It's the final day of 2010. Just time to squeeze in another rambamming:
"A group of journalists, thinkers [!] and business leaders, led by former NSW premier Bob Carr, has returned from Israel following a mission hosted by the NSW division of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) earlier this month. AICC chairman Kim Jacobs said the mission's aim was to provide a 'whole understanding' of the Jewish Sate. '[It was] basically to explore and understand why Jews and Israel have been so successful over the years, and to understand it from a cultural viewpoint, from a business viewpoint, from an economic, geopolitical viewpoint, and to get a whole overview of the whole country', Jacobs said. 'Everyone came away really as a devotee of Israel and understanding what Israel is about'." (Carr leads chamber tour, The Australian Jewish News, 24/12/10)
Love was in the air
Everywhere they looked around
Love was in the air
Every sight & every sound
"The tour differed from those usually offered by the AICC in that it was not purely about business. Activities ranged from a meeting with Israeli author Etgar Keret* and a talk with a representative from a foreign policy think tank the Reut Institute*, to visits to the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The group also visited Yad Vashem, where Carr laid a wreath, and heard from radio commentator Yaron Deckel*. They toured Masada and the Dead Sea, and visited deaf and blind theatre group Nalaga'at. The delegation also heard from a Koran scholar and visited the Peres Peace Centre." (ibid)
[* Carr quotes Etgar Keret in his blog, Thoughtlines with Bob Carr, to the effect that Israel's Labor Party gave the Palestinians Oslo, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got in return was a second Intifada. And, moreover, Sharon gave the Palestinians Gaza, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was Hamas. (6/12) Bob also quotes the Reut Institute's Gidi Grinstein* to the effect that the Left (aka Ariel Sharon) gave the Palestinians Gaza, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was terror. (7/12) Such diversity of thought! No wonder Bob describes "radio journalist" Yaron Deckel as "brilliant." He wasn't singing from the same songsheet as EK and GG. No siree, Bob! He told Bob, in effect, we gave the Palestinians everything - Camp David, disengagement from Gaza, comprehensive negotiations, summits, cups of tea - but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was... nothing! Nothing good, that is. (8/12). Oh yeah, and as a man with an eye for the best and the brightest, Bob reckons Thomas Friedman's "one of the best of the US commentators" and "very good on the Middle East." In his blog, he quotes Friedman to the effect that we Americans gave the Palestinians and the Israelis megabucks and assurances galore, but hey, all peace-loving Americans got was... nothing! Nothing. Full stop. (14/12)]
"'They had a real cultural, business and political tour of Israel', Jacobs said. They met Supreme Court judges, they met the Minister of Economics. It was amazing - I went on it [the tour] and I discovered things that I hadn't seen or heard of before'. Ernst & Young tax partner and AICC board member Alf Capito said the mission 'exceeded his expectations greatly'. 'It was an intense and, in the time allowed, incredibly informative immersion into the history, psyche, entrepreneurship and God-given [!] resilience of Israel and its people', he said... The plan is for the tour to become a yearly event, with Carr already expressing his desire to take part again."
Of course he'll take part again. He's perfect for the job. As an Australian Labor leader (or ex- in his case) he's committed body & soul to Israel. Of the Palestinians, he writes in his blog that "[t]he right of return is their deeper desire and would, of course, be seen as unacceptable by any Israeli government." (6/12) That's the bottom line for these types. Not is it right, but is it acceptable to the Israelis?
[*For those of you who've not yet had the honour and privilege of meeting GG and his tankthink, the Reut Institute, see my 13/1/10 post Getting It Reut.]