Monday, November 14, 2011

Witches Brew 7

Continuing my analysis of the September 15 anti-BDS fest in the NSW Legislative Council...

Former NSW Labor treasurer Eric Roozendaal's 'contribution' to the 'debate' was a textbook case of throw as much mud as possible and hope some of it sticks:

The Nazi slur, of course, is de rigeur:

"Why do people feel uncomfortable about this BDS campaign? I feel uncomfortable to see Jewish shops, Israeli shops, being targeted because that brings back images very similar to those seen pre-war in Nazi Germany, Austria and other places."

Not to mention the Zio-blur, whereby Jewish shops mesh seamlessly with Israeli shops. Should your opponent make a perfectly valid point about an Israeli firm aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes, simply call it a Jewish shop, and hey presto, he's an anti-Semite.

There's cheap as chips debating points:

"I do not see the BDS campaigning outside a Syrian kebab shop. I do not see people targeting Syrian stores in this country - or stores that have an association with the Syrian Government or have businesses in Syria." (To which Greens MLC Dr John Kaye shot back deliciously: "Name one!")

Where do I begin? a) I'm not aware of any Syrian organisation that calls for BDS; b) Syrian kebab shops (or more properly, kebab shops owned by Australian citizens of Syrian origin) are not links in a Syrian kebab shop chain that feeds the Syrian army and boasts about it on its website; c) The crimes of the Syrian regime are directed solely against its own people and do not extend to dispossessing and occupying another.

Ready for slur number 2?:

"The Greens need to understand that there is a distinct discomfort in watching particular civilian stores being targeted in a way that is very similar to what happened in pre-war Nazi Germany. I think that is a legitimate concern for people to have."

Chuck in a red herring:

"The BDS tries to equate Israel as an apartheid state in order to delegitimise it."

Appalling syntax aside, which of the three BDS demands - an end to the occupation and colonization of Arab lands; the recognition of the right of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and the promotion of the right of return to their homes and properties of Palestinian refugees - mention apartheid? (Not, of course, that Israel has any legitimacy to lose in the first place or is not an apartheid state.)

At bottom, it's all about Eric and tribe:

"What was the chant at the Max Brenner store in Victoria? It was 'From the river to the sea'. What does that mean? It means they want to see one state running from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean - one state. The basic theory of the BDS is that removing the only Jewish state in the Middle East and turning it into an Arab state will somehow contribute to peace."

Keeping in mind that the second line of the chant is 'Palestine will be free', is it then a crime to want freedom for Palestine?

Returning to the 3 key BDS demands, is it a crime to want the end of an illegal occupation, illegal settlements and illegal wall? Is it a crime to want complete equality for all citizens within Israel, regardless of their ethno-religious background? Is it a crime to want the return of ethnically-cleansed Palestinian refugees to their homes and lands? Is it a crime to want a secular, democratic state in Palestine vis a vis the existing sectarian, ethnographic, occupying, war-mongering entity known as Israel?

Seems Eric's all for freedom, equal rights, refugee rights and unfettered democracy - just not in Palestine. And why not? Simple: As a Jew, a Jewish state in Palestine grants Eric the unbelievable privilege of choosing whether to live in Australia or Israel or both. Palestinians, of course, get no such choice. Depending where it is they're hanging on by their fingernails, they're either born into an occupation (West Bank/Gaza), into second-class citizenship (Israel) or into stateless exile (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan etc).

Blatant misrepresentation never goes astray when all that matters is being on the top of the pile. First, make your straw man:

"Under the second major platform of the BDS we are led to believe that the resolution of all the problems in the Middle East will come from the abolition of the state of Israel - from the river to the sea." (The second platform of BDS, you'll remember, is actually equality for Arab Palestinian citizens in Israel.)

Then rip into him:

"Take away this little Jewish state stuck in the centre [sic] of the Middle East and all of the problems in the Middle East will be resolved. The problems in Libya will disappear. The problems in Egypt will disappear. The problems in Syria will disappear. The problems in Lebanon will disappear."

Stuck!? Well, who's responsible for that, Eric? And Eric, you've conveniently forgotten the biggest Middle Eastern problem of them all, that of the Palestinian people. A transition from a Jewish to a secular, democratic Palestinian state - from the river to the sea - would surely go a bloody long way to solving their near 100-year old problem of exile, statelessness, occupation and oppression.

Play the pseudo-scholar? Why not?:

"Members might ask: Where does the slogan 'From the river to the sea' come from? It is not an original slogan of the BDS; it is, of course, the slogan of Hamas - that democracy-loving organisation which is prohibited in many Western countries around the world."

I hate to have to break it to you, Eric, but geographic Palestine has always been from the river to the sea. And when you describe Hamas sarcastically as a democracy-loving organisation, you are, of course, speaking largely to an audience for whom the fact that Hamas won the eminently democratic Palestinian elections of 2006 fair and square would be about as well-known as the fact that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC.

Trivialise and mock the issue:

"I do not understand or see the connection between a white chocolate frappe and Max Brenner and resolving the problems of the Middle East."

But two can play that game: I, for example, simply do not understand or see the connection between Eric Roozendaal, a quite comfortable, thankyou, Australian citizen, who doesn't have to think twice before spending his grossly inflated salary on white chocolatte frappes, and the fortunes of the apartheid state which currently occupies all of Palestine - from the river to the sea.

Posture as the voice of sweet reason vis-a-vis those Green "extremists," Kaye and Shoebridge:

"I support a two-state solution in Palestine and Israel, as do most reasonably-minded people."

Finally, how about another slip, slop, slap of slur-n-blur?:

"I always support the right of people to protest. I have protested many times... but when Jewish chocolate shops are targeted on the slimmest of reasons I know something is going wrong... I have seen those images before somewhere and I am uncomfortable with that. This BDS campaign is sinister..."

OK, so Eric's a two-stater and Jewish chocolate shops are out of bounds, right? But hands up all those who've ever seen/heard him protest Israel's occupation, its settlements, or its wall. Come on, I'm patient.

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