Austen asks the question Q&A cannot answer

June 7, 2011 Agencies
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Jewish comedian Austen Tayshus, aka Sandy Gutman, was on the front foot against Greens senator-elect Lee Rhiannon on ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night.

Austen Tayshus

After a questioner asked whether Rhiannon, who takes up her seat in the Senate on July 1, still supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Rhiannon said: “We are certainly united in terms of our commitment to human rights for Palestinians, that’s the essence of our policy on Israel and Palestine.”

Gutman, who has just released his biography, titled The Merchant of Menace, intervened saying: “Why are you so obsessed with Israel? Why not North Korea or China or Somalia or Cuba or Syria?

“Why aren’t you obsessed with Syria? Why don’t you send a flotilla to Syria which has murdered 1100 people of its own citizens? Israel is a democratic country,” he said to applause from the audience.

Rhiannon said Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu had written to Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne to praise her council for supporting the BDS.

“There is an apartheid system there [in Israel] and Desmond Tutu has made that link,” Rhiannon said.

Gutman responded: “What about human rights for Tibetans and Falung Gong in China and human rights for the Syrian people right now?”

However, Rhiannon rejected claims the BDS campaign was antisemitic.

“If you are promoting human rights, it does not mean you are antisemitic,” she said.

Two other panelists, Labor’s Nicola Roxon and Liberal’s Christopher Pyne, rejected Rhiannon’s comparison of Israel with apartheid South Africa.

Pyne, who described the BDS as “wicked”, said it was designed to delegitimise Israel. Roxon, who joked it was the first time they had agreed, said the comparison was an “extreme link”.




33 Responses to “Austen asks the question Q&A cannot answer”
  1. Dan Lewis says:

    Isn’t it funny how the Israel-haters get so precious about Austen Tayshus raising his voice. They have a big sad that someone who supports Israel gets a bit shouty when confronted with a blatantly anti-semitic viewpoint.

    And yet these very same ferals have no problem shouting dishonest lies and screaming in the middle of a shopping centre, when they are trying to intimidate Israeli businesses.

    It seems shouting the truth is the problem for them.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    @ Sick and Tired

    1st I, sympathetically, wished an improvement upon your self-described status of being “sick”, obviously a condition you accepted as your own, to which I do not object, considering your utterings.

    2nd I am not even “tired” myself, another confession of yours ( also evinced by the tone and direction of your “rational” ), of witnessing farcical comments on Israeli society, as being seemingly inadequate in one way or another, particularly when no specifics relevant to basic existential tenets are presented. But, hey, let’s hear about corruption in certaion places, and other such indictments and see if hurling home made little rockets into the same Israel is just as rational of corrective ethical measures !

  3. Sick & Tired says:

    hey otto,
    try reading ‘more bad news from israel’ & watch ‘the war you don’t see,’ then tell me its a knee-jerk reaction.
    i see you your knee-jeck reaction and raise you media manipulation & propaganda.
    stop hiding from what is the government of Israel (among many other governments) is doing.
    just because other governments to it, doesnt make right. there is no justification for human rights abuses.
    otto, just keep telling people who disagree with you that they are wrong or ill, great way to put forward your argument. love to go one on one with you anytime.

  4. Otto Waldmann says:

    Abe, WRONG AGAIN !!!!

    At ANY level of rhetorical dialectics the subjectivity of any proposition relates indispensably to the author of the “contribution”. The subject itself does NOT have a life of its own, distinct from the source of the utterings. As such, the implicit idiosyncratic character of the expressed opinion reflects the perticularities of the same author. Don’t EVEN try to come out with the fallacy of “objectivity” !!!!
    Therefore what anyone ventures publicly represents his/her profile from all angles. As such, comments on one’s personal profile are quite relevant and acceptable. The nonsense of playing the ball is an absurd deflection from pertinent consideration of the SUBJECT itself. As a result, the heat of the kitchen and one’s resilliance toward it is a sinae qua non precondition of one’s temmerity of needing to outline HIS/HER very personal views on anything in the ideas marketplace. Even Kant’s or Hegel’s personal proclivities were relevant to the “purity” of their ideas….

  5. Abe says:

    Can all those using stimulants please try and stick to the issues and try not to get personal and nasty on this forum? Where is the moderator? We are discussing international politics here, not the personalities of individuals contributors to the forum.

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    @ sick & tired

    I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery and also some good, reliable reading ,while bed-ridden , on the REAL nature of anti Semitism.
    Otherwise the serious complaint, clinnical, of knee-jerk reaction on a serious issue may develop some untreatable symptoms

  7. Michael says:

    As an observer it sure appears Sandy s performance on A & A up against the 2 Anti- Israel activists sure made an impact The fact that it pissed off the usual suspect ”Palestinians can do no wrong parade” achieved what he set out to do ; Kol Hakavod Sandy , job well done,

  8. Sick & Tired says:

    I love the way that whenever anyone voices a difference of opinion towards israel and/or questions the actions of the israeli government they are automatically labelled anti semitic. So because other nation states out there arent doing their bit in terms of human rights, it means we should ignore what human rights abuses israel is responsible for, especially given israel a democratic state, a ‘western’ country, a so-called allie and an allie that condones torture and assassination.
    I dont consider myself anti semitic, just sick and tired the state of israel and fools like gutman using an anti semitic arguments to deflect from the actions of israel.

    Dont get me wrong, many non-democratic countries including the Syria, China, etc, as well as democratic nations such as Australia and the US need to be pressured on their human rights records. But this doenst mean that Israel should get a free ride because of what happend in WW2 and ensuing anti semitic argument.

    People are trying to make out that BDS is the only such group of its kind out there, and therefore Israel is the only country being persecuted/targeted. Are you kidding? Heard of Free Tibet, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Amnesty International, etc, etc. Stop looking for people to blame and hate, especially using terms like ‘jew haters.’ Look at why some people are pissed off with israel instead of assuming that everyone hates jews. You are only giving some people out there the excuse they are looking for. No counrty is perfect, so dont get into a hissy fit if and when some criticies israel.

    gutman made a fool of himself and did nothing to further his argument. comedic fool (but not actually funny), bully, irrational are terms that come to mind.

  9. Eric says:

    Kol Hakavod to Austen.. Its about time… Note that the Arabs/ Muslims are unhappy in
    and on and on in there ‘own countries”

    Yet they are happy in

    O and in Israel……….

    yet they want to impose sharia law in there adopted countries.


  10. Otto Waldmann says:

    Ever heard of conjectural sophisms,or fallacies thereoff or plucking a sylable and constucting absurdities with solid prejudice as motric brain cells aiming at self satisfaction of the worst,misleading kind ??!!!
    Too many words maybe as there is an unbearable plethora of visceral semidoctic anti Israel opnions mushruming as soons as the slightest support for the Jewish state becomes apparent.
    A simple,cursory look at Dieter’s rants and “you people” rears its uggly head, then a Matt cannot bear anything but stoic criticism of a asociety struggling to keep together in the face of multiple attempts at destryoing it, has vsholem. Likewise, seemingly young Abe knows too well that propping the same Jewish state with passionate UNcritical support is only conducive to …. destroying the same, again, G-D forbid. And could I dare say that anti Semitism comes in many, varried forms and in such clever ways that even those who reckon they are fighting IT by atacking Israel’s “gross” transgressions are, actually and prcatically aiding it, as there are also very genuine ones,indeed.
    Noticed that I left Porzsolt completely out….??!!

    Negotiating through “creative” dialectics terminologies and so called “logical” constructs serves only the purpose of perpetuating the publicity of enmity, while, I must repeat, that David Singer has my full support.
    So, seemigly young Abe, you still have time to get a life !!!

  11. dieter barkhoff says:

    Dear David Singer

    The whole world deplores what Syria, China and Turkey does and has done. In the meantime if anybody criticizes Israel for doing similar things it becomes TABOO and you automatically get labelled an anti-semite or a self hating Jew. Grow up you people, nobody owes you anything, you have a moral responsibility to treat people with the same dignity you demand to be treated. It doesn’t happen in the Occupied territories.
    Maybe you and your people might do a neighbourley thing for a change, unless you call dropping cluster bombs and phosphorus bombs on civilians behaving like a good neighbor.

  12. Abe says:

    I am not supporting Lee Rhiannon’s views or campaign whatsover. I am merely advocating the right for proper debate and for everyone to have to freedom to express their views. But these views shout be articulated in detail, like you have done about – talk about the issues themselves without fear of being labelled ant-semitic for criticising the policy of a state. Lee Rhiannon is not the issue, and I guess Gutman’s response isn’t the issue either (thank goodness!)
    My point is that the debate is trapped by tribalism on both sides. Also Lee Rhiannon’s focus on Israel to the exclusion of other country’s is a non-issue….
    It’s like criticising someone for trying to Save the Whales when they should also be trying to save the dolphins or orangutans as well! The debate should be about the issue itself—– Gutman should have challenged her to explain why a boycott was necessary, not argue that she should concentrate on Syriah or wherever else. Gutman’s argument was just childish.

  13. david singer says:

    To Abe

    I prefer to use the term “Jew hater”

    Gutman had no intelligent argument? Nonsense. He rightly accused Rhiannon for not pursuing BDS against China, Turkey or Syria – only relentlessly pursuing the Jewish State. She displays a selective morality that needs explaining.

    She dropped an “exclusive” to let us know Tutu was sending a supportive letter of approval to Marrickville Council. This great moralist – like Lee Rhiannon – is totally obsessed with Israel to the exclusion of a host of countries whose human rights abuses are ignored.

    What about the venerable Archbishop endorsing with Lee Rhiannon a BDS campaign against Australia for its treatment of its indigenous people.

    I am sure Abe that you would be wholly supportive of such a campaign.

    For the record 95% of the West Bank Arab population is under the total administrative control of the Palestinian Authority. Yes their travel is restricted by Israel – and so it should be. They can’t be trusted to not be carrying weapons or sending suicide bombers on missions to target pizza restaurants,shopping centres, buses or hotels.

    When they learn to live like neighbours then they will be treated as neighbours.

  14. Abe says:

    And how can Paul McGeogh be an anti-semite because he dares to cover a controversial story as a journalist. Also if he was anti-semitic, he would be against Arabs as well, because Arabs are semitic. The word “anti-semitic” includes racism against Arabs as well as Jews.

  15. Abe says:

    I wasn’t at all upset that Gutman spoke out against Rhiannon, but he did nothing for the cause of Israel and he had no rational argument. Q&A is a debate forum – but Gutman had no intelligent debate. I’m sure the people supporting Gutman with their comments here didn’t actually see him on Q&A. He acted like a thug and shouted over the top of people while they were speaking. And when they stopped to let him talk…..he had nothing to say…., not argument.. Just yelling and barking.

  16. Jack Chrapot says:

    I’m informed that audience members at Monday’s Q&A positively cringed at the way Rhiannon responded to the BDS questioner. They did so because it was an obvious set up and Guttman responded magnificently. He also made an excellent point when he asked why the flotilla isn’t going to Syria?

    The truth is because the flotilla is not really about human rights issues or humanitarian aid to Gazans (especially now that the Rafah border crossing to Egypt has been opened). It’s about supporting corrupt regimes and deligitimising the Jewish State. Likewise with BDS.

    How anyone can describe the way Guttman stood up to an out and out BDS propagandist as “outrageous” is beyond me.

    Rhiannon raised the matter of antisemitism as the usual fallback to detract from the issues at hand but McGeough didn’t help her with his comments about Jewish traders in New York. 

    Christopher Pyne’s statement about BDS being evil because it cuts across all efforts to promote tolerance and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians  made Rhiannon’s pro BDS rant look foolish. Terrific to see bipartisan support and the audience responded well.

  17. Otto Waldmann says:

    It makes perfect sense that V.Porzsolt would display anger, fury and mainly incongruous rants at the failed attempt by Lee Rhianon to hoist locally the putrid corpse of the BDS. Seeking the comforts of communal ignonimy new voice of identity self-destruction, Abe, is also making serious inroads in attracting due purposeful (same) communal avoidance. Meanwhile Sandy Gutman has gained, once again,quite meritous acclaim from his people. Whether Vivienne, Abe,Matt, Dieter et al are frothing with denial is blissfully irrelevant….Far more morally reliable is the tested fact that all major political entities in Australia, INCLUDING the leadership of the Greens, are on Israel’s side. How cold can it be this winter out there for the BDS activists !!!

  18. admin says:

    You posted after 6pm. Are we not allowed to eat. A little patience please

  19. dieter barkhoff says:

    Sandy Gutman came across as a bully boy with appalling manners and an attitude that he has a God-given right to shut everyone up. He reminded me of Colin Rubenstein in an ABC radio programme after the Jenin massacre where any opinion other than his own was literally shouted down. This is a great advertisement for democracy, I suppose. In the meantime Tony Jones was pathetic in letting Gutman get away with it.

  20. Matt says:

    Hi David and Shirley

    I see you are fans of positive actualisation…good luck with that.

    But for the rest of the world who aren’t J-wire lurkers, Sandy came across as brutish (yelling over lee and not letting her finish) and immature. It would have been far better to deconstruct her argument then not let her speak at all. As far as having a ‘deep understanding of the conflict’, I assume you meant yelling Syria over and over again then taking his sun glasses?

    One only needs to look at the reaction on twitter #qanda. I dont think i saw one positive comment about him.

    Lets call a spade a spade here people

  21. david singer says:

    Shirlee and Matt

    Shirlee – You are spot on.

    Matt – you are entitled to your opinion but in this case you are certainly in the minority.

    Austen put Lee Rhiannon and Paul McGeough in their place. They were obviously shocked that a comedian could have such a deep understanding of the conflict. They became the ambushed couple – like hunted hyenas caught in the glare of Austen’s relentless onslaught. No doubt they thought Austen would be an easy touch. They found out otherwise.

    The fact that spokespersons for the two major political parties in Australia also spoke as one further signified how far out Lee Rhiannon’s political views are. “Whacko” is how Kevin Rudd has described it.

  22. Shirlee says:

    Come on Matt !!

    I give you he was pretty pathetic prior to the BDS question, but I was amazed how quickly he changed

    Other than Porzsolt, I haven’t heard a bad word against him.

    From The Blank Pages of the Age

    Sandy Guttman (aka Austen Tayshus) turns deadly serious and destroys Rhiannon, McGeough and the Palestinian woman planted in the audience for last night’s Q&A.

    A definite own goal for those who thought this bloke was just a comic and was going to be a funny Jew who could be kicked around by the hyena crows. ”

    Good blog

  23. Kirov says:

    Thought Austen did a great job against Rhiannon. She has to be brought out of her Stalinist reverie. As for Paul McGoo, it is clearly evident that he is an antisemite with his example of the boycott targetting Jewish businesses. But then he is the whore of the Turkish Islamists who organised the flotilla.

    For me he will not have a scintilla of integrity until he joins a flotilla to liberate the Kurds from the genocidal Turks..

  24. Rita says:

    “Abe” above says: “… Howard Jacobson – who dubs himself an ASHamed Jew – would have cringed at Gutman’s abusive behaviour last night….

    Despite trying to give the impression that s/he knows Howard Jacobson, s/he obviously doesn’t! And by the looks of his/her rather silly statement, s/he has not even read his Man Booker Prize work in which he is sending up exactly those “ASHamed” Jews, with exquisite wit, but without merci.

    As to those “ASHamed” jews like Porzsolt, Lowenstein etc., they remind me of the man who feeds the crocodile, hoping that it will eat him last.

    And the answer to Austen Tayshus’s justified question why Lee Rhiannon and her ilk are soooo obsessed with Israel, is: Because they hate the Jews.

  25. GG says:

    Shirlee, I too know non-Jews who are appalled at the Loewenstein ‘tards who populate Australia.

    Unfortunately I would advise them to save their outrage at the church institutions, secular and Christian lefty types who are busy selling Australians out to Islamofascists.
    The non-Jews in particular – like de Gaulle, the EU bureaucrats – who bargained with the Arabs in the 1960s/ 70s to savage Israel and take on what Bat Yeor calls the Arab pathology.

    THose people have been betrayed by nonJews like Lee Rhiannon, Fiona Byrne, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, malicious know-nothings whose only priority is their career, which I personally wouldn’t mind if it did not happen to involve murder – of Jews, of WEsterners, and therefore of Australians – by proxy.

  26. GG says:

    Abe you’re wrong . I saw and heard Howard Jacobson on QandA recently and he is NOT an “ashamed Jew”. He took some pains to point that out and told Gail Dines that she (who said she was an ashamed Jew) should be ashamed to be an ashamed Jew.

    Dear oh dear Vivienne and Abe, bit disturbed that Austen Tayshus had the temerity to speak loudly to Lee Rhiannon, whose wages as a Parliamentarin she is using to LIE about Israel??
    Those roads she is so concerned about are for ISRAE:LI CITIZENS – Jewish Muslims, Chritians and Vietnamese.
    The Palestinian Arabs she is so worried about are NOT CITIZENS of Israel. They do nnot deserve the privilege of entering that foreign country whenever they want!! They must do as the rest of us have to do when we want to go to another country – submit our passport, go through border checks and WAIT IN LINE. Of course they have to queue longer – and so do we now – because of ARAB Terrorism.

    Malki Roth’s father spoke at a function several years ago and he told us that at the border checkpoints the soldiers find Palestinians with bombs EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

    The only thing Jews like Abe and Vivienne show is that Jewish people can be as stupid, malicious and mendacious as anyopne else.
    Congratulations guys!! YOu share the same lying instincts as the Jew haters, the Communists, leftiews, churches who have bargained with Islamofascists to hatew Israel so their own skins can be saved – for awhile.

    Just shows it’s not just inbreeding that makes you thick.

  27. matt says:

    wow…to describe Gutman as ‘on the front foot’ after his woeful performance last night is truly ridiculous. If thats the front foot god help us if he’s ever on the back foot

  28. Shirlee says:

    I’m with you David.

    We have enough people out there ready to stick the proverbial knife in, without our own doing it
    Vivienne if you have issues keep them to yourself.

    My non-Jewish friends, of whom I have many, are appalled by the self -haters like Porzsolt, Sleasak, Lowenstein etc.. They just don’t understand them and personally neither do I.

    It took thousands of years of us to have our own country back and we certainly don’t need our own to try and bring it down.

  29. david singer says:

    Vivienne Porzsolt

    What I find personally disturbing is that any Jew could promote a policy that is designed to harm another Jew financially and economically. We are one people – irrespective of our own individual beliefs. We are our brothers keepers

    Oppose Jewish settlement in the West Bank if you wish. That is a political issue where Jews can hold different views.

    But don’t try to punish every Jew personally who lives in Israel because of that policy which has been pursued by successive Governments over the past 40 years.

    Austen was correct. Why don’t you use your time promoting BDS against China, Turkey, and Spain for their denial of national rights to the Tibetans,Kurds and the Basques?

    Let someone else other than Jews stick the knife into the Jewish people. There are plenty out there ready to do so without Jews being willing accomplices.

  30. Michael Burd says:

    It is not surprising BDS supporter Vivienne Porzoltz was spitting chips after seeing Sandy/Austen not sit back on the defensive last night and use Political Correct rhetoric when confronted with obsessive Fairfax /Greens anti- Israel activists.

    Unlike Most Jewish community leaders in the same position Sandy’s best form of defense was attack and to ask the real questions most of us would like to ask these ratbags. i.e why are you so obsessed with Israel. I would like to have asked Fairfax’s Paul MG Goo was he wearing his Journalist or activist’s hat when he was on board one of the Gaza Vessels.

    Sandy you did us proud and this performance last night was equally outstanding as your wonderful Poland documentary when you went back and asked the Poles the real hard questions we would all like to know.

    Of course you will be criticized by the vocal minority Luni Jewish left , don’t worry about them the turmoil in the Middle East is proving that the Israel Arabs would still rather live in Israel thats for sure let them go and live in Gaza.

    KOl Hakavod

    Michael Burd

  31. Mark says:

    No Vivienne,
    what you and your ilk don’t get (or don’t want to acknowledge) is that Gutman said what most of the community think. That’s why the leadership you disparage is elected – because they speak for us. The fringe “Jews” such as yourself and the other self-haters (esp those who agree with Lowenstein) are a tiny minority. Despite claims to the contrary your voice is the one heard way beyond its representative size.

    Gutman may be a one trick pony as a comedian but last night on Q&A I for one was proud of him.

  32. ViviennePorzsolt says:

    I found Gutman’ s behaviour outrageous – he persistently and willfully drowned out Lee Rhiannon when she spoke. Tony Jones’ failure to reign him in was deplorable. Gutman’s bullying unfortunately reflects the approach of the communal leadership which seeks to suppress debate both within and outside the Jewish community instead of engaging with opposing views.

  33. Abe says:

    What a pity Howard Jacobson wasn’t on the same QandA panel as Gutman last night! Gutman’s line of questioning amounted to bullying rather than any rational though process. He seemed to be upset merely due to the fact that anyone could question or challenge Israel – hence his irrational and rude outbursts challenging Lee Rhiannon to focus on other countries where human rights abuses take place. And yes, she replied that the fact that Israel is a democracy makes it even more scandalous that injustices occur. Howard Jacobson – who dubs himself an ASHamed Jew – would have cringed at Gutman’s abusive behaviour last night. Being Jewish does not mean someone has to tolerate everything Israel does,….in the same way that I, as an Australian, am ashamed by my country’s record on the inhumane treatment of refugess and Aborigines. The Israeli Government and its current policies DOES NOT EQUAL Israel and DOES NOT EQUAL Jewishness!!! Wake up!

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