One of the most bizarre phenomena in Australian political life is the periodic emergence of certain Australian politicians as unabashed public advocates for the state of Israel. Yet, strangely, it remains largely ignored as a matter for comment or investigation by the ms media - partly, I imagine, because so many of its representatives indulge in the same practice. What other foreign policy issue, it must be asked, elicits this degree of advocacy from so many of our elected representatives, both state and federal?
The latest to emerge in this capacity is Victorian Liberal senator Helen Kroger. Only the other day, she's lashing SBS's managing director at a Senate estimates hearing for daring to screen The Promise (See my previous post). Next thing you know she's attacking the film (and SBS) online in an opinion piece at The Punch. One wonders where she's going to pop up next.
Now I may be wrong but I seriously doubt that Kroger has a real and abiding interest in Israel per se. So who or what has activated her? Hint: Kroger went on an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council-sponsored junket to Israel in 2007.
Could her Punch piece, SBS shouldn't be allowed to re-write history (17/2/12), to which I now turn, be the long-ripened fruit of that journey? If so, you'll need your smelling salts. The bloody thing's gone off!:
Although history is just sooo frightfully difficult to call these days, Kroger informs us, there's still, she insists, "a difference between bona fide perspective and malevolent falsehoods."
As examples of the latter she cites the Passover Blood Libel, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and - surprise, surprise - (though not quite as "sinister" as these two, she adds) The Promise!
The sheer outrageousness of the association aside, the fact of the matter here is that for Israel lobbyists The Promise, being in large part a realistic dramatisation of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), is far and away the greater concern, undermining as it does one of Israel's key foundational myths: that Israel, declared in May 1948, was the outcome of a genuine independence struggle against the British and the miraculous survivor of a David and Goliath struggle against the Arabs.
Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Israel, though atypical of the breed, is really just another colonial implant.
The plain facts are that without British patronage, collusion and cold steel, the European colonial-settler movement known as Zionism would never have been able to gain a foothold in Palestine, subject it to wave after wave of Jewish immigration (against the wishes of its indigenous Arab population), buy up much of its best land from absentee landlords (evicting Arab peasants in the process), build an armed state-within-a-state, eventually take up arms against its former imperial patron (who had finally twigged to the cock-up it'd created), and go on to ethnically cleanse Palestine's majority Arab population, steal their homes and lands, and prevent their return.
It is the final stage of the Zionist takeover in Palestine, what Churchill called the "hell-disaster,"* that The Promise so graphically lifts the lid on. And this is what Zionist propagandists, who have lied about and misrepresented the events of 1947-1949 for over 60 years now, most fear. Hence their assault on Kosminsky's film, and the conscription of one of their useful parliamentary fools to wage a campaign, both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary, against it.
Here are Kroger's key propaganda points, followed by my commentary:
1) "Many Arabs left their homes before Israel's Declaration of Independence and subsequent invasion by her Arab neighbours."
Oh! Just like that, eh? Just up and left, for no apparent reason. No fuss whatever. Enough said. And this is a "bona fide perspective"?
2) "Erin does not... encounter a single Palestinian militant, despite the prominence of groups including Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in the Territories."
Maybe, just maybe, Helen, members of these groups aren't prancing around with the words 'Fatah', 'Islamic Jihad' and 'Hamas' in neon lights on their foreheads because they know how trigger happy Israeli troops are.
3) "Nor does Len encounter the anti-Jewish Islamic extremism inspired by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem."
And maybe, Helen, that's because Palestinian opposition to the Zionist takeover of their homeland in 1948 had nothing to do with Islam, and everything to do with resisting the loss of their patrimony. Here, for example, is part of a 1921 Memorandum from a joint Muslim-Christian delegation to a visiting Churchill:
"Had Zionists come to Palestine simply as visitors, or had matters remained as before the war, there would be no question of Jew or non-Jew. It is the idea of transforming Palestine into a home for the Jews that Arabs resent and fight against. The fact that a Jew is a Jew has never prejudiced the Arabs against him. Before the war Jews enjoyed all the privileges and rights of citizenship. The question is not a religious one. For we see that Christians and Moslems alike, whose religions are not similar, unite in their hatred of Zionism..." (Palestine Papers 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict, Doreen Ingrams, 1972/2009, p 118)
4) "No attention is given to the mainstream Jewish paramilitary Haganah (later the Israel Defence Force), who like the British engaged in counterinsurgency against the minority Irgun."
Pull the other Helen! But don't believe me. Read this:
"On the day [Operation Agatha (29/6/46), involving the search of Jewish settlements,] was launched Chaim Weizmann, playing his role of injured innocence to perfection, and with chutzpah, told Sir Alan Cunningham that the British reaction to Jewish violence was a battle against world Jewry. Not all Jews would have agreed. In any case, the following day Ben-Gurion called a meeting of X Command, the existence of which was well known to Weizmann. Palmach, the offensive wing of Haganah, had prepared a plan to destroy the building in which government offices were housed in the south-west wing of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem. At the meeting were representatives of Palmach, Haganah, Irgun and Stern. It was decided the operation should be undertaken by Irgun. X Command issued written instructions. On 1 June, Menachem Begin, the Irgun terrorist leader, began planning the King David Hotel outrage." (A Captain's Mandate: Palestine 1946-1948, Philip Bruton, 1996, p 36)
"On the margins of the main Jewish military power operated two more extreme groups: the Irgun... and the Stern Gang. The Irgun had split from the Hagana in 1931 and in the 1940s was led by Menachem Begin. it had developed its own aggressive policies towards both the British presence and the local population. The Stern Gang was an offshoot of the Irgun, which it left in 1940. Together with the Hagana, these 3 organisations were united into one army during the days of the Nakba, although as we shall see, they did not always act in unison and coordination." (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pape, 2006, p 45)
5) "I am particularly troubled by the character of Clara Rosenbaum, who alleges to be one of many Jewish women 'paid by the city' to seduce British soldiers. Her inclusion is a smear against all Israeli women."
Troubled eh? Better shield your wide, innocent eyes from this then, my dear:
"'The Jewish Agency set up special clubs for the purpose of propaganda', said Motti Golani, a historian of the British Mandate at Haifa University. 'There were dancing parties, clubs with lectures, dinners. The [Jewish] Agency pushed young girls, of around 18 or 20, to have relationships with British soldiers. It was a kind of spying." (Dances & dalliances: legendary Jerusalem bars opens once more, Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, 13/11/11)
6) "Statements such as 'the Jews want it all - all the land', 'we found Jews living in our houses', or 'that's what the Jews want' have no place on Australian television."
What intolerable nonsense this is. Here it is, 2011, almost a century since the perfectly idiotic Balfour Declaration was issued by the government of Lloyd George, with Israel in control of 100% of historic Palestine, with the majority of Palestinians in exile and the rest under occupation, losing homes and land on a daily basis, and Kroger's telling us that to say the above is offensive! She's certainly no Lord Curzon. Here's the British Foreign Secretary's frank assessment of Zionist aims in a 1920 letter to Zionist arch-dupe, Balfour:
"As for Weizmann and Palestine, I entertain no doubt that he is out for Jewish Government, if not at the moment, then in the near future... On December 17th, he [Weizmann] telegraphed to Eder of the Zionist Commission at Jaffa: 'The new proposal stipulates first that the whole administration of P. shall be so formed as to make of P. a Jewish Commonwealth, under British trusteeship, and that the Jews shall so participate in the administration as to secure this object'. Further 'The Jewish population is to be allowed the widest practical measure of self-government and to have extensive powers of expropriating the owners of the soil, etc'. What all this can mean except Government I do not see. Indeed a Commonwealth as defined in my dictionary is a 'body politic' a 'state' an 'independent community' a 'republic'. I feel tolerably sure therefore that while Weizmann may say one thing to you, or while you may mean one thing by a National Home, he is out for something quite different. He contemplates a Jewish State, a Jewish nation, a subordinate population of Arabs etc. ruled by Jews; the Jews in possession of the fat of the land, and directing the Administration. He is trying to effect this under the screen and under the shelter of British trusteeship." (Palestine Papers 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict, Doreen Ingrams, 1972/2009, pp 57-58)
That Kroger apparently has nothing better to do than peddle this kind of propaganda - and that at taxpayers' expense - is a scandal which cries out for serious investigation.
[*See my 5/2/10 post Hell-Disaster.]