Thursday, December 18, 2014

Conflating the Unconflatable 2

The following piece by Irris Makler, prompted by the Lindt Cafe outrage, blithely conflates Monday's violence in Sydney with that in Jerusalem. (Makler is described at as an "Australia-born Israeli journalist and author"):

"I love leaving Jerusalem, where I'm based as a foreign correspondent, and coming home to Sydney for the summer... On Monday 15th December, I felt I was finally on holiday. It was bright, warm and sunny... I was trying to decide between the beach and the gym when I heard the news. A hostage-taking in Martin Place. A chocolate shop. A black flag with Arabic writing held up by hostages... This simply doesn't happen in Sydney, and certainly not in the lead-up to Christmas... I felt a flash of anger that this easy, lovely time was being polluted by something familiar to me from the Middle East - political violence... [T]here's been a significant upsurge in violence in Jerusalem over the past few months. The increase in tension started with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in May this year. It was followed by the 50 day Gaza war, and then a campaign by Jewish extremist groups to be allowed to pray in [sic] the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. During October and November, Palestinian attacks were occurring in Jerusalem, one following another... Over the past 6 months, Israeli authorities saw that an angry man could grab a kitchen knife, and run out and attack civilians. He could grab a meat cleaver, and kill people at prayer. He could throw acid over someone... He could use his family car... to run people over... You would need a huge amount of pent-up fury to carry out any of these attacks..." (Returning home to a place I left behind,, 15/12/14)

That the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Arab East Jerusalem are directly responsible for that "pent-up fury" is nowhere mentioned.

Here is Makler's one feeble attempt to differentiate between the two cases:

"In Australia, there is no festering political wound, like there is between Israelis and Palestinians, which fuels violence on both sides."

But Makler's an amateur in the business of conflating the unconflatable. Here's her PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, offering his condolences to "Dear Tony":

"Israel and Australia face the same scourge of ruthless Islamist terrorism which knows no geographic bounds and targets innocent civilians indiscriminately." (, 16/12/14)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oh My Allah!

One thing to emerge from the reporting of Sydney's Lindt Cafe murders is the remarkable degree of agreement on the part of both branches of the Australian mainstream press that there is no such thing as The Deity.

There are only deities.

Here's Fairfax:

"Even as hostages held their captor's flag to the window - 'There is no god but Allah,' it said - a sense of unreality enveloped a city whose citizens persisted with shopping according to a tradition linked to the Christian God." ('Is it for real?' Shoppers faced frightening truth, Rick Feneley, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/12/14)

Got that? There's "Allah"... and there's "the Christian God."

Chalk and cheese.

Ditto for Murdoch:

"The solid black background represents one of the banners used by the Prophet Muhammed during battles and the text is the Shahada - the testament of the Islamic faith: 'There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of God'." (Generic flag raises questions, Mark Schliebs, The Australian, 16/12/14)

Allah's strictly for Muslims, OK?

By the same logic, the French don't worship God. They worship Dieu.

The Spanish worship Dios.

The Italians, Dio.

The Germans, Gott.

The Russians...

Got the idea?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Conflating the Unconflatable 1

In 2012, whilst rambamming in Israel, twitter-happy NSW MLC and Zionist dupe Peter Phelps let fly with this:

"Just peered into Gaza - now I know how Frodo felt when he gazed first upon Mordor." (See my 20/8/12 post Frodos Gaze Upon Mordor.)

He's now excelled himself with this:

"You'd think that they'd be going after Max Brenner instead of Lindt... "

I'm wondering, could Phelp's be merely the first in a barrage of mephitic emissions conflating the unconflatable?

Let's wait and see just who among the usual suspects can't resist the urge, shall we?

Watch this space...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Amnesty International Misrepresents Palestine-Israel

Whenever you Google Palestine-related words these days you're bound to come across the following ad, placed at the time of Israel's last (July-August) orgy of destruction in Gaza:

Gaza: What's Happening?,
Let Amnesty Explain The Situation in Gaza & Find Out How to Help

It may also look like this:

Gaza: 2 Minute Summary
Why Do Israel & Palestine Fight? Let Amnesty Help You Understand

Curious, I clicked. What a bummer!

Here is what you get, courtesy of Amnesty's 'crisis campaigner', Michael Hayworth:

"Israel-Palestine - it's complicated, right? Like you wouldn't believe. In fact, we can't help to cover every detail and the history here so we'll try to make it quick. Although the conflict has origins going back to the early 1900s, when the region was part of the Ottoman Empire, we're going to look at what happened during the mid-20th century."

Wrong, Palestine-Israel is really quite simple. It's an unresolved settler-colonial issue, as in colonisers vs colonised. Hayworth wimps out on this most fundamental point. All he had to do was say that 'Imperial Britain took Palestine from the Turks during World War 1 and gave it to a European settler-colonial movement known as Zionism, without consulting its people, 90% of whom were indigenous Arabs, both Muslim and Christian.'

"In 1948, back when Palestine was a British territory, the United Nations (UN) declared it would be divided into two independent countries: Israel and Palestine."

It wasn't 1948. It was 1947. Nor did the UN declare anything. It merely recommended that Palestine be partitioned, without consulting its inhabitants, two-thirds of whom were Arab Muslims and Christians, the rest recently arrived European Jewish immigrants.

"To cut a very long and complicated story short, the Arab leaders of Palestine rejected the divide and attempted to maintain a unified, independent Palestine. This led to fighting, the upshot of which was that Israel ended up controlling more land than the UN had originally granted to it and over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were displaced."

Over 700,000 Palestinians were displaced? Note how Hayworth uses the passive voice to avoid what actually happened - the ethnic cleansing of the native population. He should have written something like this: 'The partition of their ancestral homeland was opposed by the Palestinian Arab majority as a violation of their right to self-determination. Zionist forces then launched a military offensive, expelling some 750,000 Palestinians from 78% of Palestine. Israel has to this day refused their right of return. The only parts of Palestine to remain in Arab hands were the West Bank (under Jordanian control) and the Gaza Strip (under Egyptian control).'

"In 1967, growing tensions between Israel and Palestine ended in 6 days of hostilities from 5 to 11 June [sic: 10 June]. During that time, Israel seized Gaza and pushed Jordanian forces out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to the UN, another 500,000 Palestinians were displaced."

This should read 'growing tensions between Israel and the Arab states'. There was, and still is, no Palestinian state. Nor does Hayworth mention that the 1967 war began with an Israeli attack on Egypt. Yet again, he employs the passive voice to mask the fact of further Israeli ethnic cleansing from the territories occupied by Israel.

"Although Israel withdrew its occupying troops from Gaza in 2005, it maintains a full blockade of the territory. The West Bank still remains under Israeli occupation."

Not a word about Israel's rampant colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem! Not a word about its illegal West Bank wall!

"In the years since occupation began, Israel and the Palestinian territories have been stuck in an unending cycle of violence and retribution. Whilst there are individuals and groups on both sides who are guilty of perpetuating the conflict, and Israelis live under the threat of missiles and rockets from Hamas, Palestinian civilians still bear the brunt of the conflict."

Anyone reading this rubbish would get no sense whatever that what we have today in Palestine/Israel is typical of settler-colonial scenarios throughout history: a ferocious occupying power seeking to hold on to its ill-gotten gains in the face of acts of resistance, some armed, most nonviolent, by a besieged and brutalised indigenous population.

Hayworth then goes on to sketch the Israeli massacres of July/August this year, saying "[p]otential war crimes are being committed by both sides." This is followed by the gloss that, while Israel's actions have only "the potential to be a war crime," Hamas has "clearly violated international law."

He goes on, under the heading What will stop the violence? to say that "Israel must lift its crippling blockade of Gaza which violates international law and Israel's obligations as the occupying power. It is a key element of the context of the current hostilities."

Note, it is not the key element, merely a key element.

Oh, and there's a photo of grieving Palestinian civilians balanced by one of grieving Israeli troops.

Say no more.

It's sanitised, so-called balanced misrepresentations like this that help perpetuate the interminable suffering of the Palestinian people. What a bloody shame!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Side of Israel the World Too Rarely Acknowledges

Now here's a surprise. Not:

"Reports by UN observers in the Golan Heights over the past 18 months reveal the type and extent of cooperation between Israel and Syrian opposition figures... [I]n March 2013... Israel started admitting injured Syrians for medical treatment in Safed and Nahariya hospitals. The Syrian ambassador to the UN complained of widespread cooperation between Israel and Syrian rebels, not only treatment of the wounded but also other aid. Israel at first asserted the injured were civilians reaching the border of their own initiative and without prior coordination because they could not obtain suitable treatment in Syria. Later, as the numbers increased, Israel said it was coordinating with civilians but not opposition groups. However, the reports reveal direct contact between the IDF and armed opposition members... Observers remarked in the report distributed on June 10 [2013] that they identified IDF soldiers on the Israeli side handing over two boxes to armed Syrian opposition members on the Syrian side." (UN reveals Israeli links with Syrian rebels, Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 7/12/14)

Now I've already raised the question (in my 3/9/13 post Our Man in Tel Aviv 2) of why Australia's ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, was peddling Israeli propaganda in Murdoch's Australian last year. Just to remind you:

"About 72 Syrian patients have been admitted to Ziv Medical Centre [in Safed] since February [2013]... They have harrowing stories and horrific injuries. Suffering from shrapnel and bullet wounds, burns and crush injuries, they have somehow managed to limp to the border with Israel, from where they are then transferred to Ziv Medical Centre... On the day I visited, I saw how doctors had managed to save the leg of an 8-year-old girl from amputation by use of some of the most advanced surgical techniques and injury treatment protocols... Ziv hospital is a profound example of humanity and decency at its most compelling. It is Israel at its very best, and a side of Israel that the world too rarely acknowledges." (Origin no bar to Israeli lifesavers, Dave Sharma, 31/8/13 - See my 3/9/13 post Our Man in Tel Aviv 2 for the Full Monty.)

That question, still unanswered, takes on a whole new urgency, it seems to me, in light of the Israeli support for anti-Asad (pro-?) forces reported by UN observers (not to mention our latest intervention in Iraq extending at some stage to include Syria). Surely, the Australian public is entitled to know whether these UN observer reports were available to DFAT, and hence to Sharma and his staff last year?

If so, then the question arises of Australia's knowing participation in an Israeli cover-up:

Haaretz: "Israel at first asserted the injured were civilians reaching the border of their own initiative and without prior coordination..."

Sharma: "... they have somehow managed to limp to the border with Israel... "

If not (ie, assuming that they have only just become available, didn't anyone - DFAT, Sharma, Sharma's staff - smell a rat? I mean, can they really be that clueless?

Oh yes, and why hasn't the above UN/Haaretz revelation been reported in the Australian mainstream media? After all, to borrow Sharma's words: "It is... a side of Israel that the world too rarely acknowledges."

How true!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Israel's Final Solution of the Palestinian Problem

Seeing the last 3 posts are all on the fate of the Palestinian refugees of 1948, it'd be remiss of me if I didn't draw your attention to the following words. They deserve to be better known:

"Ben-Gurion opposed any Israeli involvement in efforts to resolve [the problem of the Palestinian refugees]. He was convinced, along with [foreign minister] Moshe Sharett and other Israeli leaders, that the problem would disappear with time. The following evaluation prepared by the Near East Department of the Foreign Ministry is instructive: 'The [Palestinian] refugees will find their place in the diaspora. Those who can resist will live thanks to natural selection, the others will simply crumble. Some of them will persist, but the majority will become a human heap, the scum of the earth and will sink into the lowest levels of the Arab world'." (New Light on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Amnon Kapeliouk, Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring, 1987, pp 20-1)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Children of a Lesser God 3

The Spectator correspondence which followed the publication of Tweedy's 1949 essay on the plight of the Palestinian refugees is also of great interest.

Here, for example, is the usual slick Zionist propaganda, all bedside manner and sweet reason - until, that is, you reach the final paragraph, which is chilling in its implications:

"Mr Owen Tweedy's eloquent plea on behalf of Arab refugees in their terrible plight performs a valued service at this time when both parties are at last seated around the same table to discuss their common destiny. It was probably not his intention to do so, but he does leave an impression of Israeli intractability on this issue, as if the Jews had callously washed their hands of this vast human tragedy in order the better to solve their own. This is not strictly in accordance with the facts.

"Jewish leaders have not denied that the problem of Arab refugees could be included in the final peace settlement, and in this connection your readers may be interested in the following extract from the New York Times of January 17th, 1949: 'The attitude of Israel towards the Arab refugees who fled the territory occupied by Israel was discussed yesterday by Foreign Minister Shertok. He expressed the view that Israel should compensate the refugees for their property on condition that the money be used constructively to settle them in new homes and not 'frittered away' in temporary relief measures... In declaring that the refugees should receive compensation for property they left behind, Mr Shertok was careful to make clear that he was stating his own view. Official policy on the subject has not yet been decided, he said. Obviously, however, the question is up for consideration as Arabs and Israelis sit down to negotiate for the first time in the history of the long conflict over Palestine... We are prepared to do our share in resettlement of the refugees. It has become an international problem and we are ready to help solve it, not only in planning but in contributing funds for the relocating of these people.'  

"Would it be unreasonable to suggest a solution on the basis of an exchange of population? All the Arab States contain Jewish populations whose existence must be a cause at present of mutual discomfort, and here perhaps would be an opportunity for constructive U.N. leadership in an area where that authority has not proved an invariable failure." Barnet Litvinoff, 11/3/49

Would it be unreasonable? Would it what!

 Litvinoff's letter drew the following devastating riposte:

"Your correspondent, Mr Litvinoff, is clearly more accustomed to living in a house rather than a home. Presumably he would not mind being expelled from that house, and being told to go and live in, say, Australia, where there is plenty of room. In the same way he expects Arabs, who have been expelled from their homes, to go elsewhere. But Dr Gruber has reminded us lately that we are dealing with human beings, not pawns on a chessboard. Mr Litvinoff naively quotes the report in an American newspaper of Mr Shertok's intentions. He would do better to read Mr Shertok's own words in Count Bernadotte's last report, published by H.M. Stationery Office.* It would satisfy even Hitler that might is right, and its brutality is staggering." Elinor Moore, 18/3/49

[*Moore was reacting to such words as: "[T]he return during the truce of thousands of displaced Arabs to the State of Israel... would most seriously handicap the war effort and war-readiness of Israel by bringing into its territory a politically explosive and economically destitute element and by saddling its Government with responsibility for all the ensuing complications." Shertok also spins the expulsion as "a mass exodus, mostly spontaneous." (Annex II)]