On the speech of The Hon. Fred Nile, Christian Democrats, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of February 28:
Now Fred's a real Israel junkie. As he says, "I spent nearly 3 weeks in Israel in January and visited many of the pilgrim sites following the official tour."
What's more, "I have been to Israel on 3 other occasions and have a good association with Israel."
So much for that bit of the motion which says that "the purpose of this study mission was to build an understanding amongst the delegates of the complex and various issues... etc, etc."
Or as Fred put it, "I did not have to go on this study tour to be convinced to give Israel support. I have always been on the record as strongly supporting the... state of Israel."
Not that we're surprised. After all, Fred has his Zionist talking points down to a fine art:
"I know there are a lot of statements made that Israel has to give up land for peace. Sadly, when Israel gives up land for peace, at it did with Gaza [?!], it gets rockets in return from both Hamas... and Hezbollah..."
"We saw the huge wall that had been built by Israel between Israel and Palestinian territory to protect Israel's security from suicide bombers."
Between Israel and Palestinian territory?!!!
Also, we have it on good authority from Fred that despite everything we've heard about those notorious Israeli checkpoints (chokepoints?) "there is tremendous movement from Palestinian territory into and out of Israel."
And ditto for Gaza, which is "not a concentration camp" because "every day, trucks are carrying in food, construction materials and so on, so that the community gets everything it needs."
Now that visit to the Knesset was certainly a buzz for Fred: "It has 120 members. The deputation learnt that this was based on the historical biblical Jewish Sanhedrin, which had 120 members." Why, he even discovered that "[t]here are some small religious parties that have some similarities to the Christian Democrats..."! (And you - some of you at any rate - think I'm just being satirical when I talk about the NSW Knesset.)
As you'd expect, Fred found Bethlehem "very interesting," although it must have come as a bit of a blow because "[i]t was previously a Christian city; now it is Muslim." And, sure enough, Fred being Fred, it was the Mooslims wot done it: "Sadly, a lot of the Christians have experienced persecution and discrimination, and that is why the majority have left..."
And this despite having been briefed by what he calls the "PLO Governor of Jerusalem" (no names of course). But what, one wonders, did Guv have to say? All we get from Fred is that he "shared some of the problems they were facing regarding finance and water."
Now if Fred's any guide here, the PA appears to have something of a PR problem. While Israel's drama queens are banging on about Palestinian 'terrorism' and getting all the attention with 'Woe is us! We have only 15 seconds before being incinerated by a Hamas/Hezbollah/Iranian rocket', the PA dude just drones on about money and water. Boooring!
Just to show what a handle the Israelis have on laying these foreign fools in the aisle, check this one out:
We're at Israel's Supreme Court in the awesome presence of one of Israel's "most experienced judges," Justice Dalia Dorner, right?
As Fred tells it: "During her presentation, one of the first things she mentioned was Australia's rejection of Jewish refugees prior to World War II."
Jewish refugees? Remember this is Zionist aristocracy speaking, the representative of a movement that in the 30s and 40s was only interested in importing the right kind of Jews into Palestine, the kind who would later go on to create their own non-Jewish refugees in 1948.
And here's Fred, whose Islamophobic Christian Democrats call for a "moratorium on Islamic [sic] immigration... while monitoring the willingness of the existing Islamic community to abandon support for terrorism...," so overcome with guilt that he tells us: "[E]ven though I was not the delegation leader, I did in my remarks apologise for that rejection - hopefully it will never occur again."
I reckon Justice Dorner's still dining out on that one.
Like his colleague Rick Colless, who thought the Israeli colonization of the West Bank was a process of "Palestinian people," "Muslim people," and "Jewish people" all "work[ing] together towards a peaceful solution," when it comes to the settlements Fred can see naught but peace and light:
"We visited [the] remarkable Israeli town of Efrat, in the region of Gush Etzion. We were beriefed by the energetic mayor... Oded Revevi, concerning the remarkable progress by the citizens of Efrat... What impressed me was the way that Jewish families are working in harmony with their Arab neighbours, who farm land right on the borders of Efrat and even within the town council boundaries - without any conflict or violence, but in a peaceful manner."
Apparently, no one told him that those same Arab "neighbours" are currently involved in trying to fend off yet another Israeli land grab in Israel's High Court of Justice.**
Finally, lest the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (listening in with rapt attention, in the form of its omnipresent CEO Vic Alhadeff, to the 'debate') be accused of not lining up a few Arab locals for our 'study' tourists to chat with, Fred cites two.
Although he describes Issa Jaber Abu Ghosh as a "Palestinian leader in [his] own village" of Abu Ghosh, it should be pointed out that he's actually an Israeli citizen and that Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, is in Israel (im)proper.
Typically, Fred doesn't refer to the content of Abu Ghosh's "briefing," except to describe it as "quite remarkable." (Still, if you're interested, you can check out a Radio National interview*** Abu Ghosh did with Rachael Kohn in 2008, where he's grandly described as "Chairman of the Interreligious Co-ordinating Council in Israel," and one who "takes his role very seriously as a promoter of peace and inter-religious co-operation.") Suffice it to say that the village of Abu Ghosh, which has a history of collaboration with the Zionist movement dating back to 1912****, was one of only 3 Palestinian villages to survive the Zionist ethnic cleansing of central Palestine in 1948. Any wonder then that Fred found the man "quite remarkable"?
The other Arab local was "Arabic Christian pastor Steven Khoury of the Arabic Calvary Church," whose presentation Fred describes as "very interesting." Just how "interesting" becomes apparent when you read, in a September 25, 2009 article in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, that Khoury - and here my flabber is well and truly gasted - is a PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN ZIONIST who believes that "it's the job of the Jews to return to the land and convert to Christianity, while it's the job of Christians to help bring that about."*****
There you go. Just when you'd thought you'd heard it all with Khaled Abu Toameh being a Zionist and all, now you've discovered a Palestinian Christian Zionist. Top that!
Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Walt (I get around) Secord, MLC.
[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey; **See Palestinians argue in court against Efrat expansion, Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, 14/3/13;***The Spirit of Things, 22/6/08; ****Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948, Hillel Cohen, 2008, p 78; *****Bible politics and Palestinian Zionists, Tristan Sturm]