Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why So Shy?

So shy, apparently, is Melbourne "businessman and philanthropist" (AJN, 20/1/12) Albert Dadon about his Australia Israel Leadership Forum (AILF) - which, in its latest manifestation, has grown like good old Topsy into the Australia Israel United Kingdom Leadership Forum (AIUKLF) - that a complete list of those attending its January love-in in Jerusalem cannot be had - not even on Albert's very own Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) website!

A cast of thousands, both Aussies and Brits, with more Israeli prime ministers, past and present, than you can shake a stick at, and with 'is Lordship Tony Blair 'imself in attendance, and we barely know who fronted!

All we get are gnomic references in The Australian Jewish News such as this: "There was also a raft of international journalists on hand, including The Australian newspaper's foreign editor Greg Sheridan." (Bibi, Blair headline at leadership forum, 20/1/12)

Rafts of international journos, slews of political 'talent', and we the public, their adoring readers/fans, know virtually nothing about it, dammit!

Why isn't the corporate press crowing about this celebrity confab? Why must we first scour a Sheridan column, or stumble across a disclaimer at the foot of a piece by the Herald's now twice-rambammed Asia-Pacific editor, Hamish McDonald (see my 13/1/12 post Ain't love Grand?), to discover even the mere existence of this muted manifestation of movers, this shadowy shindig of shakers? Why must it be left for a humble citizen journalist, such as myself, to scratch around the internet in a near vain effort to round up the revellers?

My gleanings so far reveal only that, in addition to Sheridan and McDonald, "British and Australian lawmakers from both sides of politics were represented. Among the Australian contingent in Jerusalem was Mark Arbib, federal minister for sport & assistant treasurer; Jewish members of Parliament Michael Danby and Joshua Frydenberg... The Britons included Alistair Burt, minister for the Middle East, and Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard." (Joint Australian, British delagation meets Netanyahu, Fayyad,, 17/1/12)

Minister for the Middle East? Is this a first? You couldn't make this stuff up!

OK, so much for the event itself. In Australia, how's the AIUKLF bearing fruit?

I've already registered Sheridan's two lemons and noted that by McDonald (See Ain't Love Grand, 13/1/12, and Faulty Connection, 14/1/12), but observe that the latter's back in today's Sydney Morning Herald with another - Life in Israel an ultra-orthodox paradox - that, in addition to its decidedly desiccated substance, fairly gives me the following pips, which I've taken the trouble to extract for you:

"In Israel itself, the old mix of nation-building pioneers - Ashkenazi Jews steeped in European high culture, kibbutzim making a wilderness bloom, doughty women doing what were then 'men's jobs' everywhere else - is fading fast."

Now if that ain't an A-Z collection of Zionist cliches I don't know what is.

"Internally, the dominance of the right and ultra-orthodox are removing bit by bit Israel's old liberality."

Funny how none of that old Israeli liberality managed to benefit the Palestinians, eh?

"Israelis say Abbas and his non-party Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, can't modify the 'right of return' (to pre-1948 homes) in their demands, and still indoctrinate children that Israel has no right to exist (an accusation disputed by European Union and British monitors of West Bank schools)."

I suppose the bit about EU monitors is about as good as we're going to get from Maccas.

So this is the kind of AIUKLF-generated tripe we're reading in both wings of the corporate press here in Australia. Can't imagine what UK readers are having dished up at the moment by the rest of that mysterious raft of international journalists.

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