Tuesday, May 21

Anti-racist, Pat? I don’t believe you

If you’ve never heard of Pat Brittenden’s online current affairs show ‘Big Hairy News’ you are not alone.  

I’ve appeared on the Dunedin-based show a few times now (which may explain its limited appeal) and, especially in our pre-interview phone calls, found Pat to be smart, curious, and fair-minded. But all this has gone out the window of late. Pat’s all-in behind reinstalling our current government, which is fine. But his refreshing objectivity is gone to be replaced by the eye-rolling mental gymnastics required for strident partisanship and an all-too-common double standard from the faux Left on the topic of racism. 

Pat needs no prompting to push the narrative that National and ACT are the home of our nation’s racists. Opposition to co-governance clearly does attract some creeps who are just flat-out anti-Māori. Julian Batchelor, of ‘Stop Co-Governance’ is one of those people. Forget ‘dog whistling’ – you know when you are in the presence of a racist. I’ve had fellow Jews tell me that the atmosphere in the room changed when they sat down with Labour’s Christchurch MP Duncan Webb, for example.  

But I’m not sure I need lectures on racism from Pat Brittenden. Not until he does his job, anyhow. 

Because if recent guests are anything to go by, I don’t think he gives a toss about racism. Allow me to clarify – I don’t think he gives a toss about racism if it can’t be used to aid his preferred political party. 

Byron Clark is a familiar face on BHN. For those who don’t know, Byron is a call centre worker who was inexplicably elevated to ‘authority on extremism’ by platforms far grander than Pat’s around the time of the parliamentary protests. Extremism is, or should be, treated as an incredibly serious topic, that requires (I would say demands) commentary from people with some credentials in the field. But, of course, I am speaking as a member of a minority group facing legitimate threats from an assortment of groups. If Clark were as innocent as a lamb, using him to speak on the topic would be unforgivably stupid, and dangerous. But you ain’t seen nothing yet… 

In a piece published on Plain Sight, Juliet Moses, of the New Zealand Jewish Council, took us through Clark’s having raised money to support the PFLP (People Front for the Liberation of Palestine) in their deadly terror campaigns against Jewish civilian targets. In Worker’s Party literature justifying this support, they expressly stated their contempt for a traitorous PLO, and that they wanted to see more ‘resistance’. They raised at least some of the money by selling T-Shirts with armed gunmen featured in the design. A former comrade of Clarks’ told me that they tried to bring terrorist Leila Khaled to speak in New Zealand. In Clark’s book ‘Fear’, the author addressed this support the only way he knows how: to lie about it and smear those trying to bring it to people’s attention. In the passage addressing this support for the PFLP, we’re told he had no clue the PFLP were murderous, and that the people bringing this up were far-Right

Just so it’s not lost on any of you, we aren’t talking about an antisemitic tweet or anything like that, but the contributing of money so that Jewish civilians would be murdered. In Australia, or the U.S. Clark would’ve likely faced a prison sentence. 

Pat can bring whoever he wants onto his show. But surely a man serious about countering racism, and who seems to have no problem calling it out in the opposition, would at least approach the topic with a Clark. 

It would be a good bet that, had Clark been raising funds to blow to bits the family members of any other minority group, there would be uproar. The fact that this has been completely ignored is testament to the normalisation of antisemitism on today’s organised Left. 

Only days ago, Kim Hill conducted a 40-minute interview with a Jewish-Australian/ German writer Antony Loewenstein who pitched that the Jewish diaspora was complicit in Israel’s crimes. When asked if Israel had a right to exist, Loewenstein responded that ‘no country does’ which, following this logic would mean that a Palestinian state also didn’t have any special right to exist. He told listeners that the occupation of the West Bank serves as a type of laboratory for Israeli weaponry it then on-sells to despots, including other Arab states who use it to oppress their own people. But absent from the discussion was the fact that deaths in this conflict are surprisingly low relative to other sectarian battles (Saddam Hussein murdered more Shia putting down a single uprising post the Gulf War than have died in the Israel-Palestine conflict since 1928). This same surveillance tech is clearly a major factor in contributing to this low overall death toll. Also, Loewenstein failed to mention Iranian hegemonic aims in the region, which is why Arab states are wanting greater security. As a free speech supporter, I want to know what the fringe voices like Loewenstein are thinking: to not know is to risk our security. But can you imagine John Ansell being given 40 mins on our national broadcaster to spread anti-Māori conspiracy theories? 

Pat Brittenden’s platforming of Byron Clark is not the crime here – not challenging him on his history of antisemitism is, and by ignoring this Pat is putting another brick in the wall of this normalisation. 

Sadly, the temptation of too many people in the white majority today is to exploit the fight against racism for their own political ends, and totally disregard the egregious examples on their own side. This puts us at risk. I’d rather deal with a KKK member or neo-Nazi, quite frankly. At least with those maggots you know where you bloody stand.