Thursday, October 3, 2013

Israeli Ambassador Departs in Propaganda Fog

Just how many fibs can someone cram into one short (5-sentence) paragraph? (Hint: the author of the following is Yuval Rotem, Israel's ambassador to Australia - alas, sadly leaving these shores):

"The historical relationship between Australia and Israel was forged in the heat of battle during WWI.(1) Members of Zion Mule Corps served alongside Anzac troops on the shores of Gallipoli.(2) The corps, largely made up of Jewish volunteers, recognised the importance of fighting with the Allies and the values they stood for.(3) This relationship strengthened as members of the Light Horse Brigade strove [?] gallantly through the Turkish Ottoman trenches in [?] the city of Be'er Sheva.(4) Fighting for freedom of the land, the soldiers were welcomed into the homes and hearts of Jewish residents."(5) (We are you, and you are us - Israel & Australia share values, The Australian, 28/9/13)

The answer is 5:

1) This, of course, is nothing more than the biggie. Proceed straight to (2).

2) "Alongside Anzac troops on the shores of Gallipoli"? Oh really? Fighting together, were they, with Zionists watching Australian backs, and Australians watching Zionist backs, as the Turkish shells rained down on the shores of Gallipoli?

Well, let's see what the Zion Mule Corp's Christian Zionist commander, Colonel J.H. Patterson, has to say in his book With the Zionists at Gallipoli (1916):

Chapter IX - The Zion Mule Corps Lands in Gallipoli - might be good place to start. Let's see. There's a Colonel Moorhouse. Sorry, he's a Brit. Ah, here's some troops! Sorry, they're French. What about this lot - Lancashire Fusiliers? What a pity, Brits again! Pushing on. Gore blimey, a battalion of Zouaves, in "their semi-barbaric uniform." Shit, French again!

What about Chapter XXI - Work of the Zion Mule Corps? No, no Australians there.

Ah, gold, surely: Chapter XXII The Australians & New Zealanders.

Mention 1: "When I left HQ at Imbros I took passage on a trawler which called in at Anzac, where the Australian-New Zealand Army Corps were dug into the ridges." Slight problem: no sign of the ZMC!

Mention 2: "Camp life at Mena, for the 30-odd thousand [Australians] training there, was very dull indeed. There was not much to relieve the monotony once the Pyramids had been climbed and the Australian colours had been planted on the summits, save an extra dose of sandstorm. It was no wonder, therefore, that every now and again the troops would invade Cairo in force and paint the city red: in fact, one night they painted it very red indeed, when they held a corroboree round the blazing ruins of a Cairene Courtesan's Temple, which they had given to the flames, because the Priestess had had, in some way or other, maladministered the rites!"

(Actually, I don't think this kind of loveable Aussie larrikanism would have been appreciated by the lads of the ZMC, since Patterson writes at one point of his "Israelites" (as he calls them): "It must not be supposed that all the Zionists were saints, or that I did not have my time of trouble and difficulty with them, because some would occasionally murmur and hanker after the 'flesh-pots of Egypt.' They were, indeed, true descendants of those forefathers of theirs who wandered in the wilderness, and whom Moses had so often to chide severely for their stiffneckedness." (Chapter XXI)

Forged in the heat of battle? Pull the other one, Yuval.

3) "Allied values." (Whatever they were/are.) So that's what the Zionist muleteers were doing at Gallipoli - they were drawn there by "Allied values." That's funny, because Benjamin Netanyahu's ideological Godfather Vladimir Jabotinsky, who first dreamt up the idea of a Jewish legion attached to the British army, was not in the least troubled by the pre-war status quo in Turkish-ruled Palestine: "[U]ntil Turkey's entry into the war, Jabotinsky hoped for a stalemate between Britain and Germany and 'peace as soon as possible'. The logical reaction, from Jabotinsky's point of view, to Turkey's entry into the war, was therefore to initiate moves to create a Jewish legion, under British or French auspices, which would participate in the invasion of Palestine." (The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism & the Origins of the Israeli Right, Colin Shindler, 2010, p 23)

Nothing to do with "Allied values." More to do with simply never letting a chance go by!

4) "Be'er Sheva"? There was no Israeli "city of Be'er Sheva," just a Palestinian Arab town called Beersheba.

5) The Australian Light Horse "were welcomed into the homes and hearts of Jewish residents"? What, of Beersheba? Sorry, sport, Beersheba didn't have any Jewish residents. They lived in colonies much further north.

Could Australia's new Israeli ambassador be half as entertaining?

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