Sunday, May 31, 2015

Richard Di Natale: Wet Behind the Ears

"Stop saying that nobody knew how to cultivate oranges in Jaffa until the Jews showed them how. 'Making the desert bloom' makes desert dwellers out of people who were the agricultural superiors of the Crusaders." (Christopher Hitchens)

Thus blurted Richard Di Natale:

"Israelis are at the forefront of innovative technologies around [water saving]. Why wouldn't we be learning from some of the new technologies that the Israelis have developed?" (Di Natale in his own words, The Australian Jewish News, 22/5/15)

Although he's obviously unaware of it, the Greens leader here is mouthing the latest twist on one of the oldest Zionist talking points in the book, the one about Israel 'making the desert bloom'.

Before he spouts any more nonsense of this kind, could some Green or other out there please draw his attention to the following INCREDIBLY INTERESTING piece? Thanks in advance:

"The New York Times invites us to gaze with wonder on the miracles of Israeli technology today, with a page 1 photo and story touting the innovations that have saved the country from drought. Because of wise policies and applied science, we learn, 'there is plenty of water in Israel.'

"The Times never tells us, however, that a significant number of those who reside on the land are seriously deprived of water: Palestinians in some areas of the West Bank are forced to survive on only 20 liters of water a day per person, well below the World Health Organization minimum of 60 liters. In Gaza 90% of the water is unfit to drink.

"Meanwhile, Israelis in West Bank settlements 'generally have access to as much running water as they please,' according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, and Israelis over all use three times as much water as Palestinians. Settlers also confiscate West Bank springs, and Israeli security forces destroy water equipment in Palestinian villages and prevent their residents from building cisterns and wells... Israel steals the water from under the feet of Palestinians, draining West Bank aquifers, allocating 73% of this water to Israel and another 10% to settlers. Palestinians are left with 17%, and many are forced to buy from the Israeli water company at rates up to 3 times as high as the tariffs charged Israelis." (From NY Times applauds while Israel robs Palestine of water, timeswarp.com, 30/5/15)

Related posts: Sir Bob Wows JNFaithful at Galah Dinner (25/11/08); Zionism 101: Making the Desert Bloom (2/11/10); Making Deserts Bloom 1 (5/11/11); The Blooming Desert (24/4/12).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Richard Di Natale: The Fool Who Rushed In

You can read the full story, New Greens boss Richard Di Natale forced to clarify Israel stance (Max Chalmers, 28/5/15) on the New Matilda website.

Briefly, Di Natale's office has been prompted, obviously by some kind of backlash from rank-and-file Greens, to issue the following clarification of his recent interview with the Australian Jewish News, the subject of my 23/5/15 post Richard Di Natale Reclassified: "He had no intention for his comments to be interpreted as support for establishment of a 'Jewish state'. It's not a phrase that he used."

"According to his office," writes Chalmers, "Di Natale simply agreed to a question put to him by [AJN] journalist Gareth Narunsky, apparently missing the distinction being made."

The "distinction" referred to is that between Israel as is, on the one hand, and the Zionist dogma of Israel as the State of Jews wherever they live, on the other.

IOW, the likes of Josh Frydenberg (Lib) and Mark Dreyfus (Lab), simply by demonstrating that their mothers are Jewish, can, if they so choose, take up Israeli citizenship, while millions of Palestinian Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, driven from their homeland in 1948 and 1967 by Zionist terror gangs, are not allowed to return.

The fact that Di Natale was unaware of this elementary distinction between Israel, the state of its citizens, and Israel, the state of its citizens plus every other Jew on the planet, including Frydenberg and Dreyfus, but  rushed in regardless with his de facto endorsement of Zionist holy writ, to the delight of the AJN and its ultra-Zionist readers, speaks volumes about his ignorance on the subject of Palestine/Israel.

There is no excuse here. The issue's been on the boil since the late 19th century, yet the man who would be king of a viable third force in Australian politics, cannot pass Israel 101?

The Australian Jewish News, BTW, is standing by its story and has released a tape of this part of its interview with Di Natale. You can listen to it on Chalmers' NM report, but here's the transcript:

Gareth Narunsky: One of the sticking points that the Palestinian Authority... the leadership [is] their refusal to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state. Do you have a view on whether they should or shouldn't?

Di Natale (rushing in, scoffing): Well, of course. I mean if you have a two-state solution, refusing to acknowledge the right of one state to exist is patently nonsense... it's self-evident that you can't, we're not going to achieve progress until we accept that both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to exist, determine their own futures and that's what a two-state solution means.

Sure, fools rush in. All the time. Especially into Australian parliaments. But if the Greens are ever to break LibLab's stifling monopoly on Australian politics and introduce a genuinely fresh approach to people and planet, they have to be up to speed on this particular issue. That means, in a nutshell, rejecting Zionism and its modus operandi, calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, embracing the pro-Palestine campaign of boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israeli apartheid, and supporting the creation of a secular democratic state for all of its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in historical Palestine.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Another Zmear Campaign Bites the Dust

At last:

"Sydney University academic Jake Lynch, who has attracted controversy over his vocal support for boycotts against Israel, has escaped serious sanction over his involvement in a melee in March when pro-Palestinian students disrupted a public address on campus." (Uni warns Lynch over conduct during melee, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 27/5/15)

... who has attracted controversy...?

This, of course, is Murdochspeak for any public figure who becomes the target for a vicious smear campaign, whipped up by elements of the Zionist lobby, because of their public and principled advocacy for justice for the Palestinians.

A word from Professor Lynch:

"I have twice been cleared of allegations of anti-Semitism: once by an investigation the University of Sydney carried out into the events Ted Lapkin (Replacing Israel with a unitary Arab-Jewish state adds up to political lunacy, 25/5) refers to, and last years in the Federal Court over my support for the academic boycott of Israel. Whenever this slur is cast against me, it is refuted by the evidence. Cries of anti-Semitism are exploited by the pro-Israel lobby in an attempt to silence critics of Israeli policies, in furtherance of a strategic aim to reduce political pressure for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory. Its power to convince is waning, as witness the rapid growth of boycott activities around the world." (Letter published in The Australian, 27/5/15)

Hopefully, Sydney University (and other such institutions) will now think twice before allowing themselves to become involved in Israel lobby-instigated smear campaigns of the kind that Jake Lynch has just been subjected to.

Unfortunately, however, the matter does not end there:

"Disciplinary processes were still under way in relation to five students." (Uni warns Lynch...)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iranophobia

Re the coronial inquest into last December's Lindt cafe siege:

"The inquest heard that the lies and grandiose statements began virtually from the moment [Man Haron] Monis stepped off the plane, when he sought a protection visa on the grounds that he had been persecuted for his work as a poet and because of his connection to the Amadi [sic] Muslim minority. This was 'almost certainly a fiction', counsel assisting the inquest Jeremy Gormly, SC, said, as was Monis' claim to have been a spy for the Iranian intelligence ministry. Nevertheless, Australian authorities found the aspiring cleric's claims 'plausible', eventually granting him refugee status three years later." (Failed bikie, clairvoyant, preacher and jihadist - the secret life of the Lindt cafe siege killer, Paul Bibby, Nick Ralston, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/5/15)

So why would Australian authorities have found Monis' claims plausible?

In a word, Iranophobia. And where does that come from?

See my 19/12/14 post Paying the Price.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Frankenstein Monster Mark III

The following silliness on the subject of Islamic State comes from former Howard government minister-cum-ABC pundit-cum-Age columnist Amanda Vanstone:

"Islamic State is a hot topic in the media. We see, read and hear about it every day... Thankfully, I do not know anyone who thinks IS can be seen as the good guys. Of all the bad guys that are around at the moment, we can probably agree that they are the worst... The IS ideology comes out of medieval times, but we would be mistaken if we thought that their ideology is everything we need to know about them. In fact, as Mike Marinetto from Cardiff University has pointed out in an article in The Conversation, IS has learnt a lot from the West. They know that money is important, and their securing of territory with plenty of oil fields is no accident. They are the best funded terrorist organisation in the world, with billions of dollars in assets. There is nothing medieval about their finances... Yes, part of the battle is on the ground... However, the bigger battle is for hearts and minds, and that has to be fought in mainstream and social media. Ask yourself this: is there a wordsmith out there to lift our hearts and minds and help us win this battle? There was Churchill in the Second World War, Kennedy in the Cold War; now, we need a new hero." (We need a new hero to show us how the West can win the war against Islamic State, The Age, 25/5/15)

In addition to her nonsense about the need for a new Churchill/Kennedy, Vanstone's piece contains two major misconceptions:

First, there's her inappropriate use of the word 'medieval'.

In fact, IS's ideology doesn't come out of medieval times, an adjective, in any case, applicable to European, not Middle Eastern, history. IS's ideology stems from Wahhabism, the intolerant, puritanical brand of Islam, originating in 18th century Najd in the Arabian peninsula, and peddled by every Saudi king since, including those presiding over Saudi Arabia as we know it today (1926-2015). Those interested in this aspect of IS can read my posts Islamic State's Wahhabi Roots 1 & 2 (1/9/14 & 2/9/14)

Second, and this is the biggie, there's the false notion that the West and IS are poles apart. The simple fact is that IS is to the West as Frankenstein's monster was to its creator.

Just as al-Qaida was a creature of the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's Afghan jihad of the 80s, and al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) was the by-product of the Ziocon-inspired and US-led invasion, occupation and dismemberment of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the re-badged AQI - ISIL/ISIS/IS (4/13) - is today a creature of the Ziocon-inspired, US, Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and Israeli manipulation and hijacking of the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.

Typically, while Fairfax is happy to run Vanstone's tripe, it has so far shown no interest in the following recently declassified, SENSATIONAL, August 2012 US Defense Intelligence Report, Syrian Uprising, Gulf Intervention, and Potential for al-Qa'ida Gains, obtained by Judicial Watch ("a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law," judicialwatch.org) through an FOI request:

Department of Defense Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence Country: Iraq (IRQ)

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1.The General Situation:
A) Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
B) The Salafist[s], Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C) The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
D) REDACTED
E) The regime's priority is to concentrate its presence in areas along the coast (Tartus and Latakia); however, it has not abandoned Homs because it controls the major transportation routes in Syria. The regime decreased its concentration in areas adjacent to the Iraqi border (Al Hasaka and Der Zor).

2.?

3. AlQaeda-Iraq (AQI):
A) AQI is familiar with Syria... trained in Syria and then filtered into Iraq.
B) AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to Assad's government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.
C) AQI conducted a number of operations in Syrian cities under the name of Jaish al-Nusra (Victorious Army), one of its affiliates.
D) AQI... declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of... Jabha al Ruwafdh (Front of the Shiites) because of its... declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, [it called] on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions... to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah and other regimes [considered] dissenters like Iran and Iraq.
E) AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.

4/5/6. The Borders: [MERC: Contains data on the geography, sociology etc of the Syrian-Iraqi borderlands.]

7. The Future Assumptions of the Crisis

A) The regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.
B) Development of the current events into proxy war: with support from Russia, China and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts. This hypothesis is most likely in accordance with the data from recent events, which will help prepare safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the control center of the temporary government.

8. The Effects on Iraq 

A) [Start of sentence REDACTED] Syrian regime forces retreated from the border and the opposition forces (Syrian Free Army) took over the posts and raised their flag. The Iraqi border guard forces are facing a border with Syria that is not guarded by official elements which presents a dangerous and serious threat.
B) The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces, taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).
C) If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the regime, which is considered to be the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
D) The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows: 1) This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers as one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

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3) The Renewing Facilitation of Terrorist Elememts from all over the Arab World entering into Iraqi Arena

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***

Let me run that (8C) past you again:  

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria... AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS WANT IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE [SYRIAN] REGIME.

And just to remind you: that was written in August 2012.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Harry Krishnas

Off topic, I know, but, like doggy-do trodden into the carpet, I'm having difficulty in getting this shit out of my mind. So put this post down to nothing more than the need to vent and accept my apologies in advance:

"The charming prince, the family role models in line to the throne and a baby so cute he can thwart a republic - the bigger question among young Australians is why wouldn't you love the latest crop of royals. 'You've got Prince Harry serving in the armed forces, he's got the whole Captain Wales thing going on,' Sydney University student Gabrielle Hendry, 20, told The Weekend Australian. 'You've got Will and Kate, a really great symbol of family unity and a great marriage. And you've got lovely little baby Prince George, the republic slayer. The image they present for young people is really worthwhile and I think people can relate to this new breed of royals.' It's not just among the ladies that Harry's light shines brightest. The prince's knockabout nature has also hit a chord with the local gents. 'I like Harry, a lot of people like Harry,' Ms Hendry's friend Gareth Guest said. 'He makes a good impression with young Australians - he's a larrikin, he's a fun type of guy, he's young and he's in the armed forces and he's very dedicated to what he does and as a role model I think he's brilliant.' (Knockabout charm, adorable cuteness... what's not to like? Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 23/5/15)

Notice that the Murdoch hack responsible for this doggy-do nowhere informs us that Hendry and Guest are members of the Australian Monarchist League. Instead, the reader is left with the mistaken impression that the student body, or at least part thereof, is similarly afflicted by Hendry and Guest's folie a deux.

Thank God then for this spot of real journalism in the same day's Fairfax press:

"Australian taxpayers will be billed an estimated $115,000 for Prince Harry's month-long army secondment - including $1000 for bottled water and Gatorade... If the Defence estimates prove accurate, taxpayers are getting off relatively easy this time. They were charged a whopping $150,000 for Prince Harry's two-night visit to Australia in 2013." (Prince Harry's Australian visit to cost $115,000, documents show, Adam Gartrell, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/15)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zio-Buddhism

Who does this remind you of?

"After a flurry of diplomatic activity, the government of Myanmar has finally agreed to a regional meeting in Bangkok next week aimed at resolving the Bay of Bengal crisis and addressing the larger issue of human trafficking. But U Zaw Htay, deputy director-general of the president's office, said that Myanmar had agreed to attend only after being assured that the term 'Rohingya' would not be used. 'The term 'irregular migrant' will be used instead,' he said. 'They can't pressure us. We won't accept any pressure.' Myanmar does not recognise 1 million Rohingya inside its borders as citizens, referring to them as 'Bengalis' and implying they are from neighbouring Bangladesh." (Myanmar: Don't say Rohingyas, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/15)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Richard Di Natale Reclassified

In my May 7 post on Richard Di Natale, The Green's New Limp Lettuce Leader, I jestingly classified him as being at the iceberg lettuce end of the greens spectrum.

Having just read Di Natale in his own words in The Australian Jewish News of May 22, however, I now realise I was wrong. Even an iceberg lettuce would have a more informed, nuanced and ethical perspective than this:

The two-state solution: "Most people who have followed this issue and care about it, would acknowledge that there really isn't any other [sic] alternative."

Hello? Does anyone seriously believe that Di Natale has ever "followed and cared about this issue"? Even for a nanosecond?

There is "no alternative" to two states? Oh, really?

IOW, there's no alternative to:

a) an ethnocratic, apartheid Israeli state on 78% (+ settlements + Jordan Valley + East Jerusalem) of historical Palestine; and

b) an impoverished, de-militarised, non-contiguous series of Palestinianian bantustans (with no control over borders or airspace) on the bits left over.

Although Di Natale lives in a unitary state blind to ethnicity or sectarian affiliation, he doesn't see it as an alternative to the above?  Well I'll be buggered!

Scary.

Recognising Israel's existence as a Jewish state: "Of course. How can you have a two-state solution when you refuse to acknowledge the right of one state to exist? It's patently nonsense."

Let's get this straight. The occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza (many of whom, BTW, are the descendents of refugees from Israel improper) should recognise Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state which excludes the indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinians it turfed out in 1948 by denying them the right of return?

IOW, he expects the West Bankers and Gazans to kiss international law and basic, inalienable human rights goodbye and recognise an apartheid state based on the permanent exile of most Palestinians?

Apparently so. After all, as far as Di Natale's concerned, anything less is "patently nonsense."
  
BDS: "It's just not the party position. Some time ago we made a very clear statement that we didn't believe that this was a pathway to peace."

I think what Di Natale really means here is that BDS is not a pathway to peace with the Zionist lobby.

'Israeli' technology: "Israelis are at the forefront of innovative technologies around [water-saving]. Why wouldn't we be learning from some of the new technologies that the Israelis have developed?"

Which simply means that he cannot see past the brand Israel hype to Palestinian water tanks riddled by Israeli bullets and Israeli settler swimming pools brimming with water.

On visiting Israel: "Absolutely."

Iceberg lettuce? This bloke's not even a member of the plant kingdom. Is there a mycologist in the house?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last 'Australian Environmental Charity' Left Standing?

One to watch:

"Any move by the Coalition to narrow the definition of what constitutes an 'environmental organisation' - and strip them of their charitable status as a result - would represent an 'attack on Australian democracy', legal experts have warned. Donors to 600 Australian environment groups, including Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), face losing the right to deduct donations from their tax as a parliamentary committee investigates the register of organisations administered by the federal environment department. Campaigners believe the inquiry is being driven by the mining industry." (Environmental groups find there's no charity in politics, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/5/15)

That'd be right.

But whichever environmental organisations lose their place on the Register of Environmental Organisations, and hence their tax-deductability status, you can be sure that one particular 'environmental' organisation will remain unscathed, namely, the Jewish National Fund Environmental Association of Australia Inc.

A most interesting outfit this one. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was created at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1901, long before environmentalism appeared on the scene.

Back then, it was simply an integral component of the British-backed Zionist settler-colonial invasion, occupation, and colonisation of Arab Palestine, which began in earnest with the Balfour Declaration of November, 1917 and continues to this day with Palestine almost wiped off the map, and the Palestinian people living either in exile or under occupation.

The JNF's founding details clearly mark it out as a tool of Zionist settlement:

"(1) Ownership of the 'Jewish National Fund' was to be vested in 'the Jewish people'. (2) Administration of the Fund was to be by the Small Actions Committee (executive of the World Zionist Organization). (3) Proceeds of the Fund were to 'be used only for the purchase of land in Palestine and Syria'. (4) No expenditures were to be effected until 'a total to be determined by the Congress had been achieved'; 200,000 pounds was suggested. (5) Of this suggested total, one-half could be used for the purchase of land, the remainder to be held to accumulate interest; 'until colonization on a large scale is possible', annual collections could... be dispersed similarly." (The Jewish National Fund, Walter Lehn, 1988, p 21)

These days, however, with green-washing all the go, the JNF definines itself, in its mission statement, as the 'Environmental arm of the Jewish people. Promoting an improved environment in Israel through support from Jews throughout the world.'

Exactly what this arm of Zionist colonisation and apartheid is doing on a register of Australian environmental organisations is just another of life's little mysteries.

That any parliamentary/bureaucratic tinkering with definitions might prove uncomfortable to the JNFEAA may be gleaned from the following submission, dated 7/12/11, sent by Robert P. Schneider, CEO of JNF & JNFEA to Treasury's Philanthropy and Exemptions Unit. In Re: Proposed introduction of a statutory definition of 'Charity', we find the following cute attempt to internationalise this most national of organisations:

"The JNF is the Australian arm of the Jewish National Fund, an international environmental agency headquartered in Israel but with supporting offices in some 40 countries around the world... The organisation... is entrusted with the conservation of land and natural resources in Israel but through the expertise it has gained over the years - in particular in afforestation and water conservation - this expertise is shared internationally through the organisation's affiliation to world conservation bodies as well as through its various offices around the world including Australia."

The submission goes on to plead that any legislative change should not come at the expense of "a body whose dominant purpose is charitable will not be precluded from being considered 'charitable' by reason only of the fact that it provides benefits in accordance with that purpose in an overseas country or countries." (PDF, treasury.gov.au)

Or countries? Pull the other!

And just in case you're wondering what those benefits might entail, here's the hard-sell from the latest full-page JNF add in the Australian Jewish News (20/3/15):

2015 JNF BLUE BOX PESACH CAMPAIGN: HELP KIDS LEARN FOR A BETTER FUTURE

"Every child deserves the right to live, learn and play without fear. So please help us create new Garden Classrooms for children in Israel's South. These children endure financial hardship and have been traumatised by years of rocket fire from Gaza. The Garden Classroom will become a haven for learning and activity and will give these vulnerable children an opportunity for educational and emotional development."

It's all in the labeling, you see: classrooms are classrooms are classrooms, but call them 'garden classrooms', and they somehow become 'environmental' and can be paid for by untaxed Australian dollars.

[FYI: Read my JNF backgrounder, A Certain Jewish Tree Planting Group (14/6/08).]

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fugly Israelis

Is there any country on earth that relishes a natural disaster (somewhere else, of course) quite like Israel?*

"In a city of broken hearts and broken buildings, the blue-and-white flag of a foreign country has become a symbol of kindness and compassion. 'When I got here I didn't know whose hospital it was and couldn't figure out what language people were talking,' says Beli Madar, waiting on a bench as her father has his leg amputated, after getting caught in earthquake rubble. The big-hearted military field hospital, for most Nepalese here, is the first they have seen of Israel. It's a place where the Israeli army uniform worn by all staff stands for something very different to the fighting it's become associated with, and where hospital directors who are used to valet service and standing ovations at conferences slum down in tiny tents to perform frontline medicine..." (Israel: Saving lives, bringing hope to Nepal, The Australian Jewish News, 8/5/15)

OK, OK, OK, enough already!

That, of course, is how Israel tries to distract us from "the broken hearts and broken buildings" of the Gaza Strip, broken - again and again and again - by those wearing the same army uniform and flying the same blue-and-white flag flaunted in post-earthquake Nepal.

And when the world's 'most moral army' has had its fill of breaking hearts and bones and buildings in Gaza (or kicking heads in the West Bank), many from its ranks choose to roam the world, 'letting off steam', and giving the rest of the planet an inkling of what it must be like for the Palestinians of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.**

When even nice Australian Jewish girls like Nicola Lipman feel they have to take their Israeli 'brothers and sisters' to task for their behaviour abroad, you know something's rotten in the state of Israel:

"I am a Jewish backpacker from Australia traveling through Israel as a part of a round-the-world adventure... However, now that I am here, I would like to have a heart-to-heart conversation with you, my backpacker friend from Israel. Yossi, Yonni, Yael... I'm not sure of your name, but I think you know who you are... Maybe you have just finished the army and are feeling tough enough to take on the world. At least, I hope you are, because you might not like some of the things I have to say. But what I am going to tell you, I assure you, is out of love... With tens of thousands of you out there backpacking at any one time and interacting with countless other backpackers (who are all writing home to their friends), a lot of people are getting the wrong impression about this country.... And those travelers may well go on to be the next politicians or business leaders of their countries - people who we all hope will adopt a positive stance towards Israel. So, Yossi, Yonni, Yael... or whatever your name is, next time you walk over to someone else's hammock, or open your mouth to yell at someone else out there who is just trying to make a living, please think about the impression you are creating and the potential impact on your country. There is enough negative press out there without Israelis giving themselves a bad reputation." (A message to my ugly brother, Nicola Lipman, ynetnews.com, 28/5/06)

Now you'd think Nicola might have twigged to the bleeding obvious connection between Israeli troops throwing their weight around in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the same mob, after swapping guns for backpacks, throwing their weight around in places such as South America and India. But no, she's obviously been inoculated against the bleeding obvious by a good, old-fashioned Zionist upbringing and/or education.

At any rate, what I really found interesting was not so much Nicola's 'message' to her fugly Israeli 'brothers and sisters', but some of the comments in the thread which followed it, so revealing are they of a society which has lived with its boot on the neck of another people for almost 50 years now:

"Working in the Israeli hotel industry in the past, I can relate to the article. Many Israeli tourists staying in Jerusalem hotels often leave enough trash in their rooms to fill 5 large trash bags (this is only after a weekend stay), steal countless towels (that were taken from the maid's cart).Anything on the maid's trolley is fair game: soap, shampoo, anything the maid found (even if left in the chambermaid's closet), sheets, pillow cases, pillows, bed covers, remote controls, even silverware from room service. The Israeli guests usually stay in the room till 11 or 12, hindering the cleaning process, then arrive back at 2 or 3 expecting everything to be cleaned 'tip top', or let you clean while the room is still occupied and instruct you on how to clean. The list goes on... and to top this off not one tip is left! (12. I can relate, Jerusalem, Israel)

"Yet again, another reason why I left Israel. A country totally devoid of human decency. It's nice to hear that they're bringing their special brand of hospitality to the rest of the world." (16. Israelis are nightmares, Jennifer, New York)

"Hate to make generalizations, but the behavior of most Israelis was the major reason why I didn't like Israel when I first went to live there, and I'm going back quite a number of years ago. That feeling never left me. Most of the Israelis I had met in New York were darn obnoxious, but I decided that should not deter me. After all, it couldn't be that these people represented Israeli society in general. How very wrong I was. It was this air of superiority that Israelis were better than everyone else, and in Israeli society, most Israeli Jews do consider themselves better than those who are not Jews. Israeli Jews even have the attitude that they are better than any Jew from anywhere else, especially Americans. I recall how Americans were typically called lazy, that they didn't have to work hard etc. I've traveled a lot and Israel was my great disappointment, also because of the racist attitudes that went along with their obnoxiousness. Yes, there are certainly decent Israelis who are not obnoxious or racist, but very few that I know of. (27. Hate to make generalizations, but, Marlene, New York)

OK, it's one thing for non-Israeli Jews to complain about fugly Israelis, but what if a Palestinian tries it?

"To the author, why don't you come and see how Israelis treat the native Palestinians? Why don't you come and visit Palestine and see the ugliest occupation on earth? Why don't you check on us and see how [Israeli] soldiers humiliate us? We are human beings, deserving to live with dignity in our own homeland. I've dealt with Israelis all my life. Good ones when [they]exist [are] afraid to stand up to bad ones. In all of the places I've visited, whenever I bargained [for] a deal, someone would say sh*t are you a Jew? I heard it many times in the EU and US." (36. Sad but true, Atmawi, Historic Palestine)

OMG, Atmawi, now you've done it!

"The day when you will not feel 'humiliated' anymore is coming soon. It is coming - the day for you to go and live in your right place, among your own, far from Israel. It is coming, the day when you will leave our Land and finally finish your ugly occupation of it. It is near, this day, B"H!" (37. Atmawi, Keren, Sao Paulo)

"Oh, because your brethren are so refined and civilized with your honor killings (don't like lil sister's boyfriend - 'humiliates' your pathetic male penial pride in your crap patriarchal society because she won't marry your mate, Ali - strangle her and shove her down the well), and firing guns in the air at weddings, shooting a few people together. And that is not to mention suicide bombs and wandering around jumping up and down like lunatics after 9/11 singing Ya Osama Ya Chabib. But I suppose I don't understand your culture. Mind you, lots of things can have culture - including rot and mould." (38. Atmawi, The Rational World)

Now what was the AJN saying about those wonderful Israelis in Nepal?

[*See my posts The Company He Keeps (13/10/09); Israel's Best Kept Secret (25/1/10); Me, Myself & I (26/1/10); **The Backman Beat-Up (23/1/09)]

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sophie's Choice

Any young Australian setting out to climb the greasy pole of LibLab politics will, sooner or later, be 'encouraged' (there are other words I could use, but...) to go over to the Zionist dark side. Sadly, precious few, however, as far as I am aware, will have the capacity (a combination of knowledge and intellectual & moral integrity) to resist such 'encouragement' come what may.

Most I imagine go over out of sheer ignorance (I'm putting the best possible complexion on this distasteful business), and without a moment's thought. Some may wrestle with the matter a little before taking the plunge. But even those who, like federal Labor's Tanya (Once Was Warrior) Plibersek, who began the climb knowing full well the nature of the Zionist beast, can be prevailed upon to make the transition, if reaching the top of the pole requires it. One minute she's shouting from the rooftops that Israel is a rogue state led by a war criminal, the next she's beating a path to the place.

Going over fully to the Zionist dark side usually involves a kind of induction ceremony - what I, as a long-time observer of this passing strange phenomenon, call a rambamming. Others might prefer the term 'propaganda tour'. Those in the business, and their 'customers', will call it, euphemistically, a 'study tour'.

The rambamming begins with an initial approach by smiling, glad-handing suits whose charm and powers of persuasion do credit to their prototypical ancestor, Chaim Weizmann.

Before long, our aspiring LibLabber finds himself in Israel, in the company of others of his kind, being put through his paces, leaping through hoop (e.g., Lebanese border) after hoop (e.g., Sderot) after hoop (e.g., Yad Vashem).

Upon his return, he will invariably be prevailed upon to sing the praises of the Jewish State at a Zionist gathering convened for just that purpose. This crucial phase of the rambamming ceremony is known as the report-back, and usually elicits from the rambammed more gibberish than a dozen Pentacostal gatherings rolled into one. (One can imagine, for example, one of them waking up the next morning, rubbing his head and wondering to himself: OMG, did I really say that?!)

Whatever misgivings the rammbammed may have had in the cold light of next day, or later, such is the omerta-like hold of the rambamming process over them, that not one has ever been known to come forward and repudiate or qualify his comments after the event. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the rambammed forever after remain upon the Zionist straight and narrow.

The above reflection was occasioned when I read the following:

"The son of Indian migrants made Australian political history on Tuesday, becoming the first MP to be sworn into office on the Hindu religious text. Entering NSW Parliament Labor upper house MP, Daniel Mookhey pledged his loyalty by swearing on the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture whose title translates to 'Song of the Lord'... Born in Blacktown and raised in Merrylands, Mr Mookhey is the son of migrants from northern India's Punjab state. The 32-year old from Labor's right wing has worked as a management consultant and was the 2013 federal campaign director for the Australian Council of Trade Unions." (MP's swearing in political history, Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/5/15)

And yes, Daniel has been rambammed. You can read the gory details on my 24/2/14 post Let's Do the Rambam Again...

So much for Daniel, but I've also become aware of another aspiring LibLab politician, not yet in parliament, and not yet, as far as I'm aware, rambammed. However, she has me worried, for reasons I'll explain, after this introduction:

"She's a former migrant, a human rights and employment lawyer, and she's gay. On paper, the new candidate for Melbourne sounds like a Green out of central casting. But Sophie Ismail is central to Labor's plans to wrestle its erstwhile federal seat back from Adam Bandt... The 37-year-old is from Labor's Socialist Left faction. Left candidates have lost the past two elections to Mr Bandt, and voters to the Greens more broadly, as the inner city grows more affluent... Ms Ismail hopes those voters can be persuaded to come back to Labor. In her successful pitch to Labor members for preselection, Ms Ismail - whose East Africa-born father is Indian - said Melbourne was a young and diverse electorate, and 'only a candidate truly representative of that diversity can reconnect with the communities who have lost faith in Labor'." (Labor candidate for Melbourne admits 'I look like a Green', Bianca Hall, The Age, 14/5/15)

My worry about Sophie stems from my reading of a PDF, Questions for Melbourne Labor Candidates: Sophie Ismail, which contains the answers to 17 questions, to all of which, save 3, she manages plausible, though not terribly inspiring, answers.

Question 2 asks, Do you have any other political heroes? only to bring us down with names such as  Obama and Hilary Clinton, thus prompting the obvious question: Seriously, Soph, is that the best you can come up with?

Question 8 asks, What is your position on the treatment of asylum seekers? only to reveal that, far from closing down our little Gitmos on Manus and Nauru, she'd merely call for an increase in "oversight and accountability" of them. Sooo Lib-lite!

But it's question 15 that particularly concerns us here. It asks: Do you support the creation/recognition of a Palestinian state? Her answer, the most perfunctory and formulaic of the 17, betrays not one iota of conviction or understanding of the issue.

Here it is:

"Yes. It is the only way to achieve peace in the region and to protect the sovereign rights of Israel and Palestine, and to uphold the human rights of their citizens."

Astonishingly, this meaningless pap is not the answer of some gormless teen, but that of a 37-year old with a degree in international law from Melbourne University!

I hope I'm wrong, I really do, but should Ismail manage to give Bandt the boot at the next federal election, my guess is she'd be a pushover for our latter-day Weizmanns.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Over One Million Nakba Refugees

It's Nakba Day, 2015, the day we remember the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli terrorist forces in 1948-49. That's 67 years of dispossession and refusal by the Jewish supremacist state of Israel of the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

The usual figure given for the number driven from their homeland is 750,000, but Palestinian diplomat and academic, Fayez Sayegh (1922-1980), has argued for a far higher figure.

The following excerpt on the subject comes from his 1952 book, The Palestine Refugees:

"To give an accurate estimate of the number of the Palestine refugees has so far proved rather difficult, partly because of the working definition of 'a refugee', which United Nations agencies had to start from, and partly because of the various technical difficulties encountered in the field. Thus Mr John B. Blandford, Jr, Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWAPRNE), states in his Report to the General Assembly, submitted on September 28, 1951:

'One of the first tasks undertaken by the UNRWAPRNE was to organize a census operation to determine who should and who should not receive relief. In spite of these efforts... it is still not possible to give an absolute figure of the true number of refugees as understood by the working definition of 'a person normally resident in Palestine who has lost his home and his livelihood as a result of the hostilities, and who is in need.' If the object had been to establish the true number of Palestinians now in other countries, the results of the census would have been more accurate, but the Agency's mandate was expressly limited to those 'in need'...'

"The authors of the Memorandum under review [The Arab Refugee Problem. How It Can Be Solved. Proposals submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations, December 1951], aware of these difficulties, report the results of various estimates made by either United Nations agencies or Israel sources... although they do not commit themselves clearly to the acceptance of any of the estimates, they seem to have accepted the figure of about 700,000 as a safe working estimate...

"Now the actual number of the refugees, although difficult to estimate with accuracy, is nevertheless an objective fact which is subject neither to arbitrary determination nor to a compromise between varying estimates.

"The statistics of UNRWAPRNE constitute a helpful starting-point. According to the latest report, the refugees registered on the Agency's relief rolls numbered 875, 998. It must be remembered, however, that this figure takes into account only those refugees whose status fulfills the three conditions embodied in the working definition enjoined on the Agency - namely, those who (1) are normally resident in Palestine; (2) have lost their homes and their livelihoods as a result of the hostilities; and (3) are in need. But, even allowing liberally for some duplicate registrations and occasional failures to report deaths, these figures fall below the actual number of the Palestinian refugees, inasmuch as the working definition is too restrictive in scope and leaves out of account three categories of bona fide refugees - namely:

1. Those who have lost their livelihood and become destitute, although they have not left their homes - and who therefore do not fall within the strict definition. There are, according to Mr Blandford, approximately 127,000 of this class (67,000 in Jordan and 60,000 in Gaza), although General Kennedy had reported the existence of some 150,000 of them a year earlier.

2. Those displaced Palestinians who have found gainful means of employment in the neighboring Arab countries and who are not destitute or needy. They are no less 'displaced persons', however, than the more needy refugees. Statistics on refugees of this category are not available.

3. Those displaced Palestinians who emigrated to countries outside the Middle East and who therefore - whether needy or not - are not counted by any of the agencies concerned with the refugees.

"It is evident that, when all these categories of refugees are taken into account, the number will be found to exceed one million. In fact, Mr Blandford speaks, in the forward to his last Report, of 'the crushing burden of a million Arab refugees'." (pp 20-22)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tony Abbott: Ramping Up the Paranoia...

"An analysis by Fairfax Media of all press releases, transcripts, speeches, interviews and YouTube videos uploaded by the Prime Minister's Office as well as Hansard reveals that Tony Abbott has used the term 'death-cult' 346 times since September. In contrast, domestic violence rated a mention just 43 times in the same period." (Abbott's 'death cult' obsession raises fears, Rachel Olding, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/5/15)

And spending like a drunken sailor:

"The government will commit a further $450 million to the fight against homegrown terrorism in the budget as it warns of a dangerous new trend towards teenagers, some as young as 14, taking up the cause of violent extremism. The new spending pushes the outlays on national security and deradicalisation programs to more than $1 billion, despite severe budgetary pressure." (Terrorism fears prompt $450m funding boost, Mark Kenny, David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/5/15)

"The federal government will spend up to $400 million in extra funds to create a dedicated new border enforcement agency, to start operating from July 1... The extra funding means that the immigration portfolio will be the only one other than Defence to receive a boost, government sources said... The boost comes after the last budget allocated $711 million... to the creation of the Border Force." (Extra cash for armed border force, Peter Hartcher, James Massola, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/5/15)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Games Australian Politicians Play

This is a parody, right?

"Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has revealed his secret weapon to pressure the government to posthumously promote World War I military mastermind John Monash to field marshal... Mr Fischer... indicated he would use Tony Abbott's appointment of Prince Philip as a knight... as ammunition in his fight to have Monash's promotion announced in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of World War I... Although a $100 million war museum in France is to be opened in Monash's name, Mr Fischer said the government... appeared reluctant to promote Monash to field marshal. But Mr Fischer has marshalled influential federal MPs 'on both sides of the aisle' to mount a pincer movement against the Prime Minister and Bill Shorten to achieve bipartisan support for the project. They include ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg, Nationals MP Michael McCormack, Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus and backbencher Michael Danby... because of what is believed to be prejudice in the British high command and on the part of Australia's then prime minister Billy Hughes, Monash was never promoted to field marshal. He ended his career as a general.'He was an outsider because he was Jewish...,' Mr Danby said." (Fischer enlists Prince Philip in campaign to promote hero Monash, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 11/5/15)

PS: Letter in today's Australian: "As a former army officer, Tim Fischer should know that [there are] different ranks in the military command at different levels... John Monash's most senior command was that of corps commander, and corps were commanded by a lieutenant-general. Monash was later promoted from lieutenant-general to general in recognition of his service. This was seen as an appropriate appointment. It should also be noted that Monash's boss when he was corps commander, Henry Rawlinson, finished his career with the same rank of general. Why then should Monash be posthumously promoted two ranks above the level he commanded? Yes, Monash was a fine general, but he didn't win the war single-handed or invent a method of warfare. He was a successful corps commander. He finished the war heaped with honours appropriate to his rank and achievements. Let's not let populism and parochialism shape our recognition of him." Stephen Barton, Scarborough, WA

But Stephen, it's not populism and parochialism that's behind Fischer's campaign. It's Zionism.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mike Baird: Next Year in Jerusalem

Just an update on NSW Premier Mike (Messiah) Baird, the company he keeps, and that bizarre pre-election promise about visiting Israel. (And why do I have to update you on these matters? Because the msm doesn't/won't go there):

"More than 600 have joined in a belated celebration of Israel's 67th birthday in Sydney (organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Zionist Council of NSW) in which Baird was the guest of honour. In his speech he said: 'I'm honoured to join the Jewish community in celebrating the success of the State of Israel this Independence Day and I wish the people of Israel stability and a lasting peace on this national day of celebration. One of the first election commitments I made after becoming Premier was to visit Israel, and I'm pleased to announce I will be headed there next year. Our diplomatic relationship with Israel is helped greatly by our cultural and business links within Sydney's Jewish community and I look forward to visiting next year. Friends celebrate milestones and are engaged in each other's history and culture, which is why next year I am going to celebrate Independence Day in Jerusalem.'... The event was attended by a plethora of diplomats, politicians and interfaith identities. Among the specially invited guests... was NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione." (Yom Ha'azmaut* celebrated in Sydney, jwire.com.au, 8/5/15)

Questions arising:

Diplomats? Who?  

Politicians? Let me guess.  

Interfaith identities? Now who might they be?  

Andrew Scipione? Why???

[*For those of you interested in what actually goes on at a Yom Ha'azmaut shindig, pop on over to the J-Wire website and click on the Yom Ha'azmaut - Melbourne video. You won't be disappointed. It's an absolute hoot!]

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Canny Scots

The Scottish Labor Party has been virtually wiped out with the Scottish National Party (SNP) winning 56 of Scotland's 59 seats in the May 7 UK elections.

Support for Palestine was clearly part of the ferment for change north of the Tweed:

"The Scottish National Party general election candidate for Glasgow South has called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tried for war crimes. Stewart McDonald also described Israel as an 'apartheid' state and publicly backed a boycott of the Jewish State.

"The parliamentary candidate was speaking at a hustings debate in Glasgow in the run up to the UK general election next month. He was responding to a question about his stance on the occupation of Palestine... McDonald reportedly won applause when he said: 'I think we need to get Netanyahu in front of a war crimes trial.' He said he has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and backs a two-state solution. 'The Palestinian issue was one of the things that brought me into politics. It's one of the biggest injustices still going on today and I'm a proud member of the SNP's Friends of Palestine group,' he said. 'It's British imperialism at its worst. Where someone sits in a hall and divides up a piece of land that they've never visited... and look at the problems that it causes. If it looks like apartheid then I'm going to call it apartheid and that's what it looks like to me. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is worth pursuing and is one of the things I really hope to move forward.'

"McDonald's mention of British imperialism is a reference to the UK's historical involvement in the foundation of the Jewish State. In 1917, the UK's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour [a Scot!] promised British support for the foundation of a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine... This was known as the Balfour Declaration. The SNP manifesto has pledged to support official recognition of Palestine and will pressure the UK government to support a two-state solution." (Netanyahu should face 'war crimes trial' - SNP election candidate, rt.com, 23/4/15)

Now listen to McDonald's opponent, Tom Harris, the Labour MP for Glasgow South, now thankfully consigned to the dustbin of history:

"I've been a long-time supporter of the two state solution. We need Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel and recognize Israel's right to exist." (ibid)

Sounds just like your typical Australian Labor party hasbarist.

You'll also be pleased to know that:

a) Scottish Labour Party leader, Jim Murphy, described by Israel's Honorary Consul for Scotland, Stanley Lovatt, as "a true friend of Israel" has likewise been swept away.

b) The Scottish Trade Union Congress backs the BDS campaign against Israel.

Canny Scots!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

G.W. Bush: Next US Secretary of State?

OK, sod the UK election results.

But it could've been worse. What if Cameron had decided to appoint Tony Blair as his special adviser on UK-Israeli policy?

Too far-fetched?

Not these days:

"After spending months distancing himself from his family's political legacy, [Republican presidential wannabe] Jeb Bush surprised a group of Manhattan financiers this week by naming his brother, former president G.W. Bush, as his most influential counselor on US-Israeli policy." (One of Jeb Bush's top advisers on Israel: George W. Bush, Robert Costa, washingtonpost.com, 7/5/15)

(And just so's you know who's pulling the strings over there:

"Tuesday's session was organized by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer and his advisers so their associates could hear from Bush. Similar meetings have been held with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, three of Bush's potential Republican rivals in the 2016 race." (ibid)

Singer is described on Wikipedia as "an active participant in Republican Party politics... [who] has given millions of dollars to politicians who favour strong military aid to Israel.")

So does Dubya have a track record in managing the Israelis? You betcha:

"President Bush, showing his exasperation as Israeli tanks continued to roll through the West Bank, demanded Saturday that Israel withdraw 'without delay' from the Palestinian cities it has occupied in several days of outright war. 'I don't expect them to ignore [me],' he said. 'I expect them to heed the call.' After aiming those sharp words at the Israelis during a news conference here, Bush followed up with a 20-minute phone call to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 'He told the prime minister that he meant what he said: that Israel needs to withdraw without delay,' an administration official said. Sharon promised that he would wrap up his military incursion into Palestinian cities 'as expeditiosly as possible,' the official said, but there was no immediate sign of a rollback'." (Bush demands Israel pull out; Sharon to 'expedite' offensive, Edwin Chen & Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times, 7/4/02)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Greens' New Limp Lettuce Leader

If you're into leafy greens, you'll know that some are more nutritious than others. A pale green iceberg lettuce, for example, has nowhere near the nutritional content of a deep green spinach. So choosing spinach over iceberg lettuce is a no brainer, right?

Not, apparently, if you're The Australian Greens. Their federal parliamentary wing has just elected an iceberg lettuce, Richard Di Natale, as their new leader.

If you think I'm being a bit too hard on Richard, well, it's not without reason. After all, he's on record as saying that NSW Greens support for BDS was a "huge mistake," and calling for international sanctions against Syria. That's Syria, mind you, not Israel! (See my posts Picking Off The Greens (16/6/12) and Hypocrites Unmasked (2/1/14).)

How limp is that?

Our Greens would be well advised to take a (spinach) leaf out of the UK Green Party's book:

"As Britain prepares to go to the polls in two weeks, the Green Party has stuck by its support for a boycott of Israel, the only mainstream party to take such a position. Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle last Friday, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett emphasised that 'the boycott of Israel is Green Party policy.' She added, 'We need to get the message across to the Israeli state. It needs to comply with international law and human rights.'

"The Green Party manifesto calls for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the framework for a preferential trade deal and other areas of cooperation. Bennett stressed that the 'agreement should be contingent on respecting human rights and international law,' and that 'until Israel is in compliance with international law, I don't think we should have that trade deal.' She also backed an Israel arms embargo and the use of 'diplomatic pressure to push Israel to respect international law and UN resolutions.'

"Meanwhile, the Green Party candidate for Richmond and Twickenham drew the ire of the Board of Deputies of British Jews last week for describing Israel as 'a racist state and an apartheid state' at an Amnesty International-organised hustings. Asked how she would tackle Israel's violations of international law, Tanya Williams, stated that Britain needs 'to stop supporting Israel, whether that's trading arms with them or politically, or treating them like a beacon of democracy in the Middle East which they are not.' Highlighting Israel's destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and violations of the Geneva Convention, Williams compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, saying: 'I think it is time to stand up to the myth that Israel and Palestine are both equal participants in this conflict'." (Ahead of elections, Green Party stands by Israel boycott stance, middleeastmonitor.com, 20/4/15)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beware the Zionist Thought Police

"A prominent Jewish academic banned from delivering an address at a major conference because he boycotts against Israel has warned of a growing trend of censorship within the Jewish community. Peter Slezak, a philosopher at the University of NSW, had promised not to raise the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign [BDS] at the Limmud-Oz Festival of Jewish Ideas to be held in Sydney in June... He offered the organisers the chance to vet his proposed talk, on the German-American Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt... The Limmud organisers rejected the proposal, saying even though Professor Slezak might not mention BDS, the problem is he believes in it." (Jewish community 'censors' its own on BDS', Ean Higgins, The Australian, 5/5/15)

Peter Slezak is to be commended for speaking out against the activities of the Zionist thought police. Here's another recent example of their handiwork:

"Australia's B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission [ADC] has welcomed the decision by the UN to conduct a review of any anti-Semitic and anti-Israel books..."

Note the conflation here!

"... offered at its official store in Geneva. Some of the texts to be reviewed include How I Stopped Being a Jew, Israel's War Against the Palestinians, and The Punishment of Gaza." (UN takes stock of its books, jwire.com.au, 4/5/15)

How I Stopped Being a Jew is by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand. I assume that the second item on the list is Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappe's Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians. The Punishment of Gaza is by Israel's top journalist, Gideon Levy.

Oh well, the Zionist thought police may be after him, but Peter Slezak can at least take comfort from the fact that he's in the very best of company.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is There a Glass Wall at the 'Good Weekend' Too?

Thinking about the 'troubling narrowband view of Middle Eastern politics' displayed by the Good Weekend's deputy editor Greg Callaghan, I thought it might be useful to see where its editor, Ben Naparstek, stood on the subject.

Naparstek had, of course, previously edited (09-12) Morry Schwartz's The Monthly, a magazine so protective of Israel that one of its writers has spoken of the existence there of "a glass wall." 

The worst was confirmed, however, when I read a November 2011 interview with him. (The Monthly editor, Ben Naparstek, abc.net.au, 13/11/11) Here's the relevant bit:

Julia Baird: And [Jacqueline Rose] is a great critic of Zionism, isn't she?

BN: She is. And I must say I don't agree with most of her writings on Israel/Palestine. I think that her call for a boycott of Israel is incredibly unfortunate given what an intelligent and magnificent writer she is. [I see, so calling for a boycott of apartheid Israel is just plain dumb?] She's not talking about boycotting any of the other countries in the Middle East which are under the thumb of tyranny, in which they execute people on a daily basis. [So let me get this straight. Israeli occupation forces blaze away at anything that moves, as reported in today's Herald*, but that's not executing people? Or when they knocked off a 16-year-old after fucking him around at a West Bank checkpoint just the other day (25/4)**, that wasn't an execution? Or when they fired on and wounded 12 Palestinian civilians in the period from April 16 to April 22***, those weren't attempted executions? ]... I mean Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Why this intense focus on it by the left liberal intelligentsia? I think that's a form of madness. I really do. [Naparstek's obviously the 3 wise monkeys all rolled into one.]

JB: So you're not a supporter of the BDS here either then?

BN: Of course not. I'm a total opponent of it. And fortunately it hasn't gained much traction here. I think that it's outrageous that Bob Brown hasn't taken a stronger stance against Lee Rhiannon for calling for a boycott. Bob Brown, you know, if he's serious about leading a genuinely progressive party, should not allow those kinds of extremist elements to fester within it. And the fact that... Bob Brown might not be the leader in five years and that, heaven help us, Lee Rhiannon could be, is... a very terrifying thought. [This is an extraordinarily censorious outburst, given that elsewhere in the interview Naparstek accuses "the left" of being supportive of free speech only when it suits them and of trying to "silence" Andrew Bolt, "someone who had made statements that were deemed offensive to aboriginal people."]

Naparstek also said in the above interview that: "If I only published writing that reflected my personal beliefs and opinions, then The Monthly would be a very dull magazine indeed."

Nice disclaimer, but seriously, folks, have you ever read anything even remotely critical of Israel in the Good Weekend?

[*Soldiers tell of 'shoot to kill' orders, Ruth Pollard; **Ali Sa'id Abu Ghannam, 16, was shot dead east of Jerusalem after being harassed by Israeli troops on April 25 (See Palestinian teen killed by army fire in Jerusalem, imemc.org, 25/4/15); ***4 protestors, including 2 children were shot and wounded in Bil'in and Ni'lin weekly protests; 5 other protestors, including a child, were shot and wounded during other protests; and 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child were shot and wounded east of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, pchrgaza.org.]  

Monday, May 4, 2015

By Their Retweets Ye Shall Know Them

Here's Sydney solicitor Adam Houda's tweeted assessment of the piece on him by the Good Weekend's deputy-editor Greg Callaghan, See You in Court:

"Interview process for my @smh profile piece took months. Such a shame so much important material didn't make its way into the final product." (1/5)

On my reading that wasn't the only shame.

My first case of the raised eyebrow came while reading the following paragraph:

"But you don't have to go any further than Houda's Twitter feed to see just how polarising he can be... His anti-Israel and anti-US rants are regular and vociferous: 'Special place in hell for Nazi-Israel (August 5, 2014). 'USA and Israel, the world's two leading terrorist states' (December 12, 2014). 'EVIL PIGS: Israeli forces shoot 5 year old boy in the face' (December 26, 2014). 'On the issue of terrorism & barbarity, the IS are absolute amateurs compared to Israel' (January 4, 2015). There is even the odd conspiracy theory: 'Promoting sinister agendas of those who control it, the media has the masses fooled' (January 3, 2015). But we'll come to his unsettling Twitter feed later. Not surprisingly, Houda never talks politics with his Jewish clients."

Is Callaghan seriously suggesting here that to be unashamedly and openly anti-USrael, which is to say anti-apartheid, anti-occupation, anti-colonial, and anti-imperialist, makes one, ipso facto, a ranter?

As is often the case in the media, the finished product tells us more about its author than its subject. But we'll come to Greg Callaghan's unsettling Twitter feed later.

Anyone with an open mind who has taken the trouble to inform himself on the subject of Palestine/Israel could hardly be so dismissive of Houda's tweets. Would, for example, that Callaghan had the kind of insight into the issue, and the courage to express it, to be found in the following tweet of Houda's of April 28, 2015: I'm proud to say that I'm anti-terrorism, anti-occupation, anti-murder, anti-genocide. Yes, this does make me Anti-Israel #Free Palestine.

As for the allegation of conspiracy theorising, is Callaghan seriously of the view that, to take but the most glaring example, the Murdoch media isn't promoting the sinister agenda of those who control it and fooling a hell of a lot of people in the process?

Then there's the assertion that Houda never talks politics with his Jewish clients. What is the point Callaghan's making here?

If Houda had said as much apropos of nothing, why didn't Callaghan simply write, 'Houda says he never talks politics with his Jewish clients', and then report Houda's answer to the logical follow-up question: 'Why not?'?

If, on the other hand, Callaghan has merely asserted it, one has to wonder why.

If this is the case, it suggests

a) that Callaghan is so little acquainted with lawyers and their modus operandi that he thinks they have nothing better to do when with a client, Jewish or otherwise, than sit around and talk 'politics' (by which I take it he means matters USraeli).

b) that Callaghan assumes that all Jews are ipso facto card-carrying Zionists. Which begs the question: has he never heard of anti-Zionist Jews?

Moving along, we come to this:

"The sales pitch to young Muslim men in the West is that the Middle East's problems are the sole handiwork of US support for Israel, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The crazy maze of Middle Eastern politics - the two great, duelling powers of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran; the fact that eight times as many Muslims as non-Muslims die at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists - is ignored in favour of this simple narrative. At one point in our chat, Houda leans over and shows me a graphic picture on his phone of a Palestinian child slaughtered in the terrible conflict last year in which 2200 civilians in Gaza tragically died. From reading his Twitter feed over the same period, you could be forgiven for thinking the other concurrent atrocities - more than 200,000 killed in Syria and 5500 in Iraq since 2011 - were mere sidelines. Houda would be quick to condemn any violence, whether perpetrated by Muslims or non-Muslims, and he is fully entitled to condemn Israel, but his Twitter feed reveals a troubling narrowband view of Middle-Eastern politics, one that feeds the narrative that complex tribal conflicts can be reduced to a simple case of villains (the US, Israel) and victims (Muslims)."

Where to start?

1) Who is making the aforementioned sales pitch to young Muslim men? Houda? I seriously doubt that the likes of his former clients, Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf, now terrorising Syria, would be able to find Israel on a map of the world, let alone be familiar with what US support for Israel entails. Certainly, my 9/2/15 post Me, Myself & I in Raqqa & Melbourne, citing John Safran's Good Weekend profile of Muslim convert Musa Cerantonio, lends little credence to Callaghan's view that wannabe jihadis are particularly motivated by US support for Israel.

Having said this, it is Israel, not Iran, which continues to be the primary threat to the region as far as the Arab street is concerned. (See my 5/6/13 post Overstating the Sunni-Shi'a Divide.)

As for Iraq, how many Elomars and Sharrafs would have the faintest idea about the Zioconservative forces behind the Bush-Blair invasion of 2003?

On the other hand, if Callaghan is seriously suggesting that the Anglo-US invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq, and the Anglo-US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that preceded it, had little or nothing to do with spawning the phenomena of Al-Qaida and its highly sectarian Islamic State offshoot then he's got a lot to learn.

2) Likewise, if Callaghan thinks that the primary conflict in the Middle East is Sunni Saudi Arabia versus Shiite Iran (and that USrael is some kind of innocent bystander in this) he needs to explain the US-Saudi-Iranian axis of the 1970s and Saudi Arabia's backing for Syria and Egypt in the October war of 1973.

3) Now to Gaza:

Invoking the current US/Saudi/Gulf/Turkey/Israel-backed terrorist assault on Syria to minimise the gravity of Israeli barbarism in Gaza is typical Zionist whataboutery and reveals Callaghan's shameful ignorance of the historical context. Last year's Israeli slaughter in Gaza is just the latest in almost a century of Anglo-Zionist and USraeli wars against the Palestinian and other Arab peoples, resulting in an estimated 100,000 casualties, the disintegration of Palestinian society and the wiping of Arab Palestine off the map of the Middle East.

In any case, the Asad regime has never been promoted as "a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy" (to use PM Abbott's fawning description) in the way Israel has. Nor, unlike Israel, does Asad receive billions of US tax dollars annually or benefit from the repeated use of America's veto in the UN Security Council.

3) But it's that last statement of Callaghan's that's particularly problematic here. To reiterate: "... his Twitter feed reveals a troubling narrowband view of Middle-Eastern politics, one that feeds the narrative that complex tribal conflicts can be reduced to a simple case of villains (the US, Israel) and victims (Muslims)."

To begin with the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli conflict (1917-2015) is not a tribal (or religious) conflict. It is, and always has been, a colonial conflict pitting Anglo-US-backed European colons against a largely defenceless native people. It is not indigenous to the Middle East but was created by the British in 1917, with the Balfour Declaration handing Palestine to the nascent Zionist movement on a platter in violation of the Palestinian people's right to national self-determination. Britain's role in foisting Zionist settler-colonialism on the area was, of course, taken over by the US from 1948 on.

But it's not Callaghan's complete misreading of the conflict as an indigenous inter-tribal affair, an all too common occurence in the Zionised MSM,  that deserves the biggest stick. It's his gross hypocrisy. I did say we'd be coming to his unsettling Twitter feed. Well, we've arrived. Callaghan may well declare that "retweets are not always endorsements," but here is what he retweeted during the last Israeli wilding in Gaza:

@cnnbrk - Aug 2 Missing soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin is dead, Israel says.

@mirandadevine - Aug 7 With the world's focus on Gaza, little attention is being paid to an appalling humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq.

@KateAshmor - Aug 22 4 yo Israeli Daniel Tregerman, killed today by a Hamas rocket fired from a UN school in #Gaza http://www.jpost.com

@AdamMilstein - Aug 29 Female IDF soldiers, the Hamas tried to Kill. Gaza border female soldiers risked their lives http:/ynetnews.com

I think it's pretty clear from these where Greg Callaghan's sympathies lie. Evidence of a troubling narrowband view of Middle-Eastern politics?  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blinky & Tanya Run Scared

Federal Deputy Opposition leader Tanya (Once Was Warrior) Plibersek has been lately "calling on her party to compel MPs to vote for same-sex marriage, ending it as a conscience issue for the ALP... 'Labor has always been a party that is opposed to discrimination,' Ms Plibersek told Fairfax Media in an interview last week. 'It is a clear question. Do we support legal discrimination against one group in this country? Or do we not?'... A long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, Ms Plibersek said her position was 'fundamental to my politics'." (It's time: push to unite ALP on marriage, Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald, 27/4/15)

Whatever one's position on same-sex marriage, the point I wish to make here is that Plibersek is clearly comfortable in speaking out on the issue, which, need I say, is as it should be if we purport to be a robust democracy.

Yet, on another issue fundamental to anyone who opposes discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head, she is curiously reticent:

"Mr Shorten and Ms Plibersek refused to answer questions about Palestine on Wednesday, with the deputy leader declaring 'I don't think today is the day for these other questions' following the execution of the Bali nine duo."  (Plibersek push on gay marriage backfires, James Massola, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/4/15)

And this while others in her party, particularly its justice [???!!!] spokesman, David Feeney, speak out loud and clear in defence of a certain entity founded on gross discrimination and inequality:

"... Mr Feeney questioned the push for a national conference resolution, which will be led by NSW frontbencher Tony Burke after discussions with Mr Shorten, for a future Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state in the absence of progress towards a two-state solution. Mr Feeney said that 'with so much going on in the Middle East, with more Arabs killed every year in Syria than have been killed in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict, the fixation on Israel is just that'." (ibid)

As for Labor leader Bill Shorten "who refused to answer questions on Wednesday," all it took was a mere phone call to get a reiterated pledge of allegiance reassurance from him:

"But president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot, said on Thursday he had rung federal Labor leader Bill Shorten's office and been told that any moves to change the ALP's national position did not have Mr Shorten's approval." (Palestinians call for 'balance' on vote, Deborah Snow, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/5/15)

And this is despite Mr Goot's ECAJ colleague Alex Ryvchin asserting, in another context, the idea that the use of "terms such as 'Jewish lobby', 'Zionist lobby', and 'Israel lobby'" is "intended to appeal to antisemitic views of the Jews as exercising an extraordinary or dark power," and an example of "crude, conspiratorial thinking." (Activists corrupt noble principles in defence of Lynch, The Australian, 24/4/15)

(NB: For me to even hint that Mr Goot's ability to get just the answer he wants from Blinky Billy by means of a simple phone call (an ability you or I could only ever dream of) is an example of the Israel lobby at work is apparently conspiratorial thinking and "intended to appeal to antisemitic views." So, lest I be accused of same, let me state clearly that I'm absolutely certain Mr Goot had a great deal of difficulty getting through to Bill - Goot who? ECAJ? Never heard of it! - and I'm equally certain that his colleague, Mr Ryvchin had enormous difficulty getting his opinion piece published in the Australian. Oh yeah.)

But I digress. Back to Blinky. Frankly, I'm a bit worried about the guy. He's all over the shop if you ask me. I mean, look at this:

"Bill Shorten will anoint Nelson Mandela as a Labor hero at the July national conference, which will vote on a platform for 'a practical and pragmatic party, tinged and touched by a romantic spirit'." (Shorten to put Mandela on Labor pedestal, Sid Maher, The Australian, 21/4/15)

The problem with this is that Blinky seems blissfully unaware that Mandela once said (loud and clear I might add) the following:

"Arafat is a comrade-in-arms."

 "The people of South Africa will never forget the support of the state of Israel to the apartheid regime."

"We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Solution to NSW Labor's Rambamming Problem

Check out this 28/4 press release from state opposition leader Luke Foley:

NEW TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR LABOR MPS

NSW Labor leader Luke Foley announced today that any Labor MPs receiving assisted travel to Israel would be expected to spend an equivalent time in the West Bank and/or Gaza to hear the case of the Palestinians.

Labor believes in a two-state solution. A two-state solution must be built on understanding the perspectives of two people.

'This arrangement will mean that MPs understand the Palestinian as well as the Israeli case,' Mr Foley said.

'In that spirit I would expect all members of the parliamentary party who are assisted to travel to Israel would spend an equivalent time talking to Palestinians on the West Bank and/or the Gaza Strip.

'The MPs need to see the conditions under which Palestinians live.'

Mr Foley urged the Premier to match the commitment when it comes to travel to the Middle East by members of his Party.

At last, a recognition that rambamming is a problem. But is Foley's solution really the way to go?

My problem with his announcement is that it's based on the false premise that the land-grabbing, apartheid state of Israel actually has a legitimate case to offer.

My humble suggestion?

That Labor MPS belonging to the Parliamentary Friends of Israel group be sentenced to a stint with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank, paid for out of their own pockets, dodging Israeli bullets, tear gas canisters, sound bombs and skunk spray.*

Alternatively, they could be sentenced to clear away the rubble of shattered Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip.

(BTW, Labor MLC Walt Secord should be sentenced to both.)

Moreover, before going, Labor MPs should be required to read David Hirst's The Gun & the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East AND Saree Makdisi's Palestine Inside Out, followed by a written exam based on the content of those books.

(It goes without saying that I'd be happy to set and mark said exam, but I should warn that I do not, repeat not, believe in a no-fail policy. Any MPs whose responses are not up to scratch will be required to keep sitting the exam until they get it right.)

[*See my 7/4/13 post Mephitic Odours at Monash University.]