Saturday, February 11, 2017

Packer Exec Paves Way for Netanyahu Visit

James Packer is not the only one to fall in love with Benjamin Netanyahu (See my 2/2/17 post His Secret Love's No Secret Anymore). Now it's the turn - surprise, surprise - of Harold Mitchell, a director of Packer's Crown Resorts. And he's spilled his guts in that easy rag the Sydney Morning Herald. Here it is, along with my picking over the *ahem* entrails. (Well, somebody's gotta do it!):

"No matter what President Trump says or does, this century belongs to Asia... But there are other places now where the catalytic forces of immigration and innovation are creating new opportunities. One of them is Israel, where I have been this week. Its 8 and a half million people are crammed into an area about a third the size of Tasmania with no natural resources."

Er... their choice.

"And while being on a constant war footing... "

Their choice again. Muscle your way into someone else's patch and what do you expect?

"... Israel produces more start-ups than Japan, India, Korea, Canada and Britain combined."

Oh, and more trigger-happy upstarts than all of them combined!

"It is no surprise that this tiny country has more than 10% of the world's cyber-security industry and it's doubling every year."

"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying 'Send men that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall you send a man, everyone a [Crown] prince among them." (Numbers 13: 1-2)

"And the booming innovation companies work in fields as diverse as medicine and irrigation. It's no surprise that a country that transformed desert into a fruit and veg bowl invented drip irrigation."

Yep, before that, not a fruit or veg as far as the eye could see. Just sand. Sand, sand, sand, sand. And the odd sand nigger. So they innovated, and invented the Uzi submachine gun, the Galil assault rifle and the Merkava tank, and hey, the rest is history...

"Three things stand out. First, Israel's motivation is the survival of its people. Let's not forget that it's a land of immigrants, bound together by a shared commitment to build a safe and prosperous nation."

After giving the place a thorough ethnic cleansing, of course.

"Second, the Israelis have an enormously strong family culture. I built my business on the simple domestic values of of telling each other the truth and arguments are fixed before bedtime."

Hello? Sub-editor? Must've fallen asleep at this point.

"And third, some Israelis are not afraid to question authority, be it the boss or the government. And what's more, authorities usually listen. We should all know by now that if you tend to surround yourself with people who only agree with you, collapse is just around the corner. That is the story of the great Napoleon and it will be the fate of some current leaders who don't have the capacity to listen to news they'd rather not hear."

Hm... most cryptic this... OK, OK, you guys, which one of you isn't listening to James/ Binyamin???

"There was a good example just before I left. The governor of the Bank of Israel said: 'The key to realising the economy's potential will be the development of policies that address economic issues of inequality, inefficient regulation and the need to increase both investment and human capital."

You've heard of the Lost Tribes? What about the lost 'Book of the Bank of Israel'? Now wouldn't that add a little more vibrancy to the fusty Old Testament?

"Which raises a fourth great strength, success through risk taking... "

Except when it comes to dismantling apartheid...

"We are not doing enough and with Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia in a week or so we should listen; we can learn from Israel."

Aha! So that's what this grubby PR exercise is all about. A promo for Netanyahu! Show some respect, you Aussie layabouts, and LISTEN to what the great man has to say!

"But the story of Israel cannot end without an account of my visit to the Hadassah Medical Centre, part of the Hebrew University and with one of the world's great cardiologists, Professor Chaim Lotan. He asked if I wanted to witness two simultaneous heart operations."

Cinch, we're Israelis, you know. (With apologies to Irving Berlin):

Chaim: Anything you can do, we can do better. We can do anything better than you.
Harold: Yes you can.
Chaim: Yes we can.
Harold: Yes you can.
Chaim: Yes we can. Yes we can, Yes we can.

"Now I hate the sight of blood... "

Good thing you didn't go the OCCUPIED West Bank & Gaza then.

"... and I had my own heart somewhere near my mouth as I walked into the control room for operating theatres. On the right was an older Jewish man and to my left was a 12-month-old baby. And the team performing these lifesaving operations within sight of the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinian territory was made up of Arab Israeli and Jewish technicians, side by side. This is as you'd expect from doctors of course. But it struck me strongly that here in the operating theatre the animosities of the outside world didn't mean a thing. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life." (Australia could look to learn from Israel's successful innovations, 10/2/17)

OK, big thinker, if Arab and Jewish technicians can work side by side, tell me why we need a self-described 'Jewish' state. Think about it.


Grappler said...

Now you're trying to wind me up, MERC! Just for new readers:

Hasbara myths:

1. "Making the desert bloom" - Demolished by Alan George

2. "Invention of drip irrigation" - An Israeli invented the plastic dripper. All other aspects of the system had been invented by others, including Australian Hannis Thill, long before Israel existed.

3. "Start-ups" - if they really want to know about start-ups that make money, they should go to Shenzhen in Southern China - it's closer. Shenzhen's population is a little, but only a little, larger than I/P - perhaps twice that of Israel proper (if there is anything proper about Israel). It has a stock exchange with market capitalization of in excess of USD2.2T (in 2011 - it's probably much more now given its phenomenal growth rate), more than 10 times that of Tel Aviv). It has more than 1 million SMEs compared to around half that in Israel - difficult to find a meaningful figure btw.

As for innovation, see Figure 1.5 in this OECD report which puts Israel relatively low in the list of OECD countries for innovation and, in particular, well behind Australia, which came 5th.

A recent report in the Jerusalem Post complained about "red tape and bureaucracy" inhibiting growth in the Israeli SME sector.

And still they keep telling the porkies! Israel: The Pork Pie Nation.

Grappler said...

Now you've got me started, MERC, ...

The OECD report I mentioned in my previous comment makes interesting reading. The most entrepreneurial (early stage activity) group by ethnicity in Israel are "Arab Israelis" - by which I think they mean Palestinian-Israelis - with a significant bias towards males. The least entrepreneurial are Russian Jewish immigrants.

The report talks about high participation in tertiary education with weak vocational and entrepreneurial skills, lack of demand for graduates from SMEs, high product market regulation - second most restrictive after Turkey, and other problems.

Israeli education scores pretty low in math, science, reading, and financial literacy.

Reading between the lines, one gets the impression that the "Startup Nation" reputation relies heavily on entrepreneurial Palestinian-Israelis who have to resort to setting up their own companies to gain income in a discriminatory environment. Israel does get large foreign investment in ICT R&D as we would expect. Far from the picture Israel likes to present to the world.

Grappler said...

Your post made me interested in agricultural production prior to the founding of Israel in 1948, but in my search I came across this paper which documents the problems for Palestinian famers resulting from the occupation in 1967.


"In 1967, Palestinian agricultural production was almost identical to Israel's: tomatoes, cucumbers and melons were roughly half of Israel's crop; plums and grape production were equal to Israel's; and Palestinian production of olives, dates and almonds was higher. At that time, the West Bank exported 80% of the entire vegetable crop it produced, and 45% of total fruit production."

"There has been a continuous decline in the Palestinian cultivated areas in the West Bank since 1967. In 1965, before the Israeli occupation, the actual cultivated area was estimated at 2,435 km2 (Al-'Aloul, K., 1987). The total area fell to 1,951 km2 in 1980. In 1985, the cultivated area reached 1,735 km2, and in 1989, it was 1,706 km2 (UNCTAD, 1990). The average of actual cultivated land in the West Bank, between 1980 and 1994 was 1,707 km2, a reduction by 30% of the area cultivated in 1965."

"Marketing of farm products and their distribution to local and external markets is one of the major obstacles facing Palestinian farmers. Throughout the occupation years, selling Palestinian agricultural products within Israel requires special permits to be issued by the Israeli authorities. Transporting products from north to south in the West Bank has become difficult as well, especially after Israel enforced a closure on East Jerusalem, the main road connecting northern with southern parts of the West Bank. Movement of agricultural products between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is also subject to Israeli control."

"Israel has restricted Palestinian water usage and exploited Palestinian water resources after occupation. Presently, more than 85% of the Palestinian water from the West Bank aquifers is taken by Israel, accounting for 25.3% of Israel�s water needs. Palestinians are also denied their right to utilize water resources from the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers, to which both Israel and Palestine are riparians. West Bank farmers historically used the waters of the Jordan River to irrigate their fields, but this source has become quite polluted as Israel is diverting saline water flows from around Lake Tiberias into the lower Jordan. Moreover, Israeli diversions from Lake Tiberias into the National Water Carrier have reduced the flow considerably, leaving Palestinians downstream with little water of low quality."

A Light Unto the Nations?