Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sinister & Absurd

The Australian's current BDS whipping boy is, of course, the director of Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS), Jake Lynch.

The following succinct and powerful letter from Professor Lynch appeared in the Australian on 25 June:

"Your campaign to equate the call for an academic boycott of Israel with anti-Semitism is an attempt, as sinister as it is absurd, to stifle an important debate. There are other countries that occupy territory recognised as not their own; kill large numbers of civilians in military action; stockpile nuclear weapons without joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and violate the 1973 UN convention against apartheid. But only one does all four. There is no non-Jewish state in that category, so the charge of discrimination is easily disproved. Or are you resolved not to let facts get in the way of a good witch-hunt?"

Sinister and absurd sums it up so well. The current phase of the Australian's s&a campaign kicked off with Christian Kerr's Israelis may sue boycott activists (18/6/13), referred to in my 28/6/13 post His Brilliant Career.

Following this (and spiced up with another beat-up about Holocaust denier/revisionist Frederick Toben inadvertently finding his way onto a Greens' mailing list), we had the following propaganda barrage:

20/6: Greens courted Holocaust denier, Christian Kerr
21/6: Split in Greens over Holocaust denier, Christian Kerr
21/6: Editorial: All aboard the ship of fools: The guest list for a pro-Palestinian fundraiser is revealing
22/6: Greens exposed: Letters from P. Clifford, Chatsworth, Qld & Joel Feren, Elwood, Vic.
24/6: Toben backing for peace centre, Christian Kerr
26/6: BDS suspicians: Letters from Merv Morris, St Kilda, Vic., Gary Luke, Erskineville, NSW, and Daniel Lewis, Rushcutters Bay, NSW.
27/6: Funding anti-Semitism: Letter from James Miller, Woolloomooloo, NSW

The point here is that the above is merely the latest round in an ideological dirty war being waged by the Australian against pro-Palestinian BDS initiatives in this country. It began in earnest in 2011 with Marrickville Council's brave adoption of the BDS principle and will continue into the foreseeable future as the BDS movement grows. Keep in mind too that the paper's obsession with BDS is merely another aspect of its broader, pro Israel (and anti-Palestinian/Muslim) agenda, typically associated with foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan.

For the round before this, see my 24/5/13 post The Australian's Operation Fear & Loathing.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Arab Idiot

You've probably all heard of Arab Idol winner, 24-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Assaf, but if there's ever a contest for Arab Idiot, here's the guy I'll be putting my money on:

"Ahmed Mesleh, a 28-year-old blogger from the West Bank town of Ramallah, says he met Shiites on a trip to Lebanon and encounters them via Facebook. But some have de-friended him because of his online comments. 'If we take Shiites from a religious point of view, then we can describe [them] as a sect that has gone astray from the true doctrine of Islam. I consider them a bigger threat to Muslims and Islam than Jews and Israel,' Mesleh said. He cited the Shiites processions mourning Hussein's death, saying: 'The way they whip themselves, it's irrational.' The Middle East conflict 'is in its core a religious conflict. The Shiites want to destroy Islam. In Lebanon, they are the ones controlling the situation, and the ones who are causing the sectarian conflict'." (Hatred between Sunnis, Shiites abounds in Mideast, Lee Keath, AP, 7/5/13)

Friday, June 28, 2013

His Brilliant Career

The Australian's war of attrition against Australians involved in local initiatives of the global pro-Palestinian BDS movement, and support for Palestine more generally, flared up again on June 18 with the first of a series of Christian Kerr 'exclusives'. Headed Israelis may sue boycott activists, Kerr reported that Israeli lawfare* outfit, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Centre has written to the head of Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, Jake Lynch, the Sydney Peace Foundation's director Stuart Rees, and "other figures in the local BDS movement, warning them they may be subject to civil, administrative and criminal legal action." The threats come from a "former NSW solicitor Andrew Hamilton, now working with Shurat HaDin."

[*Motto: Bankrupting terrorism one lawsuit at a time.]

So just who is Andrew Hamilton?

Well, for one thing, he's the kind of guy that blows the Zionist conceit that Jews have the kind of special (and exclusive) connection to Palestine that trumps all other claims, particularly the claims of those who were living there before the Z-people began arriving after 1917, right out of the proverbial water. And that's because young Andrew, or 'Akiva' as he now styles himself, was actually born to a Catholic family in Sydney.

So without that incredibly useful Jewish mother to ensure red carpet treatment under Israel's apartheid Law of Return, the question arises how did young Andrew/Akiva make it as a presumably welcome addition to the 'Jewish' state?

Well, it's an interesting but quite depressing tale because it highlights the fact that even with 13 years of primary and secondary education, and another 3-5 years of tertiary education under one's belt, there is no guarantee whatever that one will emerge with an open and informed mind, or a capacity for critical thinking.

(Please note that the observations and inferences which follow are based solely on what Andrew has himself placed on the public record, namely 1) A chat with Akiva (Andrew) Hamilton, The Australian Jewish News, 8/6/12; and b) Arrivals: Articulate advocate, Gloria Deutsch, Jerusalem Post, 13/12/12.)

As Andrew puts it: "I went to a posh private school in Sydney and until the age of 14 I was a practicing Catholic." So far, so good. And then? "Through debating I met a lot of Jewish people, and later had many Jewish friends at university. I was an intellectual type and Jews tended to be the same."

Uh-huh. I find the reference to debating interesting. You see, while it may be useful for honing one's speaking skills, the general aim of this highly-stylized activity, often as not, is merely to best your 'opponents' irrespective of the merits or otherwise of your arguments. To state the obvious, it is not about examining an issue from all sides in a scholarly fashion and coming to a considered conclusion.

There is, moreover, little in Andrew's reference to his university years to suggest a free exchange of ideas based on wide reading and intellectual inquiry, a process critical to a rounded understanding of any political or social issue, let alone the Palestine/Israel question. No, it smacks rather more of Andrew uncritically soaking up the Zionist groupthink of his Jewish mates. Says he at one point, "Obviously Israel is absolutely integral to Judaism." Obviously?!

And isn't the following an odd comment from one who describes himself as "an intellectual type":

"His long spiritual search led him to Orthodox Judaism, and within 10 months he had completed his conversion."

"Long spiritual search"? Sounds more like a troubled youth than a budding intellectual.

But really, I don't think all this kind of talk should be taken too seriously for, as he admits, he "only converted to Judaism shortly before marrying his first wife, who was Jewish."

Ah, women...

OK, so let's get to the bottom of this: what came first, the spiritual quest or the Jewish girl(s)?

For all Andrew's talk about finding Christianity "intellectually inconsistent," and having Jewish friends throughout his education, the following frank admission tells us where he's really coming from:

"I was attracted to Jewish women and became more interested in Judaism from that, and so that was my path to Judaism."

Men, really...

Now add to all that "quite a lot of work with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council" (AIJAC), and a move to Israel with the wife and kids in 2008, and you're in real tunnel vision territory.

Alas, Andrew's marriage broke down when his wife "wanted to go back to Australia with their two children." The result is that today, Andrew "travels back and forth to see them and usually combines his visits with talking about his work for Shurat HaDin."

All of which brings me to another point about Andrew. How favoured is he, and those like him, who now have not one but two homes to flit between - while millions whose ancestral land Palestine was 65 years ago are denied the right of return.

Be that as it may, Andrew is becoming more Akiva by the day:

"I fit in very well in Israel. I'm culturally very Israeli."

And what better way to fit in than by tapping into Israel's paranoid, fortress mentality, where countless existential threats are always just a whisker away from putting the whole bloody shebang out of business and have to be fought tooth and nail? More fun even than those high school debates of blessed memory!

And this is where Shurat HaDin comes in. What a ballsy, bolshie outfit:

"Shurat HaDin has won judgments against Iran, the Palestinian Authority, Arab Bank, [and] a range of organisations, and has actually collected about $120 billion for terror victims from those judgements."

Hm... terrorists? You betcha. You never know where they're going to turn up next. Boasts Akiva:

"Shurat HaDin was also very involved in stopping the second flotilla. Shurat HaDin wrote to the insurance companies that were insuring the various ships of the flotilla, pointing out that they would be in breach of US anti-terror law. So the insurance companies pulled the insurance. They did the same to the satellite communications companies, and they pulled the satellite comms from the ships so the ships couldn't sail. Then for good measure they contacted the Greek authorities, and thus the flotilla wasn't able to sail. And without any blood being spilled or any international controversy against Israel, the second flotilla was literally dead in the water."

It must've been a near-run thing that one. If only Shurat HaDin had been around to pull the plug on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor! How did we ever get this far without them?

And thanks to Akiva we now know what a seething hotbed of terror funding and coddling Australia really is: AusAID, World Vision Australia, APHEDA, Actionaid Australia, CARE Australia, Jake Lynch, Stuart Rees...

But not for too much longer - Akiva's on their case!

Oh, I almost forgot. In the spirit of 'behind every great man there stands a woman': "He introduced me to Yael, to whom I've just become engaged. She is an accountant, half English, and the wedding is fixed for January. Hamilton is looking forward to spending the rest of his life in Israel and is passionate about what a wonderful country it is." (Arrivals: Articulate advocate, Gloria Deutsch, The Jerusalem Post, 13/12/12)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Plus Ca Change...

Break out the champagne!

Tonight, 'Support for Israel is in my DNA' just beat 'I am Proud of my Party's Historic Friendship with Israel' in a ballot for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party 57 to 45.

Bigger Than 'Exodus'

Australian novelist Alan Gold sums up The Heritage Project on Radio National:

"It's a 3,000 year history of aspects of the Middle East told through 2 families who find themselves right at the very beginning, 1,000 BC, when King David and King Solomon's temple was being built, and then we trace them all the way through history right through to today." (The future of the pitch, Books & Arts Daily, 24/6/13)

Hm... the Middle East from King David to King Bibi? What's going on here?

And here's how Gold put it in another forum:

"For more than 200 years, novelists have confined their creativity to what happens inside the covers of a book. Today, with the exponential growth of the internet, authors can create an entire cosmos of inter-related characters and events, of which the novel might describe just a few; then the movie maker can pick up on linked events, a television series becomes part of the whole, then games creators, and of course the consumer, via TV, computers, tablets or smartphones can continue to participate in the creativity. This is a new and extraordinary realm of potential for authors and publishers alike." (The Heritage Project: A Storyworld from Mike Jones & Alan Gold,, 3/6/13)

Apparently, although The HP will begin as a novel, Bloodline (due for release in November this year), that's just the launching pad so to speak. After that, its extension(s), if all goes according to plan, could be coming to a screen near you...

Now all this talk of creativity turbocharged by technology is all well and good, but what about the The HP's content?

For an idea of what to expect here, either click on the 'Alan Gold label' below - or consider this little observation from a thumbs-down review of an earlier Gold novel, The Jericho Files (1993).

"Gold doesn't miss an occasion to pump up Israel's profile and generally make a fanfare of Jewishness. That's cool - I'm generally sympathetic to Israel - but when constantly repeated over hundreds of pages it can become annoying." (The Jericho Files, Alan Gold,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fiddler With No Roof

Q&A buffs out there may remember when Israeli historian Ilan Pappe was on the panel last September.

They may even remember this particular question from one, Marrianne Fraser:

"After all the pogroms throughout the centuries, with Jews never being able to own land in any country they lived in and being forced from their homes time and again as portrayed so well in my favourite musical Fiddler on the Roof, and after the Holocaust, isn't it just for Jews to have been given a place to call their own?"

Certainly, they'll remember Pappe's memorable reply:

"You know, this kind of question always reminds me of people setting off in search of a refuge for battered women and abused children. They find a home where another family lives, throw them off the balcony, and their home becomes the refuge." (The rest of that response and more may be found in my 22/9/12 post The Nakba Comes to Q&A.)

Well, Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye has made a welcome reappearance in a new Rabbis4 Human Rights production called Theodore Bikel: It hurts that the descendents of Anatevka expel Israeli Bedouin, just posted on YouTube.

Set against the backdrop of Israeli government bulldozers demolishing the Bedouin village of El-Araqib, and Israeli troops terrorising its inhabitants, apparently to make way for a Jewish National Fund project called 'The Ambassadors Forest', Tevye, in trademark cap, makes the following plea:

"My name is Theodore Bikel and I want to ask you to help prevent a terrible moral tragedy.

"I've spent much of my life playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. I see a parallel with what is happening today. 40,000 Bedouins in the Negev Desert are being told to get out of their homes.

"Remember the scene in Fiddler on the Roof when the Russians arrived and tell them they have 3 days to get out? Tevye says, Why should I get out? He says, Not just you, all of you! Tevye says, Why should we leave? He says, I don't know why. I have an order here. Tevye says, A piece of paper can get me out? What if we refuse to leave? He says, You know the consequences of refusal.

"It hurts me. But what hurts me even more is the fact that the very people who are telling them to get out are the descendents of the people of Anatevka - my people. I want to prevent that. I want to prevent an injustice. I want you to help and join me and join the Rabbis4 Human Rights."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Norman Lets the Side Down

As the Australian Light Horse charged the Turkish trenches guarding Beersheba with the warcry For King Herzl and the Jewish State on their foam-flecked lips...

Just joking!

But if, as the usual suspects would have us believe, those two besties, Australia and Israel, go way back to the Battle of Beersheba in 1917; if that was indeed the start of a long and beautiful friendship, albeit belatedly recognised by the joint issue of commemorative stamps only in 2013, you'd probably expect a Zionist or two living chronologically closer to the event to have noticed, would you not?

He or she, of course, would have to have been not only a true-blue, dinky-di Zionist, but one intimately connected with the earliest stages of the Zionist project in Palestine, right? After all, the current Zionist push to conjure up a link between the ANZACS of 1917 and today's Israel isn't likely to accept the evidence of just any old scholar.

Well, I'd like to nominate Norman Bentwich (1883-1971) as our judge in this matter. How's this for credentials:

"Norman De Mattos Bentwich OBE MC was a British barrister and legal academic. He was the British-appointed attorney-general of Mandatory Palestine and a life-long Zionist." (Wikipedia)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but just how true-blue was this particular true-blue Zionist? Well, a true Zionist is reality averse. Was Bentwich reality averse? Was he what?!

His cheeky colleague, CR Ashbee, once tried to keep it real with Bentwich by quoting James George Frazer at him, as follows:

"It is the opinion of competent judges that the modern fellaheen or Arabic-speaking peasants of Palestine are descendents of the pagan tribes which dwelt there, before the Israelite invasion, and have clung to the soil ever since, being submerged but never destroyed by each successive wave of conquest which has swept over the land." (Folk Lore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1, p 17)

"When I put that statement of Frazer's up to Norman Bentwich one day as we were out riding together," wrote Ashbee, "he met it with a complete unbelief. The fact, if indeed it were a fact, did not touch him, he was dreaming of other things. His smile of childlike confidence in effect said: 'I don't believe it.' Facts have no value in the light of utter faith; they do not exist. Yet that fact is another answer to Zionism, perhaps the strongest of all." (A Palestine Notebook, 1923, p 111)


Now as if that were not enough to qualify Bentwich as judge & jury in the matter here before us, he also, as it happens, wrote a book called simply Palestine  - Zionists weren't as squeamish back then as they are these days of that word - the Foreword of which, by British historian H.A.L. Fisher, testifies to the man's eminent suitability for registering purely Zionist vibes:

"Optimism is pardonable in an Anglo-Jewish Professor of the new University of Jerusalem, who sets himself down to write the remarkable story of the first thirteen years of British rule in Palestine and has witnessed the realization of a dream cherished through so many centuries by his ancient race." (1934, p 5)

So, if something deep, meaningful, and worthy of commemoration through the issue of joint Australian-Israeli stamps, was forged on the Beersheba battlefield, Norman Bentwich would surely be the one to know about it, right?

OK, so let's see what he has to say about the matter in his book:

"After months of preparation the English attack on the Turkish front line from Gaza to Beersheba was launched at the end of October [1917]. The Turkish position was broken first at Beersheba and then by the sea; and their army was rolled back in rout over the Plain of Sharon on the one side and the hill country around Hebron on the other. General Allenby pressed the pursuit through the Judean hills, and rapidly occupied in turn Jaffa, Ramleh, Ludd, Hebron, and Bethlehem." (ibid, p 74-75)

Whaaat?  You mean, that's it?

No mention of Australians? No mention of adoring Jews chanting, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!?

Can you believe it?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Australia Post Issues Israeli Propaganda Stamps 3

While the precise origins of Australia's Israel stamps lie shrouded in mystery, we do at least know who was present at last month's launch:

1) The Max Brenner-slurping, BDS-bashing Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. Conroy, you'll remember, was one of only two ministers (the other was Bill Shorten) who supported PM Gillard when she wanted Australia to vote against Palestine getting observer status at the UN last year.* As the report on the launch put it: "The official release Friday in the office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy celebrates the friendship between Australia and the Zionist enterprise that has endured since the battle." (Australia, Israel commemorate 1917 battle with joint stamp, 10/5/13)

2) Israel's Ambassador Yuval Rotem, who "noted the friendships forged between Australian soldiers and Jewish residents amid the 1917 battle." (ibid) Amid the battle!

3) Australia Post's managing director Ahmed Fahour, who said: "The Battle of Beersheba is something close to the hearts of both Israelis and Australians and was a clear choice to feature on the stamp issue." (ibid)

[*See my 28/11/12 post The Powerlessness of One, which also contains a killer quote on Conroy from The Latham Diaries.]

How Palestinian Beersheba Became Israeli Be'er Sheva

The ethnic cleansing of 85% of the Palestinian Arab population living in the area overrun by Zionist forces in 1948 included that of the town of Beersheba in Palestine's southern Negev Desert area.

Some idea of what the inhabitants of Beersheba were forced to endure at the time may be found in an illuminating book on the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli photography and visual culture theorist Ariella Azoulay: From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation, 1947-1950 (2011). In her book, Azoulay combines Israeli archival photographs of the time with her own insightful, contextualising 'readings' of them.

Here are some of Azoulay's 'readings' which relate to the fate of Beersheba and its people. (The numbering relates to the order in which the photograph and its 'reading' appear in the text.):

1) "These are the mosque's final hours serving the town's Palestinian population. The new inhabitants will change its function many times, ignoring the original purpose for which it was built. When the photograph was taken, it was being used as a detention camp. Most of the people seen outside the walls of the temporary detention camps established in public buildings are Israeli soldiers. The army left 100 healthy, strong Arab men in the city to help them clean up and remove rubble. Until a few days ago they had lived in the buildings whose ruins they're now required to clear away. During the few hours they're not engaged in that activity, they're shut up in the mosque with mattresses, blankets and other belongings they've managed to save from their homes. The official caption describes them as 'Arab prisoners of war'. They'll soon be transferred to a different prisoner of war camp in Israel.

2) "About 3,000 Palestinians lived in the town at the end of the British Mandate. The day after Beersheba was captured, the only people on the street were armed soldiers on patrol whose job was to prevent life in town from returning to normal and lay the groundwork for transforming Beersheba into a Jewish town. The orders were to settle 3,000 Jews. The residents expelled from the town won't be able to enjoy the beautiful trees which will grow from the saplings recently planted along the sidewalk, and the mosque will no longer be a place of prayer."

3) "According to the [UN] Partition Plan [of 1947], seemingly accepted by the Jews, Beersheba was to have been part of the Palestinian state. But this was neither the first nor the last time Israel had violated the conditions set by the ceasefires that had been reached and the UN resolution (acting in the spirit of 'UN - Shmoo-N,' even before that policy had a name), creating facts on the ground that were inconsistent with these agreements. The conquest of Beersheba was an example. Men who had been captured, and who the soldiers suspected had not surrendered all their weapons, were shot. Others were transferred to prison camps. It's not possible to tell from the photograph what will happen to the captured Egyptian soldiers leaving the building [with hands in the air]."

5) "The [Hebrew] slogan on the bus, 'On to Gaza,' doesn't refer to the destination of the 'Egyptian prisoners of war.' They'll be exchanged a few months later, in February 1949, as part of the armistice agreement with Egypt, and now they're on their way to a prisoner of war camp. The slogan might be the warcry of fighters on their way to capture Gaza - even though, at the end of the day, they didn't capture Gaza then - or the sign on the buses that carried the residents of Beersheba who had been expelled to Gaza. Dozens of buses were put at the disposal of the residents after the town was captured, and the orders were clear: 'If we see anyone here after 8 o'clock tomorrow, we'll kill them'."

74) "The actual capture of the town during what is officially described as a 'war' was only the first in a series of non-military occupations that validated the army's behavior and played their part in expropriating the town from its residents. These began with the caption's official wording that, in one version or another, was on everyone's lips - 'The town is empty of inhabitants' - until, a few days later, this building became the JNF House. The owners of the shops on the ground floor, like the owners of the apartments above, must have been among the 450,000 refugees who in the 1960s filled out property-claim forms for the UN Reconciliation Commission that prepared an estimate (published on April 28, 1968) of the value of 'abandoned' Arab property. There's no need to mention that Israel rejected the document and ignored its implications."

88) "Military occupation was not enough to turn Beersheba, which was to have been included in the Arab state, into a Jewish town. Civil occupation was also necessary. Beginning in October 1948, after extensive areas had been captured in military operations in the south and in the north, feverish discussions were held regarding the appropriate procedure for taking over Arab land. These discussions occurred in various committees established for that purpose - the Transfer Committee headed by Yosef Weitz, the Ministerial Committee for Abandoned Property, the Committee for Distributing Lands, the JNF - as well in conversations and discussions between the Prime Minister and his associates. The solution eventually found, after many revisions, was for the state to 'legally' sell the 'abandoned' lands to the JNF as part of a 'development plan' so that the rights of the ongoing owners would allegedly be preserved. In May 1949, when Israel was accepted as a member of the United Nations, the hairsplitting ceased, and all the territory which was 'held' became part of the sovereign state of Israel. It was now important to quickly get the buildings ready for new Jewish immigrants. During the early years, the state used DDT to fumigate both the bodies of Jewish immigrants from North Africa so they wouldn't transmit disease, and the walls of the Arab houses before the Jewish immigrants moved in. If the boy has already learned Hebrew and knows how to ask what the man holding the large, noisy apparatus is doing, the proud reply would certainly be that he's preparing a lovely, disease-free home for him."

Saturday, June 22, 2013

'Damn Fools That Walk Among Us'

After reading the massive (1,971 at midday today) comment thread following Piotrowski's piss-poor journalism on the - *sigh* - 'racist' stamps at, I think I can be forgiven for thinking that Australia's experiment in mass education has been an abject failure.

Literacy - what's that? Ability to think straight - you're joking? Basic knowledge - get real! These days it's all bile by the bucketful, sheer criminal ignorance and kneejerk, bogan patriotism.

Mind you, a few brave souls*, who could see the point of objecting to Australia Post's exploitation of Palestinian/Australian history in the interests of Israeli PR, did their best to inject some sense, but like Gaza resisting the mailed fist of Israeli firepower, it was a hugely unequal contest.

Just for laughs then - and God knows we need a few - here's a sample:

A pox on both their houses:

"Truth has not meant anything to these people for a very long time. The only thing that matters is their desire to keep on killing each other over some of the most useless land on the planet. Anyone left with any grasp on reality has found somewhere else to live a long time ago." (John Alexiadis)

In the RSL I trust:

"If the RSL complained about this stamp I would then take notice, but since they aren't I think the stamp is great." (Bob Watson)

No Beersheba, no Australia:
"I can't believe how stupid the world is becoming - why can't people get a life? This is a commemorative stamp, nothing more and nothing less. Be proud of our Anzacs! We wouldn't be here without them." (Bruce Rogers)

A PHD in Middle East Studies from Scruffy Murphy's speaks:

"Sonja Karkar is a one eyed bigot. Unfortunately portions of both the koran and bible are grabbed and manipulated by very smooth talking individuals. The Koran (Surah 9:5) is a prime example of how imams can misinterpret and shove whatever information down the throat of the uneducated. Even the bible has moved towards the 15th century even though they still believe angels and those who can walk on water. The koran and those that teach it still keep women in the dark ages. That's why muslims still do female circumcision and force female children to marry grubby old men. Unfortunately muslims have stayed in the 4th century. Sonja has a degree and should be using it to ensure muslims bring their lifestyle into the 19th century. Even the Australian indigenous people are sort of trying to move into the 21st century which is way past the muslims. Sonja you really need to look around and use both eyes instead of keeping your head buried up your own fantasy land. You want these muslim idiots to continue their evil sadistic ways of strapping bombs on their children to kill reasonable civilians. I thought you had a major issue with common sense but it turns out you don't have any." (John Gee)


"John Gee, it is good to see someone with some sense. Walk down the streets of OUR country? now and it is hard to spot an Aussie." (Aileen Sparrow)

Rule Britannia:

"WHAT'S NEXT????? no more ANZAC DAY marches???? or NO Christmas decorations in shopping mall's????? Wait and see Australia, it's happening right now in Britain, THEIR Immigrants offended by that countries celebrations, and 2000 years of History being FORCED to be forgotten." (Alan Jones)


"Who is getting paid to allow these things to happen to our country. You come... you mix in. Nobody is forcing you to come." (Aileen Sparrow)

Love it or leave it:

"Don't like it head back to your beloved Palestine see how long you last there dodging bullets and grenades all because you want to winge over something that happened nearly 100 years ago. This country took you in respect it's laws and culture if still unhappy you know where you can fly back too. (Ralph Sinclair)

The Spirit of ANZAC:

"I couldn't agree with you more, The Media elevate sports stars as role models and then spends 90% of their time rubbishing them. when theres so many many fine examples out there like returned service personal, Life Guards, SES, Firemen, and police. All deserving of been elevated because they are active and continued to contrbute to all Australians well being. As far as ANZAC games like Tests its a farce. Most returned service men I know feel this way now because sports does not reflect the spirit of ANZAC. anymore. There's a difference between a good hearted sledging and outright abuse. Its wrong. However theres one sport that continues to show the ANZAC spirit and thats the Netball. Fiece in competition but none of the vitriol abuse that follows male dominated sports. Men could learn alot from our Woman sports personal. and so could the media... ANZAC is such a special time. Yet it should be celebrating the other 364 days of the year. So we are most defnitly on the same page.. (splittinghairs)

Piss off to bloody Palestine, bitch:

"Some silly b**ch wanting to make a song & dance about a patch of land that Australian soldiers fought, spilled blood & made the supreme sacrifice on, because it's Israeli & not Palestinian. Suffice it to say she's really s**thouse at history because when we fought on that land it was Palestinian but now that Australia Post has released stamps to commemorate these fine, brave Australian soldiers she's taking aim at Australia Post, claiming they're racist because that same land on which our courageous Australian soldiers fought is now Israeli. That's not Australia Post's doing nor is it the doing of our soldiers who fought there so the silly b**ch needs to put up & shut up or pack her bags & PISS OFF to bloody Palestine. (Steven Larkin)

Expert 1:

"Beersheba was at the time a town with a majority population of Druze not Palestine This name did not come into being until 1917 with the Balfour Declaration in England. This woman needs to read history from ALL sides. Any and all Arabs who lived in the land of Israel lived on rented land owned by absentee landlords living in Damascus, Beirut, Jordan and Cairo, so what would they know about land, all they did was destroy it or ignore it." (Peter Rodgers-Falk)

Expert 2:

"In 1917 Beersheba was occupied by Arabs (mainly Bedouins) and Jews. It had been occupied by the Turks since the 19th century. If anything this woman is insulting the memory of everyone involved in the incident by stating that the town was Palestinian. But more disturbing is the fact that one person's objection to a stamp is reported by the media but no mention is made of the reporter contacting people who are actually experts on the matter such as Peter Stanley. Has anyone heard of checking the facts before reporting?" (Lynda Marshall)

If only they'd read Sun Tzu:

"Well that's what they get for losing the war. They didn't know the Art of War by Sun Tzu. But given their disdain for anyone non-muslim back then that's their comeuppance. Know your enemy. Their Jews. Their inferior to us. Yeah that might be true, but their weapons aren't. Six days later. Besides they could have had peace ages ago." (Brian Preston)

Now if you ever run into Eric, whatever you do, don't mention Palestine:

 "You make it sound like ALL israel is occupied territory and demanded to be handed back. Very incorrect and you know that. The problems of the region stem from pommy interference and trying to construct an arab land to suit their need. That came about after the turk was driven out in 1917. Then in 1929, the poms nominated the land called Palestine from old roman times, be subdivided. It was all Israeli land. Only Jews helped fight for it... not arabs. Dont deny that as the Australian ensign of the lighthorse flew beside the jew star fighting for that land including Jerusalem. Research it. Israel is only a portion of its former land as it was subdivided in 1929 into syria, jordan and lebanon and a portion made aside for Palestinians. However, in 1947 the Jews presented a well formed government and societal structure and was granted statehood as Israel. The palestinian land has never been ratified nor statehood grated as the arabs in jerusalem claim they are palestinians also. As for occupied lands... your talking about some very small portions. West bank, golan height, gazza strip. It might interet you to know there is a reason why the international community has done nothing about this situation. Quite simply because it is legal. Makes you a fugging laugh with all this illegal rubbish eh?! And under international law, Israel is responsable to administer law in those areas. You might also be interested to know that all jerusalem belonged to the jews, however, jordan occupied and annexed the westbank in 1950. After the 3rd arab initiated war in 1967, the Isralis occupied 4 distinct areas. One of them being their own estbank. These are necessary to protect Israel from further wars. They were staging areas for egyptians syrians and jordanian forces when ever they decided to attack israel. Israel will never hand those lands back while ever the arabs are aggresive. Some say Israelis are aggressive... and correctly so... you fight aggression with aggression. With these lands forgathering forces lost, the arabs turned to attacking Israel during its Yom Kippur holy holiday in 1973. And paid terribly for that mistake. After 4 wars the arabs realised they cant remove Israel by conventional force even as a collectve. So ever since... Israel has been attacked by arab sponsored terrorrism called PLO and hamas and many ther names. None of these can be claimed to be any particular arab state and palestine is a ruse for those organisations existance without involving arabs. Should Israel decide to nuke all arabs... I won't cry lol." (Eric Holt)

One still, small voice:

"Another badly written story by ninemsn and a blue by Australia Post. Israel didn't exist until 1948 so how can they commemorate an activity with Israel in 1917? I'm confused." (*Mal Bowker)

Searching for an interesting debate in all the wrong places:

"Wow just read the posts - there is an hour of my life I will never get back, cannot believed I persevered in the hope of reading an interesting debate. On the plus side I did learn (although I cannot confirm the accuracy of the statistics quoted) that 50% of Australians have an IQ of less than 100. I challenge this! After the brain snapping task of reading this crap - a mistake I will be sure never to repeat - I am convinced it is a much higher percentage of damn fools that walk among us. Please forgive any poor grammar, typos etc. but I have lost the will to care." (Tania Simmons)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Australia Post Issues Israeli Propaganda Stamps 2

My 19 June post - Australia Post Issues Israeli Propaganda Stamps  - seems to have gained some media attention since being posted on the Australians For Palestine (AFP) website. As a result, a journalist, Daniel Piotrowski, has written a report, Australia Post 60c stamp accused of being 'disgraceful' attack on racial group. Unfortunately it contains several errors and other problems:

1) The headline is quite misleading. More accurate renderings would have been: AP stamp accused of insulting Palestinians/ appropriating Palestinian history/ appropriating Palestinian-Australian history.

2) Piotrowski incorrectly attributed this blog to the AFP's Sonja Karkar. A simple read of the post on the AFP website would've cleared the matter up had he bothered to access it.

3) If this isn't a sentence on the run, I don't know what is: "The stamps feature World War I near the town of Beersheba where Australians fought the Turkish."

4) Piotrowski concludes: "An Australia Post spokeswoman said it received its information from sources including the Australian War Memorial. And the facts were fact-checked by war historian Peter Stanley."

Yes, Beersheba, in 1917 an Arab town in Ottoman Turkish Palestine, fell to Australian troops after a famous mounted charge.

This fact, however, has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the creation of Israel decades later in 1948 as Mr Stanley would be the first to confirm.

If the stamp had been a purely Australian issue, no one could possibly have objected. But it wasn't. It was a joint issue with a country that simply did not exist in 1917, which raises the question of why it was issued if not to suggest that Australian troops somehow had a role in the creation of Israel. This view is corroborated on the card which accompanied the stamp, the text of which Piotrowski could have read in my post: "... a chain of events which eventually culminated in the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948."

This last is not an historically neutral statement. For it to have been so, it would have to have been written as follows: '... a chain of events which eventually culminated in the the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the ethnic cleansing and exile of the Palestinian people.'

The simple fact of the matter is that Australian troops did what they did for king and country, most emphatically not for a future Jewish state of which they could not possibly have been aware and quite possibly not have approved.

Australia Post owes the Australian public a full and frank explanation of how these two stamps (yes, there's a second $2.60 international version which should go down a treat in the Arab/Muslim world especially) came into being and why.

Life's a Breeze for Greg Sheridan

One of the great things about being a corporate press columnist is that you get to peddle received journalistic 'wisdom' without ever having to cite a source - let alone an authoritative one. The Australian's foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, is a typical example:

"The Syrian conflict is the local version of the great Sunni-Shia hatred - sometimes war, sometimes smouldering hostility - that is raging across the Arab Middle East. Assad's regime is based on the Alawite minority, which is an offshoot of Shia Islam." (Bloodbath exposes West's power failings, 19/6/13)

This kind of 'analysis', of course, is about as sophisticated an understanding of the struggle in Syria as Tim Minchin's satirical Peace Anthem for Palestine is of the struggle in Palestine: "We don't eat pigs,/You don't eat pigs,/ It seems it's been that way forever/ So if you don't eat pigs,/ And we don't eat pigs,/ Why not, not eat pigs together."

The received 'wisdom' is that because Asad belongs to the Alawi sect, and the Alawi sect is an "offshoot of Shia Islam," then Alawis have more in common, doctrinally, with Shia Islam than Shia Islam has with Sunni Islam.

Unfortunately for our journalistic hacks, the truth of the matter is that Sunni and Shia Islam have infinitely more in common than Shias have with Alawis.

In fact, although the Shia/Sunni divide can be traced back to differences of opinion over who should succeed the Prophet as leader of the Muslim community, in every other respect they're one and the same religion.

Now at the risk of rubbing it in and getting a little technical, here's how a Sunni-Syrian writer, whose sympathies lie with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, sees the Alawis, or Nusairis (followers of Ibn Nusair) as he prefers to call them:

"The Nusairis are classified in the books of the Sunni and Shi'i heresiographers as an 'extremist' (ghulat) Shi'i sect... The Nusairis have often advanced the claim that they are Imami or Twelver Shi'ah because they accept the same line of succession of twelve Imams as the Imami Shi'ah. But this is virtually the only tenet of belief the Nusairis and Imamis have in common, for they diverge completely over what the Imams taught and the correct interpretation of it. The Nusairis, for example, deified the twelve Imams... As al-'Askari observes, no Imami writer has mentioned Ibn Nusair and his beliefs without repudiating them utterly, and Imamis could not now accept the Nusairis as a legitimate Shi'i sect without completely rewriting the histories and beliefs of both groups. In terms of overall beliefs, however, the Nusairis have much more in common with the Isma'ilis, and they are sometimes regarded as an offshoot of this group." (The Islamic Struggle in Syria, Dr Umar F. Abd-Allah, 1983, pp 44-45)

Abd-Allah goes on to point out that the Nusairis, unlike both Sunnis and Shia, are not even obligated to perform the 5 pillars of Islam (recitation of the creed, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage), and that even the Qur'an is of secondary importance to Nusairi scriptures.

One misrepresentation, of course, enables another:

"So [Assad's Alawi-based regime] is getting support from Shia Iran and the Shia Lebanese militia, Hezbollah." (Bloodbath...)

And we are to understand from this that that's because it's really a Shia regime.

That's why life is such a breeze for the likes of Sheridan. Recycling received 'wisdom' means never having to do your homework.  And so, like mushrooms, we're kept in the dark and fed on bullshit.

But that's not to say he doesn't have anything to worry about, of course. There's always that poor little innocent bystander, Israel:

"It would be utterly unforgivable if the West gave anti-aircraft missiles, say, to the Syrian opposition to use against Assad's air force and these were instead used against Israeli passenger jets." (Bloodbath...)

Whatever you do, don't mention Israeli warplanes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Australia Post Issues Israeli Propaganda Stamps

Just the other day I needed a postage stamp. I duly handed over my 60 cents at an Australia Post outlet and received far more than I bargained for - nothing less, would you believe, than a dollop of Israeli propaganda.

There on the stamp was the sepia-toned image of a statue of an Australian Light Horseman leaping the Turkish trenches ringing the town of Beersheba in southern Palestine in 1917. In the bottom left hand corner were the words 'Beersheba/ AUSTRALIA/ Joint Issue with Israel/ Australian Light Horse'. In the bottom right corner, in blue, were the same words in Hebrew.

For $3.60 you can buy a laminated, folded card bearing the same image beneath a scroll containing the words 'JOINT ISSUE WITH ISRAEL/ THE BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA'. Below the scroll, the same words appear in Hebrew.

Inside, the scroll reappears with the same words superimposed on an antique map of Beersheba and its environs. Again, the same Hebrew words figure prominently. Two stamps - the second, a $2.60 international issue with a different design - are enclosed in a protective plastic sheath.

On the back the following text appears. (The highlightings are mine):

"The Battle of Beersheba, which took place on 31 October 1917, was part of a wider British offensive known as the third Battle of Gaza during World War I. The final phase of this day-long battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, widely considered to be the last great mounted charge in military history. Although heavily outnumbered, the 4th Light Horse Brigade of the Australian Imperial Force seized the strategic town of Beersheba from the Turks. 31 Australian light horsemen were killed in the charge and 36 were wounded, while the Turkish defenders suffered many casualties and between 700 and 1,000 troops were captured. The capture of Beersheba allowed British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and then advance into Palestine, a chain of events which eventually culminated in the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

"The 60c stamp features a statue of an Australian Light Horseman in the Park of the Australian Soldier at Beersheba (Be'er Sheva), Israel. The statue is the work of Australian sculptor Peter Corlett and was erected with the support of the Pratt Foundation in 2008. The park features a landscaped recreation park with an innovative playground catering for the needs of children with disabilities."

I've covered the story of the shameless Zionist appropriation of this particular slice of Palestinian/Australian history - where the AIF are falsely portrayed as actors in the grand Zionist narrative of the Jewish 'return' to Eretz Israel - in several posts. For the details, simply click on the AIF label below, scroll down to Anzac Day Special: The Diggers Who Died for Israel (25/4/08), and read the lot in chronological order.

Perhaps the next time you buy stamps from Istralia Post, you could decline these two.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Propaganda Wars

Corporate media scribblers never cease to amaze with their antics. Take the Sydney Morning Herald's Kirsty Needham for example.

The visit of "the saffron-robed superstar who has transcended his nation's cause to become an oracle for Western TV cameras searching for wisdom and truth in a modern age," aka the Dalai Lama, has prompted her to reflect - or should that be 'meditate'? - on the "laughable" contradiction between HH's popularity with the public and "the desire for most Australian politicians to officially fly under the radar on Tibet."  (China's Tibetan whispers hit Dalai Lama visit, The Sun-Herald, 16/6/13)

This, Needham tells us, is because "Beijing disapproves of official meetings or recognition of the Dalai Lama," and "federal and state parliaments, mindful of the trade relationship, comply."

Now as if this kind of craven compliance were not deplorable enough, Needham's exposed something more overt:

"[T]his weekend's visit to Sydney has prompted a new phase in the propaganda war from China that appears to have caught a number of Australia's politicians off guard. Taking a step beyond denying Australia from giving official recognition to the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government has gained Australian political endorsement of its censorship of Tibet."

What she's referring to is an exhibition of photographs on the subject of Tibet, which opened at Sydney's Darling Harbour just prior to the Dalai Lama's visit. Funny that! This, she points out, was sponsored by China Tibet Online, China's "biggest voice on the internet on the topic of Tibet."

"Photographs show state Liberal MP Daryl Maquire, chairman of the NSW Parliament's Asia-Pacific Friendship Group, opening the exhibition on behalf of Premier Barry O'Farrell a fortnight ago. Maguire also held a press conference for Chinese media at State Parliament. The website's editorial says: 'The images on show reflecting Tibetan people's religious freedom and daily life have dramatically enhanced Australian understanding of Tibet and rebutted the shameless lies made by a few Western politicians and the dalai clique'."

As you'd expect, Needham approached Maquire for a comment:

"Questioned on why he had opened the exhibition, Maguire said the NSW Parliament didn't get involved in foreign policy issues, which were a federal matter, and compared the Tibetan situation to the civil war in Syria. 'We don't side with one side or another', he said."

(Got that? The NSW Parliament didn't get involved in foreign policy issues. Hello? China aside, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll be aware that the NSW Parliament, under the regime of Baruch O'Farrell, has become such a hotbed of support for the state of Israel that I've been forced to refer to it as the 'NSW Knesset'. For first timers to this most bizarre metamorphosis, which no corporate media hack has ever seen fit to explore, just click on the 'Barry O'Farrell' label below, read, and be amazed.)

Needham righteously concludes that "by officially endorsing the show at its launch, the NSW Parliament has done exactly that [ie side with China]. The images have been used by the Chinese government in its propaganda war."

Now the reader may well feel inclined to sign off with a 'Good onya, Kirsty Needham, for striking a blow for oppressed Tibetans, unmasking China's shameless propaganda war in Australia, and naming Beijing's useful fools in the NSW Parliament', but there's another angle entirely to this story:

How is it that a journalist specialising in the coverage of state politics can blow the whistle on a low-key Chinese propaganda stunt endorsed by the O'Farrell government, yet show not the least interest in investigating (let alone blowing the whistle on) the blatant pro-Israel propaganda war being waged by useful fools on both sides of the political divide in the NSW Parliament?

Could the fact that Needham was rambammed* back in 2007, when deputy foreign editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, have something to do with it?

Upon her return from a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies 'Journalists Mission' to Israel, the Australian Jewish News reported her as saying that "she was impressed by the vibrant multiculturalism, community spirit and vigorous media debate in the country, and added that her visit to the Lebanese border and the town of Sderot had allowed her to witness the fear Israelis are forced to live with daily." (Journalists reassess Israel, 22/2/08)

Hm... sounds suspiciously like an endorsement to me!

[*On this phenomenon, see my constantly updated 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too.]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Charles Mackay would have loved these examples:

1) Judging by Kevin Rudd's photo-ops with doomed Labor politicians in vulnerable Western Sydney seats, you'd think the Messiah had at last put in an appearance. This is the bozo who once crowed that support for Israel was in his DNA and threw a party for Israel's 60th birthday in federal parliament. And yet, there he was on the telly last week, being mobbed by citizens of Middle Eastern appearance in what looked like Bankstown.

2) Ten thousand Sydneysiders crammed into the Sydney Entertainment Centre yesterday to listen (at a cost of $337-$721 per seat) to the Dalai Lama discourse on ethical living. A nearby World Refugee Day Rally at Sydney Town Hall would've drawn but a fraction of that number.

And since this is the bouncing bonze's 8th visit to Australia, forgive me for asking: where is all this heading? Footie season, cricket season, Dalai Lama season?

Bushama's Syrian Adventure

Rupert Murdoch's Australian mouthpiece, The Australian, has just given the editorial thumbs-up to Bushama's latest imperial adventure: The West must act on Syria: The use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated (15/6/13).

In a nutshell, Rupert reckons that because Bashar al-Assad's (alleged) use of chemical weapons has crossed Obama's 'red line', he has no option but to get involved in Syria or risk being seen as a 'wuss' by Bill (pants down) Clinton and the Iranians.

As you'd expect, such an 'analysis' has all the sophistication of a man once referred to as 'the dirty digger'.

(Needless to say, the Fairfax press is reliably mute on the subject.*)

Those in search of an informed and insightful analysis of Bushama's latest intervention are advised to read Obama decision to arm Syrian rebels has nothing to do with alleged chemical weapons use by's John Glaser. Here it is in part:

"After 2 years of expressly opposing such a policy, the Obama administration has officially announced that it will begin to directly arm the Syrian rebels. The reason? They say it's because they have confirmed with 'high confidence' that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons - crossing Obama's 'red line'. This is very clearly not the reason for Obama's shift.

"First of all, to take this reason seriously, one has to suspend judgement on a number of issues. You'd need to ignore the fact that the last time claims of chemical weapons use cropped up, the Obama administration explicitly denied their validity. 'We found no credible evidence to corroborate or to confirm that chemical weapons were used,' said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in January. You also need to ignore the leaked revelations from United Nations official Carla Del Ponte last month that it was the rebels, not the regime, who used sarin gas. The UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria 'has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons,' Reuters reported Del Ponte as saying. And finally, to believe that the administration decided to escalate the war in Syria because of 'high confidence' that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, you need to be in the habit of believing official government claims without any evidence attached to them. This strategy has worked out well for us in the past.

"Alas, the administration's stated reason for deciding to directly arm the Syrian rebels simply lacks credibility. So why the sudden shift in policy?

"Another baffling aspect of this announcement is the fact that direct arming of the rebels won't include 'decisive' aid. That is, the Obama administration will be sending small arms to the rebels, stopping short of the anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry desired by the rebels. Obama knows this will not tip the balance in favour of the rebels. It will merely prolong the stalemate. And here we have a possible answer to the Obama administration's decision. It has nothing to do with any alleged use of chemical weapons. The aim is apparently to keep the Syrian war going, for some key strategic reasons.

"Back in April, Thanassis Cambanis argued that one reason the Obama administration hasn't directly intervened militarily in Syria is that the long, drawn-out conflict hurts America's geopolitical competitors: 'The war is also becoming a sinkhole for America's enemies. Iran and Hezbollah, the region's most persistent irritants to the United States and Israel, have tied up considerable resources and manpower propping up Assad's regime and establishing new militias. Russia remains a key guarantor of the government, costing Russia support throughout the rest of the Arab world. Gulf monarchies, which tend to be troublesome American allies have invested small fortunes on the rebel side, sending weapons and establishing exile political organizations. The more the Syrian war sucks up the attention and resources of its entire neighborhood, the greater America's relative influence in the Middle East.'

"The ongoing conflict in Syria isn't perceived in Washington as harming US interests, but - according to Cambanis - it is seen as draining the resources and influence of Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia. This is valuable to US strategists at a time when the relative balance of US power is seen as waning."  (, 14/6/13)

I would only add that the last country on earth to be pointing the finger on the subject of chemical weapons use is the one that showered Vietnam with agent orange and drenched Iraq in depleted uranium.

Oh, and where have we heard this 'red line' mantra before? And the obsession with Iran, that's strictly American, right?

PS: "The United States, working with Britain, France and Israel, was able to compile evidence that Syrian officials had planned and executed a string of chemical weapons attacks in Aleppo, Damascus and two other cities." (US is said to plan to send weapons to Syrian rebels, Mazzetti, Gordon & Landler, New York Times, 13/6/13)

[*This is probably just as well. See my 17/7/12 post Undergraduate Editorialising at the Herald.]

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Puppet on a String

"As the White House has said today, there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and that is the view of our own security personnel as well." Australian PM, Julia Gillard, SBS World News, 6.30 pm, 14/6/13

Greg Sheridan & Those 'Classic Refugees'

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]  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tony the Tank Engine

"Iraq is poisoned. Thirty-five million Iraqis wake up every morning to a living nightmare of childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects. Familial cancers, cluster cancers and multiple cancers in the same individual have become frequent in Iraq. Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are all around, in increasing numbers. Trapped in this hellish nightmare, millions of Iraqis struggle to survive, and they call for help. At long last, public pressure and media attention to this public health catastrophe prompted a joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi Ministry of Health to determine the prevalence of birth defects in Iraq. This study began in May-June 2012 and was completed in early October 2012. The WHO website says that this large-scale study was conducted in Baghdad (Karkh and Rasafa), Diyala, Anbar, Sulaymaniyeh, Babel, Basrah, Mosul and Dhi-Qar, with 10,800 households from 18 districts and a sample size of 600 households per district. The Independent (UK) reported that this study was due to be released in November 2012. But the report has not yet come out... One possible answer was suggested on May 26 by the Guardian. It reported the recent comments of Hans von Sponeck, the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations: 'The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers'." (What's delaying the WHO report on Iraqi birth defects? Mozhgan Savabieasfahani,, 6/6/13)

Tony: How's this, Doc, from my latest opinion piece? "Saddam Hussein was responsible for two major wars, in which hundreds of thousands died, many by chemical weapons. He killed similar numbers of his own people..." (Be honest about problem in Islam, Tony Blair, The Australian, 12/6/13)

Shrink: Excellent, Tony! Just keep up the 'At least we got rid of Saddam' mantra and that'll help you get through the day, OK? For the nights, well, just keep popping the pills I gave you. The key thing though is to keep busy, OK? Stay involved! Keep moving! Keep talking! Keep scribbling! Got me?

Tony: Oh, I am, I am. "When I return to Jerusalem soon, it will be my 100th visit to the Middle East since leaving office, working to build a Palestinian state." (ibid) But, you know Doc, it's getting harder and harder to keep up the pretense.

Shrink: Tony, Tony - there you go again, getting all negative. What'd I say about this Palestinian state thingy?

Tony: Learn from Thomas the Tank Engine?

Shrink: That's right! You gotta believe in yourself! OK, let's play trains again. Ready?

Tony: Yes, Doc.

Shrink: Wooo... Wooo...

Tony: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Shrink: That's it, Tony! What else?

Tony: I know I can! I know I can! I know I can!

Shrink: That's the spirit, Tony. Every time Netanyahu brings you down, just remember Thomas, OK?

Tony: Thanks, Doc, I feel better already.

Shrink: The busier the better, Tony. What about another feelgood project to keep your warm inner glow pulsing away?

Tony: That's what Cherie suggested, Doc. "That is why I established a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths around the world to learn about each other and live with each other." (ibid)

Shrink: Wooo... Wooo... Way to go , Tony!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Devil Made Them Do It

"Forces loyal to the Syrian regime are slicing through the heart of the rebel stronghold in Homs, spurring the opposition to brutal tactics it once condemned and pushing the country towards irretrievable sectarian violence." (Rebels desperate as regime forces gain upper hand, Sam Dagher, The Wall Street Journal/The Australian, 12/6/13)

The gospel according to Murdoch:

Before and until the government's push to retake Homs "the opposition" were perfect angels, in no way brutal or sectarian. Ever.

After it, doubtless with gloved hands, pegged noses, and a doleful 'This is gonna hurt us more than it hurts you', they simply had no choice but to go there.  Dinkum!

Did they, I wonder, like Israel's vaunted 'Defence' Forces, shoot first and cry afterwards?

Of course!

How could you possibly think otherwise?

An Australian First?

Has an Australian politician's total ignorance* of a subject ever gotten in the way of his holding forth on it?

Until Monday night's Q&A my guess would've been no.

I'm happy to have been proven wrong.  

The topic under discussion was Saudi society/women.

When compere Tony Jones asked ex-Labor leader Mark Latham for his opinion, Latham responded simply:

"I just don't know enough about the society, Tony, to add to the discussion. You are better getting another comment from Lina than from me."

Now in case you think I'm making too much of Latham's achievement here, contrast his admirable restraint with the waffle which followed from motormouth Craig Emerson:

"More broadly I think the progress of women is stuttering progress at best. You know, they strive - they seek the sorts of opportunities that blokes have had for thousands of years, and when they do they often find they're up against resistance, a brick wall. You think of that poor little girl who the Taliban shot in the head because she wanted to go to school. She did go to school and she encouraged other girls to go to school. Now that's an extreme example but that's what, you know, young women can be up against around the world. Another girl was doused with acid because she wanted to have a boyfriend who wasn't designated by her parents or someone else to be the right and just boyfriend. I mean these are basic rights that I think women around the world do not enjoy and I think women and men should back them in and continue making progress because it is not satisfactory."

[*See my 6/2/12 post On Ignorance.]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ode to Turkey's Police

... with apologies to Leon Rosselson

Every day they're at the ready
Turkey's police.
Restoring calm, maintaining order,
Keeping the peace -
With their strong arms locked
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back...

Every day they're at the ready
Erdogan's police.
Restoring calm, maintaining order,
Keeping the peace -
With their belts and badges and batons and boots
In perfect array.
Their uniformed bodies and disciplined minds
Trained to obey.
And their strong arms locked
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back...

Every day they're at the ready
Turkey's police.
Restoring calm, maintaining order,
Keeping the peace -
With their belts and badges and batons and boots
In perfect array.
Their disciplined bodies and uniformed minds
Trained to obey
The order when it should come
To use the gas that burns the eyes,
The gas that chokes,
The guns, the dogs, the water cannon,
The rubber bullets -
To control the situation.
And their strong arms locked
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back...

Every day they're at the ready
Erdogan's police.
Restoring calm, maintaining order,
Keeping the peace -
With their belts and badges and batons and boots
In perfect array.
Their uniformed, disciplined bodies and minds
Trained to obey
The order when it should come
To use the gas that burns the eyes,
The gas that chokes,
The guns, the dogs, the water cannon,
The rubber bullets, the plastic bullets,
The electrified barbed wire, the high velocity rifles,
The submachine guns, the armoured cars, the tanks,
The petroleum jelly, the fragmentation bombs,
The high radiation bomb...
To control the situation.
And their strong arms locked
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back...
To hold back...

In the end there is no holding back.
A final calm descends upon the earth.
All problems solved.
A new order is born,
With none of the messiness of birth.

No trees sway out of line;
There are no trees.
No roses sprawl in riotous display;
There are no roses.
Nothing moves, no one stirs.
No sounds of birds disturb the peace:
There are no birds.

And still they stand
Triumphant & immense,
The silent lines of marble monuments.
Soon the rising seas will cease to rise,
The flecks of grey ash float to rest.
And there will be -
Perfect peace,
Complete calm,
The maximum of order.

Every day they're at the ready
Turkey's police.
Restoring calm, maintaining order,
Keeping the peace -
With their strong arms locked
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back the mob
To hold back...
To hold back...

Antidotes to Internet Islamophobia

As you will have seen in yesterday's post on Islamophobia, at least one of our ms Muslim-bashing pundits, the Sydney Morning Herald's Paul Sheehan, gets all he needs to know on the subject of Muslims and their religion from Islamophobic websites.

Little wonder then that his tiresome rants are full of pseudo-scholarship and Islamophobic bile.

Those seeking informed and scholarly correctives to such rubbish might find themselves wondering where to go. I've found two books in particular most useful.

One is M.A.S. Abdel Haleem's 2004 translation of the Qur'an, which is excellent for contextualising Quranic quotes (that is, if their textual co-ordinates are given). (See my 27/4/13 post Facts & Context: There's No Getting Around Them.)

The other - although Islam is not its principal subject - is Philip Jenkins's fascinating study, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses (2011).

Jenkins is the author of The Lost History of Christianity and Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.

Here's a sample:

"In terms of its bloodthirsty and intolerant passages, the Bible raises considerably more issues than does the Qur'an. Some Bible passages justify genocide and multigenerational race war; the Qur'an has nothing comparable. While many Qur'anic texts undoubtedly call for warfare or bloodshed, these are hedged around with more restrictions than their biblical equivalents, with more opportunities for the defeated to make peace and survive. Furthermore, any of the defenses that can be offered for biblical violence - for instance, that these passages are unrepresentative of the overall message of the text - apply equally to the Qur'an.

"When noticing the scarcity of impossible or unpalatable texts in the Qur'an, I stress that I am talking about that scripture alone, rather than the later works that explained or elucidated it. By this I mean the Hadith (the reputed sayings of Muhammad) and the later body of commentaries (known as the Tafsir). These later works matter immensely for understanding the overall pattern of the religion, but they must be used carefully as means of approaching the original scripture.

"Not just in Islam, commentaries and later interpretations distort readers' ideas about what exactly the original text contains. When Americans hear the phrase 'the separation of church and state', many assume that it occurs in the US Constitution, which it does not. It actually comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, and the words may or may not accurately reflect the guiding principles of the Constitution itself. Similarly, Muslims often take ideas from the commentaries and read them back into the Qur'an itself. To take one grotesque example, many ordinary believers think that a passage in the Qur'an describes Jews being transformed into apes and pigs; as I will show below, that reading is false. This understanding stems from one tradition in the Tafsir, which has entered folklore.

"If we do take those other sources, the Hadith and the Tafsir, into account as ways of understanding the Qur'an, then in fairness we should have to look at the entire contents of the Church Fathers for interpreting the Christian Bible, and the Talmud for the Hebrew Bible. If we did that, then alongside all the spiritual and cultural splendors of those works we could certainly find some obnoxious and unpalatable materials, some of which attack other faiths. But if instead we compare like with like, scripture with scripture, rather than how passages have been used by later generations of believers, then the Qur'an is in no sense a bloodier or more warlike text than the Bible - either the Hebrew Bible or the larger text beloved by Christians. Indeed, that Islamic text has far fewer passages demanding to be confronted or accommodated.

"In that sense, the Qur'an does not pose as many ethical difficulties as the Bible. This claim does not represent a kind of apology for Islam, a defense of its religious claims. In fact, one might even argue the opposite. As I will suggest, the disturbing features of the Bible reflect a much greater antiquity than that of the Qur'an, revealing complex dialogues with many cultures over time - interactions that ultimately created the essential foundation for the universalism of the Qur'an and of early Islam. In terms of its spiritual authority, the fact that the Qur'an is so straightforward - so lacking in extreme violence, in fact - is at once its strength and its weakness." (pp 73-75)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Islamophobia Goes Mainstream

While Australian politicians flock to sign an Israeli government-sponsored declaration committing them to fight criticism of Israel under the pretext that they are fighting anti-Semitism, a marginal form of racism at best in this country, Islamophobia is thriving in the mainstream media. The following instances have occurred within the past two weeks:

Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald columnist, 27/5

"Here is a sample of the more than 100 verses in the Koran that call Muslims to violence against the Unbelievers [Sheehan lists a handful of unnumbered, contextless quotes]... Most Muslims are peaceful, like most non-Muslims, but the Koran groans under the weight of its own contradictions, with entreaties to kindness co-existing with exhortations to merciless war." (Twisting Islam to justify pure evil)

In attempting to directly link the Qur'an with acts of violence today, Sheehan cites the anti-Islam hate site, which interestingly links, through a reference to rampaging, murderous 'Muslims' vs 'Jews' working on their "159th Nobel Prize," to Zionist propaganda site, (For the full story on, I refer you to the 10/7/12 post Working to Streamline the American Empire's 'War on Terror, at

No doubt too busy trawling Islamophobic websites to do his homework, Sheehan's ignorance of the Qur'an was made abundantly clear by the following letter from Yusuf Mansuri of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which I quote in part:

"Paul Sheehan plays a double game (Twisting Islam to justify cruelty, May 27). He starts, rightfully, calling the murderers responsible for the vile and hateful crime committed in Woolwich last week psychopaths and thugs.* But he then jumps to how the Koran is hateful and full of contradictions. He cherry-picks verses to provide evidence. As a responsible journalist, he should be aware that a verse is part of a chapter; and the chapter provides the context. For example, 'And slay them wherever ye find them...', from the Koran, chapter 9, verse 5, is not about killing unbelievers wherever you find them, as Sheehan would have readers think. If he were to read a few verses before and after he would understand the verse is quoted during a battle and is about the breaking of a peace treaty with the Muslims by the polytheists of Makkah. The verse immediately after says: 'And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection (amnesty) so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.' Every verse he has quoted is misleading and is out of context. The only other people who quote these verses out of context are the extremists." (28/5/13)** 

Q&A - 27/5

CHARLES NORTHCOTE: Panel, good evening. In light of recent events in the UK, namely the horrific terrorist murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby, we have terrorism coming from within. Let me quote the words of Ayatollah Khomeini. 'Islam makes it incumbent upon all males to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam, Sharia, is obeyed by every country in the world. Those who know nothing about Islam pretend it counsels against war. Those are witless. Islam says kill all unbelievers just as they would kill you.' How do you propose to make a stand against such radical behaviour and belief systems?

[According to, this quote, from Amir Taheri's Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism, is disputed. For Taheri's record as a fabricator, click on the tag below.]

FRED NILE: Well, I'm very concerned about Islam and I have spoken on this before and what is being quoted is correct, it is in the Quran So we have to say the Islamic...

TONY JONES: I don't think it was a quote from the Quran. That was a quote from Ayatollah Khomeini.  

FRED NILE: Yes, but he's quoting the Quran. There are verses in the Quran that say cut off the hands of your enemies, their legs, crucify them and so on...

Suddenly, Nile's an expert on the Qur'an! No one in the audience asked him to substantiate his assertions, chapter and verse. And no one raised the fact that he heads a party which calls for a moratorium on Muslim migration. (See my 7/10/11 post Witches Brew 5.)

Q&A - 3/6

KAIA THORPE: Thank you for the opportunity to ask Senator Cory Bernardi my question. I have a problem with a school textbook, entitled [sic] Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools 2011. Why is Islam part of the syllabus for our primary and secondary school children? Muslims comprise only 2.25% of our population. Buddhists are more at 2.5%, while Christians at 64% are the majority, yet Christianity is not part of the school curriculum. Why are we giving Islam preferential treatment? Why are we promoting to our children a cruel culture which has nothing but contempt for our democracy?

To begin with, the aforementioned is not a textbook, it's a teaching resource. And heaven forbid that our kids should learn about something the old biddy who asked the question knows nothing about!

As for Bernardi's response, the bloke who'd earlier in the show been telling us, apropos racists mouthing off on buses, that "If you hear racist words or slogans being... directed at individuals, you've got to stand up and say, 'That's wrong. Don't do it. It offends me'," started on about "the Judeo-Christian tradition that informs our values," and began dog-whistling that "if we don't have people in public life that are prepared to stand up for those values, then they will be replaced by other values that are not as consistent with our democratic ideals."

No one, of course, raised the issue of Bernardi's Islamophobia, or his promotion of Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders.

Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of Murdoch's Australian, 8/6

"This boatpeople phenomenon is essentially determined Muslim immigration. It is important to confront the sensitivities of this situation head on. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Australia are law-abiding and productive citizens. They should not be made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable because of the necessary debate about this huge, unregulated Islamic inflow. But to dodge the debate because of that sensitivity is a recipe for continued, disastrous policy failure." (Policy failure creating a monstrous problem)

The first sentence says it all really.

[*See my 29/5/13 post In the Name of Afghanistan;** See also my 27/4/13 post Facts & Context: There's Just No Getting Around Them.]

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Have you ever noticed how Zionists seek to disguise their racist, colonialist agenda by jumping onto progressive bandwagons such as feminism, environmentalism, and gay and indigenous rights?

To take but two examples: Zionism's key colonising arm, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), now parades as an environmentally-friendly tree-planting group, and macho Israel itself is spun as a gay-friendly oasis in a homophobic Arab/Muslim desert whenever the occasion calls.

Now while greenwashing and pinkwashing are relatively new to Israel's propaganda repertoire, another, older form of '-washing' is experiencing something of a revival. I'll call it Palwashing. Palwashing rears its ugly head whenever you hear stories of cute but ailing Palestinian kids being saved from certain death by the selfless labour of Israeli doctors.

Palwashing is not exactly a new phenomenon. In his 1946 book, Palestine Through the Fog of Propaganda, a Palestinian civil servant in the British Mandate government, M.F. Abcarius, may well have been one of the first to draw attention to this kind of propaganda:

"Next to the claim that Jews are contributing more than their proportionate share to the revenue of the country, the most insistent allegation is that [Jewish] immigration has benefited the country greatly... Common decency militates against the mention among the alleged benefits of Jewish immigration the fact that certain anti-malaria works undertaken by Jews for their own good have incidentally proved of value to neighbouring Arabs. Similarly, the admission of Arabs to Jewish institutions for treatment is a normal phenomenon if the country is really regarded as one. The very fact that mention is made of the admission of Arabs to Jewish institutions clearly indicates that in spite of their repeated professions that they regard the well-being of the country as a whole, the Jews maintain in their minds a sharp cleavage between the two sections of the population. Moreover, in almost all Jewish institutions admission for treatment is subject to the payment of fees, and since the service of professional physicians or surgeons have been commercialised the world over the inclusion of this item in the enumeration of benefits accruing to Arabs from Jewish immigration loses its value." (pp 186-190)

The reason for my introducing the subject of Palwashing at this point in time relates to the contents of the front page (and follow-up article and editorial) of the Australian Jewish News of May 31.

Under a large feelgood photograph of a stylishly-dressed young mother and her cute 5-year old daughter, joyously throwing fallen autumn leaves into the air, comes the bold headline, Miracle of life, followed by these words:

"When 5-year-old Palestinian girl Rozana Sawalhi fell 9 storeys from her apartment, her life was saved by a team at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital. Now, a new Australian medical initiative named in her honour will see many more Palestinian children receive vital treatment."

This was followed on page 3 by a report on the launch of Project Rozana, under the headline Hadassah's healing hands. PR (how appropriate!) is described as "a collaboration between Christian welfare organisation Anglican Overseas Aid, Hadassah Australia and Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem," and is touted as providing "paediatric intensive care to gravely ill Palestinian children."

Rozana's mother, Maysa Abu Ghannam, is quoted as saying, "Everone knows that while there is conflict between Israel and Palestine, none of that matters at Hadassah. [There] you are a human being, that's all. You are a person without politics, without religion, without colour... [Rozana] is a miracle of life... She is a bridge between Palestine and Israel now."

The initiative is further said to have the support of the Palestinian Authority.

That PR is primarily about, well, PR, is hammered home by the AJN's editorialist who laments that, although the usual Israeli propaganda lines - 'beacon of democracy in a sea of theocratic despotism' is described as a "chestnut" - "while noteworthy, aren't newsworthy, and lose the battle for column inches to buzz factoids like Israel is an 'apartheid state'*... it's satisfying when a positive story about Israel cuts through."

In reality, propaganda of the Palwashing kind merely serves as a cover for Israel's horrendous abuse of Palestinian kids. (Read my 18/4/13 post, The UN Goes to Water, and you'll see what I mean.)

To return to one of the points I often make in this blog: the simple fact remains that if Palestinian kids such as Rozanna can be treated in Israeli hospitals, why can't Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their homeland and live beside Israelis in a secular, democratic, unitary state? (See my 17/4/13 post If They're Good Enough for the Technion...)

[*The editorialist here has created his own factoid, namely that the ms media is talking about Israel as an apartheid state. To read the saga of what happened when the 'a' word once inadvertently cropped up in the Australian press, see my 3 posts: Consensus At Last (7/5/12); The Other Side of Israel's Jewish Character (8/5/12); and Magic Happens (11/5/12).]

Saturday, June 8, 2013

No Fracking Idea

My, doesn't NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham look fracking uncomfortable in the photograph taken with Vic Alhadeff of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies which accompanies the Australian Jewish News report headlined First Green to sign London Declaration?

The singling out of Buckingham in this way indicates the importance attached to this particular scalp by the Israel lobby:

"NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham is among around 70* state parliamentarians who have added their signature to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism in the last two weeks. Buckingham, who is a member of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel, is the only NSW Greens MP to have signed the declaration." (31/5/13)

That Buckingham has no fracking idea what he's doing becomes painfully obvious in his quoted words:

"There's a symbolic importance to sign this very important document that condemns anti-Semitism and reaffirms our commitment to stamp out anti-Semitism. It's important that all political parties recognise the dangers of anti-Semitism, recognise how disastrous it was in the 20th century, and we have to be mindful to stamp it out wherever it rears its ugly head - in any way, shape or form - in our modern society... I recognise the State of Israel. I want to see self-determination for the people of Palestine as well, so I think it's a very fair document..." (ibid)

Incredibly, he  appears to believe that the declaration is only about Nazi-style anti-Semitism. If so, he clearly hasn't read the thing.

And when he says I recognise Israel, this can only mean that he recognises a Jewish state based on apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and occupation. If not, he clearly has not done his homework.

He then babbles on about Palestinian self-determination, blissfully ignorant of the fact that it is precisely the existence of a discriminatory, ethno-religious, colonial-settler regime in the whole of historic Palestine that prevents Palestinian national self-determination. Clearly, Buckingham wouldn't know what Palestinian self-determination looked like if it hit him in the face.

Finally, there's the gross non sequitur of his final statement: I want to see self-determination for the people of Palestine, so I think it's a very fair document.

As I said, no fracking idea!

Here's a little test for him: Does he believe that Israel:

a) is guilty of war crimes?
b) is expansionist and does not seek peace?
c) violates human rights?

If he answers yes to any of these questions, then he's outed himself as a bona fide, goose-stepping anti-Semite.

How so?

Well, in the very same issue of the AJN in which he's appeared, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is quoted as saying that a yes to any of these questions means that one is vilifying Israel and is therefore "part and parcel of the anti-Semitic campaign." (See Bibi: Truth is remedy to new anti-Semitism)

[*50 Coalition/20 Labor. The numbers here are of some interest. They suggest that 39 state Coalition/Labor MLAs, and 14 state Coalition/Labor MLCs have so far refrained from signing.]

Friday, June 7, 2013

Recognising Anti-Semitism Today

Remember way back when we all thought we knew the meaning of the term 'anti-Semitism' - hatred of Jews as Jews? Those days are long gone, it seems. Thanks to the creative efforts of Zionist wordsmiths, anti-Semitism today no longer means quite what we thought it meant back in the good old days.  In fact, these days it's become almost unrecognisable.

With Australian politicians falling over themselves to sign an Israeli government-sponsored document* committing themselves to 'combat' what it calls 'anti-Semitism'- referred to at one point as political activism which 'targets the State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity' - it is incumbent upon on us all to know exactly what the term means today.

Happily, the heavy lifting on this matter has been done for us by the brilliant US sociobiologist Robert Trivers, the author of the MUST-READ book Deceit & Self-Deception: Fooling Yourself the Better to Fool Others (2011). If there is a better analysis of how the term 'anti-Semitism' has - ahem - 'evolved', I have yet to see it:

First Line of Defense: Cry 'Anti-Semite'

"The naive reader should be aware that in criticizing Israel for its racist and/or unjust policies toward Arabs, you at once risk being called an anti-Semite, that is, someone who has a (racial) bias against Jewish people (or, if Jewish, a 'self-hating Jew'). The term has now been so degraded by its frequent use in defense of injustice that its actual meaning is inverted - it is now usually a racist term used by those who support racist policies against those who do not. Or, better put, 'an anti-Semite' used to mean someone who hates Jews; now it means anyone Jews hate - a simple case of denial and projection.

"It takes more than showing that a person speaks out against Jewish-perpetuated injustice to show that he or she is anti-Jewish. Perhaps he or she is merely anti-injustice. But the anti-anti-Semites have an answer for this. Why are you picking on us? Are there not worse people in the world? According to this view, you must rank the world's injustices from biggest to smallest, then criticize everybody before you are permitted to criticize Israel itself. When you have finally reached Israel, though, a new rule is imposed: balance. If you concentrate only on Israel's manifest injustices - let us say its regular attacks on its northern neighbor, Lebanon (1976, 1982, 1996, 2006) or its remorseless theft of Palestinian land, water, indeed life itself, all based on terror and subjugation - you are being unbalanced. For every Israeli transgression, you must show a parallel Palestinian one to demonstrate lack of bias. But this is of course impossible (given reality). The best you can come up with are suicide attacks and some poorly guided missiles that claim fewer than one-thirtieth of those being killed by the Israelis during the same time period. So much for balance. Finally, should you come up with an argument that is strong in logic and content, you are said to make 'tendentious' statements against Israel. This is a possible case of a malphemism treadmill (see Chapter 8).

"Many first-class minds in mathematics, the sciences, and many other intellectual pursuits are Jewish (or partly Jewish). But this intellectuality can have a downside. Greater intellectual talent may be associated with more deception and self-deception (see Chapters 2 & 4). Where Israeli misbehavior is concerned, this has the unfortunate effect that an enormous amount of blather in defense of the indefensible pours out from every corner. This ranges from the truly rabid and racist - with full bells and whistles - to much more subtle arguments in which small, key errors are well concealed. UN Resolution 242 calls for Israeli withdrawal from lands occupied in the 1967 war - but not 'the' lands. Even though 'the' appears in the French version of the resolution and there is no mistaking the UN's intent, this missing article is used to assert that the UN deliberately called for Israeli withdrawal from some but not all of its occupied land. And because the UN never specified which land should be relinquished, any withdrawal would satisfy the UN - a few square meters if put to the test. Or take another piece of sophistry. Israel declares that it is necessary for its neighbors to acknowledge Israel's 'right to exist' before diplomatic relations can be sought, but nowhere else in the world is this a prerequisite. You recognize that a government exists and you set up diplomatic relations - nowhere do you assert that the government has a right to exist. In addition, Israel is unusual in failing to define its own borders, so recognizing its right to exist may have hidden implications regarding future ownership of land. To take but one example, Israel has taken care to build about 85% of its security wall outside of Israel, creating new borders and a larger country by fiat.

"Thus, on the subject of Israel, a vast wave of biased argumentation washes over people who have not had (or taken) the chance to study the matter carefully. The key is a fundamental inversion of reality: The Palestinians are not displaced people, driven from their homes and their land and persecuted ever since. They (and Arabs more generally) are terrorists - virulent anti-Semites - against whom all is permitted. What looks like Israeli terrorism and relentless theft of land and water is really just a proactive campaign to prevent another holocaust (apparently by inciting the very feelings that would invite one).

"The truth about Israel's theft of Arab land and water since 1967 via 'settlements' was well put by a pair of Israeli historians: 'Deception, shame, concealment, denial, and repression have characterized the state's behavior with respect to the flow of funds to the settlements. It can be said that this has been an act of duplicity in which all of the Israeli governments since 1967 have been partner. This massive self-deception still awaits the research that will reveal its full magnitude.'

"As is so often true, what can be said in Israel is usually more honest and detailed about Israel than what can be said on the same subject in the United States." (pp 243-245)

[*See my posts The Latest Prime Ministerial Kowtow (28/4/13) & The Tel Aviv Document on Combating Criticism of Israel (17/5/13).]