Friday, December 31, 2010

But is it acceptable to the Israelis?

It's the final day of 2010. Just time to squeeze in another rambamming:

"A group of journalists, thinkers [!] and business leaders, led by former NSW premier Bob Carr, has returned from Israel following a mission hosted by the NSW division of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) earlier this month. AICC chairman Kim Jacobs said the mission's aim was to provide a 'whole understanding' of the Jewish Sate. '[It was] basically to explore and understand why Jews and Israel have been so successful over the years, and to understand it from a cultural viewpoint, from a business viewpoint, from an economic, geopolitical viewpoint, and to get a whole overview of the whole country', Jacobs said. 'Everyone came away really as a devotee of Israel and understanding what Israel is about'." (Carr leads chamber tour, The Australian Jewish News, 24/12/10)

Love was in the air
Everywhere they looked around
Love was in the air
Every sight & every sound

"The tour differed from those usually offered by the AICC in that it was not purely about business. Activities ranged from a meeting with Israeli author Etgar Keret* and a talk with a representative from a foreign policy think tank the Reut Institute*, to visits to the Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The group also visited Yad Vashem, where Carr laid a wreath, and heard from radio commentator Yaron Deckel*. They toured Masada and the Dead Sea, and visited deaf and blind theatre group Nalaga'at. The delegation also heard from a Koran scholar and visited the Peres Peace Centre." (ibid)

[* Carr quotes Etgar Keret in his blog, Thoughtlines with Bob Carr, to the effect that Israel's Labor Party gave the Palestinians Oslo, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got in return was a second Intifada. And, moreover, Sharon gave the Palestinians Gaza, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was Hamas. (6/12) Bob also quotes the Reut Institute's Gidi Grinstein* to the effect that the Left (aka Ariel Sharon) gave the Palestinians Gaza, but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was terror. (7/12) Such diversity of thought! No wonder Bob describes "radio journalist" Yaron Deckel as "brilliant." He wasn't singing from the same songsheet as EK and GG. No siree, Bob! He told Bob, in effect, we gave the Palestinians everything - Camp David, disengagement from Gaza, comprehensive negotiations, summits, cups of tea - but hey, all peace-loving Israelis got was... nothing! Nothing good, that is. (8/12). Oh yeah, and as a man with an eye for the best and the brightest, Bob reckons Thomas Friedman's "one of the best of the US commentators" and "very good on the Middle East." In his blog, he quotes Friedman to the effect that we Americans gave the Palestinians and the Israelis megabucks and assurances galore, but hey, all peace-loving Americans got was... nothing! Nothing. Full stop. (14/12)]

"'They had a real cultural, business and political tour of Israel', Jacobs said. They met Supreme Court judges, they met the Minister of Economics. It was amazing - I went on it [the tour] and I discovered things that I hadn't seen or heard of before'. Ernst & Young tax partner and AICC board member Alf Capito said the mission 'exceeded his expectations greatly'. 'It was an intense and, in the time allowed, incredibly informative immersion into the history, psyche, entrepreneurship and God-given [!] resilience of Israel and its people', he said... The plan is for the tour to become a yearly event, with Carr already expressing his desire to take part again."

Of course he'll take part again. He's perfect for the job. As an Australian Labor leader (or ex- in his case) he's committed body & soul to Israel. Of the Palestinians, he writes in his blog that "[t]he right of return is their deeper desire and would, of course, be seen as unacceptable by any Israeli government." (6/12) That's the bottom line for these types. Not is it right, but is it acceptable to the Israelis?

[*For those of you who've not yet had the honour and privilege of meeting GG and his tankthink, the Reut Institute, see my 13/1/10 post Getting It Reut.]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 5

How lucky we are to have an account of the Palestinian leg of the KRRS from the Australian Jewish News' Naomi Levin, because the rest of the media pack showed no such interest. As you'd expect, Levin colourfully depicts an Australian delegation that aggressively engages with its Palestinian interlocutors from an Israeli perspective. (NB: Additional details provided by my fly-on-the-wall):

Led by Albert Dadon, property developer and chair of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum (without whom the entire show could never have been staged), and Labor senator Kim Carr, with "senior (of course!) journalists" in tow, the Aussies bore down on the Palestinians like wolves on the fold:

"Sirens wail and blue-and-red lights blink incessantly as a convoy of armoured, five-and-a-half tonne Landcruisers storm through [Ramallah]. The 6 cars take up both sides of the road and go over, rather than around, roundabouts." (Journey to Ramallah, 24/12/10)

"Ramallah is less than half-an-hour drive from Jerusalem. For the convoy, it is a short trip. For others, it can be much longer as they await security checks by the fastidious young Israeli soldiers."

Trans: others=Palestinians; fastidious=fractious.

"Once through the checkpoint, the road snakes alongside the high concrete security wall* - built to prevent suicide bombers crossing into Israel and a huge success."

[* Wall, Naomi? Wall? How many times do we have to tell you, klutz: fence, FENCE, f-e-n-c-e.]

The Oi, Oi, Ois, of course, loved every metre of the grey beast, especially Labor MP Mike Kelly who had, in his former incarnation as a military lawyer, written a legal paper accusing the International Court of Justice, which had dared, in 2004, to rule the aforementioned fabulously successful structure illegal and call for its removal, of "damaging its credibility" (Critical Analysis of the ICJ Ruling on Israel's Security Barrier, Fordham International Law Journal, December 2005). 'It's still standing', he and Albert hummed cheekily as the convoy stormed by.

First stop was the Palestinian Legislative Council where our Aussie Heroes were greeted by four of that body's shiftiest Spawn of Satan. However, armed as they were with only the latest and most sophisticated of Israeli talking points, our boys were more than ready for anything these SoS had to dish out.

Senator Carr, who had already forgotten (if he'd noticed them at all) those "others" still being f****d around by the fastidious ones at the checkpoints they'd stormed past, wanted to know about "progress in the Palestinian territories."

One of the SoS present "described a very bleak scenario in the West Bank," a description, as Levin noted with a raised editorial eyebrow, "that appears to stand in contrast to the neat apartment blocks and full shops."

Yeah, but what about all the flash apartment blocks and full shops we stormed past, mate? shot back one of our True Blues, with a knowing smirk.

The "economic progress was in spite of Israeli barriers and obstacles," replied the SoS, as Albert, who just couldn't help himself, ejaculated, In spite of? Because of, more bloody likely!

Another of our Bronzed Aussies, thinking to sow confusion in the ranks of the SoS and so amuse his mates, wanted to know "whether the 2-state solution was becoming a 3-state solution because of Hamas's dominance in Gaza."

In response, one of the SoS foolishly attempted to crack a joke: "By the time the Israelis are ready to pull out and recognise an independent Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders, the Palestinian conflict will be resolved." (Well, he could hardly have said, By the time the Israelis are ready to pull out and recognise an independent Palestinian state, Hell will have frozen over, being a denizen of the place and all, now could he?) Anyway, it went down like the proverbial lead balloon, sending "small waves of disbelief around the table of Australians." The small waves of disbelief, reported my fly-on-the-wall, took the form of a chorus of soto voce OMGs.

"And what of Jerusalem? Why has the PA produced a research paper... claiming the Jewish people have no real connection to the Western Wall?" one of our Doughty Diggers chipped in, with a roguish wink to his mates.

Er, fact is, it just so happens to be "the Western Wall [of the] Aksa [sic: Aqsa] compound," which belongs to the "Muslim world," responded the one they later Christened, to everyone's merriment, Beelzebub.

Aksa-cuse me, roared our Lovable Larrikins, Wazzat? Bull-shit! ejaculated Albert.

And that was that.

The delegation then "zoomed up the road" to meet with Nabil Shaath, "former foreign minister of the PA and a long-time warhorse of the Palestinian cause."

Predictably, the old warhorse dared to voice "a simplistic [Good one, Naomi!] comparison between the Palestinians and black South Africans under apartheid."

Our Bra Boys were all, like, OMG! Did he really say that?

When Queensland Labor MP Bernie Ripoli, who'd never even heard of apartheid, asked him for "more concrete information on the comparison," the warhorse listed Jews-only roads, evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, and that rabbinical call for a ban on renting homes to Arabs, before explaining that, anyway, a South African delegation had preceded them and declared that the West Bank was deja vu all over again, only worse, so there.

Then the old bugger got real uppity: "We have complaints about your political position. It is too close to the Americans, particularly under the Bush administration*," he said, before compounding his impudence by calling on Australia to follow the lead of Brazil, Argentina and other banana republics in recognising a sovereign Palestinian state. [*PA to OZ: recognise Palestine, Naomi Levin, AJN, 24/12/10]

But that was it, the Likely Lads had had quite enough, thankyou, of his insolence. Kevvie, who had been absent from the earlier Terrorist tete a tete, suddenly manifested, proclaiming, Fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate. Get your cotton pickin' hands off my policy settings and listen to moi: the peace process is a "'step-by-step' prospect" and "Australia [is] not yet prepared to address Palestinian statehood."

Then it was on for young and old, with Liberal senator Scott Ryan wanting to know "why the Palestinian people use the local media to spread hate," and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Mike Kelly wanting the dirt on "the delegitimisation of Israel in the Palestinian media." Of course, they'd been unwittingly primed by the folk over at Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) who'd told them of "a song being broadcast on the official PA TV station calling for jihad against the Israeli 'oppressors'." Jeeehad! Albert had ejaculated, as Scott and Mike furiously scribbled in their notebooks. This information, need I remind you, had been carefully designed to hit home, a fact which the delegation was soon to find out.

Scott and Mike's questions about Palestinian hate speech and delegitimisation proved too much for the old Palestinian warhorse, who, on letting fly an obscene Arabic curse, ending in what sounded like... ya ibn sharmuta, clutched at his ailing ticker, and collapsed in a heap on the floor. Undeterred, but obviously quite pleased with their performance, the Aussie party purloined the Palestinian cutlery as souvenirs, and left, giving the body a wide berth.

Colonial-Settler Cancer

Metastasis is a complex series of steps in which cancer cells leave the original tumour site and migrate to other parts of the body:

Metastasis in Palestine: "In October 1977, a month before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's famous visit to Jerusalem to proclaim his desire for peace, the settlement of Halamish (pop. ca. 1,000) was implanted on the hillside opposite al-Nabi Saleh. Since then - in parallel with the never-ending 'peace process' - Halamish has expanded from its original foothold in a Jordanian police fort to occupy nearly half the historic lands of al-Nabi Saleh. The remaining village lands are mostly on the north side of Road 465, which runs on the floor of the valley separating al-Nabi Saleh from Halamish. In December 2009 settlers from Halamish expropriated the natural spring of 'Ayn al-Kus on the south side of Road 465. Several weeks later, Halamish settlers burned down 150 of al-Nabi Saleh's olive trees near the spring." (The problem is the Israeli occupation: al-Nabi Saleh, Joel Beinin,, 20/12/10)

Metastasis in Australia: "In 1829 the first white man came to the Barka and conferred on it the name of Darling. Over the ensuing years a number of explorers came and went through the land, and an overlanders' route for cattle and sheep was opened up along the Murray River. The tribesmen were not always seduced into complacency with tomahawks of European manufacture and other baubles, and sometimes objections were raised, as gradually even the arid fastnesses of their outer lands came under the white man's scrutiny. In the course of time they experienced something of the perfidy of the white boree, who came in likeness to the spirit ancestors of their dreaming, but was sometimetimes less than honourable in his dealings with the tribes. Trouble inevitably flared, especially after the squatters moved in to 'sit down' on the black man's land, and it was found that spears were no match for the lethal power of bullets. The invaders were insatiable in their greed: the greed of the squatters for land, of lecherous whites for the women of the Barkindji, of rapacious employers who bought the reluctant services of the dark people with grog." (Lament for the Barkindji: The Vanished Tribes of the Darling River Region, Bobbie Hardy, 1976, p ii)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Whose homeland?

"Mayhem, riots, death threats and sabotage attempts followed when the 230 Iraqis on board were told they were being taken back to Indonesia. People shouldn't behave this way, but they do. This was a lesson the Royal Navy learnt blockading Palestine to prevent Jews reaching their homeland* in the 1940s." (Arms are extended but backs are turned: Compassion is the likely loser after the tragedy at Christmas Island, David Marr, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/12/10)

[* See my 17/6/10 post Cannon Fodder for Zion: Exodus 1947]

This is a monumental howler by one of Fairfax's better journalists.

When even the best of them recycle Zionist mythology in this way, you've got to wonder what's going on. Was Marr channeling Leon Uris' 1958 propaganda novel Exodus, presumably read decades ago? Does this mean he hasn't read a corrective account of that event since? If so, what does his recourse to mythologised history tell us about the quality of his critical faculties, which, until reading the above, I had held in high regard?

Marr is the biographer of Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990), the first Australian to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

In 1943, White, an RAF intelligence officer, was stationed in Haifa*. He wrote of the time:

"Looking back at the year I spent in Palestine I see a highly coloured, degrading collage: murders committed by the Stern Gang, adulteries between the Allied Forces and their Jewish mistresses, bribery, slander [...] Night after night the cabaret churned into action under the windows of the Hotel where we were billeted [...] Down the Carmel The Warsaw Concerto was belted out on a piano as we ate our vegetable stews. By day boatloads of European refugees who had escaped through Romania could be seen coming ashore, their few possessions squeezed into shoddy suitcases. Nightly again, at another club, another orange diva, this time Berlin, seduced us with You Walked Out of a Dream [...] and the dream in which we were all walking - of true love, peace, permanence, an Israel visualised by all the Jews, from the tragic European forced settlers, the bloodiest Stern Gangsters, to the tough new race of sabras born in the land of their forbears." (Why bother with Patrick White?

White, like so many Europeans at the time, was caught up in the Zionist dream, while blind to the Palestinians' nightmare. White may have had some excuse; it was 1943, and the Stern Gangsters hadn't yet been unleashed on the natives. It's now almost 2011, Marr has no such excuse.

[* On the fate of Haifa, see my 7/5/08 post Bend It Like Benny]

Onward Christian Soldiers

Now the Christians want a slice of the National Curriculum action (see my last post):

"In this yuletide Tony Abbott went on record again as regarding the Bible as essential for all Australian schools. 'It is important for people to leave school with some understanding of the Bible'**, he responded to a question from the floor at his Penrith community forum on November 29. 'It is impossible to imagine our society without the influence of Christendom'.... In my role as an English and history teacher, rather than as a person of faith, I am convinced we disadvantage our public school students by not acquainting them with the meta-structures, motifs and moral queries of the Abrahamic scriptures... Indeed, when studying literature, children now in faith-based schools (about 32% of total enrolments, and much higher in senior secondary) enjoy a significant advantage over their state-school peers. Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Dickens, Bronte (both), George Eliot, Hopkins, Hardy, TS Eliot, Steinbeck, Beckett, Yeats, Plath, Golding, Attwood and many, many others, require more than a passing knowledge of the Abrahamic Old and New testaments." (Bible study opens the door to mastering literature, David Hastie*, The Australian, 21/12/10)

[* "DH teaches HSC and International Baccalaureate English at St Paul's Grammar School and is a PhD candidate in education at Macquarie University."]

"The draft national curriculum for history opened an exciting prospect. Here was a chance, I thought, to defend the honour of Christianity amid the cut and thrust of educational theory, pitting myself against the intricate arguments of those who would deny, or at least downplay, the greatness of the influence of Christianity in the unravelling of the great events of the ages. Yet the compilers of the draft curriculum have chosen the simplest strategy of all: deliberate, pointed, tendentious and outrageous silence. In its 20 pages, the draft ancient history curriculum mentions religion twice. There is no reference to Christianity anywhere in the document... For believers... the reality is that the incarnation of Christ was and is the greatest event in human history, and that this greatness is not simply a matter of degree, but it is a kind of an absolute and ultimate truth by which alone the significance of all other events must be judged." (Chistianity has role in learning, David Daintree*, The Australian, 29/12/10)

[*"DD is president of Campion College Australia. This is an edited version of an essay piece appearing in the forthcoming The national curriculum: A critique, published by the Institute of Public Affairs and Mannkal Economic Education Foundation."]

[**For Sam Lipski's suggestion that Exodus, 1-20 be included in the English curriculum, see my 12/4/10 post Sam Lipski's National Curriculum.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holocaust Studies Make the Grade

A campaign by elements of the Israel lobby to have the Jewish component of the Nazi genocide, aka 'The Holocaust'*, included in Australia's national history curriculum (see my 12/4/10 post Sam Lipski's National Curriculum) has finally borne fruit.

[* In his invaluable book, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2000), Norman Finkelstein calls 'The Holocaust' "an ideological representation of the Nazi genocide."]

According to the Australian Jewish News: "The official inclusion of Holocaust studies in the new national curriculum has received a cautious welcome from community leaders and educators. The curriculum was approved by a Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra and endorsed by state and territory education ministers last week... Holocaust studies have been included in two areas of the history curriculum - as part of the Australian immigration story to be taught in year 6 and as part of World War II studies in year 10. Sydney Jewish Museum education director Avril Alba described the inclusion of Shoah studies in the new curriculum as 'a positive step forward... [I]t provides teachers and students with an excellent opportunity to study both the context within which the Holocaust took place and the radicalising effect of the war." (Green light for Shoah studies, 17/12/10)

A cautious welcome?

Ah, "[b]ut [Alba] voiced concern over the limited time the subject is given in the curriculum, saying 'the challenge for teachers will be to both contextualise the unfolding of the Holocaust within the broader context of World War II but also to point out its distinctive features'." (ibid)

OK, Avril, to accomodate your concern, we'll omit the bit in the WWII depth study which goes: "An overview of the causes and course of WWII."

Ah, but "[t]he Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) also expressed reservations. 'The revised content description appears to be an improvement on the original draft', said ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim. 'One difficulty is that study of the Holocaust is limited to the years 1942-1945. This is inaccurate and omits the Nazi program of mass shootings and other atrocities between 1939 and 1941 in which 1.5 million Jews were systematically put to death'." (ibid)

OK, Peter, 1939 through to 1945 it is. We'll just drop the bit about the "use of the atomic bomb."

Ah, but "Pratt Foundation chief executive and AJN columnist Sam Lipski earlier this year cited concerns about how the syllabus might be delivered if the Shoah wasn't contextualised. 'Without also studying who the Jews were, how they began, and what they've had to say about themselves and to the world over 3 millennia, a generation of Australians will gain a misleading picture', Lipski wrote in an AJN column." (ibid)

OK, Sam, we fully understand your concern, and you'll be pleased to hear that we're seriously considering dropping the history syllabus altogether and replacing it with Jewish/Israel studies.

Seriously though, if dunum by dunum, goat by goat is your mantra and modus operandi, can enough ever really be enough?

Not that I'm the only one ever to have had reservations about The Holocaust being used to promote Israel. Even acclaimed Nazi hunter and Zionist Simon Wiesenthal, in Jerusalem for the 1961 trial of Eichmann, had initial misgivings: "Wiesenthal did not object to the tendency to present the extermination of the Jews as a vindication of Zionist ideology and as justification for the existence of the State of Israel. But Israel's goal of gaining a monopoly over the legacy of the Holocaust aroused a sense of discomfort in him." (Simon Wiesenthal: The Life & Legends, Tom Segev, 2010, p 153)

This discomfort, of course, didn't last long. When, in the wake of Israel's conquest of the West Bank in 1967, it was suggested to Wiesenthal that it was "tragic" that an attempt to redress the injustice to the Jews by creating Israel had given rise to a fresh injustice to the Palestinians, he was adamant: "No, it is not tragic. The creation of Israel was the only possible and the only correct reaction to Auschwitz. There had to be a country in the world where the Jews were the landlords instead of tolerated guests." (ibid, p 219)

If the Wiesenthal line on The Holocaust is the one advanced in our year 10 classrooms, Zionist propagandists will have achieved a significant victory. One can but wonder at the contents of any curriculum support material that might be sent by ECAJ to our schools. On the other hand, if classroom discussion of one terrible injustice turns to discussion of another... watch this space.

Anyway, for teachers of year 10 history out there who are serious about their subject and who may have been wondering just what the real significance of the Nazi genocide is, here's our big picture man, James Petras: "The Nazi genocide against the Jews is an example of the ruling elite victimizing a minority population to create cross-class cohesion, diverting the masses from internal labor-capital conflicts and the real or potential costs of imperialist policies. To deflect their focus on capitalist exploitation, the ruling elite directed worker and middle class discontent to Jewish bankers and capitalists. This propaganda was especially effective in professions like medicine and the retail trade in which competition for positions and market shares between Jews and non-Jews was especially intense. The transition from intensified exclusion and ethnic discrimination to the practice of genocide coincided with Germany's massive military, economic and political expansion and conquest of the late 1930s and early 1940s. As the costs of empire-building increased, so did the need to deflect the increasing anger and anxiety of the population by giving their ills a perpetrator's face (the Jews), and giving them lower ranking populations to despise (the Slavs). Parallel to the Jewish-Nazi Holocaust, the German imperial conquest of great swaths of Eastern Europe and especially Russia led to an even greater holocaust, the killing of some 9-10 million Slavs and the enslavement of many millions more to the imperial-capital war machine." (Genocides, Cohesion & Imperialism, in Rulers & Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants, James Petras, 2007, p 77)

Chew on that, Peter, Sam.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Silenced Night

"America is not out to enslave the Iraqi people. It is not on a crusade against Islam. It is doing what it has always done: standing up for liberty and the rights of humankind to live unencumbered by the chains of beastly humanity. We are now at war. May it be sure but swift. May God protect our troops and bring them safely home. And may Iraq awake some morning soon to something it has not seen in generations: a new dawn of freedom." (New York Daily News, 20/3/03)

"A friend in Baghdad sent me the following: 'I don't know where to start. Not a day goes by without hearing about murders and assassinations. The silencer gun seems to be the preferred method. Just a few days ago, there was another murder just a few streets away from where we live. A guy was found dumped on the road! Again, a few days ago, another was murdered by silencer in the Yarmuk area. The body had no ID.

"I heard about these killings from friends, and every other day, it seems, a member of my family comes home and tells me someone has been killed. Murder takes place in broad daylight, even in busy areas. For instance, people are just going about their business when all of a sudden one of them drops, felled by a silencer gun. Some people are saying it reminds them of '05-'07 when they'd awake to find bodies in the street. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 assassinations a day, and many we don't even know about because we learn everything these days only by word of mouth.

"I heard that today there were HEAPS of silencer killings. In Mansour, the treasurer of Maliki's party and the director-general of the Electricity Ministry were assassinated. At least we know who they are. The rest are unknown. It's getting worse by the day. Some are saying it's a miracle they manage to avoid being murdered themselves. And, of course, there are the daily explosions.

"Freedom of speech is practically non-existent here. You don't dare express an opinion or speak out in any way. On December 5 a journalist was murdered in Mansour in broad daylight - probably by silencer gun. People were saying he was more or less outspoken, probably a critic of the government.

"Christian families are moving out of Baghdad and heading north before leaving Iraq altogether. One family I heard about returned to retrieve the remainder of their belongings. They were slaughtered outside their house." (Baghdad's bloody Xmas leaks..., Layla Anwar,, 25/12/10)

Foreign Correspondents: Then & Now

That was then:

"I read my father's conservative Daily Telegraph from cover to cover, always the foreign reports, lying on the floor beside the fire as my mother pleaded with me to drink my cocoa and go to bed. At school I studied The Times each afternoon. I ploughed through Khrushchev's entire speech denouncing Stalin's reign of terror. I won the school Current Affairs prize and never - ever - could anyone shake me from my determination to be a foreign correspondent. When my father suggested I should study law or medicine, I walked from the room. When he asked a family friend what I should do, the friend asked me to imagine I was in a courtroom. Would I want to be the lawyer or the reporter on the press bench, he asked me. I said I would be the reporter and he told my father: 'Robert is going to be a journalist'. I wanted to be one of the 'soldiers of the press'." (The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, Robert Fisk, 2005, p xix)

This is... *sigh* ... now:

"Ben Knight enjoyed a spectacularly unsuccessful academic career, spending several years working in bottle shops and supermarkets, before somehow landing a short-term job with the ABC in his hometown of Mildura as a radio producer. A few years later, he stopped worrying that someone was going to tap him on the shoulder and tell him there had been a horrible mistake, and moved to Melbourne to host the ABC's daily statewide morning show. Bouncing around jobs in radio current affairs, TV news, and The 7.30 Report - even presenting the weather in order to get his face on TV - he suddenly realised his long-repressed dream of a foreign correspondent's job might be within reach. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two children, and is enjoying every minute of it." (Ben Knight,, 17/12/09)

Sometimes repression has a lot going for it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Forgotten Faithful

After reading my last post, those interested in what's really behind the emigration of Palestinian Christians from their homeland should read my 25/12/09 post, A Not So Merry Palestinian Christmas. Don Belt's The Forgotten Faithful (National Geographic, June 2009) is also worth a read. Some (abridged) excerpts:

"Easter in Jerusalem is not for the faint of heart. The Old City, livid and chaotic in the calmest of times, seems to come completely unhinged in the days leading up to the holiday. By the tens of thousands, Christians from all over the world pour in like a conquering horde, surging down the Via Dolorosa's narrow streets and ancient alleyways... Every face on Earth seems to float through the streets during Easter, every possible combination of eye and hair and skin color, every costume and style of dress, from blue-black African Christians in eye-popping dashikis to pale Finnish Christians dressed as Jesus with a bloody crown of thorns to American Christians in sneakers and 'I [heart] Israel' caps, clearly stoked for the battle of Armageddon."

"In a small apartment on the outskirts of the city, a young Palestinian Christian couple I will call Lisa and Mark [and their two children, 18-month old Nadia and 3-year old Nate] are preparing to enter the fray... This is the first Easter, ever, that Mark has been allowed to spend with the family in Jerusalem. He is from Bethlehem, in the West Bank, so his ID papers are from the Palestinian Authority; he needs a permit from Israel to visit. Lisa, whose family lives in the Old City, holds an Israeli ID. So although they've been married for 5 years and rent this apartment in the Jerusalem suburbs, under Israeli law they can't reside under the same roof. Mark lives with his parents in Bethlehem, which is 6 miles away but might as well be a hundred, lying on the far side of an Israeli checkpoint and the 24-foot-high concrete barrier known as the Wall.

"Mark finds it depressing that '80% of the Christian guys I grew up with have left for another country to find work'. Yet he understands why. A trained social worker with a degree in sociology, Mark has been looking for a job, any job, for almost 2 years. 'You're surrounded by this giant wall, and there are no jobs', he says. 'It's like a science experiment. If you keep rats in an enclosed space and make it smaller and smaller every day and introduce new obstacles and constantly change the rules, after a while the rats go crazy and start eating each other. It's like that'.

"For anyone living in Israel or the Palestinian territories, stress is the norm. But the 196,500 Palestinian and Israeli Arab Christians, who dropped from 13% of the population in 1894 to less than 2% today, occupy a uniquely oxygen-starved space between traumatized Israeli Jews [! I know whose trauma I'd rather have: MERC] and traumatized Palestinian Muslims, whose militancy is tied to regional Islamist movements that sometimes target Arab Christians. In the past decade, 'the situation for Arab Christians has gone rapidly downhill', says Razek Siriani... who works for the Middle East Council of Churches in Aleppo, Syria. 'We're completely outnumbered and surrounded by angry voices', he says. Western Christians have made matters worse, he argues, echoing a sentiment expressed by many Arab Christians. 'It's because of what Christians in the West, led by the US, have been doing in the Middle East', he says, ticking off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for Israel, and the threats of 'regime change' by the Bush administration. 'To many Muslims, especially the fanatics, , this looks like the Crusades all over again, a war against Islam waged by Christianity. Because we're Christians, they see us as the enemy too. It's guilt by association'."

"On Easter morning, Mark and Lisa make a handsome couple in their Sunday clothes, leading Nate and Nadia by the hand up the sidewalk to the family car... it's a proud moment, their first Easter together in the Holy Land, and Lisa, noticing the thick coat of dust on the car, asks Mark to give it a rinse. He fetches a hose and connects it to a faucet they share with their neighbors... In an animated voice, Lisa explains to the kids that Daddy's giving the car a bath for Easter. Right on cue, with a playful flourish, Mark squeezes the nozzle on the hose. Nothing comes out. He checks the faucet, squeezes again. Still nothing. So there he stands, empty hose in hand, in front of his kids, his neighbors, and a visitor from overseas. 'I guess they've opened the pipes to the settlements', he says, gesturing to the hundreds of new Israeli housing units climbing up the hills nearby. 'No more [water] for us'. Lisa is still trying to explain this to the kids as the car pulls away from the curb.

"'I hate the Israelis', Lisa says one day, out of the blue. 'I really hate them. We all hate them. I think even Nate's starting to hate them'."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The ABC of Zionist Propaganda 2

The 7.30 Report 0f 21 December does the plight of Middle Eastern Christians:

"Increasingly, Christians are feeling under siege in the territory they've called home for centuries, including the Holy Land - many are fleeing the region for good as they fear for their safety." (21/12/10)

From? "From Egypt to Iraq, they were the victims of violent attacks by Muslim extremists."

Ah yes, Muslim extremists. Egypt to Iraq. Wall-to-wall. And that includes the Occupied Palestinian Territories:

"BEN KNIGHT, REPORTER:... The Holy Land is watching its Christian population disappear."

"FATHER RAFIK KHOURY:.. I cannot imagine the Holy Land without Christians."

"SAMIR QUMSIEH*, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTER: I really fear that the Church of the Nativity and the Holy Sepulchre will be turned into museums."

Yikes! OK, so whether it's Egypt, Iraq or the OPT, your Muslim extremists have your (Arab) Christians on the run.

But wait, what's Father Khoury saying now? "[My congregations] say, Well we lived in that situation, OK for us, but for our children we would like to prepare a better future... That is why they leave."

OK for us? The Muslim knife's up against the Christian jugular, but it's... OK for us? What the... ?

And what's this? "PROFESSOR NABIB GHAYIT: Well they're cowards... you have to sacrifice in order to live, you know."

Cowards? What can he mean? Ben? Ben...?

Ah, but Knight's on a roll... on the Muslim track: "But the danger is real. In 2007, Christian pastor Rami Ayyad was murdered in Gaza. No one was ever charged. His family believes there was never any real investigation." Yep, Muslim extremists alright. Who else could it be?

"But it's not just violence," he presses on, "Some Christians say their Muslim neighbours are taking the land out from under them. SAMIR QUMSIEH: They take it by force, by forgery, by many ways and because many Bethlehem people are emigrating, their lands are done."

Funny that. Knight's been ABC TV's Middle East correspondent for years now, but we haven't heard a squeak from him about Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem (up 45% this year with 396 buildings razed compared with 275 last year), throwing 561 Palestinians, including 280 children, onto the street. "Out of the 250,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem... 60,000 are at risk of having their homes demolished by the Israeli authorities," claims UNRWA (UN agency condemns Arab home demolitions in Jerusalem, BBC News, 23/12/10), but hey, that hardly fits with Knight's Head for the hills! The Muslims are coming! agenda.

Samir Qumsieh tells us that he's "very angry with the Christian world." But not, you'll notice with Israel! Unless, of course, Knight's edited that bit out. Ditto for Father Khoury who laments that "They are forgetting their own roots to help others who have roots in the Holy Land."

Knight then introduces us to the kind of Christians Samir Qumsieh and Father Khoury are presumably angry with: "BRUCE GARBUTT, INTL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY OF JERUSALEM: We come as friends of Israel because Israel is God's chosen people, chosen for a purpose and not because they're different, not because they're better, chosen for a purpose and that's to bring salvation to the world. BEN KNIGHT: This is a messianic view of Christianity that believes when the Jews return to the land of Israel, the temple can be rebuilt and the final day of judgment will arrive. The Palestinian State doesn't fit into that plan. Glen and Marilyn Shaw here are doing missionary work in the West Bank and have seen the poverty there. BEN KNIGHT: You're here today with Israeli flags. GLEN SHAW: Yes. BEN KNIGHT: Who are obviously the occupying force - is that a conflict for you? GLEN SHAW: Not really. Not really. Because God commands us to bless the Jews. To bless Israel. Anybody who blesses Israel will get a blessing in return." Jesus, talk about giving Christians a bad name!

Now would it be too much to expect of a Middle East correspondent doing a piece largely on the plight of Palestinian Christians to ask the lovely Glen and his charming wife, Marilyn, whether they were aware just how pissed off the local Palestinian Christians were with their attitude? Apparently.

I suppose the closest Knight gets to the bleeding obviousness of It's the Occupation, stupid! is when he mentions a Vatican discussion paper on "the situation of Christians in the Middle East," which he says, "talks about some of the driving issues such as the Israeli occupation or the growing influence of extreme Islam right across the Middle East."

But you can't trust Knight as far as you can throw him. That bit about the growing influence of extreme Islam, that's just there to blur the bit about the Israeli occupation, the critical impact of which on Palestinian Christians he has no interest whatever in exploring. And what does that document actually says?: "The meeting document made clear that bishops in the Middle East believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be the root cause of several conflicts in the region. But it also singled out the growth of political Islam in countries like Egypt, and said the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been exploited by radical terrorism in recent years... It criticized the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, saying it had made life difficult both for daily life and religious life since access to holy places are restricted. Citing both the Israeli-Palestinian and Iraqi conflicts, it said: 'The solution to conflicts rests in the hands of the stronger country in its occupying and inflicting wars on another country." (Vatican memo: Mideast conflict driving Christians out of region, Haaretz/ AP, 19/10/10)

IOW, political Islam (or as Knight has it, Islamic extremism) is a response to the USraeli occupation of Arab lands, the driving issue behind the emigration of Arab Christians from the Middle East.

Knight's fleeting reference to the Israeli occupation is soon overtaken by Samir Qumsieh muttering darkly about a "Muslim state" in the West Bank and Knight proclaiming darkly that "In November, Al-Qaeda in Iraq declared open season on all Christians. After a siege at a Baghdad church ended in the deaths of more than 50 people, these Iraqi Christians fled to the relative safety of Jordan. But they're not staying there. They're looking for visas to Canada, the US and Australia. Yet another Christian community has decided it's time to leave the Middle East for good and they won't be the last."

Ooo... Al-Qaeda in Iraq? Is this the same Al-Qaeda in Iraq that used to be led by the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who became the subject of a US military propaganda campaign a few years back? "The Zarqawi PSYOP program," boasted one of its operatives, "is the most successful information campaign to date... Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/ Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/ Denial of Iraqi Aspirations." (Military plays up role of Zarqawi: Jordanian painted as foreign threat to Iraq's stability, Thomas E Ricks, The Washington Post, 10/4/06)

Hm... has PSYOPs now come to 'Your' ABC?

[* On SQ see A tale of two Palestinians, Jerry Gordon,, 14/9/05]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ending a 'Diaspora'

"A State of seven hundred, eight hundred thousand Jews cannot be the climax of a vigil kept unbroken through generations and down the patient centuries... No! So empty a State would be little justified, for it would not change the destiny of Jewry, or fulfill our historic covenant. The duty of the State is to end Galut [exile of the Jews] at last. Perhaps our generation will not live to see a homecoming from the New World, or from Russia in the Old World, but, when the war is over and the State made strong, what let or hindrance will deny us early sight of the ending of the Diaspora in Moslem lands of North Africa and the Middle East, and in Western Europe no less!"

David Ben Gurion, 13/8/48 (Cited in his book, Rebirth & Destiny of Israel, 1954, pp 276-277)

Could Nassir Sharhoom be onto something here?: "A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country's security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them. The flight - involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular - followed an October 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshippers and two priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians... Those who fled the latest violence - many in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars - warned the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq. Several evoked the mass departure of Iraq's Jews after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. 'It's exactly what happened to the Jews', said Nassir Sharhoom, 47, who fled last month to the Kurdish capital, Erbil, with his family from Dora, a once-mixed neighbourhood in Baghdad. 'They want us all to go'." (Iraqi Christians flee violence, New York Times/ Sydney Morning Herald, 18/12/10)

If Nassir's correct, and what is happening to Iraqi Christians is exactly what happened to Iraqi Jews after 1948, then it's Zionist operatives who are behind this current exodus.

So what exactly happened to Iraqi Jews in the years immediately following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948? The incredible story of the dark force responsible for ending, to use Ben-Gurion's euphemism for 'uprooting', Iraqi Jewry is told by British historian David Hirst in his first-rate history of the Palestine problem, The Gun & the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East (1977). I present it here in abridged form:

"It was the last day of Passover, April 1950. In Baghdad, the Jews had spent it strolling along the banks of the Tigris in celebration of the Sea Song. This was an old custom of the oldest Jewish community in the world; the 130,000 Jews of Iraq attributed their origins to Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian exile. A good 50,000 of them thronged the esplanade. By nine o'clock in the evening the crowds were thinning out. But on Abu Nawwas street young Jewish intellectuals were still gathered in the Dar al-Beida coffee-shop.

"Suddenly, the convivial atmosphere was shattered by an explosion. A small bomb, hurled from a passing car, had gone off on the pavement just outside. By chance no one was hurt. But the incident shook the Jewish community. They were convinced that Iraqi extremists wanted to kill them. The fainter-hearted began to murmur 'it is better to go to Israel'. The next day there was a rush to the offices where Jews wishing to renounce their Iraqi citizenship had to present themselves for registration. Their right to emigrate had been officially acknowledged by the government on the feast of Purim a month before. Its object was to prevent emigration by illegal means... In all, about 10,000 Jews signed up to leave after the bomb; the big Ezra Daud synagogue had to be set aside as a registration office... The panic did not last very long, however, and registration tapered off...

"Then there was another explosion. This time it was at the US Information Centre, where many young Jews used to come and read. Again the theory was that an extremist Iraqi organization had planted the bomb, which only by chance failed to hurt anyone. Once again, therefore, there was a rush on the Ezra Daud synagogue; only this time the panic - and the number of would-be emigrants - was less than before. The year ended, and March 1951, the time-limit set for the renunciation of citizenship, was approaching.

"The third time there were victims. It happened outside the Mas'uda Shemtov synagogue... That day in January the synagogue was full of Kurdish Jews from the northern city of Suleimaniyyah. Outside a Jewish boy was distributing sweetmeats to curious onlookers. When the bomb went off he was killed instantly and a man standing behind him was badly wounded in the eyes.

"And this time there was no longer any doubt in Jews' minds: an anti-Jewish organization was plotting against them. Better to leave Iraq while there was still time. The queues lengthened outside the Ezra Daud synagogue... A few days later the Iraqi parliament passed a law confiscating the property of all Jews who renounced their citizenship... The planes started arriving at a rate of 3 or 4 a day. At first the emigrants were flown to Nicosia accompanied by an Iraqi police officer. But after a while even that make-believe was dropped and they went directly to Israel's Lydda airport - the police officer returning alone in the empty plane. Before long all that was left of the 130,000, abandoning home, property and an ancient heritage, was a mere 5,000 souls.

"It was not long before a bombshell of a different kind hit the pathetic remnants of Iraqi Jewry. They learned that the 3 explosions were the work not of Arab extremists, but of the very people who sought to rescue them; of a clandestine organization called 'The Movement', whose leader, 'commander of the Jewish ghettoes [!] in Iraq', had received this letter from Yigal Allon, chief of the Palmach commandos, and subsequently Foreign Minister of Israel: 'Ramadan my brother... I was very satisfied in learning that you have succeeded in starting a group and that we were able to transfer at least some of the weapons intended for you. It is depressing to think that Jews may once again be slaughtered, our girls raped, that our nation's honour may again be smirched... should disturbances break out, you will be able to enlarge the choice of defenders and co-opt Jews who have as yet not been organized as members of the Underground. But be warned lest you do this prematurely, thereby endangering the security of your units which are, in fact, the only defence against a terrible pogrom'.

"The astonishing truth - that the bombs which terrorized the Jewish community had been Zionist bombs - was revealed when, in the summer of 1950, an elegantly dressed man entered Uruzdi Beg, the largest general store in Baghdad. One of the salesmen, a Palestinian refugee, turned white when he saw him. He left the counter and ran out into the street, where he told two policemen: 'I recognize the face of an Israeli'. He had been a coffee-boy in Acre, and he knew Yehudah Tajjar from there. Arrested, Tajjar confessed that he was indeed an Israeli, but explained that he had come to Baghdad to marry an Iraqi Jewish girl. His revelations led to more arrests, some 15 in all. Shalom Salih, a youngster in charge of Haganah arms caches, broke down during interrogation and took the police from synagogue to synagogue, showing them where the weapons, smuggled in since World War II, were hidden. During the trial, the prosecution charged that the accused were members of the Zionist underground. Their primary aim - to which the throwing of the three bombs had so devastatingly contributed - was to frighten the Jews into emigrating as soon as possible. Two were sentenced to death, the rest to long prison terms.

"It was Tajjar himself who first broke Jewish silence about this affair. Sentenced by the Baghdad court to life imprisonment, he was released after ten years and found his way to Israel. On 29 May 1966 the campaigning weekly magazine Ha'olam Hazeh published an account of the emigration of Iraqi Jews based on Tajjar's testimony. Then on 9 November 1972, the Black Panther, militant voice of Israel's Oriental Jews, published the full story...

"When Ben-Gurion made his impassioned pleas for immigrants to people of the new-born state of Israel, he was addressing European Jews (from both the New and the Old Worlds) in particular. Not only had European jury founded Zionism, it was the main source of that high- quality manpower, armed with the technical skills, the social and cultural attitudes which Israel needed. But with the Holocaust over, the source was tending to dry up. So the Zionists decided that 'Oriental' Jewry must be 'ingathered' as well. It is often forgotten that the safeguard clause of the Balfour Declaration - 'it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the exisiting non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries - was designed to cover Diaspora Jews as well as native Arabs. But the uprooting of a million 'Oriental' Jews showed that, for the Zionists, it was a clause to be ignored in both its parts. Everywhere they applied the same essential techniques, but nowhere perhaps, with such thoroughness as they did in Iraq. 'Cruel Zionism', someone called it." (pp 155-160)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Company We Keep

On the subject of foreign minister Kevin Rudd's just concluded trip to Israel and the Middle East, the Sydney Morning Herald naively editorialised on 21 December that he had "not thrown Australia's diplomatic weight, for what it is worth, at the critical pressure points in the jammed machinery of the region's peace process," and suggested that his "public appearances were a feel-good profession of Australian support for Israel." (Mid-East peace: a time to speak) (See my last post for more on same.)

The key question of just why our political revellers... sorry, representatives - some 17 of them - were off partying hard in Israel did not occur to the editorialist, or, if it did, would no doubt have been dismissed with the thought, No, it's simply not worth the hassle going there.

Australia's callous indifference to Palestinian suffering and patently dysfunctional relationship with the Israeli apartheid state could, of course, have been predicted well in advance. All the editorialist needed to do was examine how and with whom we voted on the question of Palestine in the United Nations General Assembly last month (GA/11027), a matter for which Rudd and PM Gillard are currently and directly responsible, and which, incidentally, is part of a dismaying pattern unchanged since the Howard years.

By way of introduction, just to show you there was really nothing to frighten the horses in the 6 Palestine-related resolutions adopted, here are the first three paragraphs of the UN's 30 November press release on the subject:

"Convinced that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine - the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict - was imperative for lasting Middle East peace, the GA today stressed the urgent need for sustained international involvement, including by the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in resuming stalled peace negotiations. That position was echoed in a broad-based resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, adopted by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, Tonga)... The text was one of 6 adopted by recorded vote in a flurry of action that capped the Assembly's two-day discussion of that issue along with the broader quest for peace in the Middle East. By the terms of the text, the Assembly reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli actions intended to change the status of Jerusalem, and expressed deep concern at closures and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, the establishment of checkpoints and the imposition of a permit regime throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which had created a humanitarian crisis. Reaffirming its commitment to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, the Assembly also stressed the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem."

Now let's see how Australia voted on the other 5:

1) Draft resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: 112 in favour; 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US); 54 abstentions

2) Draft resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat: 110 in favour; 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, US); 56 abstentions

3) Draft resolution on the Special Information Programme on Palestine: 167 in favour; 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US); 2 abstentions

4) Draft resolution on Jerusalem: 166 in favour; 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US); 4 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Panama, Tonga)

5) Draft resolution on the Syrian Golan: 118 in favour; 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US; 52 abstentions (Australia...)

Australia's (and Canada's) vote in the GA acts as a vital diplomatic fig leaf covering the nakedness of Israel's pariah status on the world stage. Our very public proximity to this pariah's genitalia makes us a standing joke on the world stage.

And just to rub it in, here's how we've been voting since Rudd's visit (GA/11040, 20/12/10):

Draft resolution on the Oil Slick on Lebanese Shores*: 163 in favour; 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US)

[*"By another text, relating to the oil slick on Lebanese shores, the Assembly requested for the fifth consecutive year, that Israel expediently and adequately compensate Lebanon for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the Israeli Air Force's destruction of oil storage tanks near the neighbouring country's El-Jiyeh electric power plant, and to do the same for Syria, the shores of which had been partially polluted."]

Draft resolution on Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab Population in the Occupied Syrian Golan over their Natural Resources: 167 in favour; 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, US)

Make no mistake, you become the company you keep.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 4

Bits & pieces from the KRRS not previously covered, but worthy of attention to any serious student of the rambamming phenomenon:

Merely fortuitous? 'Great minds' thinking alike?

Exhibit 1:

"One Israeli official said yesterday: 'This [Rudd's Cairo (but not Jerusalem) call for IAEA inspections of Israel's nukes] comes, as the Americans would say, completely out of left field...'" (Nuclear inspections call 'curious', John Lyons, The Australian, 15/12/10)

"[The Lowy Institute's Hugh] White says this position [on IAEA inspection of Israeli nukes] is 'diplomacy coming from left field, without follow-through'."

Exhibit 2:

"The comment shocked Israeli officials, who could not recall an Australian minister suggesting that their facility at Dimona should be subject to inspection." (Israel rejects Rudd's call for nuclear inspections, John Lyons, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"No Australian foreign minister in history has previously called for Israel's nuclear facility to be open to IAEA inspection." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

Exhibit 3:

"[T]he de facto equating of Israel and Iran is bizarre." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"His suggestion that Israel sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was bizarre." (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

'Great minds' thinking 50% alike:

"I accept that they [Begin's Irgun] were not the equivalent of modern terrorists. But people died in that incident. I don't think such a joke was in good taste, although many in the audience appreciated it." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 16/12/10)

"Rudd made a distasteful joke about Menachem Begin carrying out 'some interior redesign' of Jerusalem's King David Hotel - referring to a terrorist bombing in 1946 that killed 91 people." (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

Another of the rambammed - Peter Van Onselen, contributing editor, The Australian - outs himself:

"In Israel last week with a delegation, I received a briefing from the head of Israel's National Economic Council, Professor Eugene Kandel. The centrepiece of his message was pride in Israel's economic peformance over the past 10 years. He glowingly highlighted that its national debt was only 72% of GDP, down from more than 100% at the turn of the century. Only? In Australia he would be laughed out of the room. Incidentally, much of the reduction came from balancing the budget, not paying back debt, and letting economic growth do the rest. The figure of Israel's net public debt as a percentage of GDP that Professor Kandel referred to should cause most Australians to pause and consider the overblown fears our opposition tries to evoke when complaining about the Labor government's so-called build-up of public debt. By all means whinge about waste when it is apparent, but the size of net debt in Australia is minimal, less than 6% of GDP, according to the IMF." (We can keep borrowing if growth continues, 15/12/10)

The Sydney Morning Herald's verdict on the KRRS (my comments in square brackets):

"From his public remarks, [Rudd] has not thrown Australia's diplomatic weight, for what it is worth, at the critical pressure points in the jammed machinery of the peace process. [Er, maybe that's not what the AILF is all about.] Maybe he was more forceful in private discussions... The key blockage, for Israel's Western friends, is its own politics... The debate in Washington is now about how tough to be with Israel [Oh, really? What planet does this editorialist live on?], to try to force the mainstream into a consensus decision. A bit of tough support from a key ally might have helped the Americans. It might have helped the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, face down his right-wing fringe supporters. [Oh, yes, dear old Bibi wants peace but his hands are tied. What planet... etc] Instead, Rudd's public appearances were a feel-good profession of Australian support for Israel. His one comment about West Bank settlements - that they undermine peace prospects - was drawn out of him in Cairo by the Egyptian foreign minister. [No it wasn't. It came in response to a journalist's question at their joint press conference on 11 December (]" (Editorial: Mid-East peace: a time to speak, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/10)

This is typical of the Herald's hypocrisy - telling Rudd he should've talked tough with the Israelis, but publishing Lenore Taylor's beyond uncritical recycling of Israeli talking points.

Finally, speaking of Rudd on Israeli settlements, this is what he said at that Cairo press conference: "The position of Australia is that new settlements do not contribute but in fact undermine the prospects of a lasting peace settlement in the Middle East. That continues to be our position today. And when I go to Israel in the days ahead I'll be reflecting that position as well." Seems like when he got to Israel, instead of reflecting that position, he actually reflected on it and decided to keep his mouth shut.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 3

The Fairfax press was represented on the KRRS by the sweetly smiling national affairs correspondent Lenore Taylor.

And Albert Dadon, her genial host*, would have been delighted at Lenore's thankyou, thankyou, thankyou so much, Albert note, a wonderfully obliging (pr)op-ed - Decision time looms as Iran races for the bomb (18/12/10) - complete with (Icing on the cake!) Michael Mucci's equally wonderful illustration (mis)representing the Palestine-Israel conflict as equally-matched Israeli and Palestinian (black balaclava, of course!) wrestlers, eternally seeking that decisive, winning hold, whilst lo! [or should that be LOL?], looming over the horizon, is a monstrous, hook-nosed apparition with missiles for horns, ready to nuke them both. Now who could that be, I wonder?

[*"Lenore Taylor travelled to Israel as a guest of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum," ran the appended disclosure.]

What a feather in Albert's cap! And in Fairfax, too, of all places! Well-deserved, of course, given the time and trouble he goes to with these rambamming thingies*.

[*Rambamming: Being sponsored by smooth-talking Israel lobbyists in Australia on a grooming session conducted by tough talking PR people in Israel with a view to the sponsored adopting the missionary position for Israel when required in Australia.]

Now sit back and savour Albert's Saturday morning delight:

"As we emerged stunned and silent from the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem this week onto a balcony overlooking the holy city, our guide swept her hand across the vista and asked whether now we understood why the Jewish people had re-established their homeland and would fight with all their might 'that man' who would take it all away. The man she referred to was not Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority with which Israel has for years been engaged in stuttering peace negotiations. She was talking about the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." (18/12/10)

Did Lenore find this a tad scripted? (Pr)op-ed says no. A tad theatrical? (Pr)op-ed says no. Agenda-ridden? (Pr)op-ed says no.

"A few days later we stood near the kibbutz Misgav Am, high in the upper Galilee, looking out over the now peaceful agricultural plains, up to the snow-capped Mount Hermon, and down at the Lebanese village just a stone's throw away, close enough to wave. Our guide, a former brigadier general who commanded troops in the north during the war with Lebanon in 2006, said that when the Iranian-backed Hezbollah operated freely in the area before the war it was as if Iran itself had been sitting right on Israel's northern border."

Scripted? Theatrical? Agenda-ridden? No. No. No.

"Eight years after my first visit to Israel, one of the most striking things about the discussion during this week's Australia Israel Leadership Forum has been the extent to which the increasing regional dominance and nuclear arms aspiration of Iran is overshadowing and enmeshing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Did Lenore ever wonder: This is getting tiresome. Why is everyone, from prez Peres on down - even the friggin' tour guide at YV for Jesus' sake! - constantly banging on about Iran? (Lightbulb flash in thought bubble above head) Perhaps... Just perhaps... Oh, perish the thought! Could it be they're... they're trying to mess with our minds? (Pr)op-ed suggests no.

"How would Gaza, controlled by Iranian-aligned Hamas, fit in to any peace deal struck between Israel and the Palestinian Authority? Would any deal be possible if both Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon were emboldened by the backing of a nuclear capable Iran?... Israeli politicians, of all persuasions, saw Iran's growing influence as both the biggest threat to Israel and the world and also a factor making a peace deal far more elusive."

You go, Dadon-backed, Israel-aligned, girl!

"The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, who the WikiLeaks cables revealed to have been assessed by the Israeli ambassador to Australia as a great friend of Israel, dismayed the Israelis on the eve of his visit this week when he told The Australian newspaper that not only should Israel, along with other nuclear states in the region, sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but that it should also submit to IAEA inspections of the nuclear weapons facilities it does not admit it has. Even though inspections usually go hand in hand with treaty membership, the Israelis bridled at the implied equivalence of Israel and Iran. By the time Rudd was standing beside Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in Jerusalem, he had dropped any reference to inspections and was recognising Israel's 'unique security considerations'. But Rudd's overriding message was the same as everyone else's - that Iran was the 'core strategic challenge faced by us all'."

Did it seem odd to Lenore that the foreign minister of a supposedly independent country - her own - was now singing the exact same tune as every Israeli official who crossed her path? If so, (pr)op-ed doesn't say.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 2

Murdoch's Australian reports on the KRRS:

"Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday visited the parents of a young man who is probably the most valuable prisoner in the world - captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. After visiting Israel's President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Mr Rudd dropped in on the tent where Noam and Aviva Shalit keep a daily vigil to maintain public awareness of the plight of their son... He has been denied all visits, including from the Red Cross - a breach of international humanitarian conventions which insist that a prisoner should be given access to medical care. Sitting in the tent yesterday and looking up at one of the posters of Shalit on the wall. Mr Rudd remarked: 'Good looking boy'. 'He used to be', Shalit's father said. 'We are not sure now'. Mr Rudd said he had visited the tent to express Australia's solidarity for the plight of Shalit and for his release." (Rudd offers support for captured Israeli, John Lyons, 15/12/10)

Visits by Rudd & Co to the parents of almost 7,000 completely valueless Palestinian prisoners (including 300 minors, 35 women, 210 prisoners held without charge or trial, Palestinian parliamentarians and others held in solitary confinement since the 2006 Palestinian elections, 1,000 ill prisoners, 750 prisoners of war from Gaza and hundreds of others from the West Bank who haven't clapped eyes on their families for the last 4 years)*: 0

[*Report: 70,000 Palestinians jailed since intifada, The Palestinian Information Center,, 30/9/2010]

"Israeli officials have described as very curious a call by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd that Israel allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities... Australian officials supported Mr Rudd's position. One said there was 'a clear logic' about his comments - international inspectors should have access to all nuclear facilities, wherever they are. One Israeli official said yesterday: 'This comes, as the Americans would say, completely out of left field... What is the point? It is a very curious statement'." (Nuclear inspections call 'curious', John Lyons, 15/12/10)

What the...?! How dare he! Who does he think he is? What prompted Rudd to such heights of insolence, foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan wants to know:

"[T]here was one episode of policy freelancing, or innovation, or just downright oddity, that has no honourable explanation and has perplexed, to put it mildly, his many Israeli admirers. In an interview with this paper's John Lyons in Cairo on Saturday, Rudd said: 'Our view has been consistent for a long time and that is that all states in the region should adhere to the [nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that includes Israel. And therefore their nuclear facility should be subject to International Atomic Energy Agency inspection'... [T]he de facto equating of Israel and Iran is bizarre." (That's no way to treat a precious friend, Mr Rudd, 16/12/10)

Ooo... he can't possibly mean our precious friend is, like, totally pissed off with Kevvie, can he?

"No Australian foreign minister in history has previously called for Israel's nuclear facility to be open to IAEA inspection. Israel, not being a signatory to the NPT, has no legal obligation to submit to IAEA inspections... There are areas of deliberate greyness in international diplomacy. No serious Western foreign minister ever demands that Israel submits to IAEA inspection."

I could swear Sheridan's channeling the late Dennis Hopper's manic freelance photographer in Apocalypse Now: Listen up, nerd. You don't inspect Israel. He inspects you. He's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he'll... when you say hello to him, right, he'll just walk right by you and he won't even notice you, then suddenly he'll grab you and he'll throw you in a corner and say, 'Did you know 'if' is the middle word in life, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all are in doubt'. I mean, I know, I'm a little man. Israel's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas. I mean... "

We know, Greg, we know. In the presence of Israel's poet-warriors, we're all such little men.

"So, presumably Rudd would not take such a radical and fateful step unless this prefigured some new and profound Australian policy objective, right? But, dear reader, the truth is that when Rudd got to Israel he did not raise the NPT and IAEA inspections even once in his lengthy meeing with Benjamin Netanyahu, or in his speech to a gala [sic: galah] dinner at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem... At a press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Rudd did repeat his statement that Australian policy wanted Israel to join the NPT but by then he had abandoned any reference to inspections."

Of course, Greg, of course. As you, above all, know, the closer one gets to those poet-warriors who walk right by you and don't even notice, the littler, the more insignificant, the more spineless we become. Forget crustaceans, Greg, they at least have exoskeletons. Worms, more like it. We should have been pairs of parapodia appendages crawling - yes crawling's the word, Geg - crawling across the floors of ancient seas.

But I digress. Poet-warrior Lieberman just fixed Kevvie with a baleful glare, grabbed him by the short and curlies, gave them a vigorous twist, grunted, 'Listen up, suckhole, you can stuff the NPT up your wormhole', "we are a very responsible country and a very responsible government and we have proved this for many years,"* and that was that, no more NPT, no more IAEA. In fact, and this must have been hard for Kevvie, no more acronyms for the duration.

[*Israel rejects Rudd's call for nuclear inspections, John Lyons, The Australian, 16/12/10]

And, notes Sheridan, not a whisper on settlements either: "[A]ll through the Arab world Rudd had denounced Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, but in his talks with Netanyahu and in his public speech they didn't get a mention."

Not that the trivial matter of Palestinian land-grabbing colonies wasn't raised with poet-warrior Bibi. But, by his own account, it was Sheridan, not Rudd, who raised the issue of the latter's criticism of settlements with the great man, only to be told, to the muffled accompaniment of bulldozers and excavators carving out a bit more lebensraum off in the distance: "I think it (settlements) is one of the issues that will need to be negotiated, but is it the source or the root of the conflict? No. The conflict went on for decades before there were any settlements. I don't think in its heart this is a territorial conflict - it's an existential conflict about the acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state." (Australia a close friend, says PM, 15/12/10)

Singing from the same songbook as poet-warrior Peres, poet-warrior Bibi wasted no time in refocusing Kevvie and his gormless entourage of antipodean suckholes, although unlike Lieberman, he chose flattery rather than a twist: "I think Kevin Rudd has been one of the world leaders who saw the danger posed by Iran. The issue of terrorism is a huge problem but it is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the marriage of weapons of mass death with with a militant Islamic regime. That's"... pause for effect... "Iran." (ibid)

But again I digress. Now, where were we? Oh, that's right, Sheridan's perplexity over Kevvie's impudent behaviour: "One interpretation is that Rudd could not resist telling the Arab audience in Cairo what it wanted to hear, then telling the Israeli audience in Jerusalem what it wanted to hear. This is a common interpretation of Rudd, but one this column has resisted, regarding Rudd as a figure of singular substance in foreign policy. But you cannot have it both ways."

A figure of singular substance in foreign policy - just like you, Greg?

Gosh, the worm's... sorry, the man's, a worry: "The ongoing tragedy with Rudd is that his ability could never remotely be in doubt. He knows more about foreign policy than anyone on either side of the Australian parlianent."

I'm glad you said than anyone on either side of the parliament, Greg. I thought for one silly moment you were going to say than me.

"But these strange quirks seem to get in the way. Rudd's performance in Israel overall was impressive, but there were times when he seemed to strain just that bit too much to connect with the audience."

I know what's coming, Greg. I know what you're getting at. It's Rudd's little witticism about Menachem Begin undertaking some interior redesign of the King David Hotel back in '46, right? (See my previous post The KRRS 1). Right.

"Rudd was referring to the incident in which Israeli independence activists blew up the hotel."

Israeli... whaaat?! Israeli independence activists?! You mean Begin's Irgun terrorists whom Churchill described as "the vilest gangsters"? (See my 26/12/09 post A Murky Legacy)

"I accept that they were not the equivalent of modern terrorists."

Of course you do, they weren't Arabs now, were they?

"But people died in that incident. I don't think such a joke was in good taste, although many in the audience appreciated it."

Your poet-warriors or your worms?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Kevin Rudd Road Show 1

MERC first got wind of the bigger-than-Ben Hur KRRS back in October (See my 25/10/10 post Record Rambam) and has been waiting with the proverbial baited breath ever since for this, the third, the largest, and, it has to be said, the steamiest of Melbourne Zionist promoter and publicist Albert Dadon's Ozraeli love-ins.

Those of you who regularly visit this site might remember his first and second Australia Israel Leadership Forum (AILF) shindigs. In these earlier (2009) productions, starring then DPM Julia Gillard, The Australian Jewish News discerned merely a 'shared sense of joy', with Gillard going so far, at the second, as to dance the hora, a sort of Israeli boot scootin (See my posts Gillard Gets a Gong (29/6/09) & Just Do It, Bitch (11/12/09)). Anyway, lest you think steamy a tad over the top, just wait and see.

Now many of you may have been somewhat distracted by Oprah's recent Sydney lovefest, and so overlooked Rudd's galah performance in Jerusalem. Not that I can really blame you, but to tell the truth, it was really only given its due in The Australian Jewish News and its Maxi-Me, Murdoch's Australian. So sit back while I fill you in on this mother-of-all rambammings in a series of posts, beginning with The AJN's coverage, followed by The Australian's, and concluding with Fairfax's far less attentive fare.

The AJN's coverage was, as you'd expect, full-bodied and exceedingly fruity. Its issue of December 17 bore the brunt with a front page shot of a kneeling, kippah-ed Rudd laying a wreath at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, his figure illuminated by a flame burning behind him. This was accompanied by the kind of words that tell you all you need to know about the politics of the AJN: "ETERNAL FLAME, ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP: This week, 50 Australian politicians, journalists, and business and community leaders travelled to Israel. From the Kotel to the Knesset, Yad Vashem to Tel Aviv, the special relationship between the two countries was embraced and cemented."

Inside, under the headline Peres spreads the love, we learned that "Israel's President Shimon Peres described the relationship between the Jewish state and Australia as one of love... 'Australia is a beloved country in Israel... Love is the diplomacy that exists from the standpoint towards Australia'."

Did I say steamy? Peres' lust for Kevvie was obviously so great at this point that it quite overpowered his syntax. This was Peres' version of Oprah's 'I love Australia. I love Australia. I LOVE AUSTRALIA'. Fortunately for those assembled, despite the pull of Kevvie's obvious charms, Peres' first and only love reflexively kicked in when he began barking about Israel's "moral superiority" vis a vis a certain "brutal Islamic regime" in Iran: "He accused Iran of trying to turn the Middle East into an 'extremist empire' and 'the centre of terror'. 'They destroyed Lebanon - it was a nice country - they destroyed Yemen, they are entering Sudan and Somalia and they are going to South America because the Middle East is too small for them'."

Iran - IRAN! - I-R-A-N! - destroyed Lebanon (and everything else within cooee it seems), and our assembled pollies, journos, business and community leaders no doubt lapped up every lunatic word, having completely forgotten, if they'd ever known in the first place, that Peres was the Israeli prime minister who presided over the first Qana massacre of 1996 with its 109 Lebanese civilian deaths. Alas, this was not the only occasion when the historical record was sent packing from the room.

In another story, Rudd: Time for peace running out, on Kevvie's keynote speech to the AILF (of which, more later), the AJN's Naomi Levin managed the extraordinary feat of topping Peres' gloriously delusional rant when she asserted that "Rudd's call [for an urgent resolution to the Middle East conflict] stands in contrast to some members of the Israeli Government, who are promoting a slower, nation-building process for the Palestinians and imploring the world to focus efforts first on Iran, then on Israel and the Palestinians."

Yes, that's right, we've been wrong all along, Israel's actually been building Palestine, not destroying it! And boy, did the punters go for that one. How do I know? Why, the AJN's editorial, A beautiful friendship: "Values can seem an abstract concept, but they became concrete to the 50-strong Australian delegation, as they questioned, queried and listened intently to some of Israel's most prominent political minds. The all-comers - from Perth to the Gold Coast to the NSW South Coast and everywhere in between - embraced the new perspectives on the peace process and the Iranian threat in particular."

Building Palestine - slowly. Smashing Iran - now! Brace yourselves as these Israeli talking points start proliferating in the Australian ms media.

But the centrepiece of the AJN's coverage of the KRRS was Kevvie's December 13 "keynote address" to the AILF.

Rudd led off with a perfect pearl, which, when and if a book titled Kevin Rudd: The Complete Joke(s) is ever published, will surely occupy pride of place, and which had The Australian's extremely foreign foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan literally squirming in his seat and led to the production of an equally fine pearl, destined for inclusion in Sheridan's own similarly titled book (of which particular pearl, more in my next post). But here's Kevvie's: "It is an honour to be among Israeli and Australian friends tonight here in Jerusalem, at the King David Hotel. Shimon Peres, Israel's President, who we met earlier today, said some years ago that when you come to the King David, you come not just as a guest, but you come also to a place which has seen almost the complete cast of players across the history of the modern State of Israel, often in this room in which we gather here tonight. From the 1930s, this hotel became the British field headquarters for what was then British Palestine, until Menachem Begin undertook some interior redesign."

Finished pissing yourselves yet? Rudd's referring of course to the blowing up of the King David Hotel by Begin's Irgun terrorists in 1946 at the cost of 88 British, Arab and Jewish (15) lives. And it is telling that our wit refers to it merely as the "British field quarters", when in fact it also housed the civilian wing of Britain's mandate government in Palestine. After all, it wouldn't do to suggest that the King David was as much a civilian as a military target, now would it? Both the 'joke' and the studied omission were a signal to his hosts that all is forgiven, that the only real terrorists in the Middle East are, have always been, and always will be, Arab. Not, of course, that the Australian contingent even knew what he was talking about. What were our Israeli hosts sniggering about at the start of your speech, prime... sorry, foreign minister?

Moving along, Rudd praised the oleaginous Shimon Peres as a "living treasure of Israel" and "one of the world's truly wise men." This assessment, of course, tells one nothing of Peres and everything you ever needed to know about Rudd. For a correct assessment of Peres, whose name graces a Center for Peace and who is always trotted out on these occasions as the smiling face of the Zionist fist in Palestine, I'll quote from Rannie Amiri's article Israel's Master of Deception: "The international community has long been enamored by current Israeli President and former Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. Regarded as a voice of reason and a dove among hawks, he adroitly assuages fears and reassures critics with soothing, yet empty words advocating dialogue and the creation of a Palestinian state. By duping the world into believing significant differences exist between his 'left-wing' views and those of Israel's far right, he has proved himself a master at deception." (14/5/10)

As a fan of Peres, Rudd is more than happy to parrot his vacuous... sorry, wise words: "Shimon said earlier today that as we deal with the problems of our current age, we should not be trapped by the language of the past, but rather engage in the language of the future; the language of the generation of today. The language of the generation which thinks increasingly beyond that which is national, to that which is truly global." Needless to say, Peres hasn't had a new idea since he smashed his parents' radio when he found them listening to it on the Sabbath back in 1920s Poland.

Inevitably, of course, when Rudd is regaling a Zionist audience, he'll start banging on about Doc Evatt's hand in the destruction of Arab Palestine... sorry, the creation of Israel: "My distinguished predecessor as foreign minister, [Dr HV] Evatt, chaired the UN Commission on Palestine in 1947... This was the commission that recommended the establishment of both an Israeli [sic: Jewish] state and a Palestinian state. And when its recommendations were taken to the UN General Assembly, Australia was the first state to vote in support of the establishment of the modern State of Israel."

Par for Rudd's course, of course. A new element in these ritualised proceedings, however, was injected with some first rate Holocaust breastbeating: "Of course, in the years following the war, Australia also received tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors and other Jewish refugees from Europe as they came to Australia to make their home. Regrettably, history records that we were not always so generous. As I acknowledged last night at Yad Vashem, when Australia met with 31 other nations at the Evian Conference in 1938, we refused to open our hearts and we refused to open our doors to the Jewish people of Europe, despite the unfolding persecution against them. Disgracefully, our representative at the time said we could not help, that Australia had no racial problems at the time, nor did it wish to import any. The ancient scriptures have long enjoined us all never to harden our hearts, and yet still we and the other Christian nations of the world did just that."

This is truly gobsmacking stuff. Here we have the man (?) who, as PM, hardened his heart with a "tough but humane" policy toward the current wave of refugees from wartorn Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, invoking the historical record on the Evian Conference before an audience of Zionists and their sundry Australian dupes and fools, and apologising for supposed Christian complicity (Christian nations) in the Nazis' persecution of German Jews, when the fact of the matter is that the Zionist supremo of the day, David Ben-Gurion, was instrumental in nixing the conference: "The Jews could only have one destination - Eretz Yisrael. So in June 1938, shortly before Allied representative met in Evian, France, to seek ways of rescuing Jews, Ben-Gurion frankly voiced his concern to colleagues in the Jewish Agency Executive. He did 'not know if the conference will open the gates of other countries... But I am afraid [it] might cause tremendous harm to Eretz Yisrael and Zionism... Our main task is to reduce the harm, the danger and the disaster... and the more we emphasize the terrible distress of the Jewish masses in Germany, Poland and Rumania, the more damage we shall cause'. So be silent, Ben-Gurion cautioned his comrades... And in the silence... Evian failed." (Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire, Dan Kurzman, 1983)

After the obligatory references to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Cooper (See my 12/12/10 post The ABC of Zionist Propaganda), Mr Guilty asked, "So why do I reflect on these things at some length this evening? To say to our Israeli friends that none of us come to the history of modern Israel with hands that are completely clean. But in Australia, through the actions of successive governments since the war... we have honoured our friendship with Israel in good times and in bad. We have supported you in all the major wars you have fought, because in Australia you are among friends."

In short, because we feel we didn't pull our weight in the 30s by taking in German Jews, even though that was the last thing your founding fathers would have wanted us to do, we will give you now a free pass to grind the faces of the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Iranians, and whoever takes your fancy... in perpetuity.

Then he turned to Israel's much-hyped "security challenges," shamelessly parroting the same old, same old, proven bogus wiping-Israel-off-the-map mantra: "The Iranian leader's proclamation that Israel should be removed from the map of the world was a chilling reminder of the rank anti-semitism from decades past." And ditto for Hezbollah and Hamas, who, of course, cannot possibly be conceived as anything other than Iran's supposed "terrorist" proxies, with nothing better to do than mindlessly launch their rockets and make Israeli lives an absolute misery.

Eventually, we reach the fabled peace process, which had Rudd crying into his beer: "Sometimes it seems as if we have been wandering in the desert for the last 40 years... I am increasingly concerned that the window for peace may be beginning to close." His nightmare vision? "What happens to the security of Israel if the peace process collapses completely?" Remember the dreaded Second Intifada, he enjoins: "I remember touring the Old city then and touring it alone. There was no-one on the streets. People were afraid." Israeli people, that is. Who gives a rat's for Palestinian fear? Certainly not Rudd or his handpicked camp followers. Certainly not the Israeli officials lapping all this up.

"What will happen in Egypt? What will happen in Jordan?" he wailed. "And what dividend would a collapse in the peace process deliver to Iran and its quest for political legitimacy and the expansion of its diplomatic and security footprint across the wider Middle East and beyond." Doesn't bear thinking about, eh?

But, my friends, "there is another scenario to consider": The Israeli lion lieth down with the Palestinian lamb, the Arabs beat their swords into ploughshares, Iran and its proxies vanish in a puff of smoke, and "7.5 million Israelis" get to make a grab for those lucrative Arab markets.

But, hey, don't think I'm trying to impose anything on you blokes, no, these are just "scenarios worthy of careful analysis," cuz always remember, my beloved friends in Zion, "Whatever the future holds through this peace process and beyond, you will forever have strong and reliable friends in Australia."

Yes, you heard it. Forever! As Oprah would say, "Who is feeling the love right now? Do you feel sexy, Australia?"