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.]