Saturday, November 30, 2013

Silly Old Duck

On November 28, ABC Radio National's rural affairs program Bush Telegraph broadcast an item about country Jews:

"As Jewish communities in major cities celebrate the start of the Chanukah festival this week, one group is heading into country Australia to support Jewish people living in isolated areas without a synagogue or connection to their culture. The founder of Chabad of Rural and Remote Australia, Saul Spigler, says while the census lists only 3,600 Jews as living in remote areas, the work of his group indicates there could be between 7,000 and 10,000 in regional areas... He says he and his workers are a little like 'Jewish detectives', who will go 'anywhere to visit anybody'. Trawling the phone books, knocking on the doors of local shops and visiting cemeteries, town halls, police and Jewish doctors, they've found 250 contacts in the past 4 months." (Jewish group Chabad of RARA takes outreach to isolated communities)

Now it goes without saying that stories such as this, about the fiddle-faddling of the faithful, don't generally register on my radar. For that to happen, there has to be another, more political, dimension. Unfortunately, in this case, there was:

"George Koulakis is a Townsville supporter of the organisation, who describes his house as 'base camp' and maintains the motor home the group uses to travel... [He once] had an interesting interaction after stopping to get a drink on one long trip through country NSW. 'I pulled into a one horse town and wanted an iced drink,' he said. 'When I came back an old Aboriginal woman was staring at our big yellow motor home and its Hebrew writing, and I said, 'It's Hebrew, we're Jewish.' She said, 'You know what? The Jews and the aboriginal people have a lot in common; we're both from a very old culture and we're both still fighting for our land'."

Oh, really?!

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29: Australia's Day of Shame

Today, November 29, is the 66th anniversary of the day the United Nations General Assembly, then more of a white man's club than a body which truly represented the people of the world, voted for the partition of Palestine, without consulting its people, into a 'Jewish' and an Arab state. (This kind of decision, of course, would be inconceivable today.)

Not for nothing has November 29 been designated by the UN as International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

November 29 should be seen by Australians in particular as a day of shame because of the vital role played in the partition of Palestine by Australia's then foreign minister, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt (1945-49).

As chairman of the UN's Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, Evatt voted against referring the Palestine problem to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion and voted for partition when the matter came before the UNGA on November 29.

Evatt, who went on to become President of the UNGA, is viewed today an 'icon' of the Australian Labor Party. And don't we just love our icons? God knows why, but in our naivety, we often assume that they act out of some kind of superior knowledge or wisdom intrinsic to themselves. How wrong we are. In fact, Evatt knew virtually nothing of Palestine or Palestinians, and cared even less.

What explains his shameful role in the dismemberment of Palestine is those who had access to him, those who had his ear. Meet Max Freilich and friends:

"In my capacity as President of the Zionist State Council and member of the Department for Zionist Policy, I was actively associated with this public relations effort. But perhaps more than any of my Zionist colleagues I realised that such public relations activity is a long-term educational process, a process not conducive to, or capable of, getting immediate results. As victory for the Allies was in sight and the war's end was drawing nearer I was deeply persuaded that to be effective and to achieve immediate results we must aim for a direct and short-cut approach to the political leaders of the country. I often had occasion to discuss this problem with my friend Abram Landa, Labor Member of the NSW Parliament, who agreed with my viewpoint. Abe was a close friend of Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, Minister of External Affairs in the Labour Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and Dr Evatt was the logical Cabinet Minister to approach. The executive of the Zionist Council, as far back as August 1942, at my suggestion, decided that Dr Evatt be requested to receive a deputation which would put to him the Zionist case... A deputation led by Saul Symonds, President of the NSW Jewish Advisory Board, was received eventually by Dr Evatt, presenting to him the Zionist case and the tragedy of European Jewry. Dr Evatt received us most cordially, assured us of the Commonwealth Government's deep sympathy and promised his utmost support 'when the time comes'. The formal approach to the Government and the result, favourable as it certainly appeared to be, did not satisfy my sense of urgency... The opportunity for personal contact with members of the Government of the day came to me in mid-1944 when the Commonwealth Government decided to hold a referendum on amendments to the Constitution... Through the good offices of Abram Landa I was able to serve in some small measure the cause of the Government. This brought me into contact with Mr Ben Chifley, then Federal Treasurer, and Dr Evatt, Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General in John Curtin's Cabinet... [M]y association with Dr Evatt developed into a warm personal friendship during the critical and historic days for Zionism in the pre-state period, when the partition of Palestine was dealt with by the United Nations at Lake Success." (Zion In Our Time: Memoirs of an Australian Zionist, 1967, pp 114-115)

Not for nothing did AIJAC's Daniel Mandel call his 2004 book on Evatt, H.V. Evatt & the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist.

And speaking of undercover Zionists, our current crop have just sided in the UN with Israel, the United States, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau to vote against the adoption of a UNGA resolution declaring 2014 as International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (110 for, 56 abstaining).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why So Coy? 1

Why, I wonder, is the J-Wire site so coy about naming these rambammers:

"The journalists who participated in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies' recent Journalists Mission to Israel will address a public meeting in Sydney next week. The journalists - from the Sydney Morning Herald, Sky News Business, SBS Television World News and Channel Ten News - participated in an intensive week-long study mission. While in Israel they visited the Lebanese border, the Gazan border, West Bank settlements, the Australian Light Horse memorial in Beersheva and a Palestinian refugee camp, were briefed by a range of top-level experts across a broad range of areas and disciplines, and spent time at such iconic addresses as Yad Vashem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Masada, among a range of other activities... The Board of Deputies Journalists Mission... was conducted in conjunction with AIJAC." (Journos report back, jwire.com.au, 27/11/13)

Be that as it may, I shall nevertheless reserve a spot for them on my long list of the rambammed: I've Been to Israel Too (30/3/09).

And while on the subject of rambamming, the following disclosure appeared at the foot of a 'report' (No borders for doctor saving kids, David King, The Australian, 23/11/13) on the patching up of wounded Syrians at Israel's Ziv Medical Centre*:

"David King travelled to Israel on a study tour provided by the Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council."

[*On Ziv Medical Centre, see my 3/9/13 post Our Man in Tel Aviv 2.]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Please Explain...

There's a report in today's Sydney Morning Herald on the potential impact of the federal government's decision to review the former government's policy of funding schools on a needs basis, featuring western Sydney's disadvantaged Merrylands High School, which has "children from more than 50 countries, with 10% being refugees." (Both dread & agreement at prospect of changes by Pyne, Rachel Browne & Amy McNeilage)

There's an accompanying photograph of 6 students in front of a school wall. Two, judging by their names, can only be Arabs.

On the wall are painted a number of foreign flags, one being the Israeli.

Work that one out.

In Defence of Rocket Scientists

"The Abbott government has re-calibrated its position on Israel [in the UN] to ensure that only 'balanced' UN resolutions are endorsed as it comes under pressure from the opposition to explain the shift." (Coalition now 'balanced' on UN Middle East votes, Joe Kelly & Brendan Nicholson, The Australian, 26/11/13)

Re-calibrated, eh? So Palestine/Israel really is rocket science?!

Ipso facto, rocket science is best left to rocket scientists, right?

Rocket scientists say awesome things such as:

"An approach which simply denies any possibility of flexibility towards the settlements is a recipe for a complete lack of progress towards a two-state solution." (ibid)

But of course! Why didn't I think of that?

Obviously because I'm not a rocket science.

The above pearl just tripped off the tongue of rocket scientist extraordinaire Peter Jennings, currently executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), and was thankfully recorded for posterity by a pair of adjacent Murdoch journalists, Joe Kelly and Brendan Nicholson.

How fortunate they just happened to be passing by.

Now rocket scientists, being rocket scientists, they have bloody brilliant careers.

Take Peter's for example:

*1980: BA (Honours) in History, University of Tasmania
*1985: Fulbright Fellow, MIT
*1987: Taught politics and international relations at UNSW
*1990: Defence adviser to the Federal Opposition
*1996: Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence
*1998: Head of the Strategic Policy Branch
*1999: Co-Director of the East Timor Policy Unit
*2000: Sloan Fellow, London School of Economics
*2002: Deputy Director of the Defence Imagery & Geospatial Organisation
*2002-2003: Senior Advisor in the Prime Minister's Office
*2012: ASPI ED

Up up & away, eh?

Now you might think that a rocket scientist like Peter, who gets Israel/Palestine just like that, has read every scholarly book on the subject and then some. But you'd be wrong.

You see, his exalted status as a 'suppository of all wisdom' on all things Middle Eastern (not to mention everything else under the sun) derives not from the work of scholars and historians such as Edward Said, Ilan Pappe, or David Hirst, but from stellar entities beyond our ken (aka ASPI's corporate partners).

Entities such as:

*Lockheed Martin: an American security and aeronautics company which sells Super Hercules airlifters to Israel. (See Israel receives first C-130J Super Hercules: 'Shimshon', lockheedmartin.com.au)

*IBM (International Business Machines): an American multinational which provides IT and business consulting services to the the Israeli army, economy and academic institutions. (See: CJPME, Factsheet, Boycott campaign: IBM)

*EADS (European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company): a French company which works with the Israeli Aircraft Industry (IAI) to develop drone technology. (See: France: Biggest European weapons supplier to Israel, disarmzionism.wordpress.com)

Just think: where would our Middle East policy be without the superior knowledge and fine-tuning of rocket scientists like Peter Jennings?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jugular Journalism

What a strange man is Peter Hartcher (rambammed 2009, 2011), international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

I mean, is this guy channeling Israel or what:

"For years, the world has been increasingly worried that Iran's progress towards a nuclear bomb would lead to war." (US its own worst enemy on Iran, 26/11/13)

The world, of course, turns out to be... Israel, and the object of said progress is never questioned.

But that's not really what concerns me here. It's what comes later in the piece.

It's one thing to adopt an Israeli perspective. (After all, this is the corporate media where Israeli thuggery is cool and Israeli thugs are sexy; where it's Ahmadinejad, not Netanyahu, as here, who gets labelled "firebrand.")

It's quite another, however, for a journalist to revel in Israeli violence - over and over again:

- "Global sanctions on Iran's economy have put a foot on the throat of the rising Middle East power."

- "But Israel and Saudi Arabia argue that the deal eases the pressure on Iran's throat; this gives it oxygen and time to continue covertly towards bomb building , they say."

- "Why not keep the foot on the throat until Iran capitulates comprehensively?"

Grotesque.

PS 15/12/13: I think maybe Hartcher's channeling Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz here: "'The pressure on the regime is enormous. You can get a very serious agreement for this. Don't give it up so easily,' he told The Cable. 'And don't give them extra oxygen while you're negotiating with them. On the contrary, increase the pressure'." (Israeli Intelligence Minister: Keep the boot on Iran's neck, Yochi Dreazen, thecable.foreignpolicy.org, 23/10/13) 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Bridge on the River Jordan

So Abbottoir (formerly known as Australia) is now lining up with 8 other countries at the UN, including South Sudan and Papua New Guinea, in abstaining from condemning Israeli settlement expansion.

Just so we know who we're giving the old wink & nudge to here, check out this soundbyte from Mr Tz, Israeli settler:

"Leibowitz* is right. We are Judeo-Nazis, and why not?... Even today I am willing to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don't care. And I don't mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg trial and jail me for life. Hang me if you want as a war criminal... What you lot don't understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not yet finished, far from it. True, it could have been finished in 1948..." (Here & There in Eretz Israel in the Autumn of 1982, Amos Oz, 1982, pp 70-82)

I wish that were all that Abbottoir got up to this month in the UN, but it's not. Apparently, having abstained, along with 5 other countries, on a resolution calling for Israel to comply, as an occupying power, with the Geneva Conventions, we no longer believe that they apply to Israel.

The Geneva Conventions? Now who'd have thought Abbotoir's leader, Tony Abbott, would be on Colonel Saito's side here:

Colonel Nicholson: I must call your attention, Colonel Saito, to Article 27 of the Geneva Convention. (Reading) Belligerents may employ as workers prisoners of war who are physically fit other than officers...
Colonel Saito: Give me the book!
Nicholson: By all means. You read English I take it?
Saito: Do you read Japanese?
Nicholson: Sorry, no, but if it's a matter of precise translation I'm sure that can be arranged. I see the code specifically states that the... (Saito slaps his face and hurls the book to the ground)
Saito: You speak to me of code? What code? The coward's code. What do you know of the soldier's code? Of Bushido? Nothing! (Grabs Nicholson's swagger stick and breaks it) You are unworthy of command!
Nicholson: Since you refuse to abide by the laws of the civilized world, we must consider ourselves absolved from our duty to obey you. My officers will not do manual labor.
Saito: We shall see.
(The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957)

So if Israel wants to deport Palestinians and replace them with Mr Tz and his mates, that's fine by Abbottoir.

You'll also be pleased to know that AIJAC's Colin Rubenstein "emphatically [welcomed] the government's principled leadership in changing these votes, reverting to the Howard/Downer position." (Tony Abbott quietly shifts UN position to support Israeli settlements, upsetting Palestinians, Jonathan Swan, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/11/13)

Alas, Abbottoir's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was unavailable for comment.

And all Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya (Once Were Warriors) Plibersek could say when asked was: "It's quite extraordinary that [the government] would make such a large change without reporting back to Australians." (Insiders, abc.net.au,  24/11/13)

[*Yeshayahu Leibowitz, 1903-1994]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Obfuscating the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence

Zionist historians are a real menace when it comes to the facts.

Take, for example, Norman Rose, Chair of International Relations at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and author of the book A Senseless, Squalid War: Voices from Palestine 1890s-1948 (2009).

Here he is, writing in that book, on the subject of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence of 1915, in which Britain pledged support for an independent Arab nation (inclusive of Palestine) in return for the Arabs joining the British push to expel the Turks from the area of Greater Syria:

"[A]nxious to involve the Arabs in their war against the Ottomans, the British, through Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner in Egypt, pursued a labyrinthine correspondence with the Sherif Husayn of Mecca, the titular head of the Arab nationalist movement, who... was intent on attaining the greatest measure possible of Arab statehood... The original Arab demands... set out an audacious programme: a greater Arab state bounded by Persia and the Indian Ocean in the east, the Red Sea in the south, the eastern Mediterranean littoral up to Mersina (lying on the Turkish coastline) in the west, and in the north, on a line from Mersina and Adana to the Persian border." (p 14)

Just on that, one wonders why any objective scholar would describe an Arab proposal for an Arab state in an area overwhelmingly populated by Arabs as 'audacious', while not even mentioning initial Zionist claims to territory from the Nile to the Euphrates. Also, on a minor point of fact, Rose gets the detail of Hussein's claim wrong: the Indian Ocean is proposed in the correspondence as the southern, not eastern, border of the Arab state.

But those are mere trifles compared with what follows:

"The British agreed in principle, but with several reservations. They excluded 'portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo', and emphasised time and again that they were not free to enter into any obligations detrimental to the regional interests of their allies, the French. As these clearly included significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline, Palestine, almost by definition - but never referred to by name in the correspondence - was also excluded. Husayn reluctantly accepted these caveats, but promised to return to his initial claims 'at the first opportunity after this war is finished'." (ibid)

The patently absurd suggestion here is that Palestine was one of France's "interests," and therefore excluded from the Arab claim.

If I reformulate Rose's final sentence as a syllogism, it will help to clarify just what kind of swiftie he is trying to pull here:

French interests include "significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline."
Palestine is a "significant area of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline."
Therefore, the French have a claim on Palestine which must exclude it from the Arab claim.

This, of course, is complete nonsense.

So what exactly constitutes those "significant areas of the hinterland of the eastern Mediterranean coastline" so dear to French hearts?

If we return to that part of McMahon's letter (of October 25, 1915) quoted by Rose, namely those "portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo," and if necessary, peruse a map of the area, it becomes abundantly clear that what the British wanted to exclude from the proposed Arab nation was the area comprising today's Lebanon and the Syrian coastline to its north.

Palestine, of course, is south of Lebanon, and so wasn't excluded.

I note that Rose is an academic at Israel's Hebrew University, one of the two Israeli academic institutions (the other being Haifa's Technion) that Associate Professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS) rejects institutional ties with, a stand that will see him in the Federal Court on November 27 fighting off charges of 'racism and discrimination' brought by Israeli lawfare outfit, Shurat HaDin.

Quite frankly, if this is how the Hebrew University does history, Jake Lynch's case is only bolstered.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Please Go Quietly into that Good Night, Julia

I see that the martyred St Julia has emerged from the swimming pool of her $1.8m beach-side Adelaide home long enough to pronounce on the issue of Australian spooks listening in on the Indonesian president's phone, boring us all rigid with polliewaffle about the need for 'checks and balances' and the 'robustness' of 'the system'.

Really now, why should anyone take her seriously on this - or any other - issue in light of her sycophantic response to the discovery that the Americans were listening in on her phone:

"If my telephone was intercepted when I was prime minister, all that anybody would have heard would have been praise for President Obama."

Julia, please, please, just take your halo and your Jerusalem Prize and go, alright?

We Need to Talk about Amnesty International

I'm looking at an Amnesty International promotional booklet, Together for Human Rights.

It's a classy production - lots of inspiring photographs, great graphics... and verbal sketches of individual victims of brutality and injustice at the hands of the state.

Now it goes without saying that while I fully support Israeli citizens who refuse to become cogs in Israel's war machine, why, I'm wondering, did AI choose to highlight the case of an Israeli conscientious objector in its booklet when there are:

a) currently* over 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 137 administrative detainees, 12 women, and 180 children; and

b) since 1967 over 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been detained by Israel?

[*As of September 1, 2013. Source: Political prisoners in Israel/Palestine, ifamericansknew.org]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How Much is Phillip Adams Worth?

"The managing director of the ABC Mark Scott has ordered an investigation into the leaking of how much it pays star news and current affairs personalities and leading administrators... Not all ABC talent was mollified. Phillip Adams, of ABC Radio National's Late Night Live took to Twitter: "Just learned that my fellow b'casters at ABC get paid lots more than me. Despite LNL's enduring success. Naughty management." (More than 8c a day keeps ABC competitors at bay, Damien Murphy, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/11/13)

Phillip's can't be an easy job. I mean, just look at the crap he has to put up with:

"Even your amiable columnist is bombarded by tweets, emails and blogs shrieking obscenities in his direction - a cacophony he finds confusing. (Every day he reads he's simultaneously a puppet of Rupert Murdoch and someone who uses the ABC for Bolshevik bias - while being an apologist for Zionism and the Palestinians, and a virulent anti-Semite.)" (The new Norm, Phillip Adams, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 16/11/13)

An apologist for Zionism and the Palestinians, eh?

Let's subject this one to a little empirical testing shall we?

Here's old amiable Adams getting to the bottom of the latest Beirut bombing with The Guardian's recycled Martin Chulov on November 19's LNL:

Adams: Of course, the knee-jerk response was to blame Israel, wasn't it?
Chulov: That's always the case.

Dumbass Arabs!

Now why would anyone blame the bombing of the Iranian Embassy - Iranian FFS! - on the Middle East's only innocent bystander?

I mean, it's not as if Israel has ever actually invaded Lebanon or occupied it or bombed the crap out of it or anything.

And as for those near-daily overflights of Lebanon, they're not birds, they're not (Israeli) planes... they're... they're... Supermen, right?

To answer my initial question - How much is Phillip Adams worth?

IMO, not a brass razoo.

PS: "Radio presenter Phillip Adams is among those planning to raise the pay discrepancy with 'naughty management'. 'Always accepted the fiction that we were paid much the same,' he told Crikey." ('Your' salaries uncapped, Peter Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/11/13) That's not the only fiction he's fallen for.

Follow the Thread...

So who was behind the latest suicide bombings at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut?

The Al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigade, we are told in press reports.

And who is/was Abdullah Azzam?

Azzam was the CIA's right arm in its jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s:

"Azzam traveled the globe under CIA patronage. He appeared on Saudi television and at rallies in the United States. A CIA asset who appeared as the embodiment of of the holy warrior and 'toured the length and breadth of the United States in the early and mid-1980s recruiting for holy war, ostensibly only in Afghanistan." (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, & the Roots of Terror, Mahmood Mamdani, 2004, p 127)

He was also the teacher of the CIA's star recruit in its Afghan jihad, a wealthy Saudi contractor by the name of Osama bin Laden.

So was Azzam a Saudi?

No. He was a Palestinian, born in the West Bank. He was part of the refugee exodus into Jordan during the Israeli conquest and occupation of the West Bank in June, 1967.

So who was ultimately responsible for the latest bloody Beirut bombing?

If the phrase 'the big picture' has any meaning, Israel and the CIA.

Just follow the thread...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Disaster Propaganda

Somewhere in the typhoon-devasted Philippines, a crowd of dazed and bedraggled locals is being addressed by a blunt object wearing an Israeli military uniform: 

OK, listen up you lot! I am General Israel Israeli of the noble Israel - that's ISRAEL - Defence Forces. We have come a long way from Israel to save you from Typhoon Hamas. But, since we're all officers and gentlemen in the Israel Defense Forces, it's strictly women and children first, OK? And since we in Israel have the only reverence for life in the Middle East, we're starting with the very youngest children - those still in the womb. So, anyone here who speaks English and is about to give birth? Right, you madam, come forward, and my colleague, Colonel Israel Israeli, will accompany you into the Israel media tent - sorry, pardon me -  the Israel field hospital. As one of Israel's finest obstetricians, she'll offer you only the very best of care. Why, she'll even name the baby for you!

But seriously now:

"We've heard a lot of sad stories. Now we're starting to talk about hope. Today the Israelis opened up shop in an area that has had very little attention... Quietly, with no fanfare, the Israeli Defence Forces arrived too. The Israelis are known for security, top notch medicine and moving quickly. Dealing with a disaster is no exception... One hour after their doors were opened, the first baby was born... The baby boy's name? Israel of course." (Typhoon Haiyan death toll topping 3,600, Dr Nancy Snyderman*, NBC chief medical editor, today.com, 15/11/13)

"The IDF Field Hospital in Haiti** has delivered its first baby, and the mother was so happy that she called him 'Israel'." (Video: 'Israel' born in Haiti after IDF delivers healthy baby, Sheva TV, israelnationalnews.com 17/1/10)

Vomitous!

[*Here's an interesting comment on Dr Snyderman from the Mondoweiss site: "When Snyderman had her own show on MSNBC (2009?), the story of organ traffickers and harvesters came to light one morning. Snyderman was all over the story, how vile these people were, how they should be jailed forever, no civilized nation would ever put up this kind of behaviour, blah-blah-blah. She promised to report on the whole sordid affair and name names in her coming shows. All her righteous bravado brought to bear. The perps were identified later that day to be a nationwide US rabbi ring and Israelis... The evening news had photo trails of US rabbis being rounded up in police vans; I remember watching the coverage. The following day? Not another word out of Snyderman." (MRW, 'Quietly, with no fanfare,' Israeli army delivers Philippine baby alongside NBC's Dr. Snyderman, 16/11/13); **See my 25/1/10 post Israel's Best Kept Secret.] 

Lest We Forget... Iraq

An excellent letter from yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:

"David Cameron has demanded an independent investigation into whether war crimes were committed in Sri Lanka's civil war. Sure, straight after there's an independent investigation into whether war crimes were committed when the British government, with others, invaded Iraq despite not having any justification under international law or the authorisation of the UN Security Council.

"It is sheer arrogance and hypocrisy for Cameron to demand another country be open about war crimes it might have committed when the result of the Chilcot inquiry into the circumstances in which Tony Blair dragged Britain into the US-led invasion of Iraq is sitting on his desk, held up from being released because he doesn't want to upset Washington by revealing what Blair and George Bush said to each other." Gordon Drennan Burton (SA)

Tony the Baptist

A funny thing happened during Tony's speech to the Scopus Foundation on October 14.

At first it was just the usual ringing declarations that Israel was a state like unto no other of the kind we've come to expect from him when buttering up the JC crowd. (See my 13/9/13 post Just How Bright is Tony Abbott.):

"In his first appearance at a Jewish function since being elected Prime Minister, Tony Abbott pledged to 'commit the new Australian Government to stand by the State of Israel', a country he described as a 'bastion of liberal pluralism and democratic freedom in a part of the world where these ideals are almost unknown'... [T]he PM said the Jewish State had been 'founded in defiance, sustained by brilliance, surrounded even now by hostility,' adding 'it is under existential threat the like of which no country on the earth faces'." (PM pledges to stand by Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 15/11/13)

But then a strange thing happened.

A hush descended upon the assembled multitude, who only moments before had been stamping their feet and chanting: Tony! Bibi! Tony! Bibi! For lo, a nimbus of light had formed behind Tony's head. His eyes then closed, as though in trance, and from his lips could be heard those strangely familiar words: 'After me comes a man who ranks before me... I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him... and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God,' or words to that effect:

"In lauding the colossal contribution Australian Jews have made to public service, Abbott joked that the only office yet to be held by an Australian Jew was that of prime minister, but that a 'popular' Jewish politician in his ranks could change that in future. 'Along with Israel, Australia is the only country on where Jewish people have been head of state, chief justice and commander in chief of the army. There's just one office in this country yet to be held by a Jewish person. That's the prime ministership. But the time will come, as Josh Frydenberg constantly reminds me, when that will change'." (ibid)

At this, the multitude erupted into cries of Joshiach! Joshiach! Joshiach!, or words to that affect.

Which leads me to ask: Is this not a sign, brethren?

Yes, yes, I'm mindful that a mere sign does not a Messiah make. There must, of course, be others.

And lo, there is. Cop this:

"Josh Frydenberg, the energetic 42-year-old federal MP for the affluent inner-Melbourne electorate of Kooyong, is the first Liberal Jewish member of the House of Representatives...Frydenberg's interests are wide, his intellect is keen, his ambitions unambiguous. So don't be surprised if, before the next federal election, he is elevated to a senior ministry. Indeed, it seems to me that the member for Kooyong is a potential prime minister." (Coalition's rising star from Kooyong champions a modern version of classical liberalism, Ross Fitzgerald, The Australian, 16/11/13)

Watch this space...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Zombie Zionism Myth #1

I love this tweet from Charles Frith:

Zombie Zionism Myth #1 Both sides are to blame. No they're not. If I move into your sitting room permanently, we're not both to blame.

Here are two from yours truly:

Israel is a democracy. What, with millions of exiled, disenfranchised Palestinians in refugee camps?

Israel emerged from the Holocaust. Bullshit! Zionists were colonizing Palestine decades before Hitler got going.

Hey, there is a use for tweeting after all!

The Jewish Paradox

"Jewish leaders are preparing to fight the [Federal] government's plans to weaken race hate laws, saying they could encourage persecution and racially-motivated violence." (Jewish concern at plan to change hate laws, Jonathan Swan, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/11/13)

Hm... persecution and racially-motivated violence.

Presumably, these guys are concerned about anti-Semitism, right? Jews coming under attack because they're Jews.

But read on and you find it's not that simple:

"Mr Wertheim [the executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)]* has warned that the 'wholesale repeal' of sections of the [Racial Discrimination] act would not only prevent vilified groups from defending their reputations legally, but would also encourage more sinister forms of hate speech. 'It would... open the door to importation into Australia of the hatreds and violence of overseas conflicts'..." (ibid)

So that's it: what they're really worried about is the spillover effect of overseas conflicts, specifically, the spillover effect of the Middle East conflict on the community they purport to lead.

The trouble is, and the average reader is unlikely to pick this up from such a report, Wertheim and other Jewish leaders also act as lobbyists/apologists for Israel. In that capacity, they emerge as partisans in the very conflict they fear could affect the well-being of Jews here in Australia.

As political Zionists, of course, they routinely conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, which is to say anti-Israelism. For them, criticism of Israel, its ideology and practice, is either anti-Semitism pure and simple, or verging on anti-Semitism, or crossing the line into anti-Semitism, the circumlocutions for smearing a critic of Israel as an anti-Semite being many and varied.

Unfortunately, this is where the matter becomes problematic for the community they supposedly represent - as veteran British journalist and author Alan Hart so lucidly points out: 

"In my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the answer to the question of what Zionism would do in the event of mission failure was given to me by Golda Meir in one of my interviews with her for the BBC's flagship Panorama programme. She said that in the event of a doomsday situation, Israel 'would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.'

"The Jewish paradox comes down to this. Israel was created by Zionism to guarantee the well-being and existence of the Jews, but that well-being and perhaps even existence is most seriously threatened by Zionism's policies and actions.

"How can that possibly be true?  

"What we are witnessing today is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism. It is NOT a manifestation of anti-Semitism, meaning that it's not being driven by prejudice against or loathing and even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews. Anti-Israelism is being provoked by Israel's arrogance of power, its sickening self-righteousness and its contempt for international law in general and the rights of Palestinians in particular.

"The danger for Jews everywhere is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into rampant and rabid anti-Semitism. The most explicit warning that this could happen was given by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel's longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel's Fateful Hour, published in English in 1988, he wrote this (my emphasis added):

'Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world'." (The Jewish paradox arising from the curse of Zionism, Alan Hart, sabbah.biz, 11/5/13)

(The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, who is behind the push to remove those sections of the RDA that make it an offence to offend another person on grounds of race or ethnicity, has the interests of the right-wing commentariat, particularly Andrew Bolt, very much at heart. At the same time, however,  Brandis has been rambammed (2009 & 2010) and has form in raising the concerns of the Israel lobby in the Senate. (See my 29/5/09 post Her Brilliant Career.) The question arises: can he please both interest groups with his new legislation? Watch this space...)

[*For a critique of the role of ECAJ and other Zionist lobby groups from within the Jewish community, see my 20/6/13 post Join the Dots...]

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Motherhood Statements

"For mothers-to-be, there's not only the need to maintain income but also the natural instinct to be with their babies at least for the first few months of their lives." (Tony Abbott, Battlelines, 2009, p 101)

Ah, mums-n-bubs - makes you all gooey just thinking about them, doesn't it? How lucky we are to have as our leader a man for whom the welfare of young mothers and their babies has always been at the forefront of his thinking.

Still, that should come as no surprise really, because over in PM Abbott's patch, Sydney's verdant North Shore, there is a profound understanding that no expense is too great when it comes to keeping mothers and their babies close and comfortable following the joy of childbirth.

In fact, one particularly close-knit North Shore family has shown that, when it comes to mothers and their babies, only the very best in postpartum pampering will do. In fact, you'd have to say that it's gone to the most extraordinary lengths to ensure that the sacred, mother/child relationship is not in any way compromised. Meet the Hartmans:

"The heated fall-out between former school friends has spread to engulf one of Sydney's elite families, as private emails reveal two of obstetrician Keith Hartman's sons were planning to bribe a controversial jockey and allegedly looking to defraud the tax office... In [an] exchange in April 2008, Ed asked John: 'How much cash do you have lying around?' 'About $70,000,' he responded minutes later. Ed told him their father, Keith, dubbed 'obstetrician' to the stars' after delivering the latest generation of Packer and Murdoch babies, needed $250,000 for a refinance of the mothers' retreat at his exclusive clinic. The retreat, in Lavender Bay, costs up to $1300 a night, and is for new mothers who want to rest before returning home." (When friends fall out: insider trading court told of emails, Hannah Low, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/11/13)

The latest generation of Packer* and Murdoch babies... OMG, how totally adorable they must be!

However, if mother and baby aren't strictly North Shore. If they're, say, from down in the boondocks somewhere, or - worst case scenario this! - they're boat-borne, brown, Mahometan terrorist infiltrators, what then? Well, as they say, there's no rest for the wicked. So meet Latifa and Farus:

"An asylum seeker who was moved off Nauru to give birth is being locked up for 18 hours a day in a detention centre in Brisbane while her week-old baby remains in hospital with respiratory problems. The case of Latifa, a 31-year-old woman of the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar, has shocked churches and refugee advocates. She was separated from her baby on Sunday, four days after a caesarean delivery, and has since been allowed to visit him only between 10am and 4pm in Brisbane's Mater Hospital. The boy, named Farus, has respiratory problems and needs round-the-clock medical care." (Asylum seeker mother kept from newborn baby in Brisbane, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/11/13)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Scott Morrison's Services to Australian Journalism

Scott Morrison's ministerial career has only just begun, but already his services to Australian journalism are producing impressive results.

For example, there was this wonderful skewering in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald by Tony Wright:

"Scott Morrison, a fellow who lists his major recreation in Who's Who? as 'church', once tried to entice visitors to Australia with the promise of beaches fairly oozing nubile flesh. As managing director of Tourism Australia, he signed off on an advertising campaign that decked out the notably endowed Lara Bingle in a bikini and sent her strident tones around the world. 'Where the bloody hell are you?' she cried in increasing desperation. Apart from persuading a number of foreign governments to ban the ad on the grounds of taste, or lack of it, the Bingle project was judged a car wreck. It managed to reduce visitor numbers from the markets it was supposed to excite. Morrison, naturally, went into politics after this debacle, arguing loudly it was actually a raging success because tourism spending had gone up under his watch, even if there were fewer tourists. Perhaps he was practising to become Treasurer, a calling that requires a talent for creative accounting and the assertion black is white.

"Falling short of a job involving numbers, he has morphed into the role of Immigration Minister. His job these days is to persuade would-be visitors to stay away from Australia. The old tourism chief has reversed his talent for propaganda by launching an international advertising campaign warning that the boat borne will find themselves in a concentration camp in the malarial jungle of Manus Island or the sweat box of Nauru, not a Lara in sight, if they so much think of climbing aboard a leaky craft. Being an enthusiastic Christian, he declares that his concern is for the safety of what he calls 'illegals'.

"So how's the new project going? 'Not tellin',' has become his standard response, or words to that effect. Possibly wary of bikinis these days, he has turned to a military man in full neck-to-boot uniform to back him up. You might recall the military man telling journalists only last week that he would not discus 'on water' matters when quizzed about a stand-off with Indonesia, which wouldn't take back a boatload of on-water asylum seekers. What about on-land matters, Morrison was asked on Wednesday. Had a boatload of Somalis arrived in Darwin? 'Not tellin',' Morrison said, or words to that effect.

"This, however, was not in response to a buzz of excitable journalists. It was to the Parliament of Australia, which is to say, the people of the nation to whom he is supposed to be answerable. It was, indeed, during question time. It has been noted before that if question time were to be renamed answer time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would need to launch an investigation. Straight answers are not the natural territory of politicians under pressure, but Morrison appeared intent on Wednesday in enshrining the principle in parliamentary canon.

"It seemed such a simple question. 'Can the Minister provide details about a boat carrying Somali asylum seekers arriving on Monday evening in Darwin?' Labor's immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, inquired. Morrison wasn't about to tell Marles or anyone else anything. 'This government is not running a shipping news service for people smugglers,' he replied. 'As promised, we are running a military-led border security operation as I just said is stopping the boats.' He yammered a bit more about the worth of restricting official information, as if we were at war. Loose lips sink ships, that sort of thing.

"Perhaps he should re-employ Lara Bingle. With her help, after all, he stopped the tourists. As for the chance of something approximating an answer to a simple question? 'Where the bloody hell are you?'" (Morrison keeps House in dark)

And who could forget Morrison's role in inspiring this inimitable rewriting of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance by Mike Carlton in The Age of October 20:

I am the very model of an immigration minister
In charge of refugees and matters maritime and sinister.
At school I studied hard at maths and lessons alphabetical,
I learnt the scriptures backwards and the canon evangelical.

I made my rise to greatness from political obscurity
Conflating xenophobia with national security.
Endlessly I preached the word to ordinary Australians
Arousing fears their homes were being overrun by aliens.

I blamed the Labor gang for this invasion of Muhammadans
Who wear the burqa, pray to Mecca, starve themselves at Ramadan.
Fanatics who would have us all obeying their sharia laws
They'd ban the Easter Bunny and abolish dear old Santa Claus.

But! Now that I'm the minister I've vowed to turn the boats around,
I've got a 3-star general to keep our borders safe and sound.
The bleeding hearts and Greenies call me confrontational
But I riposte: 'My lips are sealed on matters operational.'

When Jakarta once accused me of egregious hypocrisy
I shrugged my shoulders lightly and replied: 'Well, that's democracy.'
And though it's not much help in dealing with the Indonesians,
I quote the Bible's letters of St Paul to the Ephesians.

With humanity and decency my only motivation
I am standing resolutely at the frontiers of the nation.
And armoured in self-righteousness I spurn each rude inquisitor
For I'm the very model of an immigration minister.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Silly Question

Do Israel lobbyists, I wonder, ever pause to think before writing things like this:

"[Iran is] a veteran flouter of clear legal obligations with a long history of deliberating [sic] using negotiations merely to buy time." (Pause for a rethink will help West avoid being sold a pup, Colin Rubenstein*, The Australian, 13/11/13)

[*Executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).]

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

'Engaging': Julie Bishop Points the Way

When it comes to flying off to a Commonwealth Heads of Government bash in a butcher shop, aka Sri Lanka, the word on every sophisticated Western politician's tongue is 'engage'.

For example:

"British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote this week: 'the right thing to do is to engage. To visit the country. To shine the international spotlight on the lack of progress in the country'." (Bishop urges leader to attend talks, Ben Doherty, David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/11/13)

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has vowed to 'engage' rather than 'isolate' Sri Lanka over claims of human rights abuses, bucking a growing trend to boycott this week's Commonwealth Meeting in the country." (ibid)

Now Jules has had some experience 'engaging' in Sri Lanka. And thanks to News Ltd's Rowan Callick, we now have a pretty good idea of just what it is that a politician actually does when she 'engages'. And as it turns out, David Cameron seems to have gotten it all wrong. But then that's men for you, right?

Apparently, when you 'engage' in a place like Sri Lanka, or as Callick has it, "the Tamil badlands of Sri Lanka," the last thing you do is "shine the international spotlight on the lack of progress in the country." No way!

What you do - what Jules did at any rate - was to negotiate the rubble-strewn, khaki morass, with its odd, reddish splashes, in her stylish new Milan stilettos, adjust her new Kailis pearl necklace, brush the dust off her immaculate new Escada frock, sweep the joint with her trademark death-stare - so appropriate in a killing field, no? - wince at the decidedly un-Israeli ambiance of the place ("scarcely vibrant" as Callick put it), note with relief the absence of Tamil women being raped by Sri Lankan troops within the immediate ambit of her gimlet-gaze, then high-tail it back to her air-conditioned luxury hotel in Colombo as soon as decently possible:

"Earlier this year, with immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and customs and border protection spokesman Michael Keenan, she spurned all government and high commissioner offers of guides and escorts and placed her team in the hands of local Tamils; the Australians were picked up in an old minibus at Jaffna airport and checked in to a $17-a-night hotel with cold showers only. They stayed in Kilinochchi, a town at the heart of the failed Tamil rebellion, which had seen little development for decades. For two and a half days they were taken to meet people whose lives were scarcely vibrant, but who could provide no evidence, Bishop says, of continuing persecution from Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority." (Julie Bishop: All the right moves, Rowan Callick, The Australian, 28/9/13)

Now unlike Jules, Tone hasn't been there before, but he too will soon be 'engaging' with the best of them in Sri Lanka. In fact, as befits a PM not particularly known for his foreign affairs expertise, he's taken time off from pollie-peddling to practise 'engaging' with Sri Lanka right here in Australia, and I have to say I'm quite impressed with the result:

"Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Abbott said the Sri Lankan government deserved praise for ending its civil war. 'I don't propose to lecture the Sri Lankans on human rights,' Mr Abbott said. 'I accept that by Australian standards, probably things could have been done a little differently and maybe a little better'." (Tony Abbott to stay quiet on Sri Lanka human rights, Dan Harrison, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/11/13)

"Probably things could have been done a little differently... maybe a little better..."

Yep, for a bloke, he's a natural, and I'm sure that, as with Jules, "no evidence of continuing persecution" is ever going to cross his path in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Manifesto of All People of Good Conscience

by Salman Abu Sitta*

We, citizens of the world,

celebrating the human pursuit of freedom and independence,

adhering fully to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

rejecting the ideology and practice of colonization under any name at any time,

declaring the colonization document known as the Balfour Declaration as null and void in word, intent, and practice.

And cognizant of the fact that Great Britain,

had not respected its pledges to the Arabs of Palestine for independence,

had not respected the League of Nations' undertaking under Article 22 of its charter to act according to the 'sacred trust of civilization' regarding the people of Palestine,

had undermined the inherent rights of the majority Arab population of Palestine by allowing an influx of foreigners into the country against the demand of its people,

had promulgated laws, particularly in the period 1920 to 1925, including the period when it had no jurisdiction under the mandate, which alienated the land of Palestine, changed its demography and created the roots of a foreign independent entity, including a separate military force,

had enacted new laws without the authorization of the League of Nations as required,

had denied consistently the just and legitimate demand of the Palestinian majority for democratic representation,

had failed to bring progress, prosperity, and development as required, to Arab Palestinians in all spheres of life while never failing to collect taxes from them,

had, particularly in the period from 1936 to 1939, decimated Palestinian society under its administration by killing, wounding, imprisoning tens of thousands, imposing collective punishment, destroying villages, dissolving political parties, and imprisoning and deporting political leaders,

had been derelict in its duty under the Mandate to preserve the territorial integrity of Palestine by putting the country under such conditions that allowed its partition in 1947 against the express demand of the majority of the population and the imperative text of the Mandate,

had been derelict in its duty to safeguard the holy places and maintaining the status quo 'in perpetuity',  

had failed, willfully and/or by gross negligence, to defend the Arab Palestinians from dozens of massacres committed by the Zionists under its own eyes before the end of the Mandate,

had failed to prevent, and sometimes aided, the Zionist conquest of Arab lands in the coastal plain, Marj ibn Amer, and Houla Plain, while under the protection of the Mandate administration,

had failed to prevent the war crime of ethnic cleansing, which led to the dispossession of half the total of Palestinian refugees and the cleansing of of 220 Palestinian towns and villages in areas under its control before the end of the Mandate,

had actually aided and abetted the ethnic cleansing, particularly in Tiberius and Haifa between April 14 and April 21, 1948, and by allowing its armament and military installations to fall into the hands of Zionist forces,

had consistently refused, as military logs show, to come to the rescue of Arab Palestinians when in distress, but rescued Jewish convoys carrying arms and munitions in the Arab-held territory,

had been derelict in its duties, as required, to hand over the government of Palestine's offices and documents, and its public amenities and services to the Palestinians before its departure.

Therefore,

We call on the British Government, to apologize to the Palestinian people for its suffering during a century of death and destruction with no end in sight, due to its willfully or carelessly failing to undertake its duties and obligations,

to pay full compensation for all direct and consequential losses and damages to the Palestinian people,

to comply with the rules and directives set out in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of July 9, 2004, regarding the Wall,

to make amends by assisting, as required for the purpose, in the establishment of a free, democratic Palestine, by means such as:

- correcting its policies within the United Kingdom and in the international arena such that the inalienable rights of the Palestinians are fully realized,

- helping, as a primary actor, in the rebuilding of Palestine and the repatriation of its people,

- reflecting Palestinian history and the suffering of the Palestinian people in its school curriculum and in the media,

- and by any other means found necessary to achieve the aim of a free and independent Palestine.

On all of the above, we pledge our unfettered support, call on the United Kingdom to rectify its grave historical deeds, and call upon all people of conscience in the world to stand by the terms of this manifesto.

[*Palestinian historian and creator of the seminal website Palestine Remembered.]

Related: See my 17/1/13 post, Britain, It's Time to Apologize - simply click on the 'Balfour Declaration' label below.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Politics of Partition 2

As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, one of the worst crimes in my book is lying about, misrepresenting, or otherwise distorting the historical record.

This habit, of course, is second nature to those with a vested interest in propping up the false historical narrative of political Zionism, and explains the need for, and motivation behind, blogs and websites such as this, which seek to combat Zionist (and Islamophobic) spin as it arises - alas, far too frequently - in the MS media.

Unfortunately, and I find this particularly troubling, such spin, though not necessarily Zionist in motivation, can also crop up in government-endorsed online resources for Higher School Certificate Modern History.

Take, for example, the following highly dubious treatment of the November, 1947 partition of Palestine in a document called Arab-Israeli conflict 1948-1996: 1948: A Year of myth or miracle? by Stephen Dixon of Kirrawee High:

"The United Nations (UN) vote for the partition of Palestine... illustrates well the public and private faces of Israeli policy during the period 1947-49. As the relieved and joyous crowds danced in the streets of Tel Aviv, there was talk of the hand of God miraculously delivering his people."  (HSC Online, hsc.csu.edu.au)

One wonders why, in 2013, Dixon is invoking such a musty Eurocentric metaphysical concept as "the hand of God delivering his people" when the Zionist movement of the time was wholly secular in outlook, and in fact, just another European settler-colonial implant in the non-European world.

And where, one wonders, is there mention of the Palestinian Arabs, still the overwhelming majority of Palestine's population at the time? Doesn't it matter what they were thinking, and why?

To continue:

"On a more terrestrial level, the success of the Zionist enterprise can be attributed to the work of seasoned political in-fighters such as Golda Meir, Abba Eban and, above all, David Ben Gurion. Two examples serve to show how the establishment of the Jewish state was not left to chance or divine whim. As the date for the UN vote neared, the Arabs showed their naivety by eschewing the back-room deals and corridor meetings that are part and parcel of Western diplomacy. Not so the Zionists. Sustained and encouraged by the personal sympathy of President Truman of the USA and the powerful Jewish lobby of the eastern American seaboard, they began a process of intense behind-the-scenes lobbying to maximise the vote in favour of partition. Pressure was placed on the ambassadors of less committed small countries, such as Cuba, Haiti and Liberia, whose votes would help determine the decision. In the case of Liberia, the owner of the American Firestone Rubber Company, which held huge economic interests in the African country, was enlisted to pressure the Liberians to vote for partition." (ibid)

Now I suppose, one should be grateful that the student reading this is at least apprised, however sketchily, of the pressure tactics employed by the usual suspects to get their way. Be that as it may, Dixon's framing of the issue here is hugely problematic.

First, there is no hint here that our "in-fighters" were actually the ruthless Indian fighters who would go on to ethnically cleanse as much of Palestine as they could lay their hands on, leaving the partition resolution far behind in their wake. Nor is there a hint that Truman was motivated at the time largely by the desire to secure Jewish votes in a hard-fought election campaign.

But that's really the least of it.

The Arabs, in Dixon's construction, are simply assumed to have the same clout in the matter as the US Zionists whose dupes, in particular Clark Clifford and David Niles, were strategically positioned in the White House to ensure compliance with Zionist demands. If only these lackadaisical Arab klutzes had hopped off their camels long enough to get down and dirty in true Western style seems to be the gist here.

It appears that Dixon didn't pause long enough to consider whether the Arabs even had such useful things as a direct line to Firestone Rubber. No, they were just plain, bloody clueless!

Finally, the student who consults this text can surely be forgiven, in light of Dixon's presentation of the issue, for taking home the message that any low tactic is permissible in the world of statescraft. To hell with international law, ethical standards, and public probity.

Good one, Mr Dixon!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Politics of Partition 1

"Having cut Palestine up in that manner, we shall then put its bleeding body upon a cross forever." Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan's UN representative, speaking at the UN against the partition of Palestine, 29 November, 1947

Second (but only in the chronological sense) to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in paving the way for the disappearance of Palestine, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 of 29 November, 1947, which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, warrants more scholarly scrutiny than it's so far received.

In fact, it amazes me that no reputable scholar has, to my knowledge, devoted an entire book to it. Given Resolution 181's appalling repercussions, which are still with us today, its scandalous nature, both in terms of its content and the events surrounding its passage, its devastating blow to the credibility of the United Nations so soon after its creation in 1945, and its persistent use in Zionist propaganda, not least in this country, here is surely a subject in search of an author. (A suggested title: 'Giving the Zionists an Inch: The Politics of the Palestine Partition Resolution.)

Although I've posted on the subject before (simply click on the 'Palestine partition' label below), I keep coming across so many missing pieces of the partition jigsaw that I've decided to post them as I find them under the above heading.

The following reflection on the resolution as an act of "inter-continental aggression," comes from Anglo-Indian journalist G.H. Jansen's 1971 study, Zionism, Israel & Asian Nationalism:

"In that final vote [of 29/11/47] only Liberia and the Philippines among Afro-Asian countries voted affirmatively; China and Ethiopia abstained; and of the 13 negative votes, 11 were Afro-Asian, the other two coming from Cuba and Greece.

"No further evidence is required to prove that the Jewish State was thrust into Asia, against the wishes of Afro-Asia, by other continents - Europe, and North and South America. A clear case of inter-continental aggression.

"On this issue Europe, east and west, communist and anti-communist, was united. In order to get the British out of a particularly sensitive area of the Middle East, Russia and her junior partners switched from their established, doctrinal hostility to Zionism to a policy favouring partition and the creation of a Jewish State. No sooner was the state created than they switched back to opposition.

"From the Afro-Asian viewpoint the real villains of the piece at the United Nations were not the Europeans or the North Americans but the Latin Americans. The European and North American vote can be explained, though not excused, as an expiation of their anti-Semitic guilt. But that explanation does not apply to South America. A Zionist author has ascribed South American pro-Zionism to a belief in humanitarianism, Catholicism, the self-determination of peoples, the sovereign and juridical equality of states, and universality of UN membership. If this explanation is true the Latin Americans can be accused of the most insufferable hypocrisy. Perhaps the most charitable explanation is to say that with their Hispanic background they are more susceptible than most to quixotry. Yet, quixotic or not, their vote was decisive: a Zionist publication was quite correct when it described their support as 'the spinal column of the pro-Zionist bloc in the United Nations'.

"It should be made clear that not all the Latin American states were pro-Zionist. Cuba voted against and Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico abstained.

"The Colombian delegate was one who clearly saw the vote as inter-continental aggression: 'No wonder,' he said, 'that the plan has had to come across the Atlantic in search of the supporters it has failed to find in the countries adjoining Palestine in the eastern Mediterranean, in western Europe, or in the distant Asiatic mainland.'

"Not only the Latin Americans but almost all the pro-Zionist delegations at the UN in 1947 can be brought under the charge of hypocrisy. During the debates on the future of Palestine a resolution was put forward which asked all states to admit Jewish refugees on a quota system. It was defeated by a vote of 15 affirmative, 18 negative* and 22 abstentions. The geographical distribution on this humanitarian vote was almost the exact opposite of the political vote on partition. Those countries that voted for partition abstained on accepting Jewish refugees; and those delegations that voted against the Jewish State voted for accepting Jewish refugees. It was only the latest expression of an apparent correlation: anti-Semites are often pro-Zionist, anti-Zionists are often pro-Semites. The Zionists had no complaints about this outcome: 'It (the resolution) was denounced as gambling with the bitter lot of the refugees' wrote [Jewish Agency liaison officer with UNSCOP] Horowitz." (pp 201-202)

[*I don't have the documentary proof of Australia's vote on the vital third recommendation of this particular resolution (GA/PAL/85, 24/11/47) - the creation of a quota system for Jewish refugees - but I'd bet my bottom dollar that we voted against it.] 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Speak Up, Mother Suu, We Can't Hear You!

Australia is about to get a visit from a certain celebrity human rights icon:

"Later this month Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will receive a joint honorary degree from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney... For more than 20 years Suu Kyi sought the release of political prisoners, advocated sanctions against the government, and tried to rally support for her party, the National League for Democracy. She was repeatedly put under house arrest and on one occasion her convoy was attacked. The insecurity associated with an authoritarian government did not weaken her voice." (No end to challenges for heroic duo, Susan Banki, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/11/13)

Susan Banki is described as "a lecturer in the human rights program at the University of Sydney." I find it curious, therefore, that she omits all mention of the following less than stirling performance from her heroine:

"Burma's opposition leader... has stopped short of directly condemning anti-Muslim violence in the country and said that it was motivated by fear. Sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims began in western Rakhine state last year, with hundreds killed and 140,000 people, mostly Muslims, driven from their homes... The government has been heavily criticised for not doing enough to protect Muslims, who account for 4% of Burma's roughly 60 million people, and Aung San Suu Kyi has also been accused of failing to speak out. In an interview broadcast on Thursday, the Nobel laureate insisted there was no ethnic cleansing taking place and said that both sides were afraid of each other... 'The fear is not just on the side of the Muslims but also on the side of the Buddhists as well. Muslims have been targeted but also Buddhists have been subjected to violence... Global Muslim power is very great and certainly, that is a perception in many parts of the world and in our country as well.'... During the interview she was asked to condemn Wirathu, a Buddhist monk labelled the 'Burmese Bin Laden' who has been stoking hatred against Muslims, denouncing them as 'crude and savage.' She replied: 'I condemn hatred of any kind.' Similarly, she was asked to condemn violence against Muslims and answered: 'I condemn any movement that is based on hatred and extremism.'... Aung San Suu Kyi showed frustration with her interviewer at the number of questions about the violence. 'I would say instead of asking us members of the opposition what we feel about it, what we intend to do about it... you should ask the present government of Burma what their policy is,' she said." (Burma sectarian violence motivated by fear, says Aung San Suu Kyi, Haroon Siddique, theguardian.com, 24/10/13)

(See also: Aung San Suu Kyi & the world of Buddhist Islamophobia, Maung Zarni, modernwriters.org, 3/11/13)

Aung San Suu Kyi is equally lame when it comes to an understanding of a certain other key human rights issue. When asked by an Israeli journalist if she had any message for Israelis and Palestinians, she replied: "I just wonder whether they could not sit down and think that it would be so much nicer if they could be friends." (Aung San Suu Kyi: Israelis and Palestinians could be friends, Miri Scharf, Haaretz, 26/11/10)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

John Howard: Iraq Believer, Climate Change Sceptic

Funny, isn't it, how some people can be absolutely certain about the rectitude of their involvement in a course of action based on nothing but the proverbial tissue of lies, but be completely overcome by doubt in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence?

Take former PM John Howard, for example. He's been out of office now since 2007, swanning around the globe, doing gig after gig at the Australian taxpayers' expense.

He's had about 6 years now to think about the wisdom of his decision to involve Australia in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, surely one of the dodgiest (and most destructive) wars of all times; 6 years in which to read what's been written on the subject and maybe revise his views on it.

And yet, he is as certain today as he was over 10 years ago that his decision to join the Coalition of the Willies was the right one:

"It remains my conviction... that it was right [to invade Iraq] because it was in Australia's national interests, and the removal of Saddam's regime provided the Iraqi people with the opportunities for freedom not otherwise in prospect." (Speech to the Lowy Institute, April, 2013)

When it comes to climate change, however, and the firm conviction of thousands of climate scientists that we're burning the toast, the man's a complete sceptic:

"You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in." (Global warming exaggerated, former PM John Howard says, The Australian, 6/11/13)

Funny man, John Howard.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Games Israelis Play

As part of its crusade against Professor Jake Lynch, Murdoch's Australia has lately gone out of its way to sell its readers on the virtues of Jerusalem's Hebrew University. (Lynch, you'll remember, had the nerve to decline an academic overture from a certain Dan Avnon of the Hebrew University because of his principled opposition to institutional ties between that university and his own, Sydney University.

Needless to say, like 20th century Palestine, the university has an 'interesting' history. Opened in 1925, its main campus, on Mount Scopus, a ridge which dominates Arab East Jerusalem from the north-east, was out of action academically from 1948 to 1967, isolated behind armistice lines in the Jordanian-controlled West Bank, and garrisoned by Israeli troops masquerading as a police force.

But Israel being Israel, as we shall see, it was not out of action militarily at the time.

Israeli propagandists, speaking through their Murdoch mouthpieces, have been at pains lately to pronounce the university kosher:

"Another spokesman, Amir Barkol, denied the campus had expanded on to occupied land. 'I can tell you 100% the campus is all on Israeli territory,' he said. Asked about the claim the university had extensive connections with Israeli weapons manufacturing companies, Mr Barkol said: 'I don't know anything about that. Which companies?'" (Anti-Israeli BDS campaign facing court test, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 31/10/13)

"Late last year, Professor Avnon was seeking Professor Lynch's nomination for a Zelman Cowan fellowship to study curriculums in Australia. Professor Lynch turned him down, citing his centre's pro-BDS policy and claims Hebrew University had links to the occupation of the West Bank." (Inside Jerusalem's university of freedom, John Lyons, The Australian, 1/11/13)

However, when one moves from the Israeli spin to an examination of the historical record, it becomes abundantly clear that, where Israeli officials is concerned, it's always what is done, rather than what is said, that counts.

Here, for example, is the testimony of the British commander of Jordan's Arab Legion, Glubb Pasha. (The Arab Legion was the most effective of the Arab forces which intervened in May, 1948, to prevent Zionist forces from overrunning East Jerusalem and the West Bank.) It comes from Glubb's memoir, A Soldier with the Arabs (1957):

"One agreement was, however, concluded which was to result in a considerable problem for Jordan. The massive Jewish building on Mount Scopus. They consisted of the Hadassa Hospital and the Hebrew University, both great mountains of stone, situated on high ground dominating the Arab side of the city and cut off from the Jewish city by the suburb of Shaikh Jarrah. As soon as the Arab Legion had intervened in Jerusalem, Mount Scopus had been isolated. The Jews, however, had left a military garrison in the Hadassa and the University, which continued to fire into the backs of the Arab Legion who were defending Jerusalem. When we retaliated with mortars or, on one occasion, with the 25-pounders, there was an outcry about Arabs shelling hospitals. The Jordan government was informed that both the Hospital and the University had been built with funds voluntarily subscribed in the United States. Any attempt by us to destroy or capture these buildings would, we were told, produce intense indignation in America.

"When, therefore, [UN mediator] Count Bernadotte suggested that the buildings be demilitarised and handed over to the United Nations, the solution seemed to be a reasonable one. The Israeli government agreed to the proposal, but requested permission to leave some Jewish civil service in the buildings to prevent pilfering of the valuable medical equipment and the literary treasures of the University. Count Bernadotte was very explicit in his statement that Mount Scopus would henceforward be solely under the control of the United Nations. He said that it was his intention little by little to replace the Jewish by United Nations police. How this agreement was ultimately carried out after the death of the Count will appear later on in this narrative." (pp 145-146)

(If you know your Palestinian history, you'll know that Bernadotte, for his pains, was gunned down in September of the same year by the Zionist terrorist Stern Gang.)

Glubb returns to the issue of Mount Scopus, later in the book:

"A constant source of irritation throughout the years from 1948-1956 was the Israeli position in in the Hadassa Hospital and the Hebrew University. It will be recollected that the massive buildings which housed these institutions were built on Mount Scopus, a low ridge overlooking the Arab city of Jerusalem from the north-east...

"We soon discovered, from intelligence sources, that the men in Hadassa were not police at all, but a company of infantry. An Israeli prisoner of war, captured in a frontier incident, gave a detailed statement. He told how the infantry company to which he belonged had been brought to police headquarters in Jerusalem, where they had been dressed in police uniforms. They had then been sent as 'civil police' to relieve the garrison of Hadassa. (Reliefs took place once a fortnight on a convoy which passed through our lines.) The 'police' in Hadassah, the prisoner admitted, were always a company of regular infantry. Then one night a platoon of Israeli infantry endeavoured to infiltrate through our lines to the Hadassa. Ten men of this platoon were acting as armed escort, while the remaining 20 were carrying 3-inch and 2-inch mortar ammunition in packs on their backs. The party ran into an Arab Legion patrol, an engagement took place in the dark, and the Israelis retired hurriedly back to their front line, having dropped most of the mortar ammunition. Next day, the United Nations observers were taken to see it.

"The Hadassa was supposed to have been demilitarized - that is, stripped of weapons, except those of the 'police'. If there were no mortars in the buildings, why did the Israeli army want to smuggle in the ammunition? The garrison were alleged to be constructing defences, although they were supposed to be civilian police, whose sole duty was to prevent pilfering. We asked the United Nations Chief of Staff to make a personal inspection of the area, but when he arrived to do so, he was refused admittance. 'This is Israeli territory,' said the commander of the police, 'I cannot admit you without an order from the Israeli government.'

"We and the United Nations held copies of the agreement, signed by the Israeli commander in 1948, admitting that the Hadassa area would be under the sole jurisdiction of the United Nations. This result produced considerable bitterness in Jordan and in the Arab Legion. It would have been comparatively easy to capture the place in 1948. We were tricked into not doing so by the plan to demilitarize the area and hand it over to the sole jurisdiction of UNO. As a result of the weakness of the latter, the position remained a military fortress behind our lines, garrisoned by Israeli infantry, who made little or no attempt at concealment. They frequently fired rifle shots, or bursts of Bren gun, into the Arab city, and were still doing so at intervals when I left Jordan in 1956." (pp 342-343)

Things did not, however, improve following Glubb's departure. Here, for example, is the testimony of the head of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) from 1958-1963, General Carl von Horn.* It comes from his memoir, Soldiering for Peace (1966):

"It blew up around Mount Scopus this time, where the activities of the Jewish 'Police' garrison operating from behind a wire fence around the grounds of buildings of the Old Haddassah Hospital and the Hebrew University were arousing grave concern. Although the whole of the disputed area on these pine-covered slopes was officially under the supervision of the United Nations, the Israelis had always prevented us from carrying out our task. Now the garrison had taken to sending out armed patrols to harry their Arab neighbours in the dusty little village of Issawiya, insulting them and virtually sealing them off behind road blocks as soon as darkness fell. They were penetrating, too, into another area known as Solomon's Gardens, which they claimed was Israeli territory.

"At the root of the problem was the old problem of conflicting maps. But it could only be a matter of time before the Jordanian troops who were forced to watch their brother villagers being harried, would take vigorous counter-action. When I pointed this out to the Israelis they showed not the slightest interest. Some time before [UN Secretary-General] Dag [Hammarskjold]'s special representative, Dr Urrutia, had come out especially to try and settle the Scopus issue, but had been turned back by Israeli troops whilst visiting the area in full view of hundreds of watching Arabs. It struck me as unlikely I was going to be able to do much better.

"However, the daily reports of worsening tension from Colonel Flint (the Chairman of our Jordan-Israel M.A.C.) made it imperative I should try." (pp 83-84)

And he did - only to be blocked by those Israeli 'police'.

"Clearly the discomfiture which Dr Urrutia had suffered had been re-enacted for my especial benefit. I have no doubt it was staged deliberately, since the sight of the UN Chief of Staff being turned back in an area where he had every right to be was hardly likely to raise the prestige of the UN with the Arabs. But when I protested officially to Mrs Meir [Israeli PM], her only explanation was the rather inappropriate rejoinder: 'We Jews do not like to be pushed around'."

"Consequently, I had to leave investigations to Colonel Flint and his team of observers... He reported increasingly strong patrol activity, and I had every reason to rely on his considered opinion that unless steps were taken to check the Israeli patrols immediately, there was bound to be fighting."  (pp 84-85)

General Horn paid another visit to Mrs Meir who "pooh-poohed the whole issue. Three days later, an Israeli patrol in Solomon's Gardens was heavily fired on. Two of its soldiers were killed immediately, and the subsequent exchange of fire was both fierce and prolonged. Colonel Flint rushed up in an effort to intervene and rescue the survivors who had gone to ground. In the confused shooting which ensued, two more Israelis were killed, and Colonel Flint was shot dead. It was a senseless, stupid, unnecessary skirmish which could so easily have been prevented.

"The investigation which followed was little more than a farce. Our observers (at long last allowed inside the wire fence) soon discovered, whilst cross-examining the Israeli 'Police' Commandant, that every inconvenient question was followed by his withdrawal to another room to receive guidance and instruction over his radio. Feelings in Israel ran high. There was great bitterness about their dead and, as we might have anticipated, it was now the United Nations who were painted in the blackest colours. Our warnings, all our efforts, were conveniently forgotten, and we were now accused of having precipitated the incident. Mourning poor Flint... we were amazed at the ingenuity of the falsehoods which distorted the true picture. The highly skilled Israeli Information Service and the entire press combined to manufacture a warped, distorted version which was disseminated with professional expertise through every available channel to their own people and their sympathizers and supporters in America and the rest of the world. Never in all my life had I believed the truth could be so cynically, expertly bent." (p 85)

So the next time you come across the claims of Israeli PR people with regard to the Hebrew University, take them with more than a few grains of salt, and remember that whatever is said about the university not expanding onto occupied Palestinian land, every single access road to the place runs through occupied Arab East Jerusalem.

And maybe spare a thought for those martyred soldiers for peace, Count Bernadotte and Colonel Flint back in the days when the UN still stood for something.

[*See my 30/6/12 post Unlovable Rogues.]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

MERC's Believe It or Not

I've never known ABC television's 7.30 Report to be anything other than a Palestine-free zone.

Or, to put it another way, you're more likely to get an interview with a little green man from Mars than a Palestinian on the 7.30 Report, OK?

I guess the only way for a Palestinian to get an audience with Queen Leigh would be if he cleaned up his act and breathed not a word about Palestine.

For example, if he were filthy rich say, or - and this is really stretching it - had a nag in this year's Melbourne Cup. You know, something to make him a real human being just like us.

Well, break my legs and call me shorty! There he was talking to Leigh Sales last night, a Palestinian multi-millionaire, name of Marwan Koukash, and - you're not going to believe this - he's got a frigging horse in the frigging Melbourne Cup!

And not a whisper about Palestine.

Bloody hell, you couldn't make this kind of shit up in a million years.

Monday, November 4, 2013

More Hounding of Jake Lynch 3

November 2, Day 4 of The Australian's attack on Professor Jake Lynch, finally saw the sound and fury move from the front page into the paper's equally arid interior, probably because the attack's principal spear-carrier this time around, Ean - with an E - Higgins, was getting too little joy from Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who "condemned the BDS campaign against Israel, but backed down on a Coalition promise to cut funds to academics who promoted it." (Coalition backs off on BDS)

That "promise," of course, had come from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. However, "[i]n response to questions from The Weekend Australian, Mr Pyne... declined to say he would uphold the categoric policy enunciated by Ms Bishop..." (ibid)

Higgin's fizzer notwithstanding, one of the paper's bigger guns, associate editor Cameron Stewart (rambammed: 2005), was wheeled out to blaze away at the BDS campaign in an opinion piece, which oddly never even got around to mentioning Professor Lynch. Stewart's aim was simply to smear the campaign, in the usual fashion, as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Much of it consisted of a recycling of the nonsense trotted out on Day 1 of the current attack.

First, there was that convenient springboard, the "violent assault on a Jewish family at Bondi... last weekend." This obviously random attack, by a group of Islander youths, although typical of countless other unprovoked, alcohol-fueled, Saturday night bashings of people of every stripe by thugs of every stripe in Sydney, allegedly had "[t]he Jewish community on tenterhooks," and, according to Cameron, became the occasion for an outpouring of support for the community by religious (including Muslim), ethnic, and sporting groups, and federal and state politicians such as Turnbull, Danby, and O'Farrell.

Juxtaposing an alleged "deep unease" in the Australian Jewish Community with a bald assertion that "anti-Semitic acts are on the rise overseas," Stewart then cited "an anti-Israel protest in Denver, Colorado, as well as demonstrations in France and Belgium" as evidence of the latter. Thus is the dross of a vicious and deplorable, but not particularly unusual, assault, having bugger all to do with genuine anti-Semitism, let alone Palestine/Israel, transmuted by the Murdoch press into yet another manifestation of a supposed rising tide of anti-Semitism, of which anti-Israel protests are, of course, merely the current manifestation.

So let's pause and take a closer look at the "anti-Israel" protest in Denver. Here's The Times of Israel account: "Advertisements accusing Israel of 'ethnic cleansing' appeared on Denver-area buses while the Jewish National Fund held its annual conference in the city. The ads, which include the slogan 'Want Peace? Stop ethnic cleansing in Palestine', were sponsored by the website Notaxdollarstoisrael.com and the Colarado BDS Campaign... Colorado BDS held what it called a 'counter-conference'... to coincide with the JNF session. It included plans for protests outside the Governor's mansion and the JNF conference..." (Denver buses carry anti-Israel ads during JNF conference, 29/10/13)

Photos of the protest at another website show people, including anti-Zionist religious Jews, holding placards reading: Jewish National Fund: Racist; JNF: Violation of Judaism & Godly compassion; Judaism Condemns the State of 'Israel' And its Atrocities.

Enough said.

Interestingly, even Stewart felt compelled to play down the hysteria being whipped up by his own paper over the incident at Bondi: "A closer examination... suggests it was almost certainly a random attack..." This statement of the bleeding obvious, however, was not going to deter him from his work of smearing criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism: "... but it has served to cast a spotlight on anti-Semitism in Australia as some anti-Israel fringe groups are blurring the boundaries between race and politics." The sly implication here, of course, is that anyone who criticises Israel is a demented fringe-dweller who just can't help crossing over to the Dark Side at times.

That other hyped 'incident' of Day 1, involving a pair of UNSW student buffoons and your stereotypical 'offended' Jewish student - "Today I had the worst experience of anti-Semitism in my life" - was again trotted out, and reflected on at length by a "child survivor of the Holocaust and an expert on trauma," called upon by Stewart to dilate on the nature of such 'suffering': "It's like their nightmares coming true again."

Amusingly, in stressing Australia's "relatively easy assimilation of Jews into all aspects of Australian society," Stewart must unwittingly have offended the usual suspects by citing as an example of Jewish success in Australia onetime (1931-36) governor-general Sir Isaac Isaacs, who was firmly of the view that political Zionism "is founded on principles that bear a striking resemblance to the slanderous doctrines that Hitler put forward in justifying Anti-Semitism" and "detracts from the noble principles of our religion." And how right he was when he predicted that the Zionist project in Palestine "would deny equal rights of citizenship to Arabs and others, and would imperil the security of the Holy Places of other faiths." (Isaac Isaacs, Zelman Cowan, 1967, p 234)

Finally, there was the usual spray of letters, falsely conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Too wearisome to repeat, I'll leave you with the shorter of the two more clear-thinking efforts (the other was by Greens senator Lee Rhiannon):

"George Fishman (Letters 1/11) goes much too far saying 'supporters of the BDS are a mask for hatred of Jews.' The fact is there are many people like me who want to see Israel treat Palestinians in a humane and just way. Supporting the BDS is one small way of protesting against Israel, not the Jewish population." Judy White, Rose Bay, NSW

Judy must be one of Cameron Stewart's fringe-dwellers.

PS: Response (4/11/13) from Daniel Lewis, Rushcutters Bay, NSW: "While I'm sure Judy White would never identify with anti-Semites, there is a simple test. Besides Israel, who else are you boycotting? Syria has killed more Palestinians in the past year than Israel. Hamas killed more Palestinians in 2008 than Israel did. Jordan killed more Palestinians in a single week than Israel did in the following 50 years..." So says Daniel Lewis, but here's a question for him: What were those Palestinians doing in Syria, the Gaza Strip and Jordan in the first place?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More Hounding of Jake Lynch 2

November 1 was Day 3 of The Australian's latest round of hounding Professor Jake Lynch. And on the front page, of course. This time around, however, Ean - with an 'E' - Higgins took a back seat, while the paper's Middle East correspondent, John Lyons,* took precedence with a puff piece on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

"Those wanting to question Hebrew University's tolerance credentials as part of the BDS campaign, such as Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees, have picked the wrong target. Walking around the campus one sees a multicultural atmosphere as diverse as, if not more so, [than] any university in Australia."

Lyons' 'EXCLUSIVE' was accompanied by a large photo of 3 "Muslim" students, captioned: "Maisa Qaraeen, left, who studies nursing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with two friends. 'We all have Jewish friends here'."

Rhetorical questions: Did young Maisa Qaraeen and her friends have any inkling that when accosted by Lyons and his Israeli photographer, Sasson Tiram, they were about to become cannon fodder in a vicious assault on a defender of Palestine in distant Australia. Had they been apprised of this, what then might they have said?

Lyons continued thus:

"The university itself has taken steps to oppose division and promote peace with other institutions. In 2005, Hebrew and the Palestinian Al-Quds universities signed a joint communique against foreign boycotts."

Well, isn't that interesting? How then does Lyons account for this:

"Al-Quds University will cease all forms of academic cooperation with Israeli academic institutions soon, the school's board determined on Sunday... It added that 'If the two-state solution is as far away today as it was 10 years ago, there is no justification for continued academic cooperation based on reaching that solution.'... 'Ending academic cooperation is aimed at... pressuring Israel to abide by a solution that ends the occupation, a solution that has been needed for far to long and that the international community has stopped demanding,' the board said. It also noted that the decision came 'in response to the prior Israeli onslaught [on Gaza]; the acts and policies of Israeli governments over the past 10 years, including settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the tightening of the siege on the occupied territories and thwarting any negotiated peace process that will lead to an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.'... Finally,  the university board expressed disappointment over the absence of serious protest from Israeli academia, in particular, and civil society organizations, in general, as well as the failure of these organizations to 'understand the injustice that Palestinians are suffering from,' calling on local, international and regional academics to support the university's stance by halting academic cooperation with Israeli institutions." (Academic boycott declared by Al-Quds University, jerusalem-studies.alquds.edu) (See also my 10/6/11 post What Christopher Pyne Heard.)

But there was more, including a 'report' by some bunny called Julie Hare: "Claims by a Sydney University academic that sanctions against an Israeli university were justified because of its links to the military ignore the fact that his own institution conducts research for the Australian defence forces..." (Military link quizzed)

Of course, we couldn't expect young Julie to remember that, unlike the IDF, the ADF isn't involved in a never-ending military occupation of someone else's land.

Finally, there's the feeding frenzy on the letters page! One opined that the Bondi Beach boofheads had "come under the influence of a neo-Nazi group preaching indiscriminate hatred against Jews." Another wrote: "Sitting before me while writing an article on the Holocaust, I see pictures of two men clad in Nazi uniforms standing in front of a Jewish shop in Germany in 1932 holding a poster saying 'boycott the Jews'. I am offended that 81 years later the same [!] sign is held up, not by men in Nazi uniforms, but by people calling on citizens to do the same thing." A third, the ubiquitous bore of Vaucluse, NSW, George Fishman, emitted the following: "For almost 2000 years, anti-Semitism was religious, then it became racial. But since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism has become unfashionable and has been replaced by delegitimisation of Israel. But make no mistake, attacks on Israel by supporters of the BDS are a mask for hatred of Jews." And wasn't this just a matter of time: "Have Stuart Rees and Jake Lynch... publicly condemned the alleged racial assault at Bondi?"

[*You've really got to wonder what gives with Lyons because the very next day, he's reporting this: "More than 15,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem will be left homeless in a new round of house demolitions by Israel, according to a Palestinian official from the area... Meanwhile, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that Israel was about to advance construction plans for 5000 new housing units in Jewish settlements." (New wave of demolitions in Jerusalem) Maybe one day, long after he's left The Australian, he'll be suing News Corp for CCD - chronic cognitive dissonance.]

To be continued...