicose rhetoric in this forum. It reminds me of encounters with those men who, under the influence of alcohol, lose control of their normally repressed anger, pain, fear, hatred and violence. In those circumstances, any one venturing to contradict what the affected are saying, is liable to receive a violent attack! Basically, if you don’t agree with them, you become the immediate focus of that anger and hate they are feeling, and, as the perceived cause of their pain and fear, they will strike out against you.
    Rational discussion of this current media beat-up is obviously impossible, as we revert to operating from the most primitive level of the human brain, which means attacking to kill any perceived threat.
    I can only suggest unpacking the middle-eastern situation, and discovering the root-causes of the problems. Only then are rational and practical solutions capable of being developed and hopefully applied.

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