Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly:
"Turkey is coming. And Iran is ready!"
This was greeted with more cheers.
Iran is ready? For what? If you were to ask Hilaly, his record suggests you would receive disingenuous piffle of the type he has been offering for years whenever questioned about his war-mongering, especially the comments he has made in Arabic when he thought he would not be scrutinised in the wider society.
For this you can thank Paul Keating and his government and the NSW Labor machine, for overriding the advice of the Australian intelligence community that Hilaly be deported. He was too useful to Labor.
Hilaly's latest message is clear. Turkey has turned against Israel. And Iran is ready, through its military and its foreign proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to wage war against Israel. It has sent thousands of rockets to Lebanon and tried to do the same in Gaza, and is prepared to confront and destroy the Zionist entity, with Hilaly and his followers cheering them on.
Sharing the stage outside the Town Hall was Paul McAleer, the Sydney branch secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. He chose his words carefully: ''This flotilla [confronting Israel's military blockade of Gaza] was hijacked by state-sanctioned murderers, who carry out their orders with deadly precision.''
State-sanctioned murderers who act with deadly precision. Sounds like Nazis.
The irony in McAleer's comments was elements of the union now known as the MUA functioned for decades as a criminal organisation, practising system-wide blackmail, extortion, intimidation, pilfering and featherbedding on the wharves. During World War II, the wharfies' union, controlled by the communists, undermined Australia's war effort. After the war, when dock operators began to introduce mechanisation on the wharves, union leaders pushed forklift trucks into the harbour.
When the Howard government and Chris Corrigan broke the MUA's stronghold on the ports 12 years ago, the union again used violence and intimidation. After the MUA lost the strike, the ports doubled their productivity. This is the moral authority on which the MUA stands.
Next on the Town Hall steps was a Greens NSW MP, Lee Rhiannon. She condemned Israel's "crime against humanity". Rhiannon is the embodiment of the common cause the hard left has made with the hard right of Islamic militancy. It is an interesting alliance. After the first modern Islamic revolution, in Iran, the new regime wiped out the communists, whose activists on university campuses had helped bring down the shah. Within its first two years, the Islamic regime had executed thousands of communists, student leaders and feminists.
Despite this warning, the hard left and Islamic militancy continue to find common cause because of a shared and defining antipathy to Western capitalism and Zionism.
This won't make some Fairfax readers very happy.