For the 'insights' of Terri Butler, Labor MP for Griffith (QLD), we can dispense with the Australian Jewish News report quoted in the previous post and go directly to terributlermp.com for the full text of her report-back speech to her AIJAC handlers. (Speech to Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, 1/10/15)
Butler's not quite as agog as Bird but it's abundantly clear from her speech that she hasn't got a clue about this issue. Here's how she begins:
"I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet."
That anyone can utter the above words and participate in a propaganda tour to an apartheid state that not only denies the existence of its traditional owners, but ruthlessly applies itself to keeping them down (Palestinian Israelis, occupied Palestinians) or out (Palestinian refugees), is either the height of cynicism or, as I suspect, ignorance.
"Military service, and no doubt the feeling of a need to work together to defend against internal and external threats, gives rise to an enduring esprit de corps for young Israelis."
Does Butler know what fascism is? Can she not see that the above line could've been used to describe the Italian army under Mussolini or the German army under Hitler? Is she that ignorant?
Is she not aware that military service for Israelis involves little more than shoring up a near 50-year illegal OCCUPATION (a word which never passes her lips) - characterised by bloody murder, blatant land theft and rampant colonisation? Or, in the case of Gaza, 'mowing the grass', that cute Israeli euphemism for genocide?
In 37 years on this planet, with a university degree under her belt, can she still be as ignorant of the underlying colonial dynamic that underpins this international running sore as she was at birth?
"Mark Regev told us that Jerusalem to the Golan Heights was like the distance from Melbourne to Geelong."
Mark Regev, FFS. Well, to quote Mandy Rice-Davies, he would say that, wouldn't he? And while we're at it that's the OCCUPIED Golan Heights, OK?
"... when we went to the hospital in the north..."
That's right, the one where Israel patches up al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists for yet more murder and mayhem in Syria! (See my 3/7/15 post Those Rebels, That Hospital, Our Ambassador & His Wife.)
"The sentiment from government, Knesset members and academics with whom we spoke was that if sanctions had continued, the Iranian people would have demanded that the nuclear program cease in order to have those sanctions lifted."
What a flogging surprise! The Middle East's only nuclear-armed state wants the US, EU, Australia etc to turn the screw ever tighter on the Iranian people to force them into putting pressure on their leaders to drop, wait for it - a nuclear program. But can Butler see the manifest hypocrisy of this? Rhetorical question.
"This is a preference for the bird in the bush over the bird in the hand. One might think reasonable minds could differ, but all those with whom we spoke were firm in their views and unwilling to acknowledge the merit of alternative views."
Another surprise! Israeli officials are one-eyed! What penetrating insight is this? Who could possibly have guessed?
"We visited the settlement in the West Bank. Our host told us he lived there because it was a good place to raise children. I found that frankly unbelievable. He later told us that his children went to school with no Palestinian children. This segregation seems at odds with the already counter-intuitive statement that a settlement in the West Bank is a good place to raise children. It seems more likely that the settlements are tactical given they are, at least ostensibly, a major impediment to, or bargaining chip in, peace negotiations."
The settlement? You mean there's only one?
The settler told Butler his kids' school didn't have Palestinian students? What the hell does she think Israel is running in the OCCUPIED West Bank, a multicultural, inclusive, love-in? What a stellar insight: colonisers don't send their kids to the same schools as the kids of the colonised!
Then there's this deathless doozie: the settlements are "tactical"!
Really? Since when has a coloniser ever erected a structure for merely tactical reasons?
Hello, colonies are, like, forever... if the bastards can get away with it.
And get away with it they do, with Western politicians such as Butler and her mates, who wouldn't recognise the bleeding obvious if it hit them in the face.
Tomorrow: 'Insights' from Israel by Russell Matheson MP.