Tim Anderson, left, and his PhD student Jay Tharappel during a trip to North Korea. Picture: Facebook

Stephen Rice
The Australian
October 18, 2022

NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns has ordered Labor’s head office to urgently review its decision to allow extreme left activist Jay Tharappel to join the party, following outrage from members and demands by Jewish groups to dump the controversial former Sydney University academic.

The move comes after revelations by The Australian that Mr Tharappel, who once wore a jacket bearing slogans that declared “Curse on the Jews” and “Death to Israel”, was granted membership of the NSW Labor Party earlier this year.

On Tuesday, Mr Minns issued a statement saying: “There is no place for anti-Semitism in NSW Labor. I’m deeply concerned at the reported remarks and I’ve asked party office to urgently review the application.”

Mr Tharappel, an outspoken supporter of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Iran’s brutal religious regime, was previously a tutor in human rights at Sydney University. The 33-year-old is now an associate board member of the “Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies”, a network of pro-Assad and pro-Tehran academics, and a regular “political commentator” for Iranian state television.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Darren Bark said Mr Tharappel had “an appalling record of support for the world’s most repressive regimes and recognised terrorist organisations as well as his sympathy for invidious conspiracy theories”.

“In recent years, Mr Tharappel attacked local Jewish communal organisations for their calls to proscribe the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and alleged Israel has ‘spent the last decade aiding al-Qa’ida and Islamic State’. He has also used social media to post other material offensive to the NSW Jewish community, including questioning the number of Holocaust victims.

“Mr Tharappel does not deserve membership of the NSW Labor Party and we strongly urge that he be expelled as a matter of urgency,” he said.

On Tuesday, the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee wrote to NSW Labor general secretary Bob Nanva urging him to suspend Mr Tharappel’s membership of the NSW ALP, refer it to the party’s internal appeals tribunal “and ultimately expel this individual and ensure that they are banned from ever rejoining our party”.

“All members of the Labor Party have a right to be proud of the unequivocal stance taken by the great Australian Labor Party to fight racism and no Labor Party member or voter should have to accept the shame of having to be associated with such an individual,” said committee secretary Byron Danby.

Mr Tharappel is a protege of far-left “anti-imperialist” academic Tim Anderson, who was sacked by Sydney University in 2019 after a series of serious misconduct findings that included posting an image that featured a Nazi swastika super­imposed on the Israeli flag and sharing a photograph of Mr Tharappel – then one of his PhD students – wearing the “Curse on the Jews” and “Death to Israel” slogans.

Dr Anderson, who once flew to Syria for an audience with Mr Assad, has appealed his sacking through the courts.

In his submission to join the Labor Party, Mr Tharappel says he was previously a member of the Greens “but I literally never turned up to an event”.

Labor Party policy strongly supports Israel’s right to exist and condemns Mr Assad “who routinely bombs, chemically gasses, and murders his own people”.

Asked by The Australian if membership of the Labor Party was at odds with his previously expressed political views, Mr Tharappel responded: “Not interested.”