Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Emails are IN! 2

And here they are, right on time!

A big hand, folks, for Danny Samuels and Michael Jaku!

And a big hand for the Herald's letter editor (but not The Age's!), who saw fit to cast aside the letters of folks with real concerns so that these TWO Zionist propagandists could spin and obfuscate to their heart's content on the Herald's letters page.

It's all there: aggression redefined as defence; Israelis eternally trying to divest themselves of other peoples' lands (but using loopholes in UN resolutions to justify hanging on to them); Arabs who can only say no; Palestinians who are always walking away; selective facts; eternally generous Israeli offers; and mindless Palestinian terrorism.

Enjoy:

Danny Samuels, Malvern (Vic):

"Tony Walker writes that Israel's defensive war in 1967 didn't entitle it to permanently occupy the territory captured. In fact, Israel immediately offered to return most of the territory in return for peace, but the Arab League responded with its infamous 'three no's' - no recognition, no negotiation, no peace. UN Security Council 242 required Israel to withdraw from 'territories occupied', not all the territories occupied, in exchange for peace.

"When Egypt agreed to peace, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai, more land than the rest of israel and the territories combined. Sadly, the Palestinians walked away from what was generally regarded as generous deals in 2000/1 (followed by mass terrorism) and in 2008, and when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, it received thousands of rockets for its trouble.

"If the Palestinians genuinely accept Israel's right to exist, all other issues, including the settlements (which, as even the Palestinians admit, take up less than 2% of the West Bank) can be resolved.

Michael Jacku, Double Bay:

"Tony Walker asserts that Israel trebled the size of its territory after the 1967 war. Nowhere does he mention the not insignificant fact that Israel subsequently returned the Sinai Desert and Gaza Strip which together formed, overwhelmingly, the greatest part of the captured territory, and it did so at its own peril."

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Emails are IN!

Palestine/Israel is surely the only topic UNDER THE SUN about which a journalist feels he/she has to think twice before presenting the facts.

Here's Fairfax's Tony Walker, for example, writing an opinion piece about the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, which, of course, is coming up for its 50th anniversary next month:

"On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against surrounding Arab states in retaliation for an Egyptian blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba." (Six-Day War has lasted 50 years and hostilities continue, Sydney Morning Herald, 29/5/17)

Such a statement, of course, is nothing if not unassailably factual, right?

 But, hey, since when have pro-Israel propagandists ever allowed unassailable facts to get in their way?

Which is why Walker goes to the trouble of adding:

"Anticipating criticism in the letters pages, let's assert that Israel was a victim of aggression by the Arabs led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, that it had every right to defend itself to the best of its ability and, in the process, make use of territory gained in the conflict to negotiate a just peace."

Well, if that isn't playing the Israeli devil's advocate and then some... But here's the thing, the bottom line, if you will, as Walker so clearly points out:

"What a smashing victory in 1967 did not entitle Israel to was to be a permanent occupier of territory and its people and settlers of land seized in defiance of international law."

No matter, our defenders of the indefensible, our 1967 denialists, have already fired off their editorial vollies to the SMH and The Age, and you'll see their concoctions on the letters pages tomorrow. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Scourge of Saudi-Wahhabism

Secular Syrian, Bassem@BBassem, tweets (28/5) on the sectarian terrorist attack against Egyptian Copts in Minya:

*Yesterday, [the] Egyptian president blamed [the] attack on the militants that left Aleppo 5 months ago. Keep our terrorists out of this, u have ur own.

*Saudi-Wahhabism has graduated monsters that can spray children with bullets and not even think twice about it.

*ISIS claimed credit for this attack but it carries the Muslim Brotherhood signature. Muslim Brotherhood smarter than claiming credit for this.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Classic British Blowback

You reap what you sow:

"[Anti-Gaddafi] rebels living in England have claimed the UK Government waived travel bans to let them fight Colonel Gaddafi in Libya as investigators probe the Manchester bomber's visits to Tripoli. Fighters which included Libyan exiles and British-Libyan residents have described how MI5 operated an open door policy for those willing to travel to North Africa to topple the dictator.

"It comes as Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted Salman Abedi, who killed 22 and injured at least 119 people when he blew himself up at Manchester Arena, was known to counter-terror authorities. Those who travelled to Libya to fight alongside Islamic rebel groups have described how, even though they were subject to counter-terror orders banning them from leaving their homes because they posed a security threat, they were allowed to travel to the hostile warzone.

"When they returned to the UK, having spent months alongside groups thought by British intelligence to have links with Al-Qaeda, rebels were said to have been allowed back into the country without hesitation. Libyan officials have backed up the claims, saying the British government were 'fully aware' of young men being sent to fight, turning the North African country into an 'exporter of terror'." (Rebels 'went to Libya with MI5 blessing' amid Abedi probe, Gareth Davies, dailymail.co.uk, 25/5/17)

But who could possibly have known this at the time?

Well, Gaddafi, actually.

As he warned Tony Blair in February 2011:

"It's a jihad situation. They have arms and are terrorising people in the streets.They are armed gangs... [There are] no foreign correspondents here. We have asked all [the] world's reporters to come and see the truth... [You] can't reason with them. They keep saying Muhammed is the prophet, similar to Bin Laden. They are paving the way for him in North Africa... They want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe. [You] need to explain to the international community. Reporters can come to make sure that this is the truth. They are welcome." (Colonel Gaddafi warned Tony Blair of Islamist attacks in Europe, phone conversations reveal, Robert Mendick, telegraph.co.uk, 7/1/16)

But what would he know?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Abedi's Accomplices

Well said:

"Here's what the media and politicians don't want you to know about the Manchester, UK, suicide attack: Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old who killed nearly two dozen concert-goers in Manchester, was the product of the US and UK overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya and 'regime change' policy in Syria. He was a radicalised Libyan whose family fled Gaddafi's secular Libya, and later he trained to be an armed 'rebel' in Syria, fighting for the US and UK 'regime change' policy toward the secular Assad government. The suicide attacker was the direct product of US and UK interventions in the greater Middle East.

"According to the London Telegraph, Abedi, a son of Libyan immigrants living in a radicalized Muslim neighbourhood in Manchester, had returned to Libya several times after the overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi, most recently just weeks ago. After the US/UK and allied 'liberation' of Libya, all manner of previously outlawed and fiercely suppressed radical jihadist groups suddenly found they had free rein to operate in Libya. This is the Libya that Abedi returned to and where he likely prepared for his suicide attack on pop concert attendees. Before the US-led attack on Libya in 2011, there was no al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other related terrorist organization operating (at least with impunity) on Libyan soil.

"Gaddafi himself warned Europe in January 2011 that if they overthrew his government the result would be radical Islamist attacks on Europe, but European governments paid no heed to the warnings. Post-Gaddafi Libya became an incubator of Islamist terrorists and terrorism, including prime recruiting ground for extremists to fight jihad in Syria against the also-secular Bashar Assad.

"In Salman Abedi we have the convergence of both these disastrous US/UK and allied interventions, however: it turns out that not only did Abedi make trips to Libya to radicalize and train for terror, but he also traveled to Syria to become one of the 'Syria rebels' fighting on the same side as the US and UK to overthrow the Assad government. Was he perhaps even trained in a CIA program? We don't know, but it certainly is possible.

"While the mainstream media and opportunistic politicians will argue that the only solution is more western intervention in the Middle East, the plain truth is that at least partial responsibility for this attack lies at the feet of those who pushed and pursued western intervention in Libya and Syria, There would have been no jihadist training camps in Libya had Gaddafi not been overthrown by the US/UK and allies. There would have been no explosion of ISIS or al-Qaeda in Syria had it not been for the US/UK and allied policy of 'regime change' in that country. When thinking about Abedi's guilt for this heinous act of murder, do not forget those interventionists who lit the fuse that started the conflagration. the guilt rests squarely on their shoulders as well." (Manchester bomber was product of West's Libya/Syria intervention, Daniel McAdams, antiwar.com, 24/5/17)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Zionist Dreaming

The 1982 Yinon Plan (A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties):

"Lebanon's total dissolution into 5 provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula, and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi'ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes, who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today."

The Yinon Plan in action today:

"If Assad wins,' one IDF official in the Golan Heights told me, 'we will have Hezbollah not on two borders but one.'

"Yavne, the brigadier general, similarly described the Iranian influence as significantly more worrisome than ISIS or other Sunni Muslim terror groups: 'If I can be frank, the radical axis headed by Iran is more risky than the global jihad one,' said Yavne. 'It is much more knowledgeable, stronger, with a bigger arsenal.'

"As far as these Israeli officers are concerned, the ideal strategy is to sit back and let both typres of groups duke it out - and work to contain the conflict rather than trying to end it with military forces. As the IDF intelligence officer put it, 'the battle for deterrence is easier than the battle for influence.'

"But does that mean that the United States and its allies should simply allow ISIS to retain its so-called caliphate in parts of eastern Syria and eastern Iraq? 'Why not?' the officer shot back. 'When they asked the late [Israeli] Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the Iran-Iraq War in the 8os, who does Israel stand for, Iraq or Iran, he said, 'I wish luck to both parties. They can go at it, killing each other.' The same thing is here. You have ISIS killing Al Qaeda by the thousands, Al Qaeda killing ISIS by the thousands. And they are both killing Hezbollah and Assad." (Israeli officers: You're doing ISIS wrong, Bryan Bender, politico.com, 22/5/17)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nobody Does it Better

Nobody, not even Trump, does repulsiveness quite like Netanyahu:

"If the Manchester attacker was Palestinian and the victims Israelis, the terrorist's family would receive a stipend from Mahmoud Abbas." (Netanyahu tweet, 23/5/17)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap

Trump comes to the apartheid state to do a 'deal.'

Israel responds by dealing with Palestinian protesters:

"Israeli troops shot and wounded at least 11 Palestinians over the course of [a] crackdown, and many more were hurt when Israeli police arrived and fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrations. Among those shot and wounded was a member of Human Rights Watch, wearing a vest that identified him as press." (Israeli troops shoot & wound 11 Palestinian protesters amid Trump visit, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 22/5/17)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unpacking Trump's Saudi Speech

* Wahhabi Saudi Arabia is to become HQ for combatting the spread of... Wahhabism:

"Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology - located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World. This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership..." (Trump's speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, Riyadh, 21/5/17)

* Ignoring the fact that Wahhabist Saudi Arabia spawned 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, Trump cites...  "the atrocities of September 11th":

"With God's help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed... But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it. Few nations have been spared its violent reach. America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks - from the atrocities of September 11th..."

(After, of course, once blaming 9/11 on the Saudis.)

* Trump, borrowing from Netanyahu's script, illegitimately conflates national resistance movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas with globalist Islamist movements:

"The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams."

* The leader of the country that has done the most to promote sectarianism in the Middle East tells assembled Arab leaders that:

"This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, different civilizations."

(And this as the Saudi army is engaged in a military assault on the Saudi Shiite town of Awamia.)

* Trump takes square aim at the very forces - Iran, Syria and Hezbollah - who are fighting to roll back the Wahhabi/jihadi/takfiri terrorist gangs in Iraq and Syria:

"From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room. Among Iran's most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes..."

***

Saddam Hussein presciently told his CIA interrogators following his capture in December 2003 that:

"Wahhabism is going to spread in the Arab nation and probably faster than anyone expects. And the reason why is that people will view Wahhabism as an idea and a struggle... Iraq will be a battlefield for anyone who wants to carry arms against America. And now there is an actual battlefield for a face-to-face confrontation." (Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, John Nixon, 2016, p 4)

His prophecy of an Arab world turned Wahhabi battlefield has, of course, stood the test of time.

The process began, of course, with Bush's war on Iraq in 2003, which saw the emergence, first of al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI), and then Islamic State (IS), both of whom have since spread into Syria.  But even someone as experienced as Saddam could hardly have imagined the US, post 9/11, both backing ('moderate') and battling ('extremist') Wahhabi gangs in Syria.*

Moreover, Trump's $US460 billion (110bn upfront/350bn over 10 years) sale of WMD to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia will not only enable it to further fuel existing Wahhabi fires in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, but light new ones in Iran and Lebanon.

And then there's Zionist Israel, now a de facto ally of the Saudi Wahhabis, and with an even greater stockpile of American WMD...

Stop the world, I want to get off.

[*FYI: "This chapter [12. Washington, terrorism & ISIS: the evidence] has presented sufficient evidence for us to safely draw these conclusions. First, Washington planned a bloody wave of regime change in its favour in the Middle East, getting allies such as the Saudis to use sectarian forces in the process of 'creative destruction'. Second, the US directly financed and armed a range of so-called 'moderate' terrorist groups against the sovereign state of Syria while its key allies the Saudis, Qatar, Israel and Turkey financed, armed and supported with arms and medical treatment every anti-Syrian armed group, whether 'moderate' or extreme. Third, 'jihadists' for Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS were actively recruited in many countries, indicating that the rise of those groups was not due to a simple anti-western 'Sunni' reaction within the region. Fourth, NATO member Turkey functioned as a 'free transit zone' for every type of terrorist group passing into Syria. Fifth, there is testimony from a significant number of senior Iraqi officials that US arms have been delivered directly to ISIS. Sixth, the ineffective, or at best selective, US 'war' against ISIS tends to corroborate the Iraqi and Syrian views that there is a controlling relationship. In sum we can conclude that the US has built a command relationship with all of the anti-Syrian terrorist groups, including al Nusra [and] ISIS, either directly or through its close regional allies, the Saudis, Qatar, Israel and Turkey. Washington has attempted to play a 'double game' in Syria and Iraq, using its old doctrine of 'plausible deniability' to maintain the fiction of a 'war on terrorism' for as long as is possible." (The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change & Resistance, Tim Anderson, 2016, pp 251-52)]

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fancy Meeting You Here

My God, how does one keep up with the antics of these rejects?

No sooner had former Australian PM Julia Gillard finished kissing the ring at one Israeli university, than another former Australian PM, Tony Abbott (2013-15), was doing likewise at another Israeli university:

"Last night I was privileged to receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University. We may not be Israel's most important friend, but we should always strive to be one of its most reliable. Something that both sides of politics should always agree on. Congratulations to Julia Gillard for receiving a doctorate from Ben Gurion University too." - Abbott FB post, 19/5/17

Now just in case I need to remind you how reliable a friend of Israel Abbott was/is, here he is bowing and scraping at Sydney's Central Synagogue in March, 2012:

"In so many ways, [Israel] is a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy... A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope.'. [Abbott] added that Australians 'can hardly begin to comprehend the existential threat Israelis live under. 'It is so easy for us in Australia to get moral qualms, if you like, when we read about Israeli actions in - on the West Bank for instance - or Israeli involvement in Lebanon. And yet, we are not threatened in the way Israel was and is, and if we were threatened in the way Israel was and is, I am sure that we would take actions just as strong in our own defence. When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I'm concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances'." (See my 18/3/12 post Abbott: We Are All Israelis.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Gillard's Guru

On May 16, former Australian PM Julia Gillard (2010-13) received an honorary doctorate from Israel's Ben-Gurion University, an institution named after Israel's Ethnic Cleanser-in-Chief and first PM, David Ben-Gurion.

It was obvious from her acceptance speech, titled Reflections on a Life of Purpose, that Gillard had found in Ben-Gurion a real source of inspiration:

"I could think of no more fitting tribute to David Ben-Gurion than to have this place of learning and research bear his name," she cooed, noting that he "had one overriding attribute that defined him, his sense of purpose." (Former Aus PMs honoured in Israel, jewishnews.net.au, 18/5/17)

And she's right there, Ben-Gurion was nothing if not a man with a "sense of purpose."

Whether before the Nakba:

"We must expel Arabs and take their place." BG letter to his son, Amos, 5/10/37

During the Nakba:

"The war will give us the land. The concept 'ours' and 'not ours' are only concepts for peacetime, and during the war they lose all their meaning." BG quoted in Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of 'Transfer' in Zionist Political Thought 1882-1948, Nur Masalha, p 180

Or after the Nakba:

"The best solution for the [Palestinian] Arabs in Israel is to go and live in the Arab states - in the framework of a peace treaty or transfer." BG quoted in The Birth of Israel: Myths & Realities, Simha Flapan, p 99

... all this paragon of purpose, this demon of determination, could think of was how to grab as much of Palestine as possible, while getting rid of as many of its indigenous Arab inhabitants as possible.

A most interesting choice of guru this.

(For these and other quotes in the same vein by this most single-minded of men, go to Salman Abu Sitta's indispensable website, Palestine Remembered, and click on 'Famous Zionist Quotes/David Ben-Gurion'.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Corbyn Blinked

The UK is gearing up for a general election on June 8. In the lead-up to such things, it's usual for parties to formulate new, or tweak old, policies. One might legitimately have expected, therefore, in the case of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, a new, world's-best-practice, policy on Palestine/Israel. Needless to say, expectations, often as not, end up dashed.

We'll come to UK Labour's final policy on Palestine/Israel in a minute. For now here's its first draft:

"Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution - that means a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine. The expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank is not only wrong and illegal, but represents a threat to the very viability of the hopes of securing a successful outcome of the peace process. We cannot accept the continued humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and we will support Palestinian recognition at the UN."

Keep in mind that this is 2017, 100 years after imperial Britain created the Palestine problem by flooding the country with European Jewish settlers, bent on turning an Arab land into a Jewish state ASAP (in the words of the then leader of the Zionist movement, Chaim Weizmann, making Palestine "as Jewish as England is English"), despite the wholesale opposition of Palestine's Arab majority of over 90%.

Injustices don't come much bigger than this. But, of course, it didn't end there; every year since 1917 the injustice done by Britain to the people of Palestine has only grown - to the monstrous proportions we see today.

Keep in mind too that the British Labour Party supported this misbegotten settler-colonial project from its inception in 1917.

So, here it is, 100 years on from Britain's infamous Balfour Declaration, which declared Britain's support for a Jewish national home, aka a Jewish state, in Arab Palestine, and this is the best policy on Palestine/Israel Labour - under Corbyn, mind you, not Blair - can come up with: support for an illusory two-state solution - without, note, reference to Israel's 1967 borders - and without reference to the rights of the bulk of the Palestinian population, exiled from its homeland now for over 69 years. No wonder the phrase 'peace with JUSTICE' is conspicuous by its absence in the text.

But even this pathetic sop to the Palestinians was too much for Labour's Zionist fifth column, aka the Jewish Labour Movement, in its current iteration, who deemed it - you guessed - unbalanced.

So these charmless champions of the apartheid state went to work on the draft, ensuring not only that Israel escaped all censure ("wrong & illegal"), but that the victims of Israeli apartheid and genocide, actually got some fucking stick!

Hence the deplorable result, UK Labour's final Palestine/Israel policy:

"Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution - a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. That means both an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements, and an end to rocket and terror attacks. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution. A Labour government will immediately recognise the state of Palestine."

FYI: See Israel lobby claims 'win' over Labour manifesto changes, Asa Winstanley, electronicintifada.net, 17/5/17.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lifting the Lid on the Zionist Daleks of 1948

Let us recall Salman Abu Sitta's words to Uri Avnery about the Palestinian Nakba of 1948:

"Some would say of them [Holocaust survivors] that, if they were brave and not cowards, they would have fought the Nazis who pulled them out of their homes and killed them, not attack, at battalion-strength, a small village in faraway Palestine... and then butcher and expel its people. If they were brave and had a conscience, they would not call ethnic cleansing a 'war' of anything, let alone 'independence'." (See my 16/5/17 post You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 3)

Of course, nothing about this genocidal war against the Palestinian people ever makes its way into the Australian msm, even though Palestinians, both in exile and under occupation, mark it annually. It goes without saying that Nakba rallies in Melbourne and Sydney this year were scrupulously ignored by the msm.

Most curiously, however, the Sydney Morning Herald just happened to feature the year 1948 on its Timelines/Obituary page -  and, lo and behold, one of the three selections turned out to be, you guessed it, as follows:

"The Birth of Israel: The birth of the Jewish State of Israel had been proclaimed in a 'solemn assembly' of the Jewish National Council in Tel Aviv. 'The State would be open to all Jewish immigrants. It would develop the country for all inhabitants and would operate on the basis of precepts of liberty, justice and peace. it would uphold full social and political equality without distinction... and safeguard religious places of all religions." (1948: In the Herald, Brian Yatman, 16/5/17, p 31)

Perhaps Mr Yatman could explain the who, the what and the reason why.

Quite coincidentally, The Weekend Australian of 13-14 May referenced one of the Holocaust survivors alluded to by Abu Sitta above, although the context had nothing whatever to do with the Nakba. It appeared in an opinion piece on the anti-Semitism of the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner, written by the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadaff, and read as follows:

"About to perform an encore in 1981, Zubin Mehta invited those who wish to do so to leave the hall and conducted an extract from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Holocaust survivor Ben-Zion Leitner, who had fought in Israel's wars, strode to the front, exposed his battle scars and shouted 'Play Wagner over my body!" (Wagner's chorus of racial hatred)

And thereby hangs our tale, because, in the person of Mr Leitner, we have an example of the kind of individual (apart, of course, from Uri Avnery himself) that Abu Sitta had in mind when he penned his words.

To begin with, was Leitner a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp? Apparently not. His obituary at the Israeli Arutz Sheva website tells us that he was "a native of Odessa [who] fought with the partisans against Germany in World War II." (25/3/12)

As to to his military exploits in 1948 Palestine, Wikipedia informs us that he received Israel's "highest military decoration, the Hero of Israel citation for heroism during the War of Independence," specifically for leading "an assault that resulted in the blowing up of a bunker at a police position in [the Palestinian village of] Iraq Suweidan which resulted in half of his face becoming paralyzed."

At last, with the mention of the now obliterated Palestinian village of Iraq Suweidan (located in the Gaza district of southern Palestine), we draw closer to Leitner (and Avnery's) dark side, the substance of Abu Sitta's paragraph above, and a matter Alhadeff, as we have seen, nimbly glosses over.

The strategically important, British-built bunker/police station referred to had been heroically held by Egyptian troops against increasingly fierce Zionist attacks until their eventual surrender following the most sustained Zionist artillery barrage of the 1948 war. As for the village of Iraq Suweidan, which is estimated to have had a population of 766 at the time, we know almost nothing about the fate of its inhabitants. Obviously Ben-Zion Leitner's "battle scars" are more photogenic.

In his list of 6 causes for the "abandonment" of Palestinian villages in 1948, Israeli historian Benny Morris, in his 2004 book The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, places Iraq Suweidan in category M - 'Military assault on settlement'.

To appreciate what this meant for the ethnically-cleansed villagers of Iraq Suweidan (and other Palestinian villagers in the area and throughout Palestine in 1948), and to ascertain more precisely what our "Hero of Israel" and his comrades got up to at the time, consider this passage from Morris' book:

"Giv'ati [Brigade] OC Shimon Avidan clearly intended to precipitate the flight of the Arab population of the area, bounded by Qazaza, Jilya, Idnibba and Mughallis in the east, Masmiya al Kabira and Qastina in the west, and Hatta and Beit 'Affa in the south. A preparatory order for the conquest of Masmiya al Kabira, Masmiya al Saghira, al-Tina, Qastina and Tal al Turmus was produced by Giv'ati's 51st Battalion during the First Truce, on 29 June. It spoke of the 'liquidation' (hisul) of the two Masmiya villages and conquering and 'cleansing' (bi'ur) the rest. On 5 July the brigade HQ discussed and outlined its plans for the 'Ten Days' [9-18 July] and two days later Avidan issued operational instructions. The order was to expedite 'the liquidation (hisul) of Arab villages in this area'. The 51st Battalion was ordered to take the large village of Tel as Safi and 'to destroy the enemy's fighting force and... to destroy, to kill and to expel (lehashmid, laharog u'legaresh) refugees encamped in the area, in order to prevent enemy infiltration from the east to this important position'. The nature of the written order and, presumably, the accompanying oral explanations, probably left little doubt in the battalion OC's minds that Avidan wanted the area cleared of inhabitants.

"Operation An-Far was unleashed on the night of 8-9 July, hours after the Egyptians broke the First Truce.  The area covered by Avidan's order was overrun during 8-11 July, with most of the population fleeing before the IDF columns reached each village. Tel as Safi was captured in the early morning hours of 9 July. Laying down a barrage of mortar and machine-gun fire, the 51st Battalion approached from the north and west. After taking the tel itself, the IDF fired on the houses down the slope 'increasing the mass flight, which was accompanied by screams of fear... ' According to the official IDF historian, the fall of this key village caused the mass flight of more than 10,000 Arabs from the area who saw themselves cut off... 'from Egyptian and irregular Arab forces to the east and south.' Beit 'Affa, 'Ibdis, Tall al Turmus and the village of Iraq Suwaydan all fell on 8-9 July, the villagers fleeing as IDF troops approached or attacked; local rumour had it that the Israeli troops had dealt with the inhabitants of Beit 'Affa 'as they had dealt with Deir Yassin'. The village of Karatiya was harassed by machine-gun fire and abandoned by its inhabitants. During 12-15 July, Giv'ati units raided and harassed a number of other villages, including 'Ajjur, Deir al Dubban, and Summeil, and conquered Bi'lin and Barqusya, which were both found empty. The last two were put to the torch, 'to the extent possible'. Reporting on these operations, the brigade's 'Combat Page', penned by the vengeful poet Abba Kovner, a former anti-Nazi partisan and Hashomer Hatza'ir stalwart, declared: 'Suddenly the ground was soft [under the wheels of the jeeps of Samson's Foxes', Giv'ati's commando unit] - bodies! Tens of bodies under their wheels. The driver was put off: human beings under his wheels! [But] wait a minute. He remembered [Kibbutz] Negba [and] Beit Daras [in both Arab troops had killed Jews] - and he ran them over! Do not be deterred, sons: murderous dogs - their punishment is blood! And the more you run over bloody dogs, the more you will love the beautiful, the good, and liberty'." (pp 436-37)

Avnery, I should point out, was a squadron commander in the Giv'ati Brigade, and later, in the Samson's Foxes commando unit.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 4

No reply from Uri. A renewed note from Salman to Uri, 27/1/17:

Dear Uri,

Reading your weekly article has become a ritual for me. It is full of knowledge and appreciation of facts and understanding of the lessons of history. In all matters and about all countries. Except Palestine.

You did not respond to my last letter. Perhaps you thought it too strong and harsh. But it was true. Sometimes truth cannot be answered.

You did not read my book or did not wish to comment. That is not a problem.

Europeans of Jewish faith gave Europe a lot of culture, philosophy, science and ideals of liberation. That was not because they read the Torah daily, but because they were the product of European 'civilisation'. Einstein, Lenin, and Marx did that, and the world should be grateful to them as decent human beings.

Those Europeans, Ashkenazim, aka Israelis, when they descended on Palestine, acted against every humanitarian principle they espoused when they were in Europe. They smashed children's brains out (Dawayima), bayoneted pregnant women's stomachs (Dayr Yassin), burnt old men alive (Lajjun), shot farmers in ditches they were forced to dig as graves (Tantoura), threw them in a well (Sa'sa and Ayn Zeitoun), set a village ablaze and threw hand grenades at people inside their homes (Bureir).

Above all, they depopulated 600 Palestinian localities, the worst event in Palestine's 5000-year history.

They were terrorists of the worst kind. Those who should have known better did these awful things.

You belonged to the Irgun, the 'worst' terrorist group, if grading can be made.

I know that you have spent years calling for 'peace'. But your peace means that the killer should be forgiven, the thief should get away with the stolen goods, and those expelled from their homes should be thrown a few pieces of silver to shut up.

No remorse, no repentance, no justice, no remedy. Just empty words.

How could those settlers live with this double life, liberty in Europe and crime in Palestine?

The answer is schizophrenia. The European Jews, aka Israelis, live in a bubble of denial. A fake world. They shut the world of crime out of their minds and the minds of the adoring West. And preach peace, democracy, science and art instead.

No Nakba. Perish the thought. No word 'Palestinian'. No flag. Oh yes. There are no refugees. Just Arabs who drifted from Arabia Deserta into the land of milk and honey, created by European settlers who came to this empty desert land and made it a paradise.

They are cowards. I say this again.

Some years ago, my nephew, now a professor in Berlin, visited my birthplace, al- Ma'in, with his uncle, showing him the places he knew. My nephew told me this story. While they were walking around, an older settler with a little girl came by in a car and asked: 'Where are you from?' The uncle said: 'From here', and pointed to the land. The settler said: 'Then you are Abu Sitta?'

His teenage daughter, or granddaughter, was curious, leaned over, looked at them, and asked her grandfather: 'Who are they?'

He pushed her away and drove off fast. The little girl must have discovered the fraud in the old man's tale. He did not have the courage to explain. He hid in his bubble.

How long will this last? The bubble will burst one day.

Will the European Jews ever mend their ways? Was their preaching in the Age of the Enlightenment just a big hoax?

Time will tell. At a price.

Salman

No reply from Uri again. From Salman to Uri, 18/2/17:

Dear Uri,

I realise you do not want to reply to my letters. They are either too painful or cannot be rebutted. Certainly, they are not irrelevant.

I keep writing to you since we met in Paris over a decade ago because I think you have unique characteristics.

You have been a terrorist. You witnessed the Nakba, so you cannot deny it. You tried to forge peace with Palestinians, but only on Zionist terms. You have a grasp of all the facts, so you cannot claim that you did not know.

So why are you still in a denial bubble?

So it, loud and clear: the Nakba was the near-complete ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Israel is a colonial project, and its umbilical cord is the colonial powers. God-given, or empty, uninhabited, Palestine is hogwash.

Say it. Say it as a last minute CONFESSION. It purifies the soul, and perfumes the memory.

I am waiting. Because I have hope in human redemption.

Salman

From Uri to Salman, 18/2/17:

Alas, the story is much more complicated.

All the best,

Uri

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 3

More Israelis say NO...

Two years later after miscellaneous correspondence, from Salman to Uri, 10/6/16:

Dear Uri,

Just finished reading you article today (Friday, 10/6/16). I am amazed at how many stories, anecdotes, religious, historical and personal references and insights you marshal in your writings, particularly this one, on Tin disguised as Gold. A wealth of knowledge, I printed it.

You certainly do not live in the Israeli bubble of denial like those who committed the crimes of the Nakba and refuse to talk about them, or even close the archives describing them. You obviously do not belong to the present generation who do not know that these crimes have happened because nobody told them. It is taboo. Israelis live in a drugged world. But you do not. You could not.

Which begs the question: why do you not, then, publicly support the natural right of Palestinians, the natural inhabitants of Palestine, to live freely in their homes?

I do not give a hoot about the two-state solution or the umpteenth-state solution. State recognition is a political act which can be revoked, expanded or cancelled. Look at Europe, or the legacy of Sykes-Picot. Look at Israel. It exists by virtue of political recognition, mostly Western, not by international law.

But Human Rights are fundamental, permanent, non-negotiable - unless humanity is for sale or bartering.

On which side are you?

Best regards,

Salman

PS Did you receive your copy of my book, Mapping the Return?

From Uri to Salman, 11/6/16:

Dear Salman,

Good to hear from you.

I have not yet seen your new book. Am very interested.

Israelis at large do not want Israel proper to turn into an Arab-majority country. They have toiled for five generations to create a Hebrew-speaking country. This is a fact of life, so the other vision can only be achieved by a bloody war. This may change in a few generations, though I doubt it.

So those who want peace have to look for another solution, probably a complicated one, in the framework of the two states plan.

All the very best,

Uri

From Salman to Uri, 30/9/16:

As usual, your article on Peres last week and Abu Mazen this week are spot on. At least from your perspective, which is widely accepted.

I had a debate at Tokyo University in September 2013 with the late Ron Pundak on Oslo, and I said that the Abbas government is a Vichy government. He was upset, not because Abbas was not Petain but because Israel was not Nazi Germany. I pointed out that in 1941 the Nazis signed the 'Paris Economic Protocol' with Vichy for the same purpose (and name) that Israel signed fifty years later with Abu Alaa - who now says Oslo was a huge disaster.

I am not going to ask you if you have read my book. The first edition has sold out, and a paperback edition is due in November. It was reviewed a dozen times, including by the Guardian. It describes my uprooting from my village, Al-Ma'in (60,000 dunums), on which is now perched Nirim, Nir Oz, Ein Hashlosha and Magen Kibbutzim. My extended family is now 10,000, mostly living in refugee camps 2 km away, not once forgetting their right to return. Nirim lies on my father's land, with 174 kibbutz members plus their children.

I have a suggestion, a mere suggestion. Could you contact these four kibbutzim and ask them if they know how they got there in 1948, and if they know that the owners of the land they occupy still insist on returning there? And whether the answer is yes or no, what are you going to do about it?

I know that their existence is precarious, hanging by a thread (the gun). That is why they hide in their bubble of denial, afraid to face the fact. Is there any one of them brave enough to shout out and say, We were wrong?

Some would say of them that if they were brave and not cowards, they would have fought the Nazis who pulled them out of their homes and killed them, not attack, at battalion-strength, a small village in far-away Palestine, armed with a dozen rusty rifles, and then butcher and expel its people. If they were brave and had a conscience, they would not call ethnic cleansing a 'war' of anything, let alone 'independence'.

Could you act on my suggestion?

I hope so.

Salman

TBC...

Monday, May 15, 2017

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 2

Israelis say NO...

Uri replies to Salman in his weekly column, 17/5/14:

Dear Salman,

I was profoundly moved by this letter. It took me days to find the courage to answer. I try to do so as sincerely as possible.

I also vividly remember our conversation in Paris, and wrote about it in the second part of my memoirs, which will appear in the course of this year. It may be interesting for the readers to compare our two descriptions of the same conversation. About the scene near Hulayqat I have written in the first part, which has already appeared in Hebrew.

When I was wounded in the 1948 war, I decided that it would be my life's mission to work for peace between our two peoples. I hope that I have been true to that promise.

Making peace after such a long and bitter conflict is both a moral and a political endeavor. There is often a contradiction between the two aspects.

I respect the few people in Israel who, like Tikva, completely devote themselves to the moral side of the refugees' tragedy, whatever the consequence for the chances of peace. My own moral outlook tells me that peace must be the first aim, before and above everything else.

The war of 1948 was a terrible human tragedy. Both sides believed that it was an existential battle. that their very life was hanging in the balance. It is often forgotten that ethnic cleansing (not a familiar expression in those days) was practiced by both sides. Our side occupied large territories, creating a huge refugee problem, while the Palestinian side succeeded in occupying only small Jewish areas, like the Old City of Jerusalem and the Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem. But not a single Jew remained there.

The war, like the later Bosnian war, was an ethnic war, in which both sides tried to conquer as large a part of the country as possible - EMPTY of the other population.

As an eyewitness and participant, I can testify to the fact that the origins of the refugee problem are extremely complex. During the first seven months of the war, the attacks on the Arab villages were an absolute military necessity. At that time, we were the weaker side. After a number of very cruel battles, the wheel turned and I believe that a deliberate policy of expulsion was adopted by the Zionist leadership.

But the real question is: Why were the 750,000 refugees not allowed home after the end of the hostilities?

One has to remember the situation. It was three years after the smokestacks of Auschwitz and the other camps had gone cold. Hundreds of thousands of wretched survivors crowded the refugee camps in Europe and had nowhere to go but to the new Israel. They were brought here and hastily put into the homes of the Palestinian refugees.

All this did not obliterate our moral obligation to put an end to the terrible tragedy of the Palestinian refugees. In 1953 I published in my magazine, Haolem Hazeh, a detailed plan for for the solution of the refugee problem. It included (a) an apology to the refugees and the acknowledgment in principle of the right to return, (b) the return and resettlement of a substantial number, (c) generous compensation to all the rest. Since the Israeli government refused to consider the possibility of the return of a single individual, the plan was not even discussed.

Why do I not stand on a hilltop and cry out for the return of all refugees?

Peace is made between consenting parties. There is absolutely no chance that the vast majority of Israelis would freely agree to the return of all the refugees and their descendants, who amount to six or seven million people - the same number as Israel's Jewish citizens. This would be the end of the 'Jewish state' and the beginning of a 'bi-national state', to which 99% of Israelis strenuously object. It can be imposed only by a crushing military defeat, which is currently impossible because of Israel's infinite military superiority, including nuclear arms.

I can stand on the hilltops and shout - but it would not bring peace (and a solution) one step closer.

To my mind, waiting for a solution in a hundred years, while the conflict and the misery continue, is not really moral.

Dear Salman, I have listened attentively to your presentation.

You say that Israel could easily absorb all the refugees by putting them into the Negev, which is almost empty. That is quite true.

The vast majority of Israelis would reject that, because they are fiercely resolved to have a large Jewish majority in Israel. But I also ask myself: What is the logic of that?

When I met with Yassar Arafat in Beirut during the war of 1982, I also visited several Palestinian refugee camps. I asked many refugees whether they wanted to return to Israel. Most said that they wanted to return to their villages (which were eradicated long ago) but not anywhere else in Israel.

What is the sense of putting them into the harsh conditions of the desert in a Zionist-dominated and Hebrew-speaking country, far from their original homes? Would they want that?

Arafat and his successors limit their aim to a 'just and AGREED solution', giving the Israeli government a veto right. That means, in practice, at most the return of a symbolic number.

My latest proposal is for the Israeli president to apolpgize and express the profound regret of the Israeli people for its part in the creation and prolongation of the tragedy.

The Israeli government must recognize the moral right of the refugees to return.

Israel should organize the return of 50,000 refugees every year for 10 years. (I am almost alone in Israel in demanding this number. Most peace groups would reduce that to 100,000 altogether.)

All the other refugees should receive compensation on the lines of the compensation paid by Germany to the Jewish victims. (no comparison, of course.)

With the foundation of the State of Palestine, they would receive Palestinian passports and be able to settle there, in their country.

In the not too distant future, when the two states, Israel and Palestine, shall be finally living side by side, with open borders and with their capitals in Jerusalem, perhaps within a region-wide framework, the problem will lose it sting.

It hurts me to write this letter. For me, the refugees are no abstract 'problem', but human beings with human faces. But I will not lie to you.

I would be honored to live next door to you (even in the Negev Desert).

Salamat,

Uri

TBC...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide 1

Tomorrow is Nakba Day, marking 69 years since Israeli terror gangs ethnically cleansed 78% of Palestine in 1948, creating, in the process, the Palestinian refugee problem.

Uri Avnery, is a leader of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc), a former member of the Knesset, a journalist, and, as a member of Menachem Begin's terrorist Irgun in 1948, a creator of the Palestinian refugee problem.

Salman Abu Sitta is a founder of the Palestine Land Society (an organisation concerned with the implementation of the Palestinian Right of Return), and the seminal website palestineremembered.com. He is a Palestinian refugee.

What follows is a 2014-17 correspondence between the two. It was given by Abu Sitta to the Mondoweiss website and posted there on 22/4/17 under the heading 'Why do I not cry out for the right of return?' - an exchange between Uri Avnery and Salman Abu Sitta.

ESSENTIAL READING, I re-post it here in four parts over the next four days:

Salman to Uri 7/5/14:

Dear Uri,

I read with great interest your interview in Haaretz about your rich and eventful life. You have stuck to your principles since the early 50s when you found that the old doctrine was neither workable nor moral.

I remember vividly our chat over dinner in Paris with your kind wife Rachel, bless her soul [at a UN conference on the Palestinian refugees]. You described your early days as a young German by the name of Helmut, when you joined the terrorist organization, the Irgun, and when you, carrying a machine gun on a hilltop at Huleigat (where there is now a war memorial to 'honour' those soldiers) watched the sea of humanity of expelled refugees march towards Gaza by the seashore.

I also told you my story; how I became a refugee without ever seeing a Jew in my life and how I spent years trying to find out who was responsible for my becoming a refugee, by name, face and battalion.

I remember asking you, 'Would you agree to my return to my house if it were up to you?'

You said, emphatically, NO.

I wrote all about this in my memoirs to be published this year in Europe and USA.

I am reminded of a similar story but with a different ending. I refer to Reflections of a Daughter of the '48 Generation' by Dr Tikva Honig-Parnass. It is a moving account of how truth and reality faced her, as a Palmach soldier, with the grave injustice done to Palestinians. Since then she has spent her energy defending their rights, including the Right of Return.

I saw no trace or hint of retraction in your interview of the kind I had hoped for, namely your recognition of the Right of Return, or any atonement for the great sin: the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Would it not be a fitting last station of a long life (and I wish you more of it) for you to stand on hilltops (again) and shout for all to hear, summing up all your life experiences: the refugees must return, we must repent the sin of ethnic cleansing?

Is this too much to ask of a principled man like you to do this? I am not asking on behalf of the Palestinians, because no doubt they WILL return. I am hoping that it will be a crown to your life's achievements in the Israeli milieu.

As I have written repeatedly: The history of the Jews will not be marked any more by the killing of Christ or the Nazi atrocities of WWII, but indelibly by what they have done to the Palestinians, deliberately and constantly, without remorse, regret or remedy, thus reflecting that side of the human spirit which does not learn from history and voids itself of any moral posture.

Best regards,

Salman Abu Sitta

TBC...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Corbyn: No More Playing the Poodle

There will be a general election in Britain next month. In a significant foreign policy speech yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn signaled an end to Britain's participation in further US-led wars of regime-change:

"Today the world is more unstable than even at the height of the cold war. The approach to international security we have been using since the 1990s has simply not worked. Regime change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria - and Western interventions in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen - have failed in their own terms, and made the world a more dangerous place. This is the fourth General Election in a row to be held while Britain is at war and our armed forces are in action in the Middle East and beyond. The fact is that the 'war on terror' which has driven these interventions has failed. They have not increased our security at home - just the opposite. And they have caused destabilisation and devastation abroad. [...]

"And the new US President seems determined to add to the dangers by recklessly escalating the confrontations with North Korea, unilaterally launching missile strikes on Syria, opposing President Obama's nuclear arms deal with Iran and backing a new nuclear arms race. A Labour Government will want a strong and friendly relationship with the United States. But we will not be afraid to speak our mind."

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Tale of Two Women

Before Anzac Day, Murdoch's Australian chose to hammer Sudanese-born Yassmin Abdel-Magied over an innocuous statement on Q&A. And since Anzac Day, it has continued doing so, on an almost daily basis, over an equally innocuous Anzac Day tweet.

While Fairfax's Herald has been reporting on the case of Egyptian-born Eman Sharobeem, currently appearing before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on allegations of milking the public purse of almost $600,000 as head of Western Sydney's Immigrant Womens Health Service, there has been not a whisper about her in The Australian, save for a brief page two mention on May 10 and 12.

But then Ms Abdel-Magied is a Muslim, and Ms Sharobeem is a Christian.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

No, Minister

"Premature" ejaculation definitely not on:

"[New Zealand] Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says he's an 'excellent student' when it comes to learning diplomatic speak. The newly-appointed Minister is being tutored by his officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade after comments which appeared to undermine a New-Zealand-sponsored UN Security Council resolution [2334] condemning the building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

"Brownlee admits the comments were his mistake. 'The Government's position hasn't changed. What we are trying to do is re-establish diplomatic relations with a country that we've had a long relationship with. Under the intense scrutiny of a Radio New Zealand journalist, I used some language that perhaps made that less than clear,' he said. In that interview, Brownlee described the resolution carried out under his predecessor Murray McCully as 'premature' and suggested NZ should not have moved forward with it unless Israel agreed. 'It's something I've got to take a little bit of a lesson from my friends at MFAT who are currently giving me various pieces of advice about appropriate diplomatic language.' But Brownlee gave an assurance: 'I'm an excellent student, a great learner.'

"His comments came after Prime Minister Bill English yesterday said he had spoken with his Foreign Minister and was confident they were the comments of someone still 'trying to find the right language'." (Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee learning the diplomatic lingo after Israel gaffe, Stacey Kirk, stuff.co.nz, 10/5/17)

[See my 5/5/17 post, Brownlee Blinked First.]

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

They Shoot 16-Year Old Girls, Don't They?

Russian Jews first began colonising Ottoman Palestine in the 1880s. Following an 1891 visit to their colonies, the Russian cultural Zionist, Asher Ginzberg (Ahad Ha'am), noted a disturbing trend on the part of "our brethren" in Palestine:

"Serfs they were in the lands of the Diaspora and suddenly they find themselves in unrestricted freedom and this change has awakened in them an inclination to despotism. They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause and even boast of these deeds; and nobody among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination."

That "despicable and dangerous inclination [to] treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty," has only grown since the advent of the state of Israel in 1948. These days, Zionist cruelty assumes forms and refinements which Ginsberg could never have imagined. For example:

"On Sunday afternoon, Israeli police shot and killed a 16-year old Palestinian girl near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Although the Israeli police spokesperson claimed that the teen attempted to stab a security officer, that account has been disputed. The child has been identified as Fatima Abdul-Rahman Hajiji, 16, from Qarawat Bani Zeid village, northwest of Ramallah...

"Eyewitnesses said Fatima was standing near the entrance of Bab al-'Amoud (Damascus Gate), and was at least 10 meters away from the nearest soldier... and that one of the soldiers started shouting 'knife, knife,' before 5 soldiers fired a barrage of bullets at the child. They added that Fatima was first shot with several live rounds in the chest, and the soldiers continued to fire at her after she fell onto the ground." (From Israeli police kill 16-year old Palestinian girl near the Damascus Gate, imemc.org, 8/5/17)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Three NOs of Bernie Sanders

Interview with US Senator (and erstwhile Hillary Clinton rival) Bernie Sanders by Dena Takruri of AJ+:

Last week you joined every single US senator in signing a letter to the UN secretary general saying that the institution is biased against Israel and effectively trying to shield it from criticism...

- No, no, no. I don't accept that. Look, I didn't write that letter, I signed on to the letter. It's not a letter I would've written. There are many problems with Israel.. I have been critical and will be critical of a lot of what Israel does. On the other hand, to see Israel attacked over and over again for 'human rights violations,' which may be true, when you have countries like Saudi Arabia or Syria. Saudi Arabia - I'm not quite sure if women can even drive a car, OK? So I think that the thrust of that letter is not to say that Israel does not have human rights issues. It does. But to say, how come it's only Israel when you have other countries where women are treated as third-class citizens. Where is Egypt, I don't know how many thousands of people are lingering in jail. So that the point of that [is] not to defend Israel, but to say, why only Israel? You wanna talk about human rights. Let's talk about human rights.

Should the UN shield Israel from criticism?

- No, of course not.

This letter also denounces the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement, known as BDS. You are a longtime proponent of nonviolent protests. This, in the eyes of many Palestinians is the effective way to get Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian human rights. Do you accept that?

- No, I don't. I mean, look, I respect people who do what they want to do. But I think our job as a nation is to do everything humanly possible to bring Israel and the Palestinians and the entire Middle East - to the degree that we can - together. But no, I'm not a supporter of that.

Palestinians will say they've resisted violently, they get punished. They resist nonviolently with BDS, they're also punished. We're entering the 50th year of the occupation. We know the occupation has no end in sight. We know that this is a government that doesn't plan on ending it and talks have failed for a quarter of a century. What, if not BDS, is left for the Palestinians to do?

- What must be done is that the United States of America must have a Middle East policy which is even-handed. Which does not simply supply endless amounts of money, of military supplies, to Israel, but which treats both sides with respect and dignity and does our best to bring them to the table.

It's increasingly evident that hopes for a two-state solution are almost dead. At the same time, polls among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are showing that they're increasingly in favor of a one-state solution, with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians alike and equal citizenship. Is that something you believe could happen, or is that something you support?

- No, I don't. I mean, I think if that happens, then that would be the end of the state of Israel. And I support Israel's right to exist.

Do you think, a two-state solution is still viable?

- Yes, I think if there is the political will to make it happen and if there is good faith on both sides, I do think it's possible. And I think there has not been good faith certainly on [the part of] this Israeli government, and I have my doubts about parts of the Palestinian leadership as well.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Book of Revelations

I've just been reading Deborah Rechter's review of Mark Dapin's new book, Jewish Anzacs: Jews in the Australian Military. (Lest we forget the Australian Jews who served too, The Australian, 6/5/17)

And lo, I learnt therein that which I did not know before!

Did you know, for example, that according to Rechter, "the assault on Beersheva [sic: Beersheba]," "lead [sic: led] to the Balfour Declaration supporting the establishment of the State of Israel"?

Whether this astonishing revelation is Rechter's, or Dapin's, or both, I do not know, but there you go: the taking of Beersheba from the Turks by the Australian Light Horse on October 31, 1917, directly sparked the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917!

One pictures Britain's foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, eyes aglow, turning to his War Cabinet colleagues on November 1, and saying:

'I say, chaps, I hear the colonials have just stormed some God-forsaken Turkish rathole in Palestine called... err... Beirut... no, no, not Beirut... B... B... B... that's it, Beersheba - so, hey, let's give Palestine to the Jews, shall we?'

And they, replying as one:

'Brilliant, Arthur! Your logic is impeccable!'

'Isn't it always, gentlemen. Now let's see.' Balfour scribbles away. 'How's this? Dear Lord Rothschild, the British army has just captured Beersheba. Let the State of Israel begin! Now! And seeing this matter is so frightfully urgent, gentlemen, let's drop everything, war and all, and issue it tomorrow, which is, if I'm not mistaken, and I never am (chuckles), is November 2, 1917. Let it be known as the Beirut... no... the Beersheba... no... the Balfour Declaration!

Cabinet, as one:

Way to go, Arthur...

Rechter then quotes a short extract from Dapin's book, in which we discover that which is entirely new to archaeology: "... the pyramids of Gaza..."

***

While on the subject of WWI history, I really can't let this priceless editorial letter (The Australian, 4/5/17) by Howard Dewhirst of Burleigh Heads, Qld, go without a mention:

"One thing Yassmin Abdel-Megied forgot is that World War I ended several hundred years of Ottoman colonialism. Why is it good to recall the disappearance of the British Empire and not good to note the same feelings about Ottoman colonialism? The Gallipoli campaign was a failure but helped to win the war, thereby contributing to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire."

Maybe, Howard, that's because "Ottoman colonialism," as you choose to call it, in the Levant was relatively benign compared to the Anglo-French dispensation which followed the eviction of the Turks there, and involved parliamentary representation, open borders, and, of course, nothing even remotely resembling the colonial-settler, apartheid state of Israel. Lest we forget, indeed!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Trumble & Friends

What a stellar crowd they were at the Trumbull dinner out there on the ocean blue:

Greg Norman, golfing legend:

"World famous golfers designed the courses (my favorite was Riverside, developed by our own Greg Norman and carved out of natural rain forest)... " (Golf in Jakarta - holidaydestinationsaround the world.com)

Rupert Murdoch, NewsCorpse executive chairman:

"A powerful British parliamentary committee has labelled Rupert Murdoch unfit to run a major company..." (Murdoch 'not fit' to run News Corp, ABC News, 2/5/12)

Gina Rinehart, mining magnate:

"Rinehart was recently quoted by the Australian Resources & Investment magazine as saying, 'if you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself - spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing, and more time working'." (12 reasons why so many people hate Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, Megan Willett, businessinsider.com, 14/9/12)

Frank Lowy, Westfield boss:

Of course, our jolly former Golani brigade Palestinian Arab fighter and showerer of $$$ on assorted Israeli 'charities' and Australian political parties needs no introduction. (Just click on the Frank Lowy label below.)

Andrew Liveris, DOW Chemical CEO:

"Liveris also told top Dow executives that it was 'time for retirement' for one manager who had voiced concerns about the hotel cost overruns, according to emails included in Wood's OSHA complaint. According to the complaint, Dow's chief counsel, Charles Kalil, replied to Liveris the next day: 'Remind me never to piss you off'." (Dow Chemical's Australian CEO Andrew Liveris challenged on spending for years, documents show, Joshua Schneyer, smh.com.au, 7/5/15)

Jennifer Nason, JP Morgan & Chase's global chairman for technology, media and telecommunications investment banking:

"Can you share with us any plans for the future of AAA [American Australian Association]? 2017 is the 100 year Anniversary of Australia joining with the US in every conflict for 100 years. We are the only US ally that can say that." (Faces of AWNY  [Australian Women in New York], australianwomeninnewyork.org, 26/11/16)

Michael Wirth, Chevron chairman:

"Energy giant Chevron donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Labor and Liberal parties before and after an enquiry into mining in the Great Australian Bight, sparking claims it is trying to buy political influence. Chevron hopes to begin drilling up to four wells in the environmentally sensitive Bight next year to search for oil and gas." (Chevron donates thousands to Labor, Liberal as it pushes oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, Peter Jean, The Advertiser, 5/2/17)

Leigh Clifford, QANTAS chairman:

"On 23 March 2004, Rio Tinto announced it had sold its 11.9 % shareholding in [West Papua's] Freeport [mine]. Rio Tinto made a $518 million profit. Citing no environmental or social reasons, Rio Tinto's then chief executive Leigh Clifford reassured shareholders that 'the sale of [Freeport] does not affect the terms of the joint venture nor the management of the Grasberg mine' and that through 'our significant direct interest in Grasberg, we will continue to benefit from our relationship with Freeport'... In October 2005, the Norwegian government began 5 months of deliberations over [Freeport's] 'extensive, long-term and irreversible' environmental damage at the Grasberg complex... And so, in February 2006, Freeport became the first company that the Norwegians blacklisted for environmental reasons." (The silencing of West Papua, N.A.J. Taylor, crikey.com, 9/1/12)

John Travolta, actor:

"The film asserts that Travolta was a 'troubled young man looking for help' when he stumbled across Hubbard's book 'Dianetics'." (How Scientology controls John Travolta and Tom Cruise, according to 'Going Clear', Emily Yahr, The Washington Post, 30/3/15)

Wesley Bush, Northrop Grumman chief executive:

"US-based global cyber security company, Northrop Grumman, has chosen Australia as a partner in its new Advanced Cyber Technology Centre (ACTC), which is to be a focal point for cyber innovation across the corporation." (Investor Update: Australia a global centre for cyber innovation for Northrop Grumman, austrade.gov.au, 8/1/15)

Anthony Pratt, Visy Industries:

"'Tonight I'd like to pledge another $US2 billion over the next 10 years doubling our rate of investment to create an additional 5000 high paying manufacturing jobs mainly in the midwest,' Mr Pratt, who was seated beside First Lady Melania Trump at the dinner, said. Mr Trump stood up and clapped while the rest of the room mainly sat." (Donald Trump gives standing ovation to Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, Peter Mitchell, smh.com.au, 5/5/17)

And what did they eat? I hear you cry:

"Guests dined on an entree... of asparagus, quail eggs, frico, mango treviso and basil and truffle vinaigrette. For the main course, it was dry-rubbed New York strip steak with watercress, tokyo turnips, garlic scape barley and pinot noir sauce. Desert, discarded by most guests as they mingled, was an option of Nutella Ring Ding with stracciatella gelato or vanilla roasted strawberries with moscato cream, rubber confit and lemon poppy buscuit and radish blossoms." (Stars & stripes: Celebrities flock to Trump-Turnbull dinner aboard battleship, Sharri Markson, Daily Telegraph, 6/5/17)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Brownlee Blinked First

Remember Netanyahu recalling Israel's ambassador to New Zealand following that country's vote in support of SC resolution 2334 (23/12/16), which declared Israeli settlements "a flagrant violation of international law"?

Well, that vote took place under the watch of National Party foreign minister Murray McCully, who has decided he's not standing for re-election this year. (Could his decision, perhaps, have had something to do with resolution 2334?)

As of May 2, McCully's place as foreign minister has been taken by Gerry Brownlee, who, for reasons which elude me, seems to be in an awful hurry to mend fences with the obnoxious leader of the apartheid state:

"I sent [Netanyahu] a letter yesterday afternoon," he said, "expressing a desire to get the relationship back on track, to recognise that we have had an incident that has caused a problem and proposing that we have a process for getting full diplomatic representation back in place and reasserting that New Zealand has been a long-term friend of Israel." (New foreign affairs minister Gerry Brownlee knee-deep in restoring relations with Australia and Israel, stuff.co.nz, 3/5/17 )

Interestingly, according to Israel's Haaretz, Australia's PM Trumble had raised the matter of the Israel/NZ rift with Netanyahu, who then proceeded to improve on his demented accusation that, in voting for the resolution, NZ had actually declared war on Israel with an insistence that the country move first to repair the damage - in a word, grovel:

"Western diplomats told Haaretz that during Netanyahu's visit to Australia some months ago, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull advocated ending the breakdown in relations with New Zealand. Netanyahu clarified that New Zealand would have to take the first step and make a gesture towards Israel." (New Zealand's new foreign minister wants to end diplomatic crisis with Israel, Barak Ravid, 3/5/17)

Haaretz continued:

"Mere hours after Brownlee was sworn in, he made his first official decision and sent the letter to Netanyahu. 'I've sent a letter to Mr Netanyahu... firstly congratulating them on their national day but expressing a desire for the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track and to do that by recognizing that we've got synergies and innovation and agriculture and various other things like that,' Brownlee told the New Zealand Herald. He added that he believes the letter will enable the foreign ministries of Israel and New Zealand to start talks ahead of resuming diplomatic relations, saying he would like the crisis to end by October, when Israel will be marking the 100th anniversary of the battle for Be'er Sheva [sic] during World War I - a battle in which Australian and New Zealand soldiers met their deaths."

Which makes one wonder: surely Brownlee was not so desperate to participate in Israel's appropriation of Anzac history to serve its own ends that he decided to blink first?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lest We Forget: Yemen

From a statement by Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) after a 5-day visit to Sana'a and Amran in Yemen:

"I am shocked to my bones by what I have seen and heard here in war- and hunger- stricken Yemen. The world is letting some 7 million men, women and children slowly but surely be engulfed by unprecedented famine. It is not a drought that is at fault. This preventable catastrophe is man-made from A to Z. Nowhere on earth are as many lives at risk. We are not even sure that the main humanitarian lifeline through the port of Hudaydah will be kept open. The Saudi-led, Western-backed, military coalition has threatened to attack the port, which would likely destroy it and cut supplies to millions of hungry civilians. The severe access restrictions to Yemen by air, sea and land has caused economic collapse in a country of 27 million people." (A man-made famine on our watch, nrc.no, 3/5/17)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What an Inspiration this Man Is!

"Barack Obama does not seem to be missing the pressures of the White House. The latest sighting of the former US president was on board a luxury yacht in French Polynesia, where his party also included his wife Michelle, Bruce Springsteen, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks. The group were said to have boarded the Rising Sun, a 450ft yacht owned by David Geffen, the billionaire entertainment mogul, for an island-hopping tour of an archipelago west of Tahiti... The trip was due to end at The Brando, a luxury hotel on the island of Tetiaroa once owned by Marlon Brando, where Mr Obama has spent the past three weeks working on his memoirs. An auction for the rights to two forthcoming books by Mr and Mrs Obama is said to have surpassed $US60 million, smashing all previous records for memoirs of post-White House life... The Rising Sun is the world's 11th largest yacht and is worth an estimated $US300m." (Life's plain sailing for the Obamas, Rhys Blakely, The Times/The Australian, 18/4/17)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 6 Months to Go

I indicated on April 2 that in the countdown to the November 2, 2017 centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration, I would be featuring a commentary/judgment on the subject on the second of each month.

Here then is the second such in the series. It is by Herbert Adams Gibbons (1880-1934), a noted American journalist and historian of the first half of the 20th century, and is an extract from his essay, Zionism & the world peace, which appeared in the January 1919 edition of the magazine Century:

"The Zionists fall back upon their acceptance of the clause in the Balfour Declaration, that 'nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.' Zionism, they say, does not mean oppression of or conflict with the other communities. If conflict arises it will be the fault of others, and help will be asked from Dr Weizmann's 'one just and fairly responsible guardian' [Britain] to defend the immigrants. But how can the setting up of the Jewish 'national home' in Palestine fail to affect the civil and religious rights of the present inhabitants of the land? What other result can it possibly have than to rob the Palestinian Arabs of their hope to evolve into a modern, self-governing state? The spirit of the twentieth century is unalterably opposed to government by communities constituted on theocratic principles. The evolution of self-governing democracies has been possible only through unification and secularization. Utah is an illustration. Doing away with polygamy was simply the rallying cry in the inevitable conflict with Mormonism. In Zionist congresses delegates have frequently advocated making the United States 'the promised land.' But the answer always was that the ideals of Zionism could not be realized under the American system of civil government. Mr. Lloyd George is now an enthusiastic advocate of Zionism - for Palestine. But years ago, when he was lawyer for the [Zionist] organization at the time of the eastern African proposal, he told his clients frankly that they would have to change their scheme of governing Zion if Zion was established in a British colony."

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Goose at the Guardian

"Barghouti is no Nelson Mandela. But neither can his claims and those of his people be indefinitely deferred. Trying to do so risks another explosion - another nakba - that, for all the wrong reasons, would again place Palestine at the forefront of Middle East woes." (The Observer view on the future of Israel and Palestine, Observer editorial, The Guardian, 30/4/17)

How seriously would you take the view of someone who authoritatively declares that "Barghouti is no Mandela," when you know that he/she doesn't even know the difference between nakba and intifada?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Anatomy of a Murdoch Mugging

Editing a Murdoch Newspaper for Dummies. A Helpful Guide by Mike Carlton (29/4 tweet)

Day 1. Select this week's hate figure. Direct pliant hack to write 1,000 word front page savageing of hate figure disguised as news story.
Day 2. Have Abbott, Abetz, Bernardi, Christensen, Hanson join denunciation. Run editorial cartoon and swingeing 800 word leader attacking hate figure.
Day 3. Page one follow-up, reporting that hate figure has caused nationwide outrage, is under pressure to resign, apologise, remove FB page etc. Sool Kenny, Albrechtsen, etc to put in the boot.
Day 4. Widen attack on hate figure to also blame the ABC, Green-Left inner city latte sippers, Islamic extremism, Feminism, the CFMEU, Bill Shorten, identity politics, virtue signalling. Recall heroic sacrifice of tragic NewsCorpse martyr the late Bill Leak on altar of political correctness. Second editorial cartoon.
Day 5. Front page report of Peter Dutton's bashing of hate figure on Bolt and Hadley shows. Third editorial cartoon. Graham Richardson explains why hate figure is truly hateful. Greg Sheridan demands hate figure be deported.
Day 6. Paul Kelly's 8,000 word Inquirer essay explaining hate figure is the tragic but inevitable symbol of the ideologically driven retreat from the pure Catholicism of the Council of Trent, the collapse of the post-war anti-Communist consensus, the selfishness of the Millennial generation, the abandonment of Judeo-Christian morality by self-absorbed LGBTI activists, and the failure of Labor's Bill Shorten to stand up to ALP radical Left in Victoria.
Day 7. Select new hate figure. Repeat above.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... receives apology from its mates in Syria:

"Fighters loyal to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) have apologized for launching an attack on Israeli forces last year in the disputed [sic: occupied] Golan Heights region, according to Israel's former defense minister." (ISIS fighters regret attacking Israel & have 'apologized, former defense minister says, Tom O'Connor, newsweek.com, 27/4/17)

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... strikes again:

"A massive blast near Damascus International Airport early on Thursday reportedly was likely caused by an Israeli air strike said Lebanon's al-Manar, a television channel affiliated with the Syrian government ally Hezbollah... A spokesman for the Israeli military... said: 'We can't comment on such reports'." (Israelis blamed for huge explosion near Damascus airport, Suleiman al-Khalidi, AAP, Reuters, Sydney Morning Herald, 28/4/17)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

No Apology Necessary, Yassmin

I see that the Murdoch press has, predictably, raised a hue and cry over an Anzac Day FB post - Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine) - by Muslim activist and ABC television presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied.  According to The Australian, it "sparked scores of outraged responses, with many accusing Abdel-Magied of disrespecting Australian soldiers." (Muslim blogger's 'disrespectful' message deleted, Pia Akerman, 26/4/17)

Yes, I'm sure it did. The entire Abdel-Magied Monitor unit at NewsCorpse must have been, like, spewin'.

As it happens, Yassmin ended up deleting, and apologising for, the post on the same day. But really, what was the need? Frankly, who gives a toss what the Murdoch press thinks! And anyway, isn't NewsCorpse the self-appointed defender of free speech against the dreaded political correctness?

What's more, thinking Anzacs would have approved of Yassmin's post.

After all, here's what Australia's last Anzac, Alec Campbell, had to say about Gallipoli on his deathbed in 2002: "For God's sake, don't glorify Gallipoli - it was a terrible fiasco, a total failure and best forgotten."

And this from Anzac Len Hall: "Next time I would fight for the Turks. They are good people and it was their land not ours." (See my 23/4/13 post Real Anzacs Don't Wave Flags. Under the AIF label below.)

But let's look on the bright side. In a 25/11/16 post Ya Yassmin, I voiced my irritation at Yassmin's doing a gig in Tel-Aviv as part of a government-sponsored speaking tour of the Middle East and Africa last year. I went on to note, however, that she had (in Ramallah?) acquired (or was given) a copy of Joe Sacco's amazing/must-read/must-have graphic history, Palestine, and expressed the hope that as she read it, "the proverbial light bulb" would grow "ever brighter in her head," and that this would be the beginning of "an intellectual journey" for her.

Well, I'm pleased to say that her Anzac Day FB post, with its reference to Palestine, seems to have confirmed that hope.

You might recall an earlier hue and cry over SBS presenter Scott McIntyre, who referred to the commemoration of Anzac Day, in a 2015 Anzac Day tweet, as "Remembering the summary executions, widespread rape and theft committed by those 'brave' Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine* and Japan." (He also added, "Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.")

Scott refused to apologise, was duly sacked by his employer, and went on to fight an unfair dismissal case which was settled out of court last year. Again, on April 24, 2016, he tweeted yet another anti-war message, "Heroism on demand, senseless violence, all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism," and backed up his 2015 tweet with chapter and verse from the historical record.

[See my 29/7/09 post The Sarafand Massacre.]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Neocons for Trump

Here's Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen giving Trump the thumbs-up for his first 100 days in office:

"Trump did something in his first 100 days that his predecessor could not bring himself to do in his entire second term: He enforced Obama's red line against Syria's use of chemical weapons. When the Assad regime apparently used a toxic nerve agent on innocent men, women and children, Trump didn't wring his hands. He acted quickly and decisively, and in so doing restored our credibility on the world stage that Obama had squandered." (Forget the critics, Mr President. Your first 100 days have been just fine, Marc Thiessen, 24/4/17)

Note the word "apparently." This is Thiessen paying lip-service to 'allegedly'. Clearly, he doesn't want you to dwell on the implications of Trump acting on Asad's apparent use of chemical weapons. He just wants you to move right along and applaud the president for acting "quickly and decisively."

All you really need to know about Marc Thiessen is revealed in his appended bio, where he's described as "a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for president George W Bush."

Macron's Israeli Mates

"Israeli politicians who have met Emmanuel Macron said Monday they are impressed with the French presidential candidate. Macron, who will face a runoff race against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on May 7, was in Israel in September 2015 when he was economy minister and met with his counterpart, Arye Deri. 'I was very impressed by him,' Deri said... Macron met Labor leadership candidate Erel Margalit when he came to Jerusalem, which led to an invitation to Margalit to meet with Macron and French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace. Margalit, who was a high-tech entrepreneur before he entered politics, said the two have met four of five times... 'If Macron is elected, France will embark on an innovation economy and Israel will be at the center of its economic cooperation,' Margalit said... According to Margalit, Macron inquired about advancing joint Israeli-Palestinian economic projects in Bethlehem as a catalyst for building relations. Asked for Macron's view on diplomatic issues, Margalit said he 'wants the two-state solution to be a win-win for Israel'." (Emmanuel Macron's Israel ties, Gil Hoffman, jpost.com, 24/4/17)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Molan Rattles the Sabre for Israel

Vintage Jim Molan... strutting Israel's stuff on the opinion page of yesterday's Australian:

"Everything that is concerning about the Middle East could now manifest itself on the southern Lebanese border... Iran, which finances Hezbollah to at least 80% of its annual $US1 billion budget, is achieving its grand geo-strategic aims by influence, aid and proxies in the failed states of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon." (Puppet-state Lebanon a pawn for ambitious Iran)

Oh, really? If Iraq is a "failed state," who then is responsible?

Moylan, of course! As his appended bio states, "Jim Molan is a retired army officer who served as chief of operations in Iraq..."

And if Syria ever becomes a "failed state," it'll only be because the Americans, their allies, and their various jihadi proxies, will have succeeded in toppling Asad - as with Saddam and Gaddafi in Iraq and Libya respectively.

As for Lebanon, the only thing that stands in the way of it becoming an Israeli colony is the determined resistance of Hezbollah, which emerged as the spearhead of Lebanon's national resistance to Israel's 1982-2000 occupation of south Lebanon.

Let's be clear here: the only grand plan at play in the Middle East today is Israel's. The Middle East's only apartheid state, financed by its US proxy to the tune of $US3 billion plus annually, and armed to the teeth with its proxy's weapons of mass destruction, wants a balkanised Arab world over which it has undisputed hegemony.

And here's Molan, almost salivating at the prospect of Israel's next rampage in Lebanon:

"[Iran's] most reliable proxy is Hezbollah, which has had thousands fight in Syria... The skills and experience gained by Hezbollah in Syria will be brought back to Lebanon for use when Iran next wants trouble to occur... Of course Israel will not stand for this. It is poised and ready, as I saw in a recent Israeli-sponsored trip to its northern border. If Hezbollah starts something, then Israel is likely to see the Lebanese government, people and supporting infrastructure as one with Hezbollah, and all as legal targets for the best air force in the world... If Israel replies to Hezbollah provocation, it will take a decade for Lebanon to recover."

Lebanon and its people as "legal targets for the best air force in the world." Chilling.

Thank God Abbott's "Special Envoy for Sovereign Borders" failed in his bid to win a Senate seat for the Liberals in the 2016 election.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Je M'excuse...!

by Gideon Levy

Dear Orna & Moshe Gan-Zvi,

"I was saddened to read in Tuesday's Hebrew edition of Haaretz that you've decided to cancel your subscription. I don't know you, but I will miss you as readers. As someone who is partly responsible for your decision, as your article indicated, allow me to apologize. To apologize for writing the truth all these years. I should have taken into account that this truth wasn't palatable to you, and acted accordingly.

"It was not pleasant for you to read the theory put forward by me and my fellow Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass about the occupation. You, who are active in Rotary Israel, who come from the business world, who are so proud of your children and the fact that they live in the West Bank. Your son was educated at the Eli premilitary academy, and your granddaughters proudly carry the last name Sheetrit. You, who are so pleased with yourselves and your values, with your children and your morals, don't think you should be forced to read unpleasant truths. You simply don't deserve it.

"Indeed, how could I have spent all these years publishing articles that even you, generously, admitted were touching, without ever, to my shame, checking how these Palestinian families ended up in their serious predicaments? Really, how did this happen? Of course it was their own fault, but I keep blaming the Israel Defense Forces - how could I? And how could Amira Hass be so one-sided and lacking in perspective that would explain how a people could prefer the elimination of another people over a democratic society? Really, how could you, Amira?

"I assume, Moshe, that if they were to lock you in a cage for years, you would continue your Rotary membership and refuse to back a struggle against your incarceration. I assume, Orna, that if foreign soldiers were to burst into your home in the middle of the night and arrest your Moshe before your eyes, kick him, force him to his knees, blindfold him, handcuff him, and beat him in front of your children who study in Eli - and then snatch him from your home for months without trial - you would be looking for some 'creative leadership' for your people.

"I assume that you, who come from the business world, would lovingly accept those who confiscate your property and ban you from your own land. I'm sure it would never occur to you to struggle against those who have tortured you with such evil for so many years.

"What can we do? The Palestinians are different from you, dear Orna and Moshe. They were not born in such lofty heights as you. They are human animals, bloodthirsty, born to kill. Not all of them are as ethical as you and your children from the Eli academy. Yes, there are people who fight for their freedom. There are people who are forced to do so violently. In fact, there are almost no nations who haven't acted this way, including the chosen people you're proud to belong to. Not only do you belong; you are the pillar of fire that leads the camp, you're the best, the moral elite - you, the religious Zionists.

"I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; the occupier and the occupied? Forgive me for daring to turn off your joy and pride in the land flowing with milk and Mobileye, and cherry tomatoes, too. There are so many wonderful things in this country, and Haaretz - with its 'moral deterioration,' as you call it - is ruining the party. How did I not see that you don't like to read the truth, and didn't take this into account when I'd return from the occupied territories every week to write about what I'd seen with my own eyes?

"But now it's too late. The call to boycott chocolate spread was too much even for you, so you've decided to boycott Haaretz. From now on, the only paper on your coffee table will be the weekly, right-wing Makor Rishon. They won't write about how IDF soldiers sprayed five Palestinian car passengers with bullets three weeks ago, and I'm sure your Shabbats will be a lot more pleasant from now on." (A heartfelt apology to Haaretz readers, Haaretz, 21/4/17)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

While You Were All Distracted by Steve Bannon...

... the Trumble/Shorten crew have been supping with the devil himself this weekend. Here's what you should know about Mike Pence:

1)

"Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. [...]

"Pence has claimed that he wants to 'economically isolate' Iran rather than engage in a military attack. But should Israel decide to conduct pre-emptive strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, he said in 2010, 'if the world knows nothing else, let the world know this: that America will stand with Israel.' He supported a failed legislative effort to make it U.S. policy 'to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force.' Both in rhetoric and policy, Pence has compared 'radical Islam' to the 'evil empire of the Soviet Union' and said that he and Trump will 'name the enemy' and 'marshal the resources of our nation and our allies to hunt them down and destroy them before they threaten us'." (Mike Pence will be the most powerful Christian supremacist in US history, Jeremy Scahill, theintercept.com, 16/11/16)

2)

"While one might expect Jewish leaders to keep their distance from a popular Christian pastor with extremist views such as these, [John] Hagee has been closely embraced by Israeli governments (Netanyahu is a fixture at CUFI [Christians United for Israel] conventions), Jewish American politicians (Former Senator Joseph Lieberman has referred to Hagee as a modern-day Moses) and prominent American Jewish leaders (Elie Weisel once called Hagee 'my pastor.')

"CUFI's Jewish Executive Director, David Brog, clearly serves to give cover to Christian Zionists, painting them as 'mainstream' and not nearly as scary as their beliefs would indicate. Following the outcome of the recent election, however, Brog seems to smell blood in the water; he recently announced CUFI's plans to get 'a little more aggressive' in pushing its policies with the Trump administration, where it has clout and connections, particularly with evangelical Vice President Mike Pence.

"To put it mildly, Jews should be among the least of those who would seek to find common cause with one such as Mike Pence. In an extremely important piece for the Intercept, last November, reporter Jeremy Scahill convincingly argued that Pence is 'the most powerful Christian supremacist in US history,' concluding: 'The implications of a Pence vice presidency are vast. Pence combines the most horrid aspects of Dick Cheney's worldview with a belief that Tim LaHaye's Left Behind novels are not fiction, but an omniscient crystal ball.'

"It should not come as a surprise that the Pence family's last trip to Israel was funded by, you guessed it, John Hagee. Pence, who was then the governor of Indiana, took the time to meet with Netanyahu during his visit. Now connect those dots to Pence's meeting with the Israeli prime minister during his recent visit to DC. Both Pence and Netanyahu later commented that they met to discuss, among other things, the creation of a 'mechanism' that would help the White House and Israel better coordinate construction in the settlements on the West Bank." (Apocalyptic extremism: no longer a laughing matter, Rabbi Brant Rosen, rabbibrant.com, 27/2/17)

See also Trump & Pence had a Jewish connection before a political one - and it's steeped in the Holocaust (mondoweiss.net, 24/4/17)