Saturday, October 22, 2016

Secret Fred's Business

Age (82) does not weary him:

"Right-wing Christian firebrand MP the Reverend Fred Nile hid in Parliament House and refused to come out to avoid being served legal documents in a defamation case. Judge Judith Gibson was scathing in her assessment of the Christian Democrat leader's behaviour, telling the District Court earlier this week that evading service of a subpoena was a serious matter and could result in a charge of contempt of court... The defamation case for which Mr Nile was requested to provide documents centres on lawyer and activist Robert Balzola - the head of an anti-Muslim group called Concerned Citizens of Canberra. Mr Balzola is suing The Canberra Times over a story published in 2012 about his opposition to a new mosque. Late last night Mr Nile told The Saturday Telegraph... that since arriving back in the country from Israel on Tuesday morning he had not had the opportunity to inform the court that he had nothing to produce because he was ill with the flu..." (Nile hides in office to dodge subpoena, Kelly Burke, The Daily Telegraph, 22/10 16)

And thereby hangs a tale...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Zionist Humour & Zionist History are Oxymorons

A superb essay by Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook (, 19/10/16):

"It was presumably intended as an Israeli history lesson to the world. A video posted to social media by Israel's foreign ministry shows an everyday Jewish couple, Jacob and Rachel, in a home named the 'Land of Israel'. A series of knocks on the door brings 3,000 years of interruptions to their happiness. First it's the Assyrians, followed by the Babylonians, Hellenists, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, and Ottomans - all straight out of Monty Python central casting. Jacob and Rachel are forced by the warring factions to relocate to ever smaller parts of their home until finally they have to pitch a tent in the garden. Their fortunes change only with the arrival of a servant of the British Empire, who returns the title deeds. A final knock disturbs their celebrations. On the doorstep are a penniless Palestinian couple, craning their necks to see what goodies await them inside. The chauvinism in portraying Jacob and Rachel as the only normal folk, stoically enduring barbarians butchering each other in their living room, is ugly enough. But it is harder still to take seriously an account in which the Palestinians suddenly appear out of nowhere in 1948, as Britain departs.

"A mile from my home in Nazareth are the ruins of Saffuriya, a centuries-old Palestinian town until the Israeli army expelled the inhabitants in 1948 and blew up their homes. more than 500 villages were similarly razed. In places where buildings were left untouched, it is Jews - not Palestinians - who squat in someone else's home. But the falsification runs deeper. Next to the rubble of Saffuriya lies the much older Roman city of Sephoris, where Jews settled nearly 2,000 years ago after their failed revolts against the Roman Empire. A surviving synagogue's mosaic floor reveals that the Jews of Sephoris worshipped the sun, so close had they grown to the area's pagan population.

"Other entanglements abound. In Nazareth's old city is the world's only 'synagogue-church' where Jesus reputedly delivered his first sermon. It is a reminder that many local Jews would soon be calling themselves Christians, and later Muslims. Farther north, in the town of Bokaya, an ancient synagogue can be found next to churches and mosques. For centuries the Abrahamic faiths lived alongside each other in a communal harmony unknown in Europe.

"In fact, contrary to Israel's version of history, the most violent clashes - aside from the Jewish revolts - coincided with invasions by Europeans, whether the aggressive sectarianism of the Crusaders, or the British-backed creation of an ethno-religious 'Jewish state' by Zionists. More usually, Palestine's past was marked by cultural tolerance and genetic diversity. Conversions and intermarriages meant the region was a melting-pot of identities and beliefs.

"Israel, of course, prefers to obscure that history, because it leads to an obvious conclusion: the region needs less, not more, tribalism and dogma of the sort Israel favours. The Jewish majority in Israel lives almost entirely apart from the Palestinians who stayed on their land and are today nominally citizens. Meanwhile, in the West Bank - known to Israelis as the Biblical kingdoms of 'Judea and Samaria' - Jewish settlers lord it over a ghettoised Palestinian population subject to military rule.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been drafting a basic law defining Israel as belonging to a globalised 'Jewish nation', not the country's citizens. And he insists that peace talks take place only once the Palestinians under occupation recognise Israel as such a Jewish state - a condition that, once viewed as risible, has now been adopted by Washington.

"In a sign of the prevailing mood, Israel's education ministry has recently banned from the curriculum two novels featuring romantic attachments between Jews and Arabs. At the same time, the 'green line' that once demarcated the occupied Palestinian territories has been erased from Israeli classroom maps, implying instead that it is all Greater Israel.

"Faced with Israel's zero-sum policies and diplomacy, Palestinians have grown increasingly anxious about the future. Last week a resolution from UNESCO, the UN's scientific and cultural body, gave a voice to their concerns. It highlighted Israeli threats to the most important Muslim and Christian heritage sites under occupation. Recognising the importance of Jerusalem 'for the three monotheistic religions', the resolution nonetheless warned that Israel was exploiting its illegal control to erase the Palestinians' connection to such sites, especially Al Aqsa mosque.

"Hoping to deflect attention away from these criticisms, Israel railed against the UN for denying primacy to its narrative. Al Aqsa must be billed equally as Temple Mount, Mr Netanyahu insisted, referring to a long-lost Jewish temple believed to be buried under the Jerusalem mosque. But the ruined temple's likely location leads to the opposite conclusion Mr Netanyahu has reached: not that the Jews have a stronger claim to sovereignty, but that the region's peoples and religions are impossibly intertwined. That should be the chief lesson for the current Jacobs and Rachels, many of them living in armed and relentlessly expanding colonies on stolen Palestinian territory. the land was always shared, and there will be no peace until it is again."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ugly Australians

"The Australian government is responsible for the deliberate and systematic torture of refugees on Nauru and should be held accountable under international law, according to a major new report informed by unprecedented access to the secretive island. Amnesty International said it had interviewed 62 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, and more than a dozen current or former contract workers who delivered services on behalf of the Australian government, to compile a report titled Island of Despair." (Australia accused of torture on Nauru, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/10/16)

If Turnbull and Shorten can condone the torture of asylum seekers on Nauru, they can also condone the torture of Australian citizens, not to mention the torture of others by so-called friends and allies abroad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All Service & Devotion, & No Reward

As we know, it's damn hard work representing the people of Israel NSW and running NSW to perdition perfection. Here's just a sample of that hard work, with the mere pittance these guys are being paid for it in brackets. Surely such service and devotion deserve more than this:

"The NSW Parliament's Legislative Council has debated a condolence motion in honour of the late Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres. The motion was moved by Christian Democrats MLC Paul Green [$157,112] and was supported by four parliamentarians. They were Multiculturalism Minister John Ajaka [$307,940], Deputy opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord [$196,390] and Liberal MLCs Dr Peter Phelps [$157,112] and Scott Farlow [$157,112]." (NSW State Parliament debates condolence motion for Shimon Peres,, 14/10/16)

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Awakening of Dr Swee

One of the best personal accounts I have ever read of the journey from (Palestine) ignorance to (Palestine) awareness may be found in the memoir From Beirut to Jerusalem: A Woman Surgeon with the Palestinians (1989) by the remarkable and saintly British-Singaporean doctor, Swee Chai Ang.*

Her awakening came in 1982, in the context of Israel's brutal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. Here she is at the beginning of her journey:

"Lebanon and Beirut were were unfamiliar names to me, but Israel was not: my church had taught me that the children of Israel had were the chosen people of God. Many of my Christian friends held that the gathering of the Jews from all over the world into the State of Israel was the fulfilment of scriptural prophecies.

"Israel had my support for other reasons. In London, I had spent hours watching television programmes which showed how appallingly the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Both of my parents had suffered at the hands of the Nazis' allies, the Japanese Imperial Army. As a refugee in a foreign country, I understood what it meant to be stateless. The creation of the State of Israel, giving the Jews a home free from persecution, seemed to me to be an act of justice - even one of divine justice.

"The newspapers said that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon had made a hundred thousand people homeless and had killed fourteen thousand, and this upset me terribly. I could not understand why Israel had done this. There had to be a good reason for it. Most of the news stories in Britain depicted the invasion as an attempt by Israel to flush out the Palestine Liberation Organisation - or PLO - from its bases in Lebanon. All I knew about the PLO was that it was an Arab group which hijacked passenger jets, planted bombs and hated Jews.

"Some of my Christian elders told me that the Palestinians were the descendants of the Philistines of the Old Testament, and everyone knew that the giant Goliath was a conquering Philistine who terrorised his opponents. The tale of David and Goliath had been one of my favourites when I was a Sunday school teacher: I loved telling my kids how little David brought down the mighty Goliath. (I am a couple of inches under five foot tall myself.)

"From the news coverage, however, it looked as though Israel had turned into Goliath: a swaggering giant bringing destruction, terror and death to neighbouring Lebanon. An Israeli leader told the press that much as he regretted the casualties, to make an omelette one first had to crack eggs.

"Crack eggs? That remark shocked me. What kind of 'omelette' was Israel trying to make, and were the people of Lebanon eggs to be cracked? It was clear from the news reports that nearly all of the people who had been killed, wounded or made homeless were civilians, many of them women or children. Bombing civilians is a disgraceful way to make war. The bombs fell for days: on playgrounds, cemeteries, houses, hospitals, schools and factories. Even International Red Cross ships bringing food and medical supplies to Beirut were targets." (pp 1-3)

Now here she is at the end of her journey of discovery:

"The Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists because Israel could only be created over the destruction of Palestine and the expulsion of its people. In 1988, the State of Israel celebrated forty years of existence; while the Palestinian exiles remembered the loss of their homeland. For Israel to flourish, all traces of Palestine had to be obliterated. The wounds inflicted by Israel go on festering; Israeli bombs cause death and destruction; torture and mutilation in Israeli detention camps, such as the Ansar camps, will take more than a lifetime to fade from the memory. And Israelis complain that the Palestinians refuse to 'recognise' the State of Israel. After being forced to give up their country, their homes - even their lives - the Palestinians are being asked to surrender their souls to the victors." (p 246)

[*See Dr Swee in action in one of the most moving talks I have ever heard: Making a Small Difference: TEDxUCLWoman,]

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From One No-Go Zone to Another

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, its editor Judith Whelan is jumping ship moving to the ABC, where she has been "appointed the Head of Spoken Content at ABC Radio and will oversee the capital city radio network, Radio National..." (Herald editor Judith Whelan moves on, 14/10/16)

Whelan was rambammed in 2012*, an experience which resulted in such penetrating 'insights' (delivered at her post rambam Jewish Board of Deputies debriefing) as a) "Israel is unique"; b) because "it is the holiest place for three religions... can we be surprised that it is constantly fought over?"; and c) Israelis have been living "under the threat of rockets, suicide bombers and terrorist attacks for too many years."

Any wonder then that the Herald has been a virtual no-go zone for real news on this subject for, like, forever? (Not to mention the proverbial day.)

Whelan should get on just fine with old Geraldine Doogue and Phillip Adams at Radio National, yet another no-go zone for real news on the same subject.

[*For details see my posts Innocents Abroad (8/12/12) and Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother? (19/11/12)]

Friday, October 14, 2016

Games Politicians Play

Classic grandstanding:

"A state Parliament in Australia on Thursday unanimously passed a motion that described US presidential nominee Donald Trump as 'a revolting slug unfit for public office.' Jeremy Buckingham... from the minor Greens party, introduced the motion to the New South Wales Legislative Council, the Parliament's upper house. 'This house... agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as 'a revolting slug' unfit for public office,' the motion said... Had any lawmaker objected to the motion, it would have been struck off the list of parliamentary business. Because there was no objection, the motion was recorded as having been unanimously agreed to by the Sydney-based house. 'It's great that all sides of Australian politics, from conservatives to liberals to Greens, agree that Donald Trump is a 'revolting slug' and completely unfit for public office,' Buckingham said in a statement." (Australian state lawmakers condemn Trump as 'revolting slug',, 13/10/16)

So Trump's a slug, a sleazebag and a superfreak? So what? He's already toast. What about those with a far greater track record in awfulness?

What about the arms-dealing Obomber - $38 bn to Israel over the next 10 years/ $115 bn to Saudi Arabia since 2009?

What about Killary - "We came, we saw, he (Gaddafi) died. Hahaha"/ Hey, Putin, put up your nukes!?

If this one-time Parliamentary Friend of Israel really wants to make a splash, if he's really more buck than ham, let him try moving a motion calling on war criminal Benjamin Netanyau, who's been invited by the feds to (dis)grace our shores next year, to stay put.

Pigs will fly.