Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reinforcing Stereotypes

"You don't get news stories by trying to change perceptions, you get them by reinforcing stereotypes..." (From a leaked email from Malcolm Turnbull's office: Dig dirt, Turnbull office urges, Matthew Franklin, The Australian, 27/10/09)

Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian has just returned from the wilds of Eurabia. He's talked to all the right people there, and come away ever so reluctantly shocked - shocked! - to find that the Muslim - Muslim! - hordes have all but taken over and that, unless we get it right, we are next in line:

"Uncontrolled Muslim immigration into Europe has been a public policy failure, if not an outright disaster. This is the view of most Europeans, as measured by opinion polls, and of a large number of European officials and politicians. Having just spent a month in Europe, talking to dozens of officials, politicians and immigrants, it is a view I reluctantly [!!!] share. This is given sharp relief by the illegal immigration crisis Australia is experiencing to its north." (Europe looks Down Under for answers on immigration, 24/10/09)

Just cop a load of this:

"The spike now in boat arrivals involves Sri Lankans, but this is primarily a route that would be used by Muslim illegal immigrants. There is nothing wrong with Muslim immigration. It goes without saying that the vast majority of Muslim immigrants are good Australians and perfectly law-abiding citizens. However, it is simply denying reality to pretend that the cultural distinctiveness and assertiveness of Islam, and of the propensity for a small but distinctively substantial minority to be attracted to extremism, does not pose problems." (ibid)

What steaming pile of Islamophobic poo is this? Leaving aside the patent idiocy of the first sentence, in which he's actually said that the Muslim hordes will be embarking in Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka! for God's sake - for an invasion of Australia, there's the hoary old 'I'm-not-a-racist-but...' construction: there's nothing wrong with Muslim immigration, but... (some carry the 'Muslim' virus of extremism). Note too the dog-whistling of illegal immigrants, and the impossible logic of a small but substantial minority.

As if this weren't bad enough, 5 days later the bugger deposited another load of same: "A few weeks ago in London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told me that 75% of the terrorist plots aimed at Britain originated in the... tribal areas of Pakistan. Some 800,000 Pakistanis live in Britain. The vast majority, it goes without saying, are law-abiding citizens. But... " (Uncontrolled Muslim influx a terror threat, 29/10/09)

"It is extremely difficult to talk honestly about Muslim immigration. All generalisations about it are subject to countless exceptions. Muslims are very different from each other. Most are reasonably successful. But a much bigger minority end up with social, political, extremist or other problems resulting from a lack of integration than is the case with any other cohort of immigrants in Western societies." (ibid)

There it is again: most Muslims are reasonably [He just had to add a qualifier, didn't he?] successful, but... Plus more of that impossible logic: Most Muslims are... but a much bigger minority are... And all of it typically, merely asserted.

There's nothing wrong with Muslim immigration, but.../Muslims are law-abiding citizens, but.../Muslims are successful, but...: this is Islamophobia posing as reasoned comment.

Sheridan cites his authority as US "journalist" Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, and claims that it is "[t]he most enlightening book you could possibly read on [Muslim immigration]." You are, of course, expected to believe that Sheridan, prior to reading Caldwell, had an open mind on the subject, but you'd be wrong. Sheridan only bothers to reference that which caters to his prejudices and obsessions. Take the Islamophobic obsession with 'Muslim' demographics, for example. Here's Sheridan: "The demographic figures [Caldwell] cites are familiar but still shocking. Native Europeans won't have babies at anything like replacement level while the fertility of Muslim immigrants does not decline through time, as is the case with other immigrants. Religion is the strongest predictor of fertility in Europe." (ibid) And here he is back in February: "In 1950, there were about 240,000 Gazans. Now there are about 1.5 million. By 2040 there will be 3 million. Eventually, they believe, they will swamp Israel with sheer numbers." (There may be the will but not necessarily the way, The Australian, 8/2/09)

In a recent Guardian Weekly essay, The new intolerance, on the current crop of anti-Muslim immigrant jeremiads (by Niall Ferguson, Bruce Bawer, Mark Steyn and Christopher Caldwell), Indian writer Pankaj Mishra has made the following salutory comments: "Surveys and opinion polls repeatedly reveal the average European Muslim to be poor, socially conservative, unhappy about discrimination, but generally content, hopeful about their children - who attend non-religious schools - and eager, like their non-Muslim peers, to get on with their lives. Initially high, birthrates among Muslim communities across Europe are falling as more men and women become literate. Exposure to secular modernity has also weaned many of the immigrants away from traditional faith: only 5% of Muslims in France regularly attend mosques, and elsewhere, too, non-observant 'cultural Muslims' predominate." (4/9/09)

"Ordinary Muslims in Europe, who suffer from the demoralisation caused by living as perennial objects of suspicion and contempt, are far from thinking of themselves as a politically powerful or cohesive community, not to speak of conquerors of Europe. So what explains the rash of bestsellers with histrionic titles - While Europe Slept, America Alone, The Last Days of Europe? None of their mostly neocon American authors was previously known for their knowledge of Muslim societies. Certainly, the idea of a monolithic 'Islam' in Europe appears especially pitiable when you regard the varying national origins, linguistic and legal backgrounds, and cultural and religious practices of European Muslims. Unemployment and discrimination make young Muslims in Europe vulnerable to globalised forms of political Islam, many of whose militant versions vend political aphrodisiacs of a restored Islamic community to powerless individuals. But it is a tiny minority [Note Sheridan's distinctively substantial minority] that is attracted to or is ready to condone terrorist violence. Not surprisingly, most of these Muslims live in Britain, the European country most tainted by the calamitous 'war on terror' that David Miliband, as well as Barack Obama, now concedes was possible to see as a war on Muslims." (ibid)

"... Eurabia-mongers from America seem as determined as tabloid hacks to strike terror among white Europeans about their local newsagent or curry-house owner. 'If the spread of Pakistani cuisine', Caldwell writes, 'is the single greatest improvement in British public life over the past half-century, it is also worth noting that bombs used for the failed London transport attacks of 21 July, 2005, were made from a mix of hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour'. [I can't believe I'm reading this!] Most south Asian cuisine consumed on British high streets hails from India or Bangladesh rather than Pakistan. Caldwell, however, won't let facts get in the way of the many eagerly consumed chapattis rising up his white British reader's gorge. Remarkably, Caldwell, who is a senior editor with the neoconservative Weekly Standard, also does not appear to know that Edmund Burke, from whom he derives his book title, had a rather exaggerated reverence for 'Muhammadan law'."

"In actuality, the everyday choices of most Muslims in Europe are dictated more by their experience of globalised economies and cultures than their readings in the Qur'an or sharia. Along with thei Hindu or Sikh peers, many Muslims in Europe suffer from the usual pathologies of traditional rural communities transitioning to urban secular cultures: the encounter with social and economic individualism inevitably provokes a crisis of control in nuclear families, as well as such ills as forced marriage, the poor treatment of women and militant sectarianism. However, in practice, millions of Muslims, many of them with bitter experiences of authoritarian states, coexist frictionlessly and gratefully with regimes committed to democracy, freedom of religion and equality before the law."

But back to Sheridan. I will conclude with the inimitatable Mike Carlton's recent skewering of the bugger. The subject of Carlton's Sydney Morning Herald column was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama: "A recent emission from The Australian 's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, crystallised this idiocy. After a few tortured paragraphs wondering whether Obama wanted to be The Fonz or Richie Cunningham from Happy Days - a metaphor so creaky you could see the kapok stuffing bursting from the seams - he offered up this startling sentence: 'At some point, Obama is going to have to do something seriously unpleasant to someone'. Shameless, unrepentant, nothing learnt and nothing forgotten, there is the neo-con world view in a nutshell: the US gains respect only when the cruise missiles and F/A 18s are thundering from the decks of a carrier battle group to wreak death and destruction on the villains du jour. That George Bush tried this endlessly and failed so disastrously troubles them not a jot." (All hail the shameless neo-cons, 17/10/09)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Jewish People?

There's really no pleasing some people: "The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) has asked for the immediate withdrawal of a book that schools use as an HSC text, which it says contains anti-Semitic slurs." (School textbook 'fuels anti-Semitism', Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald, 28/10/09)

The book, Cambridge Studies of Religion Stage 6, apparently contains the following 'offending' sentence: "Much modern conflict in the world is related to the reactions of other groups to the Jewish people." According to the JBOD, "this statement has the potential to incite racial hatred because it 'directly blames Jews for the existence of much of the conflict in the world'."

I would have thought that the JBOD Zionists would at least derive some satisfaction from the fact that the author has referred not to Jews, but to the Jewish people, a key tenet of political Zionism if ever there was one. Prior to the existence of political Zionism, things were relatively simple: a Jew was just that, a follower of Judaism, one of the three Abrahamic faiths. Zionism, however, has muddied the waters by inventing an ethnographic entity it calls the Jewish people.

My guess is that the textbook's author really means political Zionism, as in 'Much conflict in the world is related to the reactions of other groups to Zionism'. Even better (because more precise) would be: 'Much conflict in the Middle East today stems from the dispossession of the Palestinian people by a colonial-settler movement known as Zionism, which established a Jewish state in the land of Palestine predicated on their expulsion and occupation'. But then, given Zionism's habit of conflating Judaism, the faith, and Zionism, the political ideology (and therefore Jews and Zionists), one can perhaps understand the author's confusion. The point should also be made that by conflating Judaism and Zionism, Zionists expose Jews qua Jews, wherever they happen to be living and whatever their position on Israel, to unwarranted suspicion (and even possible attack) arising out of Israeli behaviour. [See my 17/5/09 post Sheridan in Love 4]

Given the constant reiteration by Zionists of the term the Jewish people (not to mention the Jewish state), and their constant blurring, in the minds of the general public, of the simple distinction between Jews and Judaism on the one hand and Zionists and Israel on the other, it often falls to those Jews who refuse to allow the state of Israel to speak and act in their name to assert this crucial distinction. One such was the great anti-Zionist Moshe Menuhin who unequivocally condemned the corrupting effect of political Zionism (or 'Jewish' nationalism as he calls it) on Judaism. The following passage is taken from the introduction to his 1965 classic, The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time:

"For two generations now, the din emitted by oppressed, frustrated and despondent Jewish leadership, which first emanated from the tortured ghettos of Czarist Russia, Poland and Hapsburg Vienna, has gathered momentum and spread epidemically throughout the pathetic, amorphous and unsophisticated Jewish world. It has declared that the Jews of the world, wherever they may be and no matter what their legal citizenship and nationality, form one transnational ethnic and political entity. With the advent of the state of Israel, this 'entity' has graduated into an 'internationally recognized Jewish nation', whose sovereign state and homeland is Israel. All this in spite of a two-thousand-year-old history of Judaism testifying to its overwhelming evolutionary development along spiritual, universal and nonpolitical lines; in spite of the radical and vital changes in the soul of civilised man everywhere after two world wars; in spite of the new advanced conception of free individual citizenship, of equal privilieges and obligations in a new fully integrated and harmonious civilised human community. To stultify, brainwash and inoculate the amorphous body of world Jewry with the virus of secular, rampant 'Jewish' political nationalism, Jewish education for Aliyah ('ingathering of the exiles' through immigration into Israel) under the pretense of spiritual and religious immunity or liberty has been instituted everywhere. This, in turn, has been undoing the normal and natural processes of the integration and evolution of the Jew into the new order of universalism and brotherhood. Cultural isolation, hiding behind the much abused expression 'cultural pluralism', has been self-segregating the Jew from the Gentile in America, England, France and elsewhere in the free world, to prepare him for Aliyah. 'Let the Book give place to the Sword, and the Prophet to the fair beast!" is how the great Hebrew writer and philosopher Ahad Ha-'Am... characterised 'Jewish' political nationalism (political Zionism) from the very beginning, when he attacked Dr. Theodor Herzl, the father and founder of political Zionism. Today, in our new one-world, pretexts for action based on Blood, Soil, Manifest Destiny, Redemption, Gloire and Grandeur, the Chosen People and the White Man's Burden are well recognized and fully rejected, with a sense of shame and compunction, by intelligent and awakened Europeans. Nevertheless, persistent, stagnant, decadent and anachronistic 'Jewish' nationalism still preaches, now more than ever, these time-worn and degenerate ideas of 'collective Sacro Egoismo', as Professor Martin Buber calls them. In its own way, it has already brought much misery to a million uprooted innocent Palestinian Arabs who were exiled from their homes and homeland, and to hundreds of thousands of uprooted Jews, particularly in the Arab lands. Advancing, evolving, universal and spiritual Judaism, which was the core of the Judeo-Christian code of ethics, is now becoming the tool, the handmaiden, of 'Jewish' nationalism, so that the ethical injunctions Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet have been transformed into the unethical, primitive and tribalistic 'Covenant of the Chosen People' and 'Israel First'. So much so, that Israelis regard themselves today as Israelis only, an elite, and not, God forbid, as Jews, who in their eyes are a lower breed of humans, traitors to the sacred cause of 'Jewish' nationalism unless they emigrate to the 'sacred-secular Jewish Homeland'." (pp xii-xiii)

Now wouldn't that give the JBOD something to chew on?

Monday, October 26, 2009

When Bibi Met Kevi

"Israel's international spokesman, Australian Mark Regev..." (Regev upbeat on Mid-East peace, Rowan Callick, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/10/09)

Oh, so he's Israel's international spokesman and Australian too? Isn't that nice? If you're Mark Regev, you can have your cake and eat it too. Even though you were born and raised here as Mark Freiberg, you can take advantage of that amaaazing little Israeli Law of Return, which grants Israeli citizenship to anyone, anywhere, providing he's got a Jewish mother, while retaining your prior citizenship. But, if you're a Palestinian, and you're unfortunate enough to have a Muslim or a Christian mother, even with the weight of international law on your side (in the form of the right of all refugees to return to their homes), you're going nowhere. No, Israel (occupied Palestine) is reserved exclusively for those with the right bio-theological connections - people like Mark Freiberg/Regev.

"Back home in Melbourne..." (ibid) That's right, two homes! Pretty neat, eh? And it looks like it's a working holiday because he's had his back scratched by Philip Adams* and he's talking non-stop to anyone who'll listen about - you guessed it - Iran.

[*"He started his brilliant career as a student at Mt Scopus, Melbourne, and when I lived in Melbourne I used to do fundraising for Mt Scopus and clearly Mark has been a beneficiary. Mark, how does a bright young fella from Mt Scopus finish up in this lofty position?" LNL, 14/10/09]

"We think multilateral action is required on Iran. Its leadership should be given a crystal clear instruction: you can't have business as usual and a nuclear program at the same time." (ibid)

Really? Surely if the country for which you officially spruik can have both business as usual and a few hundred nukes, why can't Iran have a nuclear program? As our Kev might say, in any other context, fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate!

Now did the bright young fella from Mt Scopus say multilateral action? Meaning? Well, let him finish: "'But if it proves impossible to get a UN Security Council resolution with enough teeth to make a difference' he raised the prospect of enlisting 'enough countries which do agree, who are important players in the world, to do so'." (ibid)

Whoa! Run that past me again. If the Security Council doesn't do it for Israel, then Israel's going to whistle up its mates and get them to give Iran a right thumping. Right. And just who might these mates of Israel be? Brace yourself: "During a recent visit to New York for the UN General Assembly, Mr Netanyahu held meetings with just 4 other government heads besides the US and Palestinian leaders; those of France, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Kevin Rudd, he said, made a favourable impression, with his firm grasp of the Middle East." (ibid)

OK, could the lingering effects of Bibi's heady pheromones be the cause of Kevi's current flexing of his rhetorical pecs on the subject of asylum seekers? You know - all that jazz about being tough and hard-nosed? And that firm grasp of the Middle East? Eww! Is it, like... by the throat? Anyhow, you can be sure something was passing between those two in New York in September. After all, Kevi and New York go back a long way. Strange urges overtake him there. The last (?) time he was there, in 2003, wasn't he kicked out of a nightclub called Scores - Scores for Kevin's sake! - for laying hands on the dancers?

OK, steady on, MERC, keep it under control, let's stick to Rumsfeld's known unknowns, shall we? Now we all know that Rudd is a genetically-engineered organism, OK? (Well he did once say that support for Israel was in his DNA, didn't he?) So how could he not have attended Bibi's award-winning performance at the UN, right? Maybe that's it then, it was probably one of the ripping yarns (penned by the bright young fella from Mt Scopus?) with which Bibi regaled his American, French, Canadian, and Australian audience, that did it for Kevi.

Could it have been this one perhaps?: "The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie. Last month I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments. Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie? A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler's deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie? This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie? One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father's two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by Nazis. Is that also a lie? Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries. But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually end up engulfing many others."

Or this one?: "This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past 30 years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays* or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against the fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilisation against civilisation. It pits civilisation against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death."

[*"Gays and lesbians are sick people. It's definitely a disease. They haven't invented a cure for it yet, but I hope they will." Eli Yishai, Deputy Israeli PM, quoted in Eli Yishai is just Jean-Marie Le Pen with a beard, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 26/10/09]

Perhaps this one?: "The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom? Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism? Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world? The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?"

Or the whole damn kit and kaboodle? Hey, what's not to like if support for Israel has been spliced into your DNA?

But maybe Bibi's rippers were really just the softening-up process. Maybe, just maybe, it was more up close and personal than that. Maybe it really was down to those irresistable Israeli pheromones I've already alluded to. After all, as ABC Radio National's Sabra Lane reported at the time, "this afternoon [Rudd]... also... had a chat with Benjamin Netanyahu... And it's quite funny during the stage the cameras were allowed in to capture images of the two leaders talking, Benjamin Netanyahu sort of had a little bit of fun with the Prime Minister saying that either Australia had to move or the UN had to move. He was sort of making fun how far and distant Australia is from New York." (Rudd takes place on world stage, The World Today,, 24/9/09)

Hm... That "either Australia had to move or the UN had to move" line that Sabra Lane thought was just Bibi making fun, I reckon she got it all wrong! You know what? I reckon Bibi was telling Kevi that either he or the UN had to move... on Iran.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Treat 'Em Mean...

"A committee of Israeli lawmakers voted Tuesday to allow German Chancellor Angela Merkel to address the Knesset in German during her visit next week to mark Israel's 60th anniversary The decision bends a rule which says only 'presidents, heads of state, and kings' - but not explicitly chancellors - may speak to Israel's parliament. The Knesset House Committee's 7-2 decision to let Merkel give a speech ends a legal squabble. But protests lodged by the two nay-voting members make the ruling more than just a technicality. 'I can't hear German in the Knesset plenum', said Arieh Eldad, a member of the right-wing NRP-National Union Party... 'It's the language my grandfather and grandmother were killed in. I will get up and leave." (Merkel allowed to address the Knesset auf Deutsch,, 11/3/08)

"Germany, Merkel said [in the Knesset], would 'never abandon Israel, but instead will remain a loyal partner and friend'. As in the past, Merkel's speech contained only homeopathic doses of criticism of Israel's occupation policy and its hesitation to commit itself to the peace process. 'One must also have the strength to make painful concessions', the chancellor hinted, only to quickly dilute what had sounded like the beginnings of a rebuke. 'In order to be a realist you must believe in miracles', she said, quoting David Ben-Gurion the founder and first prime minister of the state of Israel." ('We would never abandon Israel', Ulrike Putz, spiegelonline, 18/3/08)

"'The terror of Hamas cannot be accepted', said Merkel in her [2009] New Year's address. According to her spokesman... she said in a conversation with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the responsibility for the [Gaza] conflict lies 'clearly and exclusively' with Hamas. Merkel demanded that Hamas 'immediately and permanently' stop its rocket attacks on Israel." (Merkel: The terror of Hamas cannot be accepted, Benjamin Weinthal, The Jerusalem Post, 4/1/09)

"Israel has asked Germany to supply it with two warships free of charge, a German newspaper reported Friday. The Israeli state hopes Germany would help strengthen its defence forces by financing the costs for the two state-of-the-art corvettes. The pair would cost hundreds of millions of euros... The ships, which are hard to detect by radar, are reportedly to be built by Hamburg's Blohm & Voss shipyard, while the weapons are to be provided by the US. Israel reportedly wanted a sea-based missile defence system. Germany has previously helped equip the Israeli navy, and delivered 3 submarines in the years 1999-2000. Two further submarines are currently being built in Kiel, costing at least 500 million euros apiece, of which Germany is to pay a third." (Israel asks Germany for two warships: report, Deutsche Presse-Agentur,, 23/10/09)

... keep 'em keen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Afghanistan: Narco-State

One of the mainstream media's greatest drawbacks is that its 'news' is almost never contextualised. It is as though the situation reported has always been that way. Take the subject of Afghan drugs for example:

"Afghan opium kills more people than any other drug on the planet, claiming up to 100,000 lives every year... [Afghanistan] produces 90% of the world's opium, which a new UN report says now threatens to cause havoc in much of Central Asia... In addition to drug-related deaths, Afghan opium and heroin pay for weapons that kill Western troops... The UN Office on Drugs & Crime [UNODC] estimates 15 million people take the drug each year and it contributes to the spread of HIV and AIDS... The UN's findings sounded a strong warning about the Central Asian opium-trafficking route, which has become a virtual conveyor belt for heroin between Afghanistan and Russia, referring to it as the 'most sinister development yet'. 'The perfect storm of drugs, crime, and insurgency that has swirled around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border for years is heading to Central Asia', Mr [Antonio Maria] Costa [the executive director of the UNODC] says... Russia is now the world's largest consumer of heroin, according to the UN report... The number of addicts in Russia has multiplied tenfold during the past decade, and there are now 30,000 to 40,000 Russian drug-related deaths each year, according to Russian government figures cited by the report. Official Russian news services have said up to 30,000 of those deaths are due to Afghan heroin." (Afghan opium kills 100,000 people a year, The Australian, 23/10/09)

Afghanistan has always been a leading narco-state, right? Wrong. It took the CIA to transform it into one:

"Prior to the [US-sponsored] Afghan Jihad [1979-1992], there was no local production of heroin in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The production there was of opium, a very different drug, which was directed to small, rural, regional markets. By the end of the Afghan Jihad, the picture had changed drastically: the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world's leading producers of both opium and processed heroin, the source of '75 percent of the world's opium, worth multi-billion dollars in revenue'. In a report released in early 2001, the United Nations International Drug Control Program traced the rapid expansion of Afghan opium production to exactly 1979, the year the U.S.-sponsored jihad began: 'It is no coincidence that Afghanistan began to emerge as a significant producer of illicit opium in precisely the period of protracted war that began in 1979, and still persists'. The big push came after 1985. Accounting for less than 5 percent of global opium production in 1980, the region accounted for 71 percent of it by 1990, according to this same report. The fate of Afghanistan resembled that of Burma, another Asian mountainous region that had been the site of CIA intervention at the beginning of the Cold War. 'Just as CIA support for Nationalist Chinese (KMT) troops in the Shan states had increased Burma's opium crop in the 1950s', concluded Alfred McCoy, 'so the agency's aid to the mujahideen guerrillas in the 1980s expanded opium production in Afghanistan and linked Pakistan's nearby heroin laboratories to the world market'. The heroin economy literally poisoned Afghani and Pakistani life. The figures who thrived in this cesspool [such as Gulbuddin Hikmatyar] had been hailed by Ronald Reagan as 'moral equivalents of America's founding fathers'." (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War & the Roots of Terror, Mahmood Mamdani, 2004, p 143, quoting Alfred McCoy's The Politics of Heroin)*

But it wouldn't be in the interest of promoting current US involvement in Afghanistan to remind the reader of that quite inconvenient fact now, would it?

In the case of Afghanistan, contextless reporting is invariably accompanied, most particularly in the Murdoch media, by strident calls for more boots on the ground, and a hyping of the threat posed by the chosen 'enemy': "While an improved strategy is as important as more soldiers, it is time for NATO to make more than a token commitment to the campaign. The alternative is almost too appalling to contemplate. The Taliban is a movement of religious fanatics who believe they have divine sanction to slaughter all those who do not share their beliefs. But it is also a gangster organisation committed to making money. While critics correctly point to corruption in the Western-backed Karzai government, a second Taliban state would be infinitely worse. If allowed, the Taliban would turn Afghanistan into a narco-state, where it controlled opium exports but imposed a fundamental interpretation of the Koran. And what would be a catastrophe for Afghanistan would be a disaster for the rest of the world. The last time the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, it harbored Osama bin Laden. It seems certain a second Taliban state would be a safe haven from which to launch terror attacks across the globe, including Europe. Mr Obama and Mr Rudd say they always understand the dangers of Taliban rule. It is time they convinced the Europeans that they have no choice but to join the US, Australia and Britain in taking the terrorists seriously." (Editorial, Taking on the Taliban, The Australian, 23/9/09)

And sure enough (and this is mandatory for the Murdoch press), there'll be a simple-minded, fire-breathing pundit to take the hype to new heights:

"The allegation [that the SAS has needlessly killed Afghan civilians] is utterly baseless and contemptuous. The allegation is made by the Taliban, which ranks with Al-Qa'ida, the nazis and the communists as one of the most extreme, brutal and inhuman political movements of the past 100 years. What is very disturbing in the SAS's experience... is the ongoing strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and its associated drug traffickers and criminals. This makes it clear that Afghanistan will need outside help for some years to come." (It's time to salute our Special Forces, Greg Sheridan Blog, The Australian, 28/9/09)

It is interesting to note that, while The Australian's editorialist seems to be familiar with the work of investigative journalist and author Gretchen Peters (Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban & Al Qaeda), he's simply ignored her downplaying of the Taliban as an Islamist threat and only grudgingly conceded her key finding that the Taliban (or rather Talibans) is primarily a "gangster organisation committed to making money": "When people in the west [including The Australian's foreign editor] imagine the Taliban, most think of bearded fanatics, battling from caves under the flag of radical Islam. Having studied their day-to-day activities for more than 5 years, when I think of the Taliban I think of Tony Soprano and his gang. I am not suggesting that Mullah Omar has developed a taste for Chianti, or opened a branch of the Bada Bing at his hideout in Pakistan. As a fighting force, the Taliban remain as determined as ever to drive western forces from Afghanistan, as proven by the rising NATO casualty figures. But examine how the Taliban fund themselves, and how they interact with the local community, and they start to look more like mafiosi than mujahidin. It is hard to make sweeping generalisations about the post-2001 Taliban. There are 3 distinct factions of the movement on the Afghan side of the border, and a far more fractious set of local and regional extremist groups in Pakistan. However, there are broad similarities in the way these various organisations are structured and how criminal proceeds filter up the chains of command. The manner in which they interact parallels the often tumultuous relations between Mafia crime families... Sometimes they collaborate; sometimes they battle against each other. Whether fighting or conspiring, it is virtually always about making money. Western military officials believe that as little as 5% of the insurgents are 'true believers' in their cause. Most of the fighters are in it just to make a quick buck." (Afghanster's paradise,, 3/9/09)

By asserting, too, that the Taliban "would turn Afghanistan into a narco-state," the editorialist ignores Peters' evidence (as well as that of the UNODC report) that it is already, under the Karzai puppet regime, a narco-state: "As thousands of US Marines and British troops push into the Helmand River Valley, part of the new counterinsurgency strategy, they are discovering the uncomfortable reality that the Afghan National Police (ANP) in that region are more feared than the Taliban themselves. Appalling stories of ANP corruption and brutality are emerging from Helmand. They range from stories of police abusing drugs and extorting shopkeepers and truck drivers, to tales of cops threatening villagers, and even abducting and raping their children. In this atmosphere, it's easy to understand why the Taliban were welcomed back as liberators, despite the horrifying reign of terror they too have imposed... It is critical that international forces bring stability to Helmand, since the fertile province produces more than half of Afghanistan's $4 billion poppy crop. That drug money has not only corrupted state actors, including the ANP and top officials in the provincial and federal governments. It also provides the Afghan Taliban most, if not all, of their operational budget, and helps fund Al-Qaeda as well." (Send in the cops,, 3/8/09)

A terrifying thought: Rudd takes his cues on Afghanistan directly from the war propaganda of the Murdoch press.

[*See also my posts American Jihad (9/9/08) and Narco-Terrorists Allege Narco-Terrorism (24/10/09)]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Exporting Zionism 2

"What Israel has been exporting to the Third World is not just a technology of domination, but a worldview that undergirds that technology. In every situation of oppression and domination, the logic of the oppressed is pitted against the logic of the oppressor. What Israel has been exporting is the logic of the oppressor, the way of seeing the world that is tied to successful domination. What is exported is not just technology, armaments, and experience, not just expertise, but a certain frame of mind, a feeling that the Third World can be controlled and dominated, that radical movements in the Third World can be stopped, that modern Crusaders still have a future." (The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms & Why, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, 1987, p 248)

"They defeated the Tigers earlier this year but is the Sri Lankan government's war with the Tamils really all over? This week on Dateline, Amos Roberts investigates the mysterious disappearance of Kumaran Pathmanathan, or 'KP' as he is known, who became the leader of the Tamil Tigers after the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran in May. For more than 2 decades KP had been the Tiger's chief arms smuggler and money launderer... Now it appears that in a clandestine operation 2 months ago KP was snatched from a budget hotel in Malaysia and whisked back to Sri Lanka." (The Tiger Trap, SBS Television, 18/10/09)

Dateline's report on KP's illegal rendition was dominated by terrorism 'expert' Rohan Gunaratna of Singapore's International Center for Political Violence & Terrorism Research. Gunaratna, a Sinhalese whose pre-9/11 'expertise' was largely devoted to tracking the Tamil Tigers, was described as "close to Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary, who's credited with masterminding KP's rendition."

New Zealand academic and human rights advocate Dr David Small has called Gunaratna a "self-styled expert on Islamic groups and terrorism" and noted that his post-9/11 "impact in Australia was to heighten people's sense of fear and suspicion, particularly in relation to Islamic groups and migrant communities," as well as to contribute to "the justifications for laws that undermined hard-won human rights and civil liberties." "Gunaratna's current project to establish a data base of Asian terrorist groups," observed Small, "has been said to blur the line between freedom of academic research and intelligence-gathering for governments. [He] tends to rely on what he claims are inside contacts within intelligence networks. By their very nature, however, no claims based on these sorts of sources can be independently tested. To the extent that they can be investigated, there are many instances where they have been found to be questionable." (Terrorism expertise of Rohan Gunaratna questioned,, 24/8/04) [See also Analyse this, Gary Hughes, The Age, 20/7/03]

I was particularly struck by Gunaratna's tendency to gloat ("KP was taken directly from Malaysia on board a Sri Lankan flight. He flew on business class to Sri Lanka - in style!"), and by the following two statements:

"Previously, the Americans, the Israelis did this kind of rendition operation. By bringing KP home, Sri Lanka demonstrated that it will not spare any Tamil Tiger, or any other terrorist, who is going to harm Sri Lanka's national security interest." IOW, if the USraelis can do it, why not Sri Lanka? [See my 13/5/09 post Exporting Zionism for John Pilger's penetrating rumination on Sri Lanka's Gaza model.]

"I can share with you that the Sri Lankan government is already planning to bring a number of other people home... There are a number of professionals who are living in Australia and they have supported a terrorist group by providing them with funds, by distributing their propaganda, by advocating violence, and by supporting a group that conducted violence, and I believe that they should be prosecuted." And if these Australian citizens should resist in any way, well then, the Buddhist state can always take another leaf out of the book of the Jewish state: "Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, said former Israeli intelligence officials in interviews with UPI." (UPI's intelligence correspondent Richard Sale, quoted in Watch your back, Justin Raimondo,, 17/1/03)

But there's more. In an interview with Gunaratna (Making peace more challenging than making war,, 15/10/09), it comes as no surprise to learn that, in addition to his current 'work' in Singapore, Gunaratna is also "a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for Counter Terrorism, Israel." And given that both Sri Lanka and Israel have major image problems connected with their penchant for slaughtering civilians, is it any wonder that they play the same dubious numbers game by way of damage control? Here's Gunaratna in the interview: "The US, in particular, has realised that no civilians were deliberately killed in Sri Lanka, and civilian fatalities and injuries in Sri Lanka are much lower compared with the numbers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan." And here's local Zionist advocate Peter Wertheim (Executive Director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry) in a letter to The Australian: "In Gaza, either two combatants were killed for each civilian (Israel's version) or the reverse (the Palestinian version). In the 1991 Gulf war, a lawful war authorised by the UN, the ratio was 2,125 civilian deaths for each enemy combatant killed. In the 2003 Iraq war it was 4.5 civilians per enemy combatant. In attacks by drone aircraft in Afghanistan, 10 civilians have died for each enemy combatant." killed." (20/10/09)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lowy's Elephantine Agenda

"[Frank Lowy] is a man who has deliberately sought to be under the radar here [in Israel]... It may not bear his name, but the Israeli version of Sydney's Lowy Institute for International Policy - the Institute for National Security Studies, attached to the University of Tel Aviv - is equally his creation." (The quiet benefactor: Lowy's close ties with Israel, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 29/9/08)

"It was my birthday this week (yes, another year older) and how did I spend my day? Well I had lunch with Frank Lowy, for starters! Yes I was sitting just 2 seats from Frank Lowy at The Lowy Institute's Wednesday lunch. The Lowy Institute is an independent international policy think tank based in Sydney - but apart from the Wednesday lunches on site, everyone can access a huge array of podcasts, research papers and an extensive video library of its presentations via the website. The objective of The Lowy Institute is to generate new ideas and dialogue on international developments and Australia's role in the world. Its mandate is broad. It ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia - economic, political and strategic - and it is not limited to a particular geographic region. Most of the events at The Lowy Institute are free to attend but they book out fast so my friend Sue Jackson at Westpac Women's Markets suggested we join The Lowy Institute's Wednesday lunch club - to get advance notification of the free lunchtime lectures every week. So along I went to hear about Post-Election Iran from a visiting Israeli Professor and sure enough - at my very first turnout - I met Frank Lowy!" (Lunch with Frank Lowy & tap into the resources of the Lowy Institute, Jen Dalitz, The SheEO Blog,, 21/8/09)

Hmm... Sounds like The Lowy Institute's running a bit of an agenda here. But just how much of an agenda? Well, if its Australia & The World: Public Opinion & Foreign Policy polls from 2007 to 2009 are anything to go by, its agenda could be described as positively elephantine.

Let's deal first with The Lowy Institute's elephant-in-the-room - Israel. In its 2007 poll, just over 1,000 Australians were asked to rank 15 foreign countries on the basis of their feelings towards them. The higher the %, the more favorably those polled felt towards these countries. Of the three Middle Eastern nations included, Israel scored 50%, while Iraq and Iran scored 36% and 34% respectively. Perhaps the 50% rating for Israel came as something of a blow to Frank, and so may explain Israel's omission in the 2008 and 2009 polls. Such a pity. It would have been most interesting to see Israel's post-Gaza approval rating in the just-released 2009 poll, but alas we're afforded no such opportunity. Out of sight, out of mind.

Given, then, that the institute's elephant-in-the-room is Israel, its current agenda could only be... Iran:

In the 2007 poll, we find the following thoroughly loaded and decidedly Israel-centric question: "Iran has recently announced that it has successfully enriched uranium. Do you think that Iran is producing enriched uranium strictly to fuel its energy needs or do you think it is trying to develop nuclear weapons?" While 62% of respondents plumped for the latter, and 19% guessed the former, only 19% had the humility to say they simply didn't know. In the same poll, we find the following question (without, it should be noted, being told whether only the above 62% were asked): "You said you think that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. In your opinion what is the best response?" It seems that 62% opted for a combo of economic and diplomatic efforts, 22% for diplomatic efforts, and just 9% for military force. (Total:93%)

In the 2008 poll, by contrast, Iran (and Iraq - but not, as I've already indicated, Israel) cropped up only in the 'rate your feelings towards the following (17) countries' section, scoring 38%, a 4% improvement on the 2007 poll's rating.

The 2009 poll, however, gave Iran a prominent place, chiming in with the wider USraeli-Murdoch media war on that country as a diversion from the fallout of Israel's rampage in Gaza and a softening-up of public opinion for a similar Israeli rampage in Iran. Iran again featured in the 'rate your feelings' section, gaining another 38% rating. It also cropped up when those polled were asked to 'rate your trust in other countries to act responsibly', coming in with the largest negative rating at 75% (in contrast to the US's positive rating of 83%!). As well, Iran even got its own heading with the following commentary: "Iran's nuclear program has attracted considerable media attention since our last poll. To test Australia's preferred way of approaching Iran's continued obstructionism [Note the spin and the assumption that we have to do something], we asked people whether they would be in favour of or against the use of military means, economic sanctions, and diplomatic negotiations to deal with Iran developing nuclear weapons. [Note the assumption that this is what Iran is actually doing] The most favoured response was 'diplomatic negotiations', with 85% of respondents supporting these. A large majority (69%) also supported 'economic sanctions', while just a third (32%) were in favour of 'military means'." That 23% increase over the 9% warmonger finding of the 2007 poll must have been gratifying!

Now here's a question I'd like to see in a Lowy Institute poll: While Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program has attracted considerable media attention, Israel's actual possession of 200+ nuclear weapons has not. Is this because a) Australia's mainstream media is biased in favour of Israel; b) Israel is harping on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program to divert attention from its own nuclear weapons stockpile; c) Israel is more than ever in need of a diversion following the exposure of its war crimes in Gaza; d) Israel needs to deflect attention away from its colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem; e) Israel is always in need of an external threat, whether real or not, to justify its aggression towards its neighbours; f) All of the above?

Friday, October 16, 2009


ABC Television's Q&A, where a panel of 5 high profiles is quizzed by a studio audience, is one of those rare mainstream shows that occasionally open the Israeli colonisation of Palestine to real debate. Last night's Q&A was a case in point:

The Question - a typical Zionist finger-pointing exercise - came from one, Ronny Schnapp* and was addressed to British comedian (and Israel critic) Alexei Sayle: "Alexei Sayle has called for a cultural boycott of Israel but would he support a cultural boycott of such human rights luminaries as Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Britain? The list goes on."

[*Ronny who? Well, here's an insight into his 'thinking': "Why are so many letter writers paranoid about having their doors knocked down by federal agents in the middle of the night? Do they have something to hide? Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear." (Ronny Schnapp, letter to SMH, 11/3/02) You can imagine 'good' Germans saying something similar about the Gestapo in the 30s.]

Alexei's half-way* decent answer went thus: "Well... your criticism is kind of saying that because I criticised Israel... I won't criticise Zimbabwe or Sudan. I am perfectly happy to do that. Zimbabwe is a foul country... But... Israel is an adjunct of the West in a sense. Israel is a western colony, the last [such] colony in a sense. It was founded in 1948. People came from central [and] eastern Europe, took over Arab land and formed their state there. And I think, because it is an extension of us, we have to try and ensure that it sticks to the levels of decency we expect of a western democracy and which it significantly fails to do right now... By raising the idea of a boycott, what I'm trying to do is - I mean, I'm in a group called Jews for Justice for Palestinians. A lot of the members are these ferocious little Jewish guys in their 60s and 70s. A lot of them actually fought in the Israeli army in the earlier wars and whatever the argument is about the founding of Israel, all of them feel Israel became a colonial power once it occupied the West Bank and refused to give it back and stood on the necks of the 3 million people who lived there, denied them all civil rights, any kind of life. Israel became, as President Jimmy Carter said, as Bishop Desmond Tutu said, an apartheid state and that's why I called for a boycott." [* Israeli occupation and apartheid began in 1948, not 1967]

Labor's Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese predictably toed the party line: "No [I don't support the boycott of Israel], I support engagement. I am very critical of a lot of Israel's policies*. I, with Joe Hockey, helped set up the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine** as a cross-party group to restore some balance to the debate. But I think if you were about promoting peace, you've got to be about promoting dialogue and discussion, and certainly this arose out of the Leonard Cohen concert there." [*Albo was a little more forthcoming in defence of the Palestinians in a speech in the House of Representatives on 15 September 2002. Since then, however, if his website is any indication, he's said nothing; **Try getting a result from Google on that elusive creature!]

Liberal Likudnik (& Opposition education spokesman) Christopher Pyne just as predictably wore his Zionist heart (liver and kidneys) on his sleeve: "I don't agree with a cultural boycott of Israel at all. I understand Alexei's very strong [extremist!] views. He has held them for a very long time and they're very well known. But I don't believe that all the blame in the Middle East can be laid at the feet of the state of Israel. Israel is a country in many respects like Australia, like the United States, like Great Britain. It's a democracy. It believes in liberty and freedom, and it has been fighting a war for its very survival since 1948. We agree - the Coalition obviously supports a two-state solution - both countries living in peace together, but we also believe that the Palestinian side should recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist and, of course, Hamas still doesn't do so and it's questionable whether, in fact, Fatah and the Palestinian Legislative Council has accepted wholeheartedly the right of Israel to exist. So I think there are arguments on both sides but I fall down on the side that Israel needs to be able to live free of terrorism and, in the situation where it found itself, where it could, I think Israel would treat its Palestinian minority population and the West Bank and Gaza quite differently."

The token youngster on Q&A, Indian Youth Climate Network Executive Director Deepa Gupta, had - like - no idea: "I think with any - like, when you get in a war - like - there's so much hurt done on both sides that you can keep arguing for one side or you can keep arguing for the other side, and I don't think you actually get anywhere, and that's what's been happening. Like, people don't understand the hurt that has been done on the other side. And, furthermore, like on the issue of cultural boycotts, like I understand the effectiveness of cultural boycotts but, at the same time, like I think music plays a really big role in bringing peace. Like earlier this year in India we did a climate solutions road tour and we had a solar-powered rock band travelling with us and a dance troupe and - and these people were from America and they sang songs in Hindi and the most amazing thing was - you know, often, especially with rural communities, it takes weeks to build up trust with them and to help them understand what these issues are. With music and dance we were able to break down these cultural barriers within 30 minutes. Like people were happy and dancing and open and really open to listen and I think that we need to acknowledge that music plays a really big role in connecting with people's hearts and helping them understand each other." Deepa, it's OK to say you simply don't know anything about the issue, really.

Alexei Sayle had the last word - and didn't waste a syllable: "Well, I don't think that dialogue with Israel has worked. I think that the people of Israel have been - I made the analogy that Israel is kind of like a teenage bully who has been indulged by his parents, you know, and has never been set any boundaries. Obama says stop. You know as soon as they signed the Oslo Accord, they kept building settlements. President Obama says, 'Please don't build any more settlements'. They say, 'Up yours', carry on building settlements. Dialogue doesn't work with Israel. It has to be like a kind of recalcitrant child. You have to express your disgust at its behaviour. I think a boycott is - we did it with South Africa. I think we need to do it with Israel."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Company He Keeps

"The face of the Dalai Lama will be watching over Sydneysiders for the next month as 9 billboards are erected before his visit in December... The signs will bear the words 'Our future - Who is responsible?'... The message will also appear later on about 30 buses... The Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile, will be in Sydney for teachings and a public talk from December 1 to 3..." (Future face of the Dalai Lama, Ellie Harvey, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/10/09)

*Sigh* - I'm sorry, but I can't get too excited. I've got too many issues with the man. There's the personality cult. There are the cliches and platitudes: "The concept of war is outdated. To do away with external conflict, we must first change inside. First inner disarmament, then outer disarmament."/ "We come from our mother's womb. Therefore we all have the same potential for compassion." But, above all, there's his Zionist camp followers, such as Michael Danby (See my posts The Dalai Lama & Friends (11/3/09) and Snake Oil Salesman (14/8/09)).

As if the prospect of seeing the Dalai Lama's face staring down at us were not enough, a recent (11/10/09) article (Dalai Lama visits sukkah, says he has a lot to learn from Jews) has prompted me to return to the subject of the Dalai Lama once more. In it, we learn that "Policy strategist Steve Rabinowitz, the Dalai Lama's press advisor in Washington... helped the Dalai Lama book a hall at the [Adas Israel] Synagogue for the leader to address 400 Tibetan exiles living in Washington." Steve Rabinowitz is described at as a "former Clinton White House aide and media strategist for several Israel advocacy organizations." Organizations, for example, such as Taglit-Birthright Israel, which sends "tens of thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world" ( IOW, an outfit, as the name suggests, that seeks to indoctrinate non-Israeli Jews with the idea that Israel is theirs simply by virtue of their being born into the Jewish faith.

"Rabinowitz said that he took the opportunity to ask the Dalai Lama to come to the synagogue's sukkah to say hello to the Jewish worshippers. He told the crowd he has 'a lot to learn fron the Jews' who were in exile for generations. He said he would like to learn how the Jews survived so long in exile as an example for his own Tibetan people, who have been in exile for 50 years. The Dalai Lama amusedly told the worshippers that the largest group of tourists who visit his exile residence in Dharamsala are Israelis."

Crikey! Here he is, toeing the Zionist line, telling a bunch of quite-comfortable-thank-you American citizens - who happen to be of the Jewish faith - that America isn't really their home, that they're actually in exile! Nor was this a mere throwaway line. It seems he really believes that any Jew happily living outside Israel is in the same position as a Tibetan exile: "Seeking to learn the secret of long-term Jewish survival in Diaspora - a situation he foresees facing his people - the Dalai Lama has entered into an ongoing dialogue with various Jews - secular, Orthodox, and BU-JUs; theologians, social scientists, and writers - in an effort to help his people." (Dialoguing with the Dalai Lama, Ira Rifkin,

Now it's not as if His Holiness hasn't heard about the Palestinian experience of genuine exile (and occupation), as this report from the Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust reveals: "On Sunday the 19th [February 2008], members of the [Holy Land Trust] delegation conveyed [to the Dalai Lama] the enormous struggles that Palestinians face living under Occupation; they described some of the actions that are underway to re-engage Palestinian communities in nonviolence and popular resistance, and explained how critical international support and pressure will be in any effort to end the Occupation and build a Palestinian nation. Holy Land Trust's Executive Director, Sami Awad, explained that since the organization's inception it has stressed the importance of developing connections between Palestinians and Tibetans who have shared similar experiences living under Occupation."

And, as one victim of occupation and occupation to another, what were the great man's words of solidarity to his Palestinian hosts?: "In meetings with Israelis and Palestinians, my message is the same: Nonviolence, Compassion. When there is a problem we have 2 choices. Either remain indifferent or face it, engage it. To remain indifferent is too selfish, I think, and also eventually you will suffer because you are all of society. You will suffer. We must face or confront with sense of community and sense of responsibility. Once you face it, you have 2 choices. With hatred and violence, short-sighted, narrow-minded; that's one choice. Another choice: long-term interest, long-term future, holistic view. Accordingly, nonviolence out of compassion. Respect others' rights, respect others' interests. Two choices. The first choice, I think many people do that. Result? Endless bloodshed, endless violence. Violence out of violence, more violence, more violence. The stronger side must extend a hand, then the weaker side let them feel safe, not miss the opportunity. It is wrong to expect a good gesture from the weaker side. The stronger side must extend a hand. The whole area owned by one group is impossible. You have to live together, side-by-side. Therefore, violence is illogical. Nonviolence is the only way. It may take time. Sometimes, you may not achieve your satisfaction completely but that is the only way." (Holy Land Trust meets with the Dalai Lama: share messages of solidarity, 4/3/08) This is nothing but platitudinous moralising. Incredibly, despite his own experience of exile and occupation, it seems the Dalai Lama can't think sufficiently straight to grasp the elementary distinction between oppressor and oppressed, hammer and anvil, and voice unequivocal, wholehearted support for the latter.

As for those Israeli tourists flocking to Dharamsala, we are given no reason whatever to suspect that they are doing so for any other reason than to soak up some of the Dalai Lama's 'spirituality'. It's time for a reality check: "[A] new generation of Israelis is visiting Dharamsala - those in their early 20s taking a year off their obligatory military service. After a few years of army life fighting the Palestinian resistance, hundreds - sometimes thousands - of young Israelis arrive in the spring and summer for rest and relaxation, or, more accurately, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Syed Nasrallah Mustafa, a Kashmiri shopkeeper, has witnessed the inflow of Israeli youngsters over the last 5 years... Mustafa says that those coming straight out of the army are 'sometimes crazy' and that they bring their lifestyle of 'trance parties and smoking hashish' to the younger generation." (Tibetans face new uncertainty in exile, Ari Paul,, 7/4/05)

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, eh? If only: "[Researcher on Israeli backpackers in India Daria] Maoz has found that relations between the Israelis and the [Indian] natives correspond to those anthropologists have found in other Third World countries subject to an influx of large groups of tourists from the West... [She] defined these relations as 'hierarchical, one-sided and depressing'... and described the Israeli backbackers' relations with the native population as 'neo-colonial'. According to Maoz, most Israeli backpackers treat the Indians as if their sole purpose in life was to serve them. They ignore the locals' needs and feelings, treat them and their traditions with contempt and regard the Israeli enclaves [such as Dharamkot and Bhagsu] as playgrounds where they can do almost anything they desire. Uninhibited drug use is a prime example... One of the main findings of Maoz's research is that Israeli society has an interest in sending its young people to India. 'Israeli society understands that after long, hard and frustrating military service... Israeli youngsters need avenues to let off steam and to challenge accepted norms. Instead of having them do this in Israel, they are sent to India... During her visits to India she heard several Israelis compare the Indians to the Palestinians before the intifada. 'They're primitive and dirty, but they serve us exceptionally well', one Israeli backpacker told Maoz, 'just like the Arabs in the territories before they decided to raise their heads." (A bad trip in India, Aryeh Dayan, Haaretz, 4/7/04)

There you go - after becoming accustomed to abusing Palestinians, a lad needs to unwind... by abusing Indians. And this nexus hasn't clicked with the Dalai Lama? Could it be the company he keeps? As the ynet report informs us, "[o]n Tuesday, the Dalai Lama was awarded the first Lantos Human Rights Prize, named after Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos*..." Lantos? According to Mearsheimer and Walt, Lantos (D-CA) is the chair of the [House] Committee on Foreign Affairs and one "who has no rival on Capitol Hill in his devotion to Israel. As one former AIPAC leader put it, Lantos 'is true blue and white'." (The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, 2007, p 153) [For more on Lantos, try The Lies of Tom Lantos: The Bela Lugosi of the House, Wayne Madsen,, 15/2/03]

UPDATE: "Paul sent me this... 'Just wanted to say... that the Dalai Lama - while no fan - was not bs-ing when he said the largest group of (foreign) tourists [at Dharamsala] are Israelis... I've been up there to Dharamsala and the place is choca with Israelis - as are a lot of places in India - Goa, Kerala, Rajastan, Himachel Pradesh, Varanasi etc - who head there to smoke up and forget what they did for 3 years in the army. What really pissed me off - bar Indians keeping on asking me if I was an Israeli, and Israelis too - was the number of Zionists walking around in t-shirts saying FREE TIBET. I felt like grabbing a marker pen and scrawling AND FREE PALESTINE TOO! Total hypocrisy, being all peace-minded regarding Tibetans but fascistic towards the Palestinians... The Dalai Lama actually lives in a town further up the hill called Mcleod Ganj, where most tourists stay, but as Mcleod Ganj was a hill station retreat established by the Brits during the Raj - the Viceroy used to like going there - Dharamsala is always used as the name of the DL's residence. Sounds a bit more exotic, certainly more than the very British-sounding Mcleod!'" (The Angry Arab News Service, 15/10/09)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Me Tarzan, Rudd Jane

"Speaking to The Australian Jewish News this week, Victorian Senator Julian McGauran called on the Australian Government to support military action against Iran if it fails to back down on its nuclear weapons [sic] program. 'This takes top priority', he said. 'I believe it is the highest, most critical issue today. Instead of pansying around on climate change, this ought to take central [sic] stage'. Senator McGauran, who said he had always had 'uncompromisingly strong' support for Israel, called the federal government 'lazy' in its attitude to Iran. 'It is easy to waltz around taking care of soft issues', he said... 'Australia must join its allies and become more aggressive towards Iran. We must not only be willing to join any further international sanctions imposed, but to endorse military action as the last resort'." (Senator: Rudd Government 'lazy' on Iran, 9/10/09)

Hm, maybe Julian has a point here. Check out this lilly-livered, limp-wristed, lisping response from the prime minister: "When Mr Rudd was asked on CNN whether he would commit more troops to the war [in Afghanistan], he said: 'We believe that our current commitment's about right...'" (Failure looms in Afghanistan war, Anne Davies, The Age, 22/9/09)

Ah, if only the old man of steel were back at the helm, eh Julian?: "Australia and its allies must send more troops to Afghanistan or face defeat by the Taliban, says former prime minister John Howard." (Howard calls for troops boost, Brendan Nicholson, The Age, 7/10/09)

Friday, October 9, 2009

While You Weren't Looking

It warms the cockles of one's heart, it truly does, to see our hardworking NSW parliamentarians taking time off from mismanaging The Premier State to devote themselves to what is arguably the human rights issue de jour - the foul kidnapping and even fouller imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Kidnapping? But of course! I don't care whether this brave young man was in uniform or armed to the teeth. Nor do I care whether he was engaged in the garroting of Gaza. He's Israeli, OK? So he cannot be described as having been abducted, right?

Seriously though, here's the drum from The Australian Jewish News: "Calls for Shalit's release have been made by Liberal frontbencher Mike Gallacher in the NSW Legislative Council, and by shadow minister for intergovernmental relations Chris Hartcher in the Legislative Assembly... The opposition gave notice that it will call on the NSW Government to condemn Hamas for its 'inhumane treatment' of Shalit since he was kidnapped in Gaza [whoops!] in June 2006..." (Liberals stand with Shalit, 25/9/09)

No, nobody put them up to it! It was all sooo utterly spontaneous: "'My colleagues and I did our research and discovered other parliaments across the world had carried resolutions [and] that this was an important humanitarian issue', Hartcher told The AJN... Shalit is an innocent person being held in severe conditions. It's appropriate that all people of goodwill work for his release'." (ibid)

Thought you'd be impressed. But hang on! Ron Wiseman, Vice-president of the State Zionist Council of NSW, revealed, in a party-pooping letter to The AJN on 2/10/09, that - well - things weren't quite as spontanous as Mr Hartcher had made out. There had actually been some prompting: "On September 8, at the initiative of the State Zionist Council (SZC) of NSW... the Alan Dershowitz film, The Case for Israel, was shown to NSW parliamentarians... at the theatrette of the NSW Parliament. The reaction of many of the MPs was one of surprise and interest. They had intimated they had not been aware of many of the facts [!!!] surrounding the history of the events leading up to the creation of the State of Israel... In addition, information about the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, including the SZC's 'Blue Ribbon Appeal for Gilad Shalit', was made available. As a result, Chris Hartcher and Mike Gallacher initiated a motion against the kidnapping of Shalit and called for his immediate release. The motion was carried unanimously without debate."

Unanimously, eh? And you thought they were all just a bunch of bagmen, adulterers and incompetents. Shame on you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Goldstone: Damage Control

"The Goldstone Commission Report is a grave blow to the State of Israel on 3 significant fronts: diplomacy, media and the military-legal spheres," warns Israeli analyst Ron Ben-Yishai on (quoted in The Australian Jewish News, 25/9/09).

Ben-Yishai's piece is as you'd imagine from a Zionist source ("The report is a boon for terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and has implications that affect the ability of western powers to fight global Jihad terrorism...") but the following paragraphs caught my attention:

"We can debate now whether the Israeli government was right to decide not to cooperate with the commission. It is possible that had Israel cooperated, it could have prompted a more balanced report, and more importantly, it could have dragged on the discussions to the point of blurring the impression of the operation in public opinion." Dragging on the discussions until the world has lost interest. Now ain't that the Israeli way!

"All hope is not lost if the campaign [of damage control] is managed intensively and with determination on 3 fronts simultaneously - the diplomatic theatre, the media front, and the military-legal area - while enlisting all the support Israel can get from the United States and from European states. These countries surely realise the Goldstone report will directly hurt their military interests as well." Is this where Major General Molan (see last post) comes in?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Operation Get Goldstone

Why has retired Australian Major General Jim Molan, "chief of operations of the Iraq multinational force in 2004-05," suddenly chimed in with USrael's campaign against Judge Richard Goldstone and his report on Israel's war crimes in Gaza? (UN's bias blinds Gaza: It's outrageous to insist that only the West must comply with the laws of war, The Australian, 2/10/09)

Is it because Goldstone has reached the legally uncomfortable conclusion (for Israel) that "Israel was guilty of directing its military operations, at least in part, 'at the people of Gaza as a whole'," and Molan, the perpetrator of Operation Fury (the brutal 2004 assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah) is concerned that if his findings ever translate into war crimes trials against the Israeli perpetrators of Operation Cast Lead, he might one day find himself on a similar sticky wicket? His admission that "I probably never will convince those who have on occasions publicly, ignorantly and incorrectly associated me with war crimes," a reference no doubt to Australian academic Chris Doran's J'Accuse, The reality of Australia's collateral damage in Iraq (, 4/8/08), could be adduced to support such a view.

Although Molan is at pains to portray himself as one who has had to "tread through [the] legal and moral minefield [laid by those who drafted the laws of war] while acting as an agent of the statesman who has an obligation to act," the reality of Iraq trips him up. Only a faithful servant of the USraeli Empire could seriously characterise George Bush as a statesman with an obligation to act. Everybody else knows that the mugging of Iraq was an illegal war of aggression (unauthorised by the UN Security Council) to effect regime change, but dressed up as a defence against the imminent threat to all and sundry of (non-existent) WMDs.

Goldstone, on the other hand, is portrayed merely a "commentator," one who, unlike the statesman, never has to bear the burden of protecting his citizens, and his report is lamely dismissed (dare I say publicly, ignorantly and incorrectly?) as "an opinion by one group of people putting forward their judgments, with limited access to the facts, and reflecting their own prejudices."

Molan's lament is that, while we (USraelis) have clean hands, our enemies fight dirty: "Our adversary in Iraq consistently ignored all humanitarian law as well as the laws of war, particularly the blatant abuse of medical facilities and places of worship. Our adversary's major strategy was to blow the arms and legs off innocent women and children at times calculated to fit the needs of the world's media networks. This was an immorality of strategy that was breathtaking... Despite the nature of our enemy, we realised that our right to injure even our enemy was limited."

So our side upheld international law, eh? Not according to UK playwright (Fallujah) Jonathan Holmes: "The siege of Fallujah, carried out by US armed forces upon a mainly civilian population, contravened 70 individual articles of the Geneva Conventions... Those in command have chosen to drive a tank through a century and a half of delicately crafted regulations on the treatment of those involved in conflict." (Fallujah: Eyewitness Testimony from Iraq's Besieged City, 2007, p 113)

Our right to injure (now there's a human right for you!) even our enemy was limited, Molan claims. If so, how does Molan explain away the evidence that his bovver boys shot wounded Iraqis or left them to die in agony, denied them access by medical personnel, shot up ambulances, imposed collective punishment on civilians, shot those who raised white flags, deprived them of food and water, expelled them, and yes, used white phosphorus and napalm? Yes, that's right, just like in Goldstone's Gaza!

And what of that charge of blatant abuse of medical facilities? Holmes is unequivocal: "There is no evidence of a Fallujan hospital being used as a site of resistance, nor of any arms being found within one..." (ibid, p 122) There is, however, evidence of blatant abuse of medical facilities by Molan's mob: "One of my colleagues, Dr Saleh Alsawi, he was speaking so angrily about them. He was in the main hospital when they raided it at the beginning of the siege. They entered the theater room when they were working on a patient... he was there because he's an anaesthesiologist. They entered with their boots on, beat the doctors and took them out, leaving the patient on the table to die." (Dahr Jamail, quoted in Holmes, p 121)

Our enemy, "be they al-Qaida or Hamas" - Molan has no problem lumping the Iraqi resistance, Hamas, and al-Qaida together - "deliberately commingl[es] his fighters with civilians" and so "violates its obligation to protect [them]." "It should not complain," therefore, "when inevitably, athough regrettable, civilian casualties result." But that's no defence, because even if it were true, "[t]he presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character." (Article 50 of the 1977 Protocol) And what are the facts here anyway? An Amnesty International (AI) report issued in July found "no evidence to support repeated claims from the Israeli military that the Hamas government was using civilians as human shields during the war." (Amnesty: Israeli troops used children as human shields,, 1/7/09) It did, however, "cite an instance in which Israeli troops forced multiple families of civilians, including children, to remain in a house they turned into a sniper nest, 'effectively using the families, both adults and children, as human shields and putting them at risk'." (ibid) But then Molan's bound to be as dismissive of AI as he is of Goldstone.

The following admission should come as no surprise: "I probably do not need to state for most readers that as a soldier who has run a war against an opponent not dissimilar to Hamas, facing problems perhaps similar to those faced by Israeli commanders, my sympathies tend to lie with the Israelis." And he continues, with this little conceit, "[H]aving stated my prejudice, I think I may be more honest than Goldstone, who seems to pass off his prejudices in a report that cannot be based on fact, and uses judicial language and credibility to do so."

Honest? Jeeesus! If it's honesty you want, compare Molan's transparent apologetics with the genuine honesty of a military predecessor (in a 1933 speech) - the US Marine Corp's Major General Smedley Butler:

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is all about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6% over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100%. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss' Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. It may seem odd for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912... I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

It'll be interesting to see whether Molan's dip into pro-Israel propaganda is a one-off. Watch this space...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Israel's Bitch

Michael Gerson a) was recruited by Karl Rove for the Bush campaign as a speechwriter; b) was named by Time (7/2/05) as one of 'The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America'; c) created the 'smoking gun/mushroom cloud' metaphor and the phrase 'Axis of Evil'; and d) claimed that Saddam Hussein was "the equivalent of Pol Pot." Yet the only information provided to us at the foot of this loon's war propaganda in today's Australian is this: "Washington Post Writers Group."

Should that be Creative Writers Group? Here's Gerson's introduction: "On June 7, 1981, Israeli F-15s and F-16s took off for the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, after the pilots were emotionally briefed that 'the alternative is our destruction'. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had no idea if the raid would stop the Iraqi nuclear program or merely slow it. But slowing it was reason enough. Since the George W Bush administration, the American military has assessed that an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would only delay the development of its program... But for several months, high-ranking Israeli officials have been telling American visitors that buying time may be worth it. The Osirak raid, after all, turned out to be an unexpectedly decisive blow." (Delay as good as action on nukes: America's lack of credibility puts Israel on path to military confrontation with Iran)

Really? Here's the dirt on that little adventure: "The astonishing thing about the official Israeli Government statement after the attack and about Begin's subsequent elaborations on the same theme, is that hardly a single statement made was true, and several were publicly disavowed by the Israeli Government in the following weeks. At the very least, Israel had undertaken a blatant act of war on the basis of poor information. 'Sources of unquestioned reliability', said [Begin at a Jerusalem news conference on the 8th June] 'told us that [the reactor] was intended for the production of atomic bombs'. Indeed, testimony which was subsequently presented in hearing before the US Congress did reveal considerable circumstantial evidence that Iraq was stockpiling more uranium or 'yellowcake' than was necessary for the operation of a research reactor. Those same hearings, however, also provided strong testimony and evidence that Iraq could not have produced nuclear weapons, or even have taken the preliminary steps toward doing so, without detection by both French technicians (who had total, unlimited access to the facility) and by IAEA inspectors. Moreover, the great preponderence of expert testimony indicated that Iraq could not, on its own and without direct French and Italian assistance, have developed the bomb." (Living By the Sword: America & Israel in the Middle East 1968-1987, Stephen Green, 1988, p 139)

In summary, Israel had no valid case for its strike on a nukeless Iraq in 1981 and it has no valid case for a strike on a nukeless Iran now. The same US intelligence agencies that found, in 2007, that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003 have just reaffirmed that assessment. (See Intelligence agencies say no new nukes in Iran, Mark Hosenball, Newsweek, 16/9/09) Moreover, Israeli Offence Minister Ehud Barak has declared that Iran poses no existential threat to Israel (See my 20/9/09 post From the Horse's Mouth).

However, neither the US intelligence community's findings nor Ehud Barak's frank admission are allowed to cramp Gerson's (or any other Bomb Iran Now! fanatic's) style: "Not many Israelis would need to be convinced* by this [buying time] argument - a recommendation would go from the chief of staff of the Israeli defence [sic] forces, to Defence [sic] Minister Ehud Barak, to the security cabinet and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Perhaps a dozen people could shake the world." Shake the world? What, like Bush/Cheney and the neocon cabal did in Iraq in 2003? [*Except Ehud Barak perhaps.]

"Clues of Israeli desperation are so obvious that many have missed them," he continues. "Netanyahu's impassioned warning against the world's first Holocaust-denying nuclear state should be taken at face value." And why, you ask, is the world's first Holocaust-exploiting, genuinely nuclear state so desperate? Because its American attack-dog, so obedient in 2003, isn't exactly straining at the leash now.

Gerson ticks off the many reasons why Fido might be a tad reluctant this time around before finally hitting on the real reason why Israel might just have to do the job itself: Barack Obama! You see, Obama "has injected considerable suspicion into the American/Israeli relationship, picking public fights on issues such as settlements and adopting a tone of neutrality in other controversies. If Israel thinks America is an increasingly unreliable partner, Israel will be more likely to depend on itself alone - and let the bombers fly. 'When someone is trigger happy', says [Dov] Zakheim [former US undersecretary of defence], 'the last thing you want to do is make them paranoid'... If the Israelis were confident that America would act decisively against the Iranian nuclear threat in the greatest extremity, they would be far less likely to act themselves. Lacking that confidence, they may conclude once again, that delay is good enough."

Just look at the language and the logic here: whenever Israel is trigger happy (and when is it ever not trigger happy?), America should be indulging it (and when has America ever not indulged it) lest it get paranoid (and when is it ever not paranoid?). When Likudnik warmongers like Gerson accuse the US of being an unreliable partner, you should know that they expect it to be nothing less than Israel's bitch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jewish Exceptionalism

What follows is a profoundly insightful letter to the editor of the New York Times by Ira Glasser of New York. It was written in response to a review (by Leon Wieseltier) of Norman Podhoretz' book Why Are Jews Liberals? Podhoretz is the Godfather of the neoconservative movement:

"I have always thought that there were (to oversimplify somewhat) two kinds of Jews in American political life - those who saw Jews' experience with discrimination and persecution as an example of a broader and more generic phenomenon that embraced similar discrimination and persecution based on skin colour, gender, sexual orientation and other categories of invidious discriminations; and those who, like Podhoretz, saw Jews' experience with discrimination and persecution as exceptional and singular, and worse by far than all others. For the first group, the support of a wide range of civil rights movements was a natural extension of the Jewish experience, even when such support seemed to conflict with their own immediate interests, as happened with certain aspects of affirmative action. For the second group, self-interest was predominant, to the exclusion of serious, which is to say, operational sympathy for others who had suffered and were still suffering similar or even worse discriminatory persecutions. Podhoretz is a caricature of this second group, beginning with his confession and, yes, embrace of racism in his essay "My Negro Problem - and Ours," published in Commentary in 1963. He has now become so self-centered in his own sense of exceptionalism that he cannot understand why everyone in the first group doesn't rush to join him. He has not only lost the ability to feel for or identify with the persecution of others; he has lost all ability to see why anyone else would." (25/9/09)

It goes without saying that Glasser's 2nd group, the exceptionalists, includes all political Zionists - Zionists such as Chaim Weizmann, for example, without whose determined efforts the bizarre Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising British backing for a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, would never have been issued:

"It has been suggested that Weizmann's refusal to theorise was something he had learnt from Britain. There is as little evidence for this view as there is for the suggestion that he learnt anything from British democracy. When I was reading in the Rehovoth Archives, I asked to be shown any references in Wiezmann's lectures either to British politics or to social conditions in Lancashire, where he lived for so many years. One single letter was found for me, in which he mentions to his wife the terribly sad look of the workers as they go into a factory. But that is all. When I learnt this, I couldn't help contrasting Weizmann's concentration on the plight of his own Jewish people with the attitude of another foreigner who lived for many years in Manchester, Friedrich Engels. Engels came to Lancashire as a cotton manufacturer, but as the collaborator of Karl Marx he concerned himself passionately with the condition of the workers and, as we all know, the Marx-Engels analysis of class war was worked out in terms of Lancashire. Weizmann had just as acute a mind and, when he was dealing with his own people, was just as interested in social conditions and social policies. But, unlike Marx and Engels, he did not feel moved by the condition of the workers and the problem was not his problem. Marx and Engels were self-conscious internationalists who believed in the unity of the working class. He was a self-conscious Jewish nationalist who believed that the Jewish worker of the Diaspora was separated by his Jewishness from the workers around him. That is why he conducted himself throughout his sojourn in Britain as a stranger and always refused to interfere or even to interest himself in British domestic politics, except insofar as they affected the Palestine question. The only obligation he felt was to persuade British politicians of all parties to espouse the Jewish cause." (A Nation Reborn, Richard Crossman, 1960, pp 30-31)