Keeping tabs on the steady stream of Australian pollywaffles and their media cronies flocking to Israel for Zionist makeovers is not an easy task. The phenomenon, which I've labelled rambamming (see my 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too), takes place, naturally, very much outside the glare of the media spotlight, and much of it, I suspect, passes us by entirely. As it happens, it's only thanks to The Australian Jewish News (more of which later) that I've only just stumbled across the November 2009 rambamming of a batch of (mostly Liberal) unrepresentative swill from Victoria.
One excruciatingly twee account, under the label Israel: study tour, actually found its way into Legislative Council Hansard: "Mrs [Andrea] COOTE (Southern Metropolitan) - I would like to commend AIJAC - the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council - for helping to arrange a study tour which was conducted last week with a number of colleagues from this place and one from the other place. Together with Bruce Atkinson, Jennifer Huppert, Jan Kronberg, Peter Kavanagh, Jenny Mikakos, Theo Theophanous, Bernie Finn and Christine Fyffe, the member for Evelyn in the other place, we visited Israel for a week. My personal experience certainly made me realise how lucky we are to live in a country such as Australia and to be able to work in peace and harmony. It was so tangible to see just how difficult and complex the circumstances are in the Israeli situation. I also put on record my admiration for the members of the Jewish community - their tenacity, their courage, their innovation and indeed their cooperation with the Palestinian authorities, which we generally do not see. For example, the doctors at the Save a Child's heart foundation [sic] are doing a miraculous job with young children, many of whom come from the Palestinian authority [sic] and are given a new lease on life by having their hearts repaired by some excellent and talented doctors. It was also very pleasing to see Mr and Mrs Gandel and Jeannie Pratt among the Australians who have done a huge amount for Israel. It was pleasing to see Australians who are so committed. The trip was a life-changing experience." (24/11/09)
Yes, Mrs Coote, you're a credit to your state, and definitely worth every taxpayer dollar regularly stuffed into your pockets by the Judicial Remuneration Tribunal. And speaking of $$$, wasn't your little "study tour" great value for money? Nothing like a visit to Greg Sheridan's plucky country to make us realise we're living in Donald Horne's lucky country, right? So good to learn too that the "Jewish community" - by which I assume you mean Israelis - are taking such wonderful care of kiddies "from the Palestinian authority" - by which I assume you mean the occupied West Bank. What's that? You're not familiar with that sort of language? Oh, sorry, please forget I said it. I promise I'll watch my language from now on. Yeah, right, Palestinian kids and Israeli doctors. Heart-warming stuff that! But my goodness, as you say, it's all sooo awfully, awfully "difficult and complex" over there, isn't it? There, there. You poor thing, just lie back on this heavily padded parliamentary bench here, relax and have a well-deserved snooze. But, hey, aren't those Jews/Israelis/whatever great?!
Now if you thought Andrea was a tad wide-eyed, lend your ears to fellow Lib Jan Kronberg, interviewed in this week's AJN. Here are some of Jan's revelations:
a) In a word, Israel is a "miracle." But if you prefer, here's the longer version: "In spite of the stress of living under the perpetual threat of terrorism and the relentless nature of threats by Iran and Israel's other neighbours, the courage of the Israeli people is palpable and inspiring. Israel is such a bustling, vibrant economy - no wonder others covet it in the way they do." That's right, Jan, they're just plain green with jealousy.
b) The West Bank's Separation Wall may have been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice, but for Jan it "gives you a measure of comfort when you go about your business." Err, whose business, Jan?
c) Jan "spoke with a number of people, including members of the general public, who were very upset, bewildered and saddened by the savage and woefully unbalanced criticism in the Goldstone report." Yes, folks, if you thought Gaza was bad, it pales beside Goldstone! And no, there's no indication she spoke to any members of the general public in Gaza, many of whom were murdered, maimed or made homeless by the savage and woefully disproportionate nature of the Israeli attacks dealt with in the Goldstone report.
d) In a perpetually terrified nation, the most terrified of all live in... Sderotgrad. Jan provides us with just an inkling of what it's like for those who live at the very epicentre of Islamic Terror: "My feelings of having shared this morning with the people of Sderot will stay with me forever. You simply could not think of anything else other than when another rocket may be fired. Could we get to the shelter in time?"
e) And how's this for a scoop? Although it hasn't even been picked up by the Israeli media, our Jan has proof positive that Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living in... Gaza!: "We were shown the collection of spent missiles kept at the police station and a number on show still had their green, red, and yellow casings, signifying which terrorism group fired them - al-Qaeda, Hamas or al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade."
f) Israel, heart of a heartless world: "The work of the surgeons, nurses and volunteers at the Save a Child's Heart Fund at the Wolfson Medical Centre, Holon, is an inspiration. It is important to highlight children from the developing world going to Israel to have life-saving heart surgery. We also saw a number of Palestinian children in the unit, along with their mothers, during our visit."
g) And her colleagues? "They were so impressed with what Israel has done and what it represents for all of us." Naturally.
I don't know about you but I can't wait to hear from the others - Bruce, Jennifer, Peter, Jenny, Theo, Bernie and Christine. (You know, the one from "the other place.")
FYI: "Several MPs spoke with conviction about their commitment to voting prolife: Thankyou to Bernie Finn (MLC), Jan Kronberg (MLC) and Peter Kavanagh (MLC) for their well-thought speeches... We really are so blessed to have such MPs standing up so strongly for the unborn in Parliament." (Pro life prayer rally against the Decriminalization Abortion Bill, catchthefire.com.au, 7/10/08)