Friday, December 30, 2016

Turnbull 'Govt' an Ethical & Moral Black Hole

You'd think that Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, having once said this - "I would like to see which international law has declared [Israeli settlements] illegal" (1/2014) - would at least have the sense to keep her mouth shut now that UNSC resolution 2334 (22/12/16) has ruled definitively that these settlements have "no legal validity" and constitute "a flagrant violation under international law."

But no. Bishop "said in a statement on Thursday that Australia was not a member of the Security Council and was not eligible to vote on the resolution. However, she said, 'in voting at the UN, the Coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel'." (Bishop's backing Israel over UN resolution, Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/12/16)

And PM Turnbull?: "Stating that a two-state solution 'can only be negotiated between the parties,' he said, 'It is not assisted by one-sided resolutions made at the councils of the United Nations or anywhere else, and that is why Australia has not, and does not, support one-sided resolutions." (Turnbull slams 'one-sided' UN resolution against Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 30/12/16)

As Mike Carlton commented in a tweet on the subject: "No surprise there. This gutless Turnbull 'government' is an ethical and moral black hole." (30/12/16)

Greg Sheridan: Still Channeling Auntie Poppy After All These Years

The human mind, like God, works in mysterious ways. Be that as it may, one such mind, that of Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of The Australian, works (if that is the appropriate word), not so much in mysterious as in downright peculiar ways. An explanation for this may be found in his formative years. In the beginning were the words, and the words were, alas, Auntie Poppy's:

"Auntie Poppy always told me I must never forget that the Jews were God's chosen people... Dad and Auntie Poppy were always pro-Jewish and pro-Israel." When We Were Young & Foolish: A Memoir of My Misguided Youth with Tony Abbott, Bob Carr, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd & Other Reprobates (2015)*

As though brought down from Mt Sinai, engraved in stone, there was no looking back for the nerdy Catholic nipper. Hence:

"Barack Obama's presidency is ending with a fine contempt for democracy as he exhibits every trait of hubris, arrogance and disregard for the messy business of elections and democratic mandates in his efforts to tie the hands of his successor on contentious policy that Obama was never willing to take to the electorate, or put before congress. On two contentious issues - Israeli settlements and offshore drilling in the Arctic - Obama is taking actions directly against the spirit and practice of democracy by using bureaucratic and legal manoeuvres  to try to put policy decisions beyond democratic revision. Obama chose to wait until after the presidential elections to take these steps.

"Obama, with Hillary Clinton, was always the best advertisement for Donald Trump, even more so now, for Obama, at the extreme end of lame duckery, demonstrates a peerless elite disregard for democratic process and the messy and inconvenient business of electoral results. It is Obama, not Trump, who pioneered American weakness and retreat from leadership.

"Obama has been kind to America's enemies, but he is a dangerous friend. America's allies, in this case Israel, have been his chief victims. By abstaining, Obama allowed a resolution to go through the Security Council that the US had always previously vetoed. It is a non-sided and expansively worded condemnation of all Israeli settlements outside the lines of the state of Israel as it existed before the 1967 war. On its face, the resolution makes no sense as the land the resolution chiefly concerns was never officially Palestinian land but, before 1967, belonged to Jordan. Israel has always accepted that the final status of this land must be worked out in negotiations and has made at least three serious offers to give more than 90% of the land in question to a new Palestinian state. In exchange, the Palestinian leadership must accept that this is an end of claims, must recognise the legitimacy of Israel, and must commit to its future security. The Palestinians have not been able to meet these conditions.

"No one who lives in the real world thinks the Israel-Palestine dispute can be solved in today's environment of a Middle East in flames. Let's be quite clear about this. Obama, with extreme irresponsibility, is licensing a new wave of global anti-Semitism... " (Obama delivers last-minute hit to democracy, The Australian, 27/12/16)

[*See my 3/8/15 post Greg Sheridan: The Making of a Gentile Zionist.]

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Netanyahu Threatens War on New Zealand

Clearly, Netanyahu's mask is slipping. As you read the following detailed Israeli account of what went on behind the scenes in the lead up to last Friday's UNSC vote on the illegality of Israel's settlement project in the West Bank, bear in mind:

a) that it is only because of the abject failure of Western governments to stand up to Israel's criminality and bullying decades ago that has led to this;

b) that it was only in September that Obama approved the largest aid package in history for Israel, an unconditional $38 billion over the next 10 years; and

c) that the Turnbull government has issued an invitation for the man who has declared war on NZ to visit these shores early in 2017.

Britain pulled the strings and Netanyahu warned New Zealand it was declaring war: new details on Israel's battle against the UN vote, Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 28/12/16:

"Last Friday, a few hours before the UN Security Council vote on the settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully. New Zealand, together with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela, was leading a move to resubmit for a vote the resolution from which Egypt had backed down the day before. A few hours earlier, a senior official in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem called New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, Jonathan Curr, and warned that if New Zealand's move came to a vote, Israel might close its embassy in Wellington in protest. Ambassador Curr noted this and reported it to his government, but when dawn came in New York Israel understood that things were still moving ahead. Netanyahu's phone call to McCully was almost his last attempt to prevent the vote, or at least postpone it and buy a little time. Western diplomats say the conversation was harsh and very tense and Netanyahu let loose with sharp threats, perhaps unprecedented in relations between Israel and another Western country. 'This is a scandalous decision. I'm asking that you not support it and not promote it,' Netanyahu told McCully, according to the Western diplomats, who asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the matter. 'If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We'll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.' McCully refused to back down from the vote. 'This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward,' he told Netanyahu.

"Just one month earlier, when McCully visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, he found the latter an entirely different man. Netanyahu was pleasant, friendly and overflowing with warmth. He showed McCully the famous PowerPoint presentation that he had shown in a round of background briefings for the media last summer. Laser pointer in hand, Netanyahu told McCully that Israel was expanding its foreign relations, breaking through in the region and making friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Western diplomats said that McCully, who over the past two years had been consistently pushing the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the UN Security Council, spoke with Netanyahu about the resolution his country wanted to promote. It was a much softer and more moderate version than the motion that passed last Friday. New Zealand's resolution did talk about freezing construction in the settlements, but also about freezing Palestinian steps in the UN and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and called for direct negotiations without preconditions. Netanyahu rejected this outright. If it were up to him, the Palestinian issue would not have come up in the meeting at all. His message to McCully was similar to what he said endlessly in public over the past few weeks. The world doesn't care too much about the Palestinian issue. The automatic majority against Israel in the UN is about to become a thing of the past. 'The vote Friday proved differently and showed that Netanyahu's assessment was wrong,' a Western diplomat said.

"Discussions with Western and Israel diplomats reveal many interesting details about some of what happened behind the scenes at UN headquarters in New York between Thursday afternoon, when Egypt announced it was backing down from the resolution on the settlements, and Friday morning, when New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela announced that they would continue to push for a vote. From the moment Egypt backed down on Thursday, the Western and Israeli diplomats say, New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela were pressured to move ahead anyway. The Palestinians were the first to exert pressure, but they were joined by some of the Gulf States and Britain. The Western diplomats said that the British encouraged New Zealand to continue pushing for a vote even without Egyptian support. The British had become active regarding the resolution a few days earlier. The Israeli diplomats say that from information that reached the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, British legal figures and diplomats had been working directly with the Palestinians on the wording of the resolution even before it was distributed by Egypt the first time on Wednesday evening. According to the Israeli diplomats, the British did this secretly and without informing Israel. The suspicion in Jerusalem is that the British had been working during all those days for the Americans to make sure the resolution was to US President Barack Obama's liking, but without the need to intervene directly in formulating it."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Look Who's Talking About 'the Aussie Way'

Every so often the mainstream press 'treats' us to a homily by Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. This time around it's The Australian's turn. In Respect for the faiths of others is the Aussie way (24/12/16), Vic lectures us on Aussie values. The only problem is that Vic, as a prominent Israel lobbyist, is also a supporter of Israeli values, which sort of cruels his pitch, know what I mean? He begins with the following anecdote:

"Some time ago I was asked to get involved in a dispute that had arisen at a public school over the prominent placement of a Christmas tree in the school foyer. The pupils were encouraged to place beneath the tree a small gift that would be forwarded to Bear Cottage, a hospice that provides palliative care to children... The parent of one of many non-Christian pupils at the school objected vehemently to the prominence accorded to the tree and what she regarded as undue and inappropriate celebration of Christmas, given that the school was made up of families of numerous ethnic and faith traditions. I was invited to participate in a meeting with the school principal, the Department of Education and the aggrieved parent. My role was to facilitate a compromise that would ideally satisfy the policies and practices of the school while mollifying the parent and answering her concerns. The meeting was convened in the school office, with the parent setting out her objections to a Christmas tree being given pride of place in the entrance, requiring the non-Christian pupils to walk past it on arrival at school every day, which she argued was an affront to their respective faiths... My response to the impasse was that the hallmark of this greatest of countries is that we overwhelmingly embrace differences and respect diversity. We are a robust and healthy democracy that enshrines such principles as equality for all, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free press, equality for men and women and multiculturalism."

Needless to say, I had problems with this anecdote on several levels:

1) If Alhadeff's account is correct, the Christmas tree was really nothing more than a worthy attempt by the school principal and staff to encourage the students to think about other kids less fortunate than themselves, nothing more, nothing less.

2) As for the parent who "objected vehemently," I found myself wondering why the principal didn't simply inform her that Christmas trees have no particular religious significance, and that charity, not religion, was the object of the exercise. (He/she might also have asked her whether she avoided taking her children to the local mall for the entire duration of the silly season.)

3) The objecting parent is coyly described as "non-Christian." Although she might conceivably have been an Anglo with an atheist bee in her bonnet, Alhadeff's silence on the matter will have had the paper's readers jumping to the conclusion that she was in fact a Muslim, in which case, he leaves himself open to an accusation of dog-whistling.

4) Why was Vic Alhadeff involved in the matter?

Although he has been CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies for as long as I can remember, for a brief period (December 2013 - July 2014) Alhadeff wore another hat, having been appointed chair of the NSW Community Relations Commission (CRC) by former NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell. (O'Farrell, you'll recall, lost his job in April 2014 after misleading an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation, when he claimed that he simply couldn't remember receiving a $3,000 bottle of Penfold Grange Hermitage from a business associate - despite having written him a thank you note.) Alhadeff's appointment, incidentally, was preceded by O'Farrell's presentation, at an Israeli Independence Day function in May 2013 of "an effigy of himself bearing the name Baruch O'Farrell" to the then Israeli ambassador, Yuval Rotem.*

Alhadeff himself came unstuck as Community Relations Commissioner during Israel's last major bout of bloodletting in the Gaza Strip in July-August 2014. Casting his CRC cap aside, he fired off an incendiary email to his Jewish 'constituents' headed Israel Under Fire. After accusing Hamas of "violating international law and engaging in war crimes as its militants launch rockets indiscriminately at civilians from civilian areas," he wrote that "Israel has made it clear that it is not interested in further escalation, but will do whatever is needed to defend its citizens. All options are on the table."**

Two weeks later, after coming under fire from the Arab community leaders, he resigned, claiming the matter had become "a distraction to the work of the CRC."

5) Most likely, no one involved in Alhadeff's intervention was aware of his typically liberal Zionist habit of running with the multicultural Australian hare while hunting with the monocultural Israeli hounds. Still, for the proverbial (but politically conscious) fly-on-the-wall, the spectacle of a leading apologist for the ethnocratic, apartheid state of Israel, babbling on about diversity, equality and multiculturalism, must have been quite something.

[*See my 9/5/13 post Barry to Baruch in 60 Seconds; See my 28/7/14 post Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel.]

Monday, December 26, 2016

Time to Review Israel's UN Membership

Have you ever wondered how the Zionist entity, which ethnically cleansed 78% of Palestine in 1948, managed to gain admission as a member in the United Nations?

John Quigley's new book, The International Diplomacy of Israel's Founders: Deception at the United Nations in the Quest for Palestine (2016) reminds us, yet again, that in their drive for exclusive control over Palestine, no lie is too big for Israel's rulers, and that, where Israel is concerned, US myopia and delusion know no bounds.

On the subject of UN General Assembly Resolution 273 (Admission of Israel to membership in the UN) of May 11, 1949, Quigley writes as follows:

 "Warren Austin, the US delegate [to the UN], announced as he had in the Ad Hoc Political Committee (AHPC), that the US would vote for Israel's admission. Austen referred to the discussions of Israel's application in the AHPC... 'The long discussion of Israel's application,' Austen said, 'was evidence of the general deep-rooted desire for a just solution of questions relating to Palestine, and especially those of Jerusalem and the Arab refugees'.

"So the US was solid for Israel, even though what Austen was saying about Israel's desire for solutions was directly contrary to what Mark Ethridge [US representative on the Conciliation Commission for Palestine] was reporting to President Truman. The discussion in the General Assembly went well for Israel... While the resolution did what [Abba] Eban [representing Israel's Jewish Agency] asked, by finding Israel to be peace-loving and on that basis admitting it to membership, it also recited Israel's commitments that formed the basis for the General Assembly's decision to admit Israel, as well as the General Assembly's prior resolutions that imposed obligations on Israel. Resolution 273 read:

'Having received the report of the Security Council on the application of Israel for membership in the United Nations,

'Noting that, in the judgment of the Security Council, Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter, [...]

'Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it 'unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them... ,

'Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions,

'The General Assembly... 1. Decides that Israel is a peace loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations; 2. Decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.'

"The General Assembly thus was explaining that its decision to admit Israel was premised on the commitments Eban had made to the AHPC in regard to repatriation and to Jerusalem. The reference to the resolution of '29 November 1947', the partition resolution, was pointed, because that resolution specified that a Jewish state, were it to be formed, must accord equality without reference to ethnicity. The reference to the resolution of '11 December 1948' similarly meant obligations for Israel, in particular the obligation to repatriate the displaced Arabs.

"Resolution 273 was unusual in UN practice. General Assembly resolutions admitting a new member typically recite only that the Security Council has has received membership. They make no mention of dialogue with the applicant state preceding admission, and no mention of commitments the state may have made in order to secure admission. By its reference to commitments made by Israel, the General Assembly was indicating that it would not have decided to admit absent those commitments." (pp 133-35)

Of course, as we've known for decades, Israel was never serious about honouring either commitment. With this in mind, and given its record in violating countless UN resolutions, and general contempt for international law, Israel's continued membership in the UN should be up for review. As it stands, it not only serves to discredit that body in the eyes of the world, but also does irreparable damage to the reputation of the United States, given its self-imposed role as Israel's principal UN fig leaf.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

UNSC Resolution Whatever

UN Santa Claus: Here you go Occupied Palestinians, here's your Christmas prezzie:

"Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;"

Occupied Palestinians (deflated): But UN Santa, we've got stacks of these already. How about something new for a change?

UN Santa Claus: Listen up, you ingrates, you're damn lucky. You only got this because the US finally coughed up for it! Now STFU, or I'll sool the PA dogs onto you:

"Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,"

UN Santa Claus: Oh, and give poor old Israel a break from your constant whining, OK?

"Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Liberal Zionism Exposed... in the New York Times

I've read many opinion pieces which tackle the toxic ideology of political Zionism head on, but never in any mainstream press outlet. Israeli writer Omri Boehm's Liberal Zionism in the Age of Trump, which appeared in the New York Times of December 20, is the first, to my knowledge, of its kind.

It comes, of course, in the wake of Donald Trump's election and the emergence into the public arena of fellow travellers such as right-wing extremist Stephen Bannon (now Trump's chief strategist), and the fuehrer of the neo-Nazi alt-right, Richard Spencer, who espouses white supremacism in the way that Zionists (while, of course, avoiding the term) espouse Jewish supremacism, and who has, in fact, referred to his white supremacist ideology as "white Zionism."

Boehm exposes the contradiction that lies at the heart of American liberal Zionism - the pretence that liberal Zionists can advocate ethnic inclusion in the US but support ethnic exclusion in Israel by denying the Palestinian right of return and insisting that "Israel has the right to ensure that Jews constitute the ethnic majority in their country." (Boehm's italics) IOW, American Jews (and Australian Jews for that matter) can not, logically, be both liberals and Zionists.

Boehm also points out that "The idea that Israel is the Jews' own ethnic state implies that Jews living outside of it... enjoy a mere diasporic existence," "inhabit a country that is not genuinely their own," and that, "given this logic, it is natural for Zionist and anti-Semitic politicians to find common ideas and interests." He concludes his piece with the following (unprecedented for the mainstream press) observation: 

"Nothing demonstrates this alliance better than the appointment of David Friedman to be the United States ambassador to Israel. Friedman, an ardent supporter of Israel's occupation project, has argued that J Street's liberal Zionist supporters, who are critical of the occupation, are 'worse than Kapos' - the Jews who collaborated with their Nazi concentration camp guards. In fact, however, it is Friedman's own politics - and the politics of the government he supports - that's continuous with anti-Semitic principles and collaborates with anti-Semitic politics.

"The 'original sin' of such alliances may be traced back to 1941*, in a letter to high Nazi officials, drafted in 1941 by Avraham Stern, known as Yair, a leading early Zionist fighter and member in the 1930s of the paramilitary group Irgun, and later the founder of another such group, Lehi. In the letter, Stern proposes to collaborate with 'Herr Hitler' on 'solving the Jewish question' by achieving a 'Jewish free Europe.' The solution can be achieved, Stern continues, only through the 'settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine.' To that end, he suggests collaboration with the German's 'war efforts,' and establishment of a Jewish state on a 'national and totalitarian basis,' which will be 'bound by treaty with the German Reich.'

"It has been convenient to ignore the existence of this letter, just as it has been convenient to mitigate the conceptual conditions making it possible. But such tendencies must be rejected. They reinforce the same logic by which the letter itself was written: the sanctification of Zionism to the point of tolerating anti-Semitism. That's the logic that liberal American Jews currently have to fight, but it will prove difficult to uproot. Stern is memorialized in street names in every major Israeli town, and it is not unreasonable to assume that Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister's son, whose father celebrated Stern as a mythical model of Zionist struggle, is called by Stern's nom de guerre."

[*Actually, political Zionism's 'alliance' with anti-Semitism goes back to Zionism's founder Theodor Herzl, who wrote in his diary that "The anti-Semite will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies."]

Friday, December 23, 2016

Israel Wears the Pants

Yet another confirmation of the fact that the US-Israeli relationship is historically unique in its reversal of the traditional superpower-client state relationship; Israel is the superpower and the United States is the client state:

"On Thursday Netanyahu... urg[ed] the US to veto [a United Nations Security Council] resolution [calling Israel's West Bank settlements a 'flagrant violation' of international law]. 'Peace will come not through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties,' he said.

"The move also prompted the intervention of US president-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, who said in a statement that Washington should use its veto to block the resolution. 'The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council, regarding Israel should be vetoed,' the Republican said in a statement. 'As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,' he said." (UN abruptly postpones vote to halt Israeli settlements 'indefinitely', Peter Beaumont, theguardian.com, 23/12/16)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Australians in a 'Dark & Distrustful Mood'

On Malcolm Turnbull:

"The oceans are heating up, the glaciers are shrinking, weather extremes are becoming common. More coal mines are offered. The poor are becoming poorer as their working conditions are both illegally, and increasingly legally, undermined and their support systems in the form of Medicare and pensions and housing are steadily eroded, and the rich pocket the benefits. Ethics are abandoned as we destroy the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. So what better time to reintroduce the compelling urgency of a debate on a republic for Australia? That should fix things." Gabi Duigu, Cammeray, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/12/16

On Bill Shorten:

"Less than 10% of the people who participated in the [Australian National University's Australian Election Study (AES)] said the Labor leader was intelligent or knowledgable. About three times as many people described Malcolm Turnbull in those terms. Of the 9 perceived qualities of political leaders participants were asked about, Mr Shorten ranked higher than the Prime Minister on only one - compassion. People thought he was less trustworthy, decent, sensible, inspiring or honest than Mr Turnbull... Mr Shorten also has the dubious honour of sharing the lowest individual score of any leader in the past 30 years on any characteristic - only 3.7% of people said they found him an inspiring leader. He shared this score with Tony Abbott, who attracted this rating after the 2010 election campaign." (Despite slog Shorten gets brutal review of capability, Stephanie Peatling, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/16)

On democracy:

"Australians' satisfaction with democracy has collapsed to its lowest level since the Whitlam dismissal, according to a major study [AES] that shows the country in an increasingly dark and distrustful mood about politics and the economy." (Faith in democracy at lowest ebb: survey, Matthew Knott, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/16)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Syrian Tooth Fairy

When it comes to Syria, it seems that ms journalists can even manage a belief in the tooth fairy:

"Bana Alabed is a 7-year-old Syrian girl with outsized optimism and lustrous brown hair that tumbles past her waist. She enjoys reading about dinosaurs, practicing English with her mom, and playing with her two little brothers... She recently lost a tooth, but the tooth fairy never came, because she lives under siege in eastern Aleppo. 'The tooth fairy is afraid of the bombing here,' she said. 'It ran away to its hole. When the war finishes it will come.' Bana's thoughts are broadcast by her mother, Fatemah, on a Twitter account that she launched earlier this year. It has already amassed more than 200,000 followers. Many news organizations published stories on the earliest tweets and videos, and a Danish reporter brought up Bana's case during an in-person interview with Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad, who dismisses it as 'a game of propaganda'." (Bana Alabed, Twitters child witness to the battle for Aleppo, Ben Taub, The New Yorker, 6/12/16)

Whether the following bucket of cold water was enough to sober Taub up or not is anyone's guess:

Rania Khalek @RaniaKhalek Dec 7 @bentaub91 FYI there is no tooth fairy in our culture. This is a very strange line. The tooth fairy is a western thing.

Still, here's another just in case:

"Shame on this woman. Shame on this terrible mother of Bana in Syria. I don't know the circumstances but she should be ashamed to make a statement to the camera and to hold her little child as a prop. I don't know anything about this Fatima but I know that she is one lousy mother. I also notice that her English on Twitter is far better than her spoken English on camera. Notice how Bana seems to be prodded to speak? I can't believe that the insensitive Western reporters are in fact circulating such videos which are not only exploitative of a child but even endangering her by using her as a propaganda prop. But then again, this is by the NBC correspondent [Richard Engel] who still praises the Syrian rebels who kidnapped him and who produced a false spectacle about his release. Fatima can only be forgiven if some man or men behind the cameras are forcing her to engage in this terrible behaviour." (Don't blame Bana - a little child - blame her shameless & terrible mother who exploits her child for the cameras, The Angry Arab News Service, 18/12/16)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Jesus Wept...

To borrow the words of Mike Carlton's tweet (18/12/16), "Oh FFS. If you wanted an example of the utterly barren, impotent irrelevance of Australian politics, here it is:"

"Federal MPs from both sides of parliament have come together to visit Israel and PalestineTrade Minister Steve Ciobo has led the Australian delegation to the Australia Israel UK Leadership Dialogue... With him are former prime minister Tony Abbott, Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith, Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, accompanied by his wife Chloe, and Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles. The group enjoyed a jog around Jerusalem." (The running group you wouldn't expect to see: MPs come together in Jerusalem, news.com.au, 18/12/16)

Jesus wept...

Palestine came in the form of Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah, but all these clowns could find to talk about was... Daesh:

"Mr Shorten said he was encouraged by the Palestinian's comment that Daesh members were 'terrorists using religion as a pretext for crime'." (Bill Shorten & Tony Abbott unite in Middle East, news.com.au, 19/12/16)

(Of course, the US-backed Jewish State in the Levant (JSIL) has not, is not and will never use RELIGION as a pretext for CRIMES.)

Then Shorten added: "What it showed me was there was not a homogeneity, there is not one Islam."

What a revelation! So Short-on-brains has had to travel to the other side of the world (at taxpayers' expense) to learn from one of Israel's humble servants in its West Bank bantustan that there are as many shades of Islam as there are of Christianity?

(Of course, quite what this obsessional focus on religion has to do with the bleeding reality of Israeli boots on Palestinian backs and necks is anyone's guess.)

But back to homogeneity. How's this for good old LibLab homogeneity: "Mr Abbott said of the engagement: 'It was at its most interesting, as Bill said, talking about Daesh."

Which he followed with: "I think he was probably at his most evasive when talking about the real prospects for a genuine accommodation between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

Real prospects for a genuine accommodation... ? Crazed Bible-bashing Israeli Daesh (from New York!) are marauding throughout the West Bank, torching Palestinian homes and orchards, and this knuckle-dragging, North Shore bonehead, whose homework on the subject consists of reading Daniel Silva thrillers, is banging on about the real prospects for a genuine accommodation between the Palestinians and the Israelis???!!!

Jesus wept...

Abbott continued: "Nevertheless he certainly appeared on the basis of today's discussion to be thoughtful and reasonable. I guess the challenge is, it's one thing to be thoughtful and reasonable in a public discussion in English, another thing to be thoughtful and reasonable in a public discussion in Arabic. I think that's always been the difficulty."

What more can I say? Here's the White Man telling us that the Indians speak with a forked tongue. Seriously.

Jesus wept...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Caricaturing Reality

Does Fairfax cartoonist Cathy Wilcox, I wonder, actually read the paper she works for (or any paper for that matter)?

Her 15/12/16 cartoon on Aleppo shows a sea of corpses stretching as far as the eye can see. She depicts Asad and Putin standing among them, with the former (clutching a gun) saying, "There. We saved Aleppo."

In the unlikely event that she read today's Sydney Morning Herald (Telegraph, London, Reuters) report on Aleppo, did these words give her pause for thought:

"Reports and rumours continued to swirl of field executions by Shiite militia fighters against civilians... Several Aleppo residents said they had heard of people being shot dead at a Hezbollah checkpoint, but the story could not be confirmed." (Cold the new killer for youth of Aleppo, Raf Sanchez, 19/12/16)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pauline Hanson MK

Hating Hansonism in Australia:

"We know that in the Holocaust's aftermath, 58% of Australians opposed Jews being granted asylum down under... Today it is hard to imagine Australia without its significant Jewish contribution. Twenty years ago, Hanson spread her anti-Asian agenda, suggesting some 'invasion' was to blame for job and economic insecurity facing Australians. She was wrong. Australians of Asian extraction are well integrated and good citizens. In 2016, with similar job and economic insecurity abounding, Hanson has now raised the bogey of Islam." (Not in our name: Melbourne's Jewish community does not support One Nation, Nick Dyrenfurth & Dean Sherr, theguardian.com, 16/12/16)

Hearting it in Israel:

"The Palestinians will have to make concessions... This means finally accepting that the 1948 Palestinian refugees will only return to the Palestinian state and not to Israel." (The enemy within: the far-Left hijacked the Palestinian cause, Nick DyrenfurthThe Australian, 11/11/09)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Compare & Contrast:

1) "Long after the West has defeated Islamic State, the jihadist threat will remain. For the past 40 years, Western immigration policy has been based on multicultural ideology. Its consequence is clear, Islamism has become a Western condition. Successive governments have diluted Western values to the point where they are no longer taught in schools. The result is a population unschooled in the genius of our civilisation whose youth cannot understand why it is worth defending. Multicultural ideology must give way to a renaissance of western civilisation in which Australian exceptionalism is celebrated and Islamism is sent packing." (West proves not all cultures are equal, Jennifer Oriel, The Australian, 12/12/16)

2) "The Austria-Hungary of before the First World War was a mosaic or, perhaps, better, a crazy quilt, of peoples: of Austrians and Hungarians and Czechs and Slovaks, of Poles, Italians and Ukrainians and of a score of other nationalities. The Austrians and Hungarians held the others in a bondage that was all-too-strait. But it was not strait enough for Hitler. There was much in this pre-war Austria-Hungary, in fact, of which this strange youth from the provinces disapproved, much he bitterly hated... What was principally wrong with Austria-Hungary nationally, these [Viennese middle class] views held, was that the 'superior' 'Nordic' and Germanic Austrians, instead of constituting a worthy component part of the neighboring Reich, as they should have done, ruling, as such, the 'inferior' peoples around them, were instead allowing the 'inferior' nationalities to insist upon their own identities as peoples, to urge their national pretensions and, indeed, to challenge the rule of their Germanic masters and even threaten the ruling nation's very existence." (People Under Hitler: What Personal Life is Like Where the Nazis Rule, Wallace R. Deuel, 1942, pp 70-71)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Some Questions for Paul McGeough

Fairfax's Paul McGeough on the fall of Aleppo:

"Leaflets recently dropped to the 250,000 to 300,000 residents still in Aleppo's eastern quarter read: 'If you don't leave these areas quickly, you will be annihilated. Save yourselves - everyone has left you alone to face your doom.' True words in that last phrase, and the emphasis is mine." ('Save yourselves': Aleppo residents await dark end game, 14/12/16)

Sorry to spoil your story, Paul, but that Human Rights Watch translation of the Syrian army leaflet is quite misleading (for reasons best known to HRW). The Angry Arab has posted a copy of the original leaflet in Arabic as well as his own translation (30/11/16). Here's mine:

"Read this very carefully. It's your last hope. Save yourselves. If you don't evacuate these areas now, your fate will be sealed. We have provided a safe passage for you to leave. Decide now. Save yourselves. You must understand that you have been abandoned and left to face your fate alone, and that no one will come to your aid. General Command of the Army & Armed Forces."

So where's the annihilation and where's the doom? Who's behind these embroideries? And why?

In an age of spin and disinformation, shouldn't you be a bit more cautious before running with this kind of stuff?

I notice Asad gets most of your stick. You variously describe him as "mimicking Moscow's utter destruction of the city of Grozny," displaying "dictatorial inflexibility," and allegedly being unable to "cope with a bunch of kids daubing anti-regime slogans on a wall in 2011."

Is it really all as as simple as that?

What about your "mishmash of rebel groups, whose levels of radicalisation range from zero to friends of al-Qaeda"?

Who are they? Where do they come from? And are they your idea of an alternative to Asad?

And what about your "Gulf States and others who'll happily fund and arm the rebels, if only for the pleasure of putting a burr beneath the saddle of Damascus, Moscow and Tehran"?

Putting burrs beneath saddles?

Seriously, now, Paul, please tell us just what compelling reason this lot have for feeding the flames in Syria? It better be good!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What Turns Tony Abbott On

If the old adage 'you are what you eat' is true, how much more so is 'you are what you read'? So what's Tony Abbott reading these days? Thrillers, apparently:

"'Something I haven't done for years I've been able to do a bit of over the last 12 months and that is to read thrillers. I've started reading some of the Daniel Silva books,' he said, praising the American novels as fascinating and 'high pressure yarns'. 'The hero is an Israeli secret agent and he gets up to all sorts of adventures all around the world, whether it's dealing with dodgy priests in the Vatican or Islamist terrorists. One way or another, he's busy,' Mr Abbott said." (Fifty Shades, thrillers & war: bookworm Abbott, Fergus Hunter, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/12/16)

Daniel Silva is described by Wikipedia as a US Roman Catholic convert to Judaism who lives in Florida. Adam Kirsch, writing at tabletmag.com, describes him as "thrilling to the romance of Israeli power," and "relish[ing] the idea of Israel as the champion of Jews worldwide - the tough Zionist Jews who come to the rescue of soft Diaspora Jews." (The unsettling exploits of Daniel Silva's Mossad superspy, 3/8/16)

IOW, just the kind of peddler of puerile pulp nonsense for a halfwit like Abbott.

To give you some idea of just where Silva is coming from and just how appalling he is (and how Zionists conflate the Islamic State phenomenon with Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation and colonisation), here he is on something called 'The Hugh Hewitt Show':

HH: "The other thing that's genuinely spooky, Daniel Silva, about The Black Widow [Silva's latest concoction], ... this past Sabbath, Jews around the world and people who support the state of Israel are grieving the death of Hallel Ariel, a 13-year-old American stabbed to death in her West Bank home as a result of a young Palestinian acting spontaneously. And throughout The Black Widow there is this background murmuring of the reality of life in Israel today, which informs The Black Widow... And it's in the headlines... today, in a way, because it's an American victim, that maybe they... normally aren't aware of it, and it's explained in The Black Widow. That's also spooky.

DS: Well, I was in Israel working on the book when this... started to percolate. And Gabriel Alon [Silva's Mossad hero] is a great lover of Jerusalem, as I explain in this novel, and I am a great lover [of Jerusalem]. And I go all over the place in Jerusalem, including into neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian area in East Jerusalem. And, you know, every day when I was there last summer, it would be some little incident somewhere around the Damascus Gate in the Muslim quarter of the Old City... one of the things that people don't realize about East Jerusalem is that there are sort of abutting neighborhoods of religious Jews right up against Palestinian areas. And... there's a lot of friction there. And I just had a sense that something was about to really happen there. And then, you know, I would go to the Damascus Gate, and a few hours later someone would be stabbed, and I had just been there with my son... you know, feeling like a complete idiot. And then it's really broken out into the open. And I think it's symptomatic, unfortunately, of the remarkable job that the Israeli Security Services have done in shutting down the Palestinian terrorist networks." (hughhewitt.com)

Of course, there's no mention of Israeli settlers invading Palestinian homes, or of a Palestinian community under a turn-of-the-screw occupation. God forbid that any note of reality should disturb this charmed circle. Spooky!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Everything to Hide

Back in 2011, Labor's Shadow Minister for CIA (Covering Israel's Arse) moved a motion in federal parliament:

"Amid all the rancor of that final sitting last week, Labor's Michael Danby introduced to the House of Representatives a motion that highlighted the best in public debate. He called on Parliament to recognise each July 11 as Srebrenica Remembrance Day, as a reminder of the evil that led to the genocide of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at the hands of the rebel Serb forces of Ratko Mladic in Bosnia in 1995. 'It was,' Danby said, 'what the Russians would call an act of pamyat - memory'." (Rising from the mire, Paul Daley, The Sun-Herald, 27/11/11) [See my 28/11/11 post Fine & Danby.]

I wonder if Danby, who'll happily discourse on every human rights abuse under the sun, unless of course it occurs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, would have moved his motion if he'd known about this:

"Israel's Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to reveal details of Israeli defense exports to the former Yugoslavia during the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s. The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country's foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and [lead to] the possible prosecution of those involved. The petitioners, Attorney Itay Mack and professor Yair Oron, presented the court with concrete evidence of Israeli defense exports to Serbian forces at the time, including training as well as ammunition and rifles. Among other things, they presented the personal journal of General Ratko Mladic, currently on trial at the International Court of Justice for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Mladic's journal explicitly mentions Sebia's ample arms ties with Israel at the time. The exports took place long after the UN Security Council placed an arms embargo on various parts of the former Yugoslavia, and after the publication of a series of testimonies exposing genocide and the creation of concentration camps. The Israeli State Attorney's reply and the court's rejection of the petition are a de facto admission by Israel that it cooperated with the Bosnian genocide: if the government had nothing to hide, the documents under discussion would not pose any threat to foreign relations." (Supreme Court rules against exposing Israel's role in Bosnian genocide, John Brown*, 972mag.com, 5/12/16) [*The pseudonym of an Israel academic and blogger.]

And will he, I wonder, have anything to say from now on about the following nasties?:

"Earlier this year, the same Supreme Court rejected a similar claim regarding defense exports during the Rwandan genocide... The state faces a series of similar requests regarding its collaboration with the murderers of the Argentinian Junta, Pinochet's regime in Chile, and Sri Lanka." (ibid)

At any rate, it looks as though we're going to be hearing a lot more of this sentence: "The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country's foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and [lead to] the possible prosecution of those involved."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Time for Greg Sheridan to Move On?

It just keeps getting better and better at Murdoch's Australian:

"Renowned political journalist Simon Benson has joined The Australian as national affairs editor. A news breaker with a formidable range of contacts, Benson has routinely set the agenda on seismic political developments ranging from the Rudd coup to breaking the story of the bid to remove Tony Abbott. The award-winning journalist was national political editor at Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, where he spent more than two decades in senior positions, including NSW state political editor." (Benson national affairs editor, The Australian, 9/12/16)

But really, the Australian is being too modest with respect to Simon. His real forte is obviously foreign affairs:

"Like any normal Sydney family [the people of Sderot] worry about the rising cost of living - mortgage repayments, power prices, grocery bills. But they have an extra burden. Three kilometres away... is the city of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinian families live under the grip of terror imposed by Hamas and its jihad brigades intent on erasing the Zionists from the land they claim to be Palestine." (See my 19/11/12 post Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother?)

Look out, Greg Sheridan...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Australian War Memorial's Latest Exhibition

The following post comes from Australia's Honest History website (honesthistory.net.au):

"The Australian War Memorial has opened a permanent display on the Holocaust (SBS report.) The exhibition, The Holocaust: Witnesses & Survivors, builds on the memories of 30,000 Holocaust survivors who made their homes in Australia after World War II. Many of the artefacts came from the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne. Honest History has previously been critical of the War Memorial's indifference to events not directly affecting Australians; it looks forward to doing a review of this new exhibition." (Australian War Memorial opens permanent display on Holocaust, 30/11/16)

The post appends the text of a speech given by Dr Brendan Nelson, the memorial's director (and former Liberal Party leader!). It opens with these words:

"Six million people... That is how many people were exterminated in the worst genocide of the twentieth century. Jews, Roma, gypsies, the disabled and political prisoners..."

It seems that Nelson is oblivious to the fact that Roma and gypsies are one and the same people.

"... But almost all were Jews... "

It seems he's equally oblivious of the fact that the Nazi genocide is generally estimated to have involved around 11 million deaths, and included gays, priests, the disabled, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah's Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and Russians.

"... Jewish identity has been shaped by three things: Anti-Semitism, still a virulent and repugnant force in many parts of the world. The Holocaust or 'Shoah'. The embattled nature of the state of Israel for whom existence is a daily struggle..."

That last sentence, in particular, should act as a warning light for whoever it is from Honest History who is intending to review this exhibition. Zionism's shameless strategy of using the suffering of European Jewry under the Nazis as a shield against criticism of the apartheid state and its crimes against the truly embattled Palestinian people, for whom existence is a daily struggle, is sadly in evidence in Nelson's speech. The question arises: Is it also in evidence in the exhibition?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Moral High Ground? What Moral High Ground?

American historian Fredrik Albritton Jonsson spruiks Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh's new book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change & the Unthinkable:

"The title captures his scathing diagnosis of the condition of literature and culture in the age of the Anthropocene. Why is it, he asks, that the literary world has responded to climate change with almost complete silence? How can we explain the fact that writers of fiction have overwhelmingly failed to grapple with the ongoing planetary crisis in their works? For Ghosh, this silence is part of a broader pattern of indifference and misrepresentation. Contemporary arts and literature are characterized by 'modes of concealment that [prevent] people from recognizing the realities of their plight'." (The Holocene hangover: it is time for humanity to make fundamental changes, theguardian.com, 8/12/16)

How true! After all, it doesn't get much more bleeding obvious than anthropocentric climate change, right? And what are all these scribblers scribbling about? Something else, damn it! Obviously, they need a bloody good whipping, and Ghosh's decided he's just the man to give it to them - hard:

Silent novelists? LASH!

Novelists who fail to grapple with the issue? LASH!

Indifferent novelists? LASH!

Reality-avoidant novelists. LASH!

But wait, what about something just as bleeding obvious? Like Israeli apartheid, for example?

Ah, but that's different.

Back in 2010, Ghosh was 'awarded' Israel's $US1m Dan David Prize, and when those who know apartheid when they see it asked him not to go there, he told them he was "disappointed" with them for running a "campaign of admonition," and declared, "We cannot let others decide for us and we cannot yield to such demands. If a reader from Israel wants to reach out to us, how can we not engage him?" (What Amitav Ghosh said at Dan David prize ceremony, rediff.com, 12/5/10)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

A Red Cross survey of 17000 people reveals that "nearly one quarter of Australians think torturing enemy soldiers is justifiable," and that "faith in the Geneva Convention is fading." (Faith in 'laws of war' slipping dangerously, says Red Cross, David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/12/16)

Assuming that the average Australian even knows what the Geneva Convention is, given that we have a government which tortures asylum seekers,* and a foreign minister who once quipped, on the subject of  Israeli settlements being illegal under international law, "I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal,"** it would seem that we have here an open-and-shut case of the fish rotting from the head down.

[*"The Torture Convention prohibits subjecting people to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The [UN] report confirms that by leaving people locked up indefinitely in appalling conditions on a remote island, Australia is failing to meet this basic standard." (UN finds Australia's treatment of asylum seekers violates the Convention Against Torture, hrlc.org, 9/3/15);**See my 20/1/14 post Believe It or Not.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Turkish Designs on Northern Syria

Hm...

"Now, prompted by domestic strife and external realpolitik, Mr Erdogan appears to be downsizing his aims and recasting Turkey in a peacemaking role while aiming to secure, with Russia's tacit approval, a large area of northern Syria as a semi-permanent buffer zone under its control. Turkish forces and allied rebel militias have seized an area of 2000sq km in northern Aleppo province since launching a cross-border operation in August to dislodge Islamic State from the frontier. They are now closing in on al-Bab, the last ISIS-held town between Aleppo and Raqqa. According to Turkish government sources, that is where they will stop and where renewed diplomatic ties will take over." (Putin, Erdogan carving up northern Syria, Hannah Lucinda Smith, The Times/ The Australian, 3/12/16)

If this report is correct, it wouldn't be the last time Turkey took a bite out of Syria. The story of the north-western Syrian province of Alexandretta (now Iskanderun), is instructive. In the 1930s, Turkey laid claim to Alexandretta on the grounds that it was Turkish (although less than half the population were Turks). France (which then ruled Syria under a League of Nations Mandate) and Turkey agreed to have the status of the province determined by the League Council, and, in January 1937, a settlement was reached in Turkey's favour. In the words of historian A.L. Tibawi, the settlement's: "... essence was to constitute the district of Alexandretta as a separate political entity with full internal independence under a statute and a fundamental law of its own. Its connection with Syria was restricted to customs and monetary matters, and its foreign affairs which were to be conducted by Syria after independence." (A Modern History of Syria, Including Lebanon & Palestine (1969), p 353)

Now here's where it gets really interesting:

"In the summer of 1938 when elections for an assembly were to be held under the new dispensation, France was more occupied with the larger problems of Germany... and gave way to Turkish pressure on a number of vital matters including the co-operation of Turkish troops for the maintenance of order during the elections. By this and similar means the Turkish minority won 22 out of the 40 seats. When the assembly met for the first time it elected a Turk for a speaker, another Turk for head of the state, renamed the territory the Republic of Hatay, and appointed an all-Turkish cabinet.

"Not content with these victories, the Turkish government exploited the strained world situation to an even greater extent and pressed for the annexation of Hatay. Britain and France were very eager to secure if not a Turkish alliance at least Turkish neutrality in a European conflict that seemed inevitable. It is said that Britain, who had given Turkey a big credit loan for rearmament, persuaded France to sacrifice Alexandretta as a price for gaining Turkish goodwill. France capitulated by signing an agreement in June 1939, ceding the territory to the Turkish Republic. This was clearly a grave violation of article 4 of the mandate which stipulated that the mandatory was required to see that 'no part of the territory of Syria and Lebanon is ceded or leased or in any way placed under the control of a foreign power'." (ibid)

One to watch...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What is it with Geraldines?

In reference to Islamic State's destruction of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, "Pullitzer prize-winning author," Geraldine Brooks (who has toured "controversial digs" under occupied Arab East Jerusalem)* has been quoted as saying:

"When you see this determination to eradicate the records of any previous culture or way of thinking, it is such an arid and soul-destroying way of being. It is profoundly devastating. It is almost a weapon of morale against the people you are fighting, because these are the things that are fundamental to yourself and your culture. It would be like someone shelling the Sydney Opera House." (Battle to block the barbarians at the gates of a global cultural heritage, Peter Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 3/12/16)

Or destroying the Haram ash-Sharif, eh Geraldine?:

"Liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque were placed on this Jewish or biblical holy site as a specific sign of Islamic conquest and domination. The Temple Mount can never be consecrated to the Name of G-d without removing these pagan shrines. It has been suggested that they be removed, transferred to, and rebuilt at Mecca." (Objectives of the Temple Mount Faithful,  templemountfaithful.org)

Nobody does euphemism quite like the Israelis. That last sentence is a classic of the genre.

[*See my 5/10/15 post The Tunnel Vision of Geraldine Brooks 1.]

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tzachi the Baptist, Bibi Christ & His First Coming

If Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, then  Israel's visiting Superman (Aren't they all?) National Security & Foreign Affairs Minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, is slower than glacial speed:

"Laconic and soft-spoken, Hanegbi nonetheless has a reputation as a hard man in Israeli politics. He gradually has moved from the right to the centre, and is now a passionate advocate of the two-state solution." (Israelis see hope in switch to Trump, Greg Sheridan, 3/12/16)

Thanks for that, Greg,

To begin with, the Palestinian West Bank was occupied in 1967. That's almost 50 years ago.

The Palestinians adopted the two-state solution at the Arab Summit in Fez in 1982. That's 34 years ago.

And again at the Madrid Conference of 1991. That's 25 years ago.

And again at the Oslo Accords in 1993. That's 23 years ago.

And again, at the 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative. That's 14 years ago.

But NOW Hanegbi's "a passionate advocate of the two-state solution"?

Will wonders never cease?

Greg must've been so impressed that he forgot to mention 1) settlements; 2) the West Bank Wall; 3) occupied East Jerusalem; 4) the Jordan valley etc etc.

OK, so William Blake could see "A World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower." But what about our Greg? He can see Passion in a Block of Ice!

Just imagine what he's going to see when "the one who comes after [Hanegbi], the straps of whose sandals [he is] not worthy to untie" gets here:

"Hanegbi's visit is a precursor to the planned visit of Netanyahu early next year, which will be the first time a serving Israeli prime minister has come to Australia. Hanegbi believes it will take the relationship into a new dimension of much broader and deeper practical co-operation."

I swear, the fabled Second Coming will be an anticlimax after this!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Q&A With Clueless Christensen & Peter Hartcher

Q - George Christensen: "Where are the balls in Australian politics? Where have they gone?" (The leader of the opposition, Matthew Knott, Good Weekend, 3/12/16)

A - Peter Hartcher: George, mate, they're in Israel's hands. As that "Australian official" I quoted back in 2010 told me: "It wouldn't matter whether it was John Howard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott in the prime minister's chair, they know we wouldn't sever relations. They know they've got us by the balls', partly because of the strength of the Israel lobby'." (Betrayed PM should not be taken for granted, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/1/10)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Murdoch's Australian: What Lurks Within

Anthony Klan is a 'journalist' for Murdoch's Australian.

1) Here's the opening line of his recent "EXCLUSIVE," Federal cash 'went to Hamas' (28/11/16)

"The Australian government has been one of the largest funders of the Hamas terror organisation in Gaza over the past seven years, Israeli authorities allege."

2) Now here's the explanatory footnote at the end of the article:

"The author travelled to Israel with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies as part of a journalists delegation from November 5-10. He stayed in Israel self-funded for two weeks, during which time he researched and produced this article."

3) The first and last columns of Klan's 6-column article enclose a commentary by the Australian's Paul Maley, (Why one man's arrest is such a big deal for our nation) on the arrest of Australian Islamic State groupie Neil Prakash.

Take-home question:

Having noted just these three features of Klan's piece, do we really need to read the thing?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel is a Democracy & Other Fairy Tales

In reacting against the hypocrisy of Americans (and Australia's little Americans) over Fidel Castro's death, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Ruby Hamad argues, with the best of intentions, that:

"Israel is both a democracy (flawed but a democracy nonetheless) and an oppressive occupier that gets away with shocking human rights abuse. Yasser Arafat was indeed resisting this Israeli oppression and occupation, and in doing so he turned a blind eye to terrorism and the victimisation of innocent Israelis." (All heroes have their dark side, no matter what side they're on, 30/11/16)

However, these two sentences are more fairy tale than fact:

1) Israel is a democracy. Palestine had an indigenous majority and a non-indigenous settler minority up to 1948. The settler minority then drove out the indigenous majority and has refused to allow them back in ever since. Only when those driven out (and therefore disenfranchised) in 1948 are allowed back and given the vote, will Palestine/Israel be a democracy. All it is now is an ethnocracy, just like white South Africa before apartheid was consigned to the dustbin of history.

2) Arafat is a terrorist. You simply cannot place the reactive, retail violence of an occupied, oppressed, and colonised people on the same level as the wholesale violence of those who occupy, oppress, and colonise them. International law rightly recognises the right of an occupied, oppressed, and colonised people to resist occupation and colonisation by any means. It does not, however, recognise anyone's right to occupy or colonise another people's land. Arafat was not a terrorist. He was a freedom fighter. The settler-colonial apartheid state of Israel is the only terrorist here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Guardian's Skewed Coverage of Palestine/Israel

What happens when a news site is under the control of a Zionist editor - in this case, The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland?

Here's the sobering conclusion to Ben White's piece, How the Guardian continues to exclude Palestinians from its comments page:

"As shown by the absence of voices from the West Bank and Gaza, or the lack of a Palestinian perspective on critical issues such as Zionism, when it comes to The Guardian's comment pages, Palestine is just not a story - and when it is, it's an Israeli one." (middleeastmonitor.com, 28/11/16)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Road Not Taken

From beginning (1917) to end (?), Palestine and its people have been comprehensively shafted by the international order. Arguably, the worst ever milestone in this process was UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which proposed the partitioning of British Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

It should rightly be viewed as the most shameful resolution ever passed by the United Nations in its now entire 71-year history, and today marks the 69th anniversary of its passing.

But the UN didn't have to go down the road to partition/ perdition in Palestine. If the UN had voted to refer the matter of Palestine's future to the International Court of Justice, as recommended by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP)'s Sub-Committee 2 (instead of settling for partition, as advised by Sub-Committee 1), the Palestinian people would, in all likelihood, have been spared the agony they have gone through now for the past 60 plus decades, and are still going through today.

Here is the first part of the concluding section of Sub-Committee 2's Draft Resolution Referring Certain Legal Questions to The International Court of Justice. The next time you here a Zionist banging on about Partition Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, remember this document: 

The General Assembly 

Considering that the Palestine question raises certain legal issues connected, inter alia, with the inherent right of the indigenous population of Palestine to their country and to determine its future, the pledges and assurances given to the Arabs in the First World War regarding the independence of Arab countries, including Palestine, the validity and scope of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, the effect on the Mandate of the dissolution of the League of Nations and of the declaration by the Mandatory Power of its intention to withdraw from Palestine,

Considering that the Palestine question also raises other legal issues connected with the competence of the United Nations to recommend any solution contrary to the Covenant of the League of Nations or the Charter of the United Nations, or to the wishes of the majority of the people of Palestine,

Considering that doubts have been expressed by several Member States concerning the legality under the Charter of any action by the United Nations, or by any Member State or group of Member States, to enforce any proposal which is contrary to the wishes, or is made without the consent, of the majority of the inhabitants of Palestine,

Considering that these questions involve legal issues which so far have not been pronounced upon by an impartial or competent tribunal, and that it is essential that such questions be authoritatively determined before the United Nations can recommend a solution of the Palestine question with the principles of justice and international law,

Resolves to request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion under Article 96 of the Charter and Chapter IV of the Statute of the Court on the following questions:

(a) Whether the indigenous population of Palestine has not an inherent right to Palestine and to determine its future constitution and government;

(b) Whether the pledges and assurances given by Great Britain to the Arabs during the First World War (including the Anglo-French Declaration of 1918) concerning the independence and future of Arab countries at the end of the war did not include Palestine;

(c) Whether the Balfour Declaration, which was made without the knowledge or consent of the indigenous population of Palestine, was valid and binding on the people of Palestine, or consistent with the earlier or subsequent pledges and assurances given to the Arabs;

(d) Whether the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine regarding the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine are in conformity or consistent with the objectives and provisions of the Covenant of the League of Nations (in particular Article 22), or are compatible with the provisions of the Mandate relating to the development of self-government and the preservation of the rights and position of the Arabs of Palestine;

(e) Whether the legal basis for the Mandate for Palestine has not disappeared with the dissolution of the League of Nations, and whether it is not the duty of the Mandatory Power to hand over power and administration to a government of Palestine representing the rightful people of Palestine;

(f) Whether a plan to partition Palestine without the consent of the majority of its people is consistent with the objectives of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and with the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine;

(g) Whether the United Nations is competent to recommend either of the two plans and recommendations of the majority or minority of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, or any other solution involving partition of the territory of Palestine, or a permanent trusteeship over any city or part of Palestine, without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine;

(h) Whether the United Nations, or any of its Member States, is competent to enforce or recommend the enforcement of any proposal concerning the constitution and future government of Palestine, in particular, any plan of partition which is contrary to the wishes, or adopted without the consent of, the inhabitants of Palestine,

Instructs the Secretary-General to transmit this resolution to the International Court of Justice, accompanied by all the documents likely to throw light upon the questions under reference.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Good Grief!

Where would we be without Islit? Just imagine having to make do with Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Zola and the rest!

An extract from Jonathan Freedland's promo of David Grossman (David Grossman: 'You have to act against the gravity of grief - to decide you won't fail' Guardian, 26/11/16), annotated:

"The turning point was the 1967 war, when Israel gained the territories it has occupied ever since." 

Gained? Just fell into Israel's lap! As these things do.

"He sees that as a kind of navigational error, when Israel strayed off course..."

Israel as babe in the woods. See also, 'We live in a tough neighborhood.'

"I suggest to him that plenty, especially on the European left, would dispute the notion that all was fine until 1967: their disagreement would go further back, to the circumstances of Israel's founding in 1948."

Well they would, wouldn't they? Only a leftie could possibly believe such things!

"'I do not want to idealise the Israel before 1967,' he replies. 'Of course there are terrible things that happened in '48'."

Of course, but,

"'... before '67, there was still a hope that things can be corrected, that we are not doomed to continue to fight with our neighbours for another 50 years'."

Yeah, we thought then that all those bloody Palestinians we'd taken such time and trouble to drive out in '48 would just get up off their bums and somehow blend in with the Jordanians, Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese, and let them know just how wonderful we are so they'd all be banging on our door, wanting to open embassies.

"'To live by the sword and to die by the sword'."

Or rather, us living by the sword, and them dying by it.

"'What we have now is the belief that this is the only option open to us. That there is a kind of divine decree... It was not like that before 67'."

 Yep, us living by the sword, and them dying by it. You know how it goes: "When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations... and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy."

"It is this fatalism, this defeatist sense among his fellow Israelis that the situation with the Palestinians is immutable, an act of God or nature that cannot be reversed, that incenses Grossman most. It turns the Israelis into a nation of victims, he says, helpless before their fate."

But not quite so helpless that they can't blame their victims!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

'It Would Be Good to Have Some Anti-Semitism in America'

Says Yaron London, Israeli media personality and journalist:

"A world view which supports white supremacy matches our government's interests. If Trump's people are more disgusted by Arabs than they are by Jews (the liberals, the Wall Street people, journalists from the East coast, lovers of black people, Hillary Clinton's friends) we have struck quite a good deal. Trump and his friends see Israel as a forefront against the barbarians...

"To do the Netanyahu government justice, let me qualify my statement by saying that all forms of Zionism hold the perception that a certain extent of anti-Semitism benefits the Zionist enterprise. To put it more sharply, anti-Semitism is the generator and ally of anti-Semitism. Masses of Jews leave their place of residence only when their economic situation and physical safety are undermined. Masses of Jews are shoved to this country rather than being attracted to it. The yearning for the land of Zion and Jerusalem is not strong enough to drive millions of Jews to the country they love and make them hold onto its clods. As the Jews in Israel long for immigrants with a certain affiliation to their people, and as Zionism... needs constant justification we have a secret hope in our hearts that a moderate anti-Semitic wave, along with a deterioration of the economic situation in their countries of residence will make Diaspora Jews realize that they belong with us.

"Is proof even necessary? No one will protest the assertion that the rise in anti-Semitism in France gave us some satisfaction... Furthermore, no one can deny that the economic crisis in the Soviet empire, coupled with the nesting anti-Semitism there, were the cause of the immigration to Israel of about 1 million Jews and their non-Jewish relatives... Neither can anyone contradict the embarrassing fact that Israel worked to lock the gates to the US, the opening of which may have directed many of these Jews and their relatives there... It was not the Jewish immigrants' welfare that we saw before our eyes, but the state's reinforcement. While the act of blocking and directing the Jews to Israel is ethically dubious, it was justified by the Zionist ideology which asserts that a normalization of the Jewish situation - in other words, concentrating the Jewish people in its own territory - is the only thing that will save us from another Holocaust and, according to some people will even speed up the Messiah's arrival.

"The Jews' comfortable situation in America raises doubts as to whether it was worthwhile to gamble on the establishment of a Jewish state... In order to remove these malignant doubts, it would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America. Not serious anti-Semitism, not pogroms, not persecutions that will empty America from its Jews, as we need them there, but just a taste of this pungent stuff, so that we can restore our faith in Zionism." (Why Israel isn't shocked by anti-Semitism in the White House, ynetnews.com, 21/11/16)

Just another reiteration that Zionism & anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Latest Rambotic Drivel...

... from the latest bunch of Rambots to take the bait earlier this month and report back:

James Massola (Fairfax): "Peace... is an abstract notion, something that everyone would like. The talks that are underway at the moment are really lip service and are unlikely to go anywhere in the short-term... I did see that there are some green shoots, some causes for optimism there. The vast majority of Israelis do actually sit for peace and a two-state solution." (Journalists report back on their mission to Israel, jwire.com.au, 23/11/16)

That's right, James, they sit for peace and stand for occupation.

I assume that jwire is paraphrasing James here:

"Causes for such optimism include a community-based initiative called Roots which attempts to sort out grievances such as safety and community issues in the West Bank. The organisation aims to shift violence and disputes towards trust, empathy and mutual support between Palestinians and Israelis."

Grievances such as safety and community issues...

But not grievances like Israeli occupation boots on Palestinian necks?

Shift violence and disputes...

But not occupying Israeli troops and settlers out of the West Bank?

My God, if CHIEF POLITICAL REPORTER Massola hasn't got what it takes to see this kind of window-dressing for what it is, why would you bother reading any of his reports in the Sydney Morning Herald?

Luke Malpass (Australian Financial Review): "Being on the ground and understanding the very human pressures that are faced was completely invaluable. And I look on the conflict and the achievement of the Jewish State of 70 years to build itself up out of the desert very differently."

*Sigh* Poor old Luke... still hooked on that hoary old 'making the desert bloom' line.

9 Rambots attended, but the only other names we get from jwire are these:

Andrew Clennell (Daily Telegraph)
Calliste Weitenberg (SBS)
Amelia Brace (Channel 7)
Anthony Klan (The Australian)
Vish Wishwanathan (The Indian Telegraph)

SO WHO ARE THE OTHER 2 NO-SHOWS? Just along for the ride? Just couldn't bring themselves to mouth the words? ('So sorry, Vic, I'm down with a bug.')

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ya Yassmin...

As I've wondered before, what other Australian embassy carries on like our embassy in Israel? (For the backstory on this, just click on the Dave Sharma label below.) Anyhow, here's the latest:

"Australia's embassy in Israel has hosted Yassmin Abdel Magied a prominent young Australian voice on gender equality, overcoming unconscious bias, and women's empowerment... Her flying visit included a morning spent at Tel Aviv's Bialik Rogozin School for... students from underprivileged backgrounds... Yassmin lectured to a packed auditorium at the Tel Aviv University on overcoming bias in the workplace..." (Australia embassy hosts prominent young activist, jwire.com.au, 23/11/16)

Yassmin, 25, is described by jwire as being born in Sudan and migrating to Australia at the age of two; "a qualified mechanical engineer with years of working on an oilrig"; a "founder of Youth Without Borders"; "Young Australian Muslim of the Year"; and an "amateur boxer, racing car designer, footballer and motorsport enthusiast."

I'll try to be as charitable as I can here, OK?

Obviously, Yassmin's 25 years on planet earth have been so frenetic that she simply hasn't had the time to put 2+2 together on the subject of Israel. Otherwise, the enormous irony inherent in the prospect of lecturing the beneficiaries of an apartheid regime on the subject of workplace (or any other kind of) bias would have dissuaded her from agreeing to play the useful fool for Israel.

***

Now since writing the above, I notice from Yassmin's tweets that Tel Aviv was just one stop (18/11) on 'Yassmin's Middle East Speaking Tour, and followed an appearance in Ramallah (14-15/11). She's also tweeted (22/11) that she's got a copy of Joe Sacco's wonderful graphic history, Palestine. Perhaps this was presented to her in Ramallah. Let's hope she's now engrossed in reading it, cover to cover, that the proverbial light bulb is growing ever brighter in her head, and that it's the beginning of an intellectual journey.

Cross fingers...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

'Trump's Aussie Mates'

"Mark Latham, Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean, or 'Trump's Aussie Mates', have teamed up for a new panel show on Sky News called Outsiders. It'a an answer to the ABC's Insider program, the embodiment of an out-of-touch, inner-city Leftist class, according to the trio. Former Labor Party leader, Latham, former Howard government frontbencher, Cameron, and editor of The Spectator magazine, Rowan Dean, hosted a US election-day function called Trump's Aussie Mates on November 9 in Sydney. High on Donald Trump's unexpected victory, the three men joined Sky's Paul Murray Live that night to discuss and celebrate what had just transpired." (Trio trumpeting views from the outside, Jake Mitchell, The Australian, 21/11/16)

For the dirt on all three of 'Trump's Aussie Mates', just click on the labels below.

All I want to do here is ask whether this is the same Mark Latham who poured scorn on what he called Labor's 'Little Americans', or the 'Big Mac faction', in his 2005 book, The Latham Diaries, and who wrote there (p 393) that:

1) "The Americans have made us a bigger target in the War against Terror."
2) "The truth is, the Americans need us more than we need them."
3) "The Alliance is the last manifestation of the White Australia mentality."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

His Advice & Mine

"The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 27 of those people are from second and third-generation Lebanese-Muslim background." Peter Dutton, Immigration Minister, 21/11/16

The advice I have is that of the unknown number of people who have been charged (or should have been charged) with terrorist-related offences against the indigenous inhabitants of this country, just about every one is from a first, second, third, fourth, and fifth--generation Anglo-Christian background.

From Norman Vincent Peale to Steve Bannon

And from Bannon to Breitbart to Israel:

"It's hard to think of Steve Bannon as a low-profile guy... He is the executive chairman of the hard-right Breitbart News and the US president-elect chose Bannon last week as his chief strategist and senior counsellor... Here are a few things you've probably read about Steve Bannon in the past week: He's a white supremacist, bigot and anti-Semite... He's associated with the 'alt right' movement that, according to the New York Times, delights in 'harassing Jews, Muslims and other vulnerable groups by spewing shocking insults on social media'.

"Bannon is an aggressive political scrapper, but he says his views bear no relation to the media's description... Anti-Semitic? 'Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site in the United States of America. I have Breitbart Jerusalem which I have Aaron Klein run with about 10 reporters there. We've been a leader in stopping this BDS movement in the United States, we're a leader in the reporting of young Jewish students being harassed on American campuses, we've been a leader on reporting on the terrible plight of the Jews in Europe.' He adds that given his many Jewish partners and writers, 'guys like Joel Pollak, these claims of anti-Semitism just aren't serious'...

"He acknowledges the site is 'edgy' but insists it is 'vibrant'. He offers his own definition of the alt-right movement and explains how he sees it fitting into Breitbart. 'Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.' But he says Breitbart is also a platform for 'libertarians', Zionists, 'the conservative gay community', 'proponents for restrictions on gay marriage', 'economic rationalism' and 'populism' and 'the anti-establishment'." (The Donald's 'cloven-hoofed devil' has no interest in being the story, Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal/ The Australian, 21/11/16)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meet 'Mad Dog' Mattis

Say what you will about Donald ('Grab Them by the Pussy') Trump, we can at least take some courage from the fact that that he'll be advised by some of the best and brightest (not to mention feminist) minds America has to offer. For example: 

"General James Mattis, who retired in 2013 after a 44-year career, met Mr Trump yesterday at the president-elect's golf club... A senior commander in Afghanistan and Iraq, he fell out of favour during the Obama administration for his tough stance on Iran. The selection of General Mattis as defence secretary would cap a national security team that is strikingly more bellicose and uncompromising than that of Mr Obama.

"General Mattis, 66, nicknamed 'Mad Dog', attracted controversy and admiration in 2005 when he said shooting Taliban fighters was fun and mocked their sexual potency. 'You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil,' he said. 'You know guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling.'

"A year earlier he had commanded US marines in the battle of Fallujah. During the Iraq invasion, a young platoon commander was shocked to find General Mattis, then a brigadier-general, in a fighting hole with a sergeant and a lance corporal. General Mattis used the dictum: 'Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.' He was also nicknamed the 'warrior monk' and is said to own more than 7000 books. He impressed on his troops the need to be culturally sensitive and stressed that humanitarian actions would undermine the Islamist enemies." (Carter & Clapper seek to oust admiral eyed by new president, AFP, The Sunday Times/ The Australian, 21/11/16)

7,000 books? Check out these li'l beauties from LtGen James Mattis' Reading List, Small Wars Journal (5/6/07):

Israel's Lebanese War, A Preliminary Assessment - Dr. Martin van Creveld, The RUSI Journal, October 2006
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War & Unholy Terror - Bernard Lewis
What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East - Bernard Lewis
From Beirut to Jerusalem - Thomas Friedman
Hatred's Kingdom - Dore Gold
The Arab Mind - Raphael Patai
A Peace to End All Peace - David Fromkin
The Arab Israeli Wars - Chaim Herzog

No nasty Edward Said stuff there...

Monday, November 21, 2016

From Neoliberalism to Neofascism

There is much truth in this post-election statement by Cornel West, US philosopher, academic, social activist, author, public intellectual and member of the Democratic Socialists of America:

"The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishment in the Democratic and Republican parties - both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians. The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order - a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

"White working- and middle-class fellow citizens - out of anger and anguish - rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process. This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

"What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and were obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse - and to protect precious rights and liberties.

"The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. Rightwing attacks on Obama - and trump-inspired racist hatred of him - have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering - be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence. In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

"In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history - even as it seems our democracy is slipping away. We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy - such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence. As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do. For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe." (Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here, theguardian.com, 17/11/16)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My Problem with Stan Grant

"As a reporter I have seen the human debris from this clash of cultures, religions, civilisations and identities: think Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda; Sunni and Shia throughout the Middle East; Hindu and Muslim in India and Pakistan; and Israeli versus Palestinian." (The identity trap, Stan Grant, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/11/16)

This show pony has no idea if he thinks Palestine/Israel is all about identity politics.

Frankly, 'reporters' who swan around the planet, scribbling away, without first taking the trouble to read a few reputable histories of the people and places they're reporting on, are bad enough, but those who haven't got the wit to recognise a colonial dynamic when it's raging all around them really get me down.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Inside Trump's Bubble

"Mr Trump has long lived in a bubble of his own creation... 'The reason my hair looks so neat all the time is because I don't have to deal with the elements very often,' Mr Trump wrote in his 2004 book, How to Get Rich. 'I live in the building where I work. I take an elevator from my bedroom to my office. The rest of the time, I'm either in my stretch limousine, my private jet, my helicopter, or my private club in Palm Beach, Florida'." (Trump swaps one cloistered life for another, AP, The Australian, 17/11/16)

"Norman Vincent Peale was... a bestselling author. In 1952 he published a book called The Power Of Positive Thinking, which sold millions of copies. It also launched the positive thinking movement with its motivational speakers, its role in business morale conferences and its shelves of self-help books. Positive thinking has become one of the most influential modern ideas, particularly in America... The first chapter of Peale's bestseller, Believe in Yourself, begins like this: 'Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.' Positive thinkers accompany this belief with another. You can make things happen by wanting them to happen. You can change things by believing strongly enough in change. If change does not happen it just means that you didn't believe it enough...

"Peale is, along with [his property developer father] Fred, the only person Trump openly calls a mentor... Peale, he said, 'would install a very positive feeling about God that also made me feel positive about myself'. As Trump put it in the early 1980s: 'The mind can overcome any obstacle. I never think of the negative.' The business career, the politics and even the boasting (Trump overlooked the requirement to be humble) all bear the imprint of Peale and of the positive thinking movement. 'There is nobody like me. Nobody.' Who on earth would say something like that? Let alone write it down in a campaign book. The answer is someone who believes that saying it makes it come true. Someone who thinks that you have to believe in yourself in order to be happy and successful. Ditto: 'I'm rich. I mean, I'm really rich. I've earned more money than even I thought I would - and I've had some pretty big dreams.' Positive thinking teaches you that you can believe yourself rich." (Power of positive thinking: I think, so I can, Daniel Finkelstein, The Times/ The Australian, 17/11/16)