In the face of an ailing Fairfax press, a tepid, harassed and self-censoring ABC, and a ferociously zioconservative Murdoch press, I assume that some (how many?) Australians are turning to the online Guardian website as a news source. Few, I imagine, are aware that, with Jonathan Freedland at the helm, the Guardian is virtually a no-go zone for critical commentary on the subject of Palestine/Israel.
It should come as no surprise then to find there Guardian columnist Giles Fraser's warm and fuzzy, Israel-you're-better-than-this rubbish: You'd think that Israel, of all places, would respect its refugees: Africans facing genocide are making a modern-day Exodus, fleeing through the Sinai. But the Israeli government has no time for non-Jewish asylum seekers (17/6/16).
"At the [Tel Aviv] bus station, I meet up with Mutasim Ali. who runs an advice centre for African refugees. He tells me that as legitimate refugees the state cannot deport them. Instead, the government is 'making conditions so hopeless that asylum seekers feel they have no choice but to leave'. Officially classed as 'infiltrators', they are subject to daily racism and harassment, being taken to the miserable Holot detention centre in the Negev, for no other reason, he says, than to 'break your spirit' and 'stop you integrating into Israeli society'. Some are offered cash sums of up to $3,500 to get on a flight to Rwanda or Uganda and basically bugger off. All of which is massively disappointing from the government of a country that inspired the first international agreement protecting the rights of refugees."
The problem here, of course, is a complete absence of context. The entire piece makes no reference whatever to Israel as a nation founded on the forced deportation of up to a million Palestinian Arabs in 1948.
Any who tried to return were shot out of hand as infiltrators.
Those Palestinians now under occupation, many of them the descendants of 1948 refugees, are subject to daily racism, harassment and worse designed to break both their spirit and their bodies.
The blockaded inhabitants of the Gaza ghetto, most of whom are also the descendants of 1948 refugees, are serially bombed and shelled, with the same aim of breaking both their spirit and their bodies.
And yes, the idea of throwing money at Palestinian refugees to basically bugger off has, from time to time, been mooted by Israeli officials.
The assertion that Israel has inspired anything even remotely humane with respect to the treatment of refugees is an obscene distortion of the truth. What dishonest, shoddy journalism this is.