ECAJ critical of Nazi comparison

February 18, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has expressed disappointment in comparisons made by a leading Sydney psychiatrist.between Australia and Nazi Germany in its detention centres policies.

Dr Michael Dudley

Dr Michael Dudley

Dr Michael Dudley, a psychiatrist at Sydney Children’s Hospital and a senior University of NSW lecturer, wrote in Australasian Psychiatry that “prolonged immigration detention and policies aiming to deter irregular migration cause maritime asylum-seekers undeniable, well-publicised harms and (notwithstanding claims about preventing drownings) show reckless indifference and calculated cruelty. Service personnel may be harmed. Such policies misuse helping professionals to underwrite state abuses and promote public numbing and indifference, resembling other state abuses in the ‘war on terror’ and (with qualification) historical counterparts, e.g. Nazi Germany.”

The Herald reported that Dr Dudley told Fairfax Media that the Nazi regime relied on an underlying ideological commitment in which “the end is seen as justifying the means”.

According to the Herald report Dr Michael Dudley says Australians are “psychically numbed about boat interceptions and gulags”.

“We haven’t seen Nazi death camps in Australia … but we have had some pretty extraordinary policies historically in this country, which include policies towards indigenous people.

“I think White Australia has links to our current policies towards boat people in our unwillingness to systematically think about this issue, to contemplate alternatives.”

He said like gulags, detention centres were “places out of sight, out of mind where terrible things are happening and we are assuming the state is looking after us”.

The Herald report states that Dr Dudley  said in the Australasian Psychiatry journal that health and welfare workers who assisted the Nazi regime were usually ordinary people motivated by “peer and situational pressures, careerism and ideological commitments”, and that “euphemism, bureaucratic routines and missionary zeal facilitated psychic numbing and denial”.

 President of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Robert Goot told J-Wire: “It’s disappointing that a respected health professional would make comparisons, even in qualified terms, between any Australian government and that of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, and compare the Australian people to the generation of Germans who supported Nazism and turned a blind eye to the systematic and brutal denial of human rights culminating in the butchery of millions of innocent people.  Australia and Australians are not perfect but to liken them both to the most extreme cases of evil is clearly unwarranted.

Whatever validity there is  to  criticisms of Australia’s detention centres, it is undermined by making such comparisons.”


2 Responses to “ECAJ critical of Nazi comparison”
  1. Marta Mikey Frid says:

    Should we still be surprised why the young today are so cynical about this pseudo scientism that is infesting the world? His stand is not at all surprising; You can make a doctor out of a mentsch, but not a mentsch out of a doctor. This is a atypical comment from a profession that claims to be based on scientifically unproven correlations between certain obscure neurochemical mechanisms and even more obscure psychological processes. The damage incurred by this profession has a long and terribly appalling history. Just because they passed a few tests, they believe they can ascend any podium of discourse. Shame on him, and the association that represents him.

  2. dr john nemesh says:

    Dr Michael Dudley’s comments in making any comparison between NAZI death camps where millions of Jews and other minorities were systematically exterminated, with that of Australians and Australian policy, is as disgusting as it is untrue.

    To be clear on this, I find his comments of that of a naive high school undergraduate who has absolutely no concept of the pure evil and depravity of which he seeks to make contemporary comparisons.

    Where are the tortures? Where are the torturers?Where are the millions of murdered dead?Where and who are the mass murderers?

    That Dr Dudley’s stupid , distasteful and totally dark fantasy article was even published belittles the credibility of the medical publication which accepted his article.

    I await a profound and sincere apology from this psychiatrist.

    Dr John Nemesh
    Clinical Senior Lecturer,
    Graduate School of Medicine,
    University of Wollongong

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