A 2004 article by former ALP federal minister Barry Cohen straight from the "wrong side of history".
We do not know what side of history, Gareth Evans, Bob Carr and the ALP believe is the right side. They do not say exactly. Likely it is too obscene to even think about.
The Anti-Semitic Labor Party
It's a sepia-toned family portrait taken in the late 1930s of Mendel and Mindel Kozerwoder and their children Itzek, Charna, Malka, Mania, Yidel, Moishe and baby Faigele. There's nothing unusual about it but it is very precious to me, for they are all members of my family who, with one exception, perished in the crematoriums of Chelmno and Auschwitz.
Clasped in the hands of my great-uncle is a photograph of my grandparents, Moishe and Zelda Kozerwoder. Itzek, the only survivor, gave me the photograph after I returned from a visit to Poland, during which I went to the villages of Pajcczno and Dzialoszyn, from which my grandparents departed in the late 1890s. Their travels took them to England, South Africa (where my father was born) and finally to Australia, just after the outbreak of World War I.
The photo is the only image I have of the many members of my family who were murdered by the Nazis. When I look at it my emotions range from gut-wrenching pain to seething rage. It has ensured that I belong to that school of Jewish resolve whose motto is "never again".
I became aware of the Holocaust in 1944 as the Allied armies swept across Europe and liberated the death camps. I was only nine years old but I can still recall the pain I felt as I watched the newsreels of the emaciated survivors and the mountains of corpses.
Soon afterwards I was sent to boarding school to prepare for my bar mitzvah. There was a noticeable shortage of synagogues in the country town of Griffith, NSW, where I was born and where my father was the local dentist.
Gradually, Labor's Left and more extremist elements became increasingly shrill in their denunciation of Israel.My introduction to anti-Semitism commenced on my first day at school. The school sergeant refereed three fights between myself and classmates who called me "a dirty f---ing Jew". I was lucky. Bloody noses and black eyes were nothing compared to what happened to those members of my family who did not have the prescience to depart Europe as my grandparents had done
It didn't, however, make it easier to ignore the taunts and the occasional vicious remark that came at the most unexpected moments and from the most unexpected quarters. Like most Jews in a predominantly Christian society, I developed a defence mechanism to cope. Humour was one weapon. Knowing the history and roots of anti-Semitism was another. So, too, was the pride in seeing the survivors of the Holocaust recreating a Jewish nation for the first time in 2000 years.
The survivors of the camps, a million Jews expelled from Arab countries and idealists from all over the Diaspora overcame the combined Arab military forces to ensure that not only did Jews have a haven, but one that was free and democratic. Israel has remained that way, in stark contrast to its Arab neighbours.
Australia is probably the least anti-Semitic country in the world, but what happened to my family made a deep impression on me. I became obsessive about discrimination; be it fighting for civil rights in the US, or against apartheid or the appalling treatment of our indigenous people.
I was, however, an armchair critic mouthing off endlessly about what the government should do.
Then a friend hit a sensitive nerve. "What are you doing about it?" he asked. It wasn't difficult to decide. I knew the enemy was on the political right: Nazis, fascists, conservatives, whether from the extreme right that led to the Holocaust or the social exclusion practised by the genteel middle class.
In 1964 I joined the ALP. Not that the Labor Party of the early 1960s was a beacon of light, for there were many ALP members still steeped in the White Australia philosophy and indifferent to the suffering of Aborigines. But those who spoke up about such injustices were almost all from the ALP.
By the time I arrived in Canberra in 1969 as the MP for Robertson I felt at home in the company of those led by Gough Whitlam, who forced the Labor Party to change.
However, I can still recall the wry amusement my opposition to apartheid caused colleagues.
I was accused of being obsessive on the question of racism and to that charge I plead guilty. I became deeply involved in the fight for Aboriginal rights and to this day one of the proudest moments of my life was to be one of a small group of "yesterday's heroes, looking frail and aged", who were brought on stage at the Reconciliation Conference in Melbourne in 1997 to be honoured for our work in the 1967 referendum.
I have often been asked if my being Jewish was ever an issue during my 20 years in Federal Parliament. Not to the best of my knowledge. I cannot recall a single anti-Semitic remark from either side of the House. That did not mean that everyone agreed with my views on Israel. Nor did I expect them to. However, while my views remain the same, the Labor Party's these days are very different.
The Labor Party has always had Palestinian supporters but they used to have little influence on the party's policy. They were more than counter-balanced by the influence of then ACTU president Bob Hawke. In the immediate aftermath of the Yom Kippur War and before my first visit to Israel I attended a meeting he addressed in Sydney. I have not heard a more passionate, nor better informed, defence of Israel or more scathing indictment of its opponents.
Convinced that MPs could understand Israel's problems better if they went there, I organised a series of delegations. By the time I retired in 1990 more than half the ALP caucus had visited Israel.
But gradually, Labor's Left and more extremist elements, such as the Greens and Democrats, became increasingly shrill in their denunciation of Israel. I found out what Israel was up against when representing Australia at Inter-Parliamentary Union conferences from 1973 until 1981. Created to foster peace and democracy, the union was dominated by communist dictatorships, Third World "democracies" and the 22 Arab countries. Every IPU conference devoted a major part of its sessions to denouncing Israel.
It was a mirror image of the UN, whose obsession with Israel was aptly illustrated by Israeli ambassador Abba Eban when he said: "If a resolution was put before the UN that the earth was flat and that Israel caused it, 145 would vote for it, five against with 45 abstentions."
That trend has infected the ALP. The handful of pro-Palestinian supporters has grown steadily as the party has become dominated by the education mafia; former public servants and party union apparatchiks.
Plenty will say: "Why shouldn't the Labor Party support the Palestinians?" No reason, providing the case they put is not based on the lies spouted by the Palestinian propaganda machine.
Nowhere is Israel subjected to more criticism than in Israel. Demonstrations in excess of 100,000 are regularly held in Rabin Square. Supporters of the Peace Now movement have protested in support of Palestinians. In contrast, when Jews have been massacred by terrorists there have been wild celebrations in the Arab streets.
How can any social democrat ignore such barbarism? There are Labor MPs who are vigorous supporters of Israel but their numbers are diminishing and they are being drowned out by the more vociferous members of Labor's hard Left.
When Australian Jews respond to the grotesque exaggeration about Israel, we are accused of being part of the "Jewish lobby". Israel's opponents in Australia now include those who support the Palestinians not for ideological reasons but because of the increased number of Arab voters in their electorates.
This trend reached a crescendo in the aftermath of September 11. For me September 11 was the clearest demarcation ever between good and evil. Yet many Australians could not contain their glee that at last "the Yanks had got their just deserts".
I have never been able to fathom the vicious anti-Americanism that permeates so much of Western society. Despite all their faults, Americans have been the one constant bastion against totalitarianism of the right and left. Does anyone doubt that fascism and communism would have been defeated without the US? From the left's point of view, the triumph over communism has been America's greatest crime.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the revelation that matters were far worse than even the Americans had claimed, forced the left to face up to the fact that for decades their defence of tyrants such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro et al was inexcusable. There were no apologies, however. Being on the left means never having to say you're sorry or admit you're wrong. This goes a long way to explaining their attacks on George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard, while ignoring the monstrous crimes of the Assads, Saddams, Gaddafis and other Arab despots. The war on terrorism and the war on Iraq have given the left a new lease on life.
But this time it has a new twist, a distinctly anti-Semitic one. It surfaced immediately after September 11 and was summed up in comments by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Alan Ramsey, who suggested that the cause of September 11 was America's Middle East policies and their failure to rein in the Israelis. This has been repeated ad nauseam by one left/liberal commentator after another.
Israeli scientist Haim Harari nailed this nonsense in a speech earlier this year: "The millions who died in the Iraq-Iran war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Muslim regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilians in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam did not invade Kuwait, endanger Saudi Arabia and butcher his own people because of Israel . . .
The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel. I could go on and on."
Anyone who believes that "reining in the Israelis" will bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East should change their medication. The ranting and raving, common among the extreme right, has been taken up with gusto by the left. When it started to infect the social democratic wing of the Labor Party I became extremely worried.
There will be those in the ALP who will say "our policies support Israel's right to exist, so what are you complaining about?" That's not good enough. Not for me.
I'm sick of the calumny heaped on Israel - most of which is a pack of lies. I'm sick of Labor leaders making all the right noises to Jewish audiences while an increasing number of backbenchers launch diatribes at Israel. When the likes of Labor MP Tanya Plibersek rise in the House of Representatives and call Ariel Sharon "a war criminal" and Israel a "rogue state", or Opposition whip Janice Crosio makes the absurd claim that Israeli forces had destroyed Bethlehem, Nablus and the Jenin refugee camp, I want to hear more than stony silence from those in the Labor Party who say they support Israel. Some do. Most don't.
How long is it since any Labor leader gave the sort of passionate and accurate defence of Israel we used to hear from Hawke or Kim Beazley?
I don't want even-handedness when it ought to be obvious to all but the blind that there is no moral equivalence between a country that seeks to defend its citizens from thousands of terrorist attacks, and the terrorists themselves. I want to hear Labor MPs stand up and be counted. I want to see an end to well-known Labor identities marching behind banners equating Israel with Nazism.
Silence on these issues isn't good enough for me. If people want to criticise Israel, fine - plenty of Israelis do. But let it be reasoned criticism, and if they want even-handedness let them also berate the Arab world for its denial of basic human rights for any of its citizens.
Let's hear the Labor feminists take the Arab nations to task for their abominable treatment of women. Let's hear those Labor supporters, who are so loud in their denunciation of homophobia, demand an end to the barbaric treatment of gays. Let's also hear civil rights activists bemoan the lack of basic freedoms available to most of the 300 million Arabs in the 22 Arab countries.
There will be some who will argue that I am exaggerating; that the evidence is sparse; that this typical Jewish paranoia. Not at all. It came from the horses' mouths, and the head horses at that. Before the Iraq war one of the most senior NSW right-wing MPs told me: "I understand and support Israel's position, but in my group, I'm the only one."
Soon after I told a Labor legend: "Anti-Semitism is now rampant in the Labor Party." I expected a vigorous denial. His response confirmed my worst fear: "I know," he said
For better or worse my character and life were shaped by the anti-Semitism I experienced as a boy and a young man. I was proud to belong to a party that fought all forms of prejudice. Not any longer.
The Australian Labor Party can choose any path it likes. So can I.
Barry Cohen was arts minister in the Hawke government. A longer version of this article (which Barry Cohen asked not be published until after the federal election) first appeared in the Australian Jewish News