Editorial commentary in support of each and every Israeli turn of the screw is, to say the least, conspicuous by its presence in Murdoch's Australian, yet on the subject of the apartheid state's latest addition to its 50+ apartheid laws, the nation-state law, The Australian's editor has so far said zip.
Yesterday, however, The Australian published an opinion piece (Illiberalism lies with the critics of Jewish nation-state law, 23/7/18) in defence of the legislation by one, Eugene Kontorovich, described as "a scholar at the Jerusalem think tank Kohelet Policy Forum." (This outfit describes itself on its website as "striving to secure Israel's future as the nation-state of the Jewish people, strengthening representative democracy, and broadening individual liberty and free market principles in Israel.")
Kontorovich would have us believe that:
"... Israel's Basic Law would not be out of place among the liberal democratic constitutions of Europe - which include similar provisions that have not aroused controversy... Consider the Slovak constitution, which opens with the words, 'We the Slovak nation', and lays claim to 'the natural right of nations to self-determination'."
What he omits to mention, of course, is that, unlike Slovakia, there is nothing 'natural' about Israel or its political evolution. Slovakia's emergence as a nation was a natural progression following the breakup of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I and was based on the Wilsonian principle of national self-determination. The same natural process should have been applied to Palestine under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations: "Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice... by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory."
Instead, the Palestinians were deliberately denied their 'natural right to self-determination', first by the British on behalf of the Zionist settlers who were allowed to flood into Palestine from 1918 on, and then by the Zionist settler state of Israel following the military takeover and ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine by Zionist terror gangs in 1948. As Britain's foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour (of Balfour Declaration infamy) wrote in 1919: "The contradiction between the letters of the Covenant and the policies of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the 'independent nation' of Palestine... For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country..."
But there's more. Why are we all up-in-arms about Israeli settlements? After all, they had the blessing of the - wait for it! - League of Nations:
"Another controversial provision of the law declares 'the development of Jewish settlement' to be a national value that the government should promote. It is understood to refer to encouraging population dispersion into the periphery of the country. This essentially restates policy adopted by the international community in 1922 in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which sought to 'encourage... close settlement by Jews'."
More sins of omission:
1) The League of Nations, from its inception, was little more than a rubber stamp in the hands of the two post WWI imperial powers, Britain and France.
2) The Palestine Mandate was given to Britain... by Britain. As to its composition, the great J.M.N. Jeffries revealed: "The Mandate followed the precedent of the Balfour Declaration [which was incorporated into the text of the Mandate]. It was drafted in quiet between the [British] Government and the Zionists, mostly by the Zionists, and then it was issued under the cover of the League of Nations, as though it were the result of the collected debates of the world's lawgivers." (Palestine: The Reality (1939), pp 522-23)
Note also the angry words of Britain's then foreign secretary Lord Curzon, who said of the draft Mandate: "Acting upon (? against) the noble principle of self-determination and ending with a splendid appeal to the League of Nations, we then proceed to draw up a document which reeks of Judaism in every paragraph and is an avowed constitution of a Jewish state - and the poor Arabs are only allowed to look through the keyhole as a non-Jewish community. It is quite clear that this mandate has been drawn up by someone reeling under the fumes of Zionism." (A.L.Tibawi, Anglo-Arab Relations & The Question of Palestine 1914-1921 (1977), pp 427-28)