Monday, October 31, 2016

Welcome to 'Rebel-Unfriendly' Iraq

Meanwhile, just across the 'border' in Iraq, the whole country's a 'rebel'-friendly-free zone. Not a rollicking freedom fighter to be found anywhere. Just fanatics with guns and beards who take people hostage:

"Islamic State forces in Iraq have abducted tens of thousands of men, women and children from areas around Mosul and are using them as 'human shields' in strategic sites in the city as Iraqi troops advance, the UN human rights office confirmed on Friday." (IS uses thousands as human shields in Mosul: UN, Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters/ Sydney Morning Herald, 30/10/16)

Iraq's sooo much easier to understand than Syria.

Welcome to 'Rebel-Friendly' Syria

According to the WaPo and their "rebel" sources, the lads with the guns and the beards are rollicking freedom fighters warmly embraced by the Syrian people:

"Syrian and Russian aircraft have laid waste to civilian infrastructure in Idlib and just about every other rebel-friendly area of the country, according to rebels, activists, monitoring groups, aid organisations and human rights groups." (Air strikes hit school, say observers, Hugh Naylor, Washington Press/Sydney Morning Herald, 28/11/16)

But wait, what's this?

"The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura... said 275,000 civilians... were 'hostages' to these fighters' presence... " (Follow me out: UN envoy urges jihadists, The Times/The Australian, 8/10/16)

Sooo confusing!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blairats in the Ranks

Note this fine editorial in the UK's Evening Standard of 27/10/16:

"Yesterday the leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, brought a motion before the Commons to support a UN investigation into the war in Yemen and questioned the sales of British arms to Saudi Arabia, which he claims may be used to bomb civilians. He also criticised the Government's apparent support for Saudi to be admitted to the UN Human Rights Council. His motion was defeated as his MPs didn't back it. But on this, Mr Corbyn was right; his critics wrong. The war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, rivals that in Syria for its catastrophic effect on civilians. Yet Britain, while indignant about Russian actions in Aleppo, is happy to sell arms arms to the Saudi coalition besieging the city of Hodeida, where children are dying of hunger. This is an iniquitous double standard. Mr Corbyn is the conscience of Parliament on Yemen."



Having recently won yet another election as Labour leader against the party's Blairite diehards, Corbyn, the conscience of the British Parliament on many things, now needs to deal with these backstabbing Blairats in the ranks.

As for his Australian equivalent (in name only I hasten to add), Bill Shorten wouldn't even be able to find Yemen on an unmarked map of the Middle East if his life depended on it. No problem finding his way to Israel though.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The War for Israel that Never Ends

Listen up:

"Make no mistake about it, there is a universal campaign for war on Syria. The rise of Hillary Clinton has emboldened the warmongers out there. There are many elements to this campaign. It includes the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties; the Gulf regimes and their lobbyists in Washington, DC; and of course the Zionist lobby through all of its branches. The DC think tanks are now part and parcel of the Zionist-Gulf lobbies in the US capital.

"The Gulf regimes are utilizing tactics of vilification and defamation against Arab and Western progressives who oppose war and destruction in Syria. When you read that Arab leftists have supported Bashar Al-Asad and his mafia regime, do not believe it. I find it hilarious to read such accusations by people who, only a few years ago, were official apologists for, or diplomats of, the Al-Asad regime, at a time when I, for example, was banned by the Syrian regime for years from entering Lebanon (for writings against the father tyrant, Hafidh Al-Asad), and was accused by official Syrian TV in 2012 of receiving money from the West to attack the Syrian regime. While only a minority of Arab leftists support the Al-Asad regime, the overwhelming majority of Arab liberals are supporters, apologists and stooges of the Gulf regimes.

"Arab leftists are on the whole opposed to the Syrian regime and its brutality while also condemning the transparent Western-Zionist-Gulf conspiracy against Syria and the Arab world. Those who advocated the NATO bombing of Libya, and who are responsible for the mess and destruction in Libya today, are trying to replicate the Libyan scenario in Syria under different headings and titles - or under the same headings and titles: the same propaganda techniques are being used, nakedly.

"They are resorting to a variety of tactics and tricks. They sometimes roll out a Syrian supporter of the Gulf regimes and label him a leftist when he hasn't been a leftist for more than 30 years, and when he writes against Arab leftists in Gulf regimes newspapers. They roll out people working for Gulf regime media and present them as neutral observers and as representatives of the silent majority. They roll out former Ba`thists and operatives of the Syrian regime who now pretend they have been fighting for 'peace and democracy' all their lives. They roll out people who have never studied the Middle East, and present them as the foremost experts on the region because they want to push for war and destruction in Syria. They roll out Western journalists who have never before shown any sympathy for Arab victims, and have them pose for the moment in the media as arbiters of sentiment and humanitarianism and as lovers of the Syrian people.

"They roll out Zionist haters of Arabs and Muslims and tell us that they are the real champions of the interests of the Syrian people. They use people such as Obama administration officials who have presided over war and destruction throughout the world, and have them to counsel war and destruction in Syria. They are willing to revive the rhetoric of the Cold War to present the war on Syria as the only safe and rational option for the US and 'national interests'. They even rely on the authority and opinions of a Jordanian regime royal who was installed in the UN to handle human rights from the standpoint of the US-Israeli alliance which put him in his post.

"It is time to raise our voices and to warn of the deadly and devastating consequences of war - or more war - on Syria. Those who still, laughably, claim that there are some secret secular, feminist, democratic Syrian rebels (whose names and identities are never revealed) out there are engaged in the same propaganda which preceded the US war on Iraq and on Libya. The scenario is obvious for all to see. Too many leftists and progressives have been intimidated into not speaking out against Western conspiracies in Syria for fear of being labeled as Asad regime supporters, just as Zionists have intimidated people into not speaking out against Israel for fear of being labeled anti-Semites.

"Don't let it happen, not now, not any time. Western governments and media don't want an end to the war in Syria; they want what have been the most favored Western policies for decades: the continuation of bloodshed by Arabs against Arabs, or by Muslims against Muslims. They want what they worked for in the Iran-Iraq war and the Lebanese civil war, that is, a never-ending war in order to safeguard Israeli aggression and occupation." (There is an orchestrated campaign for war in Syria, and it's in sync with the rise of Hillary Clinton, The Angry Arab News Service, 27/10/16)

Friday, October 28, 2016


Most interesting:

"Public servants and political staffers appear to have made tens of thousands of anonymous changes to Wikipedia that insult a world leader and a former prime minister, scrub embarrassing information and even claim the Holocaust was 'justified'. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has ordered the heads of the Defence, Foreign Affairs & Trade, Health, Agriculture and Parliamentary Services departments to investigate possible breaches of government IT policy and report back in a week." (Wiki mischief: public servants changing encyclopaedia entries, James Massola, Sydney Morning Herald, 27/10/16)

As for the aforementioned "world leader," here are the gory details:

"Someone from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade editing the Hassan Rouhani page so it stated the Iranian President 'is diagnosed with Acute Flatulence Disorder (AFD), causing him to constanty [sic] expel gasses and making it difficult for world leaders to be in his presence'. Another edit stated he was born 'to a family of pumpkin farmers' and that his surname meant 'flatulent' or 'farty'."

Question arising: Is this the handiwork of a beyond juvenile (and overpaid) Canberra brat culture (along the lines of the 'Budgie Nine' brats of recent 'fame'), or is it, in the case of the doctored Rouhani Wikipedia page, a tad more ziopolitical?

After all:

"A pro-Israel pressure group [CAMERA] is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged." (EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia, Maureen Clare Murphy,, 12/1/12)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tom Hayden, A Cautionary Tale

Tom Hayden (1939-2016) died on October 23. He was one of the leaders of the new Left Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organisation in the United States in the 1960s. Despite the strength of pro-civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activism of the 60s and 70s, this did not translate into an understanding of, let alone an engagement with, the oppressed Palestinians, except to some extent by Black Panther radicals.

While SDS activists such as Hayden identified with (and even met with) the Viet Cong, there is only one reference in Kirkpatrick Sale's massive 700+ page book on SDS to the Middle East. This refers to a certain Sue Eanet visiting "leaders of Al Fatah in the spring of [1969]," and writing "an adulatory three-part account of the 'Palestinian liberation struggle' in [SDS's paper] New Left Notes." Sale records in a footnote that "This last position received a great deal of flak from Jewish SDSers, several of whom wrote to the paper with strangulating outrage. But as near as one can figure out, 'Jewish consciousness' was not high among SDSers or student activists generally, who were more likely simply to ignore their Jewish heritage or, if committed revolutionaries, discard it as 'bourgeois' baggage." (SDS, 1974, p 517)

Hayden, of course, would move on from 60s/70s Left radicalism to marry the actress Jane Fonda and carve out a career as a liberal Democrat politician in California. What interests us here, however, is that, in 1982, the pair turned up in Israel, in the immediate wake of Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The mainstream US press reported their appearance at the time as follows:

"Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden, arrived today for a weeklong visit here and said that the Palestine Liberation Organization's terrorist acts and refusal to recognize Israel had made the invasion of Lebanon inevitable. The visit was arranged by the Israeli Association for the Welfare of Soldiers, which has invited several American entertainers to Israel to improve morale." (Jane Fonda criticizes PLO, UPI, 3/7/82)

"Today Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden, briefly visited the Israeli position at St. Anthony's School and watched the shelling [of West Beirut]. The movie star and her husband have been visiting Israeli soldiers and Lebanese wounded in in the invasion. Israeli soldiers crowded around Miss Fonda to be photographed with her, but she looked distant and uncomfortable. Mr Swersky, the Israeli command spokesman, gave Miss Fonda and her husband a private briefing on the military situation. Mr Hayden, who was a leader of the opposition to the Vietnam War, has said that the Israeli invasion is justified because the PLO refused to recognize Israel." (Israelis keep reminding Beirut that siege is on, James M Markham, New York Times, 5/7/82)

So what possessed this doyen of 60s Leftist radicalism to become a running dog of the Israelis, to revive the old phrase, or, to put it in more Zionist terms, one of Israel's useful fools? Needless to say, it's a very American story, only prised out of him by another, much later Israeli onslaught on Lebanon, this time in 2006, in the form of a mea culpa with the title, I was Israel?s dupe (, 20/7/06). Here is a slimmed-down version:

"Twenty-five years ago (in 1981) I stared into the eyes of Michael Berman, chief operative for his congressman-brother, Howard Berman. I was a neophyte running for the California Assembly in a district that the Bermans claimed belonged to them. 'I represent the Israeli defense forces,' Michael said. I thought he was joking. He wasn't. Michael seemed to imagine himself the gatekeeper protecting Los Angeles' Westside for Israel's political interests, and those of the famous Berman-Waxman machine. Since Jews represented one-third of the Democratic district's primary voters, Berman held a balance of power...

"I had traveled to Israel in a generally supportive capacity, meeting officials from all parties... befriending peace advocates like the writer Amos Oz. I also met with Palestinians and commented favorably on the works of Edward Said. As a result, a Berman ally prepared an anti-Hayden dossier in an attempt to discredit my candidacy with the Democratic leadership in the California state capital. This led to the deli lunch with Michael Berman. He and his brother were privately leaning toward an upcoming young prosecutor named Adam Schiff... But they calculated that Schiff couldn't win without name recognition, so they were considering 'renting' me the Assembly seat, Berman said. But there was one condition: that I always be a 'good friend of Israel.'

"That wasn't a particular problem at the time. Since the 1970s I had favored some sort of two-state solution. I felt close to the local Jewish activists who descended from the labor movement and participated in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam movements... While I believed the Palestinians had a right to self-determination, I didn't share the animus of some on the American left who questioned Israel's very legitimacy...

"I can offer my real-life experience to the present discussion about the existence and power of an 'Israel lobby.' It is not as monolithic as some argue, but it is far more than just another interest group in a pluralist political world... During my ultimate 18 years in office, I received most of my Jewish support from the ranks of the liberal and less observant voters. But I also received support from conservative Jews who saw themselves as excluded by a Jewish (and democratic) establishment. However, all these rank-and-file constituencies were attuned to the question of Israel, even in local and state elections, and would never vote for a candidate perceived as anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. I had to be certified 'kosher', not once but over and over again.

"The certifiers were the elites, beginning with rabbis and heads of the multiple mainstream Jewish organizations... An important vetting role was held as well by the American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a group closely associated with official parties in Israel. When necessary, Israeli ambassadors, counsels-general and other officials would intervene with statements declaring someone a 'friend of Israel.'...

"I won the hard-fought primary by 51% to 45%. The Bermans stayed neutral... But that summer I made the mistake of my political career. The Israel Defense Forces invaded Lebanon, and [Israeli counsel-general in Los Angeles] Benny Navon wanted Jane and me to be supportive... Ever curious, and aware of my district's politics, I decided we should go to the Middle East. But only as long as the Israeli 'incursion,' as it was delicately called, was limited to the 10-kilometer space near the Lebanese border, as a cushion against rocket fire. Benny Navon assured me that the 'incursion' was limited... I also made clear our opposition to the use of any fragmentation bombs in the area, and my ultimate political identification with what Israel's Peace Now would say.

"There followed a descent into moral ambiguity and realpolitik that still haunts me today. When we arrived at the Israel-Lebanon border, the game plan promised by Benny Navon had changed utterly. Instead of a localized border conflict, Israel was invading and occupying all of Lebanon - with us in tow. Its purpose was to destroy militarily the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) haven in Lebanon. This had been Gen. Ariel Sharon's secret plan all along."

You can access the full text at Counterpunch. Suffice it to say that copies of it should be compulsory reading for all Young Labor activists aspiring to climb the greasy pole, because sure enough, sooner or later, in one form or another, they will find themselves being approached by a Michael Berman figure, proposing that they become 'a friend of Israel,' and advising them that an all-expenses-paid 'study tour' of Israel would be the-mother-of-all career-enhancing moves.

Learn from Tom Hayden...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Great (Op)Poser

No sooner had the presenter of Radio National's Books & Arts Program, Michael Cathcart, featured Indian ignoramus Karan Mahajan on Monday (see yesterday's post), than he was spruiking Israeli propagandist Etgar Keret ("a virtuoso of the short story") on Tuesday (25/10)!

After listening to around half of the hour-long interview (recorded at a Perth Writers Festival session), I'm afraid I could bear no more of Keret's soft-soaping of Israel.

For example:

Cathcart: So your child was born during a terrorist attack?
Keret: This is the kind of thing that, when I go overseas, which to people sounds kind of crazy but in Israel I don't think it's the only kid who was born during a terrorist attack...

It's the old someone's-always-out-to-get-us message!

But typically, in these set pieces (in the event that one takes this kind of stuff seriously) no one, certainly neither Cathcart nor his interlocutor on this occasion, ever broaches the question why, or refers in any way to Israel's growing mountain of Palestinian corpses (almost 10,000 since September 29, 2000*).

Keret gestures vaguely in its direction ("It's experienced not only by the people in my country but it's experienced to a much stronger extent by Palestinians in the territories.") but this passes without meaningful elaboration or comment. It just is, this "situation where you have to explain to your child what the hell's going on. It's a big challenge because you don't understand yourself why things most of the time have to happen in this way."

*Sigh* WTF is this? Dopiness? Feigned ignorance? Part of the act? Seriously, would you buy a book by an Israeli who tells you he has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why things happen the way they do in Israel - of all places?

The old Israeli 'shoot and cry' gets trotted out a lot on these occasions. Pulls in the clueless every time:

"In the army you go through so many traumas... ethical problems that you know you can't go through it without being a little shell-shocked... "

I know what he means. I recall the recent (last month, actually) case of the poor, shell-shocked Israeli soldier who went through trauma after trauma in the "territories" (never occupied, note). First, he and his fellow ethicists had to commandeer an apartment in a Palestinian refugee (!!!) camp. Then, as if that were not traumatic enough, they had to endure near-terminal boredom on its cramped balcony while waiting for a Palestinian to venture out onto his rooftop nearby so that he could inquire of him, solicitously, 'Where do you want it?' before putting a bullet through his leg.**

"... but in Israel the army is not a luxury, and the idea of not going to the army is the same as not paying your taxes... we need the army to survive and, as somebody who's a great opposer to our current government, it's not good to leave the army in the hands of those who would happily fight the war."

OFFS, the Israeli army has been happily, gleefully fighting Indian wars ever since Jabotinsky first put the Haganah together in 1921.

BTW, you've gotta love this tick from Clive James on the cover of Keret's latest book: "One of the most important writers alive - enchantingly witty."

[*; **See 'Where do you want it?' Israeli soldier taunts unarmed Palestinian man before shooting him, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 15/9/16]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Callow Youth

Zionists propagandists, of course, have a vested interest in misrepresenting the Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonisation and apartheid. However, ignoramuses with no vested interest whatever in misrepresenting it may also do their bit, albeit unconsciously, to peddle misrepresentations of the subject.

Ignoramuses such as BROOKLYN-based, prize-winning Indian novelist Karan Mahajan (32), for example, talking about his novel The Association of Small Bombs on Radio National's Books & Arts Program yesterday morning:

"I would use the word irrationality because when I researched terrorism and... got really deep into the history of terrorism, starting with Tsarist Russia all the way through the PLO and Palestine to the present day, you see that there's this battle ongoing between Western rationality and/in (?) science and between the kind of irrationality and religion, and I wanted to show the ways in which the irrational impulses of terrorism, and bombing in a way is a strange irrational event, it's a huge act of violence which seems kind of meaningless when it happens."

Where does one even begin to unpick such knotted, incoherent nonsense?

Is 'terrorism' a stand-alone subject which can be researched independently of its political and historical context? Who wrote the books and/or papers he read for his book? Could they perhaps have had an agenda? What then was their agenda? Did he have the wit to notice it anyway? What does he know, if anything, about the PLO and Palestine? (Rhetorical question.) Does he really think Israel vs Palestine reduces to science vs religion? And if, as I KNOW, he knows BUGGER ALL on the subject, what right has he got to utter such foolishness? Has he never heard of armed resistance to oppression, occupation and colonisation? Has he never heard of state terrorism? Does he know who pioneered terrorism in the Middle East? (Interesting how he has zip to say about Zionist terrorism and can only invoke the PLO.) And what is he on about with this 'Western rationality' shit? What's that all about? (Surely, he doesn't think that British colonialism was the best thing that ever happened to India?!) Etc, etc.

Sometimes, you find yourself wishing you'd never even turned on the bloody radio.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Scared S***less

"American musicians who support boycotting Israel over the issue of Palestinian rights are terrified to speak out for fear their careers will be destroyed, according to Roger Waters. The Pink Floyd star - a prominent supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel since its inception 10 years ago - said the experience of seeing himself constantly labelled a Nazi and anti-Semite had scared people into silence... 'My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel]. There's me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic Street Preachers, one or two others, but there's nobody in the United States where I live. I've talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s***less." (Roger Waters: Pink Floyd star on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel, Paul Gallagher,, 20/2/16)

I don't think the Zionist mafia in the US could bear a repeat of one of this century's finest and most moving protest songs, Michael Heart's 2009 We Will Not Go Down (Song for Gaza).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Back to the Cold War

It's back to the 50s, with The Weekend Australian devoting half a page to the Hungarian uprising of 23 October, 1956. To the right - a heading, "Freedom First: Hungary 1956, a Hungarian flag, and the caption: "On the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution in Hungary we express our gratitude to our heroes and to those who sheltered and helped them." To the left - a black-and-white period photograph of civilians marching along a (Budapest?) street, preceded by a man carrying a coloured Hungarian flag, and the caption: "New heroes are born where they are not forgotten." No sponsorship notice appears at the foot of the page.

I've never before seen anything like it in The Australian. It will be interesting to see what other Soviet crimes are similarly commemorated from hereon in. Of course, don't expect to see anything similar when it comes to US, British, French or Israeli crimes.

The Hungarian uprising lasted until November 10, crushed by Soviet troops, following their invasion on November 4. Thousands of Hungarians died in its wake.

Around the same time, from 29 October to 7 November, 1956, a tripartite Anglo-French-Israeli aggression was launched against Egypt with the aim of taking control of the Suez Canal. Thousands of Egyptians, military and civilian, died resisting the invaders. But don't expect those heroes to be commemorated in Murdoch's Australian on the 60th anniversary of their resistance to Anglo-French-Israeli aggression.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Secret Fred's Business

Age (82) does not weary him:

"Right-wing Christian firebrand MP the Reverend Fred Nile hid in Parliament House and refused to come out to avoid being served legal documents in a defamation case. Judge Judith Gibson was scathing in her assessment of the Christian Democrat leader's behaviour, telling the District Court earlier this week that evading service of a subpoena was a serious matter and could result in a charge of contempt of court... The defamation case for which Mr Nile was requested to provide documents centres on lawyer and activist Robert Balzola - the head of an anti-Muslim group called Concerned Citizens of Canberra. Mr Balzola is suing The Canberra Times over a story published in 2012 about his opposition to a new mosque. Late last night Mr Nile told The Saturday Telegraph... that since arriving back in the country from Israel on Tuesday morning he had not had the opportunity to inform the court that he had nothing to produce because he was ill with the flu..." (Nile hides in office to dodge subpoena, Kelly Burke, The Daily Telegraph, 22/10 16)

And thereby hangs a tale...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Zionist Humour & Zionist History are Oxymorons

A superb essay by Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook (, 19/10/16):

"It was presumably intended as an Israeli history lesson to the world. A video posted to social media by Israel's foreign ministry shows an everyday Jewish couple, Jacob and Rachel, in a home named the 'Land of Israel'. A series of knocks on the door brings 3,000 years of interruptions to their happiness. First it's the Assyrians, followed by the Babylonians, Hellenists, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, and Ottomans - all straight out of Monty Python central casting. Jacob and Rachel are forced by the warring factions to relocate to ever smaller parts of their home until finally they have to pitch a tent in the garden. Their fortunes change only with the arrival of a servant of the British Empire, who returns the title deeds. A final knock disturbs their celebrations. On the doorstep are a penniless Palestinian couple, craning their necks to see what goodies await them inside. The chauvinism in portraying Jacob and Rachel as the only normal folk, stoically enduring barbarians butchering each other in their living room, is ugly enough. But it is harder still to take seriously an account in which the Palestinians suddenly appear out of nowhere in 1948, as Britain departs.

"A mile from my home in Nazareth are the ruins of Saffuriya, a centuries-old Palestinian town until the Israeli army expelled the inhabitants in 1948 and blew up their homes. more than 500 villages were similarly razed. In places where buildings were left untouched, it is Jews - not Palestinians - who squat in someone else's home. But the falsification runs deeper. Next to the rubble of Saffuriya lies the much older Roman city of Sephoris, where Jews settled nearly 2,000 years ago after their failed revolts against the Roman Empire. A surviving synagogue's mosaic floor reveals that the Jews of Sephoris worshipped the sun, so close had they grown to the area's pagan population.

"Other entanglements abound. In Nazareth's old city is the world's only 'synagogue-church' where Jesus reputedly delivered his first sermon. It is a reminder that many local Jews would soon be calling themselves Christians, and later Muslims. Farther north, in the town of Bokaya, an ancient synagogue can be found next to churches and mosques. For centuries the Abrahamic faiths lived alongside each other in a communal harmony unknown in Europe.

"In fact, contrary to Israel's version of history, the most violent clashes - aside from the Jewish revolts - coincided with invasions by Europeans, whether the aggressive sectarianism of the Crusaders, or the British-backed creation of an ethno-religious 'Jewish state' by Zionists. More usually, Palestine's past was marked by cultural tolerance and genetic diversity. Conversions and intermarriages meant the region was a melting-pot of identities and beliefs.

"Israel, of course, prefers to obscure that history, because it leads to an obvious conclusion: the region needs less, not more, tribalism and dogma of the sort Israel favours. The Jewish majority in Israel lives almost entirely apart from the Palestinians who stayed on their land and are today nominally citizens. Meanwhile, in the West Bank - known to Israelis as the Biblical kingdoms of 'Judea and Samaria' - Jewish settlers lord it over a ghettoised Palestinian population subject to military rule.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been drafting a basic law defining Israel as belonging to a globalised 'Jewish nation', not the country's citizens. And he insists that peace talks take place only once the Palestinians under occupation recognise Israel as such a Jewish state - a condition that, once viewed as risible, has now been adopted by Washington.

"In a sign of the prevailing mood, Israel's education ministry has recently banned from the curriculum two novels featuring romantic attachments between Jews and Arabs. At the same time, the 'green line' that once demarcated the occupied Palestinian territories has been erased from Israeli classroom maps, implying instead that it is all Greater Israel.

"Faced with Israel's zero-sum policies and diplomacy, Palestinians have grown increasingly anxious about the future. Last week a resolution from UNESCO, the UN's scientific and cultural body, gave a voice to their concerns. It highlighted Israeli threats to the most important Muslim and Christian heritage sites under occupation. Recognising the importance of Jerusalem 'for the three monotheistic religions', the resolution nonetheless warned that Israel was exploiting its illegal control to erase the Palestinians' connection to such sites, especially Al Aqsa mosque.

"Hoping to deflect attention away from these criticisms, Israel railed against the UN for denying primacy to its narrative. Al Aqsa must be billed equally as Temple Mount, Mr Netanyahu insisted, referring to a long-lost Jewish temple believed to be buried under the Jerusalem mosque. But the ruined temple's likely location leads to the opposite conclusion Mr Netanyahu has reached: not that the Jews have a stronger claim to sovereignty, but that the region's peoples and religions are impossibly intertwined. That should be the chief lesson for the current Jacobs and Rachels, many of them living in armed and relentlessly expanding colonies on stolen Palestinian territory. the land was always shared, and there will be no peace until it is again."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ugly Australians

"The Australian government is responsible for the deliberate and systematic torture of refugees on Nauru and should be held accountable under international law, according to a major new report informed by unprecedented access to the secretive island. Amnesty International said it had interviewed 62 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, and more than a dozen current or former contract workers who delivered services on behalf of the Australian government, to compile a report titled Island of Despair." (Australia accused of torture on Nauru, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/10/16)

If Turnbull and Shorten can condone the torture of asylum seekers on Nauru, they can also condone the torture of Australian citizens, not to mention the torture of others by so-called friends and allies abroad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All Service & Devotion, & No Reward

As we know, it's damn hard work representing the people of Israel NSW and running NSW to perdition perfection. Here's just a sample of that hard work, with the mere pittance these guys are being paid for it in brackets. Surely such service and devotion deserve more than this:

"The NSW Parliament's Legislative Council has debated a condolence motion in honour of the late Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres. The motion was moved by Christian Democrats MLC Paul Green [$157,112] and was supported by four parliamentarians. They were Multiculturalism Minister John Ajaka [$307,940], Deputy opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord [$196,390] and Liberal MLCs Dr Peter Phelps [$157,112] and Scott Farlow [$157,112]." (NSW State Parliament debates condolence motion for Shimon Peres,, 14/10/16)

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Awakening of Dr Swee

One of the best personal accounts I have ever read of the journey from (Palestine) ignorance to (Palestine) awareness may be found in the memoir From Beirut to Jerusalem: A Woman Surgeon with the Palestinians (1989) by the remarkable and saintly British-Singaporean doctor, Swee Chai Ang.*

Her awakening came in 1982, in the context of Israel's brutal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. Here she is at the beginning of her journey:

"Lebanon and Beirut were were unfamiliar names to me, but Israel was not: my church had taught me that the children of Israel had were the chosen people of God. Many of my Christian friends held that the gathering of the Jews from all over the world into the State of Israel was the fulfilment of scriptural prophecies.

"Israel had my support for other reasons. In London, I had spent hours watching television programmes which showed how appallingly the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Both of my parents had suffered at the hands of the Nazis' allies, the Japanese Imperial Army. As a refugee in a foreign country, I understood what it meant to be stateless. The creation of the State of Israel, giving the Jews a home free from persecution, seemed to me to be an act of justice - even one of divine justice.

"The newspapers said that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon had made a hundred thousand people homeless and had killed fourteen thousand, and this upset me terribly. I could not understand why Israel had done this. There had to be a good reason for it. Most of the news stories in Britain depicted the invasion as an attempt by Israel to flush out the Palestine Liberation Organisation - or PLO - from its bases in Lebanon. All I knew about the PLO was that it was an Arab group which hijacked passenger jets, planted bombs and hated Jews.

"Some of my Christian elders told me that the Palestinians were the descendants of the Philistines of the Old Testament, and everyone knew that the giant Goliath was a conquering Philistine who terrorised his opponents. The tale of David and Goliath had been one of my favourites when I was a Sunday school teacher: I loved telling my kids how little David brought down the mighty Goliath. (I am a couple of inches under five foot tall myself.)

"From the news coverage, however, it looked as though Israel had turned into Goliath: a swaggering giant bringing destruction, terror and death to neighbouring Lebanon. An Israeli leader told the press that much as he regretted the casualties, to make an omelette one first had to crack eggs.

"Crack eggs? That remark shocked me. What kind of 'omelette' was Israel trying to make, and were the people of Lebanon eggs to be cracked? It was clear from the news reports that nearly all of the people who had been killed, wounded or made homeless were civilians, many of them women or children. Bombing civilians is a disgraceful way to make war. The bombs fell for days: on playgrounds, cemeteries, houses, hospitals, schools and factories. Even International Red Cross ships bringing food and medical supplies to Beirut were targets." (pp 1-3)

Now here she is at the end of her journey of discovery:

"The Palestinian-Israeli conflict exists because Israel could only be created over the destruction of Palestine and the expulsion of its people. In 1988, the State of Israel celebrated forty years of existence; while the Palestinian exiles remembered the loss of their homeland. For Israel to flourish, all traces of Palestine had to be obliterated. The wounds inflicted by Israel go on festering; Israeli bombs cause death and destruction; torture and mutilation in Israeli detention camps, such as the Ansar camps, will take more than a lifetime to fade from the memory. And Israelis complain that the Palestinians refuse to 'recognise' the State of Israel. After being forced to give up their country, their homes - even their lives - the Palestinians are being asked to surrender their souls to the victors." (p 246)

[*See Dr Swee in action in one of the most moving talks I have ever heard: Making a Small Difference: TEDxUCLWoman,]

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From One No-Go Zone to Another

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, its editor Judith Whelan is jumping ship moving to the ABC, where she has been "appointed the Head of Spoken Content at ABC Radio and will oversee the capital city radio network, Radio National..." (Herald editor Judith Whelan moves on, 14/10/16)

Whelan was rambammed in 2012*, an experience which resulted in such penetrating 'insights' (delivered at her post rambam Jewish Board of Deputies debriefing) as a) "Israel is unique"; b) because "it is the holiest place for three religions... can we be surprised that it is constantly fought over?"; and c) Israelis have been living "under the threat of rockets, suicide bombers and terrorist attacks for too many years."

Any wonder then that the Herald has been a virtual no-go zone for real news on this subject for, like, forever? (Not to mention the proverbial day.)

Whelan should get on just fine with old Geraldine Doogue and Phillip Adams at Radio National, yet another no-go zone for real news on the same subject.

[*For details see my posts Innocents Abroad (8/12/12) and Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother? (19/11/12)]

Friday, October 14, 2016

Games Politicians Play

Classic grandstanding:

"A state Parliament in Australia on Thursday unanimously passed a motion that described US presidential nominee Donald Trump as 'a revolting slug unfit for public office.' Jeremy Buckingham... from the minor Greens party, introduced the motion to the New South Wales Legislative Council, the Parliament's upper house. 'This house... agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as 'a revolting slug' unfit for public office,' the motion said... Had any lawmaker objected to the motion, it would have been struck off the list of parliamentary business. Because there was no objection, the motion was recorded as having been unanimously agreed to by the Sydney-based house. 'It's great that all sides of Australian politics, from conservatives to liberals to Greens, agree that Donald Trump is a 'revolting slug' and completely unfit for public office,' Buckingham said in a statement." (Australian state lawmakers condemn Trump as 'revolting slug',, 13/10/16)

So Trump's a slug, a sleazebag and a superfreak? So what? He's already toast. What about those with a far greater track record in awfulness?

What about the arms-dealing Obomber - $38 bn to Israel over the next 10 years/ $115 bn to Saudi Arabia since 2009?

What about Killary - "We came, we saw, he (Gaddafi) died. Hahaha"/ Hey, Putin, put up your nukes!?

If this one-time Parliamentary Friend of Israel really wants to make a splash, if he's really more buck than ham, let him try moving a motion calling on war criminal Benjamin Netanyau, who's been invited by the feds to (dis)grace our shores next year, to stay put.

Pigs will fly.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Spot the 'Typo'

"In a recent article about extremist activity among Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem..." (Israelis shot dead during rampage by Palestinian, Ruth Eglash*, Sydney Morning Herald/ Washington Post, 11/10/16)

[*For a backgrounder on Ruth Eglash, see Washington Post's new Jerusalem correspondent married to pro-Israel propagandist, Ali Abunimah,, 18/9/13)]

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Send in the Clowns? Don't Bother, They're Here


"In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten rose in Parliament to back a bipartisan motion calling for a respectful and unified Australia. It highlighted Indigenous people, refugees and Muslims, reaffirming commitment to equal rights, a non-discriminatory immigration policy, reconciliation, multiculturalism and denouncing racism." (Meanwhile in Canberra, an outbreak of unity over race, Fergus Hunter, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/10/16)

Let me get this straight: Israel drove out the Indigenous people of Palestine in 1948 and 1967; has refused to allow the return of Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) refugees to this day; treats its Palestinian Arab minority as third class citizens; occupies, colonises and represses the Palestinians of the West Bank; blockades and massacres those in the Gaza Strip; operates a Jews-only immigration policy; is based on a raft of apartheid laws; is a Judeoculture; and promotes racism against Palestinians in particular, and Arabs in general.

 And yet, in the same issue of the Herald, there's a photograph of the same two clowns, Turnbull and Shorten, signing a book of condolences for the late Israeli war criminal, Shimon Peres.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Palestinian Sunrise

"There is a purple glow over the hills of Moab when the black night melts softly into the day and from the Jordan Valley a white mist rises, rolls up the hills into the lightening sky - a mist which softens the clear-cut ridges and drapes the purple shadows with silver. There is something unreal, fantastic, about these hills. Where the night still lingers in the hollows dark forms can be distinguished - weird forms which change their contours even as one looks.

"Down in the hollow the Dead Sea lies motionless, unruffled, glittering like quicksilver or a jewel in a bed of velvet; now changing its colour gradually, perceptibly, from purple into a shadowy blue.

"For over the hills the first pale fingers of the dawn have come, irradiating the sky with yellow. At first it is a narrow strip lying along the topmost ridges of the hills, stretching from the hazy north away down into the south. Slowly the strip widens, painting the crests with glorious orange, and slowly the colour brightens. Flaming swords cleave the sky, vermilion and crimson, blazing a passage into the unborn day.

"Above me, over the Mount of Olives, the sky is a heavenly blue. Behind, the sleeping city of Jerusalem is silent and still. To the west, beyond the city the night has not yet died, and a fading moon shines, illuminating the house-tops and gleaming on the cobbled streets. A few stars twinkle, sending their last quivering rays on to the city.

"Then all is light.

"The Hills of Moab burn red, reflecting a glory which has yet to burst on the landscape. For everything still sleeps, will sleep, until the sun has risen. Even the birds are motionless. There is no sound, no sign of life.

"Over the hills a slice of crimson mounts steadily, majestically, filling the wilderness of Abraham with a rosy light, spreading across the glittering Dead Sea a diaphanous veil of scarlet.

"Gradually the city wakens and the sleeping birds and beasts open their eyes to a new day. The blue sky, but a moment ago serenely quiet, is filled with fluttering wings. A brown hawk swoops across the heavens, and tiny crested larks fly uncertainly into the morning - silhouetted against a canvas of fire - now darkening - now paling - until the scarlet blaze has melted quietly into the day, and the yellow sun shines high." (Newsgirl in Palestine, Barbara Board, 1937, pp 43-44)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

From Jerusalem to Blue Poles

Remember rambammed (2009), self-confessed "strong supporter of Israel" (which he has described as "a beacon of democracy in a sea of despotism"), IPA nipper (28), and newbie Liberal senator James Paterson advocating in his maiden speech that Australia "formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital... and move our embassy there"? (See my 19/3/16 post Stirring Times in the Senate.)

Just to show you he's not a one-trick pony, and worth every cent of the $199,040 p.a. we're paying him, here's the laddie's latest 'bright' idea:

"When you've got a $40 billion budget deficit, every item of spending needs to be scrutinised more closely,' [James Paterson] said. 'Let's fight that battle once I've got Blue Poles privatised - uh, sold." (Sell Blue Poles & end public funding for sport and the arts, says Liberal senator James Paterson, Michael Koziol, The Age, 8/10/16)

One really shouldn't be surprised. If Jerusalem's not off limits for this drongo, nothing is.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Just Another Manic Rambam*

"The potential for Australia to learn from Israel's 'can-do culture' was not lost on Nick Cater and James Brown, who attended a Rambam intensive study tour to Israel in July for Australian journalists and academics. At a debriefing luncheon in Sydney last week hosted by Rambam organisers, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), both described touring Tel Aviv's high-tech scene and having Israeli start-ups pitch directly to them, as eye-opening experiences... eight journalists and academics went on the trip." (Aussies share insights of Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 29/8/16)

So who were the other 6, and why didn't they attend the AIJAC debriefing? C'mon guyz-n-galz, out yourselves!

Now for those 'insights'.

Gem from Brown, research director, US Studies Centre, University of Sydney:

"The thing that really stood out for me is the Israeli culture of argument."

I know just what you mean, James: up is down, left is right, black is white etc, etc, etc.

Gems from Cater, executive director, Menzies Research Centre, Australian columnist:

"Israel seemed to me to be even more stable and remarkable a country because of what was happening around it. It's not accidental - it's because of the values, principles and institutions put in place by its founders."

What was happening around Israel? You mean, Israel's an innocent bystander in a tough neighbourhood, right, Nick? 

Israeli values, principles & institutions? You mean, Nick, like Jewish supremacism, ethnocracy, apartheid & occupation?

"After speaking with Israelis and Palestinians, Cater and Brown were not confident about prospects for peace on the horizon. 'One thing I found very disheartening was the consequence of the growth of the idea... on the Palestinian side, that any form of normalisation, as they call it, in relation to Israel is a sell-out,' Cater said."

Cater, it seems, would have felt so much better if only he'd spoken to Palestinians who'd embraced Israeli repression, occupation and colonisation. Presumably, nothing whatever about the Israelis, their repression, their occupation or their colonisation, disheartened him in the least.

Speaking for myself, I have to say that I, for one, am very heartened that AIJAC couldn't find any Palestinian who embraced normalisation with Israel for Nick and his fellow rambamees to talk to.

[With apologies to The Bangles.]

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pirates of the Mediterranean

"Israel's navy has intercepted a boat captained by a Tasmanian woman attempting to break the blockade on Gaza. The Women's Boat to Gaza, with 13 women on board including Hobart local and professional sailor Madeleine Habib, was intercepted in international waters..." (Israel picks up boat captained by Tasmanian out to break Gaza blockade, Jennine Khalik, The Australian, 6/10/16)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

43rd Anniversary of the October War

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria, launched the October War (6-26 October) against Israel over its continued refusal to end the occupation of Egyptian (Sinai) and Syrian territory (Golan Heights), seized in 1967. Although the attack took Israel completely by surprise, and trashed its carefully constructed myth of military invincibility, it was ultimately unsuccessful in reclaiming these territories at the time. (The Sinai was later returned to Egypt, but only in stages (1974-1982), with restrictions, and, in full, only after the conclusion of a US-engineered peace treaty (1979) which gave Israel a free hand to invade and occupy Lebanon in 1982. (See my 15/2/09 post A Likud Peace.) The Golan Heights, annexed by Israel in 1981, remain under Israeli occupation.)

So what was it in particular that goaded the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat (1918-1981), to chance all on a war with Israel?

The influential editor of the Egyptian daily, Al Ahram, Mohamed Heikal, records a confidential conversation he had with the president on September 10, 1973. Here's the key extract:

"We turned to the likely Israeli response, and the President stressed his anger at what he called Israel's 'intolerable arrogance.' He picked up the second black file. 'This.' he said, 'is a dossier on Israeli intentions.' He pulled from it a report of a television interview given a month or so earlier by [Israeli] General Dayan, in which Dayan had made it quite clear that Israel was determined to build a new port and town at Yamit, on Egyptian territory bordering the Gaza Strip. Dayan had talked of this as a 'primary military defence line'. Egypt, his remarks showed beyond doubt, was to be presented with a fait accompli. 'Look at that,' said the President. 'If it was only for that one statement of Dayan's I think we should go to war'." (The Road to Ramadan: The Inside Story of How the Arabs Prepared for and Almost Won the October War of 1973, 1975, pp 21-22)

In a word, Sadat had little choice. The sober truth is that but for his decision to go to war, and the diplomatic moves which it set in train, the Egyptian Sinai would be as riddled with Israeli settlements as the occupied Palestinian West Bank is today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Unprecedented Ignorance of Julie Bishop

"The violence and the atrocities going on in Aleppo are unprecedented... like nothing we've seen in our lifetime." (Julie Bishop, in Bishop calls for Syria arms ban, David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 3/10/16)

Especially the bombing of that hospital, eh Jules? Curse that butcher Asad! And yet, which country is usually singled out for blame whenever there's a blue on in the Middle East? That's right, Israel! Our very bestie over in that neck of the woods. Bloody anti-Semitism if you ask me!

Now you and I know Israel has been involved in some pretty nasty punch-ups over the years, strictly in self-defence, of course. After all, it's a pretty tough neighborhood over there, hey? In any case, I think it's safe to say that there's one thing at least our Israeli friends have never ever done, and that's target hospitals, right, Jules? Not like that butcher, Asad, and his Russki mates.

Oh, wait...

"It was at Akka Hospital [in West Beirut in 1982*] that I learnt my first word in Arabic: 'halas' - 'finished.' The school of nursing and the Arab centre for research and specialist treatment of injuries were both 'halas'. And the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) had not lost just one hospital: thirteen clinics and nine hospitals all over Lebanon had been destroyed in this way. Only Gaza Hospital, for a reason I was to discover three years later, was still standing. At the height of the air raids, when the Palestinians found out that every single PRCS hospital and clinic was a bomb target, they put three Israeli soldiers captured in south Lebanon on the upper floors of Gaza Hospital, and radioed a message to the Israeli Army saying that any further military action on Gaza Hospital would result in Israeli lives being lost. That saved Gaza Hospital from further destruction. One of the staff who spoke English told us that Akka Hospital had been a five-storey building before the Israeli air raids." (From Beirut to Jerusalem: A Woman Surgeon with the Palestinians, Dr Swee Chai Ang, 1989, pp 22-23)

[*Bishop, 60, was a partner in the Adelaide law firm Mangan, Ey & Bishop in 1982.]

Monday, October 3, 2016

What Really Got Shimon Peres Going

While on the subject of the late Shimon Peres' crocodile tears over Palestinian refugees, it should be pointed out that what really got the old Zionist trooper going was not Jewish suffering as such but that old Zionist dogma, 'the Jewish people.' (This ideological construct of political Zionism, of course, had nothing whatever to do with Jews as a faith/cultural community subjected to anti-Semitism in Europe). Note 'the Jewish people' tropes in this performance:

"Nowhere in the world is there a people who better know the meaning of personal, familial, and national suffering than the Jewish people. We are a nation of refugees. In our collective memory we carry the history of exile from our country, twice taken from our ancestors. We know our wanderings in Europe, Asia [!], and Africa [!]; the medieval expulsions from France and England, from the German principalities and dukedoms, from Spain and Portugal. We lived with the Pale of Settlement of Czarist Russia, the badges of shame and the restrictions on employment and freedom of movement, even in those places where Jews were allowed to live: the restrictions on education and the continual humiliation, the lot of a persecuted minority. Fifty generations of pogroms and slaughter culminated in the atrocities and tortures of the Holocaust. Even before the outbreak of that terrible war, the roads of Europe were choked with Jews who had been expelled or who were seeking refuge. Jews that nobody wanted and no state was prepared to take in. Even the League of Nations committee could find no place for them, which only strengthened the Nazi resolve to carry out their monstrous Final Solution. After World War II, the Jewish refugees appeared again all over the continent, survivors of hell. With no trace left of their old towns or their families, they had no place left to return to. Destitute, they wandered the roads, with dull eyes and numbers tattooed on their shriveled arms. Only one ancient dream gave them the strength to endure the hardships of the journey: the dream of returning to their ancient homeland, the place where Jews could have a life of freedom and honor." (The New Middle East, Shimon Peres, 1993, pp 183-184)

For Peres, the Palestinians, of course, were just your run-of-the-mill, random refugees. European Jewish refugees, however, were sooo much more - "a nation of refugees"! And that's what really got him going.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What a Croc(k)!

That old Zionist crocodile, Shimon Peres, could sure cry a river over the Palestinians when it suited him:

"It is hard to separate the miserable plight of the Palestinian refugees from the claim to the 'right of return.' For the first generation of refugees, the experience of being a refugee and the culture that grew up around it served as a basis for the consciousness of exile from the land of their birth - the loss of the country, house, lands, landscapes familiar from childhood, and family graves - alongside the hope of returning to their homes. The second and third generations have inherited this experience, a powerful emotive load that grows ever stronger amid crushing poverty and degrading conditions in the refugee camps. The claim to the 'right of return' has to be seen against this complex historical background." (The New Middle East, Shimon Peres, 1993, p 189)

Then, just as all and sundry (ie, politicians, journalists and the like) are sucked in by these tears, those cruel jaws snap shut:

"However, it is a maximal claim; if accepted, it would wipe out the national character of the State of Israel, making the Jewish majority into a minority. Consequently, there is no chance it will be accepted, either now or in the future."

Don't be fooled by Zionists' crocodile tears. Its the snap of their jaws you've got to concentrate on.