Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hypocrisy Overload

There is something really quite nauseating about a wet-behind-the-ears supporter of the failed fascist/apartheid state of Israel, which has been ethnically cleansing, occupying and colonising Arab Palestine since 1948, and subsists on US aid and weapons, lashing Venezuela as "a failing socialist state"; complaining that "the Australian government is rejecting temporary visa applications from [Venezuelan] students, and parents coming coming to visit their children who live here - because of the volatile situation"; and bemoaning Australia's failure to stand up for "freedom, democracy and the rule of law... abroad as well as at home." (Punching below our weight, we've not even stood up for our values, Matthew Lesh, The Australian, 29/8/17)

Lesh is a former official of the pro-Israel Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) and currently, according to his appended bio, "a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

John Lyons Jumps Ship

August 14 tweet from John Lyons:

Delighted to announce am joining ABC News as Head, Investigative & in-depth journalism. Tks Oz for 10 great years. Thanks ABC for the opportunity!

I'm very pleased for you, John. Now will Palestine finally get an airing on the ABC?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

WA Labor Votes to Recognise a Palestinian State

Bob Carr tweet of the day: WA Labor joins 4 other states and ACT branch backing unqualified recognition of Palestine. Response to settlements & Israeli hardliners.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Under the Heel

You can learn a lot from the Australian's editorials. (Fortunately, so in need are we of enlightenment in these dark times, their always industrious editorialist churns out around three per day.) As it happens I found two of today's particularly enlightening.

Spain confronts jihadi menace, for example, informed me that between 711 and 1492 "most of what is now Spain and Portugal was under the heel of Muslim Moors."

I got from this that Muslims had heels and that to find oneself under one of these was indeed most unfortunate.

As for the second, Patriots should close ranks informed me that "the defacement of statues of Captain Cook, Queen Victoria and Governor Macquarie in Sydney" was a huge NO-NO.

This got me wondering. Was I safe in concluding that the editorialist believed that, unlike your Muslim Moors, Christian Brits lacked this particular anatomical feature?

I believed I was - which led me to speculate:

Are heels an exclusively Muslim thing? Is this because of Islam? Is it in the Muslim DNA, so to speak, to grind non-Muslims underfoot?

Conversely, are Christians (and Jews for that matter), by virtue of their heel-lessness, therefore incapable of such dreadful behaviour?

Yes, that must be it! And so, with the editorialist's assistance, I could not but reflect on just how lucky Australia's first peoples were to make the acquaintance of James, Victoria, Lachlan and their ilk!

My God, if it'd been those bloody Muslims and their bloody heels, they'd have been in real trouble.

One to Avoid

Paul Monk's review of Douglas Murray's book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam tells us more about the Islamophobia of the Monks and Murrays of this world than it does about either contemporary Europe, the Middle East or Islam. (Murray, BTW, is an associate editor of the Spectator.)

Here's Monk's hilarious opening paragraph:

"Douglas Murray was born in London in July 1979, putting him midpoint between Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's January flight from Paris to Tehran to lead the Shia Muslim revolution, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December, which triggered a global Sunni Muslim jihadist reaction." (Resisting Europe's Muslim tide, The Australian, 26/8/17)

No hint here that the Iranian revolution was a popular revolt against the repressive US client regime of the Shah, which emerged as the result of a CIA-engineered coup against the democratically-elected  government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. Just a "Shia" brainsnap on Khomeini's part, apparently.

Likewise, there's no hint that Monk's grand "global Sunni Muslim jihadist reaction" was kicked off in Afghanistan by the US, which funded, trained and armed Sunni Arab jihadis such as bin Laden for use against the Russian-backed secular government of Afghanistan.

IOW, poor old Murray had the terrible misfortune to be born at a time when those fiendish Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, experienced a sudden rush of blood to the head, which caused them to drop everything, and plot the forced Islamification of Europe, while the imperialist West, both the US and its European clients, was just innocently standing by, minding its own business as usual.

"In short, this journalist, author and political commentator has lived all his life against a background of Muslim insurgency and terrorism, as well as massive and now all-but-unrestricted Muslim immigration into Europe."

Of course, what prompted said "massive" Muslim immigration into Europe just may have had something to do with US/US client regime-change wars in Libya and Syria, but hush, we don't want to go there, it might spoil the story.

"Against that background, he reflects on the angry last writings of the great Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, denouncing what she saw as the betrayal of the West and the capitulation of its leaders to Iranian and Sunni jihadist intimidation."

"Great"? Totally unhinged, actually.

Monk concludes his review with his own (and - what a coincidence! - Murray's) "uncomfortable" reflection on "the Gothic and other Germanic migrations into the Roman Empire," and "the Arab migrations of the 7th and 8th centuries that swamped the southern and eastern littorals of the Roman world and overran the Persian and Turkish worlds."

So the Arabs are the new Goths and Vandals, and the Turks, who did not appear on the scene until the 11th (Seljuqs) and 13th (Othmanlis) centuries were rolled (swamped!) by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries? Right...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fact Checking Zionist Trolls

Comment threads following items on Palestine/Israel posted on the Internet invariably contain contributions originating from cogs in one or another part of Israel's vast propaganda mill. These contributions, of course, are designed merely to sow confusion and muddy the waters.

Here, for example, are 3 examples taken from the comment thread following the article Canadian 'crusader' sparks outrage with Bethlehem anti-Muslim video (middleeasteye.net, 13/3/17). They are consecutive and the orchestration is clear:

Fasdunkle:

PLO isn't secular. Read the Constitution of Palestine

Lloyd Kennedy/ Fasdunkle:

Article 4 of the constitution states that
1: Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained.
2: The principles of Islamic Shari'a shall be the main source of legislation.
3: Arabic shall be the official language.
It doesn't state that the ruling authorities are not secular.

Nan/ Lloyd Kennedy:

Sharia is Islamic religious law, so yes, it does say the authorities are not secular. They must follow Islamic religious law.

***

Total bullshit, of course.

Here is Article 4 of the Palestinian National Charter (1968)*:

"The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people, through the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their Palestinian identity and their membership of the Palestinian community, nor do they negate them."

Article 16, the only one that refers to religion, reads as follows:

"The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual point of view, will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and tranquility, which in turn will safeguard the country's religious sanctuaries and guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without discrimination of race, color, language, or religion. Accordingly, the people of Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for support."

[*Basic Political Documents of the Armed Palestinian Resistance Movement, Leila S. Kadi, PLO Research Center, 1969, pp 137 & 139]

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Woman Who Can't Say No

"Julie Bishop... has produced not a single sentence of substance or originality while in the portfolio." (Greg Sheridan, Bishop's errors of judgment compound the Coalition's woes, The Australian, 14/2/11)

Damn right, Greg!

In evidence:

When asked by the immediate past president of Zionism Victoria, Sam Tatarka, if Australia would open a consulate or high commission in West Jerusalem, Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop responded that "if she could overcome the cost and security issues," she would "consider" it. ('A significant step', The Australian Jewish News, 24/8/17)

A simple 'No' (preferably with a roll of the eyes) would have been quite sufficient.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Homework, Anyone?

As much as I love Abby Martin, is it too much to expect of her, and other progressives who 'get' Palestine, to bone up on the early history of the Palestine problem? This is her riff on the subject from the same video extolled in my last post:

Martin: They should have created Israel not in the God-damn Middle East. Put it in fucking Australia. Like, what the hell were they thinking? It's insane.

[MERC: Actually, Abby, "they" shouldn't have put it anywhere, neither in Palestine, nor in Australia. The creation of ethnocratic, apartheid states are never a good idea.]

Rogan: I don't know enough about the history of that region...
Martin: I mean, Sykes-Picot, Western empires basically just drew a line through the Middle East and divided all these countries and formed all these borders back, like, 120 years ago and I don't know, like 19... when was Sykes-Picot? I dunno, somewhere around that time.

[MERC: But surely, Abby, you've heard of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, particularly in the year of its centenary?]

So anyway, fast forward to when the Ottoman Empire was colonising this area...

[MERC: Abby, you mean 'rewind'. And also, however bad their repression of the Arabs during World War I was, the Ottomans at least didn't flood Greater Syria with Turkish colons.]

... and the British were occupying what is Palestine, right, and the Zionist lobby was really strong. This is well before the Holocaust, and they were super, super strong and emboldened, and they were negotiating with the Brits about where they can form, like, a Jewish state, and there was really no support until the Holocaust where they were able to sell, like, you know, the fear more and there was even false flag attacks where Zionist organisations were going round different Arab countries and committing terrorism and they're saying, like, the Jews need to come and escape, you guys are being persecuted. Like, they'd actually carry out terrorism in, like, synagogues and stuff and it's all documented.

[MERC: Abby, you've fast-forwarded a tad too far here. The synagogues you mentioned were in early 50s Iraq, after the creation of Israel in 1948.]

But the ethnic cleansing that went on, I mean, it's horrific. There's dozens of massacres that happened in the formation of Israel because even though it was partitioned by the UN - I don't know who gave this international body the authority to partition a country on top of another country, but on top of that there are several massacres that just continued to take more and more of the land as I said, and that was called the Nakba, and so all those people were expelled violently and purged from their land, and we visited some of these refugee camps and the people were, like, literally... our houses are, like, 5 miles away and we're just stuck in these camps and we've been here for 50 years. Yeah, it sucks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

At Last, Plain Speech on Israel

A MUST-WATCH video from The Empire Files' Abby Martin: Abby Martin exposes Zionism and Israel on Joe Rogan Podcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBRxt5ufnGg&feature=youtu.be

Here's the opening:

Martin: You showed me that Dennis Prager video. It was an argument about Israel where he was talking about why Israel deserves to exist. After being there, man, holy shit. I feel like people have no idea... I didn't even know what the hell was going on till I went to Palestine and saw how crazy it was, but, man...
Rogan: What was it like? Give me your thoughts.
Martin: So everyone mistakenly thinks that Hamas controls Palestine. That's not true at all. There's 3 different areas that were drawn up with the original partition. There's the West Bank, which is totally under military rule by Israel, and then there's the Gaza Strip, which is, like, the open-air prison which they bomb the shit out off like every couple of years, and Hamas controls that area. And then there's Jerusalem which is an international city centre that both Arabs and Jews live in, but the West Bank has been occupied militarily since 1967, and it's complete martial law. There's checkpoints, all political parties are illegal, you can't... having a gun is like the least of it. You can't hold a flag, you can't belong to a political party, you literally can't do shit. If you're a Palestinian you just have to sit there and submit, and even if you share a photo of someone who's like been killed by an Israeli soldier, you go to jail for the amount of months...
Rogan: Whaat?
Martin:... based on the shares and likes of the photo... they'll penalise you more and put you in prison for longer and longer. I mean, I'll just tell you one thing... like you put something on Facebook, and it'll be a photo of someone who died, and it'll be like you're sharing a martyr and inciting people, like, to commit suicide, like, on behalf of Palestinians, and you go to jail, and they put them in jail. There's a 99.7% conviction rate, kids are tortured, kids are imprisoned. It is absolutely insane. We went to a funeral... some guy, some farmer who was shot by Israeli forces, and we went to the funeral. All the women are wailing, crying, and as we're leaving the Israeli forces had set up a checkpoint right outside the home. So they're tear-gassing and shooting rubber bullets at people who are simply attending a funeral. We went to a girl's house named Aya who got shot in the vagina for peacefully protesting at some protest and they shot her. They shot 200 people that day. One guy next to her died and another guy was paralysed. They have a policy of shoot to cripple where they shoot guys in their dicks.
Rogan (inhaling audibly)
Martin: Yeah, it's fucking nuts, man. The West Bank is no joke. I thought that I was gonna die several times...

Watch it... and spread it around.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spain's Tony Blair

What a piece of work is (this) man:

"This time it was Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. I am especially aggrieved at the brutal violence that has left dozens dead and injured in one of Europe's most important cities and one of the places I love the most... ," writes former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar in yesterday's Australian (For us not to be defeated, we must defeat terrorists).

Aznar, you'll recall, Spain's prime minister from 1996-2004, joined the 2003 Bush, Blair, Howard jihad against Iraq, which opened that country up to al-Qaida, led directly to the Madrid train bombings of March 2004  (192 killed and over 1,800 wounded), and contributed to his massive defeat in the 2004 Spanish elections.

"A personal responsibility is linked with a political purpose within those who voluntarily sign up for this jihad in its different manifestations. Any anti-terrorist policy that wishes to be successful must actively address these two aspects. In this respect, any self-blame, any reasoning designed to ignore the underlying political purpose, any desire to excuse the terrorist or blame the societies that suffer terrorism - including those with Muslim majorities - is completely out of place." (ibid)

But for Aznar there was no "personal responsibility" attached to "voluntarily signing up" to Bush's jihad in Iraq, nor one iota of "self-blame":

"I am going with my head held high and proud of the job I have done," he declared after being booted out of office in 2004. (Spain's Aznar: No regrets on Iraq War, foxnews.com, 22/3/04)

And, when asked how he felt about the carnage in Madrid, he uttered these words:

"Calm, serene, fulfilling my responsibilities and obligations as always... I see a lot of light in hope and in the future."

Maybe that explains why this war criminal is now a director of News Corp and opining in Murdoch's Australian.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Palestine Can Wait

Not just criminal, cutthroat scum, but mega-delusional as well:

"Spain has been a serious target for Islamic State because of its five-centuries-old land claims to the territory of Melilla and Ceuta, on the African continent bordering Morocco. The Counter-Terrorism Project reports: 'Spain's current anxieties are exacerbated by ISIS, al-Qa'ida, and other Islamist groups' vows to 'reconquer' what they refer to as 'al-Andalus',' the historic Arabic name for the Iberian mainland. Up until the late 15th century, large parts of Spain and Portugal were under the control of an Islamic caliphate. Spain is thus considered part of 'occupied lands' by jihadists and a legitimate target for re-inclusion in a future Islamic Caliphate. A Spanish-speaking ISIS member declared in 2014, 'I tell you, Spain is the land of our forefathers, and, Allah willing, we are going to liberate it, with the might of Allah...'

"Last year Islamic State called on its followers to attack Spanish tourist sites to avenge the crimes committed by Spain against Muslims, referring to the bloody 1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa where 60,000 Muslims were killed." (Tougher controls thwarted attacks, Jacqueline Magnay, The Australian, 19/8/17)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Educating Macron

Shlomo Sand's Why I cannot be a Zionist: an Open Letter to Emmanuel Macron:

"As I began reading your speech on the commemoration of the Vel d'Hiv round-up... I was grateful that you... took a clear position... yes, France is responsible for the deportation [of Jewish origin people to the death camps], yes, there was anti-Semitism in France before and after the Second World War... I saw these positions as standing in continuity with the courageous statement you made in Algeria, saying that colonialism constitutes a crime against humanity. But... I was rather annoyed by the fact that you invited Benjamin Netanyahu. He should without doubt be ranked in the category of oppressors, and so cannot parade himself as a representative of the victims of yesteryear...

"I stopped being able to understand you when, in the course of your speech, you stated that 'Anti-Zionism... is the reinvented form of Zionism.' Was this statement intended to please your guest, or is it purely and simply a marker of a lack of political culture? Has this former student of philosophy... read so few history books that he does not know that many Jews or descendants of Jewish heritage have always opposed Zionism, without this making them anti-Semites? Here I am referring to almost all the old grand rabbis, but also the stances taken by a section of contemporary orthodox Judaism. And I also remember figures like Marek Edelman, one of the escaped leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or the communists of Jewish background who took part in the French Resistance in the Manouchian group, in which they perished. I also think of my friend and teacher Pierre Vidal-Naquet and of other great historians and sociologists like Eric Hobsbawm and Maxime Rodinson... And finally I wonder if you seriously expect of the Palestinians that they should not be anti-Zionists!

"Nonetheless, I suppose that you do not particularly appreciate people on the Left, or, perhaps, the Palestinians. But knowing that you worked at Rothschild Bank, I will here provide a quote from Nathan Rothschild. President of the union of synagogues in Britain, he was the first Jew to be named a lord in the United Kingdom, where he also became the bank's governor. In a 1903 letter to Theodor Herzl, the talented banker wrote that he was anxious about plans to establish a 'Jewish colony'; it 'would be small and petty, Orthodox and illiberal, and keep out non-Jews and the Christians.' We might conclude that Rothschild's prophecy was mistaken. But one thing is for sure: he was no anti-Semite!

"Of course, there have been, and there are, some anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites, but I am also certain that we could find anti-Semites among the sycophants of Zionism. I can also assure you that a number of Zionists are racists whose mental structure does not differ from that of other Judeophobes: they relentlessly search for a Jewish DNA (even at the university I teach at).

"But to clarify what an anti-Zionist point of view is, it is important to begin by agreeing on the definition of the concept 'Zionism', or at the very least, a series of characteristics proper to this matter... First, Zionism is not Judaism. It even constitutes a radical revolt against it. Across the centuries, pious Jews nurtured a deep ardour for their holy land, and more particularly for Jerusalem. But they held to the Talmudic precept intimating that they should not collectively emigrate there before the coming of the Messiah. Indeed, the land does not belong to the Jews, but to God. God gave and God took away again; and he would send the Messiah to restore it when he wanted to. When Zionism appeared, it removed the 'All Powerful' from his place, substituting the active human subject in his stead.

"We can each give our own view on the question of whether the project of creating an exclusive Jewish state on a slice of land with a very large Arab-majority population is a moral idea. In 1917, Palestine counted 700,000 Arab Muslims and Christians and around 60,000 Jews, half of whom were opposed to Zionism. Up till that point, the mass of the Yiddish-speaking people who wanted to flee the pogroms of the Russian Empire preferred to migrate to the American continent. Indeed, two million made it there, thus escaping Nazi persecution (and the persecution under the Vichy regime).

"In 1948 in Palestine there were 650,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arab Muslims and Christians, 700,000 of whom became refugees. It was on this demographic basis that the State of Israel was born. Despite that, and against the backdrop of the extermination of the European Jews, a number of anti-Zionists reached the conclusion that in the name of avoiding the creation of fresh tragedies it was best to consider the State of Israel as an irreversible fait accompli. A child born as the result of a rape does indeed have the right to live. But what happens if this child follows in the footsteps of his father?

"And then came 1967. Since then Israel has ruled over 5.5 million Palestinians, who are denied civil, political and social rights. Israel subjects them to military control: for part of them a sort of 'Indian reservation' in the West Bank, while others are locked up in a 'barbed wire holding pen' in Gaza (70% of the population there are refugees or their descendants). Israel, which constantly proclaims its desire for peace, considers the territories conquered in 1967 as an integral part of the 'land of Israel,' and it behaves there as it sees fit. Thus far 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers have been moved in there... and this has still not ended!,

"Is that today's Zionism? No!, reply my friends on the Zionist Left - which is constantly shrinking. They tell me that we have to put an end to the dynamic of Zionist colonisation, that a narrow little Palestinian state should be created next to the State of Israel, and that Zionism's objective was to establish a state where the Jews would be sovereign over themselves, and not to conquer 'the ancient homeland' in its entirety. And the most dangerous thing in all this, in their eyes, is that annexing territory threaten's Israel's character as a Jewish state.

"So here we reach the proper moment for me to explain to you why I am writing to you, and why I define myself as a non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, without thereby becoming anti-Jewish. Your political party has put the words 'La Republique' in its name. So I presume that you are a fervent republican. And, at the risk of surprising you: I am, too. So being a democrat and a republican I cannot - as all Zionists do, Left and Right, without exception - support a Jewish State. The Israeli Interior Ministry counts 75% of the country's citizens as Jewish, 21% as Arab Muslims and Christians and 4% as 'others' (sic). Yet according to the spirit of its laws, Israel does not belong to Israelis as a whole, whereas it does belong even to all those Jews worldwide who have no intention of coming to live there. So for example, Israel belongs a lot more to Bernard Henri-Levy or to Alain Finkelkraut than it does to my Palestinian-Israeli students, Hebrew speakers who sometimes speak it better than I do! Israel hopes that the day will come when all the people of the CRIF ('Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France') and their 'supporters' emigrate there! I even know some French anti-Semites who are delighted by such a prospect. On the other hand, we could find two Israeli ministers close to Netanyahu putting out the idea that it is necessary to encourage the 'transfer' of Israeli Arabs, without that meaning that anyone demanded their resignations.

"That, Mr President, is why I cannot be a Zionist. I am a citizen who desires that the state he lives in should be an Israeli Republic, and not a Jewish-communalist state. As a descendant of Jews who suffered so much discrimination, I do not want to live in a state that, according to its own self-definition, makes me a privileged class of citizen. Mr President, do you think that makes me an anti-Semite?" (counterpunch.org, 11/8/17)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... strikes again, and again, and again, and again, and again [...]:

"Providing the most specific details yet on Israel's ongoing series of military strikes inside war-torn Syria, Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel revealed today that Israel has carried out nearly 100 distinct military actions over the last five years specifically related to what they believed were Hezbollah-bound arms convoys." (Air Force chief: Israel has attacked Syrian arms convoys nearly 100 times in 5 years, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 16/8/17)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Four Corners' Hatchet Job on Lee Rhiannon

It is always worth keeping in mind that, despite the lurid fantasies of the right-wing nut jobs at News Corpse to the effect that the ABC is a bastion of leftist radicalism, the state broadcaster is in fact merely the propaganda arm of the Australian establishment.

Last night's Four Corners program, Inside the Greens: A Party in Turmoil, which featured former Greens leader Bob Brown and others attacking NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, was a case in point.

Cast your mind back to 2010-2011, when Sydney's Marrickville Council, dominated at the time by The Greens, bravely took a stand for Palestine by adopting a pro-BDS policy against the purchase of Israeli products, and when its Greens Mayor, Fiona Byrne only narrowly failed to snatch the NSW state seat of Marrickville from Labor for her party at the 2011 state election.

Many of Rhiannon's detractors on Four Corners have form going back to that time. Here's a reminder:

Sally Neighbour, the current executive producer of Four Corners, used to write for Murdoch's Australian, and earlier took The Greens to task (Divided we fall) in Morry Schwartz's The Monthly. (See my 3/2/12 post Get Rhiannon! 2)

Richard Di Natale, the current federal leader of the party, once cluelessly agreed to the proposition that the Palestinians should "recognise Israel's existence as a Jewish state," before later backtracking when apprised of the implications of what he'd said. (See my 23/5/15 post Richard Di Natale Reclassified.)

Bob Brown, the party's founder, has attacked the NSW Greens in the Murdoch press, claiming NSW Greens' support for BDS was "against his advice" and urging the branch to stick to "bread-and-butter issues." (See Bob Brown & A Failure of Courage, 1/4/11)

Ian Cohen, a former NSW Greens MLC, has condemned his party's support for BDS as "old style" and expressed concern about "Jewish community outrage." (See my 31/3/11 post Kahane Down Under?)

Christine Milne, Di Natale's predecessorhas spoken out against BDS, travelled to Israel (although whether or not at her own expense we do not know), and once spoke in favour of regime change in Libya. (See Some Questions for Christine Milne (21/4/12), Has Christine Milne Been Rambammed? (11/7/14), A Gripe About The Greens (24/3/11))

Jeremy Buckingham, a NSW Greens MLC, joined the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and signed the so-called London Declaration on Combatting Antisemitism. (See my 27/5/13 post Et tu, Jeremy?)

The issue of the NSW Greens' support for Palestine emerged only obliquely in the program. Presenter Louise Milligan's bias against that support, however, was clear at this point:

Milligan: While her leader is travelling the country, trying to hold his party together, Lee Rhiannon has flown to the Middle East and is crossing into Palestine.
Rhiannon: When you see it like that you can see why they call it an apartheid wall. What you see when you arrive in this country is apartheid. From the West Bank to Gaza, people are treated as second class citizens. Their human rights are ignored or abused.
Milligan: And she's still lobbing political grenades at her party: reviving a campaign to boycott Israeli businesses in Australia which has seen a backlash against the Greens in the past.
Rhiannon: There is a value in this campaign, and it's a reminder of why people like ourselves in Australia and around the world... it's time to reassess this form of struggle, because there are very clear examples of the value it brings to solidarity and the results it can achieve.
Milligan: Her leader disagrees.
Di Natale: It's not something that the Australian Greens have ever supported. It's not something that I support.
Milligan: It's these sorts of clashes with the federal party that have prompted the Greens elders to tell Four Corners it's time for Senator Lee Rhiannon to go.
Brown: Oh, well, you know, I've been living with Lee for 30 years, but it's the end of Lee's reign. The end is nigh, and I look toward the future.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Israel's 'Soul'

Israel's soul laid bare on a comedian's stage, says the headline of Agnes Nieuwenhuizen's review of Israeli writer David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar in The Australian (12/8/17).

Opening sentence:

"Don't miss David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar, a novel that offers profound insights into the soul of a nation and of one of its hapless citizens... "

So ethnocratic, apartheid states have souls? Interesting...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tim Fischer on John Lyons

Here's an excellent letter from today's Australian by former deputy prime minister (1996-1999) under John Howard, Tim Fischer:

"There is the good, the bad and the ugly in the Middle East. The Six-Day War reportage on its 50th anniversary year 2017 has been skewed, or was until the publication of the penetrating book Balcony Over Jerusalem by John Lyons. This book is the first in years to give a mention of substance to what happened on the fourth day when Israeli forces killed 34 US sailors on the USS Liberty, quickly apologised and paid reparations. Israel downplayed the saga while the US mounted a huge cover up, all exposed by the quotes Lyons has dug out, especially from Adlai Stevenson.

"Aligned spokesmen for Middle East countries will always skip over the ugly as they promote their country's perceived interests. Lyons details how parts of the honest debate on such issues as West Bank occupation in Israel are shut out of debate here in the Australian media and public domain. It is a subject that needs to be tackled for the truth to come out on the many complexities of the Middle East. It must be told without filters, shutters and threats." Mudgegonga, Vic

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 3 Months to Go

Damn! I forgot to post on the Balfour Declaration on August 2 - still, better late than never.

It's important to understand that the decision to issue the Declaration was confined to the British war cabinet, and that it was not debated in the House of Commons at the time. Only one MP, Joseph King (Liberal), raised the matter in the Commons, on November 19, 1917, 17 days after it was issued.

King asked foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour merely "whether the desire of the Government to see established a Jewish Zionist nationality in Palestine has been communicated to the Allied Powers, especially to France, Russia, Italy, and the Allied States; and whether it is one of the Allied war aims, or only a British war aim, to set up a Zionist community in the Holy Land."

And Balfour replied merely that "no official communication has been made to the Allies on the subject," and that "His Majesty's Government hope that the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people will result from the present war."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Syria Must Burn

Here's Zionist chutzpah for you: Syria must go on burning so a nuclear Israel can feel safe from... Iran.

"Israeli officials and other diplomats familiar with the situation are finally detailing the circumstances regarding the lead-up to the southern Syrian ceasefire agreement reached between the US and Russia, revealing secret talks were held in Amman and in an unnamed European capital city about the plan beforehand. Israeli officials were involved in the talks, and unsurprising given their public position since the ceasefire was announced, made clear they were unconditionally opposed to the ceasefire agreement, and objected to the creation of safe zones to limit combat in the areas. The reason for Israel's opposition to the ceasefire similarly appears to have been exactly what they've complained about since, that they believe any calm in Syria necessarily benefits Iran, and that anything that might conceivably move toward ending the Syria War must hand Iran some sort of specific defeat. It is this Iran-centric view of the Syrian conflict, despite Iran having a fairly limited involvement in it, which has led Israeli military officials to say they don't want ISIS to lose in Syria, and since the ceasefire's announcement that they are prepared to join the conflict simply to ensure that Iran, by which they mean the Shi'ite government, doesn't win." (Israel held secret talks with US, Russia to object to Syria ceasefire, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 9/8/17)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'Everybody Down There Loves Israel'

"The high level of support for Israel in Australia's Jewish community is often reflected by Australia's politicians. I was invited to a lunch for Israeli journalists in Jerusalem. One had just been to Australia on an organised trip, and when we were introduced she said to me: 'I love Australia! You guys talk Zionism better than we do!' I asked her what she meant. 'Everybody down there loves Israel. We met your Opposition Leader [Tony Abbott], who told us how much he loved Israel. We thought he was fantastic, but then we met Prime Minister [Julia] Gillard. She was even better. They were saying things you would not normally hear an Israeli say!'" (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, John Lyons, 2017, pp 262-63)

OK, did you cringe? Vomit? Curse? Go foetal?

Really now, do you need to know anything else about the simple-minded pricks who 'run' this bloody country?

For God's sake, BUY LYONS' BOOK NOW and educate yourselves!

As for Abbott and Gillard, far from being poles apart politically, they were united in their opposition to any light being shed on the Palestinian cause. When the Australian Union of Students (AUS) bravely took up the Palestinian issue and sought to educate Australian students on the matter, the thuggish Abbott, along with his nerdy sidekick, Greg Sheridan, attended an AUS conference at Monash University in 1977, the highlight of which, for them, was their disruption of a film night on Palestine sponsored by the AUS. As for Gillard, when she became president of AUS in 1984, she made it her mission to, in the words of David Marr, "take Palestine out of student politics." Gillard, in fact, even threatened to take pro-Palestine student politicians to court for calling her a Zionist!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

AIJAC Strikes Back

"The longer I was in Israel, the more I realised that key figures in the Australian Jewish community sat on the far right of the Israeli political spectrum. In Israel I was able to have meaningful discussions with key army or intelligence figures about the Palestinian issue. But with many of Australia's Jewish leaders this was just not possible. It was almost as if they felt that, given they were not living in Israel, they needed to take a harder line than many people who were living there." (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, John Lyons, 2017, pp 260-61)

"In response to our legitimate articulation of an alternative viewpoint on the Middle East, Lyons has devoted a chapter of his memoir to falsely portraying AIJAC as an extreme, hardline mouthpiece for the Israeli Right. Is this the same AIJAC that sponsors programs for prominent Israeli Labor leaders to visit Australia, as part of our efforts to expose people from both countries to counterparts from across the political and social spectrum? Is this the same AIJAC that issued a media release in February this year openly criticising Israeli legislation that would retrospectively legalise settlement outposts on land owned by Palestinians? In a healthy democracy, holding the media to account is arguably as important as holding politicians to account. Lyons ended his comment piece by quoting hard-left Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar's demonising of AIJAC and saying the Australian government did 'not (give) a shit' about his children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lyons also describes as a hero another Israeli journalist even more extreme, Haaretz's Gideon Levy, an advocate of economic, artistic and academic boycotts against Israel. That's like forming your view of Australia from Green Left Weekly. It's sad that Lyon's response to the normal functioning of interest groups in a pluralist democracy is so vitriolic but it does demonstrate the value of AIJAC and others in advancing additional evidence and alternative views to his." (In Israel, as anywhere, objectivity, balance, multiple voices are critical to credible journalism, Mark Leibler, The Australian, 7/8/17)

Monday, August 7, 2017

What's Asad Got to Do With It?

This is how the Australian's national security editor, Paul Maley, chooses to introduce his story on the alleged Islamic State plot to blow up a Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight last month:

"As Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad rained down chemical gas on the village of Khan Shaykhun... a senior Islamic State fighter in Syria sent a text message to his brother in Australia." (From Syria to Sydney: how plot unfolded, 5/8/17)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

That Shitty Little Country 3

A chip off the old block:

"The fur began to fly when the Netanyahu family's 10-year mixed-breed bitch Kaiya allegedly defecated in a Jerusalem park while being walked by eldest son Yair. A neighbour who said she witnessed the act wrote on Facebook that when she challenged Yair to clean up after the animal, he made an obscene gesture with his middle finger." (Cops list Bibi as bribery suspect, AP, AFP, The Australian, 5/8/17)

See That Shitty Little Country 1 (6/2/09) & 2 (24/3/09)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Australian Reviews John Lyons

John Lyon's invaluable book, Balcony Over Jerusalem, was reviewed in today's Australian by one of its journalists, David Leser.

Unfortunately, Leser's seemingly irresistible urge to defend the indefensible - apartheid Israel - and indulge in special pleading for Palestine's colonisers and occupiers tells us far more about Leser than it does about Lyons' book.

Here we go then:

"... the Middle East is a hellishly complex place. Every aspect of history is contested. Every word is loaded."

Quite why Leser feels he has to reference the entire Middle East when dealing specifically with Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories is anyone's guess. But I simply don't understand how he can seriously talk about contested history and loaded words without reference to the following passage which he earlier quotes from Lyons' book: "If the whole world could see the occupation up close, it would demand that it end tomorrow. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians would not pass muster in the West if the full details were known. The only reason Israel is getting away with this is because it has one of the most formidable public-relations machines ever seen..."

Without Israel's vast propaganda apparatus there'd be neither contestation nor loading.

"I've argued with family members over this issue, and lost Jewish friends in the process - all because I believe, like Lyons, that the occupation is a moral stain on both the Jewish State and the Jewish soul."

I don't get it. Why the arguments? Occupied river-to-sea Palestine belongs to neither Leser nor his family. Neither he nor his family nor his Jewish friends have a right to one centimetre of Palestinian soil. And not only is the occupation he refers to "a moral stain," the very existence of a "Jewish Stateon Palestinian Arab land is a moral stain on all who conceived it, created it, and, today, continue to support it.

"My concern is that for all the rush of understandable anger [Lyons] directs at Israel, his book is mostly devoid of sympathy for the multiple internal problems and frailties that Israelis face, not to mention the wild diversity of the country's immigrant survivor population."

Does Leser seriously expect Lyons (or anyone else), who has, in Lyons' words, seen the occupation "up close," to sympathise with its perpetrators? Has Leser, in his 40-year-old career as a journalist, ever once felt sympathy for the people of any other occupying power? And, seriously, where is the "wild diversity" in a Jewish state?

"Throughout history Jews have been despised, displaced, vilified, persecuted and, ultimately exterminated for the fact of their Jewishness, and they have carried their collective trauma - this epigenetic inheritance - into a murderous neighbourhood where they are both a minority and majority at the same time. A tiny minority among hundreds of millions of (mostly) Arabs and a majority when it comes to the Palestinians."

And the Palestinian Arabs are responsible for that? Historical anti-Semitism in Europe trumps the right of Palestinians to their Palestinian homeland? What kind of sick morality is that? And who funneled European Jews into said "murderous neighbourhood"? I'll tell you who - the murderous Zionist movement, motivated by one hell of a murderous idea: Jews in, Palestinians out.

"That, along with countless wars and acts of terrorism over the past 70 years, is what has driven the psychopathology of victimhood and its inevitable - and terrible - consequence: oppression."

Yes, countless wars... initiated by the Israeli army. And countless acts of terrorism... initiated by the Israeli army and its pre-state predecessors, the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

But the biggest deception here is Leser's omission of any reference to the Zionist movement. The dark truth is that Israel is the product of a settler-colonial movement, riding roughshod, as these movements do, over the rights of the natives, not some pitiable creature whose past was so traumatic that it just can't help using the Palestinians as a collective punching bag.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Israeli Brutality from the River to the Sea

As I said in a previous post, all of Palestine, from the River to the Sea, is Israeli-occupied land. If you think that the crimes of the occupation are confined to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that the law of the jungle only applies east of the fabled Green Line, think again:

"According to Adalah, Israel's Police Investigation Unit (Mahash), which operates under the Ministry of Justice, disregards the majority of complaints filed against Israeli police. In a 2014 report, Adalah found that between 2011 and 2013, the Mahash closed 93% of complaints without laying charges... At least 50 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed by police since 2000." ('They killed him because he was an Arab', Zena Tahhan, aljazeera.com, 31/7/17)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Fake Noos

Hmm...

"Those who remain [in Raqqa] include Chechen veterans, former al-Qaida militants and Iraqi Ba'athists who fought for Saddam Hussein. They are ready to die for the 'caliphate' but have amassed hundreds of thousands of civilians around them as human shields." (Teen army tightening net on ISIS in Raqqa, Louise Callaghan, The Sunday Times/The Australian, 2/8/17)

Iraqi Ba'athists who fought for Saddam Hussein???

You're kidding me, Louise. That was 2003. This is is 2017.

Are you seriously telling us that a bunch of Iraqi blokes, brought up on a diet of secular Ba'athist Arab nationalism, and now over 14 years older than they were in 2003, are prepared to die for a... 'caliphate'... in Syria?

Pull the other.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blown Away by Labor's Advance on Palestine/Israel?

Before anyone gets too carried away by the latest glacial advance in the ALP's Palestine policy, please remember that Israel's illegal post-67 West Bank settlement project, which Bob Carr in particular opposes as standing in the way of a two-state solution to the Palestine/Israel project, is, in all its essentials, no different to Israel's pre-67 settlement project.

Every square inch of historic Palestine from the river to the sea is occupied and colonised Arab land.

It matters not whether the occupation and colonisation took place before 1967, or after.

Whether it takes the form of a Balfour Declaration or a United Nations partition plan, no imperial power, or collection thereof, had, or has, the right to dispose of one square centimetre of Arab Palestinian land.

It's Hebron today - but before that it was Haifa. It's Jerusalem today - but before that it was Jaffa.

After 1967, the Zionist land thieves were called settlers - before that kibbutzniks. Same colonial smell, same...

The Zionist settler-colonial, apartheid project called Israel has no right, God-given or otherwise, to one square centimetre of Arab Palestine.

Please keep this in mind before you get too excited about NSW Labor's 'secure and recognised borders,' or anything else to do with Palestine.

And take this ice cold shower:

"Israel fears 'delegitimization' more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the 'least safe place for Jews in the world.'

"Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn't even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn't have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.

"Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support - pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.

"The most important thing we can do as we hover over the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway - it was just the parlance of that particular 'game'. Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities - the new state will be the dawn of humanity's great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.

"Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called 'home' for three generations in their purgatory camps.

"These universally exploited refugees are entitled to nice apartments - the ones that have pools and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed Western experiment will never be enough.

"And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears - the one 'firewall' remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don't even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don't hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn't live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany - and good luck to you.

"For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere - you are part of the reason this problem exists.

"Israelis who don't want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population - the ones who don't want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago - can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude - Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors - without proportional response - shows remarkable restraint and faith.

"This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage - we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally Palestinian - undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.

"Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: 'Israel has no right to exist.' Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update - do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here - have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was." (Excuse me, but Israel has no right to exist, Sharmine Narwani, english.al-akhbar.com, 17/5/12)