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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What Ethnic Cleansing? 1

Please tell me what is the point of 'journalism' such as this if not to keep readers in the dark and shield the apartheid state from the pariah status it so richly deserves:

"When the state of Israel was being formed in 1948, and a war with the Arab world raged, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes into neighbouring Lebanon and set up temporary camp." (The day I drank (bad) coffee with heavily armed militants, Michael Bachelard, The Sun-Herald, 11/11/18)

Nothing like the old passive voice to avoid the fact that Israel was created in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. And nothing like a hyped "war with the Arab world," to divert attention from the fact that that the campaign of ethnic cleansing began long before Arab League troops moved to put a stop to it.

Bachelard is either involved in self-censorship here, or is one of those who can see ethnic cleansing everywhere but Palestine.

The "heavily armed militants" with whom this late-sipper shared "(bad) coffee," were residents of Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in south Lebanon, more than 95% of whose inhabitants originally came from the kaza of Safad and the surrounding area, in northern Palestine, according to French Middle East scholar Bernard Rougier's study of the camp, Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam among Palestinians in Lebanon (2004 French/ 2007 English translation).

The Palestinian city of Safad, now Israeli, and its surrounding villages, now in ruins, are situated in the eastern Galilee, so let's examine, shall we, what exactly went on there before any Arab armies arrived on the scene on May 15 when the British Mandate over Palestine officially ended.

Take, for example, the village of Ayn az-Zaytun, some 1.5 kilometres north of Safad, whose inhabitants cultivated olives, grain and fruit.

It was first attacked by Zionist forces as early as January 1948. Later, it was occupied by Palmach forces on May 1, 1948, as a prelude to the occupation of Safad.  These Zionist shock troops first unleashed a mortar barrage at 3 am, followed by a ground assault. After taking the village, they rounded up its inhabitants.

As Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi recounts in his exhaustive study All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied & Depopulated by Israel in 1948 (1992):

"The men... were taken away and the rest were humiliated and expelled while shots were fired over their heads, according to the villagers' testimony and Israeli sources. As for the men, some were later expelled and enabled to join their families, but 37 of them, selected at random, were taken captive. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, they were probably among a group of 70 people later massacred in a gully between  'Ayn al-Zaytun and Safad under orders from Moshe Kelman, the commander of the Palmach's Third Battalion. Morris reports that... after the prisoners were killed, and in anticipation of a Red Cross visit to the area, he ordered their hands to be untied, to conceal the fact that the killing had been done in cold blood.

"Several villagers attempted to return to their homes over the next couple of days but were fired upon by the Palmach; one of them was killed, according to Morris. As for the village houses, they were burned or blown up by Palmach sappers on 2 and 3 May. The destruction was carried out partly in order to terrify the inhabitants of Safad, who could watch the spectacle from nearby hills. The sight of the village being leveled had a demoralizing effect in the city, as well as in the surrounding villages of eastern Galilee." (p 437)

Continued in my next post...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

What My Mind Turns to on Armistice Day

In his peerless work on the perfidious Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the appalling consequences for Palestine and its people that flowed (and continue to flow) therefrom, Palestine: The Reality (1939), British historian J.M.N. Jeffries wrote these justifiably angry words:

"The underlying assumption of [a certain line of 'thought' peddled by the Anglo-Zionist establishment of 1920-23] is that the soldiers who fell in Palestine fell fighting to provide there that form of government which [wartime prime minister] Lloyd George installed. The 5th Norfolks, the 8th Hampshires bled so that the Sevres Treaty might not die: the men of the 53rd Division left six hundred casualties on the Samson Ridge so that the nine subterfuges of the Balfour Declaration might pass unchallenged: the Australian Light Horse charged crying, Advance the National Home! Was anything further from the truth? We know why our soldiers died - in loyalty to their country." (p 402)

My first inkling that this old Zionist myth, stripped of course of its British references, was being recycled here in Australia came when I read the following in 2008:

"The ties that bind Jerusalem and Canberra were further cemented with the commemoration last November of the 90th anniversary of the Charge of the Australian Light Horse brigade [31/10/07], when brave Aussie Diggers trounced the Turks at Be'er Sheva, paving the way for the capture of Jerusalem... And it is in Be'er Sheva that Richard Pratt is ploughing funds to build the Park of the Australian Soldier - a permanent memorial to those who died in battle for the Jewish state." (Editorial by Dan Goldberg, Rhapsody: Linking Culture between Israel & Australia, Jan-Mar 2008)

I had stumbled upon what might be termed a 'zombie myth' - long buried, effectively forgotten (but for Jeffries' mention), dug up decades later, dusted off, and re-purposed for another use, but retaining still the core propaganda trope of the original. After all these years, whether with or without external involvement, Pratt Foundation CEO Sam Lipski and his cardboard king (Visy Industries) boss and prominent Zionist donor to the Labor and Liberal parties, the late Dick Pratt, had come up with a neat way of "cementing" - mark that word! - alleged "binding ties" between Israel and Australia when Pratt funded the construction of the Park of the Australian Soldier in Be'er Sheva*. This has now become the point of dissemination of the zombie myth to thousands of clueless Australians, especially politicians, who flock to Be'er Sheva annually.

Never have Zionist PR merchants managed anything quite like this in any country, except perhaps in fostering the myth of 'lost Jewish tribes' in many of our South Pacific neighbours.

 For my exploration of this phenomenon, just click on the AIF label below.

[*Of course 'Be'er Sheva' simply did not exist in 1917. Back then it was the Palestinian Arab town of Beersheba. Hopefully, one day, it will return to its old self.]

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dave Sharma's Inspiration

For earlier generations of useful fools for Israel it was Leon Uris' propaganda novel Exodus that did the trick. For Dave Sharma, it was obviously Senor & Singer's 's Start-Up Nation.

Read on:

"The people of Wentworth's loss is the corporate world's gain. Aspiring Liberal politician Dave Sharma has just joined the advisory board of ParaZero, a drone safety business. While listed on the ASX, ParaZero is headquartered in Israel where Sharma was previously the Australian ambassador. The ongoing pipeline of tech businesses run out of Israel but listed Down Under look to keep Sharma busy until his political career gets going proper. Another similar firm Sharma chairs, Shekel Brainweigh - which makes weighing technology for grocery self-check-outs and is headquartered in a kibbutz in northern Israel - has just completed its $10m fundraising." (He's at it again, Margin Call, The Australian, 9/11/18)

Friday, November 9, 2018

US Imperialism: Red in Tooth & Claw...

... and, in the case of Iran, as elsewhere in today's Middle East, doing Israel's bidding:

"The Iranian regime has a choice: it can either do a 180-degree turn from its outlaw course of action and act like a normal country, or it can see its economy crumble, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said." (Iran on notice for 'outlaw policies', The Australian/ Reuters, 7/11/18)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What You Need to Know about West Jerusalem

"It is perfectly legitimate for Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Nobody doubts Israel has sovereignty over West Jerusalem." So wrote the Australian's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, on 15/5/18 (Moving American embassy to Jerusalem perfectly legitimate).

As always, Sheridan couldn't be more wrong - as American professor of international law, John Quigley, long ago pointed out:

"... no single territorial sector [between Israel and the Palestinians] is more contested than Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital. 'Jerusalem, complete and united' is 'the capital of Israel,' declares an Israeli statute. The phrase 'complete and united' means the western and eastern sectors, the eastern sector in the boundaries that Israel extended in 1967 farther into the West Bank. An Israeli court has read the statue as an assertion of sovereignty over both sectors.

"The Palestinian claim is asserted no less strongly. When the Palestine National Council issued its call for independence in 1988, it declared 'the establishment of the State of Palestine in the land of Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem.' The claim for sovereignty in Jerusalem is part of the more general Palestinian claim to territory in Palestine, based on centuries-long occupation.'

"The UN General Assembly's partition resolution of 1947 proposed that Jerusalem be placed under international administration. Israel's prime legal claim to territory in Palestine was the partition resolution, but since the resolution called for an internationalized Jerusalem, it provided Israel with no basis for sovereignty in West Jerusalem. West Jerusalem is almost entirely Jewish-populated, the absence of Arabs the result of their having been forced out in 1948.

"Israel occupied west Jerusalem in 1948 and declared it Israel's capital in 1950. Other states declined to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to west Jerusalem, however. They viewed sovereignty over Jerusalem as unresolved and feared that moving their embassies to west Jerusalem would bolster Israel's claim. Their refusal to move their embassies bespoke rejection of Israel's claim.

"In 1967 the United Nation Security Council in Resolution 242 asked Israel to withdraw from territory that it occupied in that year. This call was read by some as an implicit recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the territory it held before June 1967, which of course includes west Jerusalem. There is no indication, however, that the Security Council implicitly recognised Israeli rights over west Jerusalem. Resolution 242, only a few paragraphs in length, made no attempt to deal with the many outstanding political and territorial issues. After 1967 other states kept their embassies in Tel Aviv, a fact that suggests that they did not view Resolution 242 as changing the picture.

"While Israel has claimed all of Jerusalem as an Israeli city, the PLO, in the proposals it has made, has been more modest, even though it has the stronger legal claim to the city, in its entirety. It has proposed variously an east-west division of Jerusalem or shared sovereignty over the entire city. Moreover... it insists on repatriation of the Palestine Arabs displaced in 1948, which includes the thousands displaced from west Jerusalem." (The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, John Quigley, 1990, pp 225-26)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Anatomy of an Affair

Once, Australian prime ministers were content to merely flirt with the Zionist entity, acting as one of its fig leaves in the UNGA. It was, of course, highly embarrassing to watch, and the eye-rolling that must have gone on among the other representatives of UN member states at the spectacle can only be imagined.

But then, under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's relationship with the apartheid state began to move beyond mere flirtation when Turnbull issued an invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to 'Come up and see me sometime, big boy.' This was only last year.

Under Turnbull's successor, Scott Morrison, however, all caution was thrown to the winds when, in his haste to win over the Jewish community in the crucial Wentworth by-election, he fatally took a leaf out of Trump's book and spoke of moving Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. By doing so this clueless evangelical goof didn't so much climb as leap into bed with Netanyahu. Not, repeat not, a pretty picture.

There are signs, however, that in the cold glare of the unforgiving morning light, our happy clapper PM began to experience an 'Oh no, what have I done?' moment. Hence his decision to "review" his embassy-to-Jerusalem brainsnap.

What, however, this klutz seems not to have thought about is that Netanyahu is not the kind to take this lying down, and, sure enough, the inevitable Israeli bullying and threats were not long in coming:

"Israel has made it clear it expects the Australian government to follow through. Brigadier General (retired) Yosi Kuperwasser, a former head of the research division at Israel Defence Force Intelligence, said if Australia did not follow through, it could have serious consequences. "I think as an Israeli, it would be a very strange move if Australia ultimately decided not to move to Jerusalem. It could be very dangerous," he said." (Jakarta a "key factor in Israel" decision, Primrose Riordan, The Australian, 1/11/18)

Watch this space...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Herald Plumbs New Depths in Editorial Vileness

One of the most despicable editorials ever to appear in the Sydney Morning Herald cropped up on Monday, October 29. It concerned the recent appalling anti-Semitic shooting rampage in a Pittsburgh synagogue which left 11 worshipers dead and 6 injured.

At first, it stuck to the facts, namely that the gunman, Robert Bowers, was a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite, nothing more, nothing less, connected to the American alt-right. Then it veered way off course with this vile conflation of the unconflatable:

"This is not to besmirch the mainstream right, which has often led the way in protecting minority groups, nor to play down anti-Semitism and political violence among African-American and left-wing anti-Zionist movements. A left-wing extremist shot a senior US Republican in 2017." (Alt-right terrorism now stalks the US)

Let me unpack its nastiness.

*"This is not to besmirch the mainstream right... " Just who exactly are "the mainstream right"? Trump's Republicans? What precisely does the editorialist mean by this term?

*"... nor to play down anti-Semitism and political violence among African American... movements... " Who exactly are these anti-Semitic and politically violent African American movements, and when, if ever, has a representative of one of them gone on a shooting rampage in a Jewish institution, spewing, like  Bowers, his hatred of Jews? I'd really like to know.

*"... and left-wing anti-Zionist movements." What "movements" are referred to here? Can we have a list of them? And when, if ever, has a representative of one of them gone on a shooting rampage in a Jewish institution, spewing, like Bowers, his hatred of Jews?

*"A left-wing extremist shot a senior US Republican in 2017."

The "left-wing extremist" obliquely referred to here is James Hodgkinson, who harboured a dislike for Trump and a partiality for Bernie Sanders. This, apparently, in the eyes of the editorialist, is all one needs to qualify for the label "left-wing extremist." And, since Sanders is a Jewish supporter of a Jewish state in Palestine, in other words a Zionist, quite how this qualifies Hodgkinson as a card-carrying anti-Zionist is beyond me.

What the editorialist is doing here, of course, is conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, a smear straight out of the Zionist playbook. To go on and explain the simple fact that when Zionism first emerged in the late 19th century, the vast majority of the world's Jews were anti-Zionists would be wasted on the Herald editorialist. To conflate the likes of Bowers and Hodgkinson with ant-Zionists, many of whom today are Jews, is about as low as it gets. In fact, it speaks volumes that not even the editorial in the Australian of the same day (Toxic ingredients in America) on the same subject went that far.

Enough said...

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Axis of Evil

There is no rhyme or reason/ For any of this slash & burn/ Everybody gets a season/ This time round it's Brazil's turn (With apologies to Alistair Hulett)

***
 Top analysis from James PetrasTrump's alliance with body-choppers, death squads & child-killers: Saudi Arabia, Brazil & Israel:

"In recent weeks the White House has embraced the contemporary version of the world's most murderous regimes. President Trump has embraced the Saudi Arabian 'Prince of Death' Mohammad bin Salman who has graduated from chopping hands and heads in public plazas to dismembering bodies in overseas consulates - the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

"The White House warmly greeted the electoral success of Brazilian Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, ardent champion of torturers, military dictators, death squads and free marketeers.

"President Trump grovels, grunts and glories before Israel, as his spiritual guide Benjamin Netanyahu celebrates the Sabbath with the weekly murders and maiming of hundreds of unarmed Palestinians, especially youngsters.

"These are President Trump's 'natural allies'. They share his values and interests while each retains their particular method of disposing of the cadavers of adversaries and dissenters.

"We will proceed to discuss the larger political-economic context in which the trio of monsters operate...

"President Trump's intimate ties with the world's most unsavory regimes flows from several strategic interests. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it includes military bases; the financing of international mercenaries and terrorists; multi-billion dollar arms sales; oil profits; and covert alliances with Israel against Iran, Syria and Yemen. In order to secure these Saudi assets, the White House is more than willing to assume certain socio-political costs. The US eagerly sells weapons and provides advisers to Saudi's genocidal invasion, murder and starvation of millions of Yemenis. The White House alliance against Yemen has few monetary rewards or political advantages as well as negative propaganda value. However, with few other client states in the region, Washington makes do with Prince Salman 'the salami slicer.' The US ignores Saudi financing of Islamic terrorists against US allies in Asia (the Philippines) and Afghanistan as well as rival thugs in Syria and Libya. Alas, when a pro-US collaborator like Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated, President Trump was forced to adopt the pretense of an investigation in order to distance himself from the Riyadh mafia. He subsequently exonerated butcher boy bin Salman: he invented a flagrant lie - blaming 'rogue elements' in charge of the interrogation, - read torture.

"President Trump celebrated the electoral victory of Brazilian neo-liberal fascist Jair Bolsonaro because he checks all the right boxes: he promises to slash economic regulations and corporate taxes for multi-national corporations. He is an ardent ally of Washington's economic war against Venezuela and Cuba. He promises to arm right-wing death squads and militarize the police. He pledges to be a loyal follower of US war policies abroad. However, Bolsonaro cannot support Trump's trade war especially against China which is the market for almost 40% of Brazil's agro-exports. This is especially the case since agro-business bosses are Bolsonaro's principal economic and congressional supporters. Given Washington's limited influence in the rest of Latin America, Brazil's neo-liberal fascist regime acts as Trump's principal ally.

"Israel is the White House's mentor and chief of operations in the Middle East, as well as a strategic military ally. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has seized and colonized most of the West Bank and militarily occupied the rest of Palestine; jailed and tortured tens of thousands of political dissidents; surrounded and starved over a million Gaza residents; imposed ethno-religious conditions for citizenship in Israel, denying basic rights for over 20% of the Arab residents of the self-styled 'Jewish state'.

"Netanyahu has bombed hundreds of Syrian cities, towns, airports and bases in support of ISIS terrorists and Western mercenaries. Israel intervenes in US elections, buys Congressional votes and secures White House recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

"Zionists in North America and Great Britain act as a 'fifth column' securing unanimous favorable mass media coverage of its apartheid policies.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu secures unconditional US financial and political support and the most advanced weaponry.

"In exchange Washington considers itself privileged to serve as foot soldiers for Israeli targeted wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia... Israel collaborates with the US in defending Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Netanyahu and his Zionist allies in the White House succeeded in reversing the nuclear agreement with Iran and imposing new and harsher economic sanctions.

"Israel has its own agenda: it defies President Trump's sanctions policies against Russia and its trade war with China. Israel eagerly engages in the sales of arms and high-tech innovations to Beijing." (petras.lahaine.org, 16/10/18)

***

In addition to his slashing and burning of Brazil, Bolsonaro, a throwback to the Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964-1985, has declared, on US television, that the first country he will visit as a Christian will be Israel.

The final word I'll leave to this 29/10 tweet of Netanyahu:

"I spoke this evening with the president-elect of Brazil, @jairbolsonaro. I congratulated him on his victory. I told him I'm certain his election will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and a strengthening of BrazilIsrael ties. We are waiting for his visit to Israel!"

Monday, October 29, 2018

Murders Most Foul

What a world we live in.

One where the murder most foul of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi death squad has been universally - and quite correctly - condemned by Western pundits. Since we are all aware of the horrific details of Khashoggi's death I need not repeat them here.

Suffice it to say that when thinking of Khashoggi's appalling end, I cannot help but recall another murder most foul, that of Hamas resistance fighter Mahmoud al-Mabhouh by a  Mossad death squad in a Dubai hotel room on 19 January, 2010.

In case you've forgotten the details, according to the Dubai police report which followed his death, al-Mabhouh was held down in his hotel room and injected with a substance which paralysed him completely, but left him fully conscious of his murderers' next step - they placed a pillow over his head and suffocated him to death.

Al-Mabhouh's death, like Khashoggi's, is one of those that no one with even a shred of decency can contemplate with any degree of equanimity. Hence my term murder most foul. The sheer terror of al-Mabhouh's final moments on this planet, like those of Khashoggi's, is literally the stuff of horror stories. Just to reiterate al-Mabhouh's grisly end, try imagining what it must be like to be fully conscious of what your murderers are doing to you, but unable, in any way, shape, or form, to resist. You simply cannot.

But there's another dimension to these two murders most foul.

While today's Western pundits have, to a man and woman, rightly, as I have already indicated, condemned Khashoggi's Saudi murderers, back in 2010, the Mossad murderers of al-Mabhouh received only applause from the same crowd.

And al-Mabhouh, Palestinian resistance fighter? The Western pundits of 2010, one and all, simply wrote him off as a terrorist deserving of his fate.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Ship of Fools

If the Morrison government isn't the scurviest ship of fools in the annals of Australian political history, I don't know what is:

"Support for moving Australia's Israel embassy to Jerusalem remains  strong among Liberal MPs... Deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg yesterday denied Mr Morrison's comments [on the subject] were a political tactic aimed at appeasing Jewish voters in Wentworth. 'The reality is, as Scott Morrison has explained, there was a major vote at the UN that Australia had to make a decision on, and it was therefore timely to announce our position,' the Treasurer told Sky News... Crossbench MP Bob Katter said he 'absolutely' supported moving the embassy in solidarity with Israel. 'This is a little country of people who have been persecuted for thousands of years, and their neighbours say they want them annihilated,' he said. NSW Liberal MPs Alex Hawke, Jason Falinski and Trent Zimmerman said the government's position on moving the embassy should not change because of the Wentworth result." (Desire to move embassy remains, Rachel Baxendale, The Australian, 22/10/10/18)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Gol & Giv's Chocolates

Guess who's footing the bill for unpaid Max Brenner employees?

"He [David Tozer] said it was likely payment to the employees, who are estimated to be owed a combined $5.8 million, will come from the government's General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme." (Max Brenner buyers plan Asia push, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/10/18)

That's right, the Australian taxpayer. Nice one, Max...

But wait, what's this?

"The sale of collapsed chocolate cafe chain Max Brenner to investment firm Tozer & Co will not go ahead, according to liquidator BDO." (Max Brenner sale fails at the 11th hour, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/10/18)

Poor, sad Max. He's lost his mojo.

Hey, I've got an idea!

Why can't the IDF's Golani and Givati Brigades, out of sheer gratitude at Max's many years of "sweetening their special moments," take 50% pay cuts for as long as it takes to get Max back on his feet and rebrand him? Something more in keeping with the muscular, head-kicking spirit of his country of origin? Something more Zionist in other words. And what could be more Zionist than the Golani and Givati brigades?

My humble suggestion:

Gol & Giv's Chocolates.

Slogan: We put fire in your belly... or maybe your head.

Palestinians especially catered for...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The UK Disease

It seems as though the drive-by smear of 'ANTISEMITE!', hurled relentlessly by Zionists at pro-Palestinian supporters of UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has now reached these shores, although emanating here from a most curious source:

"NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes has issued a stunning call-to-arms to save universities from what he sees as the twin threats of international students and 'anti-Semitic' left-wing activists." (Stokes' speech takes aim at foreign cash, 'safe spaces', Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/10/18)

You really have to wonder who has been in Stokes' ear.

Remember when the term 'anti-Semite' meant anyone who hated Jews as Jews? Passe. It's now the Zionist weapon of choice for anyone who opposes Israeli apartheid and supports Palestinian rights.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Move to Jerusalem Fizzer

The mystery of the impact (or lack thereof) on Wentworth's Jewish voters of Morrison's proposal to move Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem, will probably, absent real, on-the-ground, investigative reporting, never be known.

However, for what it's worth, the Sydney Morning Herald of 20/10/18, in its Readers Panel section, pertinently asked: Should Australia move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? 

The results, in the form of a pie graph, read as follows:

NO 73%
YES 11%
UNSURE 16%

If 73% (89% if you include the 'unsure' category) of the Australian community feel this way, it merely underscores the deep disconnect between the lunacy of our Liberal Party ultras and the basic common sense of the people they lord it over - for now. Future Labor government, take note!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tomorrow's By-Election

So it’s come to this. An Australian citizen whose stint in Israel as Australian ambassador has been largely spent doing PR work for Israel, and who now has a business interest in the place, has emerged as the Liberal candidate in Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth, home to a population of which 12.5% is Jewish. In desperation that he might not make it across the line in the election, he and his boss, PM Scott Morrison, an avowed evangelical Christian, and for all we know a Christian Zionist, seem to think that by promising to throw in their lot with Trump, and relocate our embassy to West Jerusalem, that will do the trick. This must surely be the most brazen example of whatever-it-takes politics in Australian political history.

The to-be-hoped for outcome in the by-election will be that it all explodes in the face of the federal Liberal Party and Sharma beats a retreat, licking his wounds, back to his lair on the North Shore.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Great Moments in 'Judeo-Christianity'

It was good to see favourable reviews of Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir's latest film, Wajib, in both the Fairfax and Murdoch press recently. Just one sentence in Sandra Hall's review in the Sydney Morning Herald of 11/10/18, however, cries out for clarification:

"Because of a large concentration of Arab Christians, [Nazareth's] Palestinians were allowed to stay on after the Israeli takeover in 1948."

To begin with why is the genocidal onslaught undertaken against the Palestinians by Israeli forces at this time invariably glossed over with words such as, in this instance, "takeover," or 'displacement', or some other such euphemism? It's as though, despite the now decades of scholarly research on the horrors of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine's majority Arab (Christian & Muslim) population by Israeli fire and sword in 1948, the mainstream media still hasn't absorbed the fact, or are playing it safe by taking their cue from some Israeli style guide. Maddening!

The other thing about that sentence is that it gives the general reader the false impression that Israel's genocidaires bypassed Nazareth out of respect for the largely Christian population. The Zionist movement had (and has) no more respect for Palestinian Christians that it had (and has) for Palestinian Muslims. Both are Arabs, and their only role in the Zionist scheme of things is to make way for 'the Jewish people'.

Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, was only spared to avoid bad PR. As Israeli historian Ilan Pappe explains:

"Ben-Gurion did not wish the city of Nazareth to be depopulated for the simple reason that he knew the eyes of the Christian world were fixed on the city. But a senior general and the supreme commander of the operation [Operation Palm Tree], Moshe Karmil, ordered the total eviction of all the people who had stayed behind ('16,000', noted Ben-Gurion, '10,000 of whom were Christians'). Ben-Gurion now instructed Karmil to retract his oder and let the people stay. He agreed with Ben Donkelman, the military commander of the operations: 'Here the world is watching us,' which meant that Nazareth was luckier than any other city in Palestine. Today Nazareth is still the only Arab city in pre-1967 Israel." (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, 2006, pp 170-171)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Two Princes of Darkness

"Before becoming crown prince, Prince Mohammed visited the White House and forged a close relationship with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. The two are believed to be working on the administration's peace plans for Israel and the Palestinians." (Saudi crown prince's carefully managed rise hides dark side, Jon Gambrell, apnews.com, 12/10/18)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

School DaZe 2

In a 20/8/18 post, School DaZe, I drew your attention to a Sydney Morning Herald ad for a teaching position at Sydney's Moriah College. Among the criteria for the position was "an empathy with the Zionist ethos of our Modern Orthodox Jewish Day School is essential."

On 15 September, another such Moriah College ad appeared, but this time the word "Zionist" was conspicuous by its absence.

This could, of course, have been an oversight. Or could it perhaps be a sign of the times, namely that the term 'Zionist' has finally become something of a liability these days? First, there's the evidence of the eyes: the brutal treatment meted out on a daily basis to the Palestinians, with one Israeli outrage after another caught on camera.

But there's another aspect too. If we cut through the spin of Israel's defenders, who assert that Zionism is all about 'national self-determination for the Jewish people', or 'a national liberation movement' like any other, to the historical roots of the Zionist movement, we can see clearly that this is really a case of mutton dressed as lamb.

The fatal flaw in Zionist ideology can be seen in Theodor Herzl's The Jewish State (1896): The notion that the Jews are a 'people' or 'nation', as opposed to a faith community.

European nationalism was on the march back in the 19th century and, in many ways, it is understandable that the national idea was taken up by a segment of secular Jewish intellectuals as Zionism at the time. At the same time, too, the vast non-European world was the subject of a wave of European expansion, colonialism and settlement, with no regard whatever for the natural rights of existing non-European populations. The words of the Basel program, issued at the first ever Zionist conference in 1897, for example, tell us that "Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel [The Land of Israel], and urges the "settlement" there of Jewish farmers, artisans, and manufacturers."

The simple truth of the matter is that Zionism is a form of European settler-colonialism and, like all forms of settler-colonialism, could only proceed by riding roughshod over the rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine," as the Balfour Declaration of 1917 dismissively referred to the 90% Arab majority population there.

So, no matter how much today's Zionists try to distance themselves from that fact, and dress up the term Zionism (as in, for example, the following Wikipedia entry on the subject: "Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel...the Holy Land or the region of Palestine," or as a national movement simply exercising its right of national self-determination), Zionism is really nothing more than a European colonial implant and impost on the indigenous Arab population of Palestine. This colonial-settler dynamic, with its complete disregard for the natural rights of the indigenous inhabitants of the land, is what lies behind the wanton cruelty of Israeli apartheid, occupation, and ethnic cleansing. Is it any wonder that, in a post-colonial world, the term Zionist has become a dirty word?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Nothing is Sacred

"Meanwhile they cut down, burned up, defaced and mutilated billboards." The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey, 1975

***

I can't resist this, even if it is off-topic:

"Speaking after visiting the Bathurst 1000 motor race, Mr Morrison said The Everest [horse race] was one of the biggest events of the year and generated 'massive opportunities' for the city and the state. 'Why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?' he said. Mr Morrison... said he would 'put the Bathurst 1000 on the Harbour Bridge if I thought it was going to get more people there. It's just common sense and I don't know why people are getting precious about it'." (Racing boss puts blame on state, Garry Maddox, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/10/18)

So says our newly-minted neoliberal prime minister Scott Morrison, weighing in on the controversy over projecting advertising for this, that or the other time-wasting activity onto Sydney's landmark structures such as the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge.

Whether iconic or world heritage-listed, man-made or natural wonder, it matters not. To the neoliberal mindset everything is just a potential billboard.

As the High Priestess of the neoliberal cult, Ayn Rand, put it in her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged:

"Uncoiling from among the curves of Wisconsin's hills, the highway was the only evidence of human labor, a precarious bridge stretched across a sea of brush, weeds and trees. The sea rolled softly, in sprays of yellow and orange, with a few red jets floating up on the hillsides, with pools of remnant green in the hollows, under a pure blue sky... 'What I'd like to see,' said Rearden, 'is a billboard'." (from Here are 10 things I learned about the world from Ayn Rand's insane 'Atlas Shrugged', Adam Lee, alternet.org, 24/8/18)

The Australian poet Denis Kevans (1939-2005) once wrote a memorable poem from the perspective of an Indigenous Australian. It begins thus:

"Ah, white man, I am searching for the sites sacred to you, where you walk, in silent worship, and you whisper poems too, where you tread, like me, in wonder, and your eyes are filled with tears, and you see the tracks you've travelled down your fifty thousand years."

Kevans' poem was titled Ah, White Man, Have You Any Sacred Sites?

The answer to your question, Denis, is no, the neoliberal white man has no sacred sites.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The US Love Affair with Arabophobic Hate Speech

We hear a lot these days about 'hate speech', that is, to borrow from at least one definition, "speech capable of instilling or inciting hatred of, or prejudice towards, a person or group of people on a specified ground [such as] race, nationality, ethnicity, country of origin, ethno-religious identity, religion or sexuality."*

Correct me if I'm wrong but the term seems to have been largely monopolised by supporters of apartheid Israel to malign and marginalise anyone who questions not just the criminal behaviour of that entity, but the legitimacy of the Zionist project in Palestine and the ideology of political Zionism which underpins it.** The implication is that this latter group in particular - anti-Zionists - are borderline, if not actual, anti-Semites, and, ipso facto, engaged in hate speech.

By contrast, the blatant Arabophobia, which set in in the US following the creation of Israel in 1948, is generally overlooked, and rarely recognised for what it is: hate speech

By way of illustration, read this passage from Leon Uris' best-selling Zionist propaganda novel, Exodus (1958):

"[The final disaster in Arab history] was brought about by fellow Moslems as the mighty Ottomans gobbled up their lands. Five centuries of corruption and feudalism followed. A drop of water became more precious than gold or spices in the unfertile land. The merest, most meager existence was a series of tortured, heartbreaking struggles from birth to death. Without water the Arab world disintegrated into filth; unspeakable disease, illiteracy, and poverty were universal. There was little song or laughter or joy in Arab life. It was a constant struggle to survive. In this atmosphere cunning, treachery, murder, feuds, and jealousies became away of life. The cruel realities that had gone into forming the Arab character puzzled outsiders. Cruelty from brother to brother was common. In parts of the Arab world thousands of slaves were kept, and punishment for a thief was amputation of a hand, for a prostitute, amputation of ears and nose. There was little compassion from Arab to Arab. The fellaheen who lived in abysmal filth and the Bedouin whose survival was a day-to-day miracle turned to the one means of alleviating misery. They became Muslim fanatics..." (p 228)

Now read these words from the trailer of thriller/horror story director Brad Anderson's latest film, Beirut***:

"Two thousands years of revenge, vendetta, murder. Welcome to Beirut."

Nothing has changed in 60 years! Strange place, the US where trenchant criticism of Israel is deemed hate speech, but few, it seems, bat an eyelid at rampant Arabophobic hate speech.

*This definition comes from the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) website. It differs, however, in one respect from other definitions of hate speech on the web (legaldictionary.net, merriam-webster.com, and dictionary.cambridge.org) in its inclusion of the term 'ethno-religious identity'. Try as I might I can only think of one group that conflates religion and ethnicity. Guess who;

**It is worth keeping in mind here Israeli anti-Zionist activist Uri Davis' distinction between Judaism as a confessional preference and Zionism as a political programme: "Judaism is not Zionism. Judaism, as a confessional preference, should be strictly an individual matter, and, generally speaking... should not be the concern of the law. Zionism, as a political programme, is a matter of public debate. As noted already... the political Zionist school of thought and practice is committed to the normative statement that it is a good idea to establish and consolidate in the country of Palestine a sovereign state, a Jewish state, that attempts to guarantee in law and in practice a demographic majority of the Jewish tribes in the territories under its control. Such individuals and bodies as are, for instance, committed to the values of open society, democracy and the separation of religion from the state; who, therefore, disagree with the political aims of this particular political programme, and who regard this programme to be a negative political programme, are anti-Zionist in the same sense that those who for many decades opposed the political programme of apartheid South Africa (which ended in 1994) were, and it is to be hoped remain, anti-apartheid." (Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within (2003), pp 11-12)

***Also on this film, see my 1/8/18 post One Movie Hollywood Will Never Make.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trump Whisperers

Just to revisit the issue of rising petrol prices:

"The risk of a global energy shock is rising rapidly as the looming US sanctions on Iran and a rising US dollar combine to export layers of stress to the rest of the world. While the renewed US sanctions don't officially kick in until early next month they are already having a significant effect as Iran's customers scramble to find different sources of supply. Iranian oil production is falling quite rapidly... Trump, who sometimes appears to have trouble seeing the relationship between cause (his sanctions) and effect (the soaring oil prices) has accused OPEC of 'ripping off' the the rest of the world." (Rising oil prices, $US put pressure on energy costs, Stephen Bartholomeusz, Sydney Morning Herald, 4/10/18)

There is, of course, more to this msm story than meets the eye. But don't expect it to be spelt out in the corporate media. Sure, you'll hear some gibberish on the matter from Trump from time to time, but don't be deceived. It's those who are whispering in his ear that matter here, in particular US national security adviser John Bolton and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bolton is a neocon - more accurately Ziocon - from the Bush era, and a long-time advocate for regime change in the Middle East, including, of course, Iraq. He has a record, like his fellow Ziocons, who became an integral part of the Bush administration, of wanting to topple Middle East governments opposed to Israel, and reconfigure the Middle East in its interests, stretching back to his association with neocon think tank the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in the 90s. Revealingly, in 2005, Bolton was awarded the Zionist Organisation of America's Defender of Israel award.

Netanyahu's obsession with Iran as a so-called existential threat to Israel also goes back decades. One only has to observe his theatrical sabre-rattling directed against Iran in the UNGA and other international fora, not to mention his unprecedented hold (through the Israel lobby) over both houses of the US Congress and his easy access to the president himself.

If you really want to understand why you're paying more for your petrol, mark these words of former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter from his 2006 book, Target Iran. (p 208):

"The conflict currently underway between the US and Iran is, first and foremost, a conflict born in Israel. It is based upon an Israeli contention that Iran poses a threat to Israel, and defined by Israeli assertions that Iran possesses a nuclear weapons program. None of this has been shown to be true, and indeed much of the allegations made by Israel against Iran have been clearly demonstrated as being false. And yet the US continues to trumpet the Israeli claims, and no individual more loudly than the US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton."