ANTISEMITISM and Islamophobia have reared their ugly heads in Newcastle ("Graffiti horrifies Jewish community", Newcastle Herald 14/11) just as NSW Premier Chis Minns is attempting to strengthen the parts of the Crimes Act that makes it punishable to incite violence or to threaten violence. Minns is responding to the hate-speech and confrontation between pro-Palestinian and pro-Jewish demonstrators, and I expect also the lobbying of various religious groups.
I believe Minns' move is merely a political gesture. He knows that hot heads in all religious groups will always be intolerant of outsiders and adherents to other religions. He also knows that the only two previous convictions under the relevant parts of the Crimes Act were annulled on appeal. In addition, Minns knows that any new law cannot change people's nature.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, 'Man is the only religious animal to evolve. He is the only animal to have acquired true religion - several of them.'
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Hate is ugly in both directions
Your editorial ("There is no place for anti-Semitism here", Opinion, 13/11), can be supported wholeheartedly when it states the undisputed truth of its headline. Where it fails is when it depicts one side of the conflict in the current war in Gaza as the innocent party. Islamophobia has also been evident since the conflict began, and it must also be condemned.
For 75 years the state of Israel has denied those people displaced from their land any possible hope for a homeland. Since 1948 Israeli leaders have repeatedly stated their intention to remove all Palestinians, so that Israel will be the land from the river to the sea. David Ben-Gurian, Israel's first prime minister, declared "it must be clear there is no room in the country for two peoples ... the only solution is a land without Arabs". The current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continued this call in January 2023 with the declaration "the Jewish people have an exclusive right to all areas of the land of Israel and will develop settlements in Judea, Samaria, The Negev ..." naming the areas currently occupied by the Palestinians.
Where are the displaced people to go? The call for a ceasefire must include all those partners in the conflict, with the return of hostages held by both sides, including Palestinian children imprisoned without charges in Israeli jails. Only then will there be a chance for peace.
Doug Hewitt, Hamilton
Politics of division cannot stand
REN Ausburn's letter ("Tears flow at Palestine rally", Letters, 13/11), describing the march for his homeland brothers, while heart-rending to some, highlights exactly the issues surrounding the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The use of words, such as "genocide" and "massacre" to describe Israeli's incursion into Gaza is what Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, did to the Israelis. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for millennia and this conflict will not solve the hatred between the two. In this country, to see and hear people publicly supporting either side is pathetic. If the Palestinians want to start the peace process they must first vote out Hamas. Simple?
John Cooper, Charlestown
Grand idea, but it may be too late
I WAS heartened to read about our council signing an agreement to protect a wildlife corridor ("Council signs agreement to protect 'wild corner' of the city", Herald 9/11), after the disgraceful development at Minmi. Though, forever the sceptic, I perused the Lower Hunter Regional Conservation Plan online, which said: "A new green corridor stretching from the Watagan Ranges through Hexham Swamp to Port Stephens with approx 14,600 hectares", taking 25 years to implement. I imagine the Hunter River, New England Highway and northern railway would prove to be a terrifying barrier for any poor creature. A wonderful idea, but possibly a little too late to initiate now.
Tony Winton, Wallsend
Albanese's China tactics are savvy
ON Remembrance Day, of all days, perennial China hawk Bradley Perrett criticises Anthony Albanese for daring to open dialogue with China ("Better relations don't mean much", Opinion 11/11).
The PM's successful visit doesn't sit well with Perrett's anti-China scaremongering, describing Albanese as "sacrificing national interest". Really? While our countries have totally different forms of government, Albanese the statesman impressively said "we're not going to be defined by our differences". The usual right-wing media propaganda machines will work overtime trying to paint Albanese as a doe-eyed, gullible patsy, but this is a leader who, unlike the political hawks in our Parliament and media, has noted history and learnt from it.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
Nickname war seems at an end for city
THERE it is, on the front page of the Newcastle Herald ("Newy South Wales", Newcastle Herald 14/11). What have all you name-shortening naysayers got to say for yourself now? I bet the editor of this fine newspaper hasn't factored in the barrage of letters that I am sure are following this coming of age.
Tony Morley, Waratah
Words can quickly become ideas
STRANGE how often misused words generate misleading thoughts. Israeli terrorists are called commandos. Palestinian freedom fighters are called terrorists. The Holy Land? You must be joking.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
All protests take grain of salt
STEVE Barnett has a laugh at the climate change supporters in their plastic canoes ("Floating a flaw in protest method", Letters 13/11). How are they any different than the wind farm protesters paddling out on their surfboards at Nelson Bay?
Barry Reed, Islington
Don't tar voters with same brush
JUST when we thought those contributors who couldn't accept the democratic result of the Voice referendum had nothing more to say, we get Graham Burgess's astonishing unhinged rant ("We're headed for Trump moment", Letters, 15/11). Not only does he offensively state that 'no' voters are stupid, the figures he gives are, at best, dodgy. If there was a competition for the most bitter and twisted opinion about the vote, I think he would have just taken out the gold, even though there was a hot field.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
How many can we accommodate?
WHERE are they all going to live? The media is awash with the almost impossible task of finding a rental yet the Labor/Green federal government continues to ramp up immigration, both planned and humanitarian. Quite simply, where are they all going to live? Not to mention the 81 people who were released this week.
Shane Tull, Redhead
Safety must be the priority
NOW that the federal government has been forced to release 81 people from permanent detention, I will concede it is the government's responsibility to protect the general population from any threat from these people, but not the other way around.