Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Witches Brew 8

Yet another post in my series on the extraordinary anti-BDS rants in the NSW Legislative Council of September 30...

Today's focus will be on the 'contribution' of Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann, who, although having nothing of value to say on the subject, said it anyway, embarrassing in the process her two more informed colleagues, John Kaye and David Shoebridge, undermining the Greens' reputation for principled politics, and, needless to say, giving immense comfort to the enemy:

"The Greens have a strong and principled position on the question of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East. The Australian Greens resolution on the matter makes clear our support for the rights and aspirations of both the Palestinian and the Israeli people to live in peace and security in their own independent, sovereign states."

Strong and principled? Not!

For the Greens, an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a Palestinian state therein, is effectively all that is needed to solve the Palestine problem.

The more fundamental issue of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and 1967 (who constitute the majority of Palestinians) to their homes and lands in Israel (im)proper is fudged with talk of "a just and practical negotiated settlement of the claims of the Palestinian refugees that provides compensation for those who are unable to return to their country of origin, Israel or Palestine" ( This construction, of course, begs the question why they are unable to return, an issue that Greens policy studiously avoids because it leads ineluctably to a recognition that Israel's Jewish character, linked to its current, gerrymandered Jewish majority, rests on keeping millions of Palestinian refugees in a state of permanent exile.

And so, for the Greens, blather about practicability and inability to return trumps the adoption of the genuinely strong and principled position of unambiguous support for the Palestinian right of return and a clear repudiation of the Zionist concept of Israel as a Jewish state for all Jews vis-a-vis a state of its citizens - inclusive of those currently stateless Palestinian refugees - regardless of ethno-religious affiliation.

It is precisely the failure of the Greens to come to terms with the refugee issue and Israel's essential apartheid nature that leads to the inclusion in its platform of that risible nonsense about our support for the rights and aspirations of Israel - an occupying, colonising, deeply racist state.

"The ongoing injustices against the Palestinian people, including ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories and the expropriation of Palestinian land and resources for Israeli settlements, is unacceptable. The Greens are extremely critical of Israeli Government actions in this area."

Just unacceptable? Just extremely critical? In the Greens resolution on Tibet, China's "plundering of Tibet's natural resources and destruction of Tibetan cultures" is roundly (and rightly) "condemned." Typically, with Greens such as Faehrmann, China gets a firm rap over the knuckles for swamping Tibet, while Israel gets the very lightest of wrist-taps for doing the same in Palestine.

"The BDS urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law. I agree that this tactic has been extemely controversial and its success in Australia has been brought into question."

As I've indicated in other posts, Faehrmann seems blind to the fact that the controversy around BDS is solely the work of the Israel lobby and its Murdoch mouthpiece, The Australian, and therefore an entirely confected thing having no real resonance with the Australian public.

"While I do not agree with much of what other members have said in this debate, I share the concern of some members that the tone and public perception of these protests has been counterproductive and they are of concern to me."

Again, as I've indicated in earlier posts on Faehrmann, her NSW colleague Jeremy Buckingham, and federal Greens leader Bob Brown, so spooked are they by The Australian's confected anti-BDS crusade that they've even adopted its vocabulary, the word 'counterproductive' being the dead give-away here. It goes without saying that if the Greens are serious about becoming a real third party force in Australian politics, a genuine alternative to Labor and Liberal, they wouldn't be taking their cues from the Murdoch press.

"In my view certain chants used at the protest have descended into that domain [of anti-Semitism]. The Hon. Eric Roozendaal mentioned the 'From the river to the sea' chant. I echo his concern about it and do not support its use. It is unfortunate and should be condemned."

Nor should the Greens be in the business of echoing Zionist talking points as deployed by the likes of Eric Roozendaal. The plain fact of the matter here is that Faehrmann has absolutely no idea what the chant represents - essentially an echo of the need for a genuinely democratic, bi-national state covering all of Palestine. (See my discussion in Witches Brew 7 on this.)

"I have given this motion a great deal of considered thought and I have found it difficult to arrive at this decision, but I can only vote in support of it."

The problem with Faehrmann is that her considered thought has no foundation in knowledge of the issue. I guarantee she hasn't devoted a nanosecond of her time to the necessary research and reading required for an understanding of the Palestine problem. Why not defer then to those of her colleagues, especially John Kaye, who have obviously done their homework? But hey, that'd take an ounce or two of humility, wouldn't it?

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