As Basil Fawlty would say, "This is typical. Absolutely typical..."
Yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald actually deigned to publish an opinion piece by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Freedom & dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians), Sydney lawyer, novelist and daughter of Palestinian refugee parents.
How seldom, you reflect, is a Palestinian voice such as hers heard in the Herald - compared to the incessant yapping of Zionist propagandists. Still, you console yourself absurdly, it's better than nothing. Absurdly - because any lift experienced, any feeling that, well, maybe the Herald isn't quite as bad as you think it is, is dashed by the certainty that, in the very next issue, as surely as night follows day, there will appear a 'response' from a Zionist lobbyist. If you'll bear with me here, it's like finding you've walked dogshit into the carpet after completing your usual exhilirating 5km morning walk.
Sure enough, in today's Herald, instead of an honest letter or two from readers, the Herald has given over enough space for 3 letters to Israel lobbyist Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
Under the thoroughly deceitful headline Israel a home for both Jews & Arabs, Wertheim argues, contra Abdel-Fattah, that Israel is really no different to any other place, including Australia. Sure there's "serious racial discrimination," but hey, no way is it "a state based on racial purity."
What he's counting on, of course, is that the average Herald reader is simply unaware that, radically unlike Australia, Israel's key laws enshrine a fundamental distinction between Jews and non-Jews which determines who gets into the country (Jews) and who is kept out (Palestinian refugees ethnically cleansed in 1948 and 1967), and who has access to 93% of Israel's land area (Jews) and who doesn't (the minority of Palestinians who, for whatever reason, escaped expulsion in 1948).
In addition to glossing over the creation and maintenance of a majority Jewish ethnographic state in Palestine, the ultimate in Middle Eastern sectarianism, Wertheim brazenly represents the Palestinian Authority's pathetic search for a bit of breathing space in the West Bank, a little wriggle room under the IDF jackboot, aka a Palestinian state, as an attempt to set up "a specifically Arab and Muslim state which will exclude Jews." This attempt to smear the Palestinians as anti-Semites is akin to the Chinese government accusing occupied and oppressed Tibetans, swamped by Chinese settlers, of wanting to exclude Chinese simply because they're racists.
Wertheim concludes: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the simplistic 'goodies versus baddies' contest some people make it out to be. It's about the real world struggle of two nations, each of which is determined to live in freedom, independence and security."
Total bullshit of course, but as long as he and his kind can sow seeds of doubt and confusion among the ill-informed, such letters will be seen by apologists for Israeli apartheid and occupation to have been worth the effort.