Monday, August 6, 2018

The Mystery of the Other Five

"Liberal Senator for Queensland Amanda Stoker* is a recent graduate of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam study program to Israel, and addressed an AIJAC function in Melbourne to discuss impressions of her visit to Israel in June. " (Senator & union leaders on their visit to Israel,, 1/8/18)

Unsurprisingly, Stoker's now stoked on Israel: she now has "a greater understanding of Middle East realities through meetings with quality speakers," was "particularly impressed by the Israeli culture of entrepreneurialism," and was "shocked by the antisemitism and incitement she witnessed in the Palestinian media, which was exposed to her in a meeting with the director of Palestinian Media Watch Itamar Marcus."

But it's not her gullibility and abysmal ignorance of the Palestine problem that interests me here. I've documented such cliches as hers a thousand times over on this blog. It's the presence by their absence at AIJAC's function of the other 5 junketeers, namely Senators Kristina Keneally (ALP, NSW), Anthony Chisholm (ALP, QLD), Jonathan Duniam (Lib, TAS), Sterling Griff (Centre Alliance, SA), and Alfred Ngaro, New Zealand MP.

What gives? Did they simply eat and drink their way through this AIJAC-sponsored junket? Roll their eyes while visiting Ziv Hospital, Israel's R&R facility for Syrian jihadis? Nod off on poor old Itamar Marcus as he rattled off his tall tales of Palestinian wickedness? Trot out a lame excuse when AIJAC asked them to report back at its Melbourne function?

Fie on them! Sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful rambamee!

And for those concerned with the sad decline of Australia's union movement, here's another nail in the coffin:

"Another group of Rambam graduates consisting of trade union leaders also discussed the impact of their study visit to Israel in December at an AIJAC luncheon on July 20. The group consisted of seven trade union leaders and was organized by AIJAC's Rambam Israel Fellowship Program together with the Australia-Israel Labor Dialogue [AILD], headed by ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick, who accompanied the delegation. Reporting back on their experiences... were Nina Taylor, Organiser with the Community and Public Sector Union who is also a councillor at the City of Glen Eira**; Justin Power, Assistant Secretary of the Queensland branch of the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA); and Robert Tonkli, the assistant Secretary of the NSW Branch of the SDA. The group mentioned that highlights included speaking with Upstart Start-Up Nation author Saul Singer and meetings with the Histadrut - Israel's national trade union centre. Both Taylor and Powers noted that they were impressed with the Histadrut's efforts to ensure equal workplace rights for Palestinian workers, which they felt few people in Australia were aware of." (ibid)

Ninny Nina: Israel? Absolutely fabulous, comrade! And, and... wait till you hear this! Israel's Histadrut is making efforts to ensure that Palestinian workers have equal rights!!! Yay! Betcha didn't know that before, eh?
Interlocutor (underwhelmed & sotto voce): Fabulous...

[*Brandis' pro-life, anti-euthenasia, Anglican replacement in the Senate; **Hilarious Nina Taylor tweet, July 20: "Israel/Palestine union delegation Dec 17 reunion #aijac#aild#peace#tolerance"]

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