Monday, June 18, 2018

The Suez Aggression Rides Again

It's back to 1956*, chaps, with Britain and France now key players in the Saudi/Emirati intervention in Yemen.

In addition to arming the Saudis, Britain (along with the US) has just vetoed a UNSC resolution designed to prevent a Saudi/Emirati attack on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. (See UN rejects plan for ceasefire in Yemen port, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 15/6/18)

As for the French, they've apparently deployed special forces to Yemen to bolster Emirati troops there. (See French special forces on the ground in Yemen, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com. 16/6/18)

These two imperial recidivists, you'll remember, accompanied Trump on his bombing run in Syria in April. Now they're at it again, this time in Yemen. When will they ever learn?

As Syrian MP Fares Shehabi tweeted on June 16: "In short, the UK, US & France are behind all of our nightmares and tragedies in the region! We don't have any positive collective memory of anything good they did for us! For a century all they did was conquer, destroy, divide, loot, abuse and terrorize our people!"

[*When Britain and France colluded with the Israelis to seize the Suez Canal and topple Egypt's president Nasser. See my 14/4/18 post Anthony Nutting Turns in His Grave.]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Malcolm's Party

It has been said that the fish stinks from the head down. Well, you can smell the head of Australia's governing Liberal Party a mile away. Get a whiff of this:

Last year...

"Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest paid politician in the OECD... Mr Turnbull's base pay rose to $527,854 after the independent Remuneration Tribunal ordered a 2% pay rise for politicians last year, delivering him a $10,000 jump." (Turnbull's pay highest of any OECD leader, Eryk Bagshaw, The Sun-Herald, 27/5/47)

Next month...

"Malcolm Turnbull will pocket a pay rise of more than $10,000 next month after the independent Remuneration Tribunal decided to lift salaries for federal politicians by 2%... The decision will see the Prime Minister's annual income rise to $538,460... " ($10k top-up for Turnbull as pay lifted for MPs, Joe Kelly, The Australian, 14/6/18)

Then, of course, there's the awful stench of the party's rank and vile:

"The [Liberal Party's] council... voted, by a narrow margin of 43 to 31 votes, to relocate the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a highly contentious move opposed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during the debate." (Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC, David Crowe, smh.com.au, 16/6/18)

Smelling salts, anyone?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

It Seemed Like a Jolly Good Idea at the Time

I introduced Thursday's post, Erin Go Brath, with a quote from Ronald Storrs (1881-1955), the British governor of Jerusalem from 1920-26. As indicated, the quote comes from his highly-regarded memoir Orientations (1937). It is obvious from the passage that, at the time of writing his book, Storrs was a starry-eyed admirer of the Zionist colonial project in Palestine. But, as the bloody reality of that project inevitably became apparent, the penny began to drop for him, as those wonderful, enterprising Zionist chappies of the 20s turned on Britain in the late 40s and went for its jugular.

Here's how Zionist historian Rory Miller concludes his essay Sir Ronald Storrs & Zion: the dream that turned into a nightmare (Middle East Studies, July 2000):

"For the Zionists the story [of British involvement in Palestine] concluded well with the birth of the State of Israel. For Storrs the story did not have such a happy ending. By the time of Israel's founding in 1948, Storrs' long-time interest in Palestine had crystallized into a loathing of Zionism. It had even turned into paranoia with Storrs concerned lest his public pronouncements on Zionism might result in his assassination by Zionist extremists and get him 'sterned off', as he liked to phrase it... Entries into his diary such as 'Palestine news is heartbreaking' and 'Palestine is worse than ever... I wish I could let my anxiety, even despair lapse into... indifference' evoke the bitterness, hostility and resignation of a man who had involved himself in the Palestine question for over 30 years. Indeed it is a private note made by Storrs when he was contemplating adding an addendum to the 1948 reprint of the final and definitive edition of Orientations that emotionally and eloquently best sums up the totality of his opposition to Zionism and his belief in the harm wrought by the Zionist experiment in Palestine by this time: 're-reading these chapters I compared what Britain had done for Zionism with what Zionism had done to the British, to the peaceful inhabitants of the Holy Land and to the Middle East, to Judaism and ultimately to world Jewry, to the fair name of the United Nations, to the Anglo-American relationship, upon which the future of humanity depends - then, in the speech of our book of common prayer - 'I held my tongue and spake nothing. I kept silence, yea even from God's* words, but it was pain and grief to me'."

[*The Book of Common Prayer actually says, 'good words'.]

Friday, June 15, 2018

New Kid on the Block?

On Wednesday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution (GA/12028) condemning Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians and asked UN chief Antonio Guterres to recommend an 'international protection mechanism' for occupied Palestinian territory. Only eight countries voted against the resolution: Israel, the United States, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo.

Much the same shameless Pacific line-up as usual, except that Palau's been replaced by the Solomons - a first time appearance as far as I can recall.

Now as it happens, the Solomon Islands' PM is currently visiting Australia, discussing "a new undersea internet cable between Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomons, which Australia is helping to fund." (Pacific 'pressured to cut ties with Taiwan', Primrose Riordan, The Australian, 14/6/18)

OK, if Australia is funding the thing, what's the Solomons' contribution? Just asking...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Erin Go Brath

"In spite then of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews, [with the Balfour Declaration] world Jewry was at last within sight of home... No longer would the Jews remain a people without a land, in exile everywhere... Civilisation had at last acknowledged the great wrong, had proclaimed the word of salvation. It was for the Jews to approve themselves by action worthy of that confidence: to exercise practically and materially their historic 'right'. The soil tilled by their fathers had lain for long ages neglected: now, with the modern processes available to Jewish brains, Jewish capital and Jewish enterprise, the wilderness would rejoice and blossom like the rose. Even though the land could not yet absorb sixteen millions, nor even eight, enough could return, if not to form The Jewish State (which a few extremists publicly demanded), at least to prove that the enterprise was one that blessed him that gave as well as him that took by forming for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism." (Orientations, Ronald Storrs, 1937,  pp 357-58. Storrs was Jerusalem's first British governor.)

***

Following in the footsteps of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Cork City Council, the Dublin City Council, Galway City Council has declared its solidarity with the people of Palestine and support for the BDS movement.

Here is Galway's most excellent motion:

1. Since its violent establishment in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of more than half of the indigenous people of Palestine, the state of Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law; noting also that Israel continues to illegally occupy and colonise Palestinian land, discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, imposes an inhumane blockade and siege of Gaza and denies Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes, Galway City Council fully supports and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom, equality and justice and commits itself to discontinue all business contracts it has with Hewlett-Packard, both HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for business and government services, as well as the HP spin-off DXC Technology as HP and DXC provide and operate much of the technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people. (Galway City Council adopts motion to boycott Israel, Micheal O Maoileoin, galwaydaily.com, 12/6/18)

Meanwhile, in the settler-colonial backwater known as Australia...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Night Thoughts of a Western Civilisationist

Those baby boomers have a lot to answer for, it seems:

"Western civilisation is losing its pre-eminence because it threw it away in the 1960s. When the burgeoning demographic of Baby Boomers reached angry adolescence, they had found the truth in sex, drugs and rock and roll and making love not war. Being angry at the establishment was exciting. Many never learned another thing and, like Peter Pan, never grew up, especially those who taught humanities and social sciences in schools and universities. Their minds turned towards subjects where victimhood and identity politics determined intellectual content, and violence and intimidation became the medium of communication. These are the eternally young Philistines who are responsible for the Australian education system today. The Ramsay Centre is a wonderful antidote but it is fighting a war against a large barbarian enemy and will need more troops and a well-developed strategy to win. Rome fell because of the enemy at and within the gates - and the loss of civic virtue. The West faces China, Russia and militant Islam and this cancerous social disease of eternally young and stupid totalitarian toddlers inside. The new dark ages are a distinct possibility." (Letter of Jim Wilson, Beaumont, SA in The Australian, 29/5/18)

Only in the Murdoch press...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

AUJS is Joking, Right?

Hm....

"A female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers has graced the front cover of a University of Sydney student newspaper, and Jewish students who complained about the cover have been 'condemned' for censorship. Hamida al-Taher killed more than 50 people, mainly Israeli military personnel, when she blew herself up in Southern Lebanon in 1985. The special edition of the University of Sydney's student newspaper Honi Soit, produced by the student women's collective a fortnight ago, put her on the cover and called her a 'martyr' in an issue dedicated to the struggle against 'Israeli colonisation'. The student queer collective's edition of Honi Soit on April 16 was criticised for having a picture of a petrol bomb on the cover and supporting a boycott of Israel. The Australasian Union of Students has called for an apology over the covers. 'They are particularly disturbing to Jewish students as they display a blatant disdain for Israeli victims of violence,' AUJS national political director Noa Bloch said." (Jewish students take aim at 'distressing' paper, Richard Ferguson, The Australian, 8/6/18)

WTF?

What is it that the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) just doesn't get here?

Maybe some capital letters will help:

A LEBANESE freedom fighter dies in an operation which kills ISRAELI troops occupying LEBANON, and is therefore hailed a martyr. But, for some strange reason, the AUSTRALASIAN Union of Jewish Students that's a no-no.

Now AUSTRALIAN troops have killed God knows how many TURKS, VIETNAMESE, AFGHANS and IRAQIS in TURKEY, VIETNAM, AFGHANISTAN and IRAQ respectively, and are honoured for their 'sacrifice' with an annual commemoration known as Anzac Day. But, presumably, the AUSTRALASIAN Union of Jewish Students has no problem with that.

Hope that helps.