Monday, November 12, 2012

The Full Monty

Presumably to coincide with Armistice Day, The Weekend Australian ran a two-page feature on the Battle of El-Alamein by editor-at-large Paul Kelly and national security editor Patrick Walters.

Called Australia's pivotal role in 'the end of the beginning' remains underrated at home, the star of the piece (apart, that is, from the Australian troops who fought and died in the iconic World War II battle to stem Rommel's advance on Egypt) is, as the feature's sub-heading (The rout of the Desert Fox's troops by Monty's men reversed Nazi fortunes ) indicates, British Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Montgomery, or Monty as he's affectionately known, is described by Kelly and Walters in glowing terms as "the key to the victory," a hit with the Australian troops, and "a clear thinker and superb organiser."

They further credit Monty's victory at El-Alamein with marking "the beginning of the Allied march to Berlin." High praise indeed!

Now to detour for a bit, Kelly, unlike foreign editor Greg Sheridan, is not generally known as a spruiker for Israel. Given The Australian's staunchly pro-Israel editorial line, however, it should come as no surprise to find that, in addition to his authorship of several tomes on contemporary Australian political history, Kelly's also a contributor (along with Israel advocates Peter Kurti and Philip Mendes) to a Centre for Independent Studies booklet, What's New with Anti Semitism?

The following blurb, from the CIS website, gives ample indication of the publication's content and direction:

"In 2011, criticism of Israeli government domestic policy intensified in Australia with the emergence of the international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign here. The local BDS campaign was directed against Israeli-owned businesses in Australia such as Max Brenner Chocolate, as well as non-Israeli owned companies perceived to have any perceived connection to Australian activities in the Occupied Territories. Critics of the BDS said the campaign went beyond criticism of Israeli government policy and amounted to a new form of anti-Semitism. In a CIS Round Table discussion on December 2011, Paul Kelly, Philip Mendes and Peter Kurti asked whether a new anti-Semitism is emerging in 21st century Australia."

And so, in light both of Kelly's praise for Monty and his involvement with the likes of Kurti and Mendes in what appears to be yet another smear of the global BDS campaign, I thought it'd be useful to air the clear-thinking Monty's wrap of the immediate postwar situation in British Mandate Palestine. Mind you, I'm not sure that Kelly or The Australian could handle the full Monty.

The following passage is taken from The Memoirs of Field-Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K. G., 1958:

"My next port of call [in 1946] was Palestine. For many months the situation here had been deteriorating and acts of terrorism were being perpetrated by illegal Jewish armed organisations, such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang...

"I was much perturbed by what I heard and saw. A political decision was, of course, needed in Palestine but the terms of it were not at the moment my concern. What was very definitely my concern was the action of the Army in aiding the civil power to maintain law and order, and in this respect the situation was dismal. The High Commissioner seemed to me to be unable to make up his mind what to do. Indecision and hesitation were in evidence all down the line, beginning in Whitehall; a policy was required, and then decisions. The Palestine Police Force was 50% below strength, and this at a time when the situation was clearly about to boil over; its morale was low and it was considered as a force to be no more than 25% effective - through no fault of its own. All this had led to a state of affairs in which British rule existed only in name; the true rulers seemed to me to be the Jews, whose unspoken slogan was - 'You dare not touch us.'

"I made it very clear to the G.O.C. in Palestine (Lieut.-General Sir Evelyn Barker) that this was no way to carry on. The decision to re-establish effective British authority was a political one; we must press for that decision. If this led to war with the Jews, from the Army's point of view it would be a war against a fanatical and cunning enemy who would use the weapons of kidnap, murder and sabotage; women would fight against us as well as men, and no one would know who was friend or foe. All this demanded a drastic revision of the way of life of the serviceman in Palestine; social activities would have to cease, the fullest precautions must be taken and, generally, everyone must be given a proper understanding of the task that lay ahead. I would insist that the Police and the Army be given a firm and very clear directive, and I would then give the fullest support in their difficult job. Before leaving Palestine I expressed my views to Whitehall. As I had done in Cairo, my last act was to address a large gathering of officers in Sarafand Camp, at which I told them what was going on and my ideas about the future." (pp 423-424)

OMG! did Monty say "a cunning and fanatical enemy"? Afraid so. Of course, unlike Kelly and Co, over in their Zionist bubble at News Limited, Monty had had some real experience of Zionism's charm and winning ways:

"When the struggle in Palestine was at its height, attacks on persons and buildings were made by various illegal organisations. One organisation, called the Stern Gang, even sent a party to Europe and it had succeeded in blowing up the British Embassy in Rome.

"Since it was considered that I might be a target for Jewish attack, a policeman was posted outside my flat in No. 7 Westminster Gardens; and whenever I went to Hindhead for a week-end with the Reynolds family, a policeman from Haslemere was sent to watch the house. Personally, I did not think police protection was necessary. However, one day my A.D.C. answering the telephone in my office heard a voice at the other end say: 'Is that the War Office? This is the Stern Gang speaking.'

He replied: 'Good. What can I do for you?'
The voice said: 'Tonight, for the Field-Marshal, a bomb.'
My A.D.C. said: 'Thank you. I will let him know.'
The voice: 'Are you trying to be funny?'
The A.D.C. said: 'No, I thought you were.'
The voice: 'Did you? Then there will be a bomb for you too.'

"After which parting shot it rang off. No bombs arrived that night, or later. Perhaps it was because of the policeman."* (p 471)

Not sure any of that would ever find its way into the pages of The Australian, know what I mean?

[*For the full monty on the Stern Gang's overseas campaign, see my 6/7/12 post Anyone Remember the Stern Gang's London Offensive?]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Full Monty would be too confronting for those sycophantic shrinking violets at The Australian, blushing in hissy fits of embarrassment all the way to the next free lunch.