Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Geraldine & Robin Taught Me

Sometimes the introductory banter to a radio news item is more interesting than the item itself. Take, for example, ABC Radio National's Saturday Extra of May 21, which featured the segment, Views of Israel.  

In it, presenter Geraldine Doogue introduced Robin Margo SC, one of two contributors, noting his connection with a new Jewish community organisation called +61j*:

Doogue: I'd like you to explain what +61j is because it's aimed at the Australian Jewish community and you regularly send online reminders to say me, to Radio National. How did it come about?

Margo: Geraldine, it started with focus groups in Melbourne and Sydney. The biggest survey of any diaspora Jewish community was undertaken by Monash University in 2008 and what it found on Middle Eastern issues was there was a wide range of views within the community from left to right with no great majority at any particular point, but that range was not being reflected in public conversation.

Doogue: Well in fact the other group, AIJAC which is perceived as a more conservative end, which has an exceptional information service that goes out to all the media. Honestly, were you trying to counter them?

Margo: Not at all. We want to broaden the conversation. AIJAC has some very liberal positions, for example on refugees** and other matters, and on other matters we've disagreed with them.

The first thing we learn here is that "all the media" receives/ is bombarded by Israel lobby propaganda. The question then arises: to what extent is it lapped up (by Doogue certainly) or ignored? In any case, here we have the fact of the matter confirmed - from the horse's mouth.

The second matter of interest is the pretense, on Margo's part, that, "on Middle Eastern issues" there is "a wide range of views within the community from left to right." This is, in fact, contradicted by the Monash University survey cited by Margo, which reveals a most extraordinary level of identification with Israel/ Zionism:

"It is common for visitors to Australia to comment on the strength of identification with Israel and Zionism within the Jewish communities. Thus Professor Oz-Salzberger, holder of joint professorial appointments at Monash (the Leon Liberman Chair in Modern Israel Studies) and Haifa Universities, recently observed: 'I am yet to find a single Australian Jew who is indifferent towards Israel. There is a level of proximity here that one cannot find amid British or American Jewry, where many individuals are unstirred by their Jewish ancestry, uninvolved with Israel or both. I like telling my Jewish-Australian friends that they are first cousins to us Israelis, while many other communities are second cousins at best.' (AJN, 5/6/09) Eighty per cent of respondents indicated that they regarded themselves as Zionist, while only 13% did not..." (Report Series on the GEN08 Survey Preliminary Findings Melbourne & Sydney, Markus/Jacobs/Aronov, artsonline.monash.edu.au)

Margo is perhaps relying on the statistic that indicates that 29% favour dismantling "all or most" West Bank settlements "as part of a permanent settlement." However, with 80% of respondents favouring the existence of a Jewish state, with all that that entails by way of continued second class status for non-Jewish Palestinian Israelis, and an ongoing refusal to allow Palestinian refugees expelled in 1948 to return home, Zionist hegemony over Australia's Jews indicates anything but a diversity of views. The very fact, for example, that Margo will venture no public criticism of AIJAC speaks volumes.

[*Includes *sigh* Philip Mendes; **Providing they're not Palestinian refugees.]

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Myth of the Israeli Moderate

Ever noticed how political transitions in Israel are reported in the corporate press? As though the change constitutes some kind of break from the past?

Take Moshe 'Boogie' Ya'alon's replacement as Likud's defence minister by Avigdor Lieberman for example:

Minister's parting shot at 'extremists':

"Israel's departing defence minister has denounced the 'extremist and dangerous elements' that 'have overrun Israel and the Likud party' as he left office." (Telegraph/UK/The Sun-Herald, 22/5/16)

Israeli defence minister steps down, clearing way for hardliner:

"Yaalon was one of the last moderate voices in Netanyahu's Likud party." (Associated Press, theguardian.com, 23/5/16)

You'd never guess that the 'anti-extremist/moderate' Ya'alon had once said that the goal of the Israeli occupation was "to sear deep into the consciousness of the Palestinians that they are a defeated people," and that "we have to consider killing [former Iranian president] Ahmadinejad."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The $1.3m (p.a.) Man

"We want to stamp out this behaviour, which we think is endemic in Western culture. We want to take a strong stand against it."*

That's Sydney University's vice-chancellor Dr Michael Spence** speaking about his academic beat. But what appalling behaviour could he possibly be referring to?

Surely, the 'ritualistic humiliation' and alcohol abuse going on in some of the university's residential colleges as reported in last week's Sydney Morning Herald?

Are you kidding?

No, he was referring to false allegations of anti-Semitism aimed at pro-Palestine activists by campus Zionists.

[*'Anti-Semitic behaviour is not acceptable at Sydney University', The Australian Jewish News, 13/5/16; **See my 28/4/15 post The Herald Awakes.]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Scoop: Hasbara Levels Now at 400ppm

This is grim. MERC has just obtained important new evidence that the concentration of Zionist bulldust in the planet's intellectual atmosphere has finally reached the critical tipping point of 400ppm!

With even Australia's prime minister M'Lord Turnbull babbling on about 'smart cities', and the tell-tale Z-word 'vibrant' cropping up in his daily discourse - only yesterday, for example, in an opinion piece in the Fairfax press, he spoke of rejoicing in the "vibrant diversity of our immigrant nation"* - we are compelled to ask the terrifying question: Has the Zionisation of our intellectual climate now become irreversible?

Take a Diane Smith-Gander at the aforementioned evidence:

"Did you know that Jerusalem was the first city in the world to be completely covered by wi-fi, that Israeli scientists discovered the cause of halitosis or that Lady Gaga's shoes are designed by an Israeli? These are just a few of the little-known facts about the Jewish state featured in a video released by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to celebrate this week's 68th anniversary of of the Declaration of Independence. Other nuggets of information include impressive statistics such as Israel having the highest number of academics per capita in the world, as well as the highest proportion of start-ups and museums. It's also revealed that Beersheva has the most chess masters per capita in the world, and that the Jewish State is one of only eight countries to have sent a satellite into space. Furthermore, Israeli women have more academic degrees than men and Israeli whiz-kids were responsible for developing the world's first anti-virus software, the technology allowing us to use WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as treatments for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, Israel is the birthplace of the cherry tomato and Rummikub. Ranked in 11th place on the Global Happiness Index out of 196 countries, Israel was also the first country in the world to ban commercials starring underweight models." (68 facts about Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 13/5/16)

[*Our successful multicultural society is built on secure borders, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/5/16]

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ladies Who Rambam

While M'Lord Turnbull is swanning around Australia in hard hat and fluoro-vest, singing the praises of Jobson Grothe, M'Lady Lucinda and her set have also been busy:

"Some of Australia's most prominent business women including company directors Lucy Turnbull and Broadspectrum chair Diane Smith-Gander* head off this week for a trip to look at upstart start-up culture in Israel. The group of 35 senior businesswomen which also includes Jillian Segal, Fiona Balfour, Karen Penrose, Alison Deans and Sydney University chancellor Belinda Hutchinson marks the first time the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce has hosted a women's business delegation to the country, which is recognised as one of the world's leaders in encouraging start-up technology companies." (Women discover Israel's start-up culture, Glenda Korporaal, The Australian, 9/5/16)

How could they possibly resist? After all, Israel whisperer Jillian Segal, NSW chair of the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce, director of the National Australia Bank, deputy chancellor of the University of NSW and chair of the Sir John Monash Foundation, had been cooing the following lines into their shell pinks:

"There is an enormous amount of interest in the business community here learning what we can from the remarkable situation which exists today in Israel. The country has reinvented itself as 'the start-up nation'. It has more start-ups per head than the US. It is a small country of 8 million people, the size of NSW, and everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. We have to learn to understand the ecosystem and what goes into making an innovation culture. [The visit was about] smart women looking for smart ideas from a smart country'."

Just so you know that a good time was had by M'Lady Lucinda & all take a gander at some of Smith-Gander's tweets:

*May 15 women trade leaders w @NirBarkat father of 3 daughters in the IDF inspiring leader@AICC NSW #ausisraelinnovation

*May 16 Israel small nation in problematic geography so army not focused on spit & polish - startup nation recipe@AICC NSW #ausisraelinnovation

*May 16 Why is Israel smart? "you get the oppty to make decisions in the army long be4 u decide to dye your hair pink" Fiona Darmon JVP @AICC NSW

*May 16 All jobs in the Israeli defence force are important. But it will be empowering if women do the more important roles@AICC_NSW#ausisraelinnovation

*May 16 Diversity rules in Israel startup nation recipe@AICC_NSW:

Israeli Landscape of Entrepreneurship

*Diversity=Extraordinary Human Capital
*Entrepreneurial DNA
Thought Process; Groundbreaking Technologies
*Global from Day 1

*RT: Swaab Attorneys May 18 Brand of a city is to capture the life of the city@AICC_NSW#ausisraelinnovation:

'Mediterranean Capital of Cool' The New York Times
1,748 bars, cafes and nightclubs
1 for every 231 residents
Tel Aviv Nonstop City

Well, Lady Di's obviously blown away by Israel. But then so too the Palestinians - for almost 7 decades now.

[*"Broadspectrum chairwoman Diane Smith-Gander has revealed the refugee camp operator's most senior personnel keep track of activists and proxy advisers by monitoring their Facebook and Twitter profiles. The company, formerly named Transfield Services, has turned to social media surveillance to help it cope with protests over claims of human rights abuses inside the government's offshore asylum seeker processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island that the company has a critical $2.2 billion contract to operate." (Broadspectrum's Diane Smith-Gander eyes protesters via Facebook & Twitter, Sally Rose, Sydney Morning Herald, 2/12/15)]

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fairfax's Shame

"[Paul] Sheehan was reportedly one of the highest-earning journalists on the [Sydney Morning Herald]." (Paul Sheehan given redundancy package by Fairfax - but won't say if he was pushed, Amanda Meade, theguardian.com, 18/5/16)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Appalling David Feeney MP

Well, well, well:

"Labor frontbencher David Feeney owns an undeclared $2.31 million property, potentially placing him in 'serious contempt' of the Parliament. And the ALP power broker said he didn't know if the house was negatively geared* - despite Labor's proposed changes to property tax rules being a key election issue... [Feeney, BTW, lives in a $2.875 million pad East Melbourne and also owns an investment property in Seddon purchased for $380,000 in 2004.] Mr Feeney has not declared the $2.31 million Northcote property, purchased on December 24, 2013, more than two years after the parliamentary deadline [for disclosure]. The rules around what MPs must declare are quite strict and require that all property, shares and gifts worth more than $300 be reported within 28 days. Although Mr Feeney updated his register twice in 2015, on neither occasion did he declare the Northcote house." (Election 2016: David Feeney didn't declare $2.3m house and 'doesn't know' if it's negatively geared, Massola/Willingham/Hunter, The Age, 17/5/16)

OK, I can understand why Mr Feeney twice overlooked updating his register of interests last year. He was busy... scribbling pro-Israel propaganda pieces for Melbourne's Age.

In a piece he wrote back then called Empty symbolic gestures of recognition will not help the Palestinian people, he declared, among other things, that:

"The Palestinians should abandon their campaign to destroy Israel [by] abandoning the so-called 'right of return' for the descendants of the 1948 refugees." (22/7/15)

Now just so we're clear here, our 3-property portfolio politician's "so-called 'right of return'" just happens to be enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) - the right of people to leave and return to their country (not to mention UN Resolution 194 which calls on Israel to permit the return of Palestinian refugees driven out of their homes by Zionist forces in 1948).

So, this padded, 3-property (and counting?) right-wing ALP power broker, who blithely prattled on in his 2008 maiden speech about believing in "the fundamental human rights of us all and the need to eliminate discrimination wherever it is found," is calling on Palestinians to give up their fundamental, inalienable, international law-guarenteed right to return to the homes from which they were driven by his Israeli heroes in 1948.

What an appalling hypocrite! No wonder Labor's losing ground to the Greens.

[*"#Election2016 - #negative gearing costs every taxpayer $310 per year smh.com.au..." Feeney tweet, 12/5/16]