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In Australia, racial undesirables, including Jewish Holocaust survivors, are even today called “wogs”.  In Australian slang, an infectious illness is often referred to as “the wog”. Instead of saying “I have the flu” you might say “I’ve got the wog, mate”. The idea is clear: racial undesirables are a disease. In likewise fashion, Hitler liked to refer to himself as the “Robert Koch of politics”. Koch is the microbiologist who discovered the cause of tuberculosis. Hitler often bragged about being the one who discovered that the Jews were a “racial bacillus” that needed eradication, because educated Jews are traditionally liberal and progressive in their political outlook. For conservatives, political liberalism was synonymous with the Jews and they thought that the best means to eradicate progressive politics was to eliminate its root cause. Even today, Jews in the US generally vote for the Democrats. The most prominent liberal intellectuals in America such as Noam Chomsky are Jewish. Marx was likewise part Jewish as were Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Hitler had a point about those pesky socially progressive “wogs”.

Since the spectacular failure of the National Socialist regime as the leading anti-communist political force in the world, anything that even remotely sounds like National Socialist propaganda is toxic to the reputation of any political party. Today the art of propaganda has progressed so much that the sort of crude rhetoric the NSDAP indulged in has been replaced with a much slicker and insidious brand of “public relations”. So slick is this PR machine that it no longer even calls itself propaganda but instead has cynically rebranded itself as “public relations”. This does not change the fact that the sort of political tensions and anxieties within traditionally Christian European societies (and their ex-colonies) that bred National Socialism persist today.

Just as it would be nonsense to call the Reformation a uniquely German event, it is equally nonsense to suggest that National Socialism was a uniquely German event—even worse to suggest that it is a product of the uniquely flawed and “psychopathic” German character, a flaw that supposedly does not infect the Australian character. Like Germany, Australia is, after all, largely Protestant and ethnically Northern European. Nor is the mass shooting of liberal political enemies by Anders Breivik a uniquely Norwegian event. Today the xenophobic paranoia is no longer towards one Abrahamic religious group, the Jews, but towards another Abrahamic religious group: Muslims. Indeed, Middle Eastern people of Muslim background are also Semitic people, just like the Jews. In Hebrew you say “shalom” but in Arabic you say “salam”. Both words mean “peace”.

Today, the Liberal Party of Australia has a policy that is all about maintaining the integrity of White Australia from the “threat” of contamination by the racial bacillus, the “wog” that threatens to infect Christian Australia: “turn back the boats”. Unfortunately, to make that policy work, Australia is reliant on its closest neighbour, Indonesia, which also happens to be the most populous Muslim nation in the world. On the backdrop of the historical precedent of the longstanding ban of immigration from Indonesia to Australia during the White Australia era, Jakarta politicians understood perfectly well what the coded language of “turn back the boats” means. It is a coded message in PR language intended to speak to Australians: vote for the Liberal Party, the party that will keep the “wog” from infecting Australia. Jakarta perfectly correctly understands it for the message of ethnic intolerance towards them. The Indonesians understand all too well that the sort of xenophobic ideology held by the likes of Anders Breivik is hardly restricted to the extreme right in Australia, but, like the expression “wog” to indicate a disease, is commonplace and mainstream amongst their neighbours. Nor is there a need for the extreme right to stage violent acts of protest when the Prime Minister of the country represents their views.

Naturally, Jakarta is hardly about to tell Canberra exactly what they understood this message to mean or to accuse Australians of being Nazis. That would be way too crudely undiplomatic, and effectively meddling in Australian politics. The Australia-Indonesia relationship is not yet so bad as to degenerate to that level of blatant name calling. Instead, in response to the revelations about Australia spying on the Indonesia president, Jakarta has cut off diplomatic ties and relations. Germany did not cut off diplomatic ties with the United States over similar revelations about the US spying on them. So why has Jakarta reacted so drastically over something they probably knew was happening all along anyway? The answer can only be that this represents a symbolic rejection by Indonesians of the sort of attitudes to international ethnic relationships represented by Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

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