Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Transformative Experience

Does rambamming work?

Like a charm, apparently:


"Deputy PM Julia Gillard's outspoken support for Israel's attack on Gaza earlier this year prompted angry criticism from many, including from inside her own party. Elly Howse, a member of the Young Labor Left and the ALP, condemned her party for supporting the war at a protest in Sydney against the visiting Zionist war criminal Dan Gillerman on March 2. Labor should have 'condemned the horrific and overblown reaction by Israel in dealing with Gaza and Hamas,' Howse told Green Left Weekly on March 3. Labor still supports a two-state solution, House pointed out, arguing that, therefore, it should have taken a stand for Palestine. Asked how widespread her views were inside the ALP, Howse, who is also an education officer at Sydney University's Student Representative Council, pointed to the formation of Labor for a Just Palestine in Queensland as evidence her views were not unique. 'There are many progressive people in the young section of the party, and in the professional party, who were outraged at what was happening inside Palestine. We have to make sure the progressive people get a voice and get into office, not people who are sucked into the Labor Party machine.' Australia needs a distinct relationship with Israel, Howse said. 'Israel has shown that it thinks it's above international law and basic human rights. Australia has to tell the rest of the international community that it disagrees. UN condemnation of Israel is proof that Australia needs to reduce its ties with such a warmongering country, not increase them.' Howse pointed to Palestine Solidarity Week, from March 30 to April 4 at Sydney University, as a way for students to get involved in the solidarity movement. She thinks there is scope for the global BDS campaign in Australia. 'I would really like to turn it into a major campaign for Young Labor Left,' she said." (ALP must support Palestine, Pip Hinman, Green Left Weekly, 7/3/09)


"'Many Middle-Eastern [sic] experts are of the opinion that future wars in the Middle East will be caused by the region's severe water shortage, which is why this issue is so high on Israel's priority list.' Tania Levi, a KKL-JNF tourist guide, was explaining the importance of KKL-JNF's water projects to a group of young Australian politicians who were visiting Israel as part of a fact-finding mission to the Middle East. Members of the group included Duncan McDonald [Lib], John Shipp [Lib], Xavier Williams [Lab], Jesse Overton-Skinner [Lab], Eloise Howse [Lab], Jesse Marshall [Lab] and Joel Burnie [AIJAC]. The organizers of the group's visit to Israel asked that the group visit KKL-JNF sites in the Negev desert where they could see Israel's water conservation efforts first-hand and understand their geopolitical significance. This was the first time that the group had heard about KKL-JNF, so Tania briefly reviewed KKL-JNF's history and described the organization's unique position in Israel, emphasizing the fact that KKL-JNF is Israel's largest and oldest green organization and leads the country's water-recycling efforts... The group was fascinated by Tania's detailed presentation, and asked many questions about KKL-JNF and the water crisis... Their schedule, however, was very tight, and Tania wanted to show them how recycled water made the desert bloom." (Young Australian politicians visit KKL Negev water projects, KKL-JNF, The Jerusalem Post, 8/8/10) [See my 27/10/10 post Meet Australia's Future Political Leaders.]


"Another recent student leader, who asked not to be identified, told New Matilda that she was 22-years old when she went. On her trip, like all years, there were two Young Liberals, two from Young Labor Left, and two from Young Labor Right. 'Going over there makes you realise there are complexities between Israel and Palestine,' she said... The real purpose of the trips, she stated, was to 'stimulate debate. I'd like to go back and spend more time, including in Gaza. One of the benefits of the trip is that I realised Israel wasn't going anywhere. They're proud they've turned the desert into a thriving economy'." (Zionist lobby courts Aussie students, Antony Loewenstein, New Matilda, 16/8/13)


"Student recipients of the Rambam Fellowship come from Liberal, Labor Right, and Labor Left factions. For members of Labor Left who accept the Fellowship, the matter is particularly complicated as their actions contradict the faction's stance against Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Former USYD SRC President and recipient of the Rambam Fellowship Elly Howse was said to have taken part in a sponsored trip with strong anti-Zionist views, but returned home more sympathetic to Israel. Honi was unable to reach Howse for comment." (NUS Israel trips are no spiritual pilgrimage, Rafi Alam & Xiaoran Shi, Honi Soit, 19/8/13)

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