Robyn Williams' The Science Show on ABC Radio National is seldom short of an Israeli scientist to interview, so much so that I felt compelled to post on the phenomenon back in 2010 (1).
An allied phenomenon, which I've also posted on (2), is the growing (and carefully cultivated) links between Australian and Israeli universities.
You'll be unsurprised, therefore, when I inform you that the Science Show of March 30, which featured Williams' interview with Daniel Shechtman, a Nobel Prize-winning professor of chemistry from Israel's Technion, and Edwina Cornish, Monash University's senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, came live from "a forum on bright ideas and business" at Melbourne's Monash University.
Now while Shechtman's shtick is basically quasiperiodic crystals, for the past 27 years the great man has also been teaching young Israeli scientists how to become entrepreneurs. And for me this is where the show really started to get interesting.
Williams spruiked, sorry asked: "You're talking about Israel which has more investment in research, that's 4.5% of GDP, compared to our own just over 2%, and you've got more start-up companies than almost anywhere on earth, is that right?"
Now listen to this tripe from Shechtman: "Yes, that is the spirit of the country. You know, countries have spirits, whether you know it or not... In England, where you come from, everybody knows about cricket, it's cricket. In Israel the spirit is entrepreneurship. Young people talk about entrepreneurship, discuss entrepreneurship, interact entrepreneurship, they have bright ideas about entrepreneurship, they bring up these ideas everywhere in every conversation."
It was then Cornish's turn to riff: "I agree with Danny that the spirit of a country... is critical to the path of innovation... What we don't have, which Israel has... is this desire to create personal wealth by risking your future within a company. The best and brightest students that we have... want to get into medicine... law... commerce and economics... That's fine, but we don't have the same sense of 'I want my own company', 'I want to be the master of my own destiny', and that's in the DNA of Israelis."
"But what if you were to teach it, as Danny does?" asked Williams.
Having read (or so I can only assume) a little Israeli propaganda tome called Start-Up Nation (3), which hypes the Israel Defense Force (IDF), Israel's factory for thugs and war criminals, as a school for budding entrepreneurs, Cornish duly parroted the party line:
"[Israeli] students typically come to the university later in life than in Australia. So they serve in the army and they have fabulous leadership experience when they come back to university so they are grown up when they start in their undergraduate degree..."
And then - the piece de resistance - came this little side-splitting exchange:
Williams: Do you think it would be a good idea to bring back national service, do you think, in November?
Cornish: Well I did suggest to you before that we should declare a war on someone, but...
Williams: Who should we choose? Someone small?
The audience just lapped it up!
Oh yes, Robyn, someone small, small and defenceless like... like... the Palestinians!
But back to our Professor of Israeli Entrepreneurship, and here I broach the real subject of this post.
Could one of Shechtman's estimated 10,000 students (over 27 years) have started up a nifty little outfit called Odortec Ltd perhaps?
Here's some of the spiel from their website skunk-skunk.com:
"Police departments the world over periodically face an acute dilemma in confrontations with violent civil unrest: the need for effective riot control and the duty to preserve the health and safety of all, including the protesters themselves."
Remember that this is coming from a former cog in one of the world's most powerful and experienced (45 yrs) occupying forces, the so-called Israel Defence Forces, and although he's not letting on, the 'rioters' he has in mind are actually Palestinian villagers (and their Israeli and international supporters) involved in a heroic campaign of nonviolent resistance against Israel's illegal, land-grabbing West Bank Apartheid Wall.
"Odortec, supported by a police R&D unit, developed the perfect, if highly pungent, solution: The Skunk. A non-lethal, completely non-toxic liquid spray. The skunk is the most innovative and effective riot control method available... This harmless deterrent consists of an extremely foul-smelling liquid... that can be sprayed over a large area using a standard water cannon. The overpowering odor of the Skunk drives rioters away - and keeps them away - effectively shutting down any escalating situation."
For use against rioters, eh? Well please explain why the heroes of the IDF sprayed it directly into homes in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in 2011.
(See for yourself on youtube.com/watch?v=-njv7RJqtRM)
"The 'Skunk' is not volatile, it's inflammable... and it poses no health hazard. In fact, despite its outrageous smell, the 'Skunk' liquid is safe to consume... and even clothes hit with the 'Skunk' can be used after a simple washing."
Oh, really? Let's get a second opinion on this, shall we?
"The 'Skunk' is a petrochemical designed to cling to any surface that it touches. Once I was hit with the 'Skunk' during a demonstration in Bil'in. I had to throw out everything that the chemical touched as it was impossible to wash out the smell. My backpack, pants, shirt, even my shoes and the notebook I was carrying... had to be thrown out. The smell stayed on my skin and in my hair for weeks after..." (Video: a putrid price for nonviolent resistance - the 'Skunk', Joseph Dana, 972mag.com, 1/5/11)
I can see the Israeli version of Apocalypse Now, can't you?
Colonel Klein: Smell that? You smell that?
Klein: Skunk, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
[kneels] I love the smell of Skunk in the morning. You know, one time we had a village sprayed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I went in. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' Arab. The smell, you know that smell of rotting flesh, the whole village. Smelled like [sniffing, pondering] victory.
So the next time you hear someone banging on about the spirit of Israeli entrepreneurship it's probably not a good idea to hang around, OK?
[See my posts: (1)The ABC of Zionist Propaganda (12/12/10); (2) Sucked in at Sydney University (26/10/11); (3) Creative Destruction (23/4/10)]
NB: other posts of mine relevant to this subject are: The Banality of Evil (1/2/09); That Shitty Little Country 1 (6/2/09); That Shitty Little Country 2 (24/3/09); and 100 Years of Zionist Shit (20/12/12).