Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 4

Bits & pieces from the KRRS not previously covered, but worthy of attention to any serious student of the rambamming phenomenon:

Merely fortuitous? 'Great minds' thinking alike?

Exhibit 1:

"One Israeli official said yesterday: 'This [Rudd's Cairo (but not Jerusalem) call for IAEA inspections of Israel's nukes] comes, as the Americans would say, completely out of left field...'" (Nuclear inspections call 'curious', John Lyons, The Australian, 15/12/10)

"[The Lowy Institute's Hugh] White says this position [on IAEA inspection of Israeli nukes] is 'diplomacy coming from left field, without follow-through'."

Exhibit 2:

"The comment shocked Israeli officials, who could not recall an Australian minister suggesting that their facility at Dimona should be subject to inspection." (Israel rejects Rudd's call for nuclear inspections, John Lyons, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"No Australian foreign minister in history has previously called for Israel's nuclear facility to be open to IAEA inspection." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

Exhibit 3:

"[T]he de facto equating of Israel and Iran is bizarre." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"His suggestion that Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was bizarre." (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

'Great minds' thinking 50% alike:

"I accept that they [Begin's Irgun] were not the equivalent of modern terrorists. But people died in that incident. I don't think such a joke was in good taste, although many in the audience appreciated it." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"Rudd made a distasteful joke about Menachem Begin carrying out 'some interior redesign' of Jerusalem's King David Hotel - referring to a terrorist bombing in 1946 that killed 91 people." (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

Another of the rambammed - Peter Van Onselen, contributing editor, The Australian - outs himself:

"In Israel last week with a delegation, I received a briefing from the head of Israel's National Economic Council, Professor Eugene Kandel. The centrepiece of his message was pride in Israel's economic peformance over the past 10 years. He glowingly highlighted that its national debt was only 72% of GDP, down from more than 100% at the turn of the century. Only? In Australia he would be laughed out of the room. Incidentally, much of the reduction came from balancing the budget, not paying back debt, and letting economic growth do the rest. The figure of Israel's net public debt as a percentage of GDP that Professor Kandel referred to should cause most Australians to pause and consider the overblown fears our opposition tries to evoke when complaining about the Labor government's so-called build-up of public debt. By all means whinge about waste when it is apparent, but the size of net debt in Australia is minimal, less than 6% of GDP, according to the IMF." (We can keep borrowing if growth continues, 15/12/10)

The Sydney Morning Herald's verdict on the KRRS (my comments in square brackets):

"From his public remarks, [Rudd] has not thrown Australia's diplomatic weight, for what it is worth, at the critical pressure points in the jammed machinery of the peace process. [Er, maybe that's not what the AILF is all about.] Maybe he was more forceful in private discussions... The key blockage, for Israel's Western friends, is its own politics... The debate in Washington is now about how tough to be with Israel [Oh, really? What planet does this editorialist live on?], to try to force the mainstream into a consensus decision. A bit of tough support from a key ally might have helped the Americans. It might have helped the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, face down his right-wing fringe supporters. [Oh, yes, dear old Bibi wants peace but his hands are tied. What planet... etc] Instead, Rudd's public appearances were a feel-good profession of Australian support for Israel. His one comment about West Bank settlements - that they undermine peace prospects - was drawn out of him in Cairo by the Egyptian foreign minister. [No it wasn't. It came in response to a journalist's question at their joint press conference on 11 December (]" (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

This is typical of the Herald's hypocrisy - telling Rudd he should've talked tough with the Israelis, but publishing Lenore Taylor's beyond uncritical recycling of Israeli talking points.

Finally, speaking of Rudd on Israeli settlements, this is what he said at that Cairo press conference: "The position of Australia is that new settlements do not contribute but in fact undermine the prospects of a lasting peace settlement in the Middle East. That continues to be our position today. And when I go to Israel in the days ahead I'll be reflecting that position as well." Seems like when he got to Israel, instead of reflecting that position, he actually reflected on it and decided to keep his mouth shut.


Syd Walker said...

Virtue is its own reward, but Middle East Reality Check has also won the 2010 Award for Real Journalism!

Well-deserved congratulations from all of us here at the Wwoolf Walker Foundation.

brian said...

In an excusive interview with Al Jazeera, Assange said only a meagre number of files related to Israel had been published so far, because the newspapers in the West that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish many sensitive information about Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources,” said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.

Asked if Israel had tried to contact him though mediators, Assange said, “No, no contacts with Israel but I am sure Mossad is following our activities closely like Australia, Sweden and the CIA.

“The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added.