Thursday, May 31, 2012

Selective Outrage

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on the Hula massacre:

"Australians have seen the bodies in Houla and they're appalled. Appalled that a regime could connive in or organise the execution, the killing, of men, women and children." (Australia joins action against Syrian envoys, Daniel Flitton & Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/5/12)

Then Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the Gaza massacre:

"Israel's air strikes were a response to an 'act of aggression' by Hamas which had broken the ceasefire. We are saying to Hamas that they should cease any further action." (A time for fighting, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 29/12/08)

The Sydney Morning Herald's editorialist has no doubt who's responsible for the Hula massacre:

"It is reasonably clear that Houla was subjected to a two-hour bombardment by the Syrian army on Friday. Then armed gangs of the Shabiha, or 'ghost militia', were turned loose, carrying out their slaughter with knives and small arms." (Assad's calculated, brutal bet on the world's indifference, 30/5/12)

But can't quite make up his mind - Palestine/Israel is sooo confusing! - when it comes to the Gaza massacre:

"The deaths of almost 300 people and wounding of some 600 so far have drawn understandable criticism that the military response is disproportionate. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon - a staunch critic of Hamas's rocket attacks - has reminded Israel it remains bound to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law. Israel's response - that civilians are being used as human shields for Hamas's terrorist infrastructure - has merit." (Israel, Gaza & Huntington, 30/12/08)

And, just for laughs, Peter Hartcher, SMH international editor on Saudi Arabia & Qatar's undying love for the people of Syria (especially those with beards and guns):

"The furious governments of some of [Asad's] Sunni neighbours, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are taking more direct action, funnelling money and arms to the rebels." (Angry move will have little effect, 30/5/12)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peter Hartcher Piles It On

How does one get one's head around what is going on in Syria at the moment?

I, of course, have no special insight here but can at least usefully draw your attention to some of the hypocrisy that characterises Australian ms media commentary on the appalling massacre which took place in the Syrian town of Hula on 25/26 May. But I'll come to that later.

As a general commentary on the Hula massacre, the too-long list of other atrocities and war crimes which have preceded it, and the life-or-death struggle under way between the Asad regime on the one hand, and the internal Syrian opposition, both armed and civilian, on the other, the sceptical approach adopted by As'ad Abukhalil of the Angry Arab News Service is worth keeping in mind:

"How can I comment on developments in Syria any more? Quite simply, I believe neither the the Syrian regime nor the Syrian opposition groups in exile: both have a proven record of criminality, massacres, lies, and fabrications... So according to exile accounts, the Army shelled the area, and then, after killing the innocent civilians, sent its armed thugs in to kill them again? War crimes are being committed in Syria and the regime [must] remain the more responsible [of the parties] because it is the authority in the land and its mandate includes the promise to protect the population. The regime also controls the countryside, although the UN Secretary-General now admits that Free Syrian Army (FSA) gangs control major sections of cities and towns. There are no independent sources on Syria: all accounts are based on one lying, criminal side or the other. If the regime is not responsible for the [Hula] massacre (as it claims), there is evidence that it has committed massacres elsewhere. The conflict in Syria is one of the most intense regional/international wars that the Middle East has seen in years if not decades, and the duty of all analysts is to provide commentary and analysis that is not tinged with the propaganda interests of one side or the other... The Western media [however] are clearly, in their coverage, covering up for the FSA and its crimes [which include] murder, extortion and kidnapping." (Hula massacre, 27/5/12)

With Abukhalil's (highlighted) admonition in mind, I now move to the opening paragraphs of the Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece by international editor Peter HartcherBrutality of Assad not enough to bring action (29/5/12):

"Who could put a loaded gun to the head of a baby and pull the trigger? The coverage of the barbaric violence against women and children in the Syrian town of Houla at the weekend sent a wave of revulsion around the world. But we know the answer. The obvious villain is Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad. While his wife shops for $40,000 chandeliers from Paris, Bashar has been sending his forces to butcher and torture adults and children alike for a year and a quarter now. The massacre in Houla left 108 people dead, among them 49 children and 34 women..."

Now despite the clearly aligned nature of the above (continued throughout), and the rush to judgement trumpeted by "we know the answer," Hartcher may well be correct in fingering Asad as the bloody hand behind the Hula massacre, and many others besides. However, I can't help but note the glaring contrast between his expressed outrage at the deaths of the innocent women and children (not to mention men) of Hula and his obvious lack of same at the fate of the 1,440 Palestinians (including 431 children and 114 women) massacred in the Gaza Strip in 2008/09, as manifest in an earlier opinion piece written after his return from a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies-sponsored trip to Israel in 2009.

In fact, in Israel feels tarnished as critics apply apartheid tag (SMH, 17/11/09)*, Hartcher rushed to the defence of a regime which had come under fire from a highly critical UN report (Justice Goldstone's actually), belittling both the report ("among the hundreds churned out every year") and the resolution which followed it ("just another... from the international resolution factory"):

"After enduring some 800 rocket attacks from Hamas militants in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, Israel sent its forces into Gaza... to stop the firings at the source."

And, as if this blatant toeing of the Israeli regime line on the Gaza massacre were not enough, Hartcher went on, unbelievably, to describe it as - wait for it! - a "clash."

But what particularly intrigues me, in light of his piece on the Hula massacre, is how he seized (in line with the Israeli talking point of the time) on Justice Goldstone's observations that "Palestinian armed groups were present in urban areas during the military operations and launched rockets from urban areas" and "it may be that the Palestinian combatants did not at all times adequately distinguish themselves from the civilian population" to categorically assert the following:

"This was the whole point of the Hamas strategy. By deliberately positioning themselves in residential areas, the Hamas fighters were goading Israel to shoot back at civilian homes."

Now leaving to one side the question of the veracity of this particular Israeli talking point, at no stage in his opinion piece on Syria does Hartcher take issue with the FSA "deliberately positioning themselves" in the village of Hula, let alone canvas the possibility of the FSA's "goading" the Syrian army "to shoot back at civilian homes."

Hartcher may well lament, as he does (and we most certainly do), that in Syria, "[t]he dead pile upon the dead, atrocity upon atrocity." And we, his readers, may well lament Hartcher's piling of hypocrisy upon hypocrisy.

[*See my 15/3/10 post Pawns in a Propaganda Game.]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Israel: Jewish, Democratic... & White

Anti-African pogrom in Israel? What anti-African pogrom? To my knowledge, the only Australian ms media reference to Tel Aviv's anti-African refugee pogrom of May 23 came on SBS' World News program.

Briefly, after attending a rally in south Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighbourhood addressed by Likud MKs, one of whom described Israel's African refugees as a 'cancer in our society', a Jewish mob went on the rampage, smashing shop and car windows, and beating up any Africans they could find.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier set the scene by referring, at a cabinet meeting, to the refugees as "illegal infiltrators flooding the country," and adding that, "[i]f we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state." (Israel PM: illegal African immigrants threaten identity of Jewish state, Harriet Sherwood,, 20/5/12)

After viewing some of the video footage of the pogrom, I couldn't help but notice that the most frequent insult on the lips of the mob was the word kushi, generally translated from the Hebrew as 'nigger'. Written, web-based accounts, corroborate this:

"I went to a demonstration led by MK Michael Ben-Ari 2 days ago... and was joined by my girlfriend, Galina. Ben-Ari, a Kahanist, was inciting the crowd against the African refugees in a distinctly anti-Semitic manner, peppering his talk with incessant references to excrement and urine. At some point, Galina couldn't take it any longer, and shouted something back. Within minutes we were surrounded by an angry mob of about 20 people, composed mostly of women, who hurled curses at her. Someone pulled out a tear gas canister and waved it at her face. Racist and sexual slurs filled the air repeatedly. Time and time again, people expressed the wish she would be raped by Sudanese, and asked her if she was bedding them. A boy, between 10 and 11 years old, screamed at her point blank that what she needs is a 'nigger's cock'..." (Thoughts on an attack by a Jewish mob, Yossi Gurvitz,, 24/5/12)

Gurvitz reflects on the experience:

"And after the shock and fear, an attempt at understanding what took place. The legend that African refugees turned the paradise that was south Tel Aviv into a terrorized crime zone has to be rejected... Statistics proved time and time again the crime wave exists mostly in the minds of the politicians stoking the hatred, of which Ben-Ari is an ambitious competitor. I lived in Hatikva for 2 years; I've seen the people, the despair, the fear at nights, the absence of infrastructure, the flooding every winter when the sewage system collapsed - with my own eyes. Spare me the bullshit about a quiet neighborhood of happy poor workers. First there's the economic hardship, which prevents people from getting an education and getting the hell out of there. Above it, we find Jewish supemacism, the concept of a Chosen People, 'every Jew is the son of a King'. Proud Jews are often people whose Jewishness is the only thing they can be proud of. The blow I received came after I was asked if I am a Jew, and replied in the negative." (ibid)

The 'n' word is apparently in such frequent use that it (and worse) has even been internalised by the refugees themselves:

"I accompanied a group of asylum-seeking children to their homes tonight, as we also do on the days of protests with potential racist developments. As usual we got barraged with swearwords, but policemen advised us about safer routes. The kids sang along the way: 'I'm a nigger, I'm a nigger, nigger, and I clean Israeli homes'. ('What, you don't know it, Rami? Look it up on Youtube'.) Two 12-year-old girls asked me if I know that pretty soon the Sudanese will suffer the same fate as Jews did in Germany. One asked the other to tell her about that man, Korczak, who saved children. They asked if he was Jewish and if he would have saved all the children. One girl asked me: 'What's the opposite of free?' I had trouble finding the word: imprisoned? shackled? She said: 'OK, whatever it is, say shackled, we were born shackled and we'll die shackled'. The girls asked me why the Israelis want to deport them. I asked them: If the streets in your country would suddenly fill up with white people that speak a different language you don't understand, what would you feel? One girl said: 'I'd become a teacher and teach them my language!' Toward the end two 12-year-old girls asked me: 'Say, Rami, if you were in our place, what would you have done?'" (African kids in Tel Aviv: They'll do to us what they did to Jews in Germany, Dimi Reider,, 23/5/12)

Another Israeli, Uri Horesh, explains:

"When I was growing up, kushi was a perfectly neutral term for 'black person', more like 'negro' in the 1960s than 'nigger' ever was. However, nowadays, since more Hebrew speakers in Israel actually know black people, and there are indeed black people living in Israel who speak Hebrew (including migrant African laborers, but of course, Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia), the connotations of kushi have shifted towards the negative - perhaps not to the degree of the taboo that is associated with 'nigger' in the American context, but it is gradually moving in that direction." (Kushi didn't always mean 'nigger',, 23/5/12)

One might assume from the testimony above that the kind of anti-black/white supremacist racism, which finds vivid expression in the use of the word 'nigger' on the streets of south Tel Aviv today, is a relatively recent development in Zionist history. Not so, apparently. Given that political Zionism is primarily a European settler-colonial power-trip, it should come as no surprise to find that earlier  generations of Zionists were far from immune to an obsession with European 'whiteness'.

Here, for example, British Jew and Zionist, Redcliffe Salaman, Regimental Medical Officer to the 39th Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Judean Battalion, writes of the arrival in Cairo on July 13, 1918 of the Jewish Battalions' latest batch of volunteers from Palestine's pre-World War I Jewish colonies. Salaman refers to them as "the Palestinians":

"The moment they rolled into the station I spotted a nigger amongst them, and before the train stopped I cleared that question up - his mother was a negress, his father a Sephardi (these Sephardim are a fearfully mixed lot; give me Ashkenazim for blue blood!). Then the types varied from blue-eyed handsome pseudo-Gentiles to dark, purely semitic Yemenites - and scattered between were a dozen, perhaps, of semi-negroid but often very handsome Moroccan Jews." (Palestine Reclaimed: Letters from a Jewish Officer in Palestine, 1920, pp 24-25)

Salaman adds, some pages later, that:

"The Yemenites are for the most part undersized and rather poor-spirited natives. They are not racially Jews. They are black, long-headed, hybrid Arabs. Last Saturday I worked with J. M. in the library and we got hold of every authority we could, and, from the historical evidence, it is at once clear that they have but a trace of Jewish blood in them though they probably have rather more than the Falashas. The real Jew is the European Ashkenazi, and I back him against all-comers." (ibid, p 28)

The irony of the Hatikva pogrom is that many of the participants may well have been the descendants of the very Yemeni Jews that Salaman scorned as insufficiently white to be really Jewish.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kafka in the Gulf 4

Orders in Council

But other things had happened before then. On December 18, the day on which the Ruler's grossly improper appeal for the transportation of men who had not even been tried, let alone convicted, was made, the Governor of St. Helena (5,000 miles away as the crow flies) submitted an address to Her Majesty which read as follows: Whereas the Ruler of Bahrain has expressed his desire that arrangements should be entered into between Bahrain and St. Helena for removal of certain prisoners from Bahrain to St. Helena; and Whereas it is proposed to make provision for the extension of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act, 1869, to Bahrain; now therefore I, the Governor of St. Helena, do hereby respectfully submit to Her Majesty this my humble Address praying that sanction be given by Order of Her Majesty in Council that the desired arrangements may be entered into...

So we now have, four days before any court existed for the trial of the prisoners, an appeal from the Ruler of Bahrain to Her Majesty describing them as convicted men and asking for them to be taken to St. Helena, and a submission on the same day by the Governor of St. Helena which entered fully into the spirit of the proceedings in its assumption that men who had not yet been tried would be convicted, and went further in its statement that 'it is proposed to make provision for the extension of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act, 1869, to Bahrain'; no such proposal having been made at that time by anybody.

Worse, however, was to follow. The Ruler of Bahrain is obviously not concerned with justice, and the Governor of St. Helena is a long way away. But Her Majesty, or at any rate her Colonial Secretary, ought to know better. And on December 19, still three days before the court was set up in Bahrain, and four before the trial, two Orders in Council were made. The first said that the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act was extended to Bahrain. The second declared that 'The sanction of Her Majesty is hereby given to order that the Ruler of Bahrain and the Governor of St. Helena may... enter into an agreement for the removal of prisoners... from Bahrain to the Colony of St. Helena...'

And this Order in Council was published in the Extraordinary Issue of the St. Helena Government Gazette which appended to it the announcement quoted in the first paragraph of this article. But it was not published in Bahrain until September 28 (when it was posted on the official noticeboard at the British Political Agency). Therefore the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act did not come into force in Bahrain until that date, for the relevant section of that Act says that it shall be in force 'as soon as such Order in Council has been published in the colony to which it relates'.

On December 26, three days after the 'trial', but two days before the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act came into force in Bahrain (with publication there of the Order in Council), Sir Charles Belgrave handed to the Political Resident a warrant for the removal to St. Helena of the three prisoners sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, and on December 28, under this clearly ineffective warrant, the three men were taken on board HMS Loch Insh and given into the custody of her captain.  And off they sailed to St. Helena. (Normally such prisoners are sent to the Seychelles, but - by a fine irony - they were at the time full of Archbishop Makarios and his colleagues.) When they arrived, they were handed over to the Governor, and by him to the Superintendant of Prisons, who is also the Chief of Police, and several other things as well. They were imprisoned, as the notorious announcement, made five days before they were tried, had said they would be, at Munden's. This is a small collection of Nissen huts high up on a cliff, surrounded by barbed wire.

The conditions under which they are imprisoned are curiously unrigorous for desperadoes of the kind they would be if the charges against them had been true. Those who have seen them compare their conditions to those of an officer prisoner-of-war under parole, and the situation lends support to the belief that nobody in this case, from beginning to end, really thinks that they were guilty. They spend much of their time gardening (they have made a fine flower-garden), praying and reading the Koran. For a time, they were allowed out for drives round the island, in a jeep provided by the Ruler of Bahrain to enable the St. Helena Superintendent of Prisons to visit their somewhat inaccessible quarters. But a dispute presently arose as to whether they or their captors should choose the day's route, and the upshot is that they have refused to go at all.

To be continued...

[PS: I know something's been bothering readers who've come this far in the series, so I'll spell it out. Nobody, back in the fifties and sixties, seemed to know or care, not even the Ruler of Bahrain himself, whether the prisoners were Sunni or Shia! These days, however, you can't get through a report on the subject of the People of Bahrain vs the current Ruler of the island without tripping over the two 'S' words. It's amazing what you can do with two such words - like disguise a struggle for basic  democratic rights as an age-old sectarian conflict lost in the mists of time. Now who would do such a thing, and why?]

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Was Israel Born of the Holocaust?

I was reminded of this question by the following lines of Sharmine Narwani in yesterday's post:

"The cold-blooded program of ethnically cleansing Europe of its Jewish population has been so callously and opportunistically utilized to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab nation, that it leaves me utterly unmoved. I have even caught myself - shock - rolling my eyes when I hear Holocaust and Israel in the same sentence."

Two Australian examples of this kind of linkage came to mind.

Speaking on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day last month, Julia Gillard had this to say:

"The Jewish people survived the loss of 6 million souls, and rebuilt a homeland in Israel to ensure their future. Today, on Yom Hashoah, we stand with the people of Israel in solemn memory, and we renew our commitment to Israel and its security." (PM's thoughts on the Shoah, The Australian Jewish News, 20/4/12)

Gillard's predecessor, Kevin Rudd, speaking in federal parliament on March 12, 2009, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation, was even more categorical:

"The story of the establishment of the state of Israel begins with the unimaginable tragedy of the Holocaust." (See my 14/3/09 post The Israeli Occupation of Federal Parliament 3.)

Needless to say, both  Gillard and Rudd are wrong. The creation of Israel did not begin with the Holocaust.

Those with even the slightest grasp of history will know that Israel, in brief, resulted from the work of three single-minded Zionist ideologues: Theodor Herzl, who proclaimed the need for a Jewish State in his 1896 book of the same name; Chaim Weizmann, chief architect of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which enabled the Zionist colonization of Palestine in earnest; and David Ben-Gurion, who presided over the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948-49 and went on to become Israel's first prime minister.

As the Zionist movement's key man-on-the-ground in Palestine during the thirties and forties, you might well assume that the fate of German Jewry under the Nazis and the need to mount some kind of rescue mission was a central concern of Ben-Gurion's. Not so.

Here is Ben-Gurion speaking to a Zionist audience in 1938*:

"If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transferring to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter - because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People." (Righteous Victims: A history of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 181-2001, Benny Morris, 1999, p162)

And here he is again, after the Holocaust:

"Some ten months later [1/11/47] Ben-Gurion lectured to the youth of the farming movement that 'if they [the survivors] arrive and perceive us as the prosecuted and they the prosecutors, we will have to bear it, to get used to it, to understand their soul, to treat them with love, even if it arouses anger and revulsion within us. If we do not gird ourselves with love, we shall not be able to work with them'. This remarkable passage, never repeated, reveals not only Ben-Gurion's deep emotions, but also belated (if unconscious and unacknowledged) guilt feelings and recognition of his failure, and that of the Zionist community in Palestine, to mobilize to the utmost for the rescue of and aid to the dying Diaspora during the war years'." (From Catastrophe to Power: Holocaust Survivors & the Emergence of Israel, Idith Zertal, 1998, p 220)

No, the Holocaust was never Israel's raison d'etre, but that hasn't stopped Zionist ideologues and propagandists, who care as little for real Jewish suffering as they do for Palestinian, from exploiting it to the hilt to maintain and extend their grip on Palestine.

[* See especially my 7/12/09 post Zionism's Bedside Manner.]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Three Magic Words

In the spirit of keeping it real, drop everything and read this:
Excuse me, but Israel has no right to exist by Sharmine Narwani

"The phrase 'right to exist' entered my consciousness in the 1990s just as the concept of the two-state solution became part of our collective lexicon. In any debate at university, when a Zionist was out of arguments, those 3 magic words were invoked to shut down the conversation with an outraged, 'are you saying Israel doesn't have the right to exist??'

"Of course you couldn't challenge Israel's right to exist - that was like saying you were negating a fundamental Jewish right to have... rights, with all manner of Holocaust guilt thrown in for effect.

"Except of course the Holocaust is not my fault - or that of Palestinians. The cold-blooded program of ethnically cleansing Europe of its Jewish population has been so callously and opportunistically utilized to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab nation, that it leaves me utterly unmoved. I have even caught myself - shock - rolling my eyes when I hear Holocaust and Israel in the same sentence.

"What moves me instead in this post-two-state era is the sheer audacity of Israel even existing.

"What a fantastical idea, this notion that a bunch of rank outsiders from another continent could appropriate an existing, populated nation for themselves - and convince the 'global community' that it was the moral thing to do. I'd laugh at the chutzpah if this wasn't so serious.

"Even more brazen is the mass ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population by persecuted Jews, newly arrived from their own experience of being ethnically cleansed.

"But what is truly frightening is the psychological manipulation of the masses into thinking that Palestinians are somehow dangerous - 'terrorists' intent on 'driving Jews into the sea'. As someone who makes a living through words, I find the use of language in creating perceptions to be intriguing. This practice - often termed 'public diplomacy' has become an essential tool in the world of geopolitics. Words, after all, are the building blocks of our psychology.

"The United States and Israel have created the global discourse on this issue, setting stringent parameters that grow increasingly narrow regarding the content and direction of this debate. Anything discussed outside the set parameters has, until recently, widely been viewed as unrealistic, unproductive and even subversive.

"Participation in the debate is limited only to those who subscribe to its main tenets: the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge; acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state's claim to Palestine is based; and acceptance of the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict.

"Words like dove, hawk, militant, extremist, moderate, terrorist, Islamo-fascist, rejectionist, existential threat, holocaust-denier, mad mullah determine the participation of solution partners - and are capable of instantly excluding others.

"Then there is the language that preserves 'Israel's Right To Exist' unquestioningly: anything that invokes the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the myths about historic Jewish rights to the land bequeathed to them by the Almighty - as though God was in the real-estate business. This language seeks not only to ensure that a Jewish connection to Palestine remains unquestioned, but importantly, seeks to punish and marginalize those who tackle the legitimacy of this modern colonial-settler experiment.

"But this group-think has led us nowhere. It has obfuscated, distracted, deflected, ducked, and diminished, and we are no closer to a satisfactory conclusion... because the premise is wrong.

"There is no fixing this problem. This is the kind of crisis in which you cut your losses, realize the error of your ways and reverse course. Israel is the problem. It is the last modern-day colonial-settler experiment, conducted at a time when these projects were being unravelled globally.

"There is no 'Palestinian-Israeli conflict' - that suggests some sort of equality in power, suffering, and negotiable tangibles, and there is no symmetry whatsoever in this equation. Israel is the Occupier and Oppressor; Palestinians are the Occupied and the Oppressed. What is there to negotiate? Israel holds all the chips. They can give back some land, property, rights, but even that is an absurdity - what about everything else? What about ALL the land, property and rights? Why do they get to keep anything - how is the appropriation of land and property prior to 1948 fundamentally different from the appropriation of land and property on this arbitrary 1967 date?

"Why are the colonial-settlers prior to 1948 any different from those who colonized and settled after 1967?

"Let me correct myself. Palestinians do hold one chip that Israel salivates over - the one big demand at the negotiating table that seems to hold up everything else. Israel craves recognition of its 'right to exist'.

"But you do exist - don't you, Israel?

"Israel fears 'delegitimization'' more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance, and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the 'least safe place for Jews in the world'.

"Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn't even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn't have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians walking home.

"Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support - pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.

"The most important thing we can do as we hover on the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway - it was just the parlance of that particular 'game'. Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities - the new state will be the dawn of humanity's great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.

"Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called 'home' for three generations in their purgatory camps.

"These universally exploited refugees are entitled to the nice apartments - the ones that have pools downstairs and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed western experiment will never be enough.

"And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears - the one 'firewall' remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don't even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don't hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn't live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany - and good luck to you.

"For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere - you are part of the reason this problem exists.

"Israelis who don't want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population - the ones who don't want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago - can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude - Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors - without proportional response - shows remarkable restraint and faith.

"This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage - we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally, Palestinian - undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.

"Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: 'Israel has no right to exist'. Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update - do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here - have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was." (, 17/5/12)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Comedy... or Propaganda?

The following questions and answers are taken from a recent interview with the character Admiral General Aladeen, protagonist of Sacha Baron Cohen's film The Dictator.

The interview appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald's entertainment supplement, Metro, on May 11:

Is it true you were banned by the BBC after your Australian TV appearances?

"... All I wanted to do was use their airwaves to promote my anti-West and anti-Zionist platform."

Who are your idols when it comes to dictators?

"You have the great Saddam (Hussein), Muammar (Gaddafi)..."

You've won 3 Wadiyan Golden Globe awards as an actor. What are your favourite movies...?

"... I particularly love science fiction, particularly this film Schindler's List. I love it. It's so fantastical. Me and my friend Mahmoud Ahmadinejad see it and laugh..."

And what about peace in the Middle East?

"I look on Wikipedia and see that Israel is still in the present tense and it makes me very upset. My country is only 2000 miles... from Israel as the Scud flies."

How did you become leader?

"I rose to power in tragic circumstances. My mother died from strangulation during childbirth and my father was grenade intolerant. In the good old days of the gentlemen dictators, you simply had to murder your father but now you have to do sneaky things like rigging elections and imprisoning most of your citizens..." (Despot the difference, Jenny Cooney Carrillo)

Under the heading 'Genre', The Dictator is classified 'Comedy'. Zionist Propaganda would be more accurate.

Related post: Why 'The Dictator' is No Laughing Matter (20/5/12).

Kafka in the Gulf 3

The Act of 1869

Before coming to the next event in the story, it will be necessary to say something of the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act, because it is on this and attendant British statutes that so much of the legal side of this affair depends. The Act, passed in 1869, was designed to deal with cases in which citizens of British colonies, sentenced to imprisonment, could not very well serve their terms in the colony of sentence; either because their continued presence there, imprisoned, might cause unrest, or because facilities for secure long-term imprisonment were lacking in some colonies. The Act therefore provided that, with the sanction of an Order in Council, a prisoner convicted in one colony might be transferred to serve his sentence in another. It was provided that the sanction of the Order in Council, under which the 'transfer' was affected, should come into force as soon as it had been published in the appropriate colony, and that when the sanction had been given the actual transfer of the prisoner might be effected under a warrant signed by the governor of the 'exporting' colony and addressed to the master of the ship that was to take the prisoner, or to some other appropriate person. And finally the Act declared that prisoners should be subject in the 'importing' colony to all laws and regulations, and should be dealt with in exactly the same manner, as would be applicable if they had been tried and sentenced in the 'importing' country.

Now this Act did not, of course, apply to foreign countries, not even those under British protection. By the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890, however, it was provided that various existing Statutes applying to Britain and the colonies might be applied to foreign territories in which there was British jurisdiction, and the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1913, adds to the list of such statutes the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act of 1989.

And, to summarise the position regarding British jurisdiction in Bahrain, it extends to cases involving British subjects and cases involving both British and local subjects; these latter cases go, either (with the necessary concurrence of the Political Resident) to the local Bahraini courts, or to the special British Joint Court for hearing such 'mixed' cases.

To return from the general to the particular, the prisoners having been arrested on November 2 and 3, nothing further happened until, on December 1, Sir Charles Belgrave (the Ruler's Officer, not the British Government's) orally asked Sir Bernard Burrows, British Political Resident for the Persian Gulf, whether the British Government would be willing for five men who were about to be tried 'for sedition or treason' to undergo their imprisonment, if they were convicted, in a British possession. On December 18 Sir Bernard Burrows replied that this could be arranged, and that the authorities in St. Helena had expressed willingness to have the prisoners.

But on the same day, December 18, Sir Charles Belgrave, on behalf of the Ruler, handed to the Resident, for transmission to the British Government, the following astonishing document: To Her Majesty the Queen of Britain. May God preserve and keep her. In view of the ancient friendship long existing between Her Majesty's Government and us we request assistance from time to time in removing certain persons sentenced in our court to a safe place outside Bahrain for imprisonment for the appointed sentence. We beseech you to allow us to make arrangements with the Governor of the island of St. Helena for the reception of the persons who will be sent to that island in accordance with the sentence decided. Always, your Majesty, placing confidence in a response to our request. May God keep you in his care.

Now in the first place the Ruler's statement that 'we request assistance from time to time in removing certain persons sentenced in our court to a safe place outside Bahrain for imprisonment...' is simply untrue; he had never before made any such request. Much worse, however, is the implication contained in the reference to the reception in St. Helena of 'the persons who will be sent to that island in accordance with the sentence decided'. For this request was not only made five days before the 'trial' took place; it was made four days before the court set up to convict the prisoners was even called into being. In other words, the Ruler knew perfectly well what the 'verdict' would be, and the 'court' was merely there to rubber-stamp this.

The Family Trial

And a scrutiny of the 'trial' shows that his confidence was not misplaced. To begin with, the Ruler removed the case from the ordinary Bahraini courts and set up a special ad hoc court to deal with it. This court consisted of three judges (there is no trial by jury in Bahrain); they were Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Daij, and Sheikh Ali. All three of them are relatives of the Ruler. This family gathering, instead of hearing the case in Manamah, the normal seat of what passes for justice in Bahrain, went to a small place some miles away, called Budeya, ostensibly on the grounds that the disturbances made Manamah unsuitable. The defendants declared that the court was improperly constituted and that the trial should take place in Manamah. These contentions were naturally rejected by the Ruler's relatives, and the defendants therefore refused to enter a defence, call witnesses or address the court. One of the defendants, Al Bakir, said that he wished to make a statement provided that certain people not present (through whom alone he could hope to get the facts of the situation publicised), were brought to the court. The Ruler's relatives refused this, too, and proceeded to convict all five of the defendants of all the charges brought against them. The evidence brought against the prisoners was not of a kind that would have been entertained by any British court. The three now on St. Helena were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, the other two to 10 years. The only right of appeal they had was to the ruler personally, and having refused the jurisdiction of a court composed of his relatives, they were doubtless not disposed to try their luck with him. At any rate, no appeal was lodged.

To be continued...

Kafka in the Gulf 2

Absolute Rule

The story begins in November, 1956, in Bahrain. Bahrain is not, of course, a British territory, but it is a territory under British protection: it has a British Political Agent (at the material time Mr Charles Alexander Gault) and a British political Officer (a lower rank; at the time, Mr Alfred Francis Ward) who represent the British Government in Bahraini affairs, and exercise the protection of the British Government. Above the Political Agent for Bahrain there is the British Political Resident for the Persian Gulf (then Sir Bernard Burrows).

Bahrain is under the absolute personal rule (subject only to British administration of external affairs, exercised through Resident and Agent) of the Ruler, Sheikh Salman bin Hamed. He had, at the time our story starts, a British Political Adviser, Sir Charles Belgrave: the Adviser, unlike the Resident and the Agent, is in the employ of the Ruler, not of the British Government, and acts exclusively on his behalf. Sir Charles was, in effect, Prime Minister of Bahrain, a post he held from 1926 to 1957, and one of the more touching facts in this history is that he got the post by answering an advertisement the Ruler put in the British press; it is perhaps the only occasion in history when a Prime Minister has been appointed in this fashion. Anyway, Sir Charles Belgrave was not, to say the least, an outstandingly progressive or flexible Prime Minister of Bahrain, and was, for the last years of his appointment at least, rarely in the position of urging the Ruler to go faster and further in modernising the political conditions in Bahrain than the Ruler himself would have been inclined to do. It was the British officials - Resident and Agent - who pressed the Ruler to modernise his regime, and the few concessions he made were almost entirely due to British Government pressure.

The Ruler's Law

There was nothing in Bahrain, at the material time, that would be recognised as a law in this country: what its citizens might, might not and had to do was at any given moment what the Ruler decided. There is now a rudimentary legal code, but the prisoners in this case were not tried according to its provisions (which did not exist) or indeed according to the provisions of any legal code whatever. With the exception of certain cases within the jurisdiction of the British Government (constitutionally speaking, of Her Majesty), all cases go either to the existing Bahraini courts, or to special courts that the Ruler may set up, and how, where, and by whom cases are heard and judged is within the Ruler's absolute discretion.

Cases in which there is British jurisdiction are specified in the Bahrain Order, 1952. This applies to all persons in Bahrain except Bahraini subjects and corporations, and subjects of the Rulers of Saudi Arabia, the Yemen, Muscat and Oman, Kuwait, Qatar or any of the Trucial States. For dealing with everybody else, the Order makes provision in Bahrain for different kinds of British courts. One, called the Joint Court, exists to deal with what are called Mixed Cases: these are cases (civil or criminal) in which persons subject to the Order and persons not subject to the Order are both parties. In other words, if a British citizen in Bahrain is involved in a dispute at law, or a crime, with a Bahraini citizen, the case is heard before the Joint Court; if only British citizens are involved it is heard before what is called the Court for Bahrain, and of course if only Bahrainis (or other local subjects) are involved the British courts have no jurisdiction, and the permanent and special Bahraini courts hear the case. (The reason for this Order is, of course, that the Bahraini courts are very properly considered quite unfit to try British subjects. They are also unfit to try Bahraini subjects, but HMG can hardly do anything about that.)

There is one loophole in this Order, which was to prove of great importance in the present case. The loophole consists of a section which provides that, with the concurrence of the Political Resident, mixed cases may (despite the special Joint Court for dealing with them) be transferred to the ordinary local courts. In an access of generosity, however, the Political Resident, Sir Bernard Burrows, gave a general concurrence in 1953 that all such 'mixed cases' could be heard before the local courts; in effect, therefore, he abolished the Joint Court entirely.

The Committee

There are no political rights in Bahrain, but some years ago an organisation known first as the High Executive Committee, and later as the Committee of National Union, came into being, one of its aims being a less authoritarian system of government in the territory. Three of the members of this Committee of National Union were Abdul Rahman Al Bakir, Abdul Aziz Al Shamlan and Abdullah Al Aliwat. The Committee was well known as the mildest, most inoffensive and least demanding nationalist group in the Middle East. Their objective was no more than to have elected representatives to sit on the advisory committees (for health, education, etc) that were entirely nominated by the Ruler. (These committees in any case had no powers apart from that of advising the Ruler and Sir Charles Belgrave.) Their aim would have been regarded as ludicrously inadequate by a Rural District Council in Britain, yet they were met with protracted delay and opposition from Sir Charles. When a BBC television unit went to Bahrain in June, 1956, there were some revealing exchanges between the interviewer (Mr Woodrow Wyatt) and Al Shamlan (Secretary of the Committee and now one of the three prisoners on St. Helena).

Wyatt: What is it that the Committee wants?
Al Shamlan: The Committee wants reform and wants to participate in the administration of the country.
Wyatt: Does it not participate in the affairs of Bahrain at all at the monent?
Al Shamlan: Not at all at the moment, people are not participating in their own affairs. It is only one-man rule.
Wyatt: What is the system of justice in Bahrain?
Al Shamlan: There is no justice. Actually, we have no rules whatever. We haven't got a code, we haven't got a penal code either.
Wyatt: No laws?
Al Shamlan: No laws. And that's what we are trying to get for this country. We want to get laws for the country.
Wyatt: And why do you want Sir Charles Belgrave to go?
Al Shamlan: Well... he is administrating hospitals, police, customs, finance, justice - that can't be for one man.

On March 2, 1956, when Mr Selwyn Lloyd was visiting Bahrain, there was a demonstration, and stones were thrown at his car. Al Shamlan declared that this demonstration (which had not been organised by his Committee) was not a demonstration against Mr Lloyd personally, or against the British Government - the Committee insisted that they wanted Bahrain to retain its British connection - but 'to give an expression about Sir Charles Belgrave only... the people, as they want him to go, they wanted that Selwyn Lloyd knows this fact'.

Following the launching of the Suez attack at the end of October, 1956, there were disturbances in various parts of the Middle East, in the form of protests and demonstrations against the action, and in Bahrain, in particular (because of the British-protected status of the territory), against the British part in it. Following these disturbances, one man was arrested there on November 2, and four more (including the three mentioned) on November 3. None of these men is a British subject (there is some doubt as to whether Abdul Rahman Al Bakir is a citizen of Bahrain or of Qatar, but he lived in Bahrain). What they were charged with was as follows" The attempted assassination of of the Ruler and of some of his family and of his Adviser (Sir Charles Belgrave); the destruction of the Ruler's palace; setting fire to the airport of Al Moharraq and other places; the overthrow by illegal means of governmental control [there are, of course, no legal means in Bahrain of altering the governmental control]; and the deposition of the Ruler.

This is, it will readily be seen, a pretty full morning's work, and why persons assassinating the Ruler should subsequently wish to depose him may not be entirely clear. Be this as it may, the men were arrested and charged (though it is not clear how long they were held before being charged, and nothing like habeas corpus proceedings exist in Bahrain), and nothing further happened for some weeks.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Greg Sheridan Nailed on Q&A

Given the presence on the Q & A panel last night of ex-CIA interrogator turned whistleblowing author (The Interrogator: A CIA Agent's True Story), Glenn Carle, the subject of torture was inevitable. Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, The Australian's foreign editor, and an unabashed apologist for all things USraeli (who had earlier in the discussion loudly declared that worked for Murdoch), was decidedly shifty. Torture was out, he said, but that old euphemism for same, 'enhanced interrogation techniques', now that was a different matter:

GS: "I don't think that it's about black and white. I don't think you're obliged to give the Taliban that you captured on the battlefield a slice of apple pie, a cup of tea and a warm environment. I think you're allowed to be pretty robust in your questioning, and the moral dilemma comes about when you think this person has information which may well save innocent lives if he gives it to us. Now..."

Tony Jones (interrupting): Can I ask you what is the limitation you put on this because you know that American Republican officials at very senior levels talk about enhanced interrogation techniques and there's a whole set of things you can and can't do to people?

GS: "Well, I think there have got to be rules and the CIA as I understand it ask for proper legal guidance all the time and find it very difficult to get legal guidelines. There have got to be rules..."

Tony Jones (interrupting): But they ended up doing a lot of waterboarding for example, so just to test you here, do you think waterboarding is legitimate?

GS: "Well, I would say this. Although I have the greatest respect for our fellow panelist there are other authors with similar knowledge who are of the view that enhanced interrogation techniques did provide life-saving information. Now it seems to me..."

Tony Jones (interrupting): Just to get back to my question. Do you condone waterboarding?

GS: "If the technique doesn't leave any lasting physical or psychological damage then I think you have to examine whether in an extreme case it might be allowed but I wouldn't allow a blanket policy saying yes you can waterboard. But I wouldn't absolutely rule out things which are pretty stressful in the interrogation department."


Tony Jones (addressing Glenn Carle): You're the expert on the subject. Do the ends justify the means?

GC: "No they don't. We just heard really the world as described by Rupert Murdoch and the Republican Party in the US, not a word of which makes sense as related to the truth and the law and our heritage and effective interrogation... There are four people who've written and spoken out about quote enhanced interrogation techniques since they occurred after 9/11. Two army officers who were interrogators, an FBI officer who was an interrogator, and a CIA officer - myself. None of us knew each other. All of us say almost verbatim the same things, which is that it doesn't work, it's illegal, it's immoral and it's unnecessary. The only people who've spoken out in favour of quote enhanced interrogation techniques - the only ones - are one of two categories. Either the individuals who made the policies and are trying to defend them for their legacy and for legal defence reasons, or the shills for the policies themselves. They're the only ones..."

So let me get this straight, as they say, here we have an ex-CIA man, who has seen and heard it all (and for whom, incidentally, Sheridan has professed nothing but the greatest respect), not only dismissing him as a mere mouthpiece for Murdoch and the Bushies, but nailing him as a shill for the waterboarders. Television doesn't get more real than that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kafka in the Gulf 1

Think Britain handing Palestine to the Zionist movement in 1917, or the so-called Act of Free Choice of 1969 which led to West Papua being delivered to the Indonesians. Both were monstrous acts of injustice with the direst of consequences for the peoples of both lands.

And why cite such appalling cases? Well, I've just read this:

"Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bahrain's capital city of Manama today, condemning King Hamad al-Khalifa for agreeing to enter a formal union with the Saudi royal family. The deal has the island's Shi'ite majority up in arms, interpreting the plan as a thinly veiled attempt by the Saudis to sideline their calls for democratic reforms. Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain last year to help crush pro-democracy protests. The exact terms of the union have been nebulous so far, but officials have said it would unify the Saudi and Bahraini states on security, economic and diplomatic policies. Considering how much larger Saudi Arabia is, many have criticized it as a de facto annexation." (Tens of thousands protest in Bahrain against 'Saudi union', Jason Ditz,, 18/5/12)

What sort of regime could possibly contemplate, let alone carry out, such a flagrantly anti-democratic move? Obviously, one for whom the will of the people is, and always has been, anathema.

Meet the now 229-year old ruling dynasty of Bahrain, the Al-Khalifas.

One of the best introductions to the nature of this dynastic tyranny and its one-time British 'protectors' is a series of 3 feature articles by one of the UK's top journalists, the late Bernard Levin (1928-2004), published in the then progressive Spectator magazine in the early 1960s. In them Levin tells the story, in his own inimitable, punchy style, of a quite singular Kafkaesque injustice perpetrated on 3 hapless Bahrainis by the island's then ruler, aided and abetted at every turn by a motley crew of truly imbecilic Brits, some at the centre of British political life, some not.

In light of the appalling situation in which the people of Bahrain find themselves today, and the consequent need to background what it is precisely that they are up against. I've decided it'd be useful to resurrect (it's not on the internet) and serialise Levin's 3 articles - The Prisoners of St. Helena (1/7/60), The Prisoners of St.Helena: Part 2 (30/12/60), and The Ex-Prisoners of St. Helena (16/6/61) - under the heading of Kafka in the Gulf.

I'm not sure quite how many posts this will require, nor will they always be in consecutive order - there's simply too much else going on here and in the region - but I advise you to persevere. This surreal story has, in Bernard Levin, found an exceptional voice. Nor are the insights confined to the outrageously medieval politics of Bahrain. Few journalists have served up the politicians of their day on toast as well as Levin. But enough of that. I'll conclude this post with the opening paragraphs of The Prisoners of St. Helena:

On December 22, 1956, there appeared in the island of St. Helena (a British Colony) an Extraordinary Issue of the St. Helena Government Gazette containing the following announcement: An urgent request made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government was recently received by His Excellency the Governor, as to the possibility of arranging for the detention in St. Helena of five subjects of the Ruler of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, convicted of political offences. After discussing all aspects of this request with the Executive Council, the Governor informed the Secretary of State for the Colonies of his concurrence in the proposed arrangements. It is expected that these persons will be brought to St. Helena in one of Her Majesty's ships in the latter part of January, and that they will be detained at Munden's.

And so indeed they were, and are. But since their trial for 'political offences' did not begin until December 23, the day after the publication in the St. Helena Government Gazette of the announcement that they would shortly be coming there, convicted, it seems to me that the Extraordinary Issue of the St. Helena Government Gazette was Extraordinary in more than the technical sense, and that the case whose outcome it so prophetically referred before it had started will bear investigation. And, as will be seen, the case becomes more extraordinary, and for that matter more disquieting, as investigation proceeds.

To be continued...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Of Course, This Couldn't Possibly Happen Here

The Chief Minister,
Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Government of Maharashtra,

Sub: We condemn the Mumbai Police action & confiscation of our 'Boycott Israel-Save India, 15th May Nakba-Day' Banners from a private office premise.

Respected Sir,

We are extremely peturbed and angry at the fact that today, on the 18th of May 2012, at 3.00pm, the Agripada police raided the premises of the Jamat-i-Islami-i-Hind at Madanpura & confiscated the 'May 15 - Nakba Day' banners. The office staff were called over to the Agripada Police Station for further questioning. Soon after, on making calls to the police station, which had  earlier refused to give us any information, but after sustained calls from various important quarters we were informed that it was on the behest & instructions of the Israeli consulate in Mumbai, that the police went into action. This is indeed a matter of great concern, whereby the local police is now acting as an agent of a foreign consulate against Indian citizens.

This is clearly an infringement of our sovereign & democratic rights & we thus lodge our protest & condemn the action of the police as strongly as possible. The banners were not put up in any public space without the due permission of the municipal authorities, as is the norm. The banners were strung outside the balcony on the first floor of the said private premises. Moreover the banners had the following messages in the context of the May 15th protests that are held globally.

i) Boycott Israel - Save India!!
ii) Free Palestine & Right of Return of the Refugees
iii) May 15th - Nakba Protests!!

These banners and protests are in keeping with our historical national tradition of supporting the anti-colonial freedom struggles* & the international political consensus in terms of the global day of protests against the creation of the Zionist Apartheid Racist Israel.

Thus we demand that action be taken against:

i) The Israeli consulate, wherein they are clearly told to operate within the limits of a foreign entity as a consulate & not step beyond the boundaries & the laws of our country. They need to be told that they are not the new viceroys of India, where they can directly call up the local police station & have them raid & arrest patriotic citizens.

Though this problem also stems from the fact that due to state policy a number of low level police officials are also travelling to Israel, for so-called anti-terror training whilst it is a well known fact that Israel is the fountainhead of terror in the world.

This flawed training of our police by certified Islamophobes has resulted in an increased wave of anti-Muslim xenophobia amongst our police & intelligence services, as has been evident in the persecution of Muslim youth in the course of the last two decades.

Meanwhile, a significant number of Mossad agents have been identified & expelled from India for indulging in espionage, drug peddling & weapons smuggling. Also the links of racist Israel with the extreme right-wing Manuwadi forces, namely the BJP-RSS-VHP-BD, all stand exposed.

Yet the secular Congress-led UPA turns a blind eye to the Mossad operations in our city & across the country.

Israel poses a grave security threat to the very sovereignty & unity of our country. Today, the dubious & perfidious role of the Zionist-Israeli Lobby in America & the Western world stands exposed & Israel stands at the bottom of public opinion across the world. Yet the ruling political elite in our country do not seem to understand the obvious. Also the corrupting role of Israeli weapons manufacturers has been exposed by none less than the Defence Ministry itself, whereby 4 Israeli companies have been banned for bribing politicians, military officials and bureaucrats. The links of the Mossad & the Abhinav Bharat & Sanatan Sanstha terror organizations are also being probed due to the charge-sheet filed by Shaheed ATS Chief Hemant Karkare.

Thus it is also due to the flawed policies of the government, where the likes of racist Israelis operate with impunity, even by-passing the official corridors of power & our intel-security apparatus.

ii) The DCP Mr Kishore Jadhav & the Sr Inspector Mr Suryavanshi (Agripada Police Station) all need to be taken to task for operating at the behest of the Israeli consulate as their agents.

All the police stations in our city of Mumbai, across Maharashtra & India, need to be warned that they cannot be acting at a telephone call from either the Israeli, the American, or any other foreign power.

The next time the people of this city will lay siege to the police station if our sovereign democratic rights as Indian citizens are again infringed upon.

We also demand that the Home Minister, Mr P R Patil, take the appropirate action against these errant officials so we do not see a repeat of these abominable acts ever again.

We represent the patriotic tradition of our Freedom Movement against the British colonial occupation of our Motherland & we will not stand by and see our nation be colonized once again by American & Israeli imperialists. We will not betray the sacrifices & the memories of our founding fathers & the thousands who laid down their lives for a free India.

Today there is a movement across the world where the masses are challenging the US-Israeli-European Neo-colonial project & the demise of the Western imperial powers is destined.

It is time for the Indian political class to understand these new political realities for the future of our nation & the world is at stake.

We walk in the path of Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Mahatma Phule, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Subash Chandra Bhose & Bhagat Singh & it is their teachings that we will strive to carry on.

Jai Hind!! Jai Bharat!!

Feroze Mithiborwala, Kishore Jagtap, Aslam Ghazi, Jyoti Badekar & Arif Kapadia

(From Mumbai police confiscate Nakba Day banners, Bharat Bachao Andolan,, 19/5/12)

[* "What was still more unpleasant for the Government, the Moslem world outside Palestine began to raise its voice. An all-India Moslem Conference for Palestine was held in Bombay [now Mumbai, in May 1922] and passed a resolution that the Holy Land of Palestine was the trust of the whole Moslem world and not of the Moslems of Palestine alone. It demanded the abolition of the Balfour Declaration, the termination of the Mandate and the establishment of self-government there. It decided to celebrate a 'Palestine Day' throughout India, Burma and Ceylon, on Friday the 16th [May], to begin after prayers at the mosques. This was held as arranged, and in Bombay particularly was on an impressive scale. Long processions paraded through the Moslem quarters, waving banners inscribed 'Down with the Balfour Declaration!' and Reuter cabled that a meeting in the evening was attended by 100,000 persons." (Palestine: The Reality (1939), JMN Jeffries, p 620)]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Nakba Messes with the Zionist Mind

The contortions of the Zionist mind over the wholesale dispossession of the Palestinian people by Zionist forces in 1948 never ceases to amaze:

"There's no escaping [the Nakba]. We can argue about how and why people were dispossessed, it's just part of [Israel's] history now. What we can do is figure out how we can maintain a Jewish-democratic state while still being maximally inclusive of a Palestinian minority. This is from our Jewish-Zionist perspective, of course." (Nakba is part of Israel's history, Liam Getreu,, 16/5/12)

OK, it happened! There, I've said it. But it's just part of Israel's history OK? What's that? Palestine's history? Yeah, whatever. Look, the only thing that really matters here and now is that we maintain a Jewish majority in Israel (so we can claim to be a democracy) vis a vis our Palestinian minority, OK? But that doesn't mean we can't be nice to them. What's that? Palestinian refugees? What about them? Allow them to return? Get real! What part of 'Jewish state' do you not understand?

"Even as some Australian Palestinians and their supporters spent Tuesday evening disrupting commuters in Sydney in the course of their Nakba Day protests against Israel, SBS World News ran a segment on the recent resettlement of several dozen Iraqi Palestinian refugees in Australia. While the segment was framed by the SBS presenters as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of Palestinian refugees on the anniversary of Israel's creation, in reality the story had very little to do with Israel." (Shhh, Australia is resettling Palestinians, Ahron Shapiro,, 17/5/12)

That's right, just because they were kicked out of - ahem - Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948 and denied the right of return to their ancestral homeland by Israel ever since, that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel.

Why 'The Dictator' is No Laughing Matter

If you're awake, you can't possibly have escaped the intrusive advertising for Sacha Baron Cohen's latest film The Dictator. What you will escape, however, is any real acknowledgement that there's more to the film than harmless, if tasteless, fun, or that its creator is no mere entertainer. In short, that The Dictator has an agenda.

The one welcome exception here has been an opinion piece, Joke's worn off as films cue the stock Arab, in the Sydney Morning Herald of May 17, by Amal Awad, a Palestinian-Australian journalist and novelist (Courting Samira). Here's the gist:

"I will look forward to seeing The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest attempt at lampooning other cultures, which is released today. I will watch with interest not because I'm convinced it will be much of a film but because as an Arab Muslim, I'm curious about how we are portrayed in modern cinema... I'm all for political and social satire, but in a world were Arabs and Muslims are consistently relegated to the role of cab driver, convenience-store owner, terrorist or tyrant, the yawn factor has well and truly set in. Where there is humour, it seems primarily at our expense... Hollywood take note - the Arabs are coming. We're happy to poke fun at ourselves; can you let us in on the joke?"

I find Awad's attitude to this film somewhat puzzling though. Surely "looking forward to seeing The Dictator," and the false suggestion that SBC is some kind of 'equal opportunity' lampooner of "other cultures" (but not his own?), sits at odds with her recognition that the film is profoundly anti-Arab. Why then, given this recognition, does she look forward to seeing it? Why not just nail it directly and unequivocally for the racist crap that it is and urge a boycott, not just on the part of Arab-Australians but on the part of all decent, right-thinking Australians? And why does she make no attempt to delve into SBC's Zionist  background, beliefs and behaviour, simply taking him at face value as a funny man. A google search, for example, would have revealed:

a) That SBC joined the Zionist Habonim Dror youth group in his teens. According to a friend, "He was very Zionist, very involved in Habo." (Before 'The Dictator'... friends recall, Sacha Baron Cohen was a very nerdy, very funny, Israel-oriented guy, Jessica Steinberg,, 11/5/12)

b) That he signed a letter opposing a protest against the celebration of Tel Aviv's 'centenary' at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009. (Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen & Natalie Portman slam Toronto Film Festival protest, Itamar Zohar, Haaretz, 16/9/09)

c) That he cynically misrepresented a Palestinian Christian member of Fatah, Abu Aita, as a terrorist in order to promote one of his film, Bruno. Abu Aita is now suing Cohen. (Sacha Baron Cohen: yet another lying Zionist, Jews sans Frontieres, 27/10/09)

Clearly, with this kind of baggage, SBC's 'comedy' calls for a far more critical approach than Awad's.

Pakistani blogger, Bina Shah, points the way with her post The Dictator & The Zionist - The Trouble with Sacha Baron Cohen. Here's an extract:

"You see, Sacha Baron Cohen is a Zionist, a very publicly declared one. Which is not a problem for me personally, really. He's got the right to hold his political views even if they are very bigoted ones that have been at the root of most of the strife in the Middle East since 1948. But he's got a very deliberate agenda which he expresses not-so-subtly in all his movies, and it's not being said by commentators because of the fear they will be called anti-Semitic. Zionism is the belief in a Jewish nation, and the accompanying fierce loyalty to that nation, no matter what it does in the name of protecting itself and perpetuating its survival. It's Zionism, not Judaism, that has seen the worst atrocities committed against the people of Palestine. Now, SBC doesn't go around spouting things about the greatness of Israel in his movies. But if you look carefully, each one of his productions - from Ali G to Borat to Bruno to now, The Dictator, advances a certain element of Zionist propaganda against Muslims. Which is that Muslims are laughable, unintelligent, idiotic people with no intellect at best, and terrorists at worst. And Cohen uses buffoonery to do this. How? By taking the stereotypes, derived both from Orientalism and from anti-Islamic Zionism, and playing them out to such ridiculous extremes that his audiences laugh. And in laughing, they feel entertained. And in being entertained, they swallow the stereotypes and the racism whole, without pausing to critically analyse what they've been presented with. You could call this SBC's particular genius. Yes, it's pretty clever. But it's also dangerous." (, 12/5/12)

Perhaps if SBC were to follow The Dictator with a film satirising Israel's Jewish supremacists or their accomplices and enablers in places like the US, Britain and Australia we might give him the benefit of the doubt, but I won't be holding my breath.

Awad asks if Hollywood can let "us" in on the joke. Hollywood has been smearing Arab Muslims from Day One and it won't be stopping any time soon. The Dictator is just the latest in a long line.

Young Arab-Australians such as Awad really do need to be more savvy about these things. They could do far worse than invest in a copy of Jack Shaheen's exhaustive survey of Hollywood's Arabophobia: Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2001)*.

[*See my 1/10/08 post Paul Newman: Zionist Dupe.]

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nakba Day Backlash 3

Streets of hate screamed the front page headline of the May 18 Australian Jewish News.

My trembling fingers turned the page, expecting a suitable follow up, such as Jack-booted pro-Palestinian storm troopers smash Jewish-owned shops in Sydney CBD, but found only Hezbollah flags fly at march. A bit of a let down that one, but on I pressed, my already bloodshot eyes scanning the opening paragraph:

"Pro-Palestinian protestors [sic] compared Israel to Hitler, waived Hezbollah flags and were joined by one of Australia's most infamous neo-Nazis when they marked Al-Nakba Day on Tuesday night. Less than 200 people turned out for the protest in the centre of Sydney; however, they forced NSW Police to stop traffic as they marched along George, Market, Pitt and King Streets."

OMG, all of that? They didn't?!

Afraid so, as the AJN's fearless reporter, Joshua Levi, went on to confirm:

"A female spokesperson at the rally quoted Hitler when she alleged that Israel is spreading lies about the Palestinians. 'Hitler said that the great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one and that is what Israel is doing'."

Good God! Doesn't she know that Israel alone decides who quotes Hitler and the manner in which he is quoted?

"[Patrick] Langosch also said he didn't have a problem with people waving Hezbollah flags, despite the fact it is considered a terrorist organisation by the Australian government."

A terrorist organisation? Young Joshua has obviously not read my 11/3/10 post Who's Afraid of Hezbollah?

"However, [Langosch] seemed to sing from a different tune..."

Er, I think that's 'hymn book', Josh.

"... when it came to one of Australia's most infamous neo-Nazis, Ross 'The Skull' May, who marched with the protest. 'Ross May was not there as part of our demonstration' [, said Langosch]. 'He was informed that he was not part of the demonstration and he was not welcome... because he is a known neo-Nazi'."

Ross 'The Skull' May? You're kidding me! You mean he's still alive? Or is this - like - an Elvis sighting?

OK, so he tags along? My God, even, such is their chutzpah, Zionists do that:

"Ruby Jacenko, a 22-year-old who was at the rally to show her support for Israel and reject claims by the marchers, said she didn't feel safe. 'I had two older men go out of their way to intimidate me so I stayed nice and close to the police', Jacenko said."

Ruby Jacenko? You're kidding me! You mean the proud bachelorette, lifestyle blogger and occasional drama queen who beats up on little sister, Roxy, drives a top-of-the-line Range Rover, sports a white gold Rolex and carries a Fendi bag?

Frankly, I'd be more worried about the two older men. Those Fendis can do some damage in a crowd  let me tell you!

Man! Ross and Ruby - separated by less than 200 people!  Who'd have thought? Can you see now why I sooo love the Australian Jewish News?

But there was more... The AJN is a gift that just keeps on giving. There was the AJN 's editorial, The oxygen of publicity.

"Rally organiser Patrick Langosch even thanked the police force for its intervention. 'The NSW Police have done more to get people to this demonstration then [sic] we could ever hope for', he told The AJN at the rally. But just in case the police didn't do enough to help them publicise their cause, NSW Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson served up a little more assistance in her ruling."

Now let me get this straight. Someone - no names, no pack-drill - puts the plods up to this, but it's the plods and Justice Adamson who *cop* the criticism! That's chutzpah for you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nakba Day Backlash 2

Some hilarious Zionist sprays from comment threads at J-Wire. Enjoy:

Otto Waldmann says: "And thus a genuine naqba [sic] is hoisted upon the civilised, peaceful Sydney dwellers who never wanted to turn this normal place into the ruins that best define every place so called palestinians have set foot on. The self declared victims of destructive spirits, the ilk that sends their children into death simply to satisfy their blood thirsty hatred of Jews, the intollerant [sic], ilogical [sic] wreckers of our urban existential reason call upon notions of 'rights' and 'ethics' oblivious to the rules that govern a civilised society. Blind destructive mobs want the whole society to be turned into chaos because this is the only mode of existence they have acquired while traversing generations of murderers towards their universal purpose of kneeling the whole of humanity to their sick will. This democratic, civilised society did not object to the reasons for the mindless demonstrations but the manner in which it is to be planned!!! A very convincing proof (as we really needed more of it) that the spirit of naqba [sic] is what dominates the existence of these people. They have inflicted it upon themselves 64 years ago and now plan on perpetuating it in demonstartive [sic] ways upon Australians. A more selfish disrespect for this country cannot be fathomed!!!" (NSW Police object to a peak-time city pro-Palestinian march, 13/5/12)

I don't care what you say, you've gotta admire a guy who can put his name to something like that.

Sony says: "How dare our court system allow these people to march in our AUSTRALIA streets in support of these TERRORISTS and their BARBARIC BELIEFS AND PRACTICES... If they don't support peace or like our peaceful Aussie lifestyle, they should ALL be deported back to the very country they support. Our jails here in Australia are 85% full of these Muslim criminals, they offer nothing toward our country, communities and way of life and are nothing but a drain on our Social Security System, they are against the Jewish race of people that have the only civilised State in the Middle East, the Jewish state of ISRAEL that is riddled with Arab settlements throughout, the entire state of Israel is only about 8 hours drive North to south and 4 hours drive East to West. The Jews have offered so much to the world in Technology, Medicine, Science to mention just a few things, just google Noble [sic] Prize winners to see that the majority of awards have gone to Jews who are only 1.5% of world population. SHAME ON THESE IDIOTS WHO CONDEMN A BRILLIAN [sic] RACE OF PEOPLE!!!!"

Ary Markenstein says: "You are so right Sony." (They came, they spoke, they marched, 16/5/12)

Roll over, Einstein! Yes, Ary, if anyone deserves a Noble [sic] Prize, it's Sony, right?

Not to be outdone, Daily Telegraph opinion editor and blogger Tim Blair declares indignantly:

"In Australia we traditionally celebrate Nakba Day be sitting in traffic for hours thanks to stupid protesters whose Palestinian posing is supported by Justice Christine Adamson." (Hooray for Nakba Day, 15/5/12)

But there's more. So sharp-eyed is Timbo that he spies, in a photograph of the rally, a poster containing the words Shoot to Kill and IDF. His caption: "Check the sign urging that Israel Defence Forces be killed." (Nakba biscuits, 16/5/12)

Finally, this opening paragraph appeared in the Herald Sun, The West Australian, The Courier Mail and

"More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters are marching through central Sydney, causing heavy traffic snarls." (15/5/12)

And fairies are cavorting with pixies at the bottom of my garden as I type.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nakba Day Backlash 1

"The Palestinian future will be shaped by the people of Palestine. And it is up to us in the outside world, whether Palestinian or not, to join in their struggle to achieve justice from below, sufficiently shaking the foundations of oppressive structures of occupation and the exclusions of exile to create tremors of doubt in the Israeli colonial mindset. And as doubts grow, new possibilities suddenly emerge. For this reason, the Nakba should become important for all persons of good will, whether Palestinian or not, whether in Israel or outside, as an occasion for displays of solidarity... Certainly the Nakba is a time of remembrance for the historic tragedy of expulsion, but it is equally a time of reflection on what might be done to stop the bleeding and to acknowledge and celebrate those who are brave enough to say 'this far, and no further'." (Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights, Observing the Nakba,, 14/5/12)

2GB's Ray Hadley is talkback radio's version of Murdoch tabloid, The Daily Telegraph. Here he is, holding forth yesterday on Justice Adamson's judgement:

"About 200 protesters marched through the streets to mark a day called Al-Nakba, the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948. Justice Adamson, appointed to the Supreme Court by the Liberal Attorney-General Greg Smith last year, allowed it to go ahead."

Sorry, but Nakba Day is most emphatically not a commemoration of the declaration of the state of Israel. Nor was it Justice Adamson's job to decide whether it could "go ahead" or not.

To discuss the matter, Hadley spoke to acting premier and leader of the NSW Nationals Andrew Stoner, asking him if he was "offended" by Justice Adamson "comparing Nakba Day to Anzac or Australia Day." Here's Stoner's spectacularly ignorant and utterly irrelevant response:

"I am. My Dad fought in World War II, my grandfather World War I . Anzac Day has a very special meaning for me. It's uniquely Australian. I'm sure most Australians have never heard of Al-Nakba Day [True. Hence, in part, the commemoration.], so to compare it to hallowed days in our cultural life like Christmas Day, Easter or Australia Day I think just shows that this judge is completely out of touch with the broader community... Judges are a bit of a law unto themselves when it comes to enforcement of community standards sadly [So much for the independence of the judiciary.], and it's commentators like you and the public that's the only way we can get our message across in a plea for common sense from the judiciary... This judgement is wrong. Anzac Day is a public holiday. Christmas Day is a public holiday, as is Easter, so this protest planned for the worst possible time - in fact, the judge herself acknowledged that '[i]f one's purpose were to disrupt commuter traffic, one could hardly choose a better time or place'. [Except that she went on to say, 'But this is not the defendant's purpose. His purpose is to conduct a public assembly to commemorate Nakba Day. The date is the product of history. I infer that the time and place were chosen to allow the maximum number of protesters to participate. I infer that the route was selected because of its proximity to the starting point of the assembly. Town Hall is one of the few places available in Central Sydney for public assembly and is, accordingly, a natural choice'.] I just think it's wrong, completely out of touch."

And then this:

"If they want to protest over in Palestine, OK. But here if they want to get some sympathy for their cause, the worst way to go about that is to stuff up our traffic, make life [inaudible] for our commuters, and this judge simply didn't take this into account."

Do it in Palestine?

For one thing there is no Palestine. That's the problem. For another around 20 Palestinian Nakba protesters were shot dead by Israeli forces last year.* And in 2009, a bill almost passed the Israeli knesset criminalising its recognition. Last year, a law was passed allowing Israel's finance minister to defund any state-supported bodies that commemorate the Nakba. And this year, in Israel, an Israeli citizen was jailed overnight for nothing more than reading aloud the names of destroyed Palestinian villages from a history book.

[*See my 17/5/11 post Palestinians Dying to Celebrate Israel's 63rd Birthday.]

Nakba? What Nakba?

Hm... this bloke seems to have quite an interest in Sydney's Nakba Day rally and march, and matters pertaining thereto such as "the streets of Sydney." How very, very interesting:

"Vic Alhadeff, the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies told J-Wire: 'As Australians, we should not be importing overseas conflicts onto the streets of Sydney. But there is a tragedy today, and it is that when the Jewish world accepted the State of Israel as decreed by the UN 64 years ago, the Arab world did not do the same. If it had, we would be celebrating a state of Palestine today which was 64 years old, just as Israel is. Isn't it time we all moved on and explored ways to advance peace instead of dwelling on the past?" (Al-Naqba [sic] commemorative rally & march on, Henry Benjamin, 14/5/12)

Coming, as it does, from one whose every waking moment involves "importing" stuff and nonsense about a certain trigger-happy apartheid state into our legislatures, media outlets, and even schools, this comment is rich beyond a Lotto winner's wildest dreams.

For a start, is Alhadeff's comment not a clear cut case of Nakba denial?

Forget crime against humanity, ethnic cleansing and the wholesale theft of homes, lands and assets, Alhadeff can't even concede that what happened to the Palestinians in 1948-1949 was "a tragedy," so great would be the resulting cognitive dissonance.

Then we have something labelled "the Jewish world" - whatever that is - gratefully "accepting" what the Alhadeffs of the time - 1947 - arrogantly considered their birthright, namely, 56% of someone else's country!

And, although UN General Assembly resolutions, including the infamous resolution 181 which proposed in 1947 that 56% of Palestine become a 'Jewish' state, are only recommendations, for your Alhadeffs they're actually "decrees" from on high - unless, of course, if they call on Israel to do what it doesn't want to do, like GA resolution 194 which calls for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in 'Israel'.

Now since your Alhadeffs are so enamoured of that 64-year-old UN "decree" partitioning Palestine, you'd think that, even though the Palestinians didn't gratefully "accept" the White Man's Club in New York handing over most of their ancestral homeland to the Alhadeffs in 1947, the Alhadeffs would be only too happy to hand back 45% of Palestine/Israel for an 'Arab' state. But no, for all their talk about how hot resolution 181 was back in '47, well, 64 years on, the poor old dear's sort of lost her charm, know what I mean?

Finally, your Alhadeffs may well tell Palestinians to "move on" and stop "dwelling on the past," but just you try telling one of them to "move on" from the Holocaust, let alone the Kingdoms of David and Solomon, and your blood won't be worth bottling.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Police v Langosch

Further to the attempt by NSW Police to compromise the commemoration of Nakba Day in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday (See my posts NSW Police Seek to Can Nakba Commemoration (13/5/12); I Am Tickled Pink to Announce... (14/5/12)), I draw your attention to two key findings of Justice Christine Adamson in the case, Commissioner of Police v Langosch [2012] NSWSC 499 (14/5/12).

The first constitutes perhaps the first reference ever in Australian case law to An-Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948-1949.

In addition, in a state dominated either by parliamentary spear carriers for Israel (see my Witches Brew posts 17/9/11-17/12/11) or MLCs and MLAs who failed to speak out against the outrageous Legislative Council 'debate' of September 15 2011, Justice Adamson's acknowledgement of the importance of An-Nakba to the Palestinians perhaps goes some way in reassuring us of the continuing and vital independence of the NSW judiciary:

"28 The purpose of the public assembly is to commemorate the day on which Palestinians were dispossessed from areas which now form part of the State of Israel. This year, 2012, Nakba Day, 15 May, falls on a weekday. I do not regard it as reasonable to expect persons commemorating a particular date to defer or bring forward its commemoration so that it can be commemorated on a weekend. Nakba Day ought to be regarded as a day which, like ANZAC Day, Christmas Day or Australia Day, is referable to a particular date which is not movable. This is of significance since objection is taken by reason of the fact that the public assembly is to occur on a weekday, rather than on a weekend."

Likewise, her defence of basic democratic principles is most encouraging:

"34 Were I to have made the order sought by the plaintiff, I would be inhibiting, albeit in a small way, the right to freedom of expression and assembly. In refusing the order, I am, also in a small way, providing some sanction to a significant disruption to the routines of many commuters on a single evening and delaying their arrivals home by minutes if not hours."

All of which means that Justice Adamson is now potentially fair game for the usual suspects in the Murdoch press and The Australian Jewish News.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nakba Day 2012

The title song of Phil Monsour's new CD*, Ghosts of Deir Yassin, says it all:

They pretend that it's forgotten
But somewhere small flowers grow
On the weathered stones of destroyed homes
Somewhere the light's still in the window

You see that we are rising, our day is surely coming
No longer in the shadows
Of the ghosts of Deir Yassin

They change the names on the signs
But it's in our hearts these words are written
Of the children who don't know their homes
They will walk the streets from which they are forbidden

You see that we are rising, our day is surely coming
No longer in the shadows
Of the ghosts of Deir Yassin

And of the old ones now passed on
But it's their blood our hearts are pumping
They will walk with us when we return to their towns
Whose names will live again

You see that we are rising, our day is surely coming
No longer in the shadows
Of the ghosts of Deir Yassin

You see that we are rising
You know the fear is gone
We will return

You see that we are rising, our day is surely coming
We are no longer in the shadows
Of the ghosts of Deir Yassin

You see that we are rising, our day is surely coming
We are no longer in the shadows
Of the ghosts of Deir Yassin

[*View it/buy it - at]

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Am Tickled Pink to Announce...

... that the aforementioned NSW Police case against the organiser of tomorrow's Nakba commemoration rally and march in Sydney has been dismissed in the NSW Supreme Court. Said rally and march to proceed, full steam ahead.

A wonderful victory for common sense and basic human rights.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

NSW Police Seek to Can Nakba Commemoration

"Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association." Article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

In response to the organisation of a Nakba commemoration march for May 15 (6 pm) from Sydney Town Hall, the traditional Sydney venue for political rallies and marches, the NSW Police have taken the unprecedented step of going to the Supreme Court tomorrow, May 14 (10 am) to demand that the rally be moved to a different location and the march cancelled. That this is happening against the backdrop of the trial in Melbourne of 19 BDS activists arrested at a peaceful demonstration outside a Max Brenner outlet last year can hardly be coincidental. (See my 28/4/12 post Australian Activism Goes on Trial.)

These attempts by the police forces of NSW and Victoria to suppress public expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people are something never before witnessed in this country and should be of the gravest concern to anyone who values human rights.

The question is: who or what is driving this apparently concerted attack on our most basic human rights?

I, of course, am as in the dark as the rest of you, but two documents in particular have appeared in the public domain (in The Australian Jewish News to be specific) which would seem to be relevant to the phenomenon we are currently witnessing.

In my 15/9/11 post Wielding Zionism's Big Stick in the Senate, I quoted these words of Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies:

"Our response to BDS forms part of a coordinated national strategy... endorsed by counterparts abroad and Israel's Foreign Ministry. That response has included... engagement with civil society and politicians... cooperation with police..."

And in my 28/10/11 post Israel 101 for Cops, I quoted the same individual speaking about the provision of a seminar for NSW Police in which his organisation would lecture the plods on such subjects as terrorist threats to Jews and Israel, the history of Zionism, and the Jewish community's connection to the Holy Land:

"It's to inform them and assist  them in their work when they are dealing with issues that come up... This is testament to the close and strong working relationship between the NSW Jewish community, through the CSG (Communal Security Group), and the NSW Police... Informing them on these issues can only be positive in terms of the way the police deal with situations going forward."

Interestingly, as far as I'm aware, the Melbourne trial of the Max Brenner 19 has drawn zero ms media coverage. To my surprise, however, there was some coverage tonight of the Sydney story on SBS Television's 6.30 pm news bulletin, but try as I might, I couldn't find it on SBS' website. What gives here?