Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shared Values?

"We share a unique relationship based on Australia's historical support for Israel and our shared commitment to freedom, security and democracy. Our friendship will remain strong because our values are shared." (Foreign Minister Stephen Smith speaking at an Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) lunch, 19/5/09)

The 2010 Global Peace Index ( was recently released. 149 countries were ranked according to a range of 'Peace Indicators'. In light of our government's facile rhetoric about shared values, I thought it might be instructive to compare the results for Australia and Israel, with the United States thrown in for good measure. (NB: The higher the score, the more of a problem we have.)

Australia ranked 19/149; Israel 144/149; US 84/149

Looking at some of the key Peace Indicators, we get the following results:

Relations with neighbouring countries:
AUS 1/5; Israel 4/5; US 2/5

Level of respect for human rights:
AUS 1/5; Israel 5/5; US 3/5

Military expenditure as a % of GDP:
AUS 1.5; Israel 3/5; US 2/5

Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people:
AUS 1/5; Israel 5/5; US 1/5

Exports of major conventional weapons per 1000,000 people:
AUS 1/5; Israel 5/5; US 2.5/5

Imports of major conventional weapons per 1000,000 people:
AUS 1.5/5; Israel 5/5; US 1/5

Aggregate weighted number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people:
AUS 1.5/5; Israel 5/5; US 2.5/5

Allow the courageous, clear-thinking (and now self-exiled) Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe to draw the obvious conclusion: "My quest for an authentic history of events in the Middle East required a personal de-militarisation of the mind. Even now, in 2010, Israel is in many ways a settler Prussian state: a combination of colonialist policies with a high level of militarisation in all aspects of life... It is manifested in the dominance of the army over political, cultural and economic life within Israel. Defence Minister Ehud Barak was the commanding officer of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, in a military unit similar to the one that assaulted the flotilla. The background was profoundly significant in terms of the State's Zionist response to what they and all the commando officers perceived as the most formidable and dangerous enemy. You probably have to be born in Israel, as I was, and go through the whole process of socialisation and education - including serving in the army - to grasp the power of this militarist mentality and its dire consequences. And you need such a background to understand why the whole premise on which the international community's approach to the Middle East is based, is utterly and disastrously wrong." (What drives Israel?,, 6/6/10)

Shared values?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Current arrangements in Australia have allowed our Parliament to grow a nestbed of Israel-Firsters, such as Jewish Labor-MP Michael Danby, who behaves like an Israeli emissary within the Parliamentary Labor Party. Danby argues the case for the Zionist State frequently and in a highly partisan manner.

His attacks on independent Australian media such as Crikey and New Matild suggest he cares more about protecting Israel's image than the preservation of free speech within Australia"!