Friday, December 30, 2011

Beware of Israel Lobbyists Bearing Guidelines

Apparently, it's not enough that pro-Israel comment is allowed to dominate the opinion pages of the corporate press. Now one of the apartheid state's most active lobbyists, Vic Alhadeff of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has just been given a platform - in the Fairfax press - to pronounce on what the public should or should not be allowed to say on the internet.

In his opinion piece, Time for blogosphere to exercise discipline, published in both the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age on Wednesday, Alhadeff argued, in essence, that too many "offensive," (read 'anti-Semitic') comments are "making their way into the public domain," that this is "untenable and unacceptable - not just for the Jewish community but for all who value a tolerant society," and that greater "vigilance" and "self-regulation" by media outlets is the answer.

Then, as if that wasn't worrying enough, the Sydney Morning Herald editorialist weighed in next day with this stamp of approval: "Alhadeff is not arguing for more regulation, just more effort by the mainstream media outfits to moderate what appears on their internet fringes - maybe emulating the New York Times model of 'trusted commenters'. Self interest would suggest they take his advice," (A case for online moderation).

Yes, it all sounds eminently reasonable, and yes, some of the examples of offensive comments proferred by Alhadeff in his opinion piece are indeed offensive. Yet we have a problem here. Are Zionist ideologues and Israel lobbyists such as Alhadeff, who routinely conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, in a position to offer guidance on this matter? With Alhadeff and friends supplying the guidelines for those in control of the delete button, what is there to guarantee that the anti-Zionist baby will not be thrown out with the anti-Semitic bathwater?

One may be forgiven for wondering whether some act of 'guidance' or other was what led to SBS Television pulling the plug on all website comments during the channel's recent screening of Peter Kosminsky's 4-part Nakba drama The Promise - despite the fact that none of the comments even remotely approximated those Alhadeff cited in his opinion piece. (See my 14/12/11 post Now You See It...)

Thankfully, if not the clueless editorialist, then at least one Herald letter writer in yesterday's issue had the sense to know that veteran Israel lobbyists and their nostrums should be taken with a grain of salt:

"The vile abuse that is a feature of the blogosphere is symptomatic of the polarisation apparent in our society (Time for blogosphere to exercise discipline, December 28). For democracy to function tolerance and compromise are essential. I'm disgusted at the rejection of the eruv in St Ives. I'm also dismayed that Israel is trying to pass a law that will stop the broadcasting of the call to prayer in mosques (Mosques row, December 14). I eagerly await a copy of Vic Alhadeff's strongly worded letter of protest to the Israeli government. Steve Castleau Bexley

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crocodile Tears for Iraqi Christians

Why should anyone bother reading The Australian? After all its editorialist doesn't. Here's what he had to say on 27 December:

"The flight of despairing Christians is being seen no less starkly elsewhere. 900,000 of Iraq's 1.4 million Christians have fled since 2003. In that time 54 churches have been blown up and 1000 Christians killed." (Religious violence deplorable: Christians increasingly attacked by Islamic extremists)

And who's responsible for this sorry state of affairs? Islamic extremists, of course. But who let them loose? Peter Wilson's report in The Australian of 24 December spells it out:

"'After Saddam fell, Christians were targeted and attacked because everyone thought we were somehow attached to the Americans but the truth is that the US did not do anything for the Christians', Mr [Ra'ad] Emmanuel said. 'A lot of Christians worked for the Americans as translators or in other rules but the Americans have actually left us in a much worse state than we were under Saddam. Saddam did not persecute Christians as much as he did the Shia (Muslims) and Kurds...'" (Terror kills Christmas in Baghdad)

For the Australian's editorialist, neo-conservative ideology dictates that the spotlight must always be fixed on the anti-Christian sectarian genie, never on those responsible for unbottling him - even if that means ignoring the evidence painstakingly gathered by one of its own correspondents.

And why is that? Because, when it came to corporate media barracking for regime change in Iraq, the Murdoch press cheered loudest of all.

Follow the Thread...

.... from this...

"Even though the Great Recession technically ended in 2009, incomes fell, poverty rose and the number of Americans without health insurance jumped again in 2010, the federal government announced Tuesday. The nation's poverty rate increased to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and the highest level since 1993, according to the US Census Bureau's annual Income, Poverty & Health Insurance Coverage report for 2010. An additional 2.6 million landed in poverty lat year, bringing the total to 46.2 million - the highest number since the government started tracking poverty in the 1950s." (US poverty rate climbed to 15.1% last year, total number hit all-time record, Janell Ross, huffingtonpost.com, 13/9/11)

... to this...

"Israel's defence ministry said on Sunday that the United States has agreed to provide it with an additional $235 million to finance its rocket defence system... The additional funds come on top of the $3 billion dollars of annual military aid given by the US to Israel." (US 'to give Israel extra aid for rocket system', AFP, news.yahoo.com, 25/12/11)

... and, finally, this:

"Within the US, Obama has laid the groundwork for a new and bigger war in the Middle East by relocating troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and concentrating them facing Iran. To undermine Iran, Washington is expanding clandestine military and civilian operations against Iranian allies in Syria, Pakistan, Venezuela and China. The key to the US and Israeli bellicose strategy toward Iran is a series of wars in neighboring states, world-wide economic sanctions, cyber-attacks aimed at disabling vital industries and clandestine terrorist assassinations of scientists and military officials. The entire push, planning and execution of the US policies leading up to a war with Iran can be empirically attributed to the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) occupying strategic positions in government, mass media and 'civil society'. A systematic analysis of policymakers designing and implementing economic sanctions policy in Congress finds prominent roles for mega-Zionists like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman; in the White House, Dennis Ross Ross, and Jeffrey Feltman in State; Stuart Levy and his replacement David Cohen in Treasury. The White House is totally beholden to Zionist fund raisers and takes its cue from the '52' Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations. The Israeli-Zionist strategy is to encircle Iran, weaken it economically and attack its military. The Iraq invasion was the US's first war for Israel; the Libyan war the second; the current proxy war against Syria is the third. These wars have destroyed Israel's adversaries or are in the process of doing so. During 2011, economic sanctions, which were designed to create domestic discontent in Iran were the principle weapon of choice. The global sanctions campaign engaged the entire energies of the major Jewish-Zionist lobbies. They also faced no opposition in the mass media, Congress or the White House. The ZPC faced virtually no criticism from any of the progressive, leftist and socialist journals, movements or grouplets - with a few notable exceptions. The past year's relocation of troops from Iraq to the borders of Iran, the sanctions and the rising Big Push from Israel's fifth column in the US means War in the Middle East. This likely means a 'surprise' aerial and maritime missile attack by US forces. This will be based on a concocted pretext of an 'imminent nuclear attack' cooked up by Mossad and transmitted by the ZPC to the Congress and White House for consumption and transmission to the world. It will be a destructive, bloody, prolonged war for Israel. The US will bear the direct military cost by itself but the rest of the world will pay a dear economic price. The Zionist-promoted US war will convert the recession of early 2012 into a major depression by the end of the year and probably provoke mass upheavals." (A doomsday view of 2012, James Petras, petras.lehaine.org, 24/12/11)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Zionism in the Dock

Towards the end of Peter Kosminsky's powerful television drama, The Promise, depicting the final years (1946-1948) of the British Mandate regime in Palestine, Sergeant Len Matthews, leaving behind a land now completely given over to Zionist terror, rapine and plunder, writes in his diary: "The Jews have their precious state, but it has been born in violence and cruelty to its neighbours. I'm not sure how it can hope to survive."

Based primarily on the hitherto largely forgotten testimony of British troops who had served in Palestine at the time, The Promise cannot help but constitute an indictment of the ruthlessness and rapacity of the movement that gave birth to the modern state of Israel. "Overwhelmingly, the veterans [interviewed by Kosminsky] told a similar story," says the Wikipedia entry for the series, "they had started out 'incredibly pro-Jewish'; but, almost to a man, they had shifted their allegiance and by the end of their stay 'were feeling a great deal of sympathy for the Arabs'. A big change came in the final months, as they saw what would happen to the Palestinians, and realised both sides were to be abandoned to a war'."

Len's words, if anything, are understated. While the native Palestinians might be factually described as neighbours to individual Jewish settler communities, with whom some form of coexistence had perforce developed, there is no ignoring the fact that the Jewish community in Palestine, the bulk of whom had arrived from Europe over the previous 30 years in the teeth of opposition from Palestine's indigenous Arab majority, were sponsored and led by an extremist movement that aimed, all rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, at the wholesale dispossession and expulsion of that majority, and its replacement by a Jewish supremacist regime over as much of Mandate Palestine as could be secured by force of arms at the time. Sgt Matthews and his fellow soldiers, leaving behind the train wreck which was British Mandate Palestine in mid-May, 1948, could hardly have been aware of the extent of the ethnic cleansing of Arab Palestine still to come. Had they been so, they may well have concluded, to adapt Len's final diary entry: The Jews have their precious state, but it has been born in such violence and cruelty to Palestine's indigenous majority as to fall into the category of a Crime against Humanity.

Matthews and his colleagues were well-placed to deliver such a verdict on the Zionist movement at the end of the Mandate era, but, as it happens, the British troops who had helped the Arabs wrest Palestine from the Turks in the First World War, many of whom formed the nucleus of the military administration which governed the country from 1918 to 1920, had a verdict of their own on the earliest manifestations of Zionist arrogance and bullying which followed the movement's official insertion into Palestine in the form of a 'Zionist Commission'. While the British military government was bound by the laws of war to maintain the status quo in a newly occupied enemy land, the Zionist Commission, in effect a parallel government with its own cabinet and government departments, immediately set about attempting to implement their aim of reconstituting Palestine as a 'National Home' for 'the Jewish people' under the aegis of the British Government's ill-conceived 1917 Balfour Declaration, despite the opposition to their plans of 90% of the country's population. A clash, both with the British military administration and the Arab population, was inevitable.

Suffice it to say that the behaviour of the Commission was such as to elicit the following extraordinary condemnation from a clearly exasperated Sir Louis Bols, the last British military governor of Palestine:

"I cannot allocate the blame [for the 1920 Jerusalem riots]," wrote Bols, "to any section of the community or to individuals while their case is still sub judice, but I can definitely state that when the strain came the Zionist Commission did not loyally accept the orders of the Administration, but from the commencement adopted a hostile, critical and abusive attitude. It is a regrettable fact that with one or two exceptions it appears impossible to convince a Zionist of British good faith and ordinary honesty. They seek, not justice from the military occupant, but that in every question in which a Jew is interested discrimination shall be shown in his favour. They are exceedingly difficult to deal with. In Jerusalem, being in the majority, they are not satisfied with military protection, but demand to take the law in their own hands. In other places where they are in a minority they clamour for military protection... It will be recognized from the foregoing that my own authority and that of every department of my Administration is claimed or impinged upon by the Zionist Commission, and I am definitely of opinion that this state of affairs cannot continue without grave danger to the public peace and to the prejudice of my Administration. It is no use saying to the Moslem and Christian elements of the population that our declaration as to the maintenance of the status quo on our entry into Jerusalem has been observed. Facts witness otherwise: the introduction of the Hebrew tongue as an official language; the setting up of a Jewish judicature; the whole fabric of Government of the Zionist Commission, of which they are well aware; the special travelling privileges to members of the Zionist Commission; these have firmly and absolutely convinced the non-Jewish elements of our partiality. On the other hand the Zionist Commission accuses me and my officers of anti-Zionism. The situation is intolerable, and in justice to my officers and myself must be fairly faced.

"This Administration has loyally carried out the wishes of His Majesty's Government, and has succeeded in so doing by strict adherence to the laws governing the conduct of the Military Occupant of Enemy Territory, but this has not satisfied the Zionists, who appear bent on committing the temporary military Administration to a partialist policy before the issue of the Mandate. It is manifestly impossible to please partisans who officially claim nothing more than a 'National Home', but in reality will be satisfied with nothing less than a Jewish State and all that it politically implies. I recommend, therefore, in the interests of peace, of development, of the Zionists themselves, that the Zionist Commission in Palestine be abolished." (Cited in Palestine, the Reality, JMN Jeffries, 1939, pp 358-359)

As to the Army as a whole, Jeffries had this to say:

"Various Zionist controversialists, with their usual skill, when dealing with [the] matter [of the British Military Administration of Palestine], do not so much blame or attack the Army as write regretfully of its ignorance and its lack of comprehension. They say that the Army never really grasped the merits of Zionism, or 'only half understood the Balfour Declaration' (Leonard Stein) or did not appreciate the policy of the 'National Home'. The suggestion is that if only the Army had not been quite so dull, it would have perceived the value of all these things, and then would have thrown all its weight upon the Zionist side or at the very least have shown itself entirely sympathetic to Zionist claims.

"Now the truth is that far from not grasping or only half-understanding or not appreciating Zionist policy, the British Army in Palestine grasped and appreciated it and understood it all too well. That is the absolute clue to the Army's attitude.

"Nor was the Army a dull body, drilling unappreciatively through life. It had eyes and ears and used these organs. It was composed of a sound average body of British citizens. Sir Ronald Storrs records that 'apart from a few professional soldiers our administrative and technical staff included a cashier of a Rangoon bank, an actor-manager, two of Messrs. Cook's assistants, a picture-dealer, an Army-coach, a clown, a land-valuer, a boatswain, a distiller, an organist, a cotton-broker, various architects, British civil-servants, a taxi-driver, two schoolmasters and a missionary'. This was the staff of his Governate, inherited from the Army, a sample of the diversity of the whole military body.

"The Army, therefore - and this is what is so important - was the sole large category of average British citizens which had direct access to the facts of the so-called 'Palestine problem', the sole such category which had encountered Zionism in Palestine and had experienced what it meant. It was the sole such category which was aware of the Arabs' true situation, which knew that they were not the fantastically dubbed 'non-Jewish community' which the home politicians called them, but the people of the land of Palestine, whose native rights had been guaranteed and now were about to be betrayed. The humblest of private soldiers possessed a first-hand acquaintance with the realities of the subject which was denied to the united faculties of all the learned societies of the British Isles. Those privates' commanders, the authorities of the military administration, had a knowledge of the subject which the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers of Great Britain had not acquired, and indeed had steadfastly refused to obtain.

"So the undoubted fact that the Army in all its ranks was, with the fewest exceptions, anti-Zionist, that hostile catchwords borrowed from the Arabs, such as 'Yehoudi Mushquais!' ('Jews no good!') were on the lips of the soldiers, that, as the Zionist executive complained, 'jeers and gibes at the Zionists, at the Jewish colonies, at the [Zionist] Commission, were heard in every officers' mess from Dan to Beersheba', is but the most convincing proof that officers and men were alert to what was going on around them. They reacted, more earnestly than politely, against the great wrong planned in the interests of the 'National Home' against the population amidst which they lived. Their estimation of the wrong may be traced in their behaviour. It takes something phenomenal to cause the easy-going British soldier, who never even hates his foes, to turn to gibes and jeers.

"One of the least politically minded units amid all our institutions, our Army when it gives attention to politics must have a very powerful reason to impel it. In Palestine it had one, and the lessons of its espousal of the Arabs' cause is instructive beyond anything. There never will be a better proof of the justice of that cause than this favour shown to it by the one mass of ordinary Britons who came into contact with it and knew more than any other persons about it. As the Army at that time was constituted, its soldiers sprang from every class and were of every type of the British people, and the whole evidence was before them. In a way, they were empanelled by their presence upon the scene, and it was in a great trial by jury that they returned their verdict of 'Guilty' upon Zionism as practised in Palestine." (pp 368-370)

NB: On the experience of our own ex-Tommy, Peter Cundall, see my 7/7/08 post Peter Cundall's Palestine; on Israel lobby misrepresentation of our Light Horse Brigade, see my posts Anzac Day Special: Diggers Die for Israel (25/4/08) and Zionist Myth In-formation (1/5/08).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Been There, Done That

Apparently, stir crazy "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to pen an op-ed piece for The New York Times, signalling the degree to which he is fed up with the influential newspaper's editorial policy on Israel." (Netanyahu snubs NY Times, Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post/The Australian Jewish News, 23/12/11)

Oh dear! Oh dearie dearie dear!

But the last straw, it seems, came when hip* liberal Zionist "Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that the resounding ovation Netanyahu received in Congress when he spoke there in May had been 'bought and paid for by the Israel lobby'." (ibid)

OMG! Did he say thaaat?

Fraid so. And the following denunciation, by AIPAC-funded Israel firster Steve Rothman** (Democrat, New Jersey), is just the tip of the denunciatory iceberg:

"Thomas Friedman's defamation against the vast majority of Americans who support the Jewish state of Israel is scurrilous, destructive and harmful to Israel and her advocates in the US. Friedman is not only wrong, but he's aiding and abetting a dangerous narrative about the US-Israel relationship and its American supporters." (ibid)

But this really is the proverbial storm in a teacup. Friedman had, in fact, said as much, if a tad less forcefully, back in 1989, in his book, From Beirut to Jerusalem:

"Having become organized and energized around support for Israel [after 1967], the American Jewish community began to really assert itself on the American political scene. The so-called Jewish lobby, the American Israel Public affairs Committee (AIPAC), became one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, thanks to its ability to organize important constituencies of Jews all across America to vote in their local elections on the basis of which candidate was most supportive of aid to Israel... In the old days, when American Jews were known to support an array of liberal issues, an American politician who received campaign contributions from Jews could not really know if that support was linked to his position on labor rights, civil rights, abortion, or school prayer. However, as key Jewish philanthropists formed political action committees [PACs] focused exclusively on contributing money to those office seekers ready to support Israel, it became obvious to candidates that the most efficient way to raise funds was not by focusing on the 500 issues which span the spectrum of liberal ideology, but rather by focusing exclusively on Israel... The more that happened, the more American Jews realized that they could ride Israel... into the corridors of power. Jews did not get invited to the White House to discuss the Jewish aged or prayer in public schools. But a Jew who contributed large amounts of money to AIPAC, either at the local or national level, might find himself being consulted by his congressman about a particular foreign aid bill, or, if he was really lucky, invited to the State Department for an audience with the Secretary of State himself." (pp 457-458)

That was then. Imagine now.

[*I mean how hip is this: "There are many Iraqis embedded with US forces in Kirkuk. In the dining hall on the main base, I like to watch the Iraqi officers watching the melting pot of US soldiers around them - men, women, blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics - and wonder: What have they learned from us? We left some shameful legacies here of torture and Abu Ghraib, but we also left a million acts of kindness and a profound example of how much people of different backgrounds can accomplish when they work together." (Goodbye Iraq, and good luck, NYT, 15/7/09). Such a pity Friedman's melting pot didn't do it for Pvt. Daniel Chen, who was dragged across a floor, pelted with stones, forced to hold liquid in his mouth while hanging upside down, and mercilessly taunted for his Asian background such that he either committed suicide or was murdered, the jury being still out on this one. (See War with fellow soldiers proves deadly, AP/The Australian, 22/12/11); ** According to the document Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2000, Congressional Candidates 1999-2000 cycle, Rothman had bagged a 'career total' of $20,503, wrmea.com]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Making Deserts Bloom 2

The following report should be compulsory reading for Christians at this time of year. Astonishingly, too many need reminding that the Zionist Grinch is stealing Christmas, dunum by dunum:

"If Joseph and Mary were making their way to Bethlehem today, the Christmas story would be little different, says Father Ibrahim Shomali, a parish priest in the town. The couple would struggle to get into the city, let alone find a hotel room. 'If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed', says the priest of Bethlehem's Beit Jala parish. 'He would either have to be born at a checkpoint or at the separation wall. Mary and Joseph would have needed Israeli permission - or to have been tourists. 'This is really the big problem for Palestinians in Bethlehem: what will happen when they close us off completely?'... A strip of Israeli settlements built on 18 square kilometres of what was once northern Bethlehem threatens to cut the city off from its historic twin, Jerusalem... One of the settlements, Har Homa, is built on land where angels are said to have announced the birth of Christ to local shepherds. A narrow corridor of land between Har Homa and another settlement, Gilo, still connects Bethlehem to Jerusalem, but the construction of Givat Hamatos, a settlement announced in October, will fill this in a matter of years." (If Jesus was born today 'Bethlehem would be closed', Phoebe Greenwood, Guardian/SMH, 24/12/11)

But none of this should come as any surprise. From the very moment Lloyd George and Lord Balfour, in a fit of madness, unleashed the Zionist movement on an ill-prepared and unsuspecting Palestine in the 1920's, the malign makeover of the Holy Land proceeded at an unholy pace, with scant regard for the ecology, either environmental or spiritual, of the place - as doughty Christian missionary Frances E. Newton bore witness at the time:

"The [1922] Rutenberg scheme [for the electrification of Palestine] has so far been dealt with from the point of view of its political reaction in the Arab world. But there is another aspect of it which should not be lost sight of. Christendom too has its deeply-rooted interests in Palestine. Are these interests also menaced by the industrialisation of the Holy Land? Admittedly the enterprise is a step forward in the process of developing the amenities of civilised life and has benefited the Arabs as well as the Jews; but this is only a plea in its favour, for, as an Arab quoted in an article which appeared in the Observer some little time ago: 'Man doth not live by bread alone'. Rider Haggard wrote, in a letter to The Times of December 11th, 1917: 'Material progress in general has to justify itself in such cases. It is not enough to show that such and such an undertaking means progress for the beginning of work upon it to be at once licensed. Christians as well as Jews have interests in the Holy Land and, where Palestine is concerned it has, and forever will have, its God-given traditions and its inalienable rights.

"Surely one of these rights claims the safeguarding of sacred sites, the spiritual value of which is a focal point in the life of Christians throughout the world. When a friend of mine pointed out to a prominent Zionist that Christian sentiment was being outraged by the desecration of the shores of the Lake of Galilee as the result of the activities of the Electric Power Station in the Jordan Valley, the answer he received was, 'All development involves vandalism; that is inevitable'.

"The Power Station may be - as is claimed by the Zionists - a great engineering feat; it is none the less a horrible blot on a lovely landscape. It harnesses the waters of the river Yarmuk flowing down from the highlands of Gilead to the east, with those of the Jordan, half way in their courses to the Dead Sea. In the spring, after heavy rains of the winter, and when the melting of the snow on Mount Hermon causes the Jordan to 'overflow its banks all the time of harvest' (ie, in May and June for the region is semi-tropical) more water is available than is required, while, during the later summer months the supply is not sufficient. This called for the erection of a dam where the Jordan flows out of the Lake of Galilee, in order to control the supply from that source; less in the winter, more in the summer.

"When closed in the winter the dam holds up the water thus causing a rise of several feet in the level of the Lake, and the river Jordan loses its character of a swift flowing turbulent stream, and becomes a mere trickle in its almost dry bed, while huge deposits of mud dredged from it top its banks on either side. A modern St. John the Baptist would find himself very much out of place! The rise in the level of the Lake not only causes the inundation of houses by the Lakeside in the town of Tiberius, but also that of not inconsiderable areas round its shores which have for generations been cultivated by Arab peasants.

"When opened in the summer and autumn months, water is drawn from the Lake as required, thus reducing its level and leaving large stretches of hard sunbaked crinkled mud around the shores and, what is more, the lowest level of the dam lies deeper than the bed of the Lake itself, so that - though in its own interests it is not likely to do so - the Company could, if its electrical requirements called for it, drain the Lake dry.

"The alterations in the Lake level affect not only the human population, they bring consternation also among 'the humbler creation', for the fish which, in their multitudes, used to swarm from the Jordan into the Lake for spawning purposes, can no longer do so, and the eggs of those already in the Lake, which are laid in the shallow waters round its edge, become dried up when the water recedes. Arab fishermen have already found their means of earning a livelihood so seriously interfered with that some have given up their craft. It may not be long before the industry hitherto carried on in much the same manner as when, in the days of our Lord, He called His disciples to be 'fishers of men', may disappear altogether.

"It is, therefore, not going too far to say that the 'inevitable vandalism' which accompanies the industrialisation of the land results in the desecration of sites and scenes hallowed by 'those holy feet', which it is surely one of the inalienable rights of Christians to preserve." (Fifty Years in Palestine, 1948, pp 206-207)

Merry Christmas...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mea Culpa? You're Joking!

"The misery in Iraq has resulted in democracy - something all the Arab people are pursuing with fervour. Make no mistake that George W. Bush was the catalyst for what is happening in the Middle East today. Nobody wants to be governed by brutal despots and the Arab people are putting their lives on the line in their quest for democracy. Misery is a price they are willing to pay." Letter to The Australian, 30/3/11, James D'Angelo, Melbourne, Vic

OK, the Sunni Vice President is currently the subject of an arrest warrant, signed by no less than 5 judges, on what are likely trumped-up terrorism charges, his bodyguards have been singing like the proverbial canary on television, and it's snap, crackle and pop all over Baghdad as bombs and rockets claim the lives of over 80 people.

But there's one thing as certain as death and taxes: you'll never see a mea culpa from the James D'Angelos of this world. No ray of light is capable of piercing that sort of darkness.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Americans Can Do Anything'

"For my own generation, the defining image of America was the landing on the moon... I'll always remember thinking that day: Americans can do anything..."* (Julia Gillard)

"'My heart goes out to the Iraqis', said Warrant Officer John Jewell, acknowledging the challenges ahead. 'The innocent always pay the bill'." (First-light convoy departs Iraq, AP/ The Australian, 19/12/11)

"The conflict, which quickly descended into chaos, corruption, terrorism and sectarian slaughter, has claimed the lives of almost 4,500 American troops and cost $US1 trillion. Yet there is little tangible indication in Iraq that the Americans were ever here. Whereas signs of the British colonial-era occupation in the first half of the previous century are still evident in bridges, schools and monuments to the war dead, signs of the US presence, which peaked at more than 170,000 troops, are almost negligible. There is precious little to show for a venture that was supposed to create a new Middle East and establish a US strategic ally in the oil-rich region. Many of the schools renovated in the heyday of the 'hearts & minds' campaign after the invasion are peeling and neglected, victims of shoddy workmanship and corruption. Even sections of the highway between Baghdad and Nasariyeh, the southern city where the US's final logistics crews are packing up and leaving, remain unpaved because the foreign contractors building it fled amid a surge in kidnappings in 2004." (Iraq now on its own & ill-prepared to face challenges, James Hider, The Times/The Australian, 16/12/11)

"'I wish I could put my head on a pillow and sleep comfortably', [Sheikh Mustafa Kamal] said. 'Is it better than before? Of course it isn't. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with anyone, you just had to be careful not to go near his chair'." (Caught between fear & hope, Martin Chulov, Guardian/SMH, 17/12/11)

"The UN Development Program marked the exit of the last US troops by releasing data from a survey of 28,000 Iraqi homes that was conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in the first quarter of this year. It found that public services provided homes with an average of just 7.6 hours a day of electricity, only 30% of homes are connected to sewerage, just 38% of households rate availability of drinking water as 'good' or 'very good'; and 1 in 8 Iraqis who dealt with a civil servant over the past year was obliged to pay a bribe. Despite Iraq's oil wealth, the country has failed to attract foreign investment in infrastructure or other industries, with foreigners deterred by the lack of clear laws and security problems which mean that more people are still killed, wounded or kidnapped each year in 'post-war' Iraq than in Afghanistan." (Economic boom bypasses man on the street, Peter Wilson, The Australian, 19/12/11)

[* See my 11/3/11 post Mistress of Reinvention.]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spot the Difference!

OK, here's your classic North Korean rambamming:

"Visiting the country does little to increase one's understanding. I have made 6 visits and all were tightly organised propaganda tours. My only significant interactions were with the people known as guides - medium to low-level minders - whose job it was to convey us from monument to palace to mausoleum, attempting to maintain confidence and good humour in the face of sceptical questions. I became persuaded that, although they knew they were lying cynically about many smaller things, their naive faith in the rightness and goodness of their government was, in many cases, unfeigned." (Life of paranoia the norm in North, Richard Lloyd-Parry, The Times/The Australian, 21/12/11)

Essentially, Israeli rambammings differ in only one respect from the above. Can you work out what it is?

Congratulations! Well done! You're absolutely right!

Journalists and politicians who go on an Israeli rambamming don't ask sceptical questions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich, 'Historian'

"What [history] does is, it gives you a really rich background to go to, to analyze things, to think about things, to put in context what you would do in a way that if you don't know history, you can't possibly reinvent it." (Newt Gingrich: historian? (Fact Checker biography), Josh Hicks, washingtonpost.com, 15/12/11)

So babbled one-time (h)academic historian and current Republican presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich on Iowa Public Radio earlier this year.

Gingrich donned the mantle of historian again this month when he pronounced that "we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places" (See my 12/12/11 post File Under: Israel Lobby? What Israel Lobby?)

But, sadly, that wasn't the end of the matter. In an exchange with rival Mitt Romney, he proceeded to dig an even deeper hole for himself:

"The fact is the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on an historically false story. Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish Homeland and point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and Palestine did not become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage, and we refuse to tell the truth while the other side lies, and you're not going to win in the long run if you're afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth." (abcnews.go.com, 10/12/11)

Given the prevailing ignorance of Palestinian history, which Gingrich is doing his best to improve on, and considering the dread prospect that he might actually succeed O'bomber as president, I thought it might be useful to scrutinise the man's utterances.

Starting with his earlier excavation about "invented Palestinians," while it is of course true that the Palestinian people are Arabs, along with the Lebanese, the Syrians, and the Jordanians, to venture no further afield, that does not, however, mean that they have "many [other] places" to go to, or should, in fact, go anywhere if they choose not to.

People are not chess pieces for the likes of Gingrich and his Zionist mates. One can only imagine, for example, what his response would be if anyone suddenly turned up on his doorstep in Georgia and handed him marching orders.

As a self-described historian, Gingrich of all people should know that folk generally don't take too kindly to other folk coming along and telling them it's time to move on. In fact, they tend to resist. As Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion put it candidly in 1937: "Were I an Arab, I would rebel even more vigorously, bitterly and desperately against the immigration that will one day turn Palestine and all its residents over to Jewish rule." Or, as Netanyahu's spiritual godfather, Vladimir Jabotinsky, put it: "Colonization has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Jew and Arab with his wits about him. Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissable... Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population." (See my 12/6/08 post Pemulwuy in Palestine.)

As for "the Palestinian claim to a right of return" being "historically false," what he seems to be saying, clarity not being his thing, of course, is that no one was using the term Palestine at the time of what he calls "the 1921 League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish Homeland."

Leaving to one side the fact that our erstwhile historian gets the date wrong, Britain's Palestine mandate coming into effect in 1923, Gingrich's fundamental deceit resides in his reference to it as "the League of Nations mandate for a Jewish Homeland." In fact, it bore no such title, its various monikers all containing the word Palestine: The British Mandate for Palestine, the Palestine Mandate, The British Mandate of Palestine and the Mandate for Palestine. And, surprise, surprise, for a document correctly referencing Palestine in its title, the 'P' word is found throughout the text.

Someone ought to have the courage, to borrow Gingrich's own words, to tell him to drop the pretense that he's still a historian - if he ever once was. On this issue, he's merely an echo chamber for Zionist talking points.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Israeli Faith

A letter in The Australian of 16 December 2011 from Vic Alhadeff, Jewish Board of Deputies, Darlinghurst, NSW:

"A Sydney school has shelved references to Santa, Christmas carols and Christianity so as not to offend Jewish and Hindu pupils. To be clear: we support the right of Christians to celebrate Christmas, just as Indians have the right to celebrate Divali [sic], Muslims to mark Ramadan and Jews to celebrate Chanukah. It's what makes Australia Australia."

A 25 July 2011 tweet from Vic Alhadeff:

"What a 'Jewish state' actually means. http://bit.ly/qENIsQ#Israel"

Which takes us to:

"Judaism has never seen itself exclusively or even primarily as a religion; indeed, you won't find the modern Hebrew word for 'religion' anywhere in the first 5 books of the Bible. The Biblical terms for what we today call Jews are Am Yisrael - 'the nation of Israel' - and Bnei Yisrael, 'the children of Israel'. And that's precisely the point: From a Jewish perspective, the Jews are first and foremost a nation. Thus, the term 'Jewish state' is in no way analogous to 'Christian state'. Rather, it's analogous to 'French' or 'Danish' or 'German' state. Just as these are the respective homelands of the French, Danish and German peoples, a Jewish state is the homeland of the Jewish people." (Misunderstanding what a 'Jewish state' actually means, Evelyn Gordon, commentarymagazine.com, 21/7/11)

Standard Zionist fare, of course. Whatever else they're up to the French, the Danes and the Germans are emphatically not in the business of urging foreigners, who can lay claim to 'French', 'Danish' or 'German' mothers, to pack their bags and emigrate forthwith to 'their' respective, alleged 'homelands'.

Nor do France, Denmark and Germany insist that they are the one and only 'homeland' for such foreigners, deeming them exiles. Nor do they scour the globe for supposedly 'lost' French, Danish and German tribes with a view to their uprooting and 'repatriation' to 'their' French, Danish and German 'homelands'.

All stuff and nonsense, of course, but it's all there in Gordon's chapter and verse: For political Zionists, Jews are not so much a faith community as a 'nation'.

Which brings us back to Alhadeff's letter, in which he presents as nothing more than a champion of freedom of religious expression. Yet, were he pressed on his interpretation of Judaism, as a political Zionist, he's bound to reduce it all to little more than unconditional support for a political entity.

In the interests of accuracy and transparency, therefore, shouldn't he have written: 'We support the right of Christians to celebrate Christmas, just as Indians have the right to celebrate Diwali, Muslims to mark Ramadan, Jews to celebrate Chanukah, and Zionists to whoop it up on Yom Ha'atzmaut'?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Witches Brew 10

Continuing my dissection of the NSW Legislative Council's anti-BDS emissions of September 15...

The Hon. Shaoquette Moselmane, Labor:

"Like my colleagues, I was not aware that this motion [condemning the targeting of Max Brenner outlets by BDS protesters] was to be debated today."

But our two broadly-grinning Israel lobbyists in the gallery knew it was on. It didn't catch them by surprise.

"I support paragraph (d) of the motion and condemn all forms of discrimination, anti-Semitism and racism... I ask the mover of the motion not only to condemn anti-Semitism but also to follow my lead in condemning the cheap political motivation behind the rest of the motion. I do not believe that the rest of the motion is genuine."

Too right! You've been caught up in what is essentially a shameless, American-style swearing of fealty to the Lords of the Lobby. So why then did you not push an amendment along these lines: That this House stop wasting its time with what is transparently nothing more than an attempt to smear and stifle legitimate dissent over Israel's serial violations of Palestinian rights?

But no, you wimped out with this tiresome reiteration of Anthony Albanese's pronouncement that "Foreign policy is a fair way outside of the parameters of Marrickville Council..."*:

"Just as we argued that Marrickville Council should not interfere in international politics, we in this House also should not interfere in international politics."

The Labor line has to be toed - always. Too bad that it always leads back to Lobby Land.

[*See my 18/1/11 post A Rising Tide of Pro-Israel Bias at the ABC.]

Then comes this:

"I do not know Max Brenner but I offer him my best wishes. I have not eaten the chocolate or the waffles that his shops offer. However, I wish him the same success that I wish any Australian business operators who are doing the best they can for their family."

As in, I've never met the Australian businessman Ronald MacDonald but I offer him and his family my best wishes?

You are taking the piss here, aren't you?

But then:

"I also know nothing about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, but I do know that the politics motivating the movement should be condemned. Although that movement is shameful, this motion is designed simply to drive a wedge between members of this House."

Let's get this clear: You know nothing about the BDS movement (despite toeing the party line on Marrickville Council) but you condemn its politics. Pure genius! Alhadeff and his mate in the gallery must've been in stitches!

Next comes what appears to be a real cris de coeur:

"I cannot support what the Israelis are doing. I come from southern Lebanon, which the Israelis have invaded many times. I was there when the tanks rolled in and the jets roared overhead. My family was there when 10 of my father's first cousins in a car were the victims of an Israeli missile attack and 8 were killed. The Israelis have occupied southern Lebanon for 25 [sic: 29] years and created a southern Lebanese army of mercenaries whose job it is [sic] to punish the local people. That must also be condemned. I support the comments made by Dr John Kaye and Mr David Shoebridge to the extent that people who have suffered under the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon or elsewhere - leaving aside the Palestinians at this point - must have a say and their rights must be recognised. The Palestinians, who have been made homeless as a result of the Israeli state for the last 60 years [sic: 63], must be recognised. They are human beings who have rights. They have as much right as Israelis, and everybody recognises that. In my inaugural speech I said that Israelis and Palestinians have a right to exist side by side. The Israelis must have their state, as should the Palestinians. They are, like you and me, human beings who have a right to live in their homeland. Although it has been 60 years, some of them still have keys to their homes and wait for the opportunity to return."

OK, I see you're big on Palestinian rights. Well, what do you think BDS, which you've described as "shameful," is all about if not securing Palestinian rights? Let's run through BDS 101 for you. Paying attention?:

"For the Palestinian people to exercise its right to self-determination, Israel must end its 3 forms of injustice that infringe international law and Palestinian rights by: 1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands [occupied in 1967] and dismantling the wall 2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality 3) respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights pf Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in UN resolution 194." (BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, Omar Barghouti, 2011, p 6)

Yet you "condemn the politics motivating the BDS movement"?

OK, moving along:

"It is not [too] much [to ask] for people to be able to protest, to have a say democratically in a non-violent way. People can protest on the streets here if they wish. I am happy for them to [do] so as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. I do not think these protests will infringe upon the rights of others. I do not support targeting a business, but there is a principle behind this, human beings are behind this and the Palestinian people have suffered for so long. I call on the Israeli state to make peace with the Palestinians, to give them their rights and to allow Palestinians a homeland. If it does not do so, we will continue to have this debate for many years to come."

But wait a minute, didn't you just say that the "politics motivating the [BDS] movement should be condemned"? And here you are, calling on Israel to "make peace with the Palestinians" after invoking the Albanese line that only the feds have the right to deal with foreign policy issues.

"In conclusion, I respect the Hon. David Clarke. I have had good relations with him since becoming a member of this Chamber. I call on him, as he condemns anti-Semitism, to move motions to condemn the vilification of the Muslim community in this House and outside. I ask the Hon. David Clarke to move a motion condemning all forms of anti-Muslim sentiments happening here in this House."

Oh, I see! You've just expressed support for key-carrying Palestinian refugees denied their right of return by Israel for over 60 years now, but you respect David Clarke, who spoke out strongly against the Palestinian right of return because it might mess with Israel's "Jewish character." (See Witches Brew 1). Then you're calling on the man, whom the openly Islamophobic Fred Nile called a "fearless and uncompromising leader on moral and Muslim issues," to move a motion against Islamophobia. (See my 19/9/11 post Friends.) ???

OK, I could put up with your contradictions if you'd at least voted for John Kaye's amendment opposing Clarke's motion, but what'd you do? Why, vote it down with the rest of your LibLab pack of course. Cris de coeur and Palestinian rights:0 - party line: 1.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Goes Around...

... comes around.

"In a series of 'price-tag' incidents, angry right-wing extremists in the Samaria area of the West Bank attacked a military base, two IDF commanders and Palestinian vehicles late on Monday night and early Tuesday morning to protest the pending demolition of the unauthorised Ramat Gilad outpost." (Right-wing extremists attack IDF base, Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post/The Australian Jewish News, 16/12/11)

Let's get this right. Israeli settlers attacked an IDF base because they thought the IDF were preparing to demolish one of their cubby houses.

Blimey, what kind of pumped-up psychos go around attacking people just because they think they're going to strike first?

Why, the IDF, of course:

"On Thursday, the IDF bombed a car travelling in Gaza and killed a Aksa [sic] Martyrs Brigades operative who the army said was plotting an attack on Israel via the Sinai. The bombing of the car is part of an IDF understanding that since it cannot operate in Egypt it needs to stop such attacks while they are in the planning stages in the Gaza Strip." (Egypt: no Sinai base for Hamas, Yaakov Katz, The Jerusalem Post/The AJN, 16/12/11)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What a Buzz!

They were busy little bees back in 1922, just beginning to whip Palestine into shape:

"Such, in bare outline, are the terms of this Concession granted to [Pinhas] Rutenberg in 1922 [for the electrification of Palestine]; and now we turn to the manner in which it was granted. But here let it in all fairness be said that if patient perseverence in pursuit of the object aimed at deserves recognition, then the Zionists deserved the recognition they met with. For with the activity displayed by bees in the high tide of the honey flow, the Zionists contacted with British politicians and flitted from flower to flower gathering pollen as they flew, with the punctilious attention to preliminary detail shown by bees, in preparing the necessary documents for presentation to the British Government. No one would cavil at the successful result of unceasing toil and clever strategy on the part of the Zionists in their application for the grant of this concession, if Whitehall had examined it with scrupulous regard for the 'absolute impartiality' promised to the people of the country as a whole. But did it do so?" (Frances E Newton, Fifty Years in Palestine, 1948, p 198)

And they're just as busy today, whipping up support for Israel, aka engaging with key sectors to advance social harmony:

"A modest farm at Bingara, 300 kilometres east of Coffs Harbour... will become a haven for Israel Defence Forces (IDF) graduates and Israeli backpackers if Ralph and Jo Waters' dream comes to fruition. The Waters, who are devout Christians, recently spent 6 weeks in Israel and wanted to help Israelis who defend their country. 'We met many wonderful people there and we became aware of the outrageous injustices being perpetrated against the people of Israel across the world and the siege against the Jewish people', Ralph Waters told NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) chief executive Vic Alhadeff in Bingara last week... Alhadeff met the couple while addressing the Israeli Awareness Group at the Christian Outreach Centre in Narrabri last Tuesday night as part of the JBOD's latest bridge-building tour to Narrabri, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah and Tamworth... The bridge-building tour comprised a total of 24 engagements - meeting Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and political leaders at state and local government level, speeches to Rotary clubs, radio and newspaper interviews and school presentations on the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Jewish practice. Alhadeff said... 'It was vital to engage with key sectors throughout regional NSW in order to enhance understanding of Jewish people, Jewish issues and Israel, and in so doing advance social harmony'." (NSW couple to set up IDF getaway, The Australian Jewish News, 9/12/11)

Coming soon to a key sector, aka church/politician/Rotary club/radio/newspaper/school, near you. Brace yourselves for a spot of social harmony, aka Israel/Zionism 101. Or, alternatively, tell these self-described bridge-builders that Israel's a bridge too far and ask them to buzz off.

A Girl with a Conscience

"Charlotte Salusinszky from Pymble Ladies' College topped advanced English but definitely won't be following the footsteps of her father, Imre, a journalist with The Australian. 'Never', she said." (Girls bring A game, Henry Budd, The Daily Telegraph, 14/12/11)

Most wise, Charlotte. And God bless!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Now You See It...

Now you don't.

One can only imagine the ructions over at SBS Television at the brave decision to screen Peter Kosminsky's insightful and historically accurate recreation of modern Palestinian history, The Promise, the final episode of which is to be screened this Sunday. Alas, absent a whistleblower, we cannot, of course, be privy to the gory details.

We are lucky, however, to have been afforded a tiny glimpse into what happens behind the scenes when a mainstream media outlet such as SBS throws caution to the winds and gives the Palestine problem the attention it deserves.

The glimpse I refer to is the fact that, while SBS's website hosted a forum for viewers' comments following the first two episodes of the 4-part series, this was abruptly terminated a mere 4 days after episode 2 and has not resurfaced since.

Why?

Well, the short and winding road which led to the termination of same seems to have begun with a comment from a certain 'surferbob' which appeared on the thread following episode one. From memory, I found it a model of rational and informed discourse on the subject at hand. And yet, without explanation, it was soon removed by the SBS moderator. Its disappearance prompted another commenter, 'Emile', to ask why. As it happens, it was at this point that I began printing off some of the comments, which enables me to quote verbatim the conversation that ensued:

SBSMegan: Hi Emile, surferbob's comment was removed because it contained racist expressions that were deemed inappropriate for this forum.

Emile: These were not apparent to me, I'm afraid. I really think the alleged 'racist expressions' you took exception to should be discussed in the interests of fairness and openness. Could you kindly list them for us, Megan?

Emile's response went answered, but the forum, with contributions from sundry commenters, including Emile, continued on - until, on Thursday 8, 'surferbob' resurfaced and addressed SBSMegan thus:

"Well, Megan, if you diagree with my comment that Israel has taken a seismic shift towards the right - sliding into fascism - read respected Israeli commentators such as Uri Avnery for their opinion. Better still, go there and see the living proof. I have witnessed protesters blinded, disfigured and killed at peaceful, non-violent protests against the ongoing theft of Palestinian lands. I myself, at 70 years of age, have been tear-gassed and shot. Welcome to the real Israel - or would you rather just censor comments you find unpalatable and label them racist?"

As I said earlier, a model of rational and informed comment. The above comment remained on the thread and was joined 3 hours later by this from 'Emile':

"With respect, Megan, I really do think you've had long enough on this. What precisely was your problem with surferbob's previous comment? What are your/SBS's criteria for alleging that his earlier comment contained 'racist expressions'? In the absence of any clear statement on this, commenters can only conclude that your decision to delete his comment was based on nothing more than your own, not necessarily informed (How would we know?), individual opinion."

Not only was there no response to this comment from 'SBSMegan', but the entire forum was closed, without notice or explanation, the very same day, and has not reappeared since. What - and this is, of course, an entirely rhetorical question - is SBS afraid of?

But there's more: In addition to the moderator's unilateral, and, on the face of it, contemptuous pulling of the plug on SBS's rightly questioning audience, a disclaimer of sorts - "This is a drama inspired by the accounts of British soldiers who served in Palestine" - appeared as an appendage to the precis of episode 3.

It would seem that SBS is reacting here to complaints from Israel lobbyists contesting the drama's historical veracity, the absurd and insulting (to both Kosminsky and to the historical record) insinuation being that The Promise is really little more than a dramatisation of the anti-Semitic attitudes of British troops serving in Palestine at the time.*

The following salutary letter in this week's Australian Jewish News by Arje Singer of Castle Cove only serves to highlight the crackling hysteria coming from Israel lobbyists on the one hand - "Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy... is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged ('You of all people') with failing to live up to it."** - and the evident cowardice of certain quarters at SBS on the other:

"As an Israeli citizen, I couldn't find any anti-Israeli parts in The Promise. Every person has the right to bring his views to the general public. Not every picture or book must be Zionist. The TV series has historic background. It is completely ridiculous to write: 'Viewers unfamiliar with the facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may come to view Israel more negatively'."

[* Maybe I'm reading a bit too much into this. In an interview with Kosminsky in The Guardian of 23/1/11, Britain's humiliation in Palestine, Rachel Cooke writes: "Between 1945 and 1948, some 100,000 soldiers served in the British-controlled Mandate of Palestine. Kosminsky's team spoke to around 80; he found the men's stories to be both gripping and moving, so he carried on, wading next through letters, diaries, memoirs and history books. Slowly, a theme began to emerge. 'The thing that came out most strongly', he says, 'was that the men all arrived in Palestine feeling incredibly pro-Jewish. A few of them had helped to liberate the [concentration] camps, so they had seen what had happened [to the Jews] with their own eyes... Over time, though, the soldiers' attitudes changed. Some of this was just the usual British support for the underdog; there's no question that by 1948 [when Israel declared itself an independent state] the Arabs were perceived as that. But also, if you're being attacked on a daily basis [by the Jewish resistance], if you're under constant threat of kidnap, if you're confined to barracks behind a lot of razor wire, your feelings are bound to change'."; **Howard Jacobson, Ludicrous, brainwashed prejudice, The Independent/AJN, 2/12/11]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daley of Damascus

Fairfax columnist Paul Daley is one of those corporate fence-sitting types who, while not going over to the Zionist dark side entirely, never fail to cut the Israelis lots of slack, as in:

"I've been to Israel many times. I like its people, Arab and Jewish. As someone who acknowledges Israel's right to exist, I also accept its right to defend its borders... I do not consider it contradictory that I also have reservations about Israel's conduct during the invasions of Gaza and Lebanon, and its occasional excesses in the West Bank. So, too, do many Israelis." (With friends like Israel..., Sydney Morning Herald, 27/2/10)

Reservations about... occasional excesses... To say Daley's shallow is to enter the realm of the bleeding obvious.

However, where the dirty deeds of a certain Arab regime are concerned, one BTW that has never colonised another people or exiled them or stolen their land or lashed out at its neighbours, Daley doesn't just have reservations, he hearts a NATO-style intervention by - wait for it - "the civilised world":

"When should the civilised world intervene and use military force to stem murder and human rights abuses? How many bodies do we need to count before we act? History, some of it much too recent for our moral comfort, has a way of repeatedly posing such questions to us - and then aswering them. Think Armenia. Think Nazi Germany. Think Rwanda and Bosnia. Now think Syria." (An uncomfortable lesson, The Sun-Herald, 11/12/11)

But that opener wasn't what struck me at first. It was in fact this:

"Two years ago when I was last in Syria, the seeds of democratic uprising were sprouting. There was an intense curiosity in the new president of the US, Barack Obama, and a sense that he could well be the one to bridge the chasm that had grown between the West and Arab countries - not least Syria - since the September 11, 2001, attacks on America." (ibid)

Let's quantify this intense curiosity in Obomber, shall we? A 2009 Gallup Poll revealed an increase in Obomber's approval rating among Syrians from 4% in 2008 to 15%. FIFTEEN PER CENT. And if this staggeringly small percentage of incorrigible Syrian optimists had been asked why they felt as they did, they'd have answered, simply: 'Well, he's not Bush'. So much for bridging chasms with the West.

And this:

"People spoke with resignation about Syria's continuing ties to Iran and its support for Hamas and Hezbollah. But they spoke of it lamentably, albeit with a faint flicker of hope that things might change if the Syrian leadership made good its promise to ease up its oppressive internal rule and look just a little to the West." (ibid)

This, of course, presupposes Daley wandering around Syria, quizzing the multitudes, in fluent Arabic, of course, on their thoughts about Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. It then presupposes said multitudes lamenting thus: 'Oh, Paul, if only we could free ourselves of these terrible ties to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas and rush, unfettered, into the warm and eager embrace of the country which provides Israel with the wherewithal to occupy part of our country'. Yeah right.

And this:

"As the so-called Arab Spring took hold, the people of Syria watched the force of change in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. And they watched the West, through NATO, help to militarily push regime change in Libya, having done so by different military means in Iraq and Afghanistan." (ibid)

Oh yeah. Iraq - every Syrian's hope and inspiration! I guess if Daley (and his fluent Arabic) were doing the rounds in Syria today, he'd be 'reporting' the multitudes lamenting the complete absence of some of that good old 2003 Iraqi shock & awe, not to mention the 100,000+ bloodbath which followed.

Finally, from the author of Beersheba: A Journey Through Australia's Forgotten War (2009), comes this little concluding homily on history:

"Australian history with Syria runs deep. Our mounted troops were the first to Damascus when it was liberated from the Turks in late 1918. Too many Australian soldiers are buried there. That's history. And the problem with history is that we know its lessons too well but always allow them to repeat." (ibid)

Is it just me or do you get the suggestion of an impression here that without Australian troops Damascus would still be in Turkish hands today? Now the indigenes couldn't possibly have had a hand in rolling back the Turks, could they? Well, as it happens, yes they did:

"Meanwhile, British cavalry had forced their way across the Jordan to the south and north of the Sea of Galilee and were riding at a gallop, fighting their way stubbornly towards Damascus. The Arab regulars covered their right flank, dogging the steps of the [Turkish] Fourth Army; while the tribal hosts, always at their deadliest in a war of movement, charged wildly at the retreating Turks, galloping and fighting as they went, in a mad race towards the goal of the [Arab] Revolt. The first to arrive were the Sharif Naser and Nuri Sha'lan with their forces who, having ridden 70 miles in 24 hours, fighting part of the way, reached the outskirts of Damascus on the evening of the 30th of September; but, in deference to the wishes expressed by the commander-in-chief, they abstained from entering it that night and contented themselves with sending in a strong contingent to carry the tidings to the population and a message enjoining the setting up of an Arab government. This had already been done, and Naser's messengers, as they reached the main square, beheld the Arab flag flying. Four hundred years of Ottoman domination had passed into history. Early on the following day - the 1st of October - a detachment of British cavalry entered the town, closely followed by the Sharif Naser, Nuri Sha'lan and their retinues. Two days later, Allenby drove in from Jerusalem just as Faisal, attended by some 1,200 retainers, was making his entry on horseback at full gallop into the former capital of the Arab Empire." (The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement, George Antonius, 1938, pp 237-238)

Forgive me if I see a connection between Daley's imperial hyping of Australia's role in the liberation of Damascus in 1918 and his current interventionist fantasies centring on that mysterious entity he calls the "civilised world."

Monday, December 12, 2011

File Under: Israel Lobby? What Israel Lobby?

Mark Twain once noted that "If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times." And at another time, that "... policemen and politicians... are the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum... in America."

Now if we combine, tweak and update the two, we get something like this: 'American politicians are the arse-licking pimps and slaves of AIPAC scum and this is nowhere more apparent than at election time' - an apt introduction to the following compilation of clueless kowtowings and gibbering genuflections to the Israel lobby by the current crop of Republican reptiles. Warning: Scream quietly or the neighbours will hear you:

Rick Perry: Listen Wolf, if Israel built a settlement up your bum it'd be legal, OK?

Wolf Blitzer: Since '67, every US president, Democrat and Republican, have called Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories, in the West Bank, illegal under international law. Would you continue that policy?
Rick Perry: Are you talking about Israeli settlements?
B: Yes.
P: ... No I wouldn't. I consider the Israeli settlements to be legal, from my perspective, and I support them.
B: Even if they're in the West Bank?
P: Where there is arrangements that have been made, where the Israelis are clearly on Israel's land that they have hard fought to win and to keep, absolutely.
B: But this is seen by the State Department as occupied Palestinian territory.
P: I don't always agree with the State Department. I think our State Department from time to time gets it wrong. I happen to believe that Israel spends way too much time defending itself from people who want to do terrorist acts against them, whether it's Palestinians, whether it's Hezbollah, whether it's Hamas, and the US needs to be standing with Israel, strongly standing with 'em and supporting...
B: Would you move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
P: Absolutely.
B: When?
P: As soon as I could. I would clearly say, 'If you want to work for the State Department of the United States, you need to be packing your bags and moving to Jerusalem as soon as you can'.
B: Would you fear negative reaction from the...
P: No, listen. How many other countries do we have our embassy not in the capital of the... the country, in..?
B: We're going back to '48 when Israel was established. No American president has recognised Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel.
P: There may not have been a president of the United States who feels as strongly about Israel as I do.
B: Well, Ronald Reagan didn't feel strongly about Israel?
P: Obviously, not as I do... I'm not saying...
B: GW Bush or GHW Bush?
P: Not as strong as I do.
B: So you would move it right away?
P: I would move it, yes sir.

Michele Bachmann: Israel is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures... Oh... oh... OH!... Yesss!

"Most Americans recognise that Israelis and Americans are two sides of the same coin because we share the same values and the same aspirations. We even share the same exceptional mission: to be the light to the nations. After all, the image of America as the shining city on the hill is taken from the Book of Isiah. I was raised in a home full of love for Israel. We learned that our Christian faith is rooted in Judaism. Without the laws of Moses, without the temple in Jerusalem, there would have been no Sermon on the Mount. It was this love and appreciation for Israel and the Jewish faith that brought me to Israel in the summer of 1974 to volunteer at a kibbutz... and it was during my time at the kibbutz... that I came to understand that Israel is not merely the cradle of my faith, it's the greatest strategic asset that the US has in the region and I realise that the forces of terror, mayhem and hatred that Israel needs to keep at bay are the same forces that threaten Americans..." (Update from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Israel, youtube.com, 10/6/11)

"It's over 800 billion dollars that we have expended [in Iraq]. I believe that Iraq should pay us back for the money that we spent, and I believe that Iraq should pay the families that lost a loved one several million dollars per life, I think at a minimum." (Bachmann wants Iraqis to pay 'several million dollars per life' for every American who died in Iraq, Ian Millhiser, thinkprogress.org, 13/12/11)

Newt Gingrich: Can you believe it? Those Palestinians, who don't exist BTW, refuse to recognise Israel's existence!

"I see myself as being in many ways pretty close to Bibi Netanyahu's thinking about the dangers of the world. I believe in a tough realism. I believe if somebody is firing rockets at you, they're probably not engaged in a peace process. I believe if somebody goes around saying you don't exist, they're probably not preparing for peace." (The Jewish Channel exclusive interview with GOP representative & former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, 9/12/11)

"Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places." (ibid)

Mitt Romney: OMG! Obummer told Bibi what to do! I can't believe he actually said that. No one, but no one tells Bibi what to do, OK?

Interviewer: You said that the President threw Israel under the bus when he said that Israel should go back to the '67 borders... explain what you meant.
Romney: I think it's pretty clear that when Bibi Netanyahu got here that something very dramatic had happened and that the President, by insisting on the '67 borders, laid out what a bargaining position might be that perhaps the Israelis might take the lead on, not America. You don't tell your ally how you would settle a dispute between them and another people. You stand by your ally, you link arms with your ally. Israel is one of our best allies in the Middle East - the best ally in the Middle East. We don't dictate to Israel what the terms of their agreement ought to be." (Mitt Romney interview 'Obama threw Israel under the bus', youtube.com, 3/6/11)

"I've known Bibi Netanyahu for a long time. We worked together at Boston Consulting Group and... would get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said [the Palestinians are an 'invented people']? What would you like me to do? Let's work together because we're partners." (Mitt Romney goes after Newt Gingrich on Israel, abcnews.go.com, 10/12/11)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Doug Anderson's Eureka Moment

Doug Anderson, the Sydney Morning Herald's resident square eyes, gives Peter Kosminsky's riveting drama, The Promise, the thumbs-up - and me a few laughs:

"The best drama series on television at present is this lacerating story about a feckless British teenager who runs away to Israel when her best friend, Liz, is called up for national service with the Israel Defence Forces - today's equivalent of the Irgun and the Haganah."

You said it, Doug! You should know that no less a Zionist than Churchill called the Irgun "the vilest gangsters." (See my 26/12/09 post A Murky Legacy) So, with your and Winston's blessing, I'll cap this off with a little syllogism: The IDF is today's Irgun. The Irgun were the vilest gangsters. Therefore, the IDF are the vilest gangsters. Neat, eh?

"Erin is 18 and has with her a diary compiled by her grandfather, Len. After serving with Allied forces during the liberation of German concentration camps at the end of World War II, grandad was posted to Palestine where his duties included helping to manage the foundation of Israel."

Managing the foundation of Israel? Oh, really? Churchill again, Doug. The old boy, who referred to the end of the British mandate period as a "Hell-disaster," would've choked on his cigar over your little circumlocution. I would have thought the more modern expression 'clusterfuck' not only more appropriate but more you, as in '... where his duties included mopping up after Britain's clusterfuck in Palestine'.

"His work was fraught with conflicts of every imaginable kind and Erin discovers that contentious issues in 1947 are just as potent 60 odd years later. Division and anger are continuous despite the tranquility and generosity she finds with Liz's family. Erin is just a wafty teenager really but her intuitive sense of conscience and a rapport with her grandad conspire to make the endless conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians very personal."

Endless conflict? Doug, must you keep on putting your foot in it? Seems like only yesterday you were banging on inanely about "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth... in perpetuity," and declaring this an "intractable dispute" for which "neither [side] can claim the high moral ground." (See my 2/7/09 post The Palestinian Golan Heights) Hopefully, The Promise will help dispel this wafty teenage illusion of yours and teach you that the conflict has a recent, colonial, history, thanks first to the Brits, and now to the Yanks, and that even seemingly intractable colonial problems sooner or later undergo, and must undergo, a decolonisation process.

"She isn't sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate the complex politics but morality isn't logical and in following her feelings, Erin finds herself exposed to the same kind of ethical and moral issues that old Len faced in his unenviable role. This is powerful stuff, distilling enormous difficulties to a deeply personal level where conscience alone cannot determine the outcome. Peter Kosminsky's series is manifestly even-handed but it's hard not to feel that the Palestinians have been screwed - just as the European Jews were screwed during the Holocaust."

No, you're right for once, Doug. But you've gotta resist that feeling, OK? Thinking such a thing won't get you anywhere. In fact, you could be called an anti-Semite! True! Thankfully, help is at hand. Just learn the following neat little poem by heart and recite it over and over and over again till that crazy feeling about the Palestinians having been screwed has vanished:

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.
North Korea is the only democracy in Asia.
The moon is made of green cheese.
Benjamin Netanyahu is a man of peace.
Attila the Hun was a man of peace.
My dog speaks 5 languages.
Zionism is not racism.
Apartheid was not racism.
The Earth is flat.
The U.S. is a peace-loving country.
The mafia is a peace-loving organisation.
The sun rises in the west.
Gillard is not Obama's poodle.
Buddy was not Clinton's labrador.
The Pope is not a Catholic.

"This isn't a historical treatise but it invites viewers to arrive at a more informed viewpoint based on facts, matters of expediency and the rather elastic concept of a fair crack of the whip." (9/12/11)

By George, I think he's got it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Green are the Greens?

Just how green are The Greens? The answer is very - and I'm not talking about deep ecology here.

I am moved to this quite depressing conclusion by the NSW Greens' decision to, in the words of a December 4 media release, "replace the BDS resolution adopted by the Greens NSW in December 2010," with a recognition that, while "BDS is a legitimate non-violent political tactic seeking to alter the policies and actions of the government of Israel," there is "a variety of views within the community, NSW Greens and the Australian Greens on the BDS," and that, therefore, "each participating individual or community group may choose whether to do so and in a way which is suitable and practical for themselves."

IOW, support for BDS has been relegated from a plank in the party platform to a conscience vote for individual party members.

What this, in fact, means is that the NSW Greens, despite all that they should have learnt regarding the power, influence and tactics of the Israel lobby and its pre-eminent Murdoch mouthpiece, The Australian, over the past year, have not understood the following:

1) There is no "variety of views within the community."

Given that, like most progressive folk, the Greens shun the Murdoch press like the plague, and so are simply not wise to its tricks, it is my feeling that they mistake its periodic crusades and beat-ups (against BDS/Greens*, Lee Rhiannon, Sheik Hilali**, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and Muslims in general) for actual community attitudes when these are in fact propaganda tropes concocted and broadcast by Australia's Israel lobby (or Zionist Power Configuration (ZPG) to use James Petras' more accurate terminology). The overwhelming majority of fair-minded Australians (the Greens' natural constituency), even despite the pro-Israel bias that pervades much of the corporate reporting on the Middle East conflict, either 'get it' or, with a little leadership (and guidance) from the Greens, could 'get it'.***

2) The so-called "variety of views within the NSW and Australian Greens," is merely a mix of the aforementioned ignorance and confusion and the penetration of the party by Zionists whose bottom line, whatever else they show an interest in, is heading off, blunting, or at least neutralising, the adoption of pro-Palestinian policies and initiatives by the party. It is, to say the least, bizarre that an otherwise progressive and anti-racist party should tolerate the present-day equivalents of supporters of South African apartheid in its ranks.

3) The backdown on BDS will not, as the Greens no doubt hope, stem Murdoch's crusade against the party, but simply embolden it. All the NSW Greens have succeeded in doing with their new, pale green resolution is giving Murdoch and 'friends' a stick to beat them with. Nor was the beating long in coming, with consecutive 'reports' over the following two days by Imre Salusinszky, the Murdoch foot soldier charged with spearheading the anti-Greens/BDS attack in the pages of The Australian:

a) Here's Salusinszky recycling the 'received wisdom' on former Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne's failure to win the state seat of Marrickville for the Greens:

"The Greens in NSW have backed away from the divisive policy on Israel that was widely seen as costing them a potential lower-house seat at the state election in March." (Greens shy from Israel boycott policy, 5/12/11)

The words which give Salusinszky's game away are "widely seen." But by whom? By the Murdoch press, that's whom! Further along in his piece, Salusinszky drops even this and simply asserts: "[c]ontroversy over the party's stance on the BDS cost Fiona Byrne" the seat.

b) And here's Salusinszky cock-a-hoop over the divide within the party that he has helped generate. (Note too the blatant attempt at guilt by association. This is not objective reporting):

"The move is seen as a victory for the more conservationist element among the Greens in NSW and a defeat for NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and her former state upper house colleague Sylvia Hale, who have marched and carried anti-Israel banners with controversial Muslim cleric Taj Din al-Hilali." (ibid)

But there's more:

"Three of the party's 5 NSW upper house MPs have distanced themselves from the BDS and did not oppose a motion in parliament condemning protests outside cafes of the Israeli-owned Max Brenner chain." (ibid)

And more:

"Moderate Greens in NSW have welcomed the party's decision to ditch its official support for the 'destructive' international campaign to isolate Israel... The move... is being widely interpreted in party circles as a defeat for NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon. Former state Greens MP Ian Cohen... said last night the shift represented the 'maturation' of the Greens political organisation in NSW." (Israel move welcomed, 6/12/11)

c) And, just to remind you that The Australian's not off on some lone frolic, here's Salusinszky on the relevant ZPC connection: "NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said, 'We welcome this small but significant step... but reiterate that they are still wrong to argue that BDS is a legitimate tactic'." (ibid)

It's time the Greens wised up on Palestine.

To read the whole sorry saga of how the green Greens got spooked by Murdoch and the ZPC over BDS, just click on the 'The Greens' label below.

[*See my 8/4/11 post The Australian Goes on the Warpath; **See my 20/1/11 post Get the Sheikh!; ***For example, a November 2011 Morgan Poll on Israel/Palestine indicated that, while 28% of Australians surveyed supported the Palestinians and 26% the Israelis, 21% supported neither and 24% couldn't say. Surely it's not too much to expect that a forthright and principled, which is to say a pro-BDS, position by the Greens could bring around many in the last 2 categories.]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nothing is Sacred...

... for the Barnetts of this world:

"Colin Barnett's description of James Price Point in Western Australia, where Woodside is preparing to build a liquefied natural gas terminal, as an 'unremarkable beach' shows a callous dismissal and ignorance of Aboriginal people and their beliefs (Secret men's business threatens $30 billion gas bonanza, December 5).

"If the place is part of a song cycle, a dreaming place sacred to the people of the region, it is disgraceful that politicians like Barnett can disrespect the real pain and distress that Aboriginal people feel if these places are threatened. These feelings could not have been made more dramatically to me while filming in the Central Desert in early 1987.

"I took a nearly blind Papunya artist, 'Old' Tutuma Tjapangati back to his 'dreaming place'. After 2 days following tracks through the sand he suddenly indicated that we should turn off. Unerringly, he guided us through kilometres of sand and spinifex. Then, very quietly, he started to sing, and tears welled in his eyes. Gradually the song became a wail. Then he indicated that we stop. I looked around. The place looked the same as the hundreds of kilometres we had travelled through. Continuing to sing, he sat motionless for a whole day often with tears rolling down his ancient face. 'Unremarkable' to me, this was a place of indescribable importance to him. Old Tutuma died later that year, aged 78, and I was later told he was waiting to see his dreaming place before he died. Such emotions, beliefs and sensibilities cannot be so easily dismissed by people such as Barnett." (Letter, Christopher McCullough, Bilgola Plateau, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12/11)

Neither here nor in Palestine:

"A glance at the map of Palestine shows the great importance of the Plain of Philistia lying on the sea coast, which provides a great highway from Jaffa to Haifa, that is, from south to north... A leading Zionist is reported to have said words to this effect: 'If we are to build up our national home we must sit down on the nerve centres of Palestine', and this certainly applies to the Wady Hawareth area situated in the middle of the plain of Philistia which was sold by its landlords in Syria to the Zionists.

"When the Jews sought to gain possession, the Arab occupants refused to move. They were (several thousands of them) living in tents with great herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats. These tent-dwellers had lived, and their flocks had grazed, on this same land for many generations. 'Where are we to go?' they asked.

"After a long trial in the Court in Nablus, for the case was a very complicated one, judgment was given in favour of the Zionists, who applied for an order of evacuation. The following letter, dated November 22nd, 1930, which I wrote to my sister after I had paid a visit to the Arab camp, speaks for itself:

"'I must tell you of my long day's outing to visit the Bedouin tribe which the Government had evicted from its lands in the Wady Hawareth, now sold to the Jews. A good 340 kilometres I covered that day over some appalling ground. On arrival I found a miserable tumbled-down hut into which I was ushered by a crowd of men who immediately collected out of the blue on seeing the car, for there was not a soul in sight when I first got out of it, with the Moslem lawyer who had accompanied me from Haifa. We entered the hut - a rickety old bedstead with a laharf on it, a very shaky chair on which I perched with care, while Mohammed Ali el Tamimi, the lawyer, sat still more gingerly on the edge of the bedstead. The other friend who guided us from Tul el Karm sat with the men on the bare earth of the floor.

"'He started telling them who I was, when they broke into his remarks with, 'Lo, he comes, the Ancient one. He is over a hundred years old, our Sheikh, the chief of our tribe', they said. Way was opened for him through the crowd at the door, and he hobbled in, leaning on a thick knobbly staff, but quite alert and vivacious. He greeted us, then managed with some difficulty to squat amongst the other men on the mud floor of the hut. Mr Samara (our guide) took up his tale again, and I followed, saying how I had read while in the Lebanon, in the Arabic newspapers, of their terrible plight, and had come to see and sympathise.

"'As I spoke I saw the old wizened face of the Sheikh begin to twitch, his mouth tremble, his eyes blink and blink; but he couldn't keep the tears back, and they trickled down his high cheek-bones, into his scrubbly grey beard, and on to his hairy chest. Everybody lowered their heads and stared at the floor. Mohammed Ali beside me blew his nose vigorously; Mr Samara had not got a handkerchief, so sniffed violently. I swallowed hard. 'What shall we do?' What can we do?' said the Ancient One. 'Such is the decree of the English Government', and the spell was broken.

"''With your permission, honoured Sheikh', I murmured, 'the women and children are my concern. Let me go to them', and I fled. It was a most moving incident, but never a word of complaint was uttered; sheer heroic endurance of the utmost misery.

"'The Bedouin, as you know, live always on the barest limit of primitive subsistence, and here were 2,000 souls with practically everything of their possessions swept away at one fell swoop by our own British police, who had to stand up to even the women fighting for tents and lands they had owned for generations. Bedding, clothing, cooking utensils, domestic stores of oil, semini, cheese, rice, etc, even their tents gone - 118 of them went for good, leaving that number of families homeless - 260 ploughs broken up and burnt by the Jews, their springs of water gone, for the Zionists now own the land where they are, and our British police guard the borders. What they mind most is that the caves where they sheltered their cattle are now in Jewish hands, and their 8,000 cattle are out in the open with the winter upon them. Babies were born and died under the open sky - 19 widows - 400 children - even when they got a tent its sides were lacking; and yet, not a murmur did I hear. 'The British police only did their duty. The English Governor is very good; he helps us all he can. We will die here on our own land', expressed their feelings.

"'They are squatting now on 5,000 dunums allowed to them, while 40,000 dunums have gone from them, and the Jews claim that last 5,000, too. The Arabs may occupy them till the question of ownership is finally decided. But what are they among so many?

"'Sad at heart and unable to do more than leave a small gift with the Sheikh, we drove away. Some time later, when I discussed the matter with a high official, he replied, 'Yes, I am afraid that was a bad mistake we made!' 'Can you not do something to put it right?' I asked. 'Oh no', he said, 'we must not interfere with the Judiciary, that would never do'.'

"It is clear that the policy laid down in the Mandate would not admit of intervention by the Government in this connection, even had it been possible for it to do so." (Fifty Years in Palestine, Frances E. Newton, 1948, pp 257-259)

Be it 1930 or 2011:

"About 20 Bedouin communities between Jerusalem and Jericho are to be forcibly relocated from the land on which they have lived for 60 years under an Israel plan to expand a Jewish settlement. The removal of about 2,300 members of the Bedouin Jahalin tribe, two-thirds of whom are children, is due to begin next month. The Israeli authorities plan to relocate the families from the West Bank to a site close to a municipal rubbish dump on the edge of Jerusalem." (Bedouin to be forced out by Israeli expansion, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian/Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12/11)

Pure Monty Python

Amazing! An opinion piece - And now for something completely predictable: war with Iran - lifted from The Guardian and published in today's Fairfax papers, by ex-Monty Python, Terry Jones, which decries the "war drums... beating for an attack on Iran," but makes no reference whatever to the Israeli drummer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brainwashed

"To me, Pesach is the greatest Jewish festival because the story is so good. We sit around the Seder table and relate, over and over, our escape from Egypt... As a boy I felt fraught during the Passover service because it seemed that even as we celebrated a narrow escape from one disaster, we were preparing for the next. A Jew has either to be ignorant of his history or mad to suppose that what has happened before won't happen again." - British novelist Howard Jacobson condemning UK miniseries The Promise in Ludicrous, brainwashed prejudice, The Australian Jewish News/The Independent, 2/12/11

Yes, great story, Howard. No doubt about it. However, there's just one little problem:

"There is no evidence for Israel in Egypt. There is no evidence for the Exodus. There is no evidence for the Conquest even." - Israeli archaeologist Amihai Mazar, winner of the 2009 Israel Prize for Israeli archaeology, on Radio National's Late Night Live, 12/9/11.

Go figure, Howard.