Monday, December 31, 2018

USrael Unmasked

"US diplomacy in the Middle East is bound with hoops of iron to the most chauvinist advocates of a greater Israel. Not an onion skin separates the White House from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When the time comes, for example, it's hard to see the administration resisting annexation of the West Bank. Any pretence at an honest-broker role is abandoned and the alliance with the Saudi royals is the one other pillar of US strategy. Links between Jared Kushner and Saudi's Crown Prince resemble a romance between royal houses." (Trump's overriding success is as radical agent for change, Bob Carr, The Australian, 29/12/18)

"I spoke with Bibi. I told Bibi, you know we give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves. I'm the one that moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I was the one who was willing to do that. So that's the way it is - we are going to take great care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And we give frankly a lot more than that if you look at the books. They've been doing a good job." (Donald Trump quoted in Trump on Syria withdrawal: We give Israel billions of dollars, they'll be OK, Amir Tibon, Haaretz, 27/12/18)

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Zionist Occupation of the American Mind

I've quoted Norman Finkelstein's groundbreaking work The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2000) several times before in this blog, but his words bear repeating as a preface to that which follows:

"'The Holocaust' is an ideological representation of the Nazi holocaust. Like most ideologies, it bears a connection, if tenuous, with reality. The Holocaust is not an arbitrary but rather an internally coherent construct. Its central dogmas sustain significant political and class interests. Indeed, The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a 'victim' state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood - in particular, immunity to criticism, however justified." (p 3)

Later in his book, Finkelstein demolishes the dogma that The Holocaust "marks a categorically unique historical event." (pp 41-6)

He then asserts that "the claims of Holocaust uniqueness have come to constitute a form of 'intellectual terrorism' (Chaumont)," adding, "Those practicing the normal comparative procedures of scholarly inquiry must first enter a thousand and one caveats to ward off the accusation of 'trivializing The Holocaust'." (p 47)

I can think of no better example of this kind of intellectual terrorism than the following mea maxima culpa recounted in former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer's book, Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President (2018). Smell the fear, feel the terror:

"I've had many roles as a communication director or press secretary in my career, and I have helped countless candidates, party officials, and elected officials undergo media training. Media training [is] basically teaching people how to prepare for an interview, especially on camera... And there are some basic rules. If you're preparing for an in-studio interview, you look at the interviewer, not the camera; if your interview is in a remote studio, you look directly at the camera. Don't move your hands too much. Don't repeat a question. Don't validate a premise with which you disagree. And the number one rule I gave every Republican was don't ever, ever... compare anything or anyone to Hitler or the Holocaust. Ever.

"I can't tell you how many times I've repeated these rules to everyone from candidates to state party chairmen. But on April 11, 2017, I violated my number one rule, setting off another controversy from the White House podium.

"Earlier, I had been part of a small, impromptu briefing in the dining room off the Oval Office where Secretary Mattis had explained to the president the degree of the current atrocities committed by Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad. He noted that not even Adolf Hitler had dared to use chemical weapons on the battlefield (note the word 'battlefield'). I left the meeting wanting to make sure that the horror of Assad's actions was fully communicated. I wanted everyone to understand just how evil Assad is and why the president had acted so swiftly.

"When I went into the briefing room to begin the daily briefing, echoes of Mattis's words were still with me... I opened up the briefing for questions. Eleven of the first fifteen questions focused on Syria. The video showing the pain and suffering of the Syrian people that had gone viral was clearly on the minds of the reporters. I was doing well, talking about the president's reaction and concern. But then came the sixteenth question. 'The alliance between Russia and Syria is a strong one; it goes back decades. President Putin has supplied personnel. He's supplied military equipment to the Assad government. What makes you think that at this point he's going to pull back in his support for President Assad and for the Syrian government right now?'

"I thought to myself, 'I got this.' I had been in a groove expressing the president's concern and Assad's horrific actions. But instead of staying on the messages that had been working just fine, I tried to turn it up a notch: 'I think a couple of things. You look - we didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons. So, you have to, if you're Russia, ask yourself is this a country that you and a regime you want to align yourself with? You have previously signed on to international agreements rightfully acknowledging that the use of chemical weapons should be out of bounds by every country. To not stand up to not only Assad, but your own word, should be troubling. Russia put their name on the line. So, it's not a question of how long that alliance has lasted, but at what point do they recognize that they are now getting on the wrong side of history in a really bad way really quickly. And again, look at the countries that are standing with them: Iran, Syria, North Korea. This is not a team you want to be on. And I think that Russia has to recognize that while they may have had an alliance with them, that the lines that have been crossed are one that no country should ever want to see another country cross.

"That was it - like the previous eleven questions on the subject, I thought I had sufficiently described the outrage we had toward both Assad and Russia. The questions in the briefing room are asked at the speed of light. I would answer one question while anticipating the next one. In my mind, I thought I had answered the question, but clearly what had come out of my mouth was not the full explanation that I had envisioned saying. I kept going, oblivious to the damage I had done.

"The next question was about the president's tax returns. Then came a question about the Easter Egg Roll. My corny response about it being 'egg-cellent' evoked laughter from the briefing room. That was followed by a question on the White House visitor logs. After that, more questions focused on Syria and North Korea, and a question was asked about taxes and infrastructure. At this point, I thought, I was doing great. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary because of the pace and intensity of the briefings.

"Then I called on ABC News's Cecilia Vega. 'Sean, thanks, I just want to give you an opportunity to clarify something you said that seems to be gaining some traction right now.' What now? Then she started reading from her phone. 'Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.' What did you mean by that?' What? Frantically, I'm thinking, 'What did I do?' I responded, 'I think you come to sarin gas, there was no - he was not using the gas on his own people the same way Assad is doing, I mean, there was clearly - I understand your point, thank you.' She said, 'I'm just getting - ' but I cut her off and stepped in deeper and deeper. 'Thank you, I appreciate that,' I said. 'There was not - he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that. But I'm saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent - into the middle of towns. It was brought - so the use of it - I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent.' What had I done. Holocaust centers? And I didn't realize until later that I had inadvertently omitted Mattis's important phrase 'on the battlefield.' Hitler, of course, had used chemical weapons to murder Jews and other victims during the Holocaust.

"I read the body language of not only the reporters but also my own staffers along the side of the room. I was beginning to realize I had misspoken badly... In the heat of the moment, I still hadn't realized what I had said wrong. I was so fully focused on condemning Assad that I failed to see how badly I had stumbled by omitting that phrase, 'on the battlefield.' By this point, I was feeling flustered, still not fully understanding what had just happened. My remarks were not quite right, I had the alarming sense that I was digging myself into a deeper hole with each word. This may have been the lowest moment I had in the White House. I alone had fumbled; no one else had made me do it. The irony is that this was a question that I had been waiting for, that I had been prepared to answer. And I had been given two chances to clarify the record.

"After the briefing, I went to my staff. I knew it was bad, but I still asked, how deep am I? Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Natalie Strom, and Raj Shah give me a look that said, 'Deeper than the Titanic.' Then I noticed the calendar on my computer. It read, 'First day of Passover.'

"Reince came into my office. 'Remember the first thing you taught me in media training?' he asked. 'Yes,' I said sheepishly. Never compare anyone to Hitler. I made a mistake, a big one, and I needed to say so.

"I went to the Oval Office to see the president. 'Mr President, I need you to know that I just stepped in it really badly, and I screwed up.' 'I saw it. But I know what you meant, Sean. It's going to be okay.' 'Thank you, sir, but I think I've embarrassed you and the administration and insulted the Jewish people. I need to make it right.' 'Look, Sean, you screwed up, but I know what you meant. You clearly didn't mean... ' He trailed off. When he spoke again, his tone was gentle. At a moment when I felt my worst, he tried to reassure me and was gracious, caring, and forgiving. Finally, he said, 'Do what you think is right.' I felt like I had a fever that was going to get worse before it broke. And despite the president's support, I was again wondering if this was my last day at the White House.

"I asked Natalie, who is Jewish, how the story was playing. Natalie is as loyal as they come, but she had to confess it was getting much worse. Many people echoed the president, telling me they knew what I meant,' but millions of other people did not and were deeply offended. In this moment, I knew I had three choices: one, do nothing and hope that it blew over; two, look for a friendly interviewer or reporter and try to put my spin on the story; or three, find the most challenging interviewer I could, own the mistake, and ask for forgiveness. I chose number three.

"I asked my team to check which news shows I could get on ASAP. They came back with several options, including appearing on CNN with Wolf Blitzer... I knew from the outset that it wouldn't be an easy interview. Wolf always asks tough questions. And he is the son of two Holocaust survivors. 'I was absolutely trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas,' I told Wolf. 'Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which, frankly, there is no comparison. And for that I apologize.'... Wolf kept boring down on me. Wasn't I aware that in addition to the Jews, others had been victims of Hitler's poison-gas chambers? Of course, I told him. 'Have you spoken to President Trump about your blunder today?' Wolf asked. 'Obviously, it was my blunder,' I said. To think that I had offended people - especially those whose families had been victims of the Holocaust - twisted my stomach in a way I had never felt before and hope to never feel again. I had created this mess. I had embarrassed myself, my team, and the president.

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, other Democrats, and even a Republican congressman from Colorado were soon calling for my resignation.

"That evening, I was as down as I ever was. Some people can shrug off bad moments, but I have a hard time forgiving myself when I make a mistake, especially when I hurt others. It grates on me. Fortunately, Rebecca and the kids were waiting for me at home, and that made all the difference." (pp 195-200)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Zionisation of America 2

In addition to US state legislatures doing their bit to protect Israel from free speech, Congress has also been getting in on the act:

You will hopefully remember Greenwald's 2017 piece* on the AIPAC-inspired Israel Boycott Act (S. 720), "introduced by Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, that would criminalize participation in any international boycott of Israel. After the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement vehemently condemning Cardin's bill as an attack on core free speech rights, one which 'would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs,' numerous senators announced that they were re-considering their support." (School contractor in Texas denied work over pro-Israel loyalty oath)

Greenwald updates us here on Cardin's latest move:

"But now... a modified version of the bill is back and pending in the lame-duck session: 'Cardin is making a behind-the-scenes push to slip an anti-boycott law into a last-minute spending bill being finalized during the lame-duck session.' The ACLU has also condemned this latest bill because 'its intent and the intent of the underlying state laws it purports to uphold are contrary to the spirit and letter of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and association.'... While that 'new version clarifies that people cannot face jail time for participating in a boycott,' the ACLU insists that it still leaves the door open for criminal financial penalties' for anyone found to be participating in or even advocating for a boycott of Israel." (ibid)

Watch this space...

[*For the gruesome details, see my 23/7/17 post First They Came for the Palestinians. See also my 10/7/18 post Ziofascist Legislation Creep  in the US.]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Zionisation of America 1

From 'the world's greatest democracy', aka the 'Home of the brave' and 'Land of the free', further evidence of the rapid advance of that most insidious phenomenon, the Zionisation of America:

"A children's speech pathologist [Bahia Amawi] who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she 'does not' and 'will not' engage in a boycott of Israel or 'otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm' on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court... alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech." (School contractor in Texas denied work over pro-Israel loyalty oath, Glenn Greenwald, theintercept.com, 17/12/18)

"The anti-BDS Israel oath was included in Amawi's contract papers due to an Israel-specific state law enacted on May 2, 2017, by the Texas State Legislature... The bill [authored by an evangelical Republican rep.] unanimously passed the lower House by a vote of 131-0, and then the Senate by a vote of 25-4." (ibid)

 "At the time that Texas enacted the law barring contractors from supporting a boycott of Israel, it was the 17th state in the country to do so. As of now, 26 states have enacted such laws - including blue states run by Democrats such as New York, California, and New Jersey - while similar bills are pending in another 13 states." (ibid)

You won't, of course, have heard about this outrage from any branch of the Australian corporate media.

And don't dare think it can't happen here. Remember how the shit hit the fan when Sydney's Marrickville Council bravely adopted a pro-BDS position in 2011?

I'll leave you with Greenwald's assessment to ponder:

"Put simply, it is impossible to be a credible, effective, genuine advocate of free speech and free discourse without objecting to the organized, orchestrated, sustained onslaught of attacks on the free speech and free association rights undertaken specifically to protect the Israeli government from criticism and activism. Self-professed free speech defenders who only invoke that principle when their political allies are targeted are, by definition, charlatans and frauds. Genuine free speech advocates object to censorship even when, arguably especially when, the free speech rights of their political adversaries are assaulted."

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

You Read What You Are

"The PM's holiday reading includes former Canadian PM Stephen Harper's Right Here, Right Now... " (Our pollies brought to book over summer, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 11/12/18)

Stephen Harper, eh? No surprises there:

"[O]ne of Harper's most polarizing foreign policy causes has been Israel. As Israel has grown increasingly isolated due to its treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories - as well as building illegal settlements on this land - the Harper government has become one of the country's most zealous supporters.

"Since Harper became prime minister [2006], Israel has invaded Lebanon - killing up to 1,125 Lebanese (as compared to 159 Israelis) and launched two invasions of the Gaza Strip, the first in 2008-09 that led to 1,434 Palestinian casualties (as compared to 13 Israelis) and then last year, leading to 2,139 Palestinian deaths and 11,000 wounded (as compared to 73 Israeli deaths and 556 wounded). In 2010, when six Turkish ships set sail for Gaza to deliver 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to relieve Israel's blockade, Israeli commandos stormed the boats in international waters and killed 10 activists. Despite international condemnation over what was seen as Israel's overkill in these instances, the Harper government has consistently rushed to Israel's defense and been quick to brand Palestinians and their organizations as 'terrorists.'...

"Harper has a close affinity with the current government of Israel, led by the hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu, although Netanyahu's party won only 23% of the vote in the most recent election. Moreover, during that campaign, Netanyahu pledged to never  negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians and made thinly racist comments on the eve of the vote, saying 'Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves' as a warning to voters to back his Likud party. In fact, Canada has sided with Israel to thwart Palestinians' efforts to have their own state: in 2012, Canada was the only one of nine countries in the UN that voted against Palestinians achieving statehood. Since 2007, it has cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, voted against all UN resolutions recognizing the rights of Palestinians and complained bitterly when Palestine was admitted as a full member state to UNESCO.

"Not surprisingly, Harper's foreign policy has alienated Canada's Arab and Muslim communities... In 2009, the federal government cut its $1-million annual funding for the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) due to the organization's criticism's of Israel... And then there is Harper's decision to send fighter jets to Iraq to do battle with ISIS, costing $360-million this year... " (Is Harper Canada's worst prime minister?, Bruce Livesey, nationalobserver.com, 7/6/15)

That was 2015. Lately, Harper has begun to display signs of the dreaded Jerusalem Syndrome:

"The intersection of populism and trade may be Harper's second-favourite subject on the speaking circuit after Israel. His sharpest post-political advocacy is for the Jewish state, after steadfast rhetorical support during his time in government. Maclean's counts at least 10 Israel-related speaking engagements or events Harper has attended since leaving office [in 2015]... plus a private event at the mansion of pro-Israel casino magnate Sheldon Adelson for the Republican Jewish Coalition while still MP in 2016. Harper has become director of the Friends of Israel Initiative, a group of former political leaders [inc. Howard and Downer!] - and it was through that group that he co-signed a full-page ad in the New York Times praising Trump's pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord, which Israel hotly advocated but Canada's current government didn't.

"'He's a man of principles and he's not going to let political exigencies affect his standing for what he believes is right, even if not popular,' says Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. When that charity [LOL] held its first gala, at Trump's glitzy Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, it hoped to book Nikki Haley, Trump's UN ambassador, Eckstein recalls. When she was unavailable, his board opted for Harper. According to a speech transcript provided by the charity, Harper... ripped into anti-Semitism on campuses, Iran's threat to Israel, how he would declare Jerusalem the state's capital if he were prime minister, and why unequivocal support of Israel is 'plainly and simply the right thing to do'." (What on earth is Stephen Harper up to? Jason Markusoff, macleans.ca, 12/7/18)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

US Coalition 'Cure' Worse than IS Disease

So Trump is at last pulling US forces out of Syria. In my view, the sooner the US gets out of Syria, not to mention the entire Middle East - and stays out - the better.

If you want to know why, read the following chilling news report - keeping in mind, as you read, that it was the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 that unleashed Islamic State, first on Iraq, then on Syria:

"An Amnesty International report last June said [Raqqa's] civilian casualty figures admitted by the US-led coalition were grossly under-representative. Before that report, the coalition suggested only 23 Syrian civilians had died in its campaign in Raqqa, which destroyed nearly 80% of the city. Britain's Ministry of Defence consistently and incredibly claimed it had no evidence of civilian casualties caused by the 275 British airstrikes in Raqqa or to more than 750 in Mosul, Iraq... 'At least the Americans admit to having  caused civilian casualties,' Airwars director Chris Woods said yesterday. 'Britain, like Russia, France, Australia, Belgium and the Dutch, claim their bombs only kill bad people, which is ridiculous'.

"The operation by the Syrian recovery teams [of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces] suggests Amnesty and Airwars are accurate in their assessment of civilian casualties. Data shared with The Times, which was up to date on December 11, said teams had recovered 3280 corpses since work began in January. This included the bodies of 604 children younger than 16; 538 adult civilian women; 1251 civilian men; and 792 fighters. In 95 cases, it was not possible to identify age or sex. Thousands of civilians were wounded during the operation, in which US forces fired more than 30,000 artillery shells into the city as well as airstrikes by jets from Britain, Australia and France. American units fired more artillery into Raqqa than into any other city since the Vietnam War...

"Hannan Mukhlaf, 27, lost two brothers, two sisters, two sisters-in-law and their five children in a coalition airstrike on her family's home in August last year... 'Islamic State were cruel to all but the coalition used airstrikes against us as if we were animals. If just one person in the West was killed in such a way, everybody would be talking about it. But thousands of us died like this here - bombed like we were animals'. The grim work of recovering bodies goes on." (Raqqa's dead tell a haunting tale of coalition civilian casualties by the thousands, Anthony Lloyd, The Times/The Australian, 21/12/18)

The fact is that the US is directly responsible both for inflicting the IS contagion on Syria, and for inflicting on its hapless Syrian victims an aerial and artillery bombardment infinitely worse than the disease itself.

Typically, there are those who either don't get it or don't care. One such is Australia's prime minister. Fresh from his Jerusalem debacle:

"Scott Morrison has vowed to stay the course in the war against terrorism in the Middle East, warning that 'we cannot be complacent' about the threat of a resurgence of Islamic State, a day after Donald Trump withdrew US troops from Syria and amid reports he is planning to draw down forces in Afghanistan." (PM's vow on terror alliance, Paul Maley/ Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 22/12/18)

Apparently, this stems from the dogma that we must "deny terrorist organisations safe havens in which to plan and export terror attacks across the globe, including the Indo-Pacific." (ibid)

Whenever you hear this kind of simple-minded rhetoric about "denying terrorist organisations safe havens," please remember the fate of the thousands of mangled and maimed civilians in Raqqa and Mosul.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Zionists Put Shorten on Notice

If, as I suspect, federal Labor leader Bill Shorten will simply ignore his party's 2018 National Conference call "to recognise Palestine as a state," will he at least have the fortitude to resist Zionist threats such as this?:

"The Zionist Federation of Australia has written to Bill Shorten and opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong to express concerns about the party's position after they confirmed Labor would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital only in the final stages of of a two-state solution... In the ZFA letter, obtained by The Australian, president Jeremy Leibler seeks clarification of Labor's position after Australia became one of the few countries to formally recognise West Jerusalem as Israel's capital while pledging to recognise a future Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. 'A move by a future Labor government to reverse such an important position would be considered a hostile act to Australia's strongest ally in the Middle East,' Mr Leibler writes. 'Should Labor form government, we... urge the ALP not to reverse the decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel'. Senator Wong has tweeted that Labor did not 'support unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and in government would reverse this decision'." (Labor warned against undoing Israel move, Rosie Lewis, 17/12/18)

Watch this space...

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Two (State) Cheers for the ALP

Wring what joy you will out of this resolution of the Australian Labor Party's 2018 national conference on Palestine:

1 Notes previous resolutions on Israel/Palestine carried at the 2015 ALP National Conference and the 2016 NSW Labor Annual conference,

2 Supports the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states with secure and recognised borders,

3 Calls on the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a state, and

4 Expects that this issue will be an important priority for the next Labor Government.

But please remember that:

a) Israel is an apartheid state - from the River to the Sea - and, like apartheid South Africa before it, has no "right" to exist as such.
b) The two-state solution has long since passed its use-by date. (The ALP's resolution doesn't even refer to the 1967 borders.)
c) Israel is firmly in the grip of Greater Israel fanatics for whom a Palestinian state, however small and compromised, is simply anathema.
d) The recognition of even a hopelessly compromised, rump Palestine depends ultimately on Labor leader Bill Shorten, AIJAC's Rambam Fellow of 2005 and a protege of the late Zionist cardboard king, Dick Pratt (a convicted price-fixer and generous donor to LibLab and assorted Israeli 'charities'). Shorten has been aptly described by Bob Carr as "umbilically attached to the cause of Israel." I need only quote here the assessment of that other umbilically-attached-to-Israel gentleman, Greg Sheridan, writing in today's Australian: "On foreign policy, the genius of the federal ALP conference is that it has not transgressed the authority of a Shorten Labor government to function properly." (Conference sidestep leaves leaders free to govern, 20/12/18)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jerusalem Syndrome

Denis Michael Rohan (1941-1995)
Scott Morrison (1968 -):

Denis was an Australian.
Scott is an Australian.

Denis set fire to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on 21 August 1969.
Scott recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital on 15 December 2018. (Let's not beat around the bush here: Morrison's blather about "acknowledging the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem" is mere face-saving verbiage.)

Denis was a member of the California-based sect the Church of God.
Scott is a member of the Australian branch of the Montana-based Assemblies of God.

Denis was big on the Old Testament.
Scott quoted the Old Testament in his maiden speech.

Denis was stark, staring mad.
Scott is...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Some Gems from Morrison's 'Address to the Sydney Institute'

The complete text may be accessed at pm.gov.au, 15/12/18:

Look at this sentence from Morrison's lengthy (and thoroughly USraeli) tirade against the UN General Assembly and tell me what it means:

"We won't turn a blind eye to an anti-Semitic agenda masquerading as defence of human rights as a nation like Australia."

Here he plays the Doc Evatt card (without of course mentioning the former Labor foreign minister's name):

"We proudly recall that it was Australia that chaired the Committee that recommended to the UN General Assembly the creation of the state of Israel and then voted in favour of the partition of Mandate Palestine."

To begin with, Evatt's Committee (UNSCOP) didn't recommend "the creation of the state of Israel." It recommended that Palestine be divided into Jewish and an Arab states. And there was no implication that the said Jewish state was anything other than those parts of Palestine where Jewish settlers had congregated. In fact there were almost as many Arabs living in the proposed 'Jewish' state as there were Jews - with no implication, of course, that they would be ethnically cleansed, as indeed they were the following year.

And another thing: to the extent that Evatt involved Australia in recommending that Palestine be partitioned over the heads of its people, we were complicit in depriving the Palestinian Arab majority of its right to national self-determination, in violation of the UN Charter, and in setting the scene for Zionist terror gangs to create the Palestinian refugee problem, still unresolved to this day.

Speaking of which refugee problem:

"And we continue donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East of $41 million in 2017-19."

Which begs the question: why is Morrison touting this as some kind of virtue when, in fact, thanks to Evatt, Australia was complicit in creating the very Palestinian refugee problem which UNRWA was set up to deal with?

"Though a two state solution remains the only viable way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the obstacles, we must admit, to achieving such a solution are becoming insurmountable."

And they are? Morrison shies away from telling us. Elsewhere in his speech, however, we find this clue: "[Israeli] settlements undermine peace - and contribute to the stalemate we now see." But, hey, you wouldn't expect a rapture-ready fool to see, let alone forthrightly state, the bleeding obvious, would you?

Now here's a curious thing. For Morrison, while the General Assembly is a seething hotbed of anti-Semitic bullies, the Security Council (with its trusty US veto!) is quite another matter:

"I also required that their [ie, departmental secretaries from Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence and Home Affairs] deliberations respect Australia's obligations under international law and UN Security Council resolutions - two things that are fundamental, I think, to Australia's interests in in a rules-based order... respect for UN Security Council resolutions is a relevant factor for Australia that we can't put to one side as we consider our position on these issues. Now, Australia is subject to UN Security Council resolutions that apply to the Jerusalem issue, including Resolutions 478 and 2334."

Indeed, but is Morrison aware that Security Council resolution 478, adopted (14-0) in 1980 in response to Israel's illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, included a call for "those states that have established diplomatic Missions in Jerusalem to withdraw such Missions from the Holy City"? And if so, does he really think that his ploy of a "Trade & Defence Office in West Jerusalem" passes muster as "respect" for a resolution containing these words?

As for resolution 2334 (2016), which condemned (14-0) Israeli settlements as a "flagrant violation" of international law, does he really expect his mealy-mouthed talk of "insurmountable obstacles" to a two state solution to fool anyone?

"At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you believe in."

Well, he's right there. Without doubt, Morrison is the most Zionist prime minister this country has ever had.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Making of Morrison

Some gems from Scott Morrison's maiden speech, 14/2/08:

"Growing up in a Christian home, I made a commitment to my faith at an early age... "

Indoctrinated from birth...

"My personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a political agenda... "

OK...

"In recent times it has become fashionable to negatively stereotype those who profess their Christian faith in public life as 'extreme' and to suggest that faith has no place in the political debate of this country."

Contradicts himself...

"This presents a significant challenge for those of us... who seek to follow the example of... Desmond Tutu... [This leader] stood for the immutable truths and principles of the Christian faith."

My goodness, is this the same Archbishop Tutu who wrote "I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of apartheid"? (Divesting from injustice, huffingtonpost.com, 25/5/11)

And who praised the work of UC Berkeley BDS activists "in support of divesting the university's money from companies that enable and profit from the injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian human rights"? (ibid)

And who pointed out that "these students are doing the right thing... the moral thing... which is incumbent on them as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings"? (ibid)

Mr Morrison, you're no Desmond Tutu.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Don't Be Fooled

If we juxtapose the key words in Morrison's definitive speech on moving Australia's embassy to West Jerusalem, we can see that there is no parity between what he says about West Jerusalem and what he says about East Jerusalem.

When it comes to West Jerusalem, Morrison is all ACTION ("recognising West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel"), but when it comes to East Jerusalem mere WORDS suffice ("acknowledging the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem").

If Morrison were serious about East Jerusalem, he would have said: 'recognising East Jerusalem IS the capital of Palestine'.

Don't be fooled.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Pain in the Neck

There's a preliminary report - PM locks in shift to West Jerusalem (Simon Benson) - in today's Australian which quotes what Morrison will say later today when he announces his much-anticipated decision on relocating Australia's embassy to Jerusalem. In it I note these words in particular:

"The Australian government has expressed our strong concern over Israel's land appropriations, demolitions and settlement activity. The settlements undermine peace - and contribute to the stalemate we now see."

To sheet home to Israel the extent of his "strong concern" for "settlement activity," which "undermines peace," Morrison has therefore declared that:

"The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel. And we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical in support of, and after, final- status determination. We have decided to start work now to identify a suitable site for an Australian embassy in West Jerusalem." (ibid)

I'm sorry, readers, I can't proceed any further on this subject at this point in time. You see, I've badly twisted my neck trying to get my head around the above.

Something for a Religious Freedom Commissioner to Chew On?

Scott Morrison's proposed legislation to 'protect' freedom of religion has The Australian's editorialist scratching his head:

"How would the new religious freedom commissioner (who must also defend those of no faith) deal with an arrogant, Richard Dawkins-like assault on Christianity? Could a Shia Muslim haul a Sunni before a tribunal for 'conciliation'? Would Scientology or Falun Gong qualify as religions? If a critic faults Islamism on political grounds, could a radical make a complaint of religious discrimination? Would a court ruling that a witness in a niqab or burka show her face come under challenge?" (Scott Morrison's big ideas and the problem of detail, 14/12/18)

These, of course, are all just hypotheticals. And yet, there on the front page of the same edition, The Australian featured a matter anything but hypothetical:

"Sending her three children to Leibler Yavneh College at Elsternwick, in Melbourne's southeast, is a form of 'life insurance' for Zoe Goodhardt. But this is an insurance policy like no other. It is the guarantee Ms Goodhardt says that her family's Jewish faith and way of life can continue untrammelled. So it is no surprise as rising secularism clashes with the beliefs and values of traditional faiths that Ms Goodhardt, 32, has rushed to support Scott Morrison's pledge to protect religious freedom... 'I think that it's our right, and the right of the school, to cultivate a community at the school in line with their ethos and values,' Ms Goodhardt says... At Yavneh College, that community is based around the modern orthodox school's mission to adhere to Jewish law (Halacha), ethical behaviour (Derech Eretz) and Zionist ideals." (Keeping religion alive lies at heart of family's values, Brad Norrington, The Australian, 14/12/18)

Since Zionism is the ideological driving force behind the settler-colonial, apartheid state of Israel, could this not be grounds for a Palestinian complaint to a future 'religious freedom commissioner' that the school's Zionist focus is aimed at producing students who, in one way or another, could conceivably go on to aid and abet, or even become directly involved in, the violation of Palestinian rights?

And if you think this is a stretch, keep in mind that "Modern Orthodox Jews form the core of the religious Zionist settlement movement in Israel." (See 5 key takeaways... from new survey of US Modern Orthodox Jews, Ben Sales, The Times of Israel, 30/9/17)

How typical of Murdoch's Australian to instance "Islamism", while ignoring political Zionism, with its blatant conflation of religion and politics, even when (on this rare occasion) it makes it to the front page.

(On this matter of Palestine/Israel in court, readers might like to trawl through my posts Sixteen Angry Men 1 (25/9/10), Sixteen Angry Men 2 (28/9/10), and Sixteen Angry Men 3 (29/9/10). These are well worth a re-read.)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Morrison Warned Off

"The Morrison government has been advised by key bureaucrats and retired 'wise elders' against moving its embassy to Jerusalem or making other significant changes to Australia's stance on the status of the city central to the Middle East peace process... The government departments and agencies consulted are understood to be aligned in support of Australia's existing position in having its embassy in Tel Aviv. Those include the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Defence Department and ASIO. That was also the majority view of of a small, handpicked group of former top officials or 'wise elders'... These included former Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet head Michael Thawley, former Defence Department head Dennis Richardson and former Chief of the Defence Force Sir Angus Houston." (Officials warn off embassy relocation, David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/12/18)

"The Indonesian Muslim groups behind a one-million-strong rally in Jakarta this month have warned that any move by the Australian government to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital - even if the embassy remains in Tel Aviv for now -  would spark mass protests and a boycott of Australian products." (Holy city as capital to spark boycotts, Amanda Hodge, The Australian, 13/12/18)

The Joke

From the rambammed international editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher:

"The leader of Tibet's government-in-exile has been telling his story about Bob Carr around the world for years and always gets a laugh. Last week he recounted it during a visit to Parliament House in Canberra... In 2013 [Lobsang] Sangay visited Canberra and a reporter asked him whether Carr, Australia's then foreign affairs minister, would be meeting him. A government that meets the Dalai Lama or Sangay risks the wrath of the Chinese Communist Party, which has claimed to be the sole representative of the Tibetan people since its army invaded Tibet in 1950. 'I said I'd love to, but I haven't asked for a meeting, not wanting to put Carr in a difficult position', he recalled last week. 'I'm sure that, given the choice, Bob Carr would like to meet because that's the Buddhist culture - we like to believe people are good.' Later in his visit, the Tibetan leader was in the lift from Parliament's car park when it stopped. 'The doors open and Bob Carr walks in,' he tells me. The Labor backbencher Michael Danby, Sangay's escort for the visit, introduced the two men in the lift: 'I had to decide at that moment whether to extend my hand or not. The Tibetan way is not to cause inconvenience, so I nodded and smiled. He kind of nodded - a little bit - then walked past. I like to say that we didn't have a formal meeting but we had a karmic meeting. No matter how powerful the Chinese government may be, it can't prevent the foreign minister of Australia from meeting me'." (Tide is turning on Tibet, 11/12/18)

Hartcher goes on in his opinion piece to describe Carr as "now a cheerleader for the Beijing government as head of the Australia-China Relations Institute."

Actually, the joke here is on Sangay.

Here we have a man who is apparently so immersed in what he calls "Buddhist culture" - "we like to believe people are good" - that, on the face of it, he is blissfully unaware that his "escort" is Australia's most vocal Zionist cheerleader for Israeli apartheid - which can only mean that he's either a complete fool or he's being disingenuous.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Morrison Postpones the Apocalypse

Apparently, it's just way too expensive:

"The Morrison government is expected to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's legitimate capital following a cabinet meeting today, but may delay the relocation of Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv. Senior government sources have confirmed a final decision was made by cabinet's national security committee last night... It is understood the cost of relocating the embassy, with estimates of up to $200 million, was a factor in deliberations... " (Cost may delay Israel embassy move, Simon Benson, The Australian, 11/12/18)

Mind you, it's not like he wasn't hot to trot on this one:

"The Jewish lobby had been consulted about the potential move long before the [Wentworth] by-election, with the Prime Minister long having a conviction on the issue." (ibid)

It's just that he was in a terrible bind. While raring for the Rapture, had he not staked his political reputation on being a fiscal conservative?

Meanwhile, in case you've forgotten, the Devil, as always, is in the detail:

"Labor MP Michael Danby, who has been deeply involved in the issue, has said Mr Morrison could move to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel's capital but leave the embassy shift 'until some progress in negotiations with Palestinians'."

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Frydenberg Declaration

As federal environment minister, Lord Frydenberg had reportedly decided to hand Queensland's Moreton Bay wetlands, the ancestral homeland of sundry shorebirds and waterfowl, to the Walker Corporation.

Citing Mammon's ancient promise to the Capitalist people, the Corporation, it seems, had convinced him that, without Capital, the birds would never in a million years have built anything as vibrant as 3,600 apartments, a hotel, a convention centre or a marina, and that the development would "form a rampart of Capital against the natural world, an outpost of civilization as opposed to the barbarism of nature."

The Corporation, moreover, had apparently secured from him a declaration that his government "view with favour the establishment in the Moreton Bay wetland of a national home for the Capitalist people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Capitalist communities in the wetland."

Sunday, December 9, 2018

What a Payne!

While wetting herself over the failure of Trump's anti-Hamas stunt to pass muster in the UNGA on December 6 ("egregious and ongoing violent acts of the terrorist organisation Hamas"), and mere days after Australia voted with USrael, Liberia, Marshall Islands, and Nauru against the following UNGA resolution in favour of a two-state solution ("a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on relevant UN resolutions... an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967... unwavering support for the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders"), Morrison foreign minister Marise Payne declared that "Australia supports a two-state solution that allows Israel and a future Palestinian state to exist side-by-side, in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders." (Payne's swipe at UN over Hamas, Simon Benson, The Australian, 8/12/18)

Go figure.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

More Morrison at the UN

Seriously now, how hard is this?:

In a 6 December draft resolution, Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, "the [General] Assembly reiterates its call for the achievement, without delay, of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on relevant United Nations resolutions. It also reiterates its call for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, including of East Jerusalem, and reaffirms its unwavering support for the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders." (General Assembly adopts text reiterating call for comprehensive Middle East peace, after failing to pass resolution condemning actions by Hamas in Gaza, un.org/press)

For Morrison's Australia way too hard, since it lined up with Israel, the United States, Liberia, Marshall Islands and Nauru to vote against, while 156 countries voted in favour and 12 abstained.

Could anything be clearer? Morrison's Australia does not believe in the application of UN resolutions/international law when it comes to the Palestinians, supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and rejects a two-state solution. Any talk to the contrary by Morrison & his minions back home in Australia is therefore pure deception.

Finally, on the same day, Trump's US tabled Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. Had this text passed, it "would have had the Assembly demand that Hamas and other militant actors... cease all provocative actions and violent activity." (ibid)

But not, you'll note, the world's most innocent bystander.

87 countries voted in favour to 57 against, with 33 abstentions - which is to say 90 countries couldn't bring themselves to vote for it.

Needless to say, Morrison's Australia...

Friday, December 7, 2018

Morrison at the UN

"The General Assembly today [30/11/18] concluded its annual debate on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East by adopting six resolutions... " (Calling for final peace settlement of Israeli Palestinian conflict, General Assembly adopts six resolutions on Middle East, un.org/press release)

The first, Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, "calls for intensified efforts by the parties... to conclude a final peace settlement. It also calls upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law and stresses the need for an immediate and complete cessation of all acts of violence." (ibid)

So how did Australia, which is to say our Christian Zionist, Netanyahu-backed PM Morrison, vote on this most unremarkable resolution? No surprises:

While 156 nations voted for it, with 12 abstentions, Australia lined up with Israel, the United States, Canada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Nauru to vote against it.

The second, Jerusalem, "reiterates that any action by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void." (ibid)

Clearly a slap in the face for all who want Apocalypse Now, Morrison's Australia just couldn't help itself:

While 148 nations voted for it, with 14 abstentions, Australia lined up with Israel, the United States, Canada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Guatemala to vote against it.

The third, The Syrian Golan, "declares that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and demands that Israel withdraw from the territory." (ibid)

As you'd expect, Syria's Golan Heights would be a mere bagatelle for those who believe that Greater Israel runs from "the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates":

While 99 nations voted for it, with 66 abstentions, 10 voted against it. These were (cut & paste).

There were, of course, 3 others, "dealing with the United Nations system's own provision of support to the Palestinian people" - Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, and Division of Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat - but these need not detain us here. You know how, and with whom, we voted on them. Just cut & paste, OK?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Who Invented the 'Terror Tunnel'?

Why, Hamas and Hezbollah, of course! Everyone knows that. Especially the Murdoch press:

"The Israeli military launched an operation yesterday to 'expose and thwart' tunnels built by Hezbollah that it said stretched from Lebanon into northern Israel... 'We see Hezbollah's activities as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,' said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. 'This activity is another example of the negative effects of Iranian entrenchment in the region'." (Israeli troops unleash on Hezbollah tunnels, AP, The Australian, 5/12/18)

The world's most innocent bystander could never, in a million years, dream up such a fiendish thing as the dreaded 'terror tunnel'!

Oh, wait:

"An explosion was heard* by the Coldstream [Guards] in [their] Citrus House [headquarters] emanating from a building across the road, opposite the gate. The dead body of a man was found near the entrance of a tunnel which began in the basement of the building and led in the direction of Citrus House... The Coldstream Regimental History states: 'The IZL [Irgun Zvai Leumi] had decided to blow up Citrus House'... Terrorist tunneling had been discounted by those who thought they knew, because the predominant sandy nature of the earth was considered a barrier to any such operation." (A Captain's Mandate: Palestine 1946-1948, Philip Brutton, 1996, p 99)

[*12/6/47]

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Saving Morrison's Bacon

O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to take our marching orders from Benjamin Netanyahu*:

"Scott Morrison is leaning heavily on the nation's most senior bureaucrats, and a top-secret panel of 'wise elders', to find a way through the political and diplomatic minefield he created by suggesting Australia could move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem... Conversations with more than a dozen members of the bureaucracy, cabinet, and the foreign policy policy and defence communities suggest the Prime Minister has ordered a whole-of-government review... The head of the Department of Foreign Affairs Frances Adamson, Defence boss Greg Moriaty... Attorney-General's boss Chris Moraitis are involved, while spy agency ASIO and the Office of National Assessments have input too.

"Unusually, once the review has been completed it will be handed on to so-called 'wise elders', including former Defence and Foreign Affairs boss Dennis Richardson and former chief of the defence force, Sir Angus Houston, to further examine the implications and consider the regional and domestic ramifications... Once the additional advice is received from the 'wise elders', the national security committee of cabinet will examine the issue before the full cabinet makes the final decision, expected before Christmas.

"A senior source in the foreign affairs community summed up the challenges for those leading the review: 'They will recommend doing something... to preserve the dignity of the Prime Minister. It will be some sort of compromise,' the source said. Another member of the foreign policy establishment said the government 'would be working overtime to find anyone in DFAT who thinks moving the embassy is a good idea' and 'they will be looking for a face-saving measure'. One of the compromise solutions being canvassed is the establishment of a small consulate in Jerusalem, rather than an embassy, that could be upgraded to the status of full embassy in the future. Another option would be to announce a firm intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem at an ill-defined date, when other outstanding issues, such as Palestinian statehood, are resolved.

"The prospect of a total backdown on the proposal - which would preserve the status quo - is considered unlikely at this stage. A spokesman for the Prime Minister declined to comment." (Morrison taps wiser heads on Israel embassy, James Massola, Sydney Morning Herald, 5/12/18)

[*See my 18/11/18 post Morrison's 'Circle of Trust'.]

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Cause that Dare Not Speak its Name

Four heartfelt and highly apposite tweets from Palestinian-Australian journalist Jennine Khalik, posted in response to CNN's firing of commentator Professor Marc Lamont Hill for daring to call for a "free Palestine, from the river to the sea" at a UN gathering for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29 November):

"It is scary that to simply say that Palestinians are human and deserving of dignity, safety, security and justice is a fireable offence. Blacklisted even. Something must change. It terrifies me, as a Palestinian in the media industry, to simply own my identity, culture, history.

"I write this now with great hesitation. It might be okay to be like teehee hummus! Teehee I love the Old City of Jerusalem! Teehee I come from a family of refugees coz of a thing that happened! But to talk about it properly, to elaborate, makes me targetable. And I know this.

"It's been made clear to me many times, in many different ways, that to be Palestinian and to be a journalist is incongruent & incompatible. My, our narrative, is off-limits. I have had people try to disrupt my career many times. Many tears and anxiety-filled days later, I'm still here.

"But I'm a little tired, hey."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Roll on Up...

The full page Webjet ("Australia's largest Online Travel Agent") advertisement on page 23 of this weekend's Australian is headed a "25 day Grand Arabia tour."

Grand Arabia? Meaning? The Arabian peninsula? Colourful head-loppings in Saudi? Rivers of blood in Yemen?

No, not really. The ad goes on to explain, in blissful defiance of geography, "Experience the ancient treasures and history of Egypt, Jordan and Israel... "

Apart from these words, the top half of the page is devoted to the famous panoramic view of Israeli-occupied (and annexed) Arab East Jerusalem with its unforgettable feature, the magnificent, golden Dome of the Rock, atop the Haram ash-Sharif. The caption accompanying it, however, ignoring completely the Dome of the Rock, reads: "Day 20: The Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel."

Moving on down the page, we come to "Tour highlights." These include "Cross into the Holy Land and discover the sights of Jerusalem including the Way of the Cross, Lion's Gate and the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter," and "Journey across the Judean Desert to Masada, see the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered at Qumran, and day trip to Nazareth."

And all of this for just $6,999!

What was that about travel broadening the mind?

Here we have an example of rambamming for the terminally bored, cashed-up hoi polloi.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Meet Labor's Latest Faction

OMFG, what next?

"Labor senator Kimberley Kitching - a close ally and friend of Bill Shorten - is moving to create a bipartisan parliamentary group that will defend 'Judeo-Christian' and 'Western-liberal democratic' values as she launches her credentials as a new style of social conservative within the Labor Party." (Kitching caters for Labor's conservative core, Greg Brown, The Australian, 8/10/18)

"While most Labor MPs have backed this position [of not moving Australia's embassy to Jerusalem], others associated with Labor have been pressuring the party to switch its policies in favour of the move. Henry Pinskier, chair of the Labor-aligned John Curtin Research Centre has been campaigning for the move. 'He [Morrison] should move it. Finish what he started, stop back sliding, show some spine,' Mr Pinskier tweeted earlier this month. 'Get this done Josh before you lose government. Don't be swayed by what Indonesia or Malaysia say. A country that has no ties to Israel diplomatically cannot and should not dictate Australia's foreign policy interest.' Labor's senators Kim Carr and Kimberley Kitching and MPs Michael Danby and Mike Kelly are listed on the think tank's board of advisers. John Curtin Research Centre director Nick Dyrenfurth yesterday said Mr Pinskier's views did not represent the official position of the think tank. 'Henry's comments are made in a private capacity only,' Mr Dyrenfurth told The Australian. Mr Danby has said Mr Morrison will look like a 'worthless dud' if he does not make some policy changes on Iran and Jerusalem as a result of his policy review." (Embassy move: voters far from convinced, Primrose Riordan, The Australian, 28/11/18)

Strike a light!

If these misbegottens had a shred of honesty, they'd stop hiding behind the phony "Judeo-Christian" label, change the name of their lair to the Vladimir Jabotinsky Centre, and openly declare themselves for what they are - Zionists.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Make One, Two, Three, Many Guatemalas*

Sorry, but I can't rest on this subject. Even the Lowy Institute is giving the embassy shuffle the thumbs-down:

"Moving the Australian embassy when no other first world country is would dilute the unity of Western effort further and reward Israel without getting anything in return. No wonder Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was effusive in his praise of the proposal - he probably never thought he would get two Guatemalas in his time in office." (Jerusalem embassy move is down and out on three counts, Rodger Shanahan, The Australian, 22/11/18)

Two Guatemalas? And Australia is the second! Ay caramba! So let's check out the first:

"'We have had an excellent relationship with the people of Israel since the foundation of the State of Israel,' President Jimmy Morales told CBN on Wednesday. His Central American country, now the most heavily evangelical nation in Latin America, was an early supporter of Israel's independence in 1948 and the first to establish an embassy in Jerusalem in the late 1950s. (It was later one of 13 nations that withdrew their embassies from the disputed city due to a 1980 United Nations resolution.)... Citing prayer and prophesy as their motivation, Morales and Vice President Jafeth Cabrera officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year and pledged to return Guatemala's embassy there. 'People in Guatemala pray for the peace in this region, pray for Jerusalem, and they are excited,' said Sarah Angelina Solis, Guatemala's ambassador to Israel, in an interview with CBN. 'I feel this is a gift from God. I know that a lot of blessings will come after this decision. This is a promise in the Bible, in Genesis...'" (Blessed through Israel: how Guatemala's evangelicals inspired its embassy move, Kate Shellnutt, christianitytoday.com, 17/5/18)

This millenarian madness, of course, is continent-wide, but the rot appears deepest in Central America, particularly in Guatemala:

"As once Catholic-dominated nations in Central and South America see the rise of evangelicos, particularly from Pentecostal and charismatic traditions, they've also grown more supportive of Israel as a political state and a holy land, keen to the Lord's words to Abraham: 'I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.' (Gen. 12:3 NIV). Guatemala and Honduras - which have undergone the most dramatic declines in Catholic identity (down nearly 50% in 45 years, according to the Pew Research Center) - were among just a handful of countries to side with the US when the UN voted to condemn its decision to recognize Jerusalem again... Guatemala's third evangelical president, Morales has prioritized Israel since his election in 2015, making the country his first official visit outside of the Americas." (ibid)

But the Lord's 'blessings' now being showered on Jimmy Morales' Guatemala actually go back to the 70s and 80s:

"Even in the midst of the endless misery and cruelty of Central America, Guatemala stands out as a country where those in power have been fighting the powerless with an unusual degree of ruthlessness and bloodiness. Over the years, reports of the horrible realities of Guatemala have been numerous and the judgments harsh. What is unique is the extent to which those who carried out the deliberate policies of endless killings have proclaimed their indebtedness to Israel, as the source not only of their hardware, but of their inspiration. Israel became the main support of the Guatemalan military regimes, as attested to by both General Romeo Lucas Garcia and General Efrain Rios Montt in no uncertain terms. It was Rios Montt, born-again Christian and dictator of Guatemala in 1982-1983, who explained the ease with which he took over in March 1982 simply: 'Many of our soldiers were trained by Israelis' (Greve, 1984) [...] In Guatemala, Israeli advisers are not just instructors: 'Israeli advisers - some official, others private - helped Guatemalan internal security agents hunt underground rebel groups' (Cody, 1983, p 7). They have been directly engaged in counterinsurgency campaigns against the Indian communities." (Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms & Why, 1988, pp 79-81)

The genocidal Indian-fighter Rios Montt, it seems, is something of a role model for Morales:

"Rios Montt died in Guatemala City on April, 2018, of a heart attack at the age of 91. The government of Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales lamented his passing." (Efrain Rios Monttt - Wikipedia)

In fact, Guatemala's love affair with Israel goes back even further, as a young British officer, stationed in Mandate Palestine at the time the Irgun and Stern gangs were strutting their stuff, noted acidly in his memoir:

"This was the day, 16 June [1947], which heralded the arrival of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. This travelling circus, under its self-appointed ringmaster, Jorge Garcia-Granados, a Guatemalan whose country had little to learn about oppressing indigenous peoples, passed five weeks in the Holy Land, adding not a jot to its preconceived ideas. His personal conclusion was that Palestine was a police state, because, thanks to terrorism, it had been forced to spend $2,000,000 a month on security, or P7,010,000 per year. Necessity, the need to support a subjective viewpoint, in this case became the mother of invention." (Philip Brutton, A Captain's Mandate: Palestine 1946-1948, 1996, pp 99-100)

Garcia-Granados went on to pen his own memoir, which concludes thus:

"Yes, it was true, the birth of Israel had taken place in the agony of war. I was convinced that this war need not have been... Nonetheless, bloodshed had come, and we recognized the realities of the situation. Despite this unnecessary tragedy, we, who had considered  the needs and problems of Palestine and its peoples, knew that Israel would live. It must live! Its existence was the first step toward the achievement of security and peace and a new awakening in the lands of the Middle East. How far from Guatemala to Israel - and yet, how near! In a world of many peoples, the struggle was one." (Jorge Garcia-Granados, The Birth of Israel: The Drama as I Saw It, 1948,  pp 290-91)

Just how well that worked out we can see today in the smoking ruin that passes for the Middle East, and just how near Guatemala is to Israel today can hardly have been imagined by the deluded author of these words.

[*With apologies to Che. I have, of course, borrowed his memorable injunction, 'Make one, two, three, many Vietnams', to describe Netanyahu's attempt to circumvent apartheid Israel's pariah status.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Morrison: Just a Happy Clapper?

If Jennifer Wilson's report, Why is Scott Morrison protecting Hillsong Pastor Brian Houston? at independentaustralia.net (21/11/18) is correct, it would now appear that Australia has its first Christian Zionist prime minister. How so? Wilson reveals that both Hillsong and Morrison's own church are "affiliated with Australian Christian Churches, the Australian branch of the [US] Assemblies of God."

If we examine the Assemblies of God (USA) Official Web Site/ Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths, we find that 'truths' 14, 15 and 16 read as follows:

14 The Millennial Reign of Christ: The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel, and the establishment of universal peace.

15 The Final Judgment: There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

16 The New Heavens and the New Earth: 'We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.'

These 'truths' are each accompanied Biblical references, from both the old and new testaments. You will, of course, note the highlighted sentence in 'truth' 14, regarding "the salvation of national Israel." This a reference to a cardinal dogma of Christian Zionism based on Ezekiel 37:21: "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them into their own land." (King James version)

If you turn to the ACC website and scan the section labelled The Doctrinal Basis of the Australian Christian Churches (Assemblies of God in Australia) - you'll find much the same theological claptrap, with one key omission - the reference to "the salvation of national Israel." The intriguing question arises: is this particular Christian Zionist dogma being kept under wraps here in Australia? Or has the ACC broken with its parent body? (The latter seems most unlikely given that they still refer to themselves as "Assemblies of God in Australia.")

Even more intriguing: is the dogma embraced by Prime Minister Morrison, and was it a factor in his including Netanyahu in his "circle of trust" - see my 18/11/18 post Morrison's 'Circle of Trust' - prior to introducing his lead-balloon proposal to move Australia's embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem into the recent Wentworth by-election?

And another thing, this time more general: how does it feel, my fellow Australians, to know that your current prime minister has a dinky-di(e?) belief in the end of the world, if not an interest in doing his bit to bring it on?

A 'clarification' from the Assemblies of God (USA) Official Web Site/ Israel - the Church's Response, poses the question What does the Bible teach regarding Israel and the end-times? As Christians, what response should we have to the Israelis and the Palestinians?, unconvincingly leaving some wriggle-room on 'truth' 14. Claiming that "God's timetable moves at a different pace than some would like," it says that "the Assemblies of God as a Fellowship has been diligent to take an apolitical stance in matters of government and nations." The document then goes on to say, "We must never forget our Christian Palestinian brothers and sisters who suffer great terrors and hurts. But neither should we forget the Jewish Christians and others who are caught in this conflict."

Clearly, the Palestinian Muslims, who make up the majority of Palestinians, are excluded from the Assemblies' tender concern. That's some 'diligence'!

Finally, an indication of just how wobbly the adherents of the Assemblies of God can be is well summed up in the chapter Traveling with Brad, in Grace Halsell's excellent study of Christian Zionism, Prophecy & Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (1986). Brad, an Assemblies of God man on a tour of Israel, tells Halsell that he wishes he'd been born a Jew; that Jews are God's Chosen People; that he wanted the Jews to take possession of the Holy Land; that the ancient Hebrews and today's Israelis are one and the same people; that non-Jews are pagans; and that he didn't want to be a pagan.

Will the real Scott Morrison tell us where he stands in this morass?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Lest You Forget...

As Fairfax Media is on the cusp of being swallowed up by Nine Entertainment Co.* and so turning into a shadow of its former self, we should not forget that its former self was hardly a paragon of fearless journalism on the subject of Palestine/Israel.

One of its myriad ways of misrepresenting the issue and misleading readers was by resorting to that form of self-censorship known as the doctrine of 'balance' - that is, falsely representing the struggle between colonised Palestinian Arabs and their settler-colonial Israeli Jewish masters as one between equals. Here, for example, in the dying days of the Fairfax press as we know it, is one of the most egregious examples I've ever come across of the application of this pernicious practice:

"The declarations [on the Register of Members' Interests by Australian politicians] also show Israeli and Palestinian groups regularly pay for politicians to visit but not all MPs declared this hospitality.

"In April 2017 Greens senator Janet Rice was hosted by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network [APAN] but this was not noted on her register. The senator said she paid all expenses associated with the trip personally and had donated to APAN in the past, which is noted on the register.

"The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council sponsored Labor MPs with $10,000 each in 2017 for study tours and many Liberal MPs have also taken up offers to tour Israel." (190 bottles of wine, 21 cases of beer & a pineapple: gifts for MPs interests, Nigel Gladstone, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/11/18)

Seriously, where's the equivalence here between APAN and AIJAC? There is none! (See my 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too on the subject of Zionist propaganda tours over the decades.)

(Needless to say, not one of the 87 'readers' who commented on the thread following Gladstone's article referred to the above section of his report, yet another another example of 'readers' frittering away their time venting their cynicism and airing their cliches while overlooking entirely the vast difference between bottles of wine and $10,000 propaganda tours which distort our foreign policy so grievously.)

[*See my 10/7/18 post Meet the Chairman of Nine Entertainment Co.]

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A LibLab Witch Hunt

A South Australian public school teacher, Regina Wilson, is currently being crucified by the Murdoch press for introducing "partisan politics" - the words are those of the Liberal South Australian treasurer, Rob Lucas - for posting the following on the Australian Education Union's FB page:

"I am going to try to ensure that the next generation of voters in my classroom don't vote Liberal, without being political of course, as I won't tell my students what to think, but I teach them how to be critical thinkers who question those in power and especially those who seek to keep the status quo for the rich, upper classes and refuse to acknowledge the rest of us." (Teacher's vow to turn kids off Libs, Michael Owen, The Australian, 21/11/18)

Far from being hounded by the Murdoch press, Ms Wilson deserves a medal for her devotion to the welfare of her students. After all, she's doing her bit to ensure that the racist, sexist, born-to-rule rabble, quoted below, get nowhere near the reins of power:

"... CBD has stumbled upon a rich resource that should allow future anthropologists to answer the question: how do party staffers and their friends see themselves? The answer is in a private Facebook page populated by Liberal staffers for dozens of (NSW) MPs from Premier Gladys Berejiklian to Finance Minister Victor Dominello, Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Better Regulations Minister Matt Kean. Its name? 'Not so Subtle Young Lib Traits'.

'Having the ethnic pushed to the front of every group photo,' one Lib suggests.

'And the females!' another quips.

'Thinking that you're a humanitarian because coal exports lift billions out of poverty' is another well-liked post.

'The ratio of gay to straight men almost making up for the lack of women,' gets 60 likes.

'Working for a politician and realising that you're working in this public sector and that makes you nothing more than a filthy commie', comes with the crying face emoji.

One of our favourites: 'Trying to hide your metro aussie accent when talking to Young Nats, Aboriginals or anybody over the age of 50 by faking a strong rural accent like a top country gent' (only 18 likes).

Less creative: 'Being white.' " (The Young Liberal Manual, Kylar Loussikian, CBD, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/10/18)

Now read on as South Australian and federal Labor unite with the Liberals against this admirable woman:

"State Labor's education spokeswoman, Susan Close, said yesterday: 'Party politics should be kept out of the classroom.' This came a day after federal Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek joined federal Education Minister Dan Tehan in calling on schools to ensure children were not being indoctrinated with the political ideologies of teachers." (Teacher claims harassment by 'sexist minister', Michael Owen, The Australian, 24/11/18)

Truly vile.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Poor Bastards

The brain-busting psychiatric disorder, hereinafter known as Shifting Embassy Syndrome (SES), which currently afflicts so many in the federal Liberal Party and the ruling LNP coalition government, has now, tragically, spread to the Liberal opposition in the state of Victoria, with its leader Matthew Bloke Guy flagging "a Jerusalem trade office as one of his top priorities.... Mr Bloke Guy said he was not interested in the political implications of the decision, and he had been driven to make the move by a trip to Israel last year during which he saw the opportunities in Jerusalem." (State Libs' Israel call 'risks backlash', Samantha Hutchinson, The Australian, 22/11/18)

So debilitating is SES that, even though "Start Up Nation Finder 2017 listed almost 2000 active innovation start-ups based in Tel Aviv," and only "390 in Jerusalem," (ibid) sufferers such as Mr Guy are invariably rendered blind to all such mundane considerations.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

About Those Bloody Comment Threads...

A most interesting corporate media phenomenon is the alacrity with which those 'readers' who, like moths to a flame, respond whenever Guardian Australia deigns to allow them the opportunity to do so. I say 'deigns' because these opportunities are quite rare.

In addition to Katharine Murphy's report of November 17, with its categorical assertion that Israeli PM Netanyahu was part of Australian PM Morrison's "circle of trust" in the lead-up to the latter's announcement, during the Wentworth by-election, that he would be moving Australia's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - a truly stunning revelation which all of our corporate media outlets have, inexplicably, thus far ignored - Guardian Australia also posted an eminently sensible opinion piece by former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, giving the idea of the embassy move the thumbs-down. (See my 18/11/18 post Morrison's 'Circle of Trust'.)

Guardian Australia allowed comments on Carr's piece, but, interestingly, not on Murphy's, which brings us back to my first paragraph. Carr's piece attracted almost 170 comments, just about every one of which hammered Morrison and his embassy proposal in no uncertain terms. Morrison was slammed variously as stupid, a moron, an idiot, an imbecile, a clown, a buffoon, a blunderer and, even, 'deranged', and his proposal as a brain-fart or a thought-bubble. He was fingered as a plaything of Trump or the US State Department and Defence/ intelligence community and a lickspittle. Many commenters cited his evangelical faith as the reason for his announcement. They spoke of 'fundamentalist Christian apocalypticism', 'prayerful clappers', 'playing the religion card', 'enmeshed in religious extremism', and 'the fanatical US religious right'. His senior ministers were referred to as a rabble and Frydenberg in particular was singled out as 'incredibly immature' and wanting to 'raise awareness of his heritage'. Not one revealed any knowledge of the hold exercised by the Israel lobby over the two major parties. The word 'Zionist' was conspicuous by its absence.

Only one, it seems, had taken the trouble to read Katharine Murphy's article, yet even his/her comment was problematic. I quote it here in full so you'll see exactly what I mean:

"What KM's related reporting suggests is that while the timing might have been all about  Morrison's desperation as he saw Wentworth slipping away from the Liberals, this particular idea was hardly unspoken within the Liberal Party right wing faction that has secured power..."

You'll notice at this point that the commenter has failed to register the fact that Murphy includes Netanyahu in Morrison's 'circle of trust'. This is quite an oversight to say the least. He/she goes on to provide a link to Murphy's article and then wanders off course with this comment: "It's worrying how much more of this fundamentalist Christian apocalyptisism is going to inform Liberal Party policy... "

Frankly, one wonders whether even if Guardian Australia had allowed its 'readers' to comment on Murphy's report, just how many would have overlooked her revelation about Netanyahu's involvement in the decision to shift the Australian embassy to Jerusalem.

Let me hazard a generalisation as to why this may be the case here: those who flock to comment on Guardian Australia's (and other such websites) are more interested in hearing the sound of their own voices than in informing themselves through a little wide reading on the subject at hand. Typical of this phenomenon is the following comment from the same thread:

"The whole issue of Israel and Palestine has been going on with various intensity since the day I was born. It has been in the background of all of our lives... for most of our lives. There never seems to be any end to this conflict, the never ending war..."

Makes me want to scream: well, pick up a few reputable books on the subject and find out WHY the issue has been on the boil for as long as you can remember!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Not Laughing, Groaning

Normally, if a newspaper intends to cover a crucial by-election in some depth, it'd send an experienced investigative reporter who has his/her head around the issues that matter in the seat concerned, right?

Since normal doesn't do these days, Fairfax's GoodWeekend chose "staff writer," Tim Elliott, who "has never been a political reporter," to do the job - possibly as the result of a conversation that went something like this:

 'Hey, guys, I've got a great idea! Let's send Tim out on the campaign trail to cover the Wentworth by-election.

'OK, but Tim knows nothing about politics...

'Precisely! And if he did, what he wrote'd be dead boring. Gotta keep our readers entertained.

'Yeah, you've got a point. I can see it now: bumbling political novice covers the nation's most important by-election. Should be a real hoot!

And so we have Tim's Show Time in the GoodWeekend of November 17, 2018. Any sentient being who actually took the trouble to read it would've groaned audibly at this precise point:

"It's after lunch. I'm hungry. I drive to the Bronte SLSC to see [Liberal candidate Dave] Sharma. When I get there, I find a crowd of heavily inebriated surfers in the courtyard... Guys are throwing beer over one another and simulating a variety of lewd acts. Sharma is upstairs, in the clubhouse, filming a clip for his campaign Facebook page. The barbecue is over, and he's looking a little wan, but up for a chat. We take a seat [but] I've expended so much mental energy trying to find Sharma that I now find myself unable to think of any particularly probing questions."

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Morrison's 'Circle of Trust'

Paul Kelly, the Australian's editor-at-large, gives the thumbs down to Morrison's Israel embassy fizzer. Although he gets many things right, it seems that he's wrong when he claims that "nobody" had "sought or requested - neither the US nor Israel" shifting our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem:

"The first truth is Australia didn't need Indonesia to tell it this is an unwise decision - the originating problem is not Indonesia's reaction but Australia's bad judgment. The second truth is that it is folly for Australia to embark on a Middle East policy change that nobody has sought or requested - neither the US nor Israel - that was taken without any proper assessment, that was recommended by no government agency and that will damage our critical relations close to home." (There is no upside in Jerusalem shift, 17/11/18)

In a truly stunning revelation Guardian Australia's Katharine Murphy contradicts Kelly in no uncertain terms:

"Roll forward now to mid-October, the week before the Wentworth byelection, and a growing sense of alarm that the government would not hold Turnbull's vacated seat... Morrison consulted his leadership group (but few others, as it turned out, although one of the people in the circle of trust was the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu) and then flagged the embassy shift publicly." (Morrison's Israel embassy policy cannot be fathomed - and risks his political survival, 17/11/18)

If the Israeli PM was behind the decision to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, why isn't this news all over the msm?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right

PM Scott Morrison's Wentworth by-election fizzer continues to fizz away:

"The Herald has been told that an Australian minister advised [Indonesian Trade Minister] Mr [Enggartiasto] Lukita there was only a small chance of the embassy move going ahead, raising expectations in Jakarta that Mr Morrison will reconsider his stance. Defence Industry Minister Steve Ciobo... met Mr Lukita recently at a defence event in Indonesia. The Herald was told Mr Lukita said to Mr Ciobo: 'Don't ask when [the $16.5 billion trade agreement] will be signed.' Mr Ciobo replied: 'Enggar, I know.' In one account of this conversation, Mr Ciobo is said to have told [Lukita]: 'About the possibility, I cannot say 100% we will move, but I guess the possibility is less than 5%'." (PM clears way for embassy retreat, David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/11/18)

Wow! 5% - just like Morrison's chance of being re-elected.

Meanwhile, back in the surreal world of Australia's federal parliament, our Liberal Likudniks rush to defend Morrison's fizzer from our... Labor Likudniks.

 Here, for example, is deputy PM, Josh Frydenberg:

"There is a fundamental point here, that the government is not backing off: Australia determines its own foreign policy decisions around the locations of its embassies." (Frydenberg pushes for Israel embassy move, Primrose Riordan, The Australian, 16/11/18)

Just around the locations of its embassies, Josh? Nothing to do with how we vote on Palestine/Israel in the UNGA?

And here's defence minister Christopher Pyne:

"Christopher Pyne, a strong supporter of Israel, also backed Mr Morrison and accused Labor of wanting to 'subcontract' foreign policy to foreign governments." (ibid)

Subcontract? Now where have I heard that word before in this context? Bob Carr, of course: "We are not running an Australian foreign policy... Subcontracting our foreign policy to party donors is what this involves." (Diary of a Foreign Minister, p 214)

So what we've got here is the Liberals, who have subcontracted our foreign policy on Palestine to Israel, accusing Labor, who have also subcontracted our foreign policy on Palestine to Israel, of subcontracting our foreign policy to... Indonesia. And so, because both parties have been throwing Palestine and the Palestinians under the Israeli bus for as long as I can remember, Labor has no credible response to Pyne's accusation. Both are equally guilty in this respect.

And, for what it's worth - not much - here's Morrison, the man who lit the fizzer because he thought there'd be some votes in it in a by-election, up on his hind legs, lamely taking up Frydenberg and Pyne's hypocritical refrain:

"The Prime Minister hit back at the Opposition Leader, saying foreign governments should not have veto over Australian policies, and accusing him of being 'quick to take cues on Australia's foreign policy from those outside Australia'."

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right, as the old song has it, neatly sums up Australian policy on Palestine/Israel in Circus Australia.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Breaking News...

Can you believe it? The Guardian has, for the first time in recent memory, admitted that the Israelis struck first:

"Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have accepted an Egyptian-mediated agreement to halt two days of intense fighting with Israel sparked by a botched Israeli special forces raid miles inside Gaza." (Israel & Hamas agree to Gaza ceasefire after intense violence, Oliver Holmes, 14/11/18)

Extraordinary!

Mind you that descriptor "special forces" (a euphemism for death squad) is still vintage Guardian.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What Ethnic Cleansing? 2

So what happened to Safad? Here's the account in Nafez Nazzal's study, The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee 1948 (1978):

"Although 200 to 250 men of Safad were armed with various kinds of rifles and 35 to 50 rounds of ammunition each, very few had any systematic military training; they depended greatly on the Arab forces positioned in the city. Nevertheless when the Zionists attacked 'Ein ez Zeitun, the Arab [volunteer] forces refused to join in the fighting and would not permit the militia to join the villagers in defending themselves, assuring everyone that Shishakli and his men would repulse an attack on the city, and that the task of the Arab forces in Safad and the militia was to defend the city. The people of Safad became discouraged and lost confidence in their forces. 'Issa 'Abid al-Khadrah, a merchant and a member of the Safad militia, recounted:

'We could not defend the city, nor did we count on the Arab forces to protect it. Rumours spread that the Jews had been given 'Ein ez Zeitun... The fall of this village left the city besieged from the south, east and north. We felt that the Arab forces did not try to prevent this situation... If Sari Fnaish and his men did not protect 'Ein ez Zeitun, what would make you think he would protect Safad... what interest would they have in defending Safad but not 'Ein ez Zeitun?'

"The decisive battle for Safad began on the night of May 9-10. The Palmach opened heavy artillery fire on all positions occupied by by Arab forces in the city. Their use of the homemade mortar, the Davidka, which produced a great deal of noise, left the people of Safad in a state of shock. Usamah al-Naqib, a member of the militia reported:

'On the night of the attack, the responsible Arab commanders: Shishakli, Sari Fnaish, Ihsan Kamlamaz (trainer of the local militia); were out of the city. We did not have a unified command. Everyone fought on his own... We were unaware of what was happening in the other quarters of the city. Rumours spread that the ALA [Arab Liberation Army] had begun to withdraw... The people of Safad began to flee in panic. We could not find out what was happening... It was raining hard. We knew we could not sustain the defence of our city alone and so by midnight decided to retreat. We heard that the city fell to the Jews by the morning.'

"The fall of Safad on May 10, 1948 was a great shock to the Palestinians in Galilee. The villagers of the Hula Valley were disheartened and terrified; a great number of the villagers in Eastern Galilee began to flee. Almost all of the villages surrounding the city of Safad were now evacuated."

In Michael Palumbo's The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from their Homeland (1987), you can read about the sickening murder of a group of Arab POWs by a hoe-wielding  Israeli intelligence officer (pp 114-15). On page 115, you'll also find the admission of Yigal Allon, Commander in Chief of the Palmach, that his aim with regard to Safad and its surrounding villages was "to cleanse the Upper Galilee and create a continuous strip of Israeli territory in the region," and that he wanted to do this before May 15.

In Ilan Pappe's more recent book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), we learn that while the Palmach had 1,000 well-trained troops, the Arab volunteer force was only 400 strong, only half of whom were armed with rifles (p 97). Then there's this revelation on p 98: "The Palmach troops drove most of the people out, only allowing 100 old people to stay on, though not for long. On 5 June, Ben-Gurion noted dryly in his diary: 'Abraham Hanuki, from [Kibbutz] Ayelet Hashahar, told me that since there were only 100 old people left in Safad they were expelled to Lebanon."

The likes of journalists such as Michael Bachelard need to ponder and understand this simple fact:

"In virtually every war of modern and ancient times civilians have been forced to flee to escape the fighting, taking refuge elsewhere until, with the cessation of hostilities, they could return to their homes. [But] what occurred in Palestine during the war of 1947-49 was an exodus of a fundamentally different character. It involved the systematic expulsion of most of the Arab population from its homes, and its exile from Palestine, as part of a premeditated scheme to transform radically the demography of the country in fulfilment of the colonial ideal of Zionism - making Palestine 'as Jewish as England is English.' This colonial settler nature of Zionism - the substitution of one people for another by force of arms - and the tragic situation it has created in Palestine over the past half century, is at the heart of the current conflict in the Middle East, although this essential fact has unfortunately been obscured by Israeli and much Western scholarship on the Palestine question." (From Rashid Khalidi's  foreword to Nazzal's book cited above, p IX)

But Bachelard not only clouds the reality of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, he goes on in his pathetic piece on Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp to broadcast the following Israeli propaganda trope: "We are in a concrete room inside a concrete jungle, behind concrete walls administered by an unyielding Lebanese state that believes these people to be a demographic problem, and so is adamant that these men, and their families, will never become citizens."

What an exercise in reality inversion is that!

No mention whatever that Israel, not Lebanon's concerns with disrupting its confessional balance, is the root cause of the Palestinian refugee problem as exemplified in Ain al-Hilweh and other Palestinian refugee camps throughout the Middle East.

A mere tweak of Bachelard's text suffices to illustrate the extent of his cover-up of this elementary fact: '... an unyielding Jewish state that believes these people to be a demographic problem, and so is adamant that these men, and their families, will never be allowed to return to their Palestinian homeland and become equal citizens with Israeli Jews.'

Better by far that Bachelard had never set foot in Lebanon than do propaganda service for apartheid Israel.