Frydenberg accepts Twitter apology

June 30, 2015 by Henry Benjamin
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Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has accepted an apology made by Brisbane financial adviser James Howarth following a series of anti-Semitic tweets criticising the politician for  his position in planned changes to upfront commissions paid to financial planners.

james Howarth

james Howarth

In tweets posted on Twitter, James Howarth came in for a barrage of criticism branding his statements as being anti-Semitic.

Read the J-Wire story here

In a statement to J-Wire, Mr Howarth said: “My comments were wrong and for that I am very sorry to anyone offended.
I am saddened I have upset Jewish people at large. I am certainly not antisemitic. I have many Jewish friends and just twelve months ago I attended a Jewish funeral of a very dear friend.

My comments were made on the back of a government decision to impose a price cap on insurance staff compensation, a level that was previously set by market forces. History has not a kind thing to say about government interference in prices and the setting of price caps, at levels that ensure future adjustment to the good meaning legislation. In every case, when a government sets a price cap the end result is a shortage of supply and higher prices.

Josh Frydenberg

Josh Frydenberg

This legislation affects small business owners in the insurance and advice fields greatly as it completely wipes out the profit margin, but in time it will affect everyone. Not only in higher insurance costs, but the means of achieving anything that the Government can be persuaded of. Does anyone truly believe that life insurance is an unprofitable industry? Does anyone believe it is so unprofitable that government intervention on staff compensation is justifiable? Where was the market failure here?
I am very sorry to the Honorable Josh Frydenberg for my conduct, but I am also very sad that deregulation, has amounted to this new regulations. My hero is Milton Friedman and I do believe there is a point where, government ends and the individuals right to contract freely should prevail.

James Howarth”

When told about the apology, Federal Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told J-Wire: “I am pleased Mr Howarth has recognised that his comments were inappropriate and offensive and I accept his apology.”

The executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein told J-Wire:  “There is no place for racism in Australian society, and AIJAC commends Libertas Financial Planning for terminating financial adviser James Howarth’s authorised representative status following Howarth’s vile antisemitic tweets attacking Assistant Treasurer The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.

We are also pleased that the Financial Services Institute of Australia has launched an investigation.

Mr Howarth’s tweets were  disgraceful. His belated words of apology, so graciously accepted by Mr Frydenberg, beggar belief that he did not realise that a stream of anti-Jewish abuse would give offence.

AIJAC acknowledges the strong, unambiguous condemnations of the vile antisemitism from media commentators and Parliamentarians. There must never be tolerance of racism.”



9 Responses to “Frydenberg accepts Twitter apology”
  1. James Howarth says:

    As I have apologised to Josh and he has accepted my apology all other vigilante actions by the media and the people they inflamed are quite insincere, particularly if you claim to be a religious leader.

    A person does have a right to protest the government’s impending decisions. Particularly if they are poorly thought through.

    Given the changes in Government, it is clear that the powers that be have acknowledged they have erred in their deregulation mandate, and changed course.

    None of this was ever about religion. My comments were part of a general angry discussion by financial advisers on Twitter about collusion and price caps. My comments were not anonymous and were baited by a cadet journalist.

    I will never comment on religion again, because of obvious reasons, but the death threats I received from Jewish vigilantes would disgust even the most hardened warriors. I acknowledge they were angry too, and probably didn’t feel good about it. The way forward is love not hatred. I love them and told them so.

    I had no issue with any religion. If one takes away a persons ability to be an active contributing citizen, then what outcome would one expect; positive or negative?

    Rita L your comments are beneath me and I will not respond to them. I dislike Josh Fridenberg’s policies not the entire Jewish race. You have incited hate.

    Barry Mond – My “attack” was not personal it was political, based on my right to have a view on what my politicians intend to do, particularly when price capping is contrary to Australian values, as suggested by the Liberal party. Given the recent political changes, I think the liberal party may have changed their view on price capping and extra regulation on a deregulation mandate.

    Marta, not sure I understood your analogy.

    I do not judge based on religion, but I am never going to think Josh Frydenberg politics and the politics I have a right to participate in, will agree, even though I traditionally vote liberal.

    Erica Edelman
    I agree no one can condem based on religion.
    I can give you 20 examples by next month of Rabbis and Jewish media condemning Muslims Iran and Palestinians by next month. Perspective is everything. I do love your passion and I would like to apologize to you personally, as I know you spent alot of time being angry and writing comments, which must have detracted from doing something worthwhile.

    Peace Love and happiness.
    James Howarth

  2. Dan Lewis says:

    Did he actually say some of his best friends are Jewish?

  3. Rita L. says:

    To the Jew-Hater:

    “… I have upset Jewish people at large…”

    You have also offended non-Jewish people like myself and I will warn people in my circle never to do business with someone like you.

    “…I am certainly not antisemitic….”

    You certainly are!

    “…I have many Jewish friends…”

    Even Jewish people can have bad taste in “friends”.

    “… and just twelve months ago I attended a Jewish funeral of a very dear friend.”

    Woopdeedoo ! How grand of you, do you want the order of Australia for that?

    If I was Josh Frydenberg, I would not have accepted your whiney non-apology.

    • Erica Edelman says:

      You are a great woman, Rita
      Thank you for your continued support
      We need more intelligent ppl like you in our world !

      • Rita L. says:

        Hi Erica, THANK YOU!:)

        I think the choice is easy for everyone with even a minimum of intelligence and decency.

  4. Alan Baden says:

    You are correct Barry.
    This kind of spontaneous Anti-Semitism often lies dormant in people and only emerges in anger or excitment. This is why I like the technology of “Twitter”. It captures people’s spontaneous, inherent thoughts and in this case, Mr Howarth’s inherent Anti-Semitism.

    As for for Mr Frydenberg’s acceptance of the non-apology, any politician these days must fully adhere to political correctness or they will have no career in politics, so i appreciate his predicament.

  5. Marta Mikey Frid says:

    James Howarth considers himself more fortunate than the scorpion who killed himself together with the frog that was carrying him to safety.. But deep down, this apology of a human being is still paraphrasing the scorpion’s pathetic excuses that: I stung Josh (Hatred of the Jews) ) “Because it is my nature, it is what I do…” And people like him will keep on doing it, no matter for how long they keep on destroying themselves.

  6. BARRY MOND says:

    What a load of self serving rubbish from James Howarth.

    People like him are only ever apologetic for their inherent Anti-Semitism, when they are either called out on it and shamed, or their very financial future is at risk.

    Howarth’s so called apology, is typical of the mealy mouthed bull dust which emanates from Anti-Semites like him.

    Look at his words. “I’m very sorry TO ANYONE OFFENDED”. In other words, if you weren’t offended, you are as like-minded as I am in your attitude towards Jews. At the very least, what he should have said is, “I’m sorry for the offence that I have caused.”

    He’s saddened that he upset Jewish people at large because he’s got lot’s of Jewish friends and guess what, he even attended a Jewish funeral recently.

    I have got news for Howarth. Jews have have had so called “friends” like you for thousands of years. It is not until a Jew affects you in some way, that your Jew hatred surfaces.

    Would he have called Joe Hockey a Christian bastard if it was Joe Hockey introducing the new legislation? I think not.

    The one good thing is that Howarth’s Jewish friends now know with whom they are dealing, and can, and should immediately disassociate themselves from him.

    What really disappoints me, is that Josh Frydenberg accepted the apology.

    Josh should have set aside political correctness, and said that he is sick and tired of personal attacks being carried out on members of the Jewish Community, be they politicians like him, or businessmen, or Jews walking to their local Shul, or those wearing a Kippah in the local Shopping Mall.

    He should have had the courage to say, “I am not interested in Mr. Howarth’s apology. It rings a very hollow tune for me. What I am pleased about, is that if anyone is considering transacting business with Mr. Howarth, then they now know about Mr. Howarth’s racist views, and can make an informed decision as to whether or not they wish to do any business with him.”

    We don’t have many Jewish politicians representing us at either a State or Federal level, and we need them to be strong and courageous and let the Australian public know that we Jews will not cop this Jew hating garbage anymore, and that insincere apologies from Jew haters like Howarth will be treated with the contempt they deserve.

    • Erica Edelman says:

      Shallow and lame words, indeed, Mr Mond, and thank you for your most useful response.

      You make some very good points. Had it been a Joe Hockey affair all hell would have broken lose. Had it been a Muslim politician – well, Howarth would have been charged with incitement to racism and carted off in a paddy wagon.
      But because it was about a Jewish politician – well, then, let’s just give him a (weak) trial by the media.

      Howarth tries to justify (with a “visible” red herring) his antisemitism and blames government policy!. That is purely lame. This man should have been charged. Taken through the courts and hung up to dry (well and truly) by the media.(The media have plenty to say about everything else concerned with racism except when it comes to Jewish people).

      Colin Rubenstein sums it up perfectly. You want to sprout racism, hatred, antisemitism? You will lose your job, your status in the community and shame your family and friends. Howarth will be forever judged by what he has done. Shame on him and to him. It has been written on his slate.

      As for Josh Frydenberg accepting his apology – I’m of two minds. Political correctness is one thing and a must for Josh. But this was a GREAT moment to Teach the world that there are rules about what you can and cannot say (within the bounds of Freedom of Speech!). Had Josh NOT accepted his apology and pushed for punishment, he probably would have done more good than just being a “bigger” man by accepting his miserable and insincere apology.

      People on our planet need to learn it is NOT acceptable to condemn ANY race based on their PEACEFUL religious beliefs. The Jewish people, in this respect, are no different and should not be treated differently.

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