Monday, June 27, 2011

An Israeli-Occupied Mind

Spare a thought for all those Labor flaks and minders who lost their jobs at the last NSW state election. Where did they go when the electorate massacred their masters?

Well, one of them, Walt Secord, who had worked for the likes of Bob Carr, Kevin Rudd and Kristina Keneally, has found himself on the plush, cushioned benches of the NSW Legislative Council. But this is no sinecure, no retirement home. Even here there's work to do!

You see, no sooner had Walt dusted himself off, loosened his tie and rolled up his sleeves, than he set about the vital work of attacking one of our most basic human rights and diverting our men in blue away from their routine duties to 'protect' Israel's business interests down under:

"Newly appointed Member of Legislative Council Walt Secord has wasted no time demonstrating his support for Israel. Secord has called on NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher to provide assurances for the protection of businesses with Israeli links in light of recent Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protests. Secord, a former Australian Jewish News journalist, asked a series of formal questions on Monday, including what measures the government was taking to protect businesses and patrons affected by actions, such as the demonstration outside the Max Brenner chocolate shop on June 11. He also asked about the status of 2 arrests made on that evening and if the Government had plans to respond to similar incidents. 'With the BDS gaining support, the NSW Government and the Police Minister must ensure that companies with an Israeli connection are protected and are not unfairly targeted', Secord said. 'BDS is part of a worldwide attempt to isolate Israel, to boycott Israeli products, creativity, programs and culture. It has reached Australia and that is of concern. I vehemently oppose the BDS campaign'. Secord said that the government must protect members of the community from harm during protests. 'The NSW Government has a responsibility to protect staff and people who are drinking coffee or hot chocolate on a weekend morning in a cafe from violent protesters', he said. Secord also encouraged people who support Israel to visit a Max Brenner outlet and make a purchase 'as an act of solidarity and defiance against the BDS'. While not Jewish, Secord worked at The AJN between 1988 and 1991." (Police called to action on BDS, AJN, 24/6/11)

Like many Labor politicians, Walter is a welter of contradictions and a source of much puzzlement to any thinking man or woman. For those of you with an interest in the 'clueless conduct and views that madden to crime' of our polliewaffles (to adapt one of the more memorable lines from Ambrose Bierce's wonderful definition of the word 'maiden'), some insights may be gleaned by a perusal of Walt's - ahem - maiden speech of June 1:

"Growing up on a [Canadian] Indian reserve in the 1970s politicised me and made me finely and deeply attuned to injustice. I am the product of an interracial bicultural marriage. My father... is a full-blooded Mohawk-Ojibway status treaty Indian."

You'd think Walt's upbringing would've given him some insight into the brutal dynamics of settler-colonial societies and an ability to sense the species wherever found, including Israel, but no, seems he fell in with the wrong crowd:

"After a short stint as a youth employment public servant and a reporter on the Toronto Star... I migrated to Australia in September 1988... Shortly after arriving in Sydney I got a job at The Australian Jewish News. I worked there for almost 4 years. They gave me a go as one of their first non-Jewish reporters. I am pleased to say that that fair go was rewarded when I won an Australian Human Rights Award for a series of articles I wrote for that publication. But my proudest time at the AJN was defending myself against British Revisionist David Irving, who took legal action against me for appropriately describing him in print as a Holocaust denier... My links to the Jewish community predate my coming to Sydney and stretch back to the Indian reserve in Canada. I also owe a special debt of gratitude to a wonderful Jewish man, a mentor from my childhood. He is the late Godel Silber, a Holocaust survivor who became friends with my father... Mr Silber was extremely observant and religious. He told me about... the importance of Israel, the Holocaust and the need to fight racism and intolerance... Mr Silber also sparked my interest in the prevention of genocide..."

Yes, seems like Walt had it drummed into him that being a Jew automatically meant being a Zionist, and that you needed to tackle racism, discrimination and intolerance in every corner of the world but one:

"I will never be able to fathom the desire of one group to exterminate another race or faith. I have studied the Shoah, the Armenian Genocide, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda."

But not the Nakba. The bullshit's there, of course:

"Everything I have learned only reinforces my strong commitment to cross-cultural diversity and interfaith activities."

But the bottom line is always:

"I am also a strong and vocal supporter of Israel. I support a two-state solution. But I also believe that Israel has a right to defend herself within secure and safe borders. On that note, earlier this week I approached leader of the Opposition Robertson, and obtained his approval to assume the Labor position on a reactivated NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel."

A most peculiar blind spot, but not uncommon in the ever thinning ranks of the ALP.

If not Walt, then other native Americans know a genocidal, colonial-settler project when they see one. A representative of the American Indian Movement West (AIM-WEST), Choctaw man Jimbo Simmons, will be on the latest blockade-busting Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

And a graphic description of the occupied Palestinian territories under the gun has appeared in the Mohawk Nation News. Titled Did you visit your relatives today? Is this Palestine or soon-to-be-Ongwehonwe, here's the conclusion. Sound familiar?:

"Palestinians say this is how they are being treated by the Israelis. Canadian police and military are being sent to Israel for training on 'crowd control'. Many of these fascist tactics were used on us during the 1990 Mohawk Oka Crisis. Five thousand Canadian troops surrounded 3 of our communities behind razor wire and fully armed troops because we opposed the desecration of our burial and ceremonial sites. We were surrounded by walls of police, soldiers, arms and checkpoints for 78 days. We had to wait hours to get through them and suffer from specially designed humiliation at the hands of police and troops. Canadian soldiers went into Mohawk homes purportedly looking for weapons. They smashed everything and even s--t on the floors. Many of us were arrested for 'political activities', which is called 'administrative detention'." (25/11/08)

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