That the Australian's foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, is going through a rough patch at the moment is evident in his June 13 column, People are fed up with continued growth in asylum-seeker numbers.
Having escaped the mean streets of Lakembastan (1) and more recently survived a quadruple bypass (2), you'd think all his troubles would be behind him. But how wrong you'd be. You see, the great scribe is today haunted by a spectre... that of the dreaded BOATPEOPLE!
These, he wails, are a quadruple whammy: they're uneducated, they don't speak English, they're MOOSLIM, and in a few years, there'll be "hundreds of thousands" of them, all of which means - just you wait and see - we'll have a "devastating crisis" on our hands.
Now as if this weren't bad enough, he's also the victim of "moral and political intimidation," because the Australian Press Council has "ruled that I may not call people who arrive illegally, illegal immigrants."
As they say, 'Life's a bitch...'
But he's not giving up without a fight! And what better weapon is there to hand for a scribe than the sweeping generalization:
"The key concept to understanding what is going on is to recognise that we are dealing with determined immigration rather than a classic refugee situation... [Boatpeople] make their decisions about where to seek permanent residence on the basis of which nation is the softest touch and which offers the most extensive welfare."
That aside, what really interests me here are the words "classic refugee situation," which I'll shorten for convenience to 'classic refugees'.
Presumably, if our boatpeople were 'classic refugees', that is to say people fleeing persecution, preferably with bits missing and blood all over the place, Sheridan would be the first to insist that Australia, as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, take them in and look after them, right?
How can I be so sure? It's quite simple, really. You see, Sheridan's a Zionist - and not just any old Zionist. He's actually the most vocal cheerleader of the Zionist project in Palestine in the Australian mass media. (Just click on the GS label below and check out almost 6 years of MERC vs Sheridan, and you'll see what I mean.)
Now your Palestinian refugees are nothing if not 'classic refugees'. They are the result of a determined (to use Sheridan's buzz word) ethnic cleansing of their homeland by Zionist forces, first in 1948, and then again in 1967. And they've been sitting around in their refugee camps patiently waiting to return for over 60 years.
But Israel, which now occupies their ancestral homeland from the river to the sea, won't let them return. And not for any compelling reason mind you. No, incredibly, they're not allowed back simply because they're not Jews.
Not of course that Sheridan believes that they were ethnically cleansed in the first place. Zion forbid! In fact, he's dismissed the very idea as "rubbish," which makes him a Nakba denier. (3)
But even if he weren't a Nakba denier, as a Zionist he'd still argue - as he has! - that all Palestinians born in refugee camps no longer qualify as refugees. (4)
OK, so you can forget all about Sheridan's phony "classic refugees" vs "determined/illegal immigrants" argument. This is mere rhetoric.
You see, for a Zionist zealot, the habit of deciding who's in and who's out based on narrow and obscure ethno-religious criteria is, to all intents and purposes, hard-wired - which brings me to the point of this piece: If Sheridan can baulk at the elementary human right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homeland from which they were once driven, simply because it would mess with Israel's 'Jewish character', then how can he possibly be trusted to recognise a refugee, whether 'classic' or any other kind?
[(1) See my 5/4/11 post Lakembastan (2) See my 27/2/13 post Greg Sheridan's Blocked Mind (3) See my 9/5/09 post Sheridan: Nakba Denier (4) See my 4/6/12 post Wiping Palestinian Refugees Off the Map 2]