Monday, July 2, 2012

Massacre Inc.

"America is about to enter a presidential election year... The candidates will inevitably differ on various domestic issues - health care, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, education, immigration - and spirited debates are certain to erupt on a host of foreign policy questions as well... Yet on one subject, we can be equally confident that the candidates will speak with one voice. In 2008, as in previous election years, serious candidates for the highest office in the land will go to considerable lengths to express their deep personal commitment to one country - Israel - as well as their determination to maintain unyielding US support for the Jewish state."

So begins the introduction to Mearsheimer & Walt's 2007 classic, The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy

As in the US, so too, unfortunately, in Australia. Here is merely the most recent example:

"The House of Representatives rose in unison on Tuesday in support of a motion calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to observe a minute of silence at the London Games for the 11 Israeli victims of the Munich massacre [of 1972]. The move comes less than a month after an open letter from The Australian Jewish News beseeching the IOC to hold a memorial at the 2012 Games attracted a raft of high-profile signatories, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott." (Parliament rises for Munich, 29/6/12) 

Nothing like a shared ignorance, sycophancy, and crying need for campaign funds to unite Lib and Lab. And nothing like our Israel lobby (and its parliamentary operatives, Paul Fletcher (Lib), Josh Frydenberg (Lib), Mike Kelly (Lab), and Michael Danby (Lab), who moved the above bi-partisan motion) to pull a stunt like this on behalf of a state whose very road to statehood was paved with the massacres of Palestinians and other Arabs, and whose history ever since has been studded with them.

I merely recall the one which followed, within mere days, the Munich massacre:

"When Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics of 1972, Syria bore the brunt of Israel's eye-for-eye reprisals. It was, of course, more like 20 eyes for one. For at least 200 people, many of them women and children, and possibly as many as 500, died in simultaneous air attacks on nine separate targets. The Phantoms and Skyhawks swooped on the suburban Damascus resort of al-Hama; the bombs fell indiscriminately on Palestinians in their hillside dwellings and on Syrians, in their cars or strolling by the river Barada on their weekend outing. Survivors recounted how they were machine-gunned as they ran for cover." (The Gun & The Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, David Hirst, 1977, p 251)

But don't ever expect any of our parliamentary sheep to stand up for these people.

To inject a little perspective here, allow me to adapt the words of Edward John Eyre (written in 1845) about the internecine warfare which arose when European settlers invaded Aboriginal Australia in the 19th century: Could blood answer blood, perhaps for every drop of Israeli's shed by Palestinian natives, a torrent of theirs, by Israeli hands, would crimson the earth. (See my 12/6/08 post Pemulwuy in Palestine.)

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