Thursday, July 31, 2014

Moir: The Herald's Gift to Israel

Moir's cartoon in today's Sydney Morning Herald is an utter disgrace.

It incorporates the standard Zionist propaganda line about Palestinian 'militants' using civilians as human shields, with a Hamas fighter aiming an RPG from behind a baby carriage at an incoming missile fired from an Israeli helicopter. Both the Hamas fighter and the helicopter are screaming 'COWARD!' at each other. The piece is irrelevantly titled 'WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS'.

Moir's cartoon of July 16, where he had Israeli shells and Palestinian rockets criss-crossing the sky with each saying 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE', was almost as bad, misrepresenting Israel's latest genocidal rampage as some kind of biblical feud between equals.

Moir's faux balancing act betrays him for what he really is: just another ignorant, both-as-bad-as-each-other, hack at best, a clueless cog in Israel's propaganda mill at worst.

In case you think I'm being too harsh here, merely contemplate the bloody murder so graphically depicted in the half-page photograph of the Gaza holocaust on the front cover of today's Herald, and tell me if you see any balance there.

Those interested might like to read about Moir's pathetic grovel to the Israel lobby, which followed a comparison he drew back in 2003 between the Warsaw Ghetto and Israel's West Bank wall, cited in my 24/1/08 post We Remember Warsaw. It's been all down hill since then.

Thank God for Fairfax cartoonists Glen LeLievre and Michael Leunig.

Palestine/Israel for the Complete Fucking Idiot

On the subject of the Palestine/Israel conflict, I always operate on a few basic assumptions:

1) That this near 100-year-old (1917-2014) conflict has been around sufficiently long enough for people to have no excuse whatever for not 'getting' it.

2) That, if it is not already abundantly obvious, from, say, the widespread use of the term 'Israeli settlers', that we are dealing here with a genocidal, settler-colonial/apartheid problem - ie colonisers/ colonised, land thieves/dispossessed - a little honest inquiry (as in reading one or two reputable books) on the part of anyone with half a brain would clarify the matter.

3) That common decency demands support for the colonised, not the coloniser.

4) And lastly, that if you've been living under a rock all your life, and know nothing about the issue, then opening your mouth on it is only going to expose you for the ignoramus you are.

Why am I spelling this out now? Because it was painfully obvious, after watching Monday night's Q & A, which led with questions on Israel's latest bloodletting in Gaza, that none of the panelists had a clue what the conflict was really all about:

Senator Barnaby Joyce (NP):

"... if they haven't sorted it out in the last 4,000 years I don't think we're going to do it at Senate Estimates..."

Wrong, of course. Palestine's travails date back to 1917 when the British (who had no right to do so) promised Palestine (which belonged to the Arabs who were living there at the time) to a bunch of European Jews (who had no right whatsoever to it - then or now). Prior to 1917 there was no Palestine problem until Britain created one.

"If you want to start picking who started the fight in the pub, you will always come unstuck."

Pub brawls may be the cultural highlight of Barnaby's patch, but they have SWFA to do with settler-colonial situations.

Mark Butler (ALP) Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change:

"... as someone who has watched this area for many, many years, who has placed a lot of faith in the Israeli Left's capacity to drive internal pressure for the peace process..."

Butler's having us all on. If he's really been holding a candle for what he calls the 'Israeli Left' all these years, then he knows SWFA about Zionist colonialism and apartheid. Did his kind spend any time in the 80s looking for Afrikaaner apartheid's left wing? Rhetorical question, of course.

Louise Adler, publisher:

"It was a platitude to say there's sort of justice on both sides. I find it very hard."

Settler-colonialism doesn't work that way. It's inherently genocidal, and hence unjust by definition. The Palestinians are absolutely the blameless victims of Britain's imposition on them of a fanatical, exclusivist, European colonising movement.

David Suchet, actor (Hercule Poirot):

"... political debates about who owns what piece of land and it breaks my heart... fighting and killing and shooting weapons at each other..."

Well, what can I say? I see no evidence here of Poirot's "little grey cells" in action.

Madonna King, journalist & author:

"Yeah, what he said really. I mean, I think, yeah... there is wrong on both sides and I wouldn't have a clue where you start with that..."

FFS!

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 6 & 7

murderous terrorist organisation that aspires to our destruction*: Palestinian resistance organisation

[*Netanyahu, quoted in PM defiant as Israel's toll rises, John Lyons, The Australian., 30/7/14]

errant militant shell (as in: "Israel claimed the [hospital] compound was also hit by an errant militant shell."*): an Israeli shell which kills Palestinian civilians but is in denial

[*ibid]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deconstructing the Carlton/LeLievre Backlash 2

Hm... is this the mysterious Dr John Nemesh who moonlights as a poster boy for the BDS bashers? (See my posts In the Dead of Night (29/9/11) and In the Dead of Night 2 (13/11/11)):

"Mike Carlton's ire at Israel's supposed fascism would have carried more weight if had he also reminded readers that Hamas is a Islamic Fascist Palestinian movement linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which denies Jews any right to the very self-determination the Palestinians themselves seek."  (Letter, John Nemesh, Gymea, Sydney Morning Herald, 28/7/14)

Israel's "supposed fascism"? If Israel isn't fascist, it certainly does a damned good imitation:

"A mob of Jewish youths bashed two Palestinians at a tram stop in Jerusalem over the weekend, reportedly with iron bars and baseball bats, until they were unconscious. Meanwhile, a leading Israeli academic has caused a controversy by saying the sisters and mothers of Hamas leaders should be raped." (Israel pulls Gaza ceasefire, John Lyons, The Australian, 28/7/14)

"The UN Security Council also called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as a poll in Israel found 87% support for the war to continue." (Obama, UN demand ceasefire, John Lyons, The Australian, 29/7/14)

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 5

combat zone (as in "... the IDF said: 'The IDF has repeatedly called out to the civilian population of Gaza not to approach combat zones.' Palestinians say that given how densely populated the strip is - 1.8m people in 365 sq km - everywhere is in fact a combat zone." Israel pulls Gaza ceasefire offer, John Lyons, The Australian, 28/7/14): everywhere

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RALLY for PALESTINE 3

In our thousands, In our millions, We are all Palestinians

RALLIES for PALESTINE

Melbourne: 6pm, Friday, August 1, State Library

Sydney: 1pm, Sunday, August 3, Sydney Town Hall

Brisbane: 5.30pm, Friday, August 1, King George Square

Perth: 12pm, Saturday, August 2, Murray St Mall

Canberra: 1pm, Saturday, August 2, Petrie Plaza

DON'T LET ISRAEL GET AWAY WITH MURDER!

From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free

Ignoring/Misreporting Sydney's Mass Gaza Rallies

The lack of ms media coverage of Sydney's July rallies for Gaza - three so far, on consecutive Sundays (13/20/27), with a 4th to come this Sunday (3/8) - has been shameful.

Huge numbers of people have attended these rallies, with the organisers - Sydney's Palestine Action Group - conservatively estimating an attendance figure of around 5,000 (for 21/7) on its FB page.

Here's the Fairfax/Murdoch breakdown:

Sydney Morning Herald:
14/7: 0
21/7: A postage stamp piece with on an estimate of "more than 4000 people" in attendance. (Youngsters rally against Israel)
28/7: A small photograph buried inside another article (Alhadeff defiant on Gaza email) on p 6.

The Australian:

14/7: 0
21/7: 0
28/7: 0

Other Murdoch outlets, both print & web-based:

14/7: 0
21/7: "... a crowd of more than 2000..." (Sydney rally against deaths in Gaza, AAP, 20/7)
28/7: "About 500 people are marching..." (Sydney rally slams Gaza silence, AAP, 27/7)

While Fairfax is missing in action, Murdoch, typically, lies through its teeth (2000/500).

Deconstructing the Carlton/Le Lievre Backlash 1

The confected outrage of Zionist propagandists at Mike Carlton and Glen LeLievre, following their forthright condemnation of Israel's current wilding in Gaza in Saturday's Herald, was as inevitable as night following day.

Five of the 9 letters on the subject in yesterday's Herald were in this category. Here's my deconstruction of one of them - that by Zionist barrister Irving Wallach of Alexandria:

"Journalistic and cartoon comment in coverage of the tragic and extremely disturbing deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza..."

Note the feigned concern for Palestinian civilians. It's there merely to lend the requisite air of humanity to the letter. (Rule Number 1 in the Zionist propaganda handbook.)

Readers are not, of course, expected to notice that the term "tragic deaths" is really nothing more than a euphemism for bloody murder, or reflect that if the writer was in fact "extremely disturbed" by them, he'd be condemning them as the war crimes that they are.

"... and of Israeli civilians was always going to need caution."

Although there is, in fact, no balance whatever in Israel's genocidal rampage in Gaza, you'll note here an attempt to suggest otherwise.

"Which makes one wonder how on earth LeLievre's cartoon was approved for publication."

The reader is not, of course, expected to wonder how on earth genuine obscenities such as 'Operation Protective Edge' can be perpetrated by those who spin themselves as the very acme of civilization and modernity.

"His image of a fat hook-nosed Jew..."

Hm... reminiscent of a geriatric Menachem Begin, Israeli terrorist par excellence and Likud founder, of whom Netanyahu has said, "He is a great role model for me... Israel and the Likud are inspired by the spirit of Menachem Begin." (Israel remembers Prime Minister Menachem Begin, israelhayom, 28/2/12)

Seems like LeLievre's captured the 'spirit' of today's Likudnik murderers perfectly. And that reminds me: wasn't Wallach once a leader of the Zionist youth movement Betar, founded by the ideological godfather of the Likud, Vladimir Jabotinsky?

"... complete with religious head covering..."

Such as Netanyahu wears from time to time, to shore up the kippah-wearing settler vote.

"... and labelled with a large Star of David is disgraceful. It should be the stuff of a bygone era."

Apparently the appropriation of the Star of David as the national symbol of the genocidal Israeli apartheid regime is neither here nor there.

"It should not have appeared in the pages of any Australian newspaper, let alone a quality publication such as the Herald. Shame on you, LeLievre, and the Herald."

Bollocks!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel

The cynical partisan appointment last year, by former NSW Premier Baruch (Jerusalem Prize) O'Farrell, of Israel lobbyist Vic Alhadeff to the chair of the NSW Community Relations Commission  was never going to work, given that one cannot credibly advocate for multiculturalism in NSW while publicly advocating for the exact opposite in occupied (River to Sea) Palestine

In fact, it is a mystery why Sydney's Arab/Muslim community - or anyone else in the know for that matter - waited until the latest Israeli rampage in Gaza before actively protesting the appointment and/or boycotting the appointee.

New Matilda's Chris Graham covers the resignation of NSW Community Relations Commissioner/NSW Jewish Board of Deputies supremo better than most:

"The Chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission has finally resigned, after supporting the Israeli assault on Gaza. Vic Alhadeff's job as the Chairman of the government-appointed Community Relations Commission was to promote harmony in New South Wales between different ethnic groups.

"He sure had a funny way of going about it. Two weeks ago, Alhadeff, in his other capacity as chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, sent an inflammatory pro-Israel email to Australia's Jewish community, just as the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza began to gather pace. At the time, the death toll in Israel's latest assault on Gaza was nearing 200. All of the dead were Palestinians. None of them were Israelis. Without a hint of irony, Alhadeff accused Hamas of 'violating international law and engaging in war crimes as its militants launch rockets indiscriminately at civilians from civilian areas. Israel has made it clear that it is not interested in further escalation, but will do whatever is needed to defend its citizens. All options are on the table.'

"That 'disinterest in further escalation', and 'those options' apparently included wholesale slaughter - Israel has leveled large sections of Gaza, and targeted civilian infrastructure including hospitals and schools.

"Today, Vic Alhadeff finally resigned his position as Chair of the Community Relations Commission after NSW Premier Mike Baird refused to stand him down... And it came after a boycott by Muslim leaders of a dinner staged on Thursday night by Premier Baird to mark Ramadan.

"In a written statement issued this afternoon, Alhadeff - ever mindful of community harmony - pointed the finger of blame at others by noting that 'the reaction from some' to his email 'has become a distraction to the work of the CRC and the role of the chair. It is with considerable regret that I have decided to resign from my position... I have chosen to do so in the interests of the CRC and its important work in fostering social harmony within our society. It is clear that a briefing paper issued under my name inadvertently caused offence to some, and this is greatly regretted. While this was unintended... the reaction of some has become a distraction to the work of the CRC and the role of the chair'...

"NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge welcomed the resignation, but noted Alhadeff should never have been appointed to the position in the first place... 'Given his deeply partisan approach to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, he should never have been considered a viable candidate'." (27/7/14)

The Sydney Morning Herald's editorial of 26/7/14 is also of interest here. The editorial declared Alhadeff's position to be "virtually untenable," and spoke of him "betraying the sensitivity of his role as CRC chairman."  (Alhadeff & Baird should do right thing over Gaza row)

The editorial continued: "Mr Baird should have demanded an unreserved apology and received one. He did neither. Instead, the Premier said the CRC chairman 'had his full confidence' after Mr Alhadeff apologised for any umbrage his comments might have caused. Notably, he did not resile from his views, nor accept blame for airing them in his important role. Mr Alhadeff's was a poor example of caveated contrition. The timing was particularly poor too. The apology came after Muslim groups threatened to boycott an iftar dinner at NSW Parliament House hosted by Mr Baird to mark the breaking of the fast in the holy Muslim month [sic] of Ramadan. Mr Alhadeff attended, along with many of the Premier's supporters, but those who refused to attend included the Lebanese Muslim Association, the National Imams Council, the Arab Council, Muslim Women's association, some Muslim councillors and the first Muslim MP in NSW, Shaoquett Moselmane."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gerard Henderson's Syrian Yardstick

Writing in The Australian of July 26, Fairfax>Murdoch pundit Gerard Henderson wrote of the carnage in Gaza:

"Reports indicate that about 650 Palestinians have died... in the current conflict. This is a serious death toll. Yet it is only a fraction of the dead in the civil war in Syria."

The war in Syria, an entirely unrelated issue to events in Gaza, is of course being used here to deflect attention from the enormity of Israel's crimes in Palestine.

To expose this typically Zionist of sleight of hand, I thought it might be interesting to apply what might be termed the Syrian yardstick to the two other reports of murder and mayhem that appear in the same edition. Just imagine Henderson coming out with these gems:

1) The murder of Allison Baden-Clay is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the mass murder in Syria. Why we're even reading about her case is a complete mystery to me.

2) Twenty-seven Australians lost their lives in the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine recently. What a yawn when you compare it to the death toll in Syria.

What a pain the man is.

Carlton & Le Lievre Get Gaza

Finally, after much mealy-mouthed msm dancing around the issue here in Australia, a powerful condemnation of Israel's butchery in Gaza - Israel's rank & rotten fruit is being called fascism - has appeared,  in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald.

While not necessarily agreeing with everything he says, Herald columnist Mike Carlton deserves special mention as one of the rare few in the corporate media who gets it and is not afraid to say so. The same goes for Herald cartoonist, Glen Le Lievre*, whose unforgettable image, on the same page, perfectly complements Carlton's text:

"The images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror A dishevelled Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his arms. On a filthy hospital bed a boy of perhaps five or six screams for his father, his head and body lacerated by shrapnel. A teenage girl lies on a torn stretcher, her limbs awry, her face and torso blackened like a burnt steak. Mourners weep over a family of 18 men, women and children laid side by side in bloodied shrouds. Four boys of a fishing family named Bakr, all less than 12 years old, are killed on a beach by rockets from Israeli aircraft.

"As I write, after just over a week of this invasion, the death toll of Palestinians is climbing towards 1000. Most are civilians, many are children. Assaulting Gaza by land, air and sea, Israel has destroyed homes and reduced entire city blocks to rubble. It has attacked schools, mosques and hospitals. Tens of thousands of people have fled, although there is nowhere safe for them to go in this wretched strip of land just 40 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres wide. There are desperate shortages of food and water, of medical and surgical supplies.

"In an open letter to US President Barack Obama, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon working at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, writes of 'the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. Humans!

"'Ashy grey faces - Oh no! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding. We still have lakes of blood on the floor of the emergency room, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out... the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas - the leftovers from death - all taken away... to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.'

"The onslaught is indiscriminate and unrelenting, with but one possible conclusion: Israel is not fighting the terrorists of Hamas. In defiance of the laws of war and the norms of civilised behaviour, it is waging its own war of terror on the entire Gaza population of about 1.7 million people. Call it genocide, call it ethnic cleansing: the aim is to kill Arabs.

"As none other that Malcolm Fraser tweeted this week: 'If any other country went to war killing as many civilians, women and children, it would be named a war crime.' But it is not, although the UN is asking the question of both sides.

"Yes, Hamas is also trying to kill Israeli civilians, with a barrage of rockets and guerilla border attacks. It, too, is guilty of terror and grave war crimes. But Israeli citizens and their homes and towns have been effectively shielded by the nation's Iron Dome defence system, and so far only three of its civilians have died in this latest conflict. The Israeli response has been out of all proportion, a monstrous distortion of the much-vaunted right of self defence.

"It is a breathtaking irony that these atrocities can be committed by a people with a proud liberal tradition of scholarship and culture, who hold the Warsaw Ghetto and the six million dead of the Holocaust at the centre of their race memory. But this is a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hardline, right-wing Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition. As one observer puts it: 'All the seeds of the incitement of the past few years, all the nationalistic, racist legislation and the incendiary propaganda, the scare campaigns and the subversion of democracy by the right-wing camp - all these have borne fruit, and that fruit is rank and rotten. The nationalist right has now sunk to a new level, with almost the whole country following in its wake. The word 'fascism', which I try to use as little as possible, finally has its deserved place in the Israeli political discourse.'

"Fascism in Israel? At this point the Australian Likudniks, as Bob Carr, calls them, will be lunging for their keyboards. There will be the customary torrent of abusive emails calling me a Nazi, an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, an ignoramus. As usual they will demand my resignation, my sacking. As it's been before, some of this will be pornographic or threatening violence.**

"In fact, that paragraph within the quotation marks was written by an Israeli. Gideon Levy is a columnist and editorial board member of the daily newspaper Haaretz. Born in Tel Aviv to parents who fled the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he despairs of what his country has become and the catastrophe its armed forces are visiting upon Gaza. After a recent column calling on Israeli pilots to stop bombing and rocketing civilians, his life was threatened and he now has a bodyguard day and night. It has come to that. In the worst insult of all, Levy is branded 'a self-hating Jew'.

"Israeli propaganda is subtle and skillfully put. 'If Israel were to lay down its arms tomorrow, she would be destroyed; but if Hamas were to lay down their arms, there would be peace,' goes the line, parroted endlessly.

"But in all these long and agonising decades, Israel has never offered the Palestinians a just and equitable peace. They would have only a splintered, vassal state, their polity and economy and even their borders and freedom of travel and trade managed and determined by Israel. The occupation of Palestinian lands would remain with the relentless expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan and the Dead Sea.

"As the Palestine Liberation Organisation official Hanan Ashrawi put it this week in a television interview with the Australian journalist Hamish McDonald: 'No nation can accept being imprisoned, being besieged by land, by air, by sea and deprived of the most basic requirements of a decent life: freedom of movement, clean water. For seven years they have been under a brutal and lethal Israeli siege... You shell them and you bomb them; you destroy homes, you destroy whole neighbourhoods. You obliterate, annihilate, whole families, and then you come and say that this is self-defence?

"That is why the killing and the dying goes on. Ad nauseam, ad infinitum. And the rest of the world, not caring, looks away."

[*See my 25/11/12 post Gaza for the Complete Idiot; **See my 12/6/10 post A Ferocious Beast.] 

Friday, July 25, 2014

James Carleton's Israel Meets the Real Thing

The fact that a typical ABC interview on the subject of the Middle East conflict invariably reveals as much about the interviewer's entrenched Zionist prejudices and ignorance as it does about the matter under discussion never ceases to amaze me.

A particularly glaring example was Wednesday's interview with Israeli academic, activist and author Marcelo Svirsky by Radio National's current Breakfast presenter James Carleton (Racism becomes the new norm in Israel: Political scientist, 23/7).

For Carleton, Israel's is always the default position. Typically, he begins the interview, with the premise that Hamas, a mere symptom of Israeli occupation, is the problem:

JC: Unfortunately, the firing of rockets into Israel and the strong response of the Israeli military into Gaza is nothing new. Hamas has been at war with Israel since it was first elected 8 years ago. Yet, in spite of that history of violence that stretches way back before Hamas, our next guest says something new is happening in Israel. Dr Marcelo Svirsky is a political scientist. He's an Israeli Jew who now lives in Australia, and teaches at the University of Wollongong in NSW. He's just returned from Jerusalem and he says that the hatred and racism he's witnessed towards Arabs has become the norm in Israeli society, something he's never seen before.

[But it gets worse. Next comes Carleton's 'understanding' of the Middle East conflict from 1948 to the present.]

JC: Before I get you to substantiate that claim, and because it is a big claim, why would it be so given in the past Arab armies have nearly destroyed Israel in 1948, and there've been wars of survival up to 1973, there've been intifadas, the current situation, relatively speaking in terms of Israel's security, is rather mild, why should there be hatred now but not then?

[It has to asked: Is it a qualification for work at the ABC that the employee have experience in peddling Zionist propaganda? Svirsky, of course, is not impressed]:

MS: Well, to begin with, I don't think the narrative of 1948 is right as you expose it. Israel was not under threat of destruction in 1948, but [again] this is something we perhaps need to discuss in another program. I think that the present situation [in Israel] is special and different in the sense that we're witnessing a further crystallization of violence and racism in Israeli society not yet seen. I'm not talking about the regular, more familiar structure of racism and settlerism we [already] know about, but something new, and I'm talking about 3 particular forms of behaviour or social patterns. The first is the total recruitment of the media, not just biased reports and commentaries on TV and radio, but more important, actually calling on the government to escalate the conflict. This is [inaudible] so far. I mean, the marginal spaces that the Israeli media had in the past for some alternative voices are being shrunk, not to say, totally cleansed.

JC: But there's Haaretz. That's a very pro-Palestinian newspaper. It's a free and diverse media.

MS: Well, I don't think Haaretz is pro-Palestine, although it has a few, brave journalists such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass. But I would like to tell you that (only) last week in Ashkelon Gideon Levy was physically attacked, and what is more, yesterday Matti Golan, a well known publicist working for the daily financial newspaper Globes called on the government to put Gideon Levy and Amira Hass in administrative detention for what he claims to be the use of freedom of expression that [inaudible]. So I think that these kinds of calls are pretty much new in the Israeli media.

JC: OK, if that's the media, what are the other two?

MS: The second phenomenon is the organised counter-demonstrations of right-wing groups showing up at anti-war protests. I'm talking about thugs showing up at leftist demonstrations wearing neo-Nazi t-shirts, those used by European neo-Nazis, saying GOOD NIGHT LEFT SIDE, with an image of a man attacking a left-wing activist... They outnumber the leftist protestors...

JC: What do the t-shirts say?

MS: They say GOOD NIGHT LEFT SIDE.

JC: GOOD NIGHT LEFT SIDE? It's a contradiction in terms. A neo-Nazi is an Israeli?

MS: Well, sadly, it isn't if you introspect into the social patterns and behaviours of Israeli society. But what is happening is that they chase the leftist protestors chanting DEATH TO THE ARABS, DEATH TO THE LEFTISTS, and they beat them up while the police just look on. All they do is arrest Palestinian citizens at the end of the demonstration.

JC: What happened when the ambulance took some of the victims of these beatings away?

MS: This happened in Haifa. Two Palestinian citizens were beaten and taken by ambulance to hospital. Some of these thugs stopped the ambulance, opened the door and asked, 'Jews or Arabs?' with the intention of taking these people out of the ambulance, if they were Arab, just to finish the job. The third phenomenon is the enjoyment of the spectacle of war. Israelis are gathering on a hilltop close to Gaza to cheer and whoop as Israeli bombs rain down on Palestinians. They bring their tables, chairs and picnic baskets as if they were watching a football match, only they get excited if a player is the death of human beings. I think this is pretty appalling.

JC: You're talking about Sderot.

MS: Yes, near Sderot.

JC: Well, that town in the past two weeks, Hamas has launched 1,500 rockets in 14 days. They would say you're playing the victim.

MS: We can also quote in that respect President Obama and other western leaders claiming no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its border... but James, which nation would agree to be oppressed for nearly half a century of colonisation? Which nation would remain silent in the face of an ongoing ethnic cleansing? For instance, would Australian citizens peacefully agree to be stripped of their natural rights and their lives be dictated by an external power?

JC: So when the Israeli government says why do people single out Israel, you're saying why single out Palestine as the only nation to endure occupation?

MS: Exactly. And we need to contextualise the violence of Hamas. What is happening here is that the West blames the victims for fighting back. This is an absurdity.

JC: Israel says that resistance is a code word for terrorism.

MS: Resistance is the right of an occupied and oppressed people. It's a natural right.

JC: But not to individually target civilians.

MS: Well, this is something we need to ask the Israeli government about. After 600 Palestinian deaths, including more than 100 children, about 3,000 injured, with nowhere to go. I mean, the claim that Israel's violence is an act of self-defence is an oxymoron. No occupying power has a legitimate right of self-defence but [rather] an international obligation to withdraw.

JC: You are not a Zionist, are you?

MS: No, I'm not.

JC: Does that put you on the extreme of Israeli society?

MS: I think that puts me on making sense of reality.

JC: But it's a view not shared by many of your former countrymen?

MS: To say the least.

JC: Well, the argument then is, from an Israeli perspective, why should Australia get to have Australia, the Chinese China? We all have our own countries except why are Jews singled out to be denied their homeland in their historic birthplace.

MS: I think there are 3 answers to that. To begin with, the parallel between Australians, French or Japanese and Jews is not exact because we're mixing up here nation, religion, ethnic belonging, and other factors. The second answer is that if a country of Jews or Australians is [all] about privilege for a particular group, that's unacceptable.

JC: You mean anyone can come to Australia provided they apply to migrate, and once they're here, they're first class citizens?

MS: Well, it should be. Israel was established as a society built on...

JC: Well, if it's not true in Australia or Israel, why single out Israel?

MS: Well, it is the society I come from...

JC: Sure.

MS: ... and I have a particular interest in Israel because I have family and friends there and most of my past is there.

JC: But the other point is when you come to Australia you can take an Australian nationality fully but when you migrate or are the independent population of a Jewish state, if you are not a Jew either ethnically or in terms of religion that's more problematic.

[More problematic? Is this ignorance or sheer cussedness? Let me spell it out for Carleton: if you are a diaspora Palestinian you cannot return to your Palestinian homeland (stolen and renamed 'Israel') because you do not have a Jewish mother.]

MS: Well, here comes my 3rd answer, which is that the Jews or the Hebrew [-speaking] people are not the only, if we accept that claim, indigenous people of the land of Palestine. We cannot dismiss the fact that the Palestinian people are the more indigenous people of the land.

JC: So, you're calling for a one-state solution democracy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, but the Israeli Jewish fear is that that will necessarily mean an Arab majority and the best case scenario is a democracy where Jews are second class citizens. The worst case scenario is an annihilation or second holocaust.

[Can you believe this guy! A 'Jewish' majority is no problem for him, but an Arab majority, that's going too far.]

MS: This is all speculation, but we have now, as fact, that the so-called only democracy in the Middle East is a fascist regime with 1st, 2nd & 3rd class citizens acting as an occupying power for 50 years, and established on a basis of ethnic cleansing - 700,000 indigenous Palestinian people. So if you take the historical facts on the one hand, and a kind of suspect politics of pre-emption on the other, I'm not sure which one we should choose.

[Marcelo Svirsky's important new book on how Jewish-Israelis can and need to "divest themselves of Zionist identities by engaging with dissident rationalities, practices and institutions," is just out. It's called After Israel: Towards Cultural Transformation. Here's the opening sentence from the book's Statement: "Israel was a bad idea from its inception." I'm looking forward to reading it. Re the emerging Israeli fascism cited by Svirsky, I urge you all - as I have earlier - to read Max Blumenthal's recent expose, Goliath: Fear & Loathing in Greater Israel.] 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rumblings of Discontent in NSW Labor

Interesting. A totally inadequate development, of course, but still an interesting sign of the times:

"As rocket fire richochets across the Middle East [?] and Israel invades Gaza... former foreign minister Bob Carr is leading a push within Labor to formally adopt a more 'pro-Palestinian' stance in the party's policy platform. Mr Carr will move a motion from the floor of the NSW Labor conference next weekend seeking to shift the party's Middle East policy to express more sympathy with Palestinians in response to what sections of the party argue is the increasingly bellicose stance of Israel.

"The former NSW premier, who branded the Australian Israel lobby as 'Likudniks' and accused them of hijacking foreign policy during Julia Gillard's government, is leading an effort inside the party to recast Labor's stance in response to a series of motions condemning Israel from local branches. Mr Carr, who is attending the conference as alternate delegate from the Maroubra state electorate council, has confirmed to The Australian his involvement in the behind-the-scenes policy shift. As a former foreign minister with an interest in this subject, he says he will offer advice to colleagues. A raft of motions sent to the conference from local branches and unions, obtained by The Australian, condemn the Israeli government, express strong support for the Palestinian people and urge the fast-tracking of a two-state solution. There are no motions that express fidelity with Israel or criticise the Palestinians.

"The motions come from branches dominated by the Right and Left factions, signalling an underlying shift in the party on Middle East policy reinforced by demographic changes. Sources say the drivers of this shift are the treatments of Palestinians in the West Bank, the spread of Israeli settlements and the hardline right-wing government in Israel... Labor's recommendations in the conference report are that these motions be 'noted' while recognising the party's long-term support for a 'two-state solution achieved through a negotiated settlement'. However, Mr Carr is working to develop an omnibus resolution expressing more explicit support for the Palestinians." (Carr to push Labor on Israel, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 21/7/14)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RALLY for PALESTINE 2

In our thousands, In our millions, We are all Palestinians

RALLIES for PALESTINE

Melbourne: 1pm, Saturday 26 July, State Library

Sydney: 1pm, Sunday 27 July, Town Hall

Brisbane: 2pm, Saturday 26 July, King George Square

Adelaide: 12pm, Saturday 26 July, Parliament House

Perth: 11am, Saturday 26 July, Murray St. Mall

DON'T LET ISRAEL GET AWAY WITH MURDER!

From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free

Et Tu, Guardian Australia?

With Fairfax getting sorrier by the day and the Murdoch press up to its usual tricks, I imagine that many news and commentary addicts are falling back on Guardian Australia for their daily fix. But what are they really getting, especially by way of commentary, on Palestine?

Slim pickings, if their last 3 opinion pieces are any indication.

As anyone who follows this site will be aware, I believe that 'getting' Palestine is the litmus test for intellectual and moral courage in our time. Sadly, GA, in its response to the latest Israeli bloodletting in Gaza, fails this test. Here's why:

1) "I understand and feel the suffering of the Israelis who have lost loved ones and are forced to live in fear... Palestinians and Israelis have been angry for a long time but...it has brought death and injustice to ourselves and others... The hope and future safety and freedom of Israel are linked to the security, safety, freedom and future of Palestinians. We are like conjoined twins and any harm induced [?] to one will impact the other. The courageous thing for both sides is to embrace the dignity, grace and strength of the other." (As a father who lost his children in Gaza, I call for an end to this bloodshed, Izzeldin Abuelaish, 18/7/14)

This is truly contemptible stuff. It peddles the nonsensical idea that there is no difference whatever between occupiers and occupied, oppressors and oppressed, colonisers and colonised, ethnic cleansers and their victims. It omits, on the one hand, any mention of Zionist colonisation and apartheid, and, on the other, the legitimate and heroic struggle of generations of Palestinian freedom fighters for fundamental human and political rights. And what is one expected to make of this Palestinian Uncle Tom's talk of his people's need to "embrace the dignity, grace and strength" of the Israelis? Truly obscene.

2) "The moral corruption that comes with any occupation has fused with the collective trauma of the Jewish people. Angela Godfrey-Goldstein is a peace activist in Israel: she tells me that Israel's mentality 'is very easy to understand in a way where people were traumatised over centuries. It bred a sense that people owe us, of 'who are you to tell us what to do?'... The Jewish people faced persecution for milleniums... The all too recent memory of the gas chambers encourages the sense that Israel can never be too strong, and that its people can never be oppressors". (How the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier: It's tempting, but futile, to demonise Israelis. To achieve peace, we have to understand the rationales behind the latest offensive, Owen Jones, 21/7/14)

Presenting this kind of nonsense, without challenge, as some kind of mitigating factor in the Zionist long march (1917-?) to wipe Palestine off the map is quite inexcusable. Zionist designs on a Palestine without Palestinians were hatched long before the Nazi genocide, and psychobabble about collective, inter-generational trauma supposedly driving today's Israeli perpetrators merely serves to shift the focus away from the settler-colonial roots of this conflict and the very real trauma of dispossession which the Palestinians have been subjected to now for almost a century. There are no excuses for what we are witnessing today in Gaza. None. (I should add, in Owen Jones' favour, that he deserves to be complimented on his generally critical stance toward Israeli brutality and intransigence. Consider this piece, therefore, an unfortunate lapse.)

3) "How many pictures of dead children do you need to see before you understand that killing children is wrong? [Killing adults, well...] I ask because social media is awash with the blood of innocents. Twitter is full of photos of the murdered children of Gaza... Those who want to say something about the atrocities in the Middle East may indeed be genuinely distraught... They may feel that pictures of the broken bodies of infants trump all talk of the immensely long, complicated nature of the conflict... Binyamin Netanyahu speaks of Hamas actively wanting to 'the telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause'... Pictures of Israelis watching the destruction of Gaza as if it were a fireworks party do the rounds. Again with no context. This was Sderot where children don't play outside but in shelters." (Sharing pictures of corpses on social media isn't the way to bring a ceasefire, Suzanne Moore, 21/7/14)

Eewwww! They're sooo yucky. Take them away! The agony of Palestine has been with us now for almost 100 years but this bovine with bad hair just wants it out of sight and out of mind. Quoting Bibi the butcher's loathsome soundbyte approvingly, and suggesting that the colonial-settler ghouls on the hill outside Sderot, cheering on the slaughter in the Gaza coliseum below, have an equal case tells you all you need to know about Moore. Let me just add this: On 20/7/14 she tweeted: "Cannot stomach anymore Israel/Palestine pieces from people who have not been there and just pumping out simplistic dogma." You want simplistic dogma? Cop this: "At the Erez Crossing we had a picnic and were told of the baddies. Hamas. They are indeed baddies, who do not recognise the existence of Israel..." (Suzanne Moore, Yes, Israel has a right to exist. But so did those blood-soaked Palestinian toddlers on the mortuary slab, The Daily Mail, 11/1/09)

Apart from their content, what really annoys me about these 3 pieces is that they've each occupied a media space that could have gone to weightier and more insightful analyses of the issue.

And another thing: two of the three writers are British. Neither, though, displays any awareness of Britain's historical role in the launching and consolidation of the Zionist colonial project and Britain's concomitant betrayal of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. Nor, I'd wager, is either aware of the key role of C.P. Scott (editor of the Manchester Guardian - as it was then known - from 1905 to 1929) in introducing the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann to Lord Balfour and Lloyd George, a fateful conclave if ever there was one, and one which led to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for all that has befallen the Palestinian people, including the carnage we are witnessing today in Gaza. (See my 2/1/12 post The Language Spotter.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Palestinians Need to Do...

... to get Western media sympathy

by As'ad AbuKhalil (english.al-akhbar.com, 14/7/14)

Basically, for Palestinians to get Western media sympathy and human rights legitimacy, they need to emulate Israeli tactics and methods. Here's what they should do:

1) Palestinians are justified in killing Israelis so long as they first knock on their roofs or call them on their cellphones.

2) Palestinians are justified in shelling Israel provided they declare that their intention is not to harm civilians.

3) Palestinians can get the support of Western media if they refer to Israeli civilian targets as command and control centres.

4) Palestinians are justified in killing Israeli civilians so long as they claim that Israeli terrorists are hiding behind them.

5) Palestinians need to kill far more Israelis than they do so that the kill ratio becomes more like it is now in Gaza - 200 to 0. This is because the absence of casualties in Israel makes Israel the victim and not vice versa.

6) Palestinians need to acquire far more advanced weapons because Human Rights Watch has ruled that possessing advanced weapons makes you morally superior and less liable to commit war crimes.

7) Palestinians should include in their casualty lists all of those suffering from 'shell-shock', or who die from illness or natural causes in times of conflict.

8) Palestinians need to form a lobby to control the US Congress.

9) Palestinians need to be less poor and speak in unaccented American English to make them more friendly to American television audiences.

10) Palestinians need to persuade the New York Times and the Washington Post to plaster the pictures and profiles of their dead on the front pages, otherwise no one in the US will believe that they're victims.

11) Palestinians need to refer to Israelis as terrorists because that makes you the victim - in the case of Israeli terrorists that is.

12) Palestinians need to claim that they are consumed with anguish over any deaths they cause on the Israeli side and to pretend that this makes them less guilty of war crimes. Invoking anguish makes Israeli terrorists sympathetic figures in US eyes.

13) Palestinians need to convert en masse to Judaism because Islam, and even eastern Christianity, is not something westerners identify with.

14) Palestinians need to acquire an air force ASAP and to use it regularly against Israel because that would make them more impressive in Western eyes

15) Palestinians need to obtain the support of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands at the UN because those two states are a great help in protecting Israel from international condemnation.

16) Palestinians need to declare the Saudi king their leader because the Saudis enjoy wide respect in Western capitals.

17) Palestinians need to stop punishing collaborators and agents of Israeli terrorism who provide bombing co-ordinates to the Israeli military because they are the only Palestinians who are liked by Western media and governments.

18) Palestinians in Gaza need to remind the West, just as Israel does on a daily basis, that their government is the only democracy in the Middle East.

19) Palestinians need to field a national orchestra because Aaron David Miller once told me that it is the very existence of an Israeli national orchestra that explains American support for Israel.

20) Palestinians need to label their victims as Mossad-affiliated, or just plain Mossad, terrorists. This labelling trick has worked wonders for Israel.

21) Palestinians need to show the world that they drink whiskey. That always seems to impress the hell out of American correspondents. They're not used to seeing Arabs drink whiskey.

22) Palestinians need to call any attack on their cause racist and anti-Arab, just as Israel always describes criticism of its policies and war crimes as anti-Semitic.

23) Palestinians need to appoint Abe Foxman as their Washington representative. For some bizarre reason, the US media consider him an authority on the Palestinian national movement.

Monday, July 21, 2014

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 4

defence: offence

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 3

senior policy analyst (as in "Sharyn Mittelman is a senior policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council"): Zionist propagandist

Is It Rocket Science? 2

The following two quotes, containing divergent Israeli army estimates of Hamas rockets fired at Israel, and those intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, appeared on page 14 of The Weekend Australian, July 19-20, 2014:

"The IDF told The Weekend Australian that in the first 10 days of the war Hamas had launched 1389 rockets towards Israel. It said 86% of rockets headed for population centres had been intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system." (Gaza invasion raises all-out war fears, John Lyons)

"Since the latest violence began before dawn on July 8, at least 1048 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 282 have been shot down by the Iron Dome air-defence system, army figures show." ('Regret' as Ban ramps warning to Tel Aviv, AFP, MCT)

Either the Murdoch press, or the Israel Defence (sic) Forces, or both, are mathematically challenged. I'm opting for the latter.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jake Lynch Update 12: The Black Knight's Last Stand

"The landmark racial discrimination court case brought by Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin against Sydney University's Jake Lynch was yesterday finally brought to a close, when a judge rejected a last-ditch attempt by an Australian lawyer to keep it alive.

"Federal Court judge Alan Robertson issued orders allowing Shurat HaDin to withdraw from the case after it had accepted it had no natural persons left as plaintiffs, leaving it with no legal standing in an Australian court. He made a general order for costs in favour of Professor Lynch...

"The court hearing yesterday had been expected to mark the end of an epic courtroom battle pitting different interpretations of free speech and academic expression against one another..."

Don't you just love the Australian's spin on this?

"But at the hearing, the Australian lawyer who originally represented Shurat HaDin, Andrew Hamilton, sought leave to have a six week period in which he would decide whether his electric bicycle company, Green Freedom, would continue the case without Shurat HaDin. Mr Lynch's solicitor, Yves Hazan, told Justice Robertson the court had earlier issued orders that had the effect of taking all plaintiffs except for Shurat HaDin out of the case, and it was absurd for Mr Hamilton to prolong the closure of the matter. 'It's got to stop, your Honour,' Mr Hazan told the court.

"Justice Robertson adjourned the morning hearing saying he would bring down his decision on Mr Hamilton's request after he had re-examined the court transcript. Professor Lynch said at the end of the morning court session, referring to the famous Monty Python skit, that Mr Hamilton's effort to keep the case going was 'like the Black Knight fighting on after King Arthur has chopped off his arms and legs.' Just hours later Justice Robertson issued orders rejecting Mr Hamilton's application for time to consider continuing the case, bringing it to an end for all parties." (BDS case finally brought to a close, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 17/7/14)

This case, unforgivably, was effectively ignored by the Fairfax press and the ABC. It was, however, taken up by Murdoch's Australian, not, I hardly need add, out of any concern for, or interest in, "free speech and academic expression," as suggested in the above piece, but as part of the paper's ferocious and relentless campaigning against anyone who calls for the use of the BDS strategy against Israeli apartheid and occupation.

Any full and credible account of this vicious attack on Professor Lynch will reveal how, as Shurat HaDin's case began slowly to unravel, the Australian's once cheerleading, front page treatment became more and more subdued, and its coverage migrated to the inner pages, until finally being consigned to its Higher Education supplement. To see how it was reported at the beginning, check out my 2/11/13 post More Hounding of Jake Lynch 1.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Untargeted Shelling, Targeted Propaganda

Here's Radio National presenter James Carleton speaking with (American-accented) Lt. Libby Weis, spokesperson for the Israel Defence [sic] Forces on RN's Breakfast yesterday about Israel's habit of just blazing away at Gaza:

JC: Has Israel used artillery against Gaza?
LW: Artillery has been used. Yes.
JC: But isn't artillery inherently untargeted? It can be aimed, but Israel talks of pinprick accuracy in targeting individual militants in individual rooms when, of course, an artillery shell, that is something that destroys a large area and cannot be targeted with precision.
LW: Artillery is not the only method being used on the ground. All the methods we use, all the targets selected, are done, again, with the goal of only targeting Hamas and not civilians in the area.
JC: But then why would you use artillery, because that is inherently unlikely to achieve your stated aim.  
LW: Again, that's one use in a range of different operational abilities we have at our use. It's not the only thing we use, and again we weigh every situation and make the decision upon different criteria.
JC: Lt. Libby Weis, thank you for your time.

And here's just one result of Israel's blazing away at Gaza, described by Anne Barnard of the New York Times:

"The four Bakr boys were cousins, the children of fishermen who had ordered them to stay indoors. But cooped up for 9 days during Israeli bombardments, the children defied their parents and went to the seaside, the eldest shooing away his little brother, telling him it was too dangerous. As they clambered over a beach jetty in the late afternoon sun, a blast hit a nearby shack. One child was killed instantly. The others ran. There was a second blast, and 3 more bodies littered the sand.

"The Israel Defence [sic] Forces acknowledged later that it was responsible for the 'tragic outcome' and had intended to hit Hamas militants. Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai announced that Israel would observe a 6-hour 'humanitarian ceasefire' in Gaza following an appeal from the United Nations. Alon Ben-David, an Israeli military affairs analyst, said on Israeli television that the second beach blast might have been aimed at the running children, perhaps mistaken for militants. He added that given the military's technologically advanced surveillance equipment 'it is a little hard for me to understand this, because the images show that the figures are children'. One correspondent who witnessed the incident from a nearby hotel said a shell seemed to have been deliberately aimed at the boys as they were running away from the earlier strike.

"The surviving boys were carried to the nearby Deira Hotel, where foreign journalists gave first aid to other wounded children. Hamad Bakr, 13, lay flat on his back moaning in pain from a piece of shrapnel that had penetrated his chest. Nearby, his 7-year-old brother, Yunis, crouched by a wall whimpering, his face distorted in terror. Their cousin, Moatasem, 11, lay bleeding from stomach and head wounds, a bandage wrapped around his head.

"The Israeli army said: 'The IDF has no intention of harming civilians dragged by Hamas into the reality of urban combat. We are carefully investigating the incident in question. Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives. The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome'." (Strike kills four boys playing on beach, Anne Barnard, NYT/Telegraph, London/Sydney Morning Herald, 18/7/14)

RALLY for PALESTINE

In our thousands, In our millions, We are all Palestinians

RALLIES for PALESTINE

Melbourne: 1 pm, Saturday 19 July, State Library

Sydney: 1 pm, Sunday 20 July, Town Hall

Brisbane: 1 pm, Sunday 20 July, King George Square

Adelaide: 11 am, Sunday 20 July, Parliament House

Perth: 11 am, Saturday 19 July, Murray St Mall

Canberra: 12 pm, Saturday 19 July, Petrie Plaza

DON'T LET ISRAEL GET AWAY WITH MURDER!

From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free

Friday, July 18, 2014

About That 'Ceasefire'

The expected Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has just begun... based, it seems, on a lie:

"Look, the story goes something like this. It is quite fishy:

"Netanyahu calls Sisi. After the call, Egypt issues an initiative of sorts without consulting Hamas.

"Suddenly, the Israeli government, that would never normally make a decision so fast to approve a ceasefire by another country, even if it were the US, immediately approves, in no time, the Egyptian initiative, knowing that Hamas would say no because it was never consulted.

"Soon after, Netanyahu goes to the press and says: 'Now that Hamas has not accept the ceasefire, we have the right, the international legitimacy, to continue our campaign against Gaza, and even expand it.

"Right after that, Kerry says: 'This is a despicable silence on the part of Hamas, and Israel has a right to defend itself.

"All in all, this begs a lot of questions. There seems here to have been an effort to undercut, to undermine, an Arab/American initiative to bring something forward that takes into consideration both Hamas' demands and Israel's. I am quite against any conspiratorial thinking of any sort when analysing the news but you have here a situation whereby the call for a ceasefire looks like it is meant to intensify the fire, because that's what we heard Netanyahu say: 'If there is no ceasefire, there will be fire.' There is a sense that this ceasefire is an attempt to cover for more fire." (Video: Ramzy Baroud discusses the failed 'ceasefire' in Gaza, palestinechronicle.com, 15/7/14)

On Egypt's role in the matter, note this:

"Israel's largest-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, quoted an Egyptian presidential adviser as saying Mr Sisi was in no hurry to assist and 'as far as he (Mr Sisi) is concerned, Israel can continue crushing Hamas'." (US warns Israel on Gaza assault, John Lyons, The Australian, 15/7/14)

On possible Australian foreknowledge, note this:

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday spoke to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the conflict. An Israeli spokesman said Mr Netanyahu told Mr Abbott Israel was attempting to defend its citizens against Hamas, which 'fires missiles indiscriminately against Israeli civilians'." (Hamas fighters reject truce deal, John Lyons, The Australian, 16/7/14)

Finally, note this media release from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:

"The Australian Government strongly condemns the decision of Hamas to reject a ceasefire to hostilities between Israel and the extremist groups in Gaza. Hamas claims to represent Gaza, yet it has jeopardised the welfare of its own people by rejecting the proposal for a ceasefire. The Israeli Government demonstrated its leadership by accepting the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proposal... The Australian Government has listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1373, which deals with the prevention and suppression of terrorist acts." (17/7/14)

You Can't Blame Israel

Did you know that the mounting death toll of Palestinian civilians in Gaza has nothing whatever to do with Israel?

That Israel is not in the least responsible for these deaths?

That Israel would never dream of targeting Palestinian civilians?

Just joking... of course you did!

But, just in case any of you may be harbouring - anti-Semitic? - doubts about the matter, there's always the lovely Judith Rona of Bondi to set you straight.

Just read these two sentences from her letter to the Australian of 16/7/14, and you're a believer:

"Hamas targets... its own civilians by using them as human shields."

"[Palestinian] civilians who choose to shield launch sites are directly participating in the hostilities. Their deaths are... self-inflicted."

So there you go.

You can blame Hamas.

You can blame Palestinian civilians.

But you sure-as-hell can't blame Israel, OK?

[For more Ms Rona, try my 14/6/10 post Who Done It?]

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is it Rocket Science?

Whenever the ms media report on the latest Israeli wilding in Gaza, they always focus on the number of rockets fired by the Palestinian resistance at Israeli targets, and even then can't always agree on it. Here is yesterday's count in the Australia press:

"... militants in Gaza have pounded the south and centre of the country with about 715 rockets since fighting began on July 8, an army spokeswoman said." (Fleeing civilians ignore Hamas edict, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters/AFP/MCT/Sydney Morning Herald, 16/7/14)

"Hamas has fired about 1000 rockets at Israel in the past week..." (Israel accepts ceasefire plan, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times/AFP/ Sydney Morning Herald, 16/7/14)

"While Hamas has fired about 1000 missiles at Israel..." (Hamas fighters reject truce deal, John Lyons, The Australian, 16/7/14)

One thing our Middle East correspondents never do, however, is bother the Israelis for a count of Israeli shells and missiles lobbed into, or fired at, targets in Gaza.

I mean, it can't be rocket science, can it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Slaughtering Them in Gaza, Smearing Them in Sydney

"The country's most acclaimed writer, Amos Oz, tried to sound the alarm before Mohamed's murder. He said even the term price-tag was 'a sweet name for a monster that needs to be called what it is: Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.' 'Our neo-Nazi groups enjoy the support of numerous nationalist or even racist legislators, as well as rabbis who give them what is in my view pseudo-religious justification,' he wrote." (Savagery up-ends Israelis' conviction, John Lyons, The Australian, 12/7/14)

Oz's comments about Israel's burgeoning neo-Nazi movement sprang to mind while I was reading a description of last Sunday's protest in Sydney against Israel's latest round of massacres in Gaza. Masquerading as reportage, it was one of those pieces that typically reveal more about the author than the subject under scrutiny. It may best summed up as a hatchet job - a Zionist hatchet job.

The author, Julie Nathan, is described in a footnote as "the research officer for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry" (ECAJ), leading one to reflect yet again that there is research, and (if I may put it this way to describe the Zionist variety) reZearch.

The title, Antisemitism flying high at Sydney rally, references the many flags flown at the rally. Despite the fact that they were, as you'd expect, overwhelmingly Palestinian, all Nathan can see is "dozens of the black jihadist Shehada flags and Hezbollah flags."  (jwire.com.au, 14/7/14)

In fact, there were at most 3 to 4 black flags in a crowd of thousands, and only the odd Hezbollah flag, generally worn as a cape. The explanation for Nathan's myopia here, of course, lies squarely with her Zionism. After all, didn't the early Zionists famously 'see' Palestine as a land without a people for a people without a land?

"Antisemitism," she writes, "was also flying high. It was open, unashamed and palpable. The images through posters and flags were not just anti-Israel, but antisemitic to its core."

To the extent that one is a Zionist, of course, no such gathering can ever be "just anti-Israel."  In the deluded Zionist mind, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism go hand in hand, and with Israel now being spun as the collective Jew (seriously!), speaking ill of Israel, even as it 'mows the grass' in Gaza, cannot but be anti-Semitic to Israel-firsters such as Nathan.

Now I won't bore you here with commentary on the full range of alleged anti-Semitic nasties descried by her. Since she takes particular exception to the following poster, let it suffice:

"A particularly odious poster was of a Star of David with a swastika embedded within it and the words Holy Cost' playing on the word 'Holocaust'. The implication was a mocking of the Holocaust against the Jews, while accusing the Jews of committing a holocaust against the Palestinians." (Note that when it comes to those children of a lesser God, the Palestinians, they get a lower case 'h'.)

For Zionist zealots like Nathan, there is only one possible interpretation: the individual who created this particular poster was simply an anti-Semite, nothing more, nothing less, no context needed.

The problem for Nathan, however, is that there is a context. Whatever it was prior to the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, the Star of David is now the official symbol of an apartheid state. It's the focal point of that state's flag. It's up there on every one of its war machines. It's flaunted by the Israeli neo-Nazis deplored by Amos Oz. Is it any wonder that the victims of Israeli apartheid should consider it fair game?

Then there's the Holocaust. Legions of Zionist propagandists have been shamelessly playing the Holocaust card as a cover for Israeli war crimes for over 50 years now, many even claiming (falsely) that the ethnocratic 'Jewish' state of Israel was born of the Holocaust. Should it come as any surprise then that one man (among thousands) might be sufficiently fired up at the fact that his people, maybe even his relatives, are being butchered in Gaza to incorporate a reference, even a mocking one, to the Holocaust in his poster?

Only a Zionist, who has spent a lifetime muddying the difference between Jews and Zionists, would have the chutzpah to complain when a non-Jew fails, in her judgment, to differentiate between them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Enduring Failure of MS Media Reportage on Palestine

John Lyons, the Australian's Middle East correspondent, has a lot of credit with me. He is after all the man behind Stone Cold Justice, the recent (2/14) Four Corners expose of Israel's "widespread, systematic and institutionalised" (UNICEF) abuse of Palestinian children.

Anyone, moreover, who manages to piss off the Australian's foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, has my vote. (See my posts Ground Control to Major Greg (5/3/14) & John Lyons Slams Sheridan, AIJAC (9/3/14))

Lyons is hardly infallible, however. He is, after all, an ms media cog.

For example, if we juxtapose this:

"When three Jewish youths forced petrol down the throat of a 16-year-old Arab boy before setting him alight, they could not have imagined the political earthquake they were setting in motion." (Savagery up-ends Israelis' conviction, John Lyons, 12/7/14)

With this:

"This is not to try to portray Hamas as any peace-loving entity - in my view its members are Neanderthals on a good day and terrorists on a bad one." (Conflict heats up with credible peace broker missing in action, John Lyons, 14/7/14)

We can see why so many consumers of the ms media are no better informed on this issue than they were ten or twenty or thirty years ago.

All of which goes to show that, no matter how good the quality of a ms Middle East correspondent's on-the-spot reportage, when it comes to an understanding of the underlying coloniser/colonised, oppressor/oppressed, hammer/anvil dynamic underlying the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, he invariably just doesn't get it or cannot, if he values his job, go there.

I mean, viewing a Palestinian resistance movement, which would never have emerged but for the prior existence of massive and unrelenting Israeli violence directed against the Palestinian people, in a worse light than the violence spawned by the Israeli apartheid regime (and merely encapsulated in the torching of young Mohammed Abu Khadeir and the mounting death toll in Gaza), is to completely misrepresent this fundamentally (because settler-colonial in origin) asymmetrical and unequal conflict.

Unfortunately, this is the message you'll never get from the ms media: the roots of Israeli/Palestinian violence date back to the imposition of an alien, European, colonising movement on a naturally unwilling and resistant native people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 2

Hamas rocket cache & gathering point for militants: mosque

They Hardly Felt a Thing

NSW Community Relations Commissioner-cum-Israel lobbyist, Vic Alhadeff "accused Hamas of 'war crimes' for 'indiscriminately' attacking civilians, claiming in contrast, Israel uses 'care to avoid civilian casualties' and 'pinpoint technologies to hit the targeted infrastructure'." (Jewish leader Vic Alhadeff slammed over Hamas 'war crimes' remark, Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/7/14)

Pinpoint technologies to hit targeted infrastructure?

Wow, these high-tech, state-of-the-art Israeli surgical procedures are so precise, so minimally invasive, the patient hardly feels a thing. For example:

"Who knows who lived in the two first-floor apartments above a home for eight disabled adults in a neighbourhood of east Gaza? Perhaps, as a neighbour suggests, one was a militant with Islamic Jihad who lived there with his family. But the neighbour says he is not sure. What is certain is that the occupant was absent early on Saturday when two Israeli drones 'knocked on his roof' - firing warning shots to encourage civilians to vacate the building prior to a strike. A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane fired a missile into the house. But it did not detonate on the first floor. Instead, it smashed through to the ground floor, where the explosion ripped through the room where 5 of the disabled people were sleeping, killing two and injuring the others.

"A neighbour found one of the dead after he noticed flies buzzing around where she was buried. 'A body! A body!' the man shouted. Gingerly he lifted the piece of concrete concealing a curly head of hair, face down in the debris. Atef Abed, a supervisor with the private charity that runs the home, recognised Suha Abu Saada, 47, as her body was dug out of the rubble, one of her legs was missing. As small as a child, she had been thrown out of the room where she was sleeping by the blast and buried beneath a concrete wall. 'That's Suha,' Abed said as the body was carried past on a mattress covered in a blanket. 'Ola Wishaa was 30. She was killed as well. And Ahmad was injured along with Mai and Sali. Luckily two of the other residents were away visiting their families.'

"It seemed a miracle that anyone could have survived a missile that exploded in the very centre of a room where a fin and part of its guidance system remained embedded in the concrete. A scorched bed stood to one side, damaged by the blast which blew out the walls and left palm trees in the garden as truncated stumps standing amid the rubble. 'The bomb came straight through the roof,' said Mohammad Bahri, 22, who lives next door. 'About 4.30am two drones fired warning shots and then the jet came in and bombed.

"'The residents were barely mobile, said neighbours, spending their time in bed or in wheelchairs, and could not escape. Imad Abu Shedek denied there had been Palestinian missile fire nearby. 'There was no resistance here. The guy upstairs, I heard he was maybe affiliated with Islamic Jihad, but he wasn't there. The first I knew was when I heard the air strike and got here and saw the bodies.' An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was looking into why the centre was targeted." (Disabled Palestinians unable to escape Israeli air strike, Peter Beaumont, theguardian.com, 12/7/14)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Worse-Than-Apartheid State

"What we went through, over 300 years of colonial oppression in South Africa, is like a Sunday school picnic compared to what the Palestinian people are going through every day in their own land."  Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions), 11/7/14

Baruch O'Farrell's Poisoned Chalice

Remember Baruch (Jerusalem Prize) O'Farrell, the former premier of NSW who just couldn't for the life of him recall receiving a $3,000 bottle of grange hermitage on his birthday from a developer?

Well, still on the subject of gifts with heady brews attached, it seems Baruch's left his successor the proverbial poisoned chalice, a Community Relations Commissioner who doubles as an Israel lobbyist! Read on:

"Premier Mike Baird has publicly reprimanded the chair of the NSW Community Relations Commissioner, Vic Alhadeff, over 'inappropriate' remarks that accuse Palestine of war crimes and appear to gloss over Israeli violence. But critics say the rebuke to Mr Alhadeff, who is also chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, does not go far enough and say he should be removed from the government-appointed position.

"The dispute has laid bare the deep fissures between Sydney's Arabic and Jewish communities, and raises questions over Mr Alhadeff's dual roles, which require him to support the Jewish [sic: Zionist] cause and promote community unity... In an email to members of the Jewish community this week, Mr Alhadeff condemned acts by Palestinian militant Islamist [sic: Islamic resistance] group Hamas during conflict ignited by the murders of 3 Israeli students last month. The incidents [sic] triggered a suspected reprisal killing of a Palestinian teenager, followed by riots in East Jerusalem and the exchange of rockets between Israel and Gaza.

"Mr Alhadeff's email, titled Israel Under Fire, criticised the 'Hamas terror organisation' for launching rockets on Israeli towns, saying families had been forced into shelters and 'children kept from summer camp'. Israel would 'do whatever is needed to defend its citizens. All options are on the table', he said. He accused Hamas of 'war crimes' for 'indiscriminately' attacking civilians, claiming in contrast, Israel uses 'care to avoid civilian casualties' and 'pinpoint technologies to hit the targeted infrastructure'.

"The statement triggered outrage amongst Arab leaders in NSW, including Joseph Wakim, former Victorian Multicultural Affairs Commissioner and founder of the Australian Arabic Council, who described the views as 'biased and provocative'. He said Mr Alhadeff ignored the attack on the Palestinian teenager and failed to mention 'air and sea strikes that have already killed 35 Palestinian civilians'. 'He has very clearly taken one side and said, 'here are the goodies and here are the baddies', Mr Wakim said. 'Do such statements build bridges and community relations, or wedge a wall between us and them?' Mr Wakim said Mr Alhadeff's appointment to the Community Relations Commission in December last year 'should never have happened' because it created a serious conflict of interest. He called on Mr Alhadeff to relinquish one role." (Jewish leader Vic Alhadeff slammed over Hamas 'war crimes' remark, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/7/14)

One role? Good one, Mr Wakim!

Click on my Vic Alhadeff label below for details of the rise and rise of Mr Alhadeff. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

MERC's Dictionary of Ziospeak 1

command & control centre (see also terrorist infrastructure): Palestinian home

Sderot Cinema

The audience:

"Sderot cinema. Israelis bringing chairs to hilltop in Sderot 2 watch latest from Gaza. Clapping when blasts are heard." (July 9 tweet from Danish ME correspondent Allan Sorensen)

What they're watching:

"It is the fourth day of Israel's intensive bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, many of them children. More than 670 are injured. Families here have settled into a tense wartime regime, a daily routine hard-learned from Israel's previous military campaigns of 2008-09 and 2012. Unlike Israel, there are no bomb shelters in Gaza. There are no sirens to warn of incoming missiles and no Iron Dome to shoot them down. The only warning, and one provided only intermittently, is that from those dropping the bombs - supplied by phone, text or a warning shot to the roof. Under the ever-present hum of circling drones, squeal of jets, bomb-blasts and the thud of naval gunfire from the sea, most women and children are stuck indoors, often in buildings without electricity. These families have been caught in a tragic catch-22. Afraid to leave their homes when the Israeli warplanes do drop their bombs on Gaza's neighbourhoods, it is the women and children sheltering in the buildings where they instinctively feel safest who are dying." (Ramadan in Gaza: life under missile-fire, Peter Beaumont, theguardian.com, 12/7/14)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zionist Loonies

OMG, how did this bloke get into The Australian?

"The University of Western Sydney's Michael Kennedy, a former police detective researching the force's deradicalization strategy, said he believed the Twitter accounts [of jihadist battlefront executioners Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar] should not be ignored... He said 'fundamentalists' all over the world rarely hide their beliefs. 'The people who are radicalised, they've never made any secret of it. They've always been in your face and up-front,' he said. 'Whether you look at the Zionist movement in Israel, within the Christians - especially in the US or in the Balkans, or if you look at Muslims, there's always been that fundamentalist approach. The fundamentalists have always been part of a loony group of people. They're zealots'." (Warning on jihadist Twitter war, Mark Scliebs, The Australian, 8/7/14)

Has Christine Milne Been Rambammed?

"Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne has argued in Parliament that retaining Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is essential to curb the activities of Holocaust deniers such as Fredrick Toben... In the Senate last week, Milne said... 'I have stood at the Dachau concentration camp. I have been to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem'... Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Robert Goot said Milne's speech 'movingly articulated the importance of section 18C of the RDA'. He added that her trips to Yad Vashem and Dachau 'demonstrate her desire to understand the darkest chapter in human history'." (Toben 'deeply invested' in repeal of 18C: Milne, The Australian Jewish News, 27/6/14)

Spinning the War

The spin:

"The IDF says it had hit 'dozens of terror sites* across the Gaza Strip, including concealed rocket launchers, launching infrastructures, a weapon storage facility, training bases, terror tunnels' shafts and further targets'." (Israel rallies ground force as rockets target cities, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/7/14)

The reality:

"But the picture coming out of Gaza told another story - that of civilians, including at least 8 children according to Defence of Children International, dying along with the militants." (ibid)

[*Terror site: "About a dozen local Palestinians gathered at the Fun Time Beach cafe, a beachside eatery of plastic chairs, umbrellas, and palm leaves, to watch the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. What they were not watching for was the missile, apparently targeting what Israel's military later described as a single terrorist. The blast destroyed the cafe and killed at least eight people." (Gaza crisis: deadly missile at beachside cafe hits World Cup fans, Fares Akram, New York Times/The Age, 11/7/14)]

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jake Lynch Update 11: VICTORY

A message from Jake:

"My lawyer and the lawyer for Shurat HaDin have agreed that the proceeding by Shurat HaDin be dismissed for lack of standing. And they have agreed for the court to make orders that Shurat HaDin pay my costs of the application for dismissal of the case, and my costs of the proceedings that are not otherwise subject to earlier cost orders.

"Judge Alan Robertson will make the orders in the Federal Court in Sydney, on Wednesday July 16th at 9.30am.

"This comprehensive legal victory represents complete vindication for the principled stance I have taken in fighting off a despicable attack on political freedom in Australia.

"It gives the green light for many more Australians to take their own action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for rights and freedoms we are lucky enough to be able to take for granted.

"Shurat HaDin is a foreign agency, with admitted past links with the Israeli state, which wanted to use the Australian courts to stifle the growing movement of worldwide political activism for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions.

"The case began with the smear that BDS advocates are motivated by racism. That was accepted by many of Australia's leading politicians, to their discredit, when they signed up to the so-called 'London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism'.*

"But the attempt to make it stick in court proved a bridge too far. Legal process requires evidence, and logical argument. Once exposed to that test, a claim that passed muster in the corridors of Canberra immediately began to crumble.

"I have faced claims that I should be held responsible for decisions by performing artists, such as Elvis Costello and Snoop Dogg, not to tour Israel. There was never a shred of proof to back up any of these allegations.

"On the narrower issue of the request that I received from Professor Dan Avnon to endorse his application for a Sir Zelman Cowan fellowship, Shurat HaDin managed to persuade neither Avnon himself, nor any other academic, to join their ill-conceived action.

"This week's renewed wave of indiscriminate Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians shows the urgency of taking political action to promote peace with justice. Israel will not change its routine recourse to militarism and lawlessness without coming under pressure.

"The disavowal by the Australian government of the international legal consensus on the occupation of Palestinian territory shows this pressure must come from civil society. That is the rationale for BDS, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity.

"This legal victory for me, and thousands of supporters who have stood by me and contributed to my cause, represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Someone has to make a change. If not us, who? If not now, when?

"The case has given rise to the creation of two important groups to take up this cause: Australians for BDS: http://australiansforbds.wordpress.com/ And within the University of Sydney, Sydney Staff for BDS: http://sydneystaff4bds.org/

A message (LOL) from the head of Shurat HaDin, Nitsana Darshan-Litigator in yesterday's Australian:

"Professor Lynch was taking 'a cowardly approach' by 'trying to get the case dismissed on a technicality' rather than run 'a fair and public trial on the merits. He is running away from the fight like the Arabs ran from the battlefield in the Six-Day War'." ('No plaintiffs left' in case against Lynch, Ean Higgins, 9/7/14)

And, lest we forget Shurat HaDin accessory, Andrew Akiva Hamilton:

"A solicitor for Shurat HaDin, Andrew Hamilton, did not respond to requests for comment." (Israeli legal centre abandons lawsuit against Sydney academic, Michael Safi, theguardian.com, 10/7/14)

Roll on BDS!

[*See my 17/5/13 post The Tel Aviv Declaration on Combating Criticism of Israel.]

Bulls in Rut

"The generals were in their forties, family men, but they clung to the Israeli culture of youth; they were like adolescent boys or bulls in rut. They believed in force and they wanted war. War was their destiny. Almost 20 years had passed since the army had won glory in the War of Independence, and 10 years since the victory in the Sinai. They had a limited range of vision and they believed that war was what Israel needed at the moment, not necessarily because they felt the country's existence was in danger, as they wailed in an almost 'Diaspora' tone, but because they believed it was an opportunity to break the Egyptian army." (1967: Israel, the War & the Year that Transformed the Middle East, 2007, p 296)

That's how Israeli historian Tom Segev describes the uniformed Israeli thugs who launched the fateful war of June 1967 which led to East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai coming under Israeli occupation.

Their counterparts today, of course, have no problem whatever with the Egyptian army. In fact, it now does police duty for Israel in the Sinai.

No, their target of opportunity today is Hamas (and its unity deal with Fatah).

Today's Israeli bulls in rut will, of course, be wailing (through their PR mouthpieces) about Hamas rockets, but don't be fooled, that's just the pretext. It's Palestinian blood they're really after, and they're pawing the (stolen Palestinian) earth beneath their feet, slavering in anticipation of spilling it deep inside the besieged and impoverished Gaza Ghetto.

The current aerial assault is just the beginning of 'Operation Protective Edge', as this particular wilding has been risibly called, and follows on from the charade of its predecessor, 'Operation Brother's Keeper', in which the Palestinian population of the occupied West Bank was turned upside down (6 Palestinians killed/hundreds arrested) for weeks in a 'search' for 3 kidnapped Israeli settler youth whom Israeli authorities knew all along had been murdered and by whom. This massive exercise in collective punishment (including some preliminary 'softening up' in Gaza) was, of course, accompanied by an equally massive 'Bring back our boys!' propaganda campaign designed to whip up international sympathy and pave the way for the genocidal ground attack to come. (See Who started 'the cycle of violence' in Palestine? Justin Raimondo, antiwar.com, 8/7/14)

Already the war crimes are evident:

"Israeli forces killed six children when a missile struck the home of alleged Hamas activist Odeh Ahmad Kaware in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, Defence of Children International reported. The five families living in the building evacuated after an Israeli aerial drone fired a warning missile, however a number of neighbours gathered on the roof in an effort to prevent the bombing. Despite their presence an Israeli air strike levelled the building, killing seven people including six children and injuring 28 others." (25 killed as Israel prepares for ground assault, Ruth Pollard, The Age, 9/7/14)

So much for all the claptrap that's spoken about passive, nonviolent resistance in the face of Israeli aggression. It's like a red rag to a bull (that simile again!) as far as the Israelis are concerned. I'm reminded here of an earlier confrontation, during the first Intifada (1987-93) when Israeli troops still garrisoned Gaza:

"In Shifa Hospital... there had been pandemonium the day of the accident, December 9, 1987, when it was thought the truck driver meant to kill the Palestinians.* IDF troops stormed the hospital, as if it were a citadel and the day was theirs. Shifa was crowded with the injured, their families, friends and neighbors. [Dr Ahmed Yasgi] could only use his eyes to summon the horror he wanted so much to describe. 'The army was beating patients in front of the doctors and assaulting the medical teams. I saw a patient being knocked down and said: 'Oh, stop - stop.' The soldiers punched me on the shoulder in front of two little girls. Ten times we were trying to protect the staff but the army didn't respect anyone. And a man was killed inside the hospital on December fifteenth. Yes, Ibrahim Al-Sakhla. He came with his wife who was one month pregnant.' He thought that 50 to 100 soldiers were inside the hospital that day, on a sweep for suspects, or anyone whose face annoyed them. The sight of rampaging soldiers enraged one Gazan man with his wife, pushed him into a moment of white fury, so that he made a reckless last stand. The man opened his shirt and faced a soldier less than 32 feet away, as if the two of them were alone on a stage, and it was he who must speak first. 'If you want to kill anyone then kill me!' the Palestinian shouted. Fifteen people were watching. The soldier knew how to answer and fired. Ibrahim Sakhla lurched into the arms of Dr Yasgi, needing to speak. He said something about his wife and began his death." (Gaza: A Year in the Intifada: A Personal Account from an Occupied Land, Gloria Emerson,  1991, pp 195-96)

[*The first Intifada was triggered in Gaza when an Israeli army truck struck a car killing 4 Palestinians.]

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Down, Down to the Ground

We Come to Tear Your Wall Down

You have built a wall
So beautiful & tall
A monument to your vanity
And expensive insanity

With dynamite and some hammers
We will destroy your madness
And when we see your sadness
We will be filled with gladness

We come to tear your wall down
We come to tear your wall down
We come to tear your wall down
Down, down to the ground
Down, down to the ground

It has been no creation
A new kind of segregation
Fencing off the population
50 degrees of separation

But nature will not have it
The people who live in those houses
Can't flaunt their pretty tokens
Without some windows broken

We come to tear your wall down
We come to tear your wall down
We come to tear your wall down
Down, down to the ground
Down, down to the ground
(Transglobal Underground)

Herewith an open letter to the Australian Government by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) and the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN):

"This July marks 10 years since the International Court of Justice (the Court) handed down its Advisory Opinion on the legality of the wall constructed by Israel in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Ultimately, the court determined that Israel's construction of the wall was illegal, not because it was not entitled to build a wall for security or any other reason, but because 85% of the wall was being built on the Palestinian side of the Green Line - the armistice line agreed upon in 1948. In reaching its opinion, the Court articulated a number of basic legal principles that appear to have been forgotten by the present Government. Chief among these principles is that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in full; both East Jerusalem and the West Bank are 'occupied' by Israel; and all Israeli settlements in occupied territory are illegal.

"In reaching these conclusions, the Court referred to a number of legally binding Security Council resolutions, including 237 (1967), 271 (1969), 446 (1979), 681 (1990), 799 (1992) and 904 (1994). In spite of binding authority, Australia's current Foreign minister is reported to have said on a visit to Israel in January that she 'would like to see which international law has declared them [the settlements] illegal' and the Attorney General recently announced that East Jerusalem would no longer be referred to as 'occupied territory' by the Government.

"This apparent lack of understanding of the law by a serving Foreign Minister and Attorney General should be a matter of concern for all Australians as it has ramifications beyond the conflict in the Middle East. Not only do the Geneva Conventions regulate how civilians should be treated during military occupations and declare all settlement activity in occupied territory illegal (Geneva IV), but they also regulate how wounded servicemen and women should be treated (Geneva I & II), and regulate the treatment of prisoners of war (Geneva III). Once we start cherry-picking which obligations we will follow, and who has to follow them, can we really complain if in some future conflict we are denied the protection that these Conventions were intended to provide? For a legal system to work effectively, domestic or international, rights and obligations must be upheld by all, without fear or favour.

"This year marks another anniversary. It is exactly 100 years since the start of World War I. This is relevant because out of the ashes of two World Wars the four Geneva Conventions were born. They are an attempt to prevent one of the worst atrocities that claimed the lives of 80 million from ever occurring again. We, the undersigned, cannot think of a more futile waste of human life than if this generation of Australian leaders turn their backs on the legal obligations the post-war generation undertook. As another peace process collapses it is time to remind our leaders that for there to be peace with justice in the Middle East, negotiations must only take place within a legal framework. Accordingly, we call upon the Australian Government to clearly state and re-affirm our full commitment to upholding the international legal order, including all Security Council resolutions and, in the words of common Article I of the Geneva Conventions, 'to respect and to ensure respect for the present Conventions in all circumstances' both in the State of Palestine and beyond.

"We, the undersigned, urge the Australian Government to uphold a fundamental principle of international law - that the annexation of land by force is always forbidden, regardless of the circumstances.

"Australia must be part of the solution, not the problem."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Settler Haters Hate

One of the most common and tiresome of expressions tossed around by Israel firsters is hate speech. In practice, the term is usually aimed at anyone who dares to speak out against Israeli criminality. Presumably, for these tossers, only critics of Israel indulge in hate speech. Not so.

If it's the real thing you want, try beating the following vile rant by Netanyahu speechwriter, Dror Eydar, published in the Sheldon Adelson-owned Israeli tabloid, Israel HaYom (Israel Today).  It is, if you will, the textual counterpart of those flag-draped Israeli mobs currently roaming the streets of Jerusalem looking for Palestinians to do over.

Where did I find this gem? Tellingly, in this week's Australian Jewish News!

To spare you the full technicolour yawn, I've settled for extracts of same, interspersed with my own comments:

"What has the death culture that surrounds us sought to sell in the past 100 years? Look around: there are no Jews in Iraq and no 'territories' in Syria, and nevertheless the angels of death gleefully slaughter each other. No science and no industry and no inventions that will benefit humanity. Just death..." (Seeing our enemies for what they are, 4/7/14)

And why are there no Jews in Iraq? Because Israel, having rendered 78% of Palestine Arabrein in 1948, had homes and land to spare. The solution? Uproot Arab Jewish communities wherever possible. (Just click on the Arab Jews label below for details.)

As for "no 'territories'" in Syria, Eydar seems to have forgotten all about the Israeli-occupied SYRIAN Golan Heights.

"If we don't realise that the executioners who pack the condemned into cattle trucks and lay them by the dozens or hundreds in ditches and put them to death amid devilish ululations, and if we don't get that this bunch is operating on our borders, and that its successes encourage our own local death culture, we will have to pay heavier prices in the future."

Notice how Eydar has no compunction whatever in smearing the brutalised victims of Israel's occupation as cut from the very same cloth as takfiri executioners?

"We must employ full force against the emissaries of the death culture, those who aid them, their military and civilian infrastructure, their sources of funding, their families, their clans, and anyone who knows something but just nods his head and keeps quiet."

Gee, has anyone been left out? Every Palestinian man, woman and child is guilty in the eyes of this hate-monger.

"Instead of trying to understand..."

Who needs a brain?

"... we should look at it as a natural phenomenon. No-one negotiates with cancer cells - we fight to dig them out at the root. If new ones appear? We'll fight again. And if, heaven forbid, again? We'll fight again. That's our fate. In the past 150 years we have learned to grasp a scythe with one hand and a sword with the other."

"Cancer cells"? The chutzpah of it all:

Eydar's East European Jewish caliphate fanatics, under the patronage and protection of His Britanic Majesty's government, invade and colonise the poor, war-torn, non-European land of Palestine (1917-48).

By 1948, having reached critical mass and muscle, they send most of the natives packing.

Then, resting only long enough to digest their homes and lands, and beat their scythes into swords (1948-67), they snap up the rest of the natives' patrimony in 1967, sending yet more of them packing in the process.

Those who remained came under occupation, while bit by bit being relieved of their land, which was colonised by messianic American Jewish caliphate fanatics, who - immune to such subtleties as the phenomenon of psychological projection - took to referring to the natives as, among other things, "cancer cells."

"Aah, the accusers said, they're settlers, so it's understandable... but that's just it - we're all settlers. Not just in the hills of Samaria and Judea, but also in Tel Aviv. In the eyes of our neighbors and some parts of the world we are all people who stole a land that wasn't theirs."

You said it, Dror.

"This blood libel is spread every day by anti-Semites and haters of Israel, as well as by useful idiots among us."

Hm... So anything other than the official, albeit false, Zionist narrative is now a "blood libel."

Hey, here's an idea: maybe dissenters from the party line could be charged with the crime of  ZND.

ZND? Zionist narrative denial!

But wait, I'm sure the legislation is already in the pipeline.

"But this is the truth: We are settlers because we returned to settle our forefathers' inherited land. It's simple. This country was a wasteland that waited for its rightful descendants for 2000 years, like a mother keeping her milk for her true children, like a woman waiting endlessly for her lover who disappeared."

Oh, FFS, spare us!