Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cleaning Up the Mess at Q&A 2

And Bob Carr's answer to Greg Weiss' question?

"I agree with you completely"!!!

Carr then went on to explain that proliferating Israeli settlements on the West Bank and a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians simply don't mix.

Pressed repeatedly by compere Tony Jones to say whether he thought Gillard was capable of making up her own mind on the issue of support for Israel, instead of simply saying the bleeding obvious - well, no - and pointing out that it had taken a full scale revolt of the Labor Party, at both Cabinet and Caucus levels, to persuade her to back down over a mere routine issue (upgrading Palestine's status at the UN), the silly bugger launched into an embarrassing 'Do you have any idea how much I love Israel?' rap:

"I am in full agreement with liberal Jewish activists... that... if there is no two-state solution... Israel is left managing [!!!] a large and growing Arab population into the future indefinitely... I have got enormous sympathy with the people of Israel... I set up Labor Friends of Israel... I told the Palestinians to talk to the Israelis... I was the first... to say that Israel had a right to defend itself after the rocket attacks from Gaza."

Still, even these professions of love for Israel were way too much for the absurd Brendan O'Neill of the UK website Spiked Online. He caricatured Carr's position by asserting that it echoed "this old, quite ugly prejudice about Zionist groups or Jewish groups being the puppet masters of politics," thus demonstrating his complete incapacity to recognise that we have here a serious problem with serious consequences. But for the pernicious and long-term hold of the US Israel lobby over the US Congress, for example, the Carr-Gillard contretemps would probably never have happened. Just to remind us of what's at stake here, here is the first hand testimony, dating back to the mid-70s, of ex-Congressman James Abourezk:

"Most lobbies, no matter how good they are, fade into insignificance beside the most effective - and vicious - of them all. Israel's lobby in Washington, known simply as 'the Israeli lobby,' or 'the Lobby,' has refined to a high art form the techniques of putting pressure on members of Congress and on the Administration... The way the Lobby works is perhaps best described by by its effort to override President Ford's threat against Israel in 1975. Ford and Kissinger were insisting on a change in Israel's policy toward negotiation with the Arab countries following the 1973 war, and Israel was resisting. Ford then announced a 'reassessment' of America's policy toward Israel, meaning that our arms shipments to Israel would be stopped until it came around to our way of thinking.

"The Lobby drafted a letter to Ford with the intention of having a great many senators sign it, essentially threatening to override Ford's arms blockade. Lobby operatives took the letter to Senator George McGovern's staff, telling them that Senator Ted Kennedy had already signed it, and that McGovern shouldn't be the only prospective presidential candidate left off the list. Then producing McGovern's signature, they confronted Kennedy's staff with the same ultimatum.

"One senator, who shall remain nameless, told me on the night before the letter was released to the press that he had refused to sign it, understanding full well that it was to be used to prevent a US government initiative in the Middle East. When his name appeared on the list of signatories the next day, I asked him what had happened. 'Jim,' he said, 'after I refused the Lobby, I received phone calls from four or five Jews in my state who had worked to get me elected last time around. These weren't guys who had simply written checks. They were professionals, men who actually left their offices and businesses to work in my election. How could I refuse them?'

"The Lobby reached its high point that year, obtaining 76 senators' signatures on the letter, which forced President Ford to back down and to drop his reassessment of our policy toward Israel." (Advise & Dissent: Memoirs of an Ex-Senator, 1989, pp 167-68)

Those such as O'Neill who, for whatever reason, cannot see the elephant in the room here are frankly unfit to comment on public affairs. Alas, this Israel lobby denier felt compelled to go even further, and began banging on about "trendy Westerners" boycotting Israeli artists and academics. This unfortunately had the effect of spurring Carr to declare, yet again, his love for Israel: "I happen to be a strong opponent of BDS against Israel, a strong opponent."

Finally, we had the most godawful rant by Jewish feminist Eva Cox, who trotted out such gems as:

"Israel behaves extremely badly and deserves to be criticised sometimes in terms of the fact that it does not act in an appropriate way in relation to some things, despite the fact that all of those things are happening;" and "I agree with Brendan. We have to be very careful when we criticise Jewish lobbies and Israeli lobbies... because they are often demonised."

From apartheid to inappropriate Israel!

Her rant ended with this utterly insulting (to Carr), wholly incorrect (he did not say anything 'nasty' to Gillard), and censorious (please shut up) outburst:

"When the foreign minister of Australia says something nasty to the prime minister of Australia, it's not going to solve the Middle Eastern problems, so can we please shut up and let people sort of try and work out how they do it, because otherwise they end up with silly arguments like this."

Frankly, Cox was even more of an embarrassment than O'Neill.

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