Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Schlock Horror: Nazi Hordes Invade Our Campuses

Did you catch The Australian taking a shot at its Mini-Me, The Australian Jewish News, recently? "It's always fun to see parochialism blossoming, so we salute The Australian Jewish News for the headline: 'Saint Mary [McKillop]'s Jewish connection'." (Strewth: She was a mensch, 1/3/10)

Parochialism? You bet, but there's more to the AJN than just parochialism. There's... beat-ups.

In its 19 March issue, for example, I came across the following rivetting headline: Anti-Semitism the 'worst form of racism' on campus

My God, thought I, our unis must be veritable cesspits of sulphuric anti-Semitism! Taking a deep breath, my heart beating wildly, I read on: "Anti-Israel sentiment is on the rise at universities and is being used as a disguise for anti-Semitism, according to the Australian Liberal Students Federation vice-president."

What a relief! It's not really anti-Semitism after all, but only anti-Israel sentiment being used as a disguise for anti-Semitism. And on very good authority too, that of a Young Lib.

The Young Lib is then quoted as saying, "I am very aware of the anti-Semitic views on campus and while I don't think it's extremely widespread, there are very small and vocal groups that are racially motivated..."

Hello? Anti-semitic views? What happened to the anti-Israel sentiment bit? Is the ground not shifting here? But then, whatever it is, anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiment being used as a disguise for anti-Semitism, it's hardly widespread. Which is reassuring. And those very small and vocal groups that are racially motivated? They may be noisy, but at least they're so small they can't even be named. More reassurance.

The Young Lib concluded by saying, "Anti-Israel bias that verges on anti-Semitism is the worst form of racism on university campuses..."

My God, thought I, she's all over the place! First it was anti-Israel sentiment being used as a disguise for anti-Semitism. Then it was the Real Enchilada, anti-Semitism. Now it's anti-Israel bias that verges on anti-Semitism. This particular Young Lib's obviously got a great future ahead of her in federal politics! And I'm so reassured (in terms of the overall quantity of racism on campus that is) that, although this anti-Israel sentiment being used as a disguise for anti-Semitism/anti-Semitism/anti-Israel bias verging on anti-Semitism - whatever - is barely detectable, exhaustive Young Lib polling shows that it's still worse than say anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, or anti-Indian racism. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say.

Now far be it for me not to trust the Liberal Party and all who sail in her, especially your Young Libs, but I do have this irritating habit of wanting to see some sort of evidence for assertions such as the one trumpeted in the headline: Anti-Semitism the 'worst form of racism' on campus. Well, I'm pleased to say that the report didn't disappoint me on that score, citing the following conclusive data to back it up: "The latest incident noted was just a few weeks ago at the University of Sydney, where one student raised his arm and yelled 'Heil Hitler' during Israeli singer Ivri Lider's concert organised by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS)."

Zionism: On A Wing & A Prayer

In her tilt at Jewish peoplehood denier Shlomo Sand, Age/Australian Jewish News columnist Julie Szego does us all a great service by revealing that the Zionist version of Jewish history is nothing more than intuition, uncritical assumption and fruity mythology:

"I'm not going to bother with any thorough demolition of Sand's theory; that's the easy bit. Most of us intuitively know it's flawed. As Halkin elegantly argues in The New Republic, Jewish peoplehood has been taken for granted throughout history by both Jews and non-Jews alike. You can't read the Bible without acknowledging its nationalist themes, and whatever the truth about the Roman expulsion, the loss of Jewish sovereignty and political power was the real issue. Every nationalist movement requires a pinch of mythology, and the Jewish version has more zest and endurance than most." (Post-Zionism exposed, AJN, 19/3/10)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Most Serious Foreign Affairs Analyst

Australia's most serious foreign affairs analyst holds forth on the current state of US-Israeli relations:

"Accompanying Obama's own actions has been some of the most dangerous rhetoric ever to come out of a US administration, to the effect that Israeli intransigence endangers US troops by inflaming extremists in the Arab world. No serious analyst anywhere believes that Israel is an important source of the conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq. Using this type of argument comes dangerously close to the administration licensing a mutant strain of anti-Semitism - it's all the Jews fault." (Obama's anti-Israeli hysteria dangerous and destructive, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 27/3/10)

The dangerous, almost anti-Semitic, rhetoric that our most serious of analysts darkly alludes to comes from US Central Command chief General David Petraeus, who, despite his daily immersion in the heat and dust, both literal and metaphorical, of the Middle East, simply cannot be taken seriously:

"On January 16... a team of senior military officers from CENTCOM (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries in the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45' PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the US was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing US standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior pentagon officer later bluntly described it) 'too old, too slow... and too late'. The... briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus' instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. 'Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling', a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. 'America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding'. But Petraeus wasn't finished: 2 days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command - or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus' reason was straightforward: with US troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region's most troublesome conflict." (From Foreign Policy, quoted in 'This is starting to get dangerous', Scott Horton,, 15/3/10)

And not only is Petraeus' analysis - sorry, rhetoric - not to be taken seriously, we can't take the analysis/rhetoric of everybody's favourite extremist Osama bin Laden seriously either:

"The suffering of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples is seen by bin Laden as a result of the creation of the state of Israel with Western support. The notion of revenge is central to bin Laden's thinking: 'The events that made a direct impression on me were during and after 1982, when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon... I still remember those distressing scenes: blood, torn limbs, women and children massacred... The whole world heard and saw what happened, but did nothing. In those critical moments, many ideas raged inside me, ideas difficult to describe, but they unleashed a powerful urge to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the aggressors'. Bin Laden regards the Zionist enterprise as an anachronistic extension of European colonization into the modern age. Since bin Laden's words were censored in the US in the aftermath of 9/11, there was little or no reporting at the time of his claim that the attacks were a culmination of an 80-year struggle; that the action was to avenge 'our people killed in Palestine'; that it was Palestine 'which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years' (some commentators have assumed that bin Laden was referring to the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924); that 'the creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you - the United States - are the leaders of its criminals'; and finally that there was 'no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel'." (False Prophets: The 'Clash of Civilizations' & the Global War on Terror, Richard Bonney, 2008, p 27)

No, whether it's those who are battling the extremists or the extremists themselves, nothing they say, as our most serious foreign affairs analyst says, can be taken seriously.

Seriously now, truly serious people who require a serious analysis of the Middle East conflict need go no further than that of Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of our most serious newspaper, The Australian.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Praise Herzl & Pass the Talking Points

The Netanyahu government's finger (over Jerusalem, and whatever else takes its fancy) and the antics of Israel's photogenic death squads have ensured that what passes for the Pariah State's reputation has lately been taking more and more hits. It's therefore damage-control time and our Likudniks in the federal opposition and the Murdoch press have been summoned to do their bit. Praise Herzl and pass the talking points:

"Tony Abbott has called on the Rudd government not to expel an Israeli diplomat over allegations the Israeli secret service, Mossad, used forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai... 'We can never forget that Israel is a country under existential threat in a way Australians find difficult to understand', Mr Abbott told The Weekend Australian. It's also the only pluralist democracy in the Middle East. We have to understand that Israel sometimes has to do something which mercifully other countries are spared the necessity of doing. It strikes me that it would be an overreaction to expel an Israeli diplomat'." (Abbott calls for restraint on Israel, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 27/3/10)

There but for the grace of God go we, eh Tony?

"Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop told The WA: 'It would be naive in the extreme to believe a foreign power never used a forged passport. The Australian government would have to be very careful to ensure that Australian agencies never used false passports'. She said expelling an Israeli diplomat would be an 'extreme step' and that she would 'not want to see Kevin Rudd politicise this case in an election year'."

Everybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it, everybody's doin' it - even us, eh Jules? Wouldn't want to be hypocrites now. Confirms Sheridan, "Reliable sources have also told The WA that Australian intelligence agencies used forged passports in their clandestine work." So there!

Seriously though, must I remind the Abbott and the Bishop that John Howard expelled Israeli 'diplomat' Amir Lati in December 2004 "after ASIO concerns about his pattern of dating high-profile public servants with access to classified information" (Israeli 'victim of ASIO spy row', John Kerin, The Australian, 10/3/05)? Funny, I don't remember any special pleading by the Abbott and the Bishop at the time.

And on the other side of the fence? "Well-informed sources told The WA that the Rudd government was having a vigorous internal debate about what action, if any, to take. Some members of the government believe that it has already done enough to vent its anger with the Israelis... Others... prefer aligning more with the Gordon Brown strategy and with Mr Obama's evident anger toward Israel."

As "the most influential foreign affairs analyst in Australia" (or so says The Australian's website), Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan's views will no doubt figure prominently in the government's vigorous internal debate over whether to give Amir Lati's successor his marching orders. That being the case, I won't be holding my breath, because, as the sage says, "The Americans and Brits don't always get things right. There are times when Canberra should definitely not follow their lead."

You see, Sheridan reckons that Obama's in "full jihad mode against Israel," is responsible for "some of the most dangerous rhetoric ever to come out of a US administration," and is unleashing "the spectre of wild and hysterical anti-Israel sentiment... with all manner of destructive consequences." (Obama's anti-Israeli hysteria dangerous and destructive, 27/3/10)

And we can't have our Prime Minister tailing a mad jihadi like Obama now, can we?

Up To Our Necks

It was The Australian's foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan who first alerted us to the fact that Australian and Israeli intelligence were, ahem, more than just good friends: "Canberra has a very close, active and intimate relationship with Israel. Many of our top people go there for consultations and even for special short course training." (Theft burned a strong supporter, 26/2/10)

Now, on Radio National's excellent Rear Vision program, Israeli intelligence expert and Haaretz journalist Yossi Melman lifts the lid on their obscene congress:

Yossi Melman: ... A third role [of Mossad] was to maintain secret, clandestine but very vital and useful contacts with its counterparts, whether it's... ASIO or... the CIA or... M16... And they have developed over the years very, very intimate relations, sharing information and... assessments and even, nowadays, going into the field, enjoying the operations in the war against global terrorism... [Such 'friendly organisations'] meet once in a while... they send envoys to each other's countries. There is an Australian ASIO delegate here, or envoy or resident if you wish, working [both] for the Israeli Embassy and for the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv, and there is a Mossad agent or representative working from the Israeli Embassy... in Australia. And so on and so forth around the globe. So on the one hand there is very good, intimate, strong co-operation between the security services, and they are doing each other favours ocassionally, not only sharing information but also Scratch my back [&] and I'll scratch yours, Do me a favour [&] and I'll do you a favour, and these favours can vary from Can you lend me your agent? or I'm running an agent in country A, can I join you in running that agent? Sometimes it's to provide documentation: We need you to provide us with a cover because we are working a clandestine [operation] in country B and we can't operate in this country, while your... passports [&] travel documents are more welcome [there]. And then we come to that rough [sic: grey] area in which you co-operate... but... don't tell the other organisation all your secrets... And because of that ocassionally the Mossad, which is using other identities [&] nationalities, finds itself in troubling [sic: hot] water, as was the case in Dubai." (The Mossad, 24/3/10)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Putting the Slipper In At the Herald

As the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh continues to reverberate, the penny is ever so slowly starting to drop at the Sydney Morning Herald. Journalist Hamish McDonald ventures a rare criticism - well, sort of - of Israel, its local lobbyists and their dupes in Canberra:

"The coolness didn't last long... [O]ur politicians find it hard to maintain any indignation, let alone anger or rage, against Israel." (True friends must tell the truth, 20/3/10)

Labor MP Julia Irwin, who launched a devastating attack on union leader and fan of Israeli death squads Paul Howes in the House of Representatives on March 15, is virtually the only exception to this depressing truth.

"This week the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, was buttering up Israel and its local lobbyists again, by staging a special press conference and media opportunity at Parliament House to 'receive' a written report and set of recommendations on boosting relations. This was handed over by Albert Dadon, the new mover and shaker in Australia's Jewish community, on behalf of the Australia Israel Leadership Forum, a second-track diplomacy venture started two years ago on the model of businessman Phil Scanlan's longer-running Australia America Leadership Dialogue... The Israeli forum seems already to be well into the uncritical boosterism of which Scanlan's group gets accused in some circles. It has chosen this time to suggest that, along with more trade, agricultural and scientific exchanges and so on, Australia develops military-to-military ties with Israel.* Smith said he was 'very happy' to receive this report, which would get 'serious consideration' from the Prime Minister, adding: 'The friendship between Australia and Israel is longstanding and it is enduring, and that will continue. Despite recent events, which have been the cause of public commentary between Australia and Israel, that friendship will endure'. The, ahem, recent events include the use of forged copies of Australian passports in the recent assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai, and the 'insulting' (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's word) action of Benjamin Netanyahu's government in announcing more Jewish housing in disputed [!!!] East Jerusalem as the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, arrived in Israel and US-brokered 'proximity talks' between Israel and the Palestinians were about to start. Australian Federal Police agents have been to Israel to inquire about the passports, and ASIO has been put on the case too. But no-one is expecting the AFP to find a link to Mossad, unless the Israeli intelligence agency has been very careless indeed. Some longer coolness about East Jerusalem would have been in order. Netanyahu, who included a smarmy letter in Dadon's report, has been trying to weasel his way out of the row with Washington by blaming the timing, but not the substance, on his interior minister and the Jerusalem mayor. Australia's rebuke was mildly worded. 'I share the view that this is a bad decision at the wrong time and it's not a helpful contribution to the peace process', Smith said, adding that Israel was undoing the 'very hard work' of the US and others to get the two sides working towards a 'two-state' solution... Behind its profession of undying support for Israel, the Rudd government has put a bit more detachment into our policy, ending our previous lining up with a bunch of tiny American client states in UN votes on the Middle East... It doesn't seem to be having any impact on Netanyahu and has opened Rudd to opposition sniping that he's selling out Israel to win Arab votes for the UN Security Council seat. Both sides of our politics could do well to adopt the Rudd-Confucian doctrine of the 'zhengyou', the 'true friend' (in Chinese) who can point out shortcomings."

OK, I know this is hardly Meirsheimer/Walt standard but maybe we can at least agree that it's a start.

[*See my 19/3/10 post Crazy Love]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Enabling Israel

"It's a given that the long-suffering wife, who allows her drunken, philandering man back through the door bearing roses and apologies, will suffer again. Because while she might feel she's doing the right thing, she's sending him the wrong message. Namely, that he can do that and be forgiven. We all know to err is human, to forgive divine. But some acts of forgiveness aren't appropriate. They're the ones people who know about these things refer to as 'enabling'." (Forgiving bad behaviour absolves us of responsibility, Jeremy Bass, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/3/10)

"Actually, Joe [Biden] set himself up. From the moment he set foot on Israeli soil, our vice president was in full pander mode. First he headed to Yad Vashem memorial, where he put on a yarmulke and declared Israel 'a central bolt in our existence'. 'For world Jewry', Joe went on, presumably including 5 million Americans, 'Israel is the heart... Israel is the light... Israel is the hope'. Meeting Shimon Peres the next day, Joe confessed that when he first visited at age 29, 'Israel captured my heart'. In Peres' guestbook, he wrote, 'The bond between our two nations has been and remains unshakable'. He then told Peres and the world, 'There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security'. As Peres spoke, Biden took notes. When Peres called him 'a friend', Joe gushed, 'It's good to be home'. Even at AIPAC they must have been gagging.

"Walking around the corner to Prime Minister Netanyahu's office, Joe called him by his nickname, 'Bibi', declared him a 'real' friend, and said the US relationship with Israel 'has been and will continue to be the centrepiece of our policy'. Then the sandbag hit. Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced construction of 1,600 new apartments in Arab East Jerusalem. Stunned and humiliated, Biden issued a statement saying he 'condemned' the decision. He then retaliated by coming late to dinner at Bibi's house.

"Netanyahu has apologized for the timing, but they are going ahead with the apartments. What are the Americans going to do about it? At this point, nothing but bluster. Indeed, a day later, at Tel Aviv University, Joe was back at it: '[T]he US has no better friend... than Israel'. On his departure for Jordan, Haaretz reported that Israel plans to build 50,000 new homes in East Jerusalem over the next few years.

"Biden may feel he was played for a fool, and Americans may feel jilted, but we got what grovelers deserve. And if we wish to understand why the Arabs who once respected us now seem contemptuous of us, consider that battered-spouse response to a public slap across the face. Consider also the most remarkable statement of Biden's first 24 hours. 'Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the United States and Israel'. Biden is saying we are a more effective force for Mideast peace in a region where Arabs outnumber Israelis 50 to one if everyone knows we sing from the same song sheet as Israel and have no policy independent of Israel's. How can America be seen as an honest broker between Arabs and Israelis if there is no 'space' between America and Israel?

"Even with the closest ally in our history, Britain in World War II, there was space between Winston Churchill and FDR on where to invade - North Africa, Italy, France, the Balkans? - whether to beat Stalin to Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, who should be supreme allied commander, even whether the British Empire should survive. Israel keeps its our own interests foremost in mind, and when these dictate actions inimical to US interests, Israel acts unilaterally. David Ben- Gurion did not seek Dwight Eisenhower's permission to attack Egypt in collusion with the French and British in 1956, enraging Ike. Israel did not consult JFK on whether it could steal enriched uranium from the NUMEC plant in Pennsylvania for its atom bomb program. Israel did not consult us on whether it could attack the USS Liberty in the Six-Day War, or suborn Jonathan Pollard to loot our security secrets, or transfer our weapons technology to China. They went ahead and did it, knowing the Americans would swallow hard and take it. Ehud Olmert did not consult President-elect Obama on whether to launch a war on Gaza and kill 1,400 Palestinians. Nor did Netanyahu consult us before Mossad took down the Hamas leader in Dubai.

"What Netanyahu and Yishai are telling Obama with their decision to keep building on occupied land is, when it comes to East Jerusalem and the West Bank, we decide, not you. And if Netanyahu has jolted Joe and others out of their romantic reveries about Israel, good. At least now we no longer see as through a glass darkly. Israeli and US interests often run parallel, but they are not the same. Israel is concerned with a neighbourhood. We are concerned with a world of 300 million Arabs and a billion Muslims. Our policies cannot be the same. If they are, we will end up with all of Israel's enemies, who are legion, and only Israel's friends, who are few. And if our policy and Israel's are one and the same, the Arab perception will be what it is today - that America cannot stand up to Israel, even when her national interests command it. Joe's performance before he got the wet mitten across the face only underscored the point: The mighty superpower is a poodle of Israel." The poodle gets kicked, Patrick Buchanan,, 15/3/10)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crazy Love

As the Psycho State spirals into a madness of its own making, and the dysfunctional nature of its relationship with its two fully sick bitches, the US and Australia, becomes increasingly obvious, its barking-mad attack dogs in the Murdoch press have been, quite literally, baying for blood. First there was Paul Howes telling us how it's in our interest to topple the democratically-elected (he prefers the adjective "vile") Hamas government "by any means necessary."* This was followed by Alan Howe telling us that Gaza's really just a stopover on Ozrael's march on Tehran: "This is the War on Terror. Iran is the terror. Its Gaza agents are the terrorists. We must kill them. And the next on the agenda is Iran's nuclear plant."**

[*See my 7/3/10 post The ACTU's Sarah Palin. **And my 10/3/10 post Ripples Three]

Now we've got Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, whose hots for Psycho only grow steamier with every finger, snarl and backhander directed at its bitches, penning one of his kookiest and kinkiest pieces ever: There's scope, and hope, for closer ties with Israel, The Australian, 18/3/10.

Here's the opener: "The Australia-Israel relationship, normally a byword for geostrategic stability and enduring human warmth, has had some stormy passages lately."

Enduring - human - warmth? You get it, don't you? The more abusive and obnoxious Psycho gets, the tighter the relationship Sheridan wants with him.

To that end, Sheridan, foreign minister Stephen Smith, and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop (among unnamed others), attended the third of Melbourne businessman Albert Dadon's* Australia Israel Leadership Forum soirees on March 17. It's like: Passports? What passports? Apology? What apology? Getting to the bottom of... what was it now? All, it seems, has been forgiven and it's back to Ozraeli business as usual.

[*Now Gillard's boyfriend's boss. See my 13/2/10 post A Job for the Boy ]

Dadon's forum was held to push a wishlist, endorsed, Sheridan informs us, by none other than Psycho's Prime Minister Bibi himself. That's right, after playing fast and loose with her passport (sans apology of course), Psycho's now putting the hard word on its crazy little bitch down under to tart herself up for some serious down and dirty. What's that about chutzpah? Come on, this is looove!

According to Sheridan, Psycho's first wish is for "Australian military staff colleges [to] host Israeli officers." Enthuses Sheridan, "This is a brilliant idea. Our staff colleges routinely host Arab officers* and this is all to the good. We deploy a lot of Australian forces in and around the Middle East and, as a result, we have developed effective working relations with a number of Arab militaries. But we are a strategic and political ally of Israel." Now are you ready for the next sentence? "The absence of Israelis from these courses is a serious gap and has a small but ongoing effect on our military culture." Huh? Que?

OK, Psycho's calling for our military schools to be opened up to strutting Sharon wannabes, but for Sheridan that's simply not enough. No, the relationship's got to be closer than that: "Australia should have an annual or biennial [weekly, daily?] full strategic dialogue with Israel."

What a brilliant idea, Greg! Talk to that, will you, as Phillip Adams would say: "We do have very high level intelligence exchanges but, given the depth of our investment in the Middle East, we should also exchange deep and wide strategic views. We could learn something, and perhaps we could teach something. Our military work in Afghanistan is overwhelmingly among civilian populations, just as is most of Israel's military involvement. Operationally, ethically, in every way we have things to talk about."

Deep and wide? Forsooth, I'm blushing at the very thought!

But he's right of course. Face it, all we're doing in Afghanistan at the moment is dithering around shooting the odd kid (or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5), paying blood money to their parents for the privilege, and trying to look useful to Uncle Sam. Yes, Psycho's got so much to teach us, such as (to borrow the words of Justice Goldstone) how to mount a "deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population." Hey, Goldstone! Mind if we pencil you in for another report down the track on our war crimes?

OK, and wish number 2 is? "[A] free trade agreement."

"This is also," oozes Sheridan, "a brilliant idea." But for Sheridan, isn't every idea of Psycho's brilliant? "Australian trade with Israel is small, just about $1 billion a year. But Israel is a world leader in innovation and commercialisation. We could and should do much more together." OMG, there he goes again - he's sooo forward!

Wish number 3: "Israel's experience with improving Bedouin health and Australia's struggle to do the same with Aboriginal health ought to be the basis for co-operation, comparison and mutual teaching."

Hm, this should go down a treat. Maybe something like this: "The first manifestations of the new transfer policy [ie moving Israel's Bedouin off their traditional lands in the Negev and into 7 reservations to make way for Jewish settlers] have already taken place. On February 5, government inspectors razed Tal al Milah Mosque in the Negev, after most residents had left for work, and before Bedouin representatives could appeal the demolition order. The Supreme Court ruled this demolition 'illegal' on March 4. On April 2, for the second time in a month, the Israeli government sent a fleet of crop-dusting planes from the Green Patrol, a paramilitary environmental unit, to spray toxic chemicals over Bedouin fields. Following the February dusting incident of houses and people in the village of Abda, residents rushed their children to the nearest medical centre, nearly 100 km away, in Mitzpeh Ramon. The doctors on duty refused to see any of the exposed individuals and agreed to examine them only after 2 hours of pressure from the community." (Israeli campaign against the Bedouins in the Negev,, 22/4/03)

Wish number 4 really has me scratching my head: "[A]uditing and giving life to the plethora of bilateral agreements that have become moribund through the years." The whaaat?

And how did all this go down with Smith?: "Smith reiterated at [the report's] launch that despite recent controversies [Controversies? What controversies?] there has been no change in Australia's deep friendship with and commitment to Israel. Smith did the right thing by accepting the report, committing the government to considering it seriously and reiterating Australia's support for Israel."

Finally, Sheridan's had a few things he wanted to get off his incredibly hairy chest: 1) Smith's comments on "1600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem" were "needlessly energetic" and an "overreaction." If you've ever heard the near comatose Smith on tele you'll get a laugh out of that one; 2) "No one seriously doubts that [Australia's slightly altered, now-you-see-it, now-you-don't, voting pattern at the UN] is an attempt, almost certainly forlorn, to curry favour with the Arab League in our quixotic and pointless quest for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat"; 3) The Obama administration "grossly overreacted" to the 1600 Israeli apartment announcement, and "dumped on the Israelis" because Obama wants to "redefine the US relationship with the Muslim world."

Oh, and that uppity US bitch "is developing a very bad tendency to constantly flatter its enemies in the fantastical hope of engaging and converting them, while abusing its friends, to show its even-handedness."

Now we shouldn't be "going down that same road," warns Sheridan. No, Australia should not only stand by her man, but (in the words of Joe Biden) leave "no space" whatever between herself and Psycho.

Oooh... sends shivers up and down me spine just thinking about it. Geostrategic stability and enduring human warmth indeed!

But none of the above should really surprise you. Please read my 29/4/09 post Join the Dots.

[*According to a paper by Rick Rozoff, Australian Military Buildup & the Asian NATO,( Australia hosts Pakistani officers. Of Arabs I can find no mention. Rozoff also tells us that Murdoch wants NATO to admit both Israel and Australia as full members.]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who's Afraid of the 'O' Word?

Even if a reader knows virtually nothing about East Jerusalem and its travails, to know that it is occupied (whether by Israelis, Hottentots or Martians) is the very least he/she needs to know to grasp the settler-colonial dynamic of the struggle going on there. To chart the presence or absence of this essential contextualiser in the Fairfax (Sydney Morning Herald) and Murdoch (The Australian) press, I thought it might be useful to compare excerpts from recent reports on the subject:

"... 1600 apartments would be added to Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem." (End of the line: Abbas set to pull out of talks, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 12/3/10)

Note also that the SMH correctly identifies the apartments as part of a settlement project.

"... a huge new housing development in the Arab area of East Jerusalem." (Israel 'wrecks' Mid-East peace talks, John Lyons, The Australian, 12/3/10)

In The Australian it's just a harmless housing development.

"... Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem... " (Israeli PM moves to placate furious US, Abraham Rabinovich, The Australian, 15/3/10)

"... a new development of 1600 apartments in East Jerusalem." (Furious US turns up heat on Israel, The Australian, 16/3/10)

"... its building of Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem..." (Netanyahu defiant over new settlements, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 17/3/10)

"... plans to build in disputed East Jerusalem... " (Israel defies the US over East Jerusalem buildings, John Lyons, The Australian, 17/3/10)

Note the use of the weasel word disputed to suggest a legitimate struggle over the same land by two equal parties.

"... 1600 housing units in municipal Jerusalem... " (The settlements are not the problem, Brett Stephens, The Australian, 17/3/10)

"... 1600 new settler homes would be built in annexed East Jerusalem." (Clinton seeks Natanyahu truce, Simon Mann, SMH, 18/3/10)

"... 1600 new Jewish homes in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem... " (Clinton backs Israel as mobs riot, John Lyons, The Australian, 18/3/10)

Arab-dominated. So the Arabs (not Palestinians) are the problem?

"... 1600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem... " (There's scope, and hope, for closer ties with Israel, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 18/3/10)

And the hands-down winner is... the Sydney Morning Herald.

Portrait of a Labor Zionist

Bill Shorten is the federal Labor MP for the seat of Maribyrnong and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities & Children's Services. Before that he was the National Secretary of the right-wing Australian Workers Union, a position now filled by his protege Paul Howes, whose zeal for Israel has moved him to lead an anti-BDS push in the Australian trade union movement called TULIP (see my 29/9/09 post ACTU: Missing in Action on Palestine) and applaud the work of Israeli death squads (see my 7/3/10 post The ACTU's Sarah Palin). A charming young fellow!

Shorten was a mate of the late Zionist cardboard tycoon and convicted price-fixer Dick Pratt, who donated part of his ill-gotten gains to both major parties, as well as to Israeli 'charities'. Needless to say Shorten has made the ritual pilgrimage to Israel - as an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam Fellow in 2005. (See Briefing from Rambam Fellows,, 18/4/05)

Lately, Shorten has overseen the introduction (from May 1 next year) of minimum access requirements for new or renovated public buildings to cater for people with disabilities, declaring that "the laws would help end years of 'practical apartheid' that excluded people with disabilities. 'If you couldn't enter a building because of your skin colour or gender, there'd be a human outcry', he said." (Disabled 'apartheid' to end, Yuko Narashima, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/3/10)

So Shorten is anti-apartheid, but not anti-apartheid Israel. He's got the job of looking after Australians with disabilities, yet supports the state which wounds and maims Palestinians on a routine basis, making them the world's most disabled people on a per capita basis. (See Palestinian statistics: Palestine's disabled the highest in the world,*, 4/12/09)

[*The Arabic website of ash-Sharq al-Awsat (The Middle East). The subheading reads, in my translation, "[Disabled Palestinians] number approximately 150,000. And Israel's last war on Gaza has added another 500."]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Now Where Have I Seen That Before?

Sometimes you need a microscope and a pair of tweezers to tell the difference between Fairfax and Murdoch fishwrapper:

Vic Alhadeff is chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.
Robert Goot is president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
Alhadeff's propaganda piece (First step is accepting Israel's right to exist) appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 15/3/10
Goot's propaganda piece (Two-state solution fading away) appeared in The Australian, 16/3/10
Alhadeff said, Blah, blah and blah.
Quite coincidentally, Goot said the same!

Alhadeff: "One has only to glance at the historic offer which the former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert put to Abbas in 2008."
Goot: "The last serious negotiations occurred in... 2008. Israel's then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, presented the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, with a map proposing permanent borders between Israel and a new state of Palestine."

Alhadeff: "According to the proposal, Israel would annex 6.3% of the West Bank - areas that are home to 75% of the Jewish population of the territories."
Goot: "Under the proposal, Israel would annex 6.3% of the West Bank, areas that are home to 75% of the Jewish population of the territories."

Alhadeff: "Thousands of settlers and dozens of settlements would be evacuated."
Goot: "His proposal would have involved removal of dozens of settlements... and the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israeli settlers."

Alhadeff: "In return for the 6.3%, Israel would transfer to the Palestinians an equivalent bloc - 327 square kilometres of mostly agricultural land, as well as a safe-passage corridor connecting the West Bank to Gaza."
Goot: "In return for the annexation to Israel of Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Beit Aryeh and settlements adjacent to Jerusalem, Olmert proposed transferring to the Palestinians an equivalent area from within pre-1967 Israel, about 327 sq km of mostly agricultural land, as well as a safe-passage highway from Hebron to the Gaza Strip."

Alhadeff: "Jerusalem would be shared so it would be the capital of Israel and Palestine;"
Goot: "Olmert offered to share Jerusalem so that it would be the capital of both Israel and Palestine."

Alhadeff: "... and the sites in Jerusalem which are holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews would be administered by the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine."
Goot: "Jerusalem's holy sites would be administered by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and the US."

Alhadeff: "The negotiations never reached that point."
Goot: "But the negotiations came to a dead halt."

Alhadeff: "Abbas - like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, when offered a similar deal by the then US president Bill Clinton - did not even propose a counter-offer."
Goot: "Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, who was presented with a similar deal by US president Bill Clinton at Taba in... 2001, refused even to respond to the proposal. No counter-offer. No discussion."

That's enough! Both of you to the headmaster now! This school will not tolerate the pernicious practice of copying someone else's homework, you hear? You're both getting O!

Deja Vu at The Australian

"Sometimes a religious figure, such as a mufti, gives a sermon about human nature, rape and the general sexual madness, a bit like what parents say to their children in private: 'Look after yourself, take responsibility, there are some dark forces and crazy people out there who will destroy you if you are not careful'. But the mufti uses ripe, rustic language, earthy metaphors and unpleasant ideas. He is set up and set upon by a national newspaper and told to shut up and resign. The Prime Minister chimes in. The mufti is denounced. But while we may not agree with everything he says, we sort of understand something of what he is trying to get at. In the great tradition that Australians are meant to admire, he's at least having a go, in difficult terrain where all sorts of silver-tongue-tied experts are refusing to travel and are remaining silent." (The Lot, Michael Leunig, 2008, pp 73-74)

The Australian, 27/10/06: "[I]t would be hard to find a better example of ideas that go against the grain of Australia's shared values than those expressed in a Ramadan sermon by Australia's supreme Muslim cleric, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, and reported by Richard Kerbaj in yesterday's The Australian. For in likening immodestly dressed women to 'uncovered meat' that can be dragged away and eaten by cats, the nation's Mufti appalled both Muslim and non-Muslim Australians alike." (Editorial: Time to muzzle the outrageous Mufti)

The Australian, 15/3/10: "As The Weekend Australian reported, a generation of libertarians who argued against censorship and in favour of an open sexual culture is now worried about the corporate sexualisation of children and the mainstreaming of pornography. Not surprisingly, the revolt against a world in which little girls are encouraged to dress like tarts, prostitution is glamorised, and narrow physical ideals dominate teenage culture, is being led by parents, anxious that the internet and other technologies have changed the cultural landscape. This disquiet should not be dismissed as puritanism..." (Editorial: The revolt against raunch)

Passports: Finally, Some Action

Nineteen days ago, Australia's genetically-modified Prime Minister Kevin ('Support for Israel is in my DNA') Rudd, miffed by Mossad's use of Australian passports in their dirty deed in Dubai, vowed not to "be silent" and to "get to the bottom" of the matter. He also talked about Israel "treating Australia with contempt" and promised "action" in response. (Aussies caught in Israeli spy hit, The Australian, 26/2/10)

Twelve days ago, despite the usual Israeli finger*, Rudd said, "[t]here is a way to go yet with our friends in Israel to resolving these matters to the satisfaction of the Australian Government... We continue to be in contact with them. We'll continue to work with our friends in Israel through multiple agencies and at the political level as well... I'm a lifelong supporter, defender and friend of the state of Israel. However, when it comes to this particular matter, I have a responsibility as Australian Prime Minister to get to the bottom of it and to establish that Australia's interests are being properly safeguarded in the future and I will do that." (Rudd unhappy with Israeli silence on passports, Phillip Coorey/Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/3/10)

[*"... a restrained Kevin Rudd said no more information had been forthcoming since Australia first protested last week."]

Nine days ago, Treasurer Wayne Swan, at a United Israel Appeal (UIA) Victoria gala(h) dinner, said, "Our countries and our people share so much, our love of democracy, our preference for peace, our opposition to extremism, and our responsibility to each other as citizens of the world... When it's all said and done, friends always end up on the same side when it really counts - and nothing counts more than the big contest between democracy on the one hand and intolerance on the other, especially between tolerance and anti-Semitism... That's why Australia and Israel will always be great friends - even if questions do arise between us from time to time as they have in recent weeks. What matters is that two great friends can get through such times, with lessons learnt." (Swan: Australia-Israel friendship will survive the passport affair, The Australian Jewish News, 12/3/10)

Well, seems the Israeli finger is still there on prominent display and we're still waiting to get to the bottom of the matter. However, all is not lost. I'm pleased to say the Rudd government has at last come up with some of the action he promised 19 days ago: "Australia has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with an Israeli defence company to develop a next-generation command and communications system for the Australian Defence Force. Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet said Haifa-based Elbit Systems Limited won the $349 million contract after a worldwide open tender. Elbit will develop a command, control and communications capability for elements of the army, Special Operations Command and the Air Force's combat support group." (Israel defence deal, The Age, 16/3/10)

Never let it be said that Rudd doesn't follow through on his promises.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Herald: Pressure Israel!

Despite its rambammed journalists (Sheehan, Hartcher, Levett etc), its general cluelessness on the issue at hand, and its lilly-livered approach to Psycho Israel and its Wiping Palestine Off the Map project, the Sydney Morning Herald has been growing increasingly irritated with Psycho's behaviour. Hence yesterday's editorial, Goodwill goes missing. Some excerpts:

"Stephen Smith, the foreign Minister, is right to be outraged by Israel's announcement last week of 1600 houses for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Venturing beyond Australia's usual safe diplomatic language on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Smith called it 'a bad decision at the wrong time' and 'not a helpful contribution to the peace process'... Smith was still smarting from unresolved tensions with Israel over the use of forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai... Even more than that episode, the tactless announcement over East Jerusalem highlights Israel's apparent disregard for the role of goodwill in relations with even its closest friends. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their future capital, should a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict ever come to pass. Yet the housing plan is just one more event in a process by which the Israeli government has been busily remaking East Jerusalem in Israel's own image, often disregarding Arab heritage..."

At which point I'm compelled to ask the question: Why is it that the SMH editorialist never seems to grasp the simple fact that everything - EVERYTHING - that has happened in Palestine since 1948 has been part of a process by which successive Israeli governments have been busily remaking Palestine in Israel's image, relentlessly wiping out Palestine and Palestinians?

After further blah on Biden and Bibi, the editorialist concludes with the Herald's version of tough talk (or, to paraphrase Hartcher, flogging Israel with a warm lettuce leaf): "Since late 2008, Australia has supported a freeze on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. We must now follow this through and bring what pressure we can on Israel to grasp the goodwill so vital to the peace process."

We, I assume, means the Australian government. This, of course, is the height of hypocrisy. If the Herald is sincere in bringing what pressure we can on Israel, it needs to lead by example. It can begin by implementing the relevant provision of The Fairfax Code of Conduct and cracking down on the practice of press junkets to Israel by its journalists (See my last post), and leaving the publication of Zionist lobby propaganda pieces, such as that by Vic Alhadeff* in the very SAME issue, to the Murdoch press or The Australian Jewish News.

[*First step is accepting Israel's right to exist]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pawns in a Propaganda Game

After your meeja hack has been Rambammed, he/she usually reports back to an audience convened by the lobby organisation responsible for sponsoring him/her. Those who participated in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Journalists Mission late last year (and whose names appear on my continuously updated 30/3/09 list of the rambammed, I've Been to Israel Too) were no exception.

The following gleanings of their rambamming experience, recorded at the JBD plenum of 16 February, come courtesy of Reporters on a mission, The Australian Jewish News of 19/2/10:

"Senior Sydney Morning Herald political correspondent Peter Hartcher said he was unfazed by the reader backlash* over his... sponsored tour of Israel, maintaining that the recent trip highlighted for him the country's growing fears of the 'apartheid tag'. After meeting with leading Israelis on the mission last November, the politics and international editor said he gained a better sense of the perceived threat to tag Israel as a new 'apartheid state' by its rivals. 'It was an interesting and alarming re-conceptualisation for me'... "

Leading Israelis, tears staining cheeks: This apartheid tag - it's just sooo unfair! We're sooo hurt by this, this... hatespeech. Anyone'd think we were giving the Palestinians a hard time or something.

Peter Hartcher, pulling crumpled tissues from pocket and handing them to distraught Leading Israelis: Strewth! And here's us thinking you guys didn't give a damn what the rest of the world thought.

"He added that he hadn't expected such a hostile response from readers when he reported his findings in a newspaper column shortly after, in which he signed off acknowledging that he had travelled to the region as a guest of the JBD. Calling it a 'frenzy', Hartcher received 156, mostly irate, online comments from readers. The readers lambasted him for taking a trip sponsored by the 'Zionist lobby' and accused him of having a 'hidden agenda'. 'Publicly entering into a debate on the Israel/Palestine question is entering the lion's den. I knew that my only protection was standard journalistic practices, credibility and being open about what you're doing. Asked if the response rattled him, the veteran journalist joked: 'It was like being flogged with a warm lettuce leaf'."

Standard journalistic practice? What? Junkets to Israel? Seems Hartcher's unaware of The Fairfax Code of Conduct: "We will not accept gifts or inducements which could impair our judgement or be perceived to be a conflict of interest, bribe or inappropriate gift." Not to mention The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Code of Ethics: "4. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence."

"Overall, he continued, the trip provided him with the chance to also meet Palestinian representatives and get an 'interesting view' from the other side, which spoke to the 'confidence and strength of the story that Israel and the organisers of our visit had to tell'. He did, however, criticise briefings from the not-for-profit group The Israel Project, which he accused of 'stretching the facts' and hurting Israel's cause. 'It left the unfortunate sense that we were being seen as pawns in a propaganda game', he said."

So the Palestinian "side" was singing from the same songsheet as your Leading Israelis and the JBD? What a coincidence!

"Hartcher's colleague, foreign editor Connie Levett, who also participated in the mission, spoke favourably of the trip, but acknowledged that she would have liked to have heard a few more dissenting voices. 'Maybe we could have met a few non-governmental organisations that weren't necessarily on the conservative side. There is opportunity to reshape the program* a little', she said."

Hello, Ms Foreign Editor? You mean it still hasn't dawned on you that the sole aim of your 'Journalists Mission' to Israel is to sell you the Party Line? Should the news be entrusted to anyone this dumb? Do you even read your own newspaper? If you had, you might have read this invaluable advice from a dissenting Israeli voice:

"'We shouldn't believe anything that is said. We should just monitor what happens on the ground', said Dror Etkes, an expert on settlement construction who works for the Israeli pressure group Peace Now. There is no connection between what is said by the Government and what happens on the ground'." (Israel ploughs on with huge settlement construction, Ed O'Loughlin, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/8/04) BTW, look at that 2004 heading. Some things never change.

[* And speaking of hearing dissenting voices and reshaping the program, Ms Foreign Editor, you'll be pleased to know that those lovely Leading Israelis you met have already thought of that: "Any non-governmental organisation (NGO) that receives funding from a 'foreign political entity' would have to register with the Political Party Registrar and declare in all public appearances that they represent an organisation that receives funding from such an entity, according to a [bipartisan] Bill that received government backing from the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday... The Bill defines 'political activity' as 'activity aimed at influencing public opinion in Israel or one of the branches of government in Israel regarding any element of Israel's domestic or foreign policy'. The legislation is part of a campaign against Israeli human rights not-for-profit organisations that receive funding from foreign states and the EU for their activities... According to the Bill, no organisation in Israel would be allowed to receive money from a foreign political entity unless it registers with the Political Party Registrar... All the senior members of the NGO who meet the criteria of the Bill and do not register would be liable to one year in jail." (Bill targets NGO funding,, 19/2/10)]

"Channel 7 senior producer Michelle Ainsworth admitted her earlier impressions of Israel were mostly shaped by the media and said the trip awakened her to the complexities of the conflict. 'I also learnt that there are a lot more stories than peace and conflict', she said, citing Israel's advancements with solar technology. 'It's something Australia would do well to copy'."

[*For a taste of this beautiful thing see my 18/11/09 post No Hidden Agenda.]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We All Are Hezbollah

"There is a bizarre anomaly there. Lebanon is a member state of the UN. It happens to have a militia... And it happens to be that this militia doesn't just develop a new long bow or more effective arrows, but it happens to have 45,000 rockets and missiles that happen to cover all Israel and they are part of a deployment that tells that they will activate it, and we have seen that they already did it in the past. This militia happens to have a weapons system that some - many - sovereigns do not have. We cannot accept it. We cannot accept these artificial differentiations between the terrorists of Hizballah and the state of Lebanon and their sponsors. And we keep saying, we do not need any conflict there; we will not lead it toward one. But if attacked, we will not run [after] or chase any individual Hizballah terrorist... but we will take both the Lebanese government and other sources of sponsorship, but mainly the Lebanese government and the Lebanese infrastructure, as part of the equation facing us." (Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister speaking at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 26/2/10)

Lebanon (2006)
by David Rovics

Two soldiers had been captured/ They'd crossed to the other side
Two soldiers taken prisoner/ Several others died
This is how it started/ So said the Jewish state
Forget about '96, '82/ '67, '48

Two soldiers taken hostage/ And by the Sea of Galilee
We must defend our borders/ Wherever they may be
We must defend our soldiers/ Wherever they're deployed
Two of them are captured/ One country is destroyed

Somewhere in Tel Aviv/ Generals drawing battle lines
For the town where Jesus/ Turned water into wine
On the ten-year anniversary/ Of a massacre of children
They thought it was a good idea/ To massacre some children

Anyone in the south/ I heard Ehud Olmert say
Everyone's a target/ And may be killed today
And if your home has turned to rubble/ It may be pulverized some more
'Cause to soldiers have been captured/ And we gotta settle up the score

A hundred thousand homes/ Levelled to the ground
Every olive branch on offer/ Burned where it was found
Every chance at dialogue/ Rejected right on cue
If you're gonna burn your bridges/ You might as well bomb them too

They even bombed the prison/ Where they used to torture fighters
Where they had the dogs and leashes/ Cigarettes and lighters
Where they were kept shackled/ Not allowed to stand
Where they torched the forests/ Turned them into sand

Who's the terrorist now?/ And the entire world watches

A few thousand demonstrate/ Governments take action
All too little or too late/ All the telephones are ringing
In case you couldn't read the signs/ This is the IDF
And you're in the firing line

Condoleeza came to visit/ For about an hour
She thought it was a party/ Some kind of baby shower
She said these were the birth pangs/ Of a brand new morn
But in the hospitals today/ All the babies were stillborn

The stars and stripes among the ruins/ Say where they were made
In case anybody wonders/ About all that military aid
In case anybody wonders/ Among the mines around the farms
Or why so many toddlers/ Are missing legs and arms

Or why so many of them ask/ Exactly what was meant
By wiping out their homes/ And then sending them a tent
Or why if you ask them/ Who is Nasrallah?
They'll tell you he's our leader/ And we all are Hezbollah

"Here I am telling the Israelis today: If you hit Dahiyeh, we will hit Tel Aviv. If you strike martyr Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, we'll strike your Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. If you hit our ports, we will hit your ports. If you attack our refineries, we'll attack your refineries. If you bomb our factories, we will bomb your factories. If you strike our power stations, we will strike your power stations. Today on the anniversary of Sayyid Abbass, Sheikh Raghib and Hajj Imad, I announce and accept this challenge. We in Lebanon, as people, army and resistance, are capable forcefully of protecting our country and we do not need anyone in this world to do this for us. This is how we face threats - with counter threats and not with retreat, fear and hiding away. We rather face them with steadfastness, readiness and threats as well. Here I say again we do not want war. We have never sought war. We are a resistance which used to fight to liberate the land and captives. We never wanted to go to war but we are concerned with defending our country, standing firm in our land and preserving the dignity of our people and nation." (Sayyid Nasrallah's Speech on Martyr Leaders' Day, 21/2/10)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who's Afraid of Hezbollah?

What exactly is Australia's official position on Lebanon's Islamic resistance movement, Hezbollah? My corporate media-derived understanding was that its military wing was proscribed in Australia. A glance at the government's new Counter Terrorism White Paper 2010: Securing Australia/ Protecting Our Community suggests that this is not the case:

"2.1.4 Other forms of terrorism: Jihadist terrorism is the predominant focus of Australia's counter-terrorism efforts due to its spread, impact and explicit targeting of Australians. But terrorism motivated by other beliefs has affected Australia in the past and will affect us in the future. Australia is currently home to a small number of people who support other causes that involve active terrorist campaigns overseas. The terrorist movements they support do not necessarily see Australia or Australians as a target for their violence but some might see that Australia could be used as a suitable or convenient location for an attack on their enemies. This includes groups with a long history of engaging in terrorist acts and a current capability to commit them, such as Lebanese Hizballah's External Security Organisation. Future geo-political events could mean other terrorist movements with a presence or support base in Australia could become willing to engage in operational activity here. And in the future new terrorist threats could manifest themselves in Australia, either as a by-product of events overseas or as a result of a political grievance within Australia. There will always be the disaffected and disempowered, often but not always at the fringes of communities or the followers of radical ideologies, who mistakenly see advantages in the use of terrorist tactics." (p 14)

The white paper's focus appears to be solely on the ESO, not Hezbollah (political or military) itself.

Again, turning to the relevant government website,, the only heading I can find is: Hezbollah External Security Organization.

Even a cursory reading of the text reveals that a clear distinction has been made between Hezbollah on the one hand and the ESO on the other: "After senior member Imad Mughniyah fled to Iran after the 1983 attack on the US military in Beirut, the 'international wing' grew out of the military wing to become a separate branch. This is thought to be the genesis of Hizballah's 'international wing', or 'External Security Organisation' (ESO)'. ESO constitutes a distinct terrorist wing within Hizballah's structure. Since entering the Lebanese Parliament in 1992... Hizballah has sought to strengthen its public image as a respected resistance movement and lessen its reputation as a terrorist group. This has encouraged the terrorist network to operate independently of the parent organisation..."

Can we safely conclude then that the Australian government's beef is exclusively with the ESO, and not Hezbollah (or its military wing) as such?

That is not to say, of course, that everything said about the ESO on the the website can be taken at face value. The ESO's "terrorist activities" are listed as 1) "The attack on the US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983"; 2) "further violent attacks in Lebanon and around the world in the 1980s"; 3) "the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires are the most well known of the attacks conducted outside Lebanon."

Objective scholarship is much more nuanced (and contextualised):

1) The US Marine barracks bombing of 1983:

Hezbollah: A Short History, Augustus Richard Norton, 2007: "There is little question that the attacks were carried out by Lebanese Shi'i militants, under Iranian direction. A blue-ribbon investigating commission established by the American government and headed by retired admiral Robert L J Long... found Iran largely responsible." (p 71) "Robert Baer, a former CIA agent with extensive experience in Lebanon... has argued that Hezbollah was not involved: 'It's not that Hezbollah is doing the terrorism out of Lebanon. They didn't do the US Embassy in 1983 or the Marines. It was the Iranians. It's a political issue [in the US] because the Israelis want the Americans to go after Hezbollah'." (p 78)

In the Path of Hizbullah, Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, 2004: "A number of martyrdom operations were carried out against Western targets by underground groups linked to Hizbullah, if not directly controlled by the party. The first such action was Islamic Jihad's bombing of the US Embassy in Ras-Beirut in April 1983... Six months later, in October 1983, 2 suicide commandos... attacked simultaneously the compounds of the US Marines and French troops... The 2 attacks were claimed by the Islamic Jihad, which issued a communique proclaiming 'death to Israel, death to America and the West'." (p 83)

Hezbollah: Born With a Vengeance, Hala Jaber, 1997: "An unknown organisation named Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks... While Hezbollah has consistently denied responsibility, it has nevertheless exalted the deeds and the perpetrators. In its manifesto, Hezbollah calls the attack on the American embassy 'the first punishment' and it lists the Multi National Force bombings as further punishments. At the time, Hezbollah was not yet properly formed. It did not have the fully fledged structure or the leaders and officials which it now possesses and was therefore not in a position to plan and execute such operations alone. There were powerful figures operating behind the scenes. Iran was outraged by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and had resolved to help the Lebanese Muslims. Nor were the Iranians happy about the support which America had given to Israel's actions." (p 80)

Nor should the context of these attacks be ignored: "While the multinational forces supported the [Lebanese] administration [of Amin Gemayel], the US did not make itself any more popular by sponsoring the Lebanese-Israeli peace agreement in May 1983, which sought to turn Israel's military gains in Lebanon into political profit. The US hoped to bring about the withdrawal of Syrian and Israeli troops from Lebanon as part of a comprehensive peace initiative, but neither the Syrians nor the Lebanese wished to see Israel rewarded for its invasion. America's attempts to remedy the Lebanese crisis as a neutral mediator collapsed that autumn, when fierce fighting broke out in the Chouf, a Druze fiefdom. Israel had occupied the Chouf and installed Christian militias in the region. In September, Israel abruptly withdrew from the area and full-scale battles erupted between the Druze and the Christians. The US Marines intervened and began shelling Druze targets. Reagan justified the move by claiming that the Soviets were arming the Syrians and the Muslims in an attempt to destroy US interests in the Middle East. More fuel was thrown upon the flames when the Lebanese army's Commander Brigadier Ibrahim Tannous claimed that his units were being attacked by Iranians and Palestinians and warned that the government was in danger of collapsing. Robert McFarlane, Reagan's Middle East envoy, believed that the future of American policy in Lebanon depended on the survival of Amin Gemayel's administration and responded swiftly to Tannous's alarm: the US Defense Department launched a huge operation to bring supplies to the Lebanese army. On 19 September, US warships fired 300 shells against Druze and Syrian targets to save the Lebanese army and President Gemayel. It was the last straw: the multinational forces had entered the civil war and violated their status as peace-keepers. The US Marines and the French paratroopers were bombed the following month. 'The image of the US multinational force, in the eyes of the factional militias, had become pro-Israeli, pro-Phalange and anti-Muslim', declared the Long Commission's investigation into the bombings." (Jaber, pp 78-79)

2) 80s attacks:

Norton: "[T]here is no question that Hezbollah has engaged in acts that do, indeed, constitute terrorism in its more precise and generally understood sense. One such clear instance was the 1985 skyjacking, by 2 Hezbollah operatives, of TWA flight 847, en route from Athens to Rome. Robert Stethem, a US sailor on leave and traveling on the flight, was mercilessly beaten and shot in the head. The hijackers, Imad Mughniyah and Hasan Izz al-Din... disgracefully dumped his body on the tarmac of Beirut airport... It is generally easier to trace much of the terrorism of the 1980s... to Iran than Hezbollah." (p 77)

Hamzeh: "As for the hijacking of a TWA plane in 1985 and Kuwaiti planes in 1984 and 1988, Hizbullah was deeply implicated in these operations. According to some analysts, Hizbullah's intention in the American TWA hijacking was to secure the freedom of 766 Lebanese prisoners held in Israel, some of whom had participated in resistance operations. The hijacking of the Kuwaiti planes was aimed at winning freedom for Lebanese Shi'ites held by Kuwait for the bombings there. The hijackers killed passengers to demonstrate their power and resolve. Hizbullah's leaders have continued to deny their involvement in the kidnappings and hijackings. In the words of Sayyid Nasrallah: 'The truth of the matter is that there was something other than Hizbullah, called the Islamic Jihad, who kidnapped the hostages. There exist videocassettes, communiques that bear the signature of the Islamic Jihad. It is independent from the party. It is absolutely incorrect that the Islamic Jihad is a cover name for Hizbullah'." (pp 85-86)

3) 92/94 Argentine bombings:

Norton: "Following Israel's 1992 assassination of Hezbollah Secretary-General 'Abbas Musawi, 2 terrorist attacks occurred in Argentina that many knowledgeable observers believe were the joint work of Iran and Hezbollah's external security organization, which apparently operates autonomously from the party and is widely believed to be closely linked to Iranian intelligence. The first attack within months of Mussawi's murder, was the detonation of a large bomb under the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires... the Argentinian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh... a man believed to have regularly collaborated with Iran in acts of terrorism. The second attack, in 1994, was the result of a bomb-laden van driven into the Buenos Aries-based Israeli association... The suicide bomber was allegedly Hezbollah member Ibrahim Hussein Berro, but Hezbollah claims that he died later in southern Lebanon in a resistance operation. The former Iranian ambassador to Argentina Hade Soleimanpour was later briefly arrested in Britain but was released for lack of evidence. Then, in November 2006, warrants were issued for the arrest of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and 8 other former Iranian officials..." (pp 78-79)

Hezbollah is further alleged at to have "established an insurgent capacity in Iraq, engaging in assassinations, kidnappings and bombings. The Hizballah units have been set up with the encouragement and resources of Iran's Revolutionary Guards al Qods [sic] Brigades. Hizballah has also established a special training cell known as Unit 3800... specifically to train Shia fighters prior to action in Iraq. Available reporting does not specifically identify these terrorist units as ESO enities. However, as ESO's primary role is international terrorism, it is likely to be heavily involved in the activities of Unit 3800 and the attacks against the Iraqi Government and Coalition forces."

I have no idea what such assertions are based on, but I'd be surprised if it were anything more substantial than the following anonymous and contradictory testimony recorded in The New York Times: "A senior American intelligence official said... that the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had been training members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr. The official said that 1,000 to 2,000 fighters from the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. A small number of Hezbollah operatives have also visited Iraq to help with training, the official said... The intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity... The claim about Hezbollah's role in training Shiite militias could strengthen the hand of those in the Bush administration who oppose a major new diplomatic involvement with Iran. The new American account is consistent with a claim made in Iraq... by a mid-level Mahdi commander, who said his militia had sent 300 fighters to Lebanon, ostensibly to fight alongside Hezbollah. 'They are the best-trained fighters in the Mahdi Army', he said, speaking on condition of anonymity." (Hezbollah said to help Shiite army in Iraq, Gordon/Filkins, 28/11/06)

Then there's this in Israel's Haaretz: "A senior Western diplomat... said his government has information suggesting a growing Hezbollah interest in events in Iraq. However, the diplomat would say no more and insisted on anonymity because the subject is so sensitive. Hezbollah's possible role in direct attacks against US-led forces is murkier and more explosive. The 2 Iraqi lawmakers said Hezbollah operatives planned and supervised... the Karbala attack [in which] English-speaking* militants wearing American uniforms and carrying American weapons stormed the compound, killing one US soldier and abducting 4. The 4 were later found dead. A senior Mahdi Army commander in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said Hezbollah's operations in Iraq had been supervised by Imad Mughniyeh, a top commander of the guerilla group killed in a car bomb in Syria last February. The shadowy figure was suspected of a role in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina." (Hezbollah trains Shi'ite militias in Iraq on Iran's behalf, The Associated Press, 2/7/08) [*Surely a dead give away. Hezbies always prefer English to Arabic, don't you know.]

Oh, and Hezbollah (and Hamas!) have even been spotted in the thick of things in Iran ! See my 23/6/09 post Hezbikies Ho!

Curiously, although the website describes the ESO as "clandestine", not "hav[ing] a high profile," not "claim[ing] responsibility for terrorist attacks," "secretive," and "difficult to gather information on," "it is assessed ESO is still directly preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts."

What then is this ESO and what of the allegation that it has "a long history of engaging in terrorist acts?" Writes Hamzeh, associate professor of political science at the American University of Beirut: "The primary function of [the ES (Amn al-Muddad)] is to counter intelligence attempts by the party's internal and external enemies who aim at penetrating the party's structure. Whether Hizbullah's ES section has active cells in Cyprus, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, England, the United States, or Canada has remained a matter of speculation by many reporters. Furthermore, it is not certain that Hizbullah's ES section is an extension of Iran's intelligence, the Sava'ma." (p 73) Hamzeh makes no reference to the ESO's alleged "long history of terrorist attacks," although he does quote current Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah to the effect that "There was an organization other than Hizbullah called al-Jihad al-Islami. It was made up of honest mujahiddun individuals. They executed the operations against the US Marines and the French, and kidnapped the Western hostages... Whether it is still in existence or not, to know we have to search." (p 74)

Finally, on the subject of Hezbollah and the 'T' word, Hezbollah researcher Franklin Lamb has written a valuable paper (which should be read in its entirety) on the politics of the US listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The standout quote reads: "The process of putting an organization on the 'Terrorism list' is as follows: The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (S/CT) in the US State Department monitors the activities of groups active around the world considered potentially terrorist to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, S/CT looks not only at the actual terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, but also at 'whether the group may be inclined toward future acts of terrorism or retains the ability to carry out such acts'. As of April 2007, a plurality (39%) of the organizations on the US Terrorism list represents Muslim groups recommended for inclusion by, among others, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their friends in Congress. According to former AIPAC Director of Congressional Relations, Steven Rosen... 'AIPAC owns the 'T' list!' " (Why is Hezbollah on the terrorism list?: And who isn't but should be,, 6/4/07)

I wonder who owns the list here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ripples Three

The ripples continue to spread from Mossad's assassination of Hamas freedom fighter Mahmoud al-Mabhouh:

1) Propaganda postponed:

"Plans for a special screening of an Israeli-made film to MPs at Parliament House in Canberra have been put on hold amid fallout over the forged passport affair. The Israeli film, Noodle, was to be screened later this month at an event organised by the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Group and the Israeli embassy. Films are not regularly featured in Parliament, but politicians and media have been invited to the screening billed as a chance 'to celebrate Israeli culture'. But Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem and the chairman of the parliamentary group, West Australian senator Glenn Sterle, decided the furore surrounding the use of forged Australian passports... made the timing unsuitable... This screening has been postponed until June... The film Noodle tells the story of an Israeli flight attendant, Miri, twice widowed as a result of Israel's wars." (Israelis use noodle to postpone film, Daniel Flitton, The Age, 4/3/10)

Hm... I wonder when the next Palestinian film is being screened at Parliament house.

2) Howard, Howes, Howe... What is it about this syllable?

Remember my definition of rambamming? To be 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. The author of what you are about to read, Herald Sun columnist, Alan Howe, was first rambammed in 2005 (courtesy of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE)), was at it again in June last year (ditto), and, matters Ozraeli being what they are at the moment, has been pressed into service to divert us all with his trademark shockjockery:

(a) Brain-squirming hatred for Palestinians/stomach-churning love for Israelis...

"Here are the latest scores in the war on terror... Israelis 1, Palestinians 0. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a virtueless scrap of humanity, is dead. All good so far. But how he died and who killed him have now become the story. On the evening of January 19, 4 people entered the Palestinian's room at the Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel using an electronic device that decoded Mabhouh's pass. The assassins ambushed their target, injected him with a paralysing sedative and then suffocated him using a pillow. It was all over in 10 minutes. Nothing in the room was disturbed. The killers left calmly, leaving the door locked - from the inside. The agents - and another 23 colleagues who joined them as plotters, spotters and decoys - then headed for the airport, flying to Asia and Europe. That's a slick operation. You have to stand in awe at the audacity of the planning and the courage of the men - and one woman - who volunteered for it... Al-Mabhouh had been gloating recently about how he killed 2 Israeli soldiers in 1989. He had a brain-squirming hatred for the Israelis who claim evidence that he spent his days smuggling rockets into Gaza. Ever since the Israelis retreated from their territory and left the locals to their own devices Gazans have thanked their neighbours with an almost ceaseless volley of deadly rockets. Just days off turning 50, al-Mabhouh knew he was a worthy target for assassination. Usually, he travelled with a team of bodyguards, but they couldn't get seats on his flight, which was said to be the first leg of a weapons-buying trip to Thailand." (We're safer, why argue?, Herald Sun, 7/3/10)

(b) Mossad, like, shits all over our security services...

"[W]e sent a small team from the Australian Federal Police to investigate the passport issue. Uh-oh. That's asking for trouble. Yet to recover from the laugh-a-minute leadership of Mick Keelty, the ALP is capable of almost anything. Within hours of arriving in Tel Aviv, these keystone clowns had screeched out of the underground car park beneath the Australian embassy there, hit a woman riding a bicycle and sped off. The Mossad team also can be said to have done a hit and run, but I know who I'd want looking after my interests... If Australia's security services had to defend Israel, surrounded as it is by Arabs who attack it regularly and who with a few Persian nutters running Iran - all of them united under the Koran - now plan its nuclear destruction, Israelis would clog their country's airports seeking a quick exit. Even that brave people would know the game was up." (ibid)

Sorry to mention this Alan, but the car was "being driven by the Australian embassy's Israeli driver..." not your "keystone clowns." ('Monty Python' AFP team slammed after hit-and-run, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 5/3/10)

(c) Ah yes, those Persian nutters. Mabhouh was just a proxy. Gird your loins for the coming sedation and smothering of Tehran:

"Security in Israel is no joking matter. Except to the United Nations, which last year hosted a conference against racism unforgivably inviting the unpredictable Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak. He ranted about how the Holocaust never happened [1] - he doesn't want anything overshadowing the modern nuclear holocaust he plans. [2] It's bad enough that the UN cannot get international action to make a rogue state such as Iran adhere to its Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons. [3] So, mostly alone [4] but always threatened, Israel is forced to police its own future. Its defence must always be in its own hands. That's why, on a Sunday afternoon in June 1981, using US-provided satellite pictures it sent in its American-made fighter jets to bomb and destroy Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility just outside Baghdad. The nuclear plant - being built using technology supplied by the West's most unreliable 'ally', France [5], was near completion, but was to have been used only for the peaceful generation of power. Saddam Hussein had promised. At the time, Israel's critics condemned it for trying to be the region's police, and pointed out that it had long been suspected that Israel itself was moving towards becoming a nuclear power. Golly, why would it be doing that? [6] Quietly, over the years, after having breathed a sigh of relief, most of the world came to understand what a favour that little country had performed for them. [7] These days attention has turned [8] towards Iran and its development of a nuclear program. This, too, is to generate power. Then why hide it at terrific expense under the desert? Gaza is an Iranian proxy state where that country's hate for the West is played out in fights against Israel. [9] This is the War on Terror. Iran is the terror. [10] Its Gaza agents are the terrorists. We must kill them. [11] And next on the agenda is Iran's nuclear plant." [12] (ibid)

[1] No, he didn't, Alan. See my 23/4/09 post Australia Dumps on Durban 2
[2] If he's planning to nuke Israel, that means he's planning to nuke Palestine as well. Go figure.
[3] At least Iran has signed the NPT. Israel?
[4] Apart from a certain superpower.
[5] France, eh? You mean the same unreliable country that had developed a nuclear weapons program with Israeli input in the 50s, and went on to help Israel develop its own in the late 50s/early 60s?
[6] Notice the implication that Israel was moving towards becoming a nuclear power because of Saddam - who didn't become president of Iraq until 1979.
[7] Evidence?
[8] Shouldn't that be has been turned?
[9] Gazans couldn't possibly have their own grievances against Israel, now could they?
[10] Iran is the terror? So Iran is dispossessing and occupying another people? Throwing cluster bombs and white phosphorus around like confetti? Dispatching death squads to the 4 corners?
[11] We - we - must kill them?
[12] I'm confused. Whose agenda? Our agenda?

Hm. Here's a question for you, dear reader. Which Australian churnalist do you think wrote the article Richard Pratt: Paragon of Philanthropy for the AICE magazine Rhapsody: Linking Culture between Israel & Australia, Jan-Mar 2008?

3) Yet another Ozraeli innocent whose life will now be shattered - shattered! - by the (ahem) theft of his passport. How much more of this can these brave people take?

"The latest Australian thought to have had his identity stolen [!!!] by the team behind the Dubai assassination of a Hamas commander is an old friend of another Melbourne man named as a suspect last month. On Saturday Joshua Aaron Krycer became the latest Australian living in Israel to be caught up in the fallout over the January hit that has sparked a diplomatic storm between Israel and many of its allies. Mr Krycer's friend, Joshua Daniel Bruce, was named 2 weeks ago along with 2 other people from Melbourne as suspects in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh." (Identity theft case grows as another Australian named, Reid Sexton, The Age, 10/3/10)

What a coincidence!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The ACTU's Sarah Palin

Remember when Sarah Palin was John McCain's running mate and we were all chilled by the realisation that Hockey Mom could be but a heartbeat away from the presidency? To be sure, the stakes are nowhere near as high, but the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) vice president Paul Howes is but a heartbeat away from the ACTU presidency, and I find that pretty chilling. As if his anti-BDS front, TULIP - see my 29/9/09 post ACTU: Missing in Action on Palestine - weren't worry enough, now he's come out, in a column in Murdoch's Sunday Telegraph, as a cheerleader for Mossad assassins:

"Let's be clear: the death of al-Mabhouh is a positive outcome for those who believe in peace and justice... [W]e're talking about a man who has turned Palestinian children into human bombs to murder and terrorise Israeli civilians..." (Dubai killing strikes blow for decency, 7/3/10)

Note here the recycling of Zionist propagandist and Age 'journalist' Julie Szego's line about Mabhouh "turn[ing] Palestinian children into bombs for the wiping out of Israeli children..." (beautifully skewered by letter writer Sol Salbe: "How could he have been involved in the use of children, or anyone else, as suicide bombers when he left the occupied territories* before the first suicide bomber appeared on the scene, and spent 2003, one of the worst years for such bombings, in an Egyptian jail?" See my previous post, Mabhouh Mythology).

[*In 1989 to be exact. Hamas' first suicide bombing wasn't until 1994 - 8 years after its founding - and "was carried out in retaliation for the Hebron massacre, in which a fanatic Israeli settler killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in the Ibrahimi Mosque in February 1994." (Hamas for Beginners, Khaled Hroub, 2006, p 52)]

Of course, the drive-by smear is the weapon of choice for Zionist media assassins like Szego and Howes, and that turning Palestinian children into human bombs is typical. It goes without saying that the findings of those who've actually researched the phenomenon, such as political scientist Mohammed Hafez (University of Missouri), are simply not on their radar: "Observers of the second intifada often comment that suicide bombers do not lend themselves to easy generalizations. Other than being Muslim, usually unmarried, and in their late teens or early 20s, the bombers have little in common." (Manufacturing Human Bombs: The Making of Palestinian Suicide Bombers, 2006, p 24)

And those Australian passports? Not a problem. What's a passport (or two, or three) between friends?: "The question of the use of Australian passports in the operation in Dubai raises many issues for the Australian Government. Traditionally, Australia has been a loyal friend of Israel, no matter which party is in government. This is something that should make us all proud. Some have argued that if Israel has illegally used Australian passports, this is not the action of a friend. Maybe. But in my view, friends stand by each other in the good times and the bad, and a friend is someone who lends a hand when the going gets tough. That's why I'm proud that our nation has played a small, and accidental role, in the removal of the terrorist al-Mabhouh from the planet."

Friends stand by each other, eh? But think about it. If Australia were a real friend to Israel, surely we'd be supplying Australian passports, no questions asked, right? But hang on! Aren't we really more than just good friends? Aren't we, in fact, mates? After all, we partied together in Parliament House, didn't we? And we drop in on each other regularly for a spot of mutual backscratching, don't we? Not to mention our love-ins at the UN. So, in addition to keeping our little mate in passports, why don't we also join him in the biffo and mount a few joint Mossad/ASIO operations? But let's not stop there. As a reflection of true mateship, ASIO could be rebadged Ozzad and operate under the motto By way of self-deception.

Now someone needs to get that ball rolling here, and who better, say I, than the Sarah Palin of the ACTU? Howes is obviously a straight shooter - if you get my drift - and a man who puts his money where his mouth is, so I imagine he's already lent his mates a hand and given them his passport, and is now in the process of assembling a bipartisan team of Arab fighters. Such doughty pro-Israel warriors as Christopher Pyne, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, and Kevin Rudd, to name only the most obvious, spring to mind.

I mean, would you expect anything less from the man who penned these rousing, dare I say Churchillian, words?: "The world defeated Nazism. Now the world must support those countries fighting Islamo-fascism. It is a war that is being fought on the streets of Tehran, where democratic forces battle that Islamic dictatorship; it's being fought on the streets of Gaza, after Hamas launched their coup there; it's being fought in Lebanon against Hezbollah and in the mountains of Afghanistan against the remains of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The fighters had a small victory in Dubai."

And these words - are they not straight out of John Howard's mouth?: "It is in our nation's interest and the interests of the world as a whole, to ensure democracy, liberty and freedom thrives. It is in our interest to ensure that a free, secular and healthy democratic Palestinian state is created. It is in our interest to ensure that when private citizens leave their homes and go to work or school that they don't have to fear suicide bombers will kill them." Just beautiful! Takes you back, doesn't it?

Except there's only one hitch. Howes is adamant that Hamas' redundant and superseded 1988 Charter is what rules it out of the "national liberation movement" stakes, and puts it into the "ugly Islamo-fascist terrorist organisation" category instead. Still, what's good for the goose is equally so for the gander, no? So the Likud Charter (aka Likud Party platform), which "flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River," should not only rule out the creation of a "free, secular and healthy democratic Palestinian state," but any claim of Israel's ruling party to being merely a Middle Eastern version of the Australian Labor Party, right?

Now I'm sure that as a teen Trot once, Howes must've heard Che Guavara's famous Create One, Two, Many Vietnams. Maybe this explains his distinctively neoconservative cry, Create One, Two, Three Wars on Terror: "This is not an easy war to fight, or to win. It has to be fought in many different theatres."

Pretty heady stuff, eh? But he does have lighter side. Check this out for comic relief: "But it is in our interest to ensure that all human beings regardless of their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and political belief can live their lives free from persecution or harassment. Hamas and al-Mabhouh stand against all these values - values we hold dear. Therefore, it is in our nation's interest to do whatever we can to remove these vile people from power - by any means necessary." Regardless of religion? Apparently, not only does the Jewish state not discriminate on religious grounds, but the world is flatter than you ever thought possible.

Only... one... heartbeat... away. One! Scary!