Australian farmers have become fair game for right-wing extremists and anti-Semitic groups because of the ongoing depression in the country’s chief agricultural products, wheat and wool, Jewish leaders were told last week.
A delegation of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry met in Canberra with Rock Farley, executive director of the National Farmers Federation, the umbrella body of wheat and sheep farmers organizations.
He told them that the wheat and sheep belt in the eastern quarter of the country is in desperate straits because of the combined effects of drought and the European-American trade war.
Anti-Semitic organizations have taken advantage of the despair to recruit members searching for scapegoats, Farley said. The farmers find themselves turning to “simplistic political solutions,” he explained.
The situation directly echoes one that has existed in the United States for some time, becoming more intense as the economy worsens.
In 1985 and 1986 Jewish groups held meetings with Christian clergy and rural farm organizations in efforts to combat a rise in activities by racist, anti-Semitic groups in the nation’s farm belt.
Much of the anti-Semitic activity in the United States was, and, to a lesser extent, continues to be promulgated adherents of the Christian Identity movement, a pseudo-Christian group that is part of the virulently anti-Semitic right.
Among those groups making anti-Semitic inroads in the American farm belt was the Lyndon LaRouche cult, which prophesied a worldwide agricultural collapse and mass starvation. A LaRouche affiliate group, the Schiller Organization, tried to sign up-farmers at propaganda meetings throughout rural communities in the U.S. Midwest.
In New Solidarity, the newspaper of LaRouche’s National Caucus of Labor Committees, a front-page story ran in 1985 claiming that the “Dope Lobby” is a Behind Reagan Farm Cutbacks.”
“Dope lobby” is a LaRouche code word for a so-called Jewish conspiracy in drug trafficking, criminal violence and terrorism.
The Australian Jewish Executive Council provided information to Australian farmers on the activities of the LaRouche group, which is conducting an anti-British campaign in Australia.
The farmers’ spokesman said the LaRouche views were repugnant to most Australians. But he agreed that their conspiracy theories are dangerous because of the professional manner in which they are presented.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.