Friday, August 15, 2014

The Mysterious Abu Joe 2

Remember Joe Hockey's pre-election appearance at Sydney's Lakemba mosque, touting his "Palestinian heritage"? (See my 10/5/14 post From the Gaza Strip to the Grand Hyatt.)

Remember my suggestion that "the real story [re Hockey] is not the boof-headed son [but] Hokeidonian the elder"? (See my 8/8/13 post The Mysterious Abu Joe.)

Well, journalist Madonna King's new biography of Hockey, Hockey: Not Your Average Joe, sheds further light, at two points (pp 5-6 & 11-13) in particular, on Hockey's paternal history, and hence on the kind of parental influence which helped form the Joe of today, paradoxically, a man not only devoid of any real feeling for, or interest in, the plight of the Palestinians, empty pre-election emissions notwithstanding, but one who is unambiguously pro-Israel. (See From the Gaza Strip to the Grand Hyatt.)

Here are the relevant excerpts, along my interpolated commentary:

"Growing up in Jerusalem, with troops and civilians fighting it out on the streets..."

Note the vague terminology here. You'd never guess that the British Mandate authorities (troops) were battling a Zionist rebellion (civilians) out to establish a Jewish state based on the dispossession and exile of the majority Arab population of Palestine.

"... he had woken each morning with a fear and dread of what lay ahead and a loneliness that caused an ache in the pit of his stomach. He also remembered the final moments he spent in Palestine, his homeland, a land blessed with the spiritual landmarks of three different faiths, and cursed with a centuries-long tussle for moral and legal ownership."

His homeland. Remember this expression with its connotation of a cherished spiritual connection.

That final bit - cursed with a centuries-long tussle for moral and legal ownership - a reiteration of the idea that Palestine has always been contested terrain (what terrain hasn't?), feeds into the idea that Jews and Arabs have forever been at loggerheads, and that what we are witnessing today is simply the latest manifestation of same.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Today's Palestine problem did not, in fact, exist until Britain's fateful decision, in 1917, to unleash a toxic European nationalist movement, Zionism, on Palestine, in the teeth of opposition from its indigenous Arab inhabitants. Nor has the Zionist claim to Palestine ever had a valid moral or legal basis. Quite simply, the Zionists and their Jewish state project were imposed on the Palestinians by the British in flagrant violation of the Palestinians' right to national self-determination. One wonders here whether this centuries-long nonsense came from the Hockeys or from King.

"In 1948, Richard had crossed the Jordan River from its West Bank, determined to pursue a new life that might be rich with potential; he dreamt of finding a new homeland, less cursed by entrenched rivalries. As Richard and his only brother, Jack, turned their backs on Palestine on that long-ago January morning, they performed one final act. Richard offered a guttural Arabic curse and spat on the soil, vowing to leave this land and never return. Their land of hope, their land of milk and honey, was to be either Australia or the United States. They joined hundreds of thousands who would make that journey in the post-war years as Palestine (soon to become Israel) shed its Muslim skin to become a Jewish state."

Richard, it is claimed here, entered Jordan in 1948. Keep the date in mind, I'll be returning to it later. Keep in mind too that rich with potential bit, so redolent of the 'me, myself and I' free market ethic we associate with Hockey today.

Entrenched rivalries. Here we go again. Palestine was never a theatre of entrenched communal rivalries. Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians and Palestinian Jews got along just fine until the British entrenched the ethnographic, state-seeking Zionist movement in Palestine from 1917 to 1939.

That mention of the gutteral Arabic curse and its accompanying gob of spittle, was, for me, worth the price of King's book. Some patriot, the old Abu Joe!

But is it true? If, as we are led to believe from the reference to 1948, Richard is fleeing the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine, why would he be cursing not the Zionist forces driving him out but his presumably cherished homeland? Or is the tale merely symbolic of the Hockey family's primary allegiance to making a quid? Remember the phrase rich in potential?

As Palestine shed its Muslim skin??? WTF! Have you ever before seen such a misbegotten euphemism for the Palestinian Nakba as this? Did it, one wonders, come from the Hockeys or from King herself?

"As the war ended, tensions rose again in Jerusalem.. It became clear that the world was going to support the creation of a Jewish state but its reach was contested and the violent tussle for territory escalated. The Hockeduneys... had their home in Julian's Way (now King David Street) in central Jerusalem, close to the administrators of the British mandate. The Irgun, an extreme Zionist group, shocked the world in July 1946 with a bomb attack on the King David Hotel where the British Forces kept their offices... Richard lost seven friends in a moment from hell. On long days, he can still hear the screams of one of them trapped under the rubble... He raced up the road to see if he could offer a hand and returned to his apartment that day knowing that he could never call Jerusalem home."

The Zionist bombing of the King David Hotel was carried out on July 28, 1946.

"Just weeks later, [Hockey's mother] Rose applied... to move her family to Australia but was refused... Eventually, facing a direct threat..."

What threat? If it was a Zionist threat, why not say so? Or would that risk upsetting certain generous donors to the Liberal Party? Maybe, in fact, there was no threat at all. Anyway, moving along:

"... the family packed up... fleeing to Amman, the capital of Jordan... From there, they travelled to Irbid... Richard, Jack and Rose were initially turned down in their application to resettle in Australia... [but on 21 January 1947, Patriarch Balacina interceded on their behalf with Cardinal Thomas Gilroy who worked the required magic.] Their next stop was Beirut... and on 3 September 1948... the Dakota DC3 carrying Rose, Richard and Jack finally landed in Darwin."

You'll note that King's got the year wrong here. It's obviously in 1947 that the Hockeduneys arrived in Australia, a fact confirmed by Joe Hockey in interview. - see my 8/8/13 post The Mysterious Abu Joe.

To conclude, Hockey's father was never a Palestinian refugee in any meaningful sense. He was in Australia before Palestine was even partitioned, reportedly in response to some mysterious alleged threat.

Memo to the Arab/Muslim community: the next time Hockey turns up at a mosque or other gathering, peddling his "Palestinian heritage," tell the bugger to pull the other. Oh, and don't forget to follow up with an appropriate curse in guttural Arabic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's pretty pathetic when authors like Madonna King don't seem to have even the most elementary grasp of what the Arab-Israeli conflict is all about - land - and present it instead as some age-old dispute between religions.