Bob Carr: I think political donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel.
Yet another rambamming of LibLabs took place last month, courtesy of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council's (AIJAC) Rambam Israel Fellowship Program. Those who just couldn't resist this time were: Mal Brough (Lib MP for Fisher), Andrew Leigh (shadow assistant treasurer), Dean Smith (WA Lib senator), Bridget McKenzie (Vic Nat senator), Joanne Ryan (Lab MP for Lalor) and Sean Edwards (SA Lib senator).
For those of you who wish to know:
a) whether the Australian taxpayer and/or AIJAC is/are really getting his/her/its money's worth;
b) the heretofore unrevealed fact that some of our pollies are managing to exercise a degree of self control when the AIJAC operatives come knocking; and
c) some of the hilarious utterances of those under the influence
... read on:
Mal Brough was apparently so overcome by his trip ("illuminating and sobering") that he felt compelled to address federal parliament on the subject. In fact, to my knowledge this is the first time a rambammed pollie has held forth on the subject of his rambamming in parliament:
"For the Prime Minister... of Israel, the reality is that you have literally 15 seconds between receiving a warning and missiles landing in Beersheba, a place known so well to many Australians." (Mal Brough's visit to Israel, jwire.com.au, 28/5/15)
This carefully-crafted sound-bite, so familiar to all of the other rambammed slumbering in the chamber at the time, was obviously still in the 'gee whiz' category for Mal. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to occur to him to enquire, in the manner of the late, great Julius Sumner Miller, Why is it so?
"I defy anyone to come up with a comment by an Israeli official that they wish to obliterate the Arab world, that they wish to destroy the Palestinian people, that they wish to attack Iran, that they wish to take out those forces in Lebanon just for the sake of it... Those words do not exist... But sadly, there are Persians and Arabs who actually believe that no Israeli, no Jew, has the right to be in the nation of Israel." (ibid)
(Mal, of course, is not in the least concerned with the 1 million Palestinians who were actually wiped off the map of Palestine when it was re-branded 'Israel' in 1948, or with those Zionist ultras who are, even as we speak, sharpening their knives in preparation for the mass ethnic cleansing of Palestine's remnant Arab population still to come...)
Those words do not exist? Oh, really? Let's see:
Here's Israel's genocidal Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, on the Palestinian people last year:
"The Palestinian people is the enemy... its women, its cities, its villages, its property and infrastructure... Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women... they are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads..." (See my 3/6/15 post Meet Israel's Charming New Justice Minister)
Here's Israel's Defence Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, last month on Iran:
"I remember the story of President Truman who was asked, How did you feel after deciding to launch the nuclear bombs, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing... 200,000 casualties? And he said, When I heard from my officers that the alternative was a long war with Japan... I thought it was a moral decision... That's what I'm talking about. Certain steps in cases in which we feel we don't have the answer by surgical operations, or something like that."
Here's Israel's Transport Minister, Yisrael Katz last year on Lebanon:
"If such a scenario does materialize, we will raze Lebanon to the ground. We will return it to the Stone Age."
Here's Israel's Deputy Defence Minister, Matan Vilnai, in 2008 on Gaza:
"The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger Shoah."
Here's Israel's Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit in 2008 on Gaza:
"Any other country would have gone in and leveled the area, which is exactly what I think the IDF should do."
In fact, Mal was so inspired by his rambamming that he actually admonished his fellow MPs:
"I think it behoves those who have declined the opportunity to travel to Israel and learn about it to now do so and open their minds in relation to some attitudes which they hold dear which they may find confronting when they are confronted by the facts."
Thanks to Mal we now know that which we knew not before, namely that there are still some curmudgeons in federal parliament declining the Israel lobby's invitation to be 'illuminated and sobered'.
As for the other rambammed, this was about as good as it got:
"One of the best running tracks I've ever enjoyed - a 5k stretch of train track in Jerusalem that's been boarded over." (Tweet 3/5/15)
"This morning I visited the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, later today I head to Bethlehem as part of the AIJAC delegation." (Tweet, 3/5/15)
"Today in Israel I am travelling to Ramallah to meet Palestinian representatives, then to the Knesset before arriving in Tel Aviv." (Tweet, 4/5/15)
"In Tel Aviv today, soon to meet IDF at Gaza Erez, then to the Park of the Australian Soldier at Be'er Sheva." (Tweet, 5/5/15)
"This morning I am flying from Tel Aviv to the border with Lebanon, then to the northern Israeli town of Safed." (Tweet, 6/5/15)
Bridget McKenzie: Not even a tweet!
Joanne Ryan: Ditto!
AIJAC had more luck in Sean Edwards, who retweeted:
"?@AIJAC Update Jun 3 @MalBrough MP & Sen @SeanC Edwards recently joined AIJAC in Sydney to report on their Ramban [sic] study visit to #Israel"
(So only Brough and Edwards fronted the AIJAC report-back. Is AIJAC getting enough bang from its propaganda buck here? The silence from Leigh, McKenzie and Ryan must have been DEAFENING for them.)
Like Mal, Sean too felt compelled to share his 'insights', albeit in the Spectator magazine of June 6, under the heading Australian diary. Some highlights:
"There would be few vocations bearing less fruit than that of official Israeli government negotiator. Another Australian, whose name I won't impart, he speaks about negotiating in a region where a 'win-win' outcome has an altogether different meaning than yours and mine. You see, in the Middle East 'win-win' means 'I win twice'. His pragmatism is evident when he concedes parts of Jerusalem might need to be turned over to international custody, but the problem the negotiator and his countrymen face and that no level of pragmatism will negate is that no Palestinian leader wants to be remembered as the guy who struck peace with the Jews."
OK, so now you know why there's no peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it's the latter's fault! Anti-Semitic bastards!
"Ramallah. A leader of the Palestinian opposition, Mustafa Barghouti, meets us here. 650,000 illegal settlers and 625 military checkpoints dotted along the wall, he says."
How boring these facts when compared with those snappy Israeli talking points and sound bites! Anyway, when it came to Israeli settlements, Sean had already been immunised:
"The Gush Etzion settlement shares one thing in common with all of the other settlements. 'There's a reason they're all on the high ground,' offers a former military officer... Controversial they are but the Israelis haven't added a single new one in more than a decade and they would surrender many of them under a negotiated peace plan."
(Predictably, Sean hadn't heard of Netanyahu's pre-election promise not to evacuate any settlements.)
Barghouti may as well have been talking to... the Apartheid Wall. Just why he, and others like him, allow themselves to be used in these propaganda exercises is one of life's little mysteries. Certainly, Sean's contempt for Barghouti is evident: "Old men, old prejudices, old parties. Depressing."
"I join Dave Sharma and his family in Tel Aviv for drinks and seek his counsel on many of the things I've heard from generally partisan sources. He's Australia's youngest ever ambassador and an excellent sounding board."
Partisan sources? Sean couldn't possibly mean the Israelis now, could he? Anyway, I'm sure that
"Next day, at Ziv Hospital in Israel's north, another Australian; a pediatrician spending his days fixing Syrians from the civil war [?!]. An investment in hearts and minds that will pay off when his patients stop to consider, despite the fashionable hatred for the Jews, who helped them when they needed it."
Ah, good old Ziv Hospital! Could Sean have consulted Dave re those vicious rumours that Ziv is the propaganda facade behind which Israel is aiding and abetting the salafi/takfiri aggression against Bashar al-Asad? (See my 12/12/14 post, A Side of Israel the World Too Rarely Acknowledges.)
Now how's this for an admission:
"In a sense the tour didn't teach me anything I didn't already know: after two thousand years in limbo, these people now have their land and will give it up for no one."
WTF! Don't tell me that this bloke's been imbibing Zionist Kool-Aid along with his Clare Valley Shiraz for yonks, and really only went along for the ride! Seriously now, AIJAC...