Monday night's Q & A, featuring an audience of high school students taking on the PM, was dubbed High School Showdown. It only really lived up to its name, however, in the segment labelled on the Q&A website as 'Israel Bias?'.
It became obvious that while Julia Gillard can drone on plausibly about most things, when it comes to the question of Palestine/Israel, this sycophantic captive of the Israel lobby fails miserably.
Top marks then to young Dalia Qasem of Northmead Creative & Performing Arts High School for raising the issue. Encouragingly, her frank and fearless question prompted the kind of enthusiastic applause you'd expect from a youthful audience still capable of recognising when the emperor's naked and unafraid to say so.
"Australia," she averred, "has always pushed for a just peace (?) between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, although the attitude of the Government has seemed to be (?) biased towards Israel. For example, why are you ready to impose sanctions on Iran over their nuclear weapons (?) program although nothing has been said about Israel's existing nuclear weapons and their violation of the Palestinian people's rights." (Sure there are a few debatable propositions here which I've indicated (?), but the overall thrust is spot-on.)
Gillard's reply spoke volumes about our subservience to the USraeli agenda in the Middle East (NB: I'm including here Q&A's tweets as they appear in square brackets):
"Well, thank you for that question. In terms of Iran, I take the view, and I think it is being taken broadly by nations like Australia around the world..."
The words "nations like Australia" betray our rulers' deep psychological need to be seen as one of the boys, one of the (USraeli) gang.
"... that the regime in Iran should not have access to nuclear weapons..."
Note the automatic assumption, despite a complete absence of proof and Tehran's own denials, that Iran's nuclear program has a weapons agenda.
"... given the warlike statements that come from that regime,"
[YES THE MIDDLE EAST # qanda tazmanshahnun] "including statements that Israel should be, you know, sort of bombed into oblivion, that the Israeli state should be brought to an end by violent means. So I don't think people who preach war should have the most destructive weapons the world knows. I don't believe that."
You can see Gillard here reaching for the old 'wiping Israel off the map' canard.* Obviously, the work of a thousand and one Murdoch and other scribblers has not been wasted.
As for years of Netanyahu sabre-rattling, it's like water off a duck's back with such useful fools. In fact, even as Gillard mouths this crap, Netanyahu's planes are bombing Syria and harrying Lebanon.
"Nuclear weapons around the world are in the hands of democracies."
Another nonsense: a country with a majority of its indigenous Arab population exiled from their homeland for over 60 years, and the rest, either under occupation or second class citizens inside Israel, somehow still qualifies as a fully paid-up member of the Democracy Club!
Now for some evasive action:
"Would we be a better world if no-one ever invented nuclear weapons? Well, yes, we probably would be a better world and if there was..."
Damn that Tony Jones:
"I mean are you saying that Australia is... comfortable with the idea that Israel has nuclear weapons?" [# qanda can we keep the middle east in the middle east? nickag73]
Gillard, evading the issue:
"Well, I think it would be a better world if no one had nuclear weapons but..."
Jones, trying to pin here down:
"But in the case of Israel?"
Gillard, playing the democracy card:
"But at least when nuclear weapons are in the hands of democracies that are not preaching violence, that is aggression, they are not looking to go to war..."
Of course, Israel's entire history and modus operandi reveal the exact opposite. Ever since the Zionist movement set out to establish a Jewish state in someone else's patch, violence was inevitable. Gillard may just as well be arguing, lawyer that she is, that Ivan Milat is fundamentally a citizen in good standing who only ever picked up a gun in self defence.
"... that is more reassuring than what we have heard from Iran and its aim to get a nuclear weapon and the warlike rhetoric that we heard." [She thinks Israel doesn't make warlike statements perhaps> # qanda valburge]
(A general question on nukes followed, irrelevant to this post save for the following tweet from the savvy blogger ('Kadaitcha') jinjirrie: Israel's nukes question - don't get your hopes up for a straight answer from Julia # QandA Jinjirrie.)
Then, after noting that "quite a few people have got their hands up," an acknowledgment surely that Australian students are capable of seeing through Gillard's bullshit on this particular issue, Tony Jones serendipitously gave the nod to a no-nonsense young man of 'Middle Eastern appearance' who more than managed to fill Ms Qasem's shoes:
"You were saying that Iran is the aggressor. For almost a decade now [6 actually] Israel has been murdering thousands, tens of thousands of Palestinians. Now let me ask you a question: Is Israel the murderer and the aggressor or is Iran the aggressor, because Iran is feeding the Palestinian people. Today, the Palestinians have food in their bellies because of Iran, not Israel."
Typically, Gillard responded with platitudes, skirting, as earlier, the question of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians:
"Well, in part, Palestinians have humanitarian supplies because of what Australia provides. We do a lot of aid work with the Palestinian people and I am proud that we do. We should. It is the right thing to do." [On international relations Julia will do what Barack says, unless she's voted down by Caucus # QandA Richard_Hemming] "But I don't think you can, you know, stack these things up and say therefore it is right for Iran to get nuclear weapons. What I would like to see in the Middle East, I would like to see a two-state solution where Israel and the Palestinian people have their own countries with defined and secure borders and they live in peace..."
It's about time these lip-serving politicians ever going to be challenged on their two-state mantra:
Hey Julia, why then did you insist on a no vote in the UN on observer status for Palestine?
What % of Palestine should be allocated to a Palestinian state?
Is that with or without Israeli settlements?
With or without the Jordan Valley?
With or without an army of its own?
With or without control over its borders and airspace?
And please tell us where Israel's borders should be?
On the Green Line?
And is that with or without East Jerusalem?
With or without the Golan Heights?
And finally, what about the Palestinian refugees?
"I actually think the prospect of that is not in any way advanced by Iran getting a nuclear weapon. In fact, the reverse is true." [If this audience is indicative of our future leaders we are in good hands # QandA bondijax]
But those questions just kept on waving!
Tony Jones: "All right. We'll take just one more hand. Sorry, we've got so many of you with your hands up. That young lady down in the corner there."
Young Lady: "Surely it is important to acknowledge the fact that the only country to have dropped nuclear bombs on another country has been America, which prides itself as one of the leading democracies in the world?..."
OMG! First they attack Israel and now the US! They need to join the Young Liblabs and get sorted.
"... So surely it's important to consider that democracy is not necessarily a good indicator for having nuclear weapons or using them wisely."
"Yeah. I think this could be a whole Q&A in itself."
How right you are, Julia!
"The United States of America was not the aggressor in that war. That is my point. So, you know, history of World War II, the US was not the aggressor in that war. People will, until the end of time, theorise the circumstances in which a nuclear weapon should or shouldn't be used. My point though is that I don't want to see nuclear weapons in the hands of people who are speaking violently and aggressively towards other countries in the region in which they live." [If we want a two-state solution why did we abstain from the UN resolution? # qanda jackmcnally]
Yes, Julia, let's have you and Tone on Q&A - just on this subject. Now that'd be real showdown!
[*See my 29/2/08 post Ahmadinejad: Our Part in His Downfall.]