Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When in Israel...

... do as the Israelis do (after they murder Palestinians):

"Israeli police say an Australian woman holidaying in the country has been stabbed to death in a Tel Aviv hotel room by her husband... The suspect, who is also an Australian, says he acted in self-defence..." (Australian woman stabbed to death in Israel,, 30/8/11)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I, Danielle Keys

"Maiden, n. A young person of the unfair sex addicted to clewless conduct and views that madden to crime. The genus has a wide geographical distribution, being found wherever sought and deplored wherever found. The maiden is not altogether unpleasing to the eye, nor (without her piano and her views) insupportable to the ear, though in respect to comeliness distinctly inferior to the rainbow, and, with regard to the part of her that is audible, beaten out of the field by the canary, which, also, is more portable." Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary, p 219)

If you think Tony Abbott's a worry, try Cory (Ban the Burqa) Bernardi (rambammed: 2008), Chairman and Founder of the Conservative Leadership Foundation (CLF), an "education and training organisation" whose "goal is to develop and support Australia's future conservative leaders by providing the training and skills necessary for them to succeed." (

And if you find Cory even more of a worry, try his protege, Danielle (Dani) Keys, the CLF's National Co-ordinator - Campus Action Plan. Dani studies Law at the University of Queensland and "has a passion for advancing centre-right activism at universities to counter the force of left-wing activist groups such as GetUp!"

GetUp!... and BDS.

Dani, self-proclaimed organiser of a counter-protest outside a Max Brenner outlet in Brisbane on Saturday, one which included elements of the far-right Islamophobic Australian Patriotic Defence Movement (APDM) brandishing - wait for it - Israeli flags and screaming 'traitor' at BDS protesters, penned a gushing account of her 'achievement' at the Menzies House website ("Australia's leading online community for conservative centre-right and libertarian thinkers"). This act of hyperventilation provides an illuminating (and frankly terrifying) insight into the mind of today's Young Liberals and hence tomorrow's Liberal MPs, party leaders, and prime ministers.

Be afraid! Be very afraid! Dani's story and my commentary:

"On Saturday the 27th of August at 1pm, the Socialist Alliance and 'Justice for Palestine' [marched] down to Southbank to bully and intimidate the customers and staff of popular chocolatier 'Max Brenner'. I, Danielle Keys, organised the counter-protest movement a month ago after seeing the Socialist Alternative at UQ handing out flyers about their protest. I thought it was so disgusting..."

Handing out flyers for a protest is disgusting? The content of the flyers was disgusting? Dani doesn't tell us which. Clarity is not her forte. One is left with the impression that it's really the very act of protesting that she finds disgusting. How dare anyone protest! The content of the protest, the issues involved, are clearly immaterial. Anyway, that'd take a bit of reading, a bit of research, and what with uni and Cory and facebook and chocolate (Max Brenner, natch) and TV and lippie (Seacret, of course) and stuff, what's a girl to do?

"... that I organised a facebook event just to see if some friends were interested in counter-protesting. Little did I know that in a matter of weeks I would have many different groups approaching me to help support the cause..."

Groups such as... the APDM, for example.

"... over 90 facebook [sic] friends attending and be [sic] in contact with the corporate management of Max Brenner. Little did I truly forsee that I would be speaking to almost every single newspaper I can think of as well as television and radio opportunities."

Television... Yaaay!!!

"I would have been happy to stand alone but I am really glad I didn't have to! The reason that people stand behind [sic: support] counter-protest movements I think is because as just individual people we get bullied by the disgraceful agendas of the loudest [what ever happened to punctuation?] most empty vessels of humanity - the SA. They are the unwashed aggressors who exist off [sic] the fringes of society prepared to violently demonise anyone who disagrees with them. I [sic] really had enough of it and I'm glad to see I was not the only one!"

Bullied by an agenda? Or challenged? So Dani, who is all of x-years old, is nonetheless equipped to decide which agendas are disgraceful and which are not. And such venom too! Looking at the photograph on the CLF website, you'd swear butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

"I guess the only way to properly describe the events of yesterday is like this... THE COUNTER-PROTEST WAS AWESOME!!!"

Uh, oh, CAPITAL LETTERS! There, there, Dani. Steady on.

"When the SA marched down to Southbank they were not counting on being outnumbered by ordinary Australians..."

Dani, of course, is not interested in extraordinary Australians. 'Work, consume, die' would seem to be her message.

"... telling them to go home and that their intolerance was not welcome."

Apparently, Dani's definition of tolerance doesn't embrace freedom of assembly or expression.

"They quite seriously didn't bank on it and were very upset by it (ha-ha!). I recognised quite a few faces from university so I look forward to whatever retaliatory aggression they will have for me in the coming weeks at the University of Queensland. Whatever it is, I am prepared."

With a knowledge of the issue? I think not. Just the usual infantile truculence.

"It was amazing to see the SA and JP outnumbered and placed into a nice little contained area. There were stacks of people and in particular many young people out to stand up against the SA. Unlike in other cities, the SA were kept away from the Max Brenner store (as they would have had to get through 10 police officers and 70 regular Australians who were fed up)..."

Ah, the dulcet tones of I've had a gutful!

"Max Brenner Southbank was really busy and business was booming for them. We had random people off the street so disgusted by the SA that they went and bought some chocolate then stood with us. The rabble of socialist sycophants were chanting about Max Brenner's support for genocide and how it has blood on it's [sic] hands. I found this particularly disturbing as Jewish people have been systematically persecuted and subject to genocidal attacks for thousands of years. The conduct of the SA yesterday made it clear their attachment to violent, aggressive and fundamentally anti-Semitic behaviour."

Let me get this right. Historical persecution of Jews in Europe gives Israel, which makes a great song and dance about being a Jewish state, a free pass to put the boot into Arabs. Right. Oh yes, and pointing out that Israel is a serious abuser of Arabs means that one is violent and anti-Semitic. Right. And Dani's doing law, the practice of which requires a modicum of logic. Right. I'm glad I've got that clear.

"We responded with many different chants and songs, but I think one of the most amazing ones was when a Max Brenner staff member came up to join us before his shift started and chanted about how he loves the company he works for. I was happy to give that guy the megaphone for a welcome break... everyone's vocal chord have [sic] taken a beating! Anyone who was there would have seen how much fun it was. Everyone there was laughing, chanting, getting stuck into the SA, drinking hot chocolates and dancing around. The SA eventually walked away. Shamed into oblivion..."

Oblivion? Exterminate! Exterminate! Dani the Dalek?

"... They went and stood in a park somewhere continuing their little rant, where no one could hear them and no one could call them to account. This is unsurprising and indicative of their cowardice. All fun and exciting times aside, there was a really powerful and beautiful element to this counter-protest movement. I was really humbled and overwhelmed by people from the Jewish community voicing their thanks for the support. It sounds insane but I never really thought of the Brisbane Jewish community when it came to organising this. I was so busy thinking of the political and ideological principles that I didn't properly see how personally vilified and offended the Jewish community felt over this."

Just quite what these political and ideological principles might be is perhaps best left to the imagination.

"They came out in force to stand up for Max Brenner and say no to SA abuses. I met so many wonderful Jewish people and I felt so touched when they said how surprised and happy thet were to see non-Jewish people standing by them in an event like this. Honestly, I grew up in a Christian home in the leafy and fairly affluent Westside of Brisbane. I'm a white anglo-saxon [sic] protestant. Outside of going to a Jewish kindergarten and having one Jewish friend in primary school I hadn't been exposed much to the culture and community."

White? Now I'm confused because the Jewish J-Wire report on the matter derided the BDS protesters as "decidedly white bread." (Brisbane BDS demo a fizzler, 28/8/11)

"Words really can't describe how much I feel I have gained something as a human being for organising the counter-protest. As a young idealist and libertarian I got lost in the principled machinations of what is happening surrounding the BDS. What is really important for all people to remember is that there is a huge personal element to these things. Because ordinary Australians stood up and said no to the SA's intolerance and hatred, the Jewish community has felt a level of support that I am not sure they felt was there before."

What is she on about? Principled machinations. Is that like sweet-smelling shit?

"I've been invited to an event at a synagogue! Who knows? I might meet a nice Jewish boy and be like Charlotte York from Sex & the City! Yeah... that would be funny and she was hot."

Yep, looks like we are what we watch! But what Dani doesn't know (yeah, stash it with all of the other stuff she doesn't know) is that marrying a nice Jewish boy violates the only party line that really matters: "The Israeli government has launched a television and Internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews." (Israeli government ads warn against marrying non-Jews, Jonathan Cook, AlterNet, 8/9/09) And even if the party line can't contain the passion, Dani, like Chelsea Clinton, who recently married young Marc Mezvinsky, will still have to contend with the likes of the Zionist nutter (oxymoron, I know) who railed that "Chelsea will serve as a private gas chamber for Marc. After him, his family tree will be Judenrein... this wedding is really a funeral." (Making religion relevant, Dvir Abramovich, The Australian Jewish News, 26/2/10)

"My Dad got a real shock when I changed Christian denominations... okay okay okay let's not get ahead of ourselves here hahahaha."

Sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful child.

"Max Brenner is not the only company that is being attacked by these people. In Brisbane there is a store called Seacret which isn't even an Israeli company, but buys shells from the Red Sea (within an Israeli area) to use in its cosmetics. The SA have been spotted bullying and blockading entrance to their store in Brisbane City. Max Brenner is a company that started in Israel and has way more substantial ties to Israel than Seacret does! They are bullying and blockading the store because they buy shells from Jews... outrageous! Plus, if I may say so myself the cosmetic and nail-kits from Seacret are spectacular."

God help us if Danni ever makes it to foreign minister. She doesn't seem to know the Red Sea from the Dead Sea. As for shells, could someone (Cory? Anyone?) please ask her to look a little more closely at the box her spectacular Seacret cosmetics came in. She might find that it actually says Seacret: Minerals from the Dead Sea.

"In summary, the counter-protest was awesome. If you weren't there then I am sure there will be plenty more! If there is an anti-Max Brenner protest in your towns, I encourage you to gather your friends together and stage a counter-protest!"

Clearly, Danni's out of her depth. She really does need to do a little reading before shooting off her mouth. But I wouldn't expect her to take out a sub to Green Left Weekly or Direct Action, given her staunchly conservative outlook. However, all is not lost! The CLF has a reading list on its website, among which titles I notice The Conscience of a Conservative by Republican presidential nominee (1964) Senator Barry Goldwater, known in his day as 'Mr Conservative'. So if Goldwater's got Cory's tick of approval, Dani might care to read John Kolbe's fascinating 1986 interview with him (Goldwater that is):

[Excerpt] Goldwater:... self-interest groups are now, more than ever, running this country. You take the Israel groups, and there are many of them... if just a rumor goes out that the president is going to sell some military equipment to an Arab nation, overnight there will be 60 to 70 senators siding up with the Israeli group. Why? Because they have money, and they threaten...
Kolbe: Is the Israel lobby too powerful?
Goldwater: God, yes, way too powerful.
Kolbe: Has that had some detrimental affects on what comes out of Congress?
Goldwater: Yes. See, we have no treaty with Israel, but we have pledged ourselves to go to war if she has to go to war. And there are some of the actions that some of the Israeli groups take that, at times, I felt would hasten that day when we have to live up to our promise. I can understand the feeling, but I'm getting awfully tired of the great influence they have and there's no question about it...
Kolbe: Why do they have that influence?
Goldwater: They have it because, you take the big cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, they have a tremendously large Jewish population and a lot of money, and these senators just cater to that kind of influence. But like the influence of the labor unions, the National Rifle Association, the American Medical Association, and we could go on and on and name the influences that, while not as strong as Israel, have a great strength. And they make it hard for a man to run when he can't get money, when he has a large dedicated group against him. The tendency then is to overcome that strike by going along with them (the special interests)." (Barry Goldwater on the Israeli lobby's influence in DC, David Franke,, 6/10/10)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Juvenile Offender

"The worst offence that can be committed by a polemic is to stigmatize those who hold a contrary opinion as bad and immoral men." John Stuart Mill

"'We need to be wary of the rise of the polemicist. Polemics is different from journalism'. This simple statement from veteran journalist Paul Kelly... seems as if it should go without saying. Unfortunately..." (Deconstruction zone: festival follies, Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz*,, 30/5/11):

"If the boycotters had been peacefully promoting their cause to the public... concerning their beliefs, they would not have broken any laws. However, this was not the case. They have repeatedly chosen to act riotously and aggressively, screaming hateful slogans, illegally blocking the entrance to Max Brenner, scuffling with police and creating a scene that would deter any reasonable person from entering - not for political reasons but because any sensible person would tend to steer clear of an aggravated mob clashing with police outside a cafe." (Boycotters' free expression costs businesses plenty, Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz, 27/8/11)

[*Danny Boy is a policy analyst with the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council.]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Can't Say That!

"The ugly cry of anti-Semitism is the bludgeon used by the Zionists to bully non-Jews into accepting the Zionist view of world events, or to keep silent." Harold R. Piety

The Centre for Independent Studies (self-described as "Australia's leading independent policy think tank") held their 2011 "Big Ideas Forum" on August 1. Dubbed You Can't Say That: Freedom of Speech and the Invisible Muzzle (the muzzle being political correctness), the forum, or at least 3 of its 4 speakers, raised the issue of Islam and/or Islamophobia, which they felt was a terribly pc word primarily wielded to shut down what they characterised as legitimate 'debate' on Islam and Muslim immigration. Curiously, 2 of the 3 with Muslims on their minds had nothing to say about another term so often wielded to silence debate on Israel and its crimes: anti-Semitism. The third, however, was not quite so circumspect. Of him, later.

The first speaker, James Allan, a law professor from the University of Queensland, grew most animated on the subject of the infamous Danish cartoons (See my 21/2/08 post A Thorn Among Roses):

"The second factor [in promoting pc] is fear and a good example of that is the Danish cartoons about Muhammad and the absolutely spineless response that was exhibited by the press around the world. They knew that a very small slice of Muslim extremists deliver on their threats... they do actually create murderous mayhem. So in response to these Danish cartoons these newspapers took the path of least resistance. My view... is that there's one proper response to bullying. It's when you stand up [to them, even if] you go down fighting. You make the stakes so high you're going to do nothing else but look the person in the face. You might lose but you go down fighting. It's the only response to bullying. I think that every newspaper in the world should have put the cartoons on the front page."

While Allan didn't mention the word Islamophobia, one can perhaps infer his attitude towards the term. Certainly, the uses and abuses of its counterpart, anti-Semitism, went unremarked. Which, I suppose, is not all that surprising from someone who took the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) to task in the May 2011 issue of Quadrant for its "single-minded focus" on Israel.

The second speaker, columnist for The Australian Janet Albrechtsen, was terribly hurt because "[i]n the last few weeks some on the left claim that those who have raised questions about multiculturalism, immigration and the relationship between Islam and modernity have blood on our hands. I say 'our hands' because I've been named as someone who bears responsibility for what happened in Oslo."

This was "murder used as a muzzle," she wailed, "to close down free speech or even worse, to stifle general inquiry or independent thinking."

Albrechtsen then went on to lament those who played "the victim game":

"It's been fueled by 2 recent developments," she said. "We now live in an age when feelings are treated as a measure of moral values so that you measure feelings against those of another to determine morality. Hence we live in what author Monica Ali calls 'the market place of outrage' where groups vie for victimhood status, each claiming their feelings have been hurt more than others."

Not a whisper of course about what author Tova Reich (If Albrechtsen can trot them out, why can't I?) referred to in her brilliant satirical, highly politically incorrect novel My Holocaust as "the pioneering work of the Jewish people in the creative and conceptual uses of victimhood and survivorship and Holocausts, a stellar acheivement, truly - memorials and museums across the globe as a reward for your persecution, reparations and restitution, and finally, the greatest prize of all, a country of your own." (2007, p 247)

But the climax of Albrechtsen's speech was her truly hilarious use of the opera metaphor to expose the heavy weapon deployed by the Muslim hordes as they cut their swathe through the late, great continent of Europe - Islamophobia:

"Now over the last few years we've witnessed what has been a familiar opera of Muslim oppression used to shut down debate on this front. The 1st act starts with something simple, perhaps it's a book called Satanic Verses or a silly Danish cartoon or a film called Submission... Then comes the libretto. Muslims... scream about hurt feelings. The drama builds in this 2nd act. Death threats are issued, flags and a few effigies are burnt, and maybe even a few boycotts imposed, and then we hear that great aria of all accusations, Islamophobia. The 3rd act is of course the most depressing. The west capitulates, preferring the path of least resistance to launching a staunch defence of freedom of expression..."

Now if I'd been part of the Q&A which followed the speeches, my question to Planet Janet could only have been: 'Janet, mein Liebling walkure, a question about opera if I may. If ze libretto comes between ze first and ze second acts, what, pray, comes between ze second and ze third acts?'

Of course, Planet Janet, whose bread is buttered daily by Rupert Murdoch and whose 2008 trip to Israel, courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, knocked her in the aisles, would never dream of characterising the false accusation of anti-Semitism as "that great aria of all accusations." Nor, I'm sure, could she bring herself to agree with former Knesset speaker and World Zionist Organisation head Avraham Burg that there's really no business like Shoah business:

"We have pulled the Shoah out of its historical context and turned it into a plea and generator for every deed. All is compared to the Shoah, dwarfed by the Shoah, and therefore all is allowed - be it fences, sieges... curfews, food and water deprivation or unexplained killings. All is permitted because we have been through the Shoah and you will not tell us how to behave." (The Holocaust is Over: We Must Rise from Its Ashes, 2008)

The third speaker, Thilo Sarrazin, former Bundesbanker, senior member of Germany's Social Democratic Party, and author (Germany Abolishes Itself), had, he said, isolated "13 themes which constitute the main body of pc in Germany." "Islam is a religion of peace," was number 6 on his (hit) list. "Those who see any problems with immigration from Islamic countries are guilty of Islamophobia," he explained.

Thus far, the forum had gone according to plan. Muslim-bashing, under the rubric of free speech, is par for the course for right-wing think-tankers who fancy Israel as some sort of bastion of Western values valiantly holding out against a supposed rising tide of Musim fanaticism from the East.

But then Sarrazin threw caution to the winds, venturing where neither Allan nor Albrechtsen before him had gone: "This is nearly as bad as anti-Semitism."

He said, Whaaat?

Can you imagine the collective gasp of disbelief, the mighty swivelling of eyeballs, and the Did he just say what I thought he said? whisperings?

All present, however, kept their cool. Planet Janet, seated next to old loose lips, made no lunge with a chloroform-soaked cloth, and no one in the audience raised the matter in the Q&A session which followed. In fact, PJ had been exceedingly protective of Thilo in her address, having railed that "[t]he other tactic [used to bludgeon free speech] is to quietly exclude certain people from national discourse. We've seen that in Australia just in the last few days with Thilo, so perhaps it's appropriate that I quote a German word, toshwiktaktik (?), and to be toshed is to be subjected to death by silence. Books, ideas and people who challenge the status quo are simply ignored. No, the ABC has not interviewed Thilo. Nor has the Sydney Morning Herald or any of the Fairfax newspapers."

Nor, PJ, has your very own paper, The Australian. Is it too muzzling poor old Thilo?

Notice that PJ is mum on why Sarrazin's's being toshed? Has she too been muzzled? Is she muzzling herself?

Of course, Sarrazin's toshing stems from an interview he gave last year in which he said that "Jews carry a 'particular gene' that sets them apart from all other nations." (German banker: I'm a man of numbers, not anti-Semite,, 30/8/10)

This caused quite a stir in Germany, with the German government eventually removing him from the Bundesbank and the SPD agreeing to keep him on only after an apology.

But the interesting thing here was not Sarrazin's tosh about genetics but, as Israel's ynet news put it:

"Central Bank executive Thilo Sarrazin spreads anti-Muslim messages on every stage, but only when he speaks against Jews does political establishment unite against him." (ibid)

Not that, given the all-pervasive racism of Israeli society, Sarrazin's statement about Jews upset too many Israelis - as a number of the comments from Israeli Jews in the thread following the ynet report attest:

"Sarrazin has previously said many favorable things about Jews, and this particular statement appears to be correct. He is also spot-on re the Muslim immigration in Germany." Tahl, Ashdod

"Sorry, but the German Banker didn't say anything wrong... The fact is that we, Jews, are the Chosen Nation of G-d and are meant to be different..." Shalom

"Sarrazin is right!!! What is the big deal???... We Jews do have genes in common which set us apart... Kohanim have even more genetics in common. I think the head of the Jewish community blew this out of all proportion." Chaya, Tel Aviv

No, the invisible muzzle which Albrechtsen and her CIS friends (including Sarrazin) refuse to acknowledge is not Islamophobia but the bludgeon of anti-Semitism wielded against legitimate and necessary criticism of apartheid Israel. The CIS couldn't have chosen a better title than You Can't Say That.

Friday, August 26, 2011


"I recall the first time I felt the tragedy of the Palestinians penetrate my Zionist shield... I went to inspect the village well of Rana, near Beit Jbrin. I remembered the place from a (childhood) trip with my father, and the desolation - empty houses still standing, the ghost of a village once bustling with life - stunned me." (Meron Benvenisti, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948, 2002)

No one needs reminding that the establishment and maintenance of colonial-settler states means death and dispossession for indigenous peoples, but of all such states none work so hard at trying to erase all trace of their country's indigenous inhabitants or covering up their crimes against them as Israel:

"On May 14, 1948 the British Mandate in Palestine ended with the withdrawal of the last British military units. The same day David Ben Gurion declared the fulfillment of Herzl's dream: the emergence of Eretz Israel (Hebrew: the Land of Israel). At that very moment, according to the Zionist world view, historic Palestine permanently ceased to exist as either a geographical, historical or political unit. The renaming of Palestine was not the product of consultation with the indigenous Palestinians, who to this day have never accepted its abolishment. Rather it was the product of Zionism's unilateral determination to impose Hebrew-defined identifiers on every feature of the landscape - rivers, mountains, vallies, towns and even street names. This wholesale renaming process was meant to allow new Jewish settlers to feel an immediate bond with a place they had never been to before. It was also meant to send a message of deep, vast and seemingly irreversible change to the indigenous Palestinians. Understanding this renaming process, called 'the Judaization of place-names' by Benvenisti, is important because it reveals Zionism's attitude towards another form of landscape language. To Zionists the abolishment of Palestine was merely a logical first step in the process of creating a place that would project Zionist hegemony, including language hegemony, into every imaginable sphere. Palestine became 'Israel', the West Bank became 'Judaea and Samaria', Palestinians became 'Israeli Arabs'. Zionism's self-serving attitude towards language has generated innumerable international controversies over terminology right up to the present: wall vs fence, occupation vs settlement, expansion vs natural growth, colonialism vs historical rights. The myriad international controversies that have orbited Zionism's idiosyncratic use of language are mere distractions: they universally fail to comprehend the Zionist assertion of a right to replace at will normative descriptive language with a prescriptive, ideologically-driven lexicon. The ambiguities that result from this clash of lexicons are barriers to a plain language understanding of Israel-as-vision versus Israel-as-reality." (New Curriculum,

This process of corrupting and manipulating language to distract from the criminal and unrelenting colonisation of Palestine, from the sea to the river, is the work of a small army of Israel lobby nags and scribblers who bully and pester ms media outlets to ensure that as little of the awful reality filters through to the public as possible. In particular, use of the word 'occupation' to describe Israel's 44-year-old occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is a standing affront to this lot. But it's not just the media who are expected to toe the party line here, it's all of us:

"A Perth-based ticketing agency has agreed to remove 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' as an address option for overseas subscribers to its website, after being alerted to its presence by The Australian Jewish News. BOCS Ticketing responded immediately to AJN queries, contacting its licensing company, which deleted the option immediately... The AJN was notified about the politically sensitive address option that exists on various portals by Collingwood Football Club supporter Kovi Rose, who discovered the listing on a drop-down menu while trying to sign up for the club's newsletter on the Ticketmaster website. 'This shocked me', he said. 'Referring to it as an 'occupied territory' is a left-wing political statement which unfairly reflects detrimentally on Israel; and such statements have no place or involvement in the world of sports'." (Ticket giants occupy shaky territory, The Australian Jewish News, 19/8/11)

Thank you, Kovi Rose. Kovi who?

"Kovi Rose is a Mount Scopus graduate who made aliyah in March 2011," says his one-line bio at where he's been thrilling the faithful with stories about how Israel's now his home and how he can't wait to join the Israel Occupation Forces in order to "protect Israel from its enemies." Oh, and he's all of 18 years.

But it get's worse. Here's a sentence of Kovi's from his 5/6/11 post Countdown to Draft Day: "The fact that many people forget when they talk about Israel's soldiers, Israel's actions, and Israel's occupation..."

Occupation? Did he say occupation? You bet he did!

"... is that the majority of these fighter's [sic]..."

A graduate of Melbourne's Mount Scopus College, which received a cool $925,000 of taxpayer funding from heavy Kevvie in 2009, and he still doesn't know what to do with an apostrophe!

"... are less than 20 years old."

To sum up: here we have a wet-behind-the-ears, barely literate footie fan and hypocrite, with an Israeli-occupied mind, who, on the completion of his Australian taxpayer-funded religious school education, is off in occupied Palestine to lord it over the natives as part of the Israel Occupation Forces, bitching about a ticketing agency's use of the term Occupied Palestinian Territories to a Zionist propaganda sheet which only has to snap its finger for the offending word to be removed.

My flabber is well and truly gasted.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ba'thism vs Nasserism

"Say what you will about Nasser's regime, its repression and unforgivable responsibility for the 1967 defeat (although shared with the Ba'thists and the Jordanian potentate), but it can't be compared with the Ba'thist regimes in Syria and Iraq. It never produced the rich class we see in Iraq and Syria. Furthermore, Egypt under Nasser witnessed a great cultural and artistic revival: think about how Egypt led the region in movies, poetry, literature and political culture. There was nothing comparable under the rule of the Ba'th. Remember that Naguib Mahfouz wrote his best novels under Nasser. No such cultural environment was permitted under the Ba'th. Even right-wing writers, like Tawfiq al-Hakim, Taha Husayn and Mahfouz, wrote feely and received government recognition. If Mahfouz had lived under the Ba'th, he would have had his fingernails pulled. In my opinion, the Egyptian movies of that era were better than those of any other. Finally, the Nasserist regime was the only Arab regime that knew how to skillfully and effectively infuse Arab culture with themes of resistance and progressiveness. Nasser always spoke of the poor. Can you imagine Bashar speaking about the poor? A poor person for Bashar is when his cousin Rami Makhlouf has only $1 billion in the bank." (Nasser vs the Ba'th, The Angry Arab,, 18/8/11)

"At about this time [1969][Hafiz] Asad and Nur al-Din Atasi called on Nasser in Cairo. At the best of times the Egyptian leader had mixed feelings about Syria and Syrians. They had clamoured for union with Egypt and then seceded, dealing him a body-blow. They had sucked him into the catastrophic Six Day War from which he never recovered. But now, in the last months of his life, all venom spent, he wearily asked his visitors about other Syrian Ba'thists whom he had known. He learned that one had been killed, another languished in jail, a third was in exile. 'Ah, you Ba'thists', he exclaimed. 'You're so harsh with each other! When we in Egypt formed our Free Officers movement we agreed that if we ever fell out, each of us would be free to return to private life'. In this as in so much else, the Syrians were not ready to follow Egypt's example." (Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East, Patrick Seale, 1988, p 153)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hartcher: Homs, Hama, Whatever

The sheer ignorance of rambammed Sydney Morning Herald "international editor" Peter Hartcher was on glorious display on the paper's opinion page yesterday:

"[Bashar] Assad*'s father seized power in a coup in 1970. He was a ruthless dictator and is estimated to have killed some 20,000 Syrians in a bloodbath in the city of Homs when it resisted his rule." (Spotlight is on Assad if Gaddafi falls)

The city concerned was, of course, Hama, but Homs it is in the print edition. However, someone's since had a word in Hartcher's or the Herald's ear, leading to a correction on the website.

Now you see it, now you don't!

[* Typically, Hartcher, who knows SFA about the Arab world, can't even transliterate Asad's name correctly.]

But if only that were all. Unfortunately, the piece is problematic in other ways too:

There's the inevitable Israeli talking head: "'Assad [sic] has a very narrow window of time', wrote Jacques Neriah, former foreign policy adviser to Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin."

There's the harem scarem description of Iran as "a theocratic power with nuclear ambitions and thoughts of regional hegemony," which, if 'nuclear arsenal' replaced 'nuclear ambitions', would better describe Israel. (But then we're yet to see anything like that from the Herald's Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan.)

There's the blatantly USraeli propagandist take on Iran's links with Syria: "Syria is crucial to Iran's ambitions. Under Assad [sic], Syria has helped Iran project power. It supports Iran's international militant network, Hezbollah, and has helped it to intimidate and influence Lebanon, which has become a client... And Syria under Assad [sic] also supports the militant Hamas, whose political wing controls the Palestinian territory of the Gaza strip. Like Hezbollah, Hamas also operates a terrorist arm."

Gee, you wouldn't realise from this drivel that Hezbollah and its March 8 allies picked up 55% of the popular vote in the Lebanese elections of 2009, or that Hamas won the last democratic elections in Palestine in 2006.

And there's the reporting of USraeli propagandist piffle as fact: "This helps explain why Iran has been sending support to Assad [sic], including the Iranian snipers reported to be shooting Syrian demonstrators from rooftops." (See my 14/6/11 post Deja Vu All Over Again.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Age: Enough Already!

What is going on at The Age?

This month, it's been one Zionist propaganda piece after another on the opinion page:

15/8/11: Why Australia should back creation of a Palestinian state, Harold Zwier & Larry Stillman (Don't be misled by the title - I'll be returning to this one later in the post.)

18/8/11: Tent city is a beacon of social justice & optimism, Robin Margo (See my 22/8/11 post 114 Years of Zionist Bombast.)

22/8/11: 'Virtual' Palestinian state could lead to actual disaster, Colin Rubenstein

While the 2nd and 3rd are obvious examples of the ZPP genre, the 1st sneakily adopts a pro-Palestinian (state) veneer: "Next month, the Palestinian delegation to the United States is expected to ask the General Assembly to recognise a Palestinian state. We believe Australia should support such a move."

Zwier and Stillman, however, described grandly in their bio as "on the executive of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society," quickly reveal themselves as Zionistas, albeit of the 'soft' variety, by perpetrating the following false equivalence: "Israel is more entrenched than ever in its territorial expansion through settlements in the West Bank, and Palestinians are more strident than ever in asserting their right to return to their original homes in Israel."

Get the picture? Z&S attempt to con the reader with a supposed balance of extremists: on the one hand, Jewish settlers taking Palestinian land in the West Bank; on the other, Palestinian refugees stubbornly determined to return home to - shock! horror! - Israel.

Anyone with even the haziest understanding of the conflict, however, will see through Z&S's subterfuge, knowing that while Israel floods the West Bank (and East Jerusalem) with settlers in defiance of international law, namely the Geneva Convention's ban on the occupier transferring "its own civilian population into the territory it occupies," Palestinian refugees have the full weight of international law on their side in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UNGA resolution 194. In short, there can be no equivalence whatever between those involved in a criminal enterprise and its victims.

Z&S's sleight of hand brazenly continues with:

"Palestinians will also be aware that recognition of Palestine will be a significant move towards dealing with the Palestinian refugee issue within their state and with compensation, rather than solely through the 'right of return'. It diminishes the credibility of a Palestinian government to insist that Palestinians should be able to live in the state next door in preference to their own state."

Run that past us again: A Palestinian government that doesn't ditch the fundamental right of all refugees, including Palestinian refugees, to return to their homes and lands loses credibility!

And, as if the above weren't Zionist chutzpah enough, were you to read Z&S's piece in its entirety, you'd see that nowhere does this pair of prestidigitators even suggest pulling Jewish settlers out of the West Bank to make way for the refugees they wouldn't want in what they - despite being Australian citizens - outrageously believe, as Zionists, is their state.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

PS 24/8/11: Letter in today's Age: "We've had views on Palestinian statehood from the Jewish left and now the Jewish right. Is it asking too much for The Age to publish a Palestinian perspective, or doesn't it count?" Shane McCartin, North Fitzroy

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's Eating Raimond Gaita?

"There is always a litmus test to assess a person's intellectual and moral courage. In the West, especially in America, this litmus test is provided bt the Middle East issue. The intellectual and moral cowardice of Western intellectuals on this issue is stunning. Paradoxically, by censoring their views on Israel, they have done great damage to Israel by failing to point out to it the sheer folly of remaining in perpetual conflict with its neighbours. The next time any Western intellectual calls upon the rest of the world to show courage by speaking 'truth to power' he or she should lead the charge by speaking 'truth to power' on the Israel-Palestine dispute." Kishore Mahbubani

I notice that Australian ethicist Raimond Gaita seems to be attracting some attention, his sequel to his 1998 memoir Romulus, My Father, called After Romulus, having just been launched at a 3-day conference devoted to his life and works at Adelaide's Flinders University. Gaita is also the editor of Gaza: Morality, Law & Politics (2010), a volume of essays. While I haven't yet read Gaita's contribution(s) in the aforementioned book, I have read his rebuttal to Michael Brull's critique of his position on the Palestine problem. Both may be found at the Independent Australian Jewish Voices website ( Frankly, Gaita's rebuttal does not exactly inspire me with much confidence in the man. Some examples:

"In my lecture [on Slow TV] I suggested that it is misleading to call the Palestinian Arabs the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine because in the context in which it is commonplace to call Israel a colonial-settler state, it implies that Jews who came to Palestine and established political institutions there had no more right to do so than the British and other white settlers had the right to do so in Australia - no right at all, in fact."

By suggesting that Israel is not really a colonial-settler state, and that the Palestinian Arabs are not really indigenes (without saying what it is or who they are), Gaita is engaged in a bit of special pleading vis-a-vis other colonial-settler states such as the United States and Australia. Why?

"It is true that the balance of my talk was pro-Israel insofar as I argued against a bi-national state in favour of a two-state solution and insofar as I devoted more time to defending Israel against critics than I did to detailing Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. My lecture was the 3rd in a series... whose audience had, in the previous 2 lectures, shown palpable hostility towards Israel. Ghassan Hage... was to speak the next week and I knew he would argue, passionately, an anti-Zionist case. The audience at the series did not need more criticism of Israel."

More special pleading. Why (when he's admitted elsewhere in the text that the Palestinians were "dispossessed") does he feel this need to defend the indefensible?

"Though I denied that 'Zionism is intrinsically racist, that racism is of its essence', I acknowledged the 'probably true claim that for racist reasons common in colonial settler states the full humanity of the Palestinian Arabs was at best only partially visible to early Zionist settlers' and 'that racism against the Palestinian Arabs [probably] now goes deep in Israeli society'. And more."

Putting aside the fact that he's aleady baulked at recognising Israel as a colonial-settler state, why is he splitting hairs here? And what gives with that risible circumlocution: "...the full humanity of the Palestinian Arabs was at best only partially visible to early Zionist settlers"?

"I said in my talk that if one goes by their words, the millions of Muslims throughout the world hate Jews with a murderous ferocity. I take that to be a statement of fact."

What an extraordinarily sweeping generalisation for a man of reason, a 'philosopher', to make.

Gaita seems to be quite conflicted on this issue. So what is it that's eating him? I believe the following letter to The Australian Jewish News of 3/12/10 provides the answer. I quote it in full (quite apart from the issue at hand, it provides a fascinating insight into what goes on at Zionist functions), directing a number of questions and comments to Gaita along the way:

"The letter by the federal president of Jewish National Fund (JNF), Grahame Leonard (AJN 19/11), is astonishing for the fact that it publicly expressed regret that the JNF had invited me to speak at a fundraising dinner in Sydney on November 8, and also because it implied that in speaking as I did I betrayed the good faith of the NSW leadership."

You attended the fundraiser of an arm of the state you know is guilty of "war crimes and crimes against humanity" (to use your own words from the earlier text)? Do you even know anything about the JNF and its role as an agent of Zionist colonisation and Palestinian dispossession? And you're surprised at their response when you deviate from the script, which demands nothing less than platitudes and/or gushing praise for their state-idol?

"I said nothing on that night that I had not said in... publications known to those who invited me... Nor did I say anything that is in substance different from opinions expressed by many Israelis, including Amos Oz and David Grossman. The accusation that I had betrayed the good faith of anyone in the JNF is as baseless as it is insulting."

I wonder; do you feel the need to confine your opinions on this issue within parameters set by Israel's loyal (ie soft Zionist) opposition, as exemplified by the likes of Oz and Grossman? If so, what ever happened to speaking out without fear or favour, surely the essence of free and frank discussion?

"Perhaps, though, it is not the relatively moderate political opinions that I expressed, but the fact that I expressed political opinions at all, that offended Leonard. He says that JNF is an 'apolitical' organisation. I doubt that many people will believe that, but be that as it may: no-one who was at the dinner or who had even read the ad for it could have failed to realise that the discussion was always intended to be political... Was anyone surprised when (to unfailing applause) two of the panellists repeatedly attacked Goldstone and human rights groups that had pretty much unanimously accused Israel of war crimes if not crimes against humanity? Or, when General Yaacov Amidror finished his concluding remarks by saying (again to resounding applause) that the world loved Israel only when it bled, but Israel would not bleed in order to earn the love of the world. Of course not. I therefore draw the unsurprising conclusion that the federal president of JNF cannot tolerate even relatively moderate criticism of Israel's conduct, even though the same criticism is voiced by some of its most distinguished patriots."

Exactly! You were invited as an adornment, a pretty face, a trophy intellectual if you will. You were not expected to say anything (even mildly) critical of the object of Leonard and Co's affection. There can be no deviation from the party line with these people. And you didn't understand this before you accepted the JNF's invitation to speak?

"The report to which Leonard's letter is a response (AJN 19/11) refers to the fact that my wife is Israeli. I do not recall saying that in the discussion, but it is true: her family on her mother's side lived for at least 8 generations in Jerusalem. I went to Sydney for 3 days from London in the midst of a lunatically busy schedule... only because Israel matters to me in large part because my wife's truthful love for Israel matters to me."

There you have it. Can we really expect Gaita to call a spade a spade on this issue when he's carrying that kind of baggage?

114 Years of Zionist Bombast

Israel's the best! Better than all the rest:

From the very first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897...

"Some months have passed since the Zionist Congress, but its echoes are still heard in daily life and in the press... In the press all these meetings, with their addresses, motions and resolutions, appear over and over again in the guise of articles - articles written in a vein of enthusiam and triumph. The meeting was magnificent, every speaker was a Demosthenes, the resolutions were carried by acclamation, all those present were swept off their feet and shouted with one voice: 'We will do and obey!' - in a word, everything was delightful, entrancing, perfect. And the Congress itself still produces a literature of its own. Pamphlets specially devoted to its praises appear in several languages; Jewish and non-Jewish papers still occasionally publish articles and notes about it; and needless to say, the 'Zionist' organ [Die Welt, the German paper founded by Herzl] itself endeavours to maintain the impression which the Congress made, and not allow it to fade too rapidly from the public memory. It searches the press of every nation and every land, and wherever it finds a favourable mention of the Congress, even if in some insignificant journal published in the language of one of the smaller European nationalities, it immediately gives a summary of the article, with much jubilation. Only one small nation's language has thus far not been honoured with such attention, though its journals too have lavished praise on the Congress: I mean Hebrew." (The Jewish State & Jewish Problem, Ahad Ha'am, 1897,

... to the 'Tent Revolution' of 2011...

"Property prices have risen about 50% since 2008 as Israel's burgeoning population - more than 7 million people squeezed into a slither [sic] of land about a third the size of Tasmania - vastly outstrips construction. The so-called 'tent revolution' has also morphed into a wider protest about the disintegration of communal solidarity and the welfare state. But this is not Israel's equivalent of the 'Arab Spring'. Rothschild Boulevard - a leafy, European-style inner-city thoroughfare where one young woman put up a tent on July 14 in protest against her exhorbitant rent - is not Tahrir Square. There is no violence, no looting, no thuggery. The protesters are not armed with guns or stones; they bear banners with slogans such as 'the people demand social justice' and 'the people will take back the country'. This has not led to violent clashes with police, let alone government-backed armies mowing down civilians like in Syria, Tunisia or Libya. Nor has it led to urban anarchy, as has happened in Britain. In short, this is the Jewish state's democratic pulse beating as it has since the day it was born. For popular protests are a sine qua non of Israeli society - virtually every week there's a protest from a different sector of society. And the demonstrations are almost always non-violent..." (Tent city is a beacon of social justice & optimism for all Israelis, Robin Margo*, The Age, 18/8/11) [* "Robin Margo, SC, is president of the New Israel Fund's affiliate in Australia and immediate past president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies."]

... and everything in between.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fairfax's New Girl on the Block

You may have noticed that Fairfax has a new Middle East correspondent, replacing Jason Koutsoukis. However, far from being an improvement on the latter, Ruth Pollard's piece on the Palestinian (?) resistance attacks in southern Israel, Hezbollah cited in deadly hit on Israel (SMH, 20/8/11), reveals her to be, if anything, even more of an echo chamber for the Israeli line than her predecessor.

The Palestinian attackers are, of course, "gunmen," while their victims are "holiday-makers and Israeli soldiers going home for the weekend... " In similar vein we are told that "[e]ight Israelis - 6 civilians and 2 soldiers - died and at least 31 were injured in the attacks... after gunmen opened fire on 2 buses, 2 cars carrying civilians and a military unit that responded to the attack."

The emphasis on civilians is telling. While Pollard claims that 6 of the victims were civilians, Israel's Jerusalem Post reports that "5 people were mortally wounded" in an attack on "a bus and private vehicle," and that "a number of soldiers were among the casualties." (At least 6 dead, 25 hurt in terror attacks near Eilat, 21/8/11)

Although the Israelis have never let the prospect of 'collateral damage' get in the way of rubbing out Palestinians they've taken a particular dislike to, there is obviously enough ambiguity here for Israeli PR to make hay while the sun shines. The Angry Arab, commenting archly on the same emphasis in The New York Times of the day before, had this to say: "The professional liars and fabricators of the Israeli military initially admitted that all those killed were soldiers. Only later did they adjust the news to make this claim. In Israel - I kid you not - an Israeli soldier is counted as a civilian even if he's carrying weapons so long as his shirt is unbuttoned, or his shoelace untied, or he's not wearing his cap." (Israeli propaganda lies,, 19/8/11)

Whatever the correct designation of the victims, it's the sheer one-sidedness of Pollard's 'report' that makes it so bad. A Hamas spokesman gets just one short paragraph to tell us that "The Israeli accusation against Gaza is an attempt to export Israel's internal crisis to Gaza." This is followed by sound bites from "security analyst and former government official" Avi Melamed (4 paragraphs); Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (1); Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev (2); the chairman of Israel's Herzog Centre for Middle East Studies, Yoram Meital (1); and Defence Minister Ehud Barak (1).

Finally, there's the complete absence of context. It would have taken Pollard mere seconds to access data showing the extent of Israel's violence against Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank in the past few weeks, none of which, to my knowledge, ever made it into the Herald. The United Nation's Protection of Civilians Weekly Report (, for example, reveals that, from 28/6/11 to 16/8/11, 8 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and 178 injured. But then, where blatant propaganda is concerned, that kind of information would only be a distraction.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fort Lowy

There are those among us who cannot bear the idea of Australia missing out on a slice of the imperial action de jour in the Middle East. Apparently, Iraq was just an appetizer. But while there might be more than enough murder and mayhem in Afghanistan to satisfy them for the present, what are we going to do when - perish the thought! - it's time to cut and run? Just sit around and twiddle our thumbs down here in the south Pacific?

Not to worry, over at the Lowy Institute, they're working on it:

"As part of this approach [formulating a government strategy paper on Australia's relationship with the Middle East to articulate our strategic interests in the region and to allow for the development of a policy framework] the government should send a signal to the region regarding our long-term interest. This could be done by transforming Australia's present military commitment in the UAE in support of our troops in Afghanistan to a much smaller military presence following the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Such a commitment could be tailored to meet Gulf and Australian training or perhaps maritime surveillance needs. Its practical and symbolic benefits in advancing the national interest would outweigh the small resource commitment. It would reinforce the impression among Gulf rulers that Australia is a committed middle power, with potential flow-on benefits in other areas of our bilateral relationship. For Australia, it would provide a small regional base with access to civilian aviation and maritime hubs that could be used in a range of future military contingencies, from Pakistan to North Africa."* (Troops should be kept in the Middle East: A small regional base makes a lot of sense, Rodger Shanahan, The Australian, 18/8/11)

Bet you can't wait to put it up the Pakistanis or mix it with the Moroccans, eh?

But, despite the Lowy Institute's breezy assurance that it'd only cost peanuts for the pleasure, mowing down brown people these days always seems to have a nasty habit of running into the trillions. So wouldn't you think Frank and the lads would at least put their money where their mouth is (over at the Lowy Institute). But no, judging by Shanahan's piece, the understanding seems to be that the cost of Australia's future imperial adventures in the Middle East will be borne almost exclusively by those who manage to pay their taxes without the tax office looking over their shoulder and who probably don't automatically think of Israel when the word charity crops up. Speaking of which, here's the latest:

"The US tax office's long-running investigation into the Lowy family's financial affairs has extended to Bermuda in a bid to unmask who owned and controlled a Liechtenstein-based foundation that US authorities believe was used for tax evasion. The US Internal Revenue Service in April 2009 asked the Bermuda government for help in determining the ownership and control of two companies, Adelphi Ltd and Clareville Ltd, which the IRS suspects are controlled by the Lowy family. The IRS is investigating Westfield Group's Los Angeles-based managing director, Peter Lowy, and his wife Janine, over their tax returns for the year to December 2005. It is also scrutinising the 2004-05 tax return of Beverly Park Corporation, a Delaware-registered company ultimately owned by the Frank Lowy Family Trust, and certain aspects of Beverly Park's returns for the 10 years from 1997 to 2007...

"It is noted that the Liechtenstein-based Luperla Foundation was set up in 1997 'for the benefit of all the members of the Frank Lowy family...' and that it received a loan repayment from Adelphi. In its request, the IRS contended that Adelphi's ownership and control in the 10 years to 2007 was relevant to the ownership and control of Luperla, and that understanding Luperla's ownership would help resolve whether the Lowys should have filed information about the Liechtenstein foundation with US tax authorities... Details of the Bermuda inquiries have emerged in a California court where Peter Lowy is suing the IRS, under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr Lowy wants the US District Court to force the IRS to hand over thousands of pages of documents related to his US tax investigation. The IRS has repeatedly baulked at releasing at least 5402 pages, saying they had to remain confidential because they were the product of exchanges between US tax authorities and the Australian Taxation Office. But Mr Lowy's lawyers now claim that while some material from Bermuda about the Lowys was handed to US authorities, the IRS has 'not identified the existence of such records or identified any grounds for withholding such records'. According to memos stolen from LGT Bank, published by a US Senate committee in 2008, Luperla received $US53 million as founding monies from Adelphi in 1997 by way of a 'credit repayment'. In 2001, LGT Bank was instructed to disperse Luperla's proceeds of $US68 million. The Lowys have said publicly that they never benefited from the Luperla structure, that all its proceeds went to Israeli charities and they met all tax obligations in Australia and the US." (US tax authorities followed Lowy's trail to Bermuda, Leonie Wood, The Age, 18/8/11)

[*Presumably, if Shanahan's proposal - Fort Lowy? - were implemented by an Australian government, our existing base in Dubai (See my 12/11/09 post Billabong Flats) would become permanent.]

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sport Rots the Brain

You've really got to hand it to Israel's Ministry for Pulling the Wool Over Western Eyes, aka the Peres Centre for Peace, for proving that sport rots the brain.

For example, to make up the Palestinian component of their joint Israeli-Palestinian football team, dubbed - what else? - the Peace Team, the PCfP has recruited the likes of Khaled Abu Althom:

"... Kamal Abu Althom, a Hebron soccer coach, claimed it was all about getting to know the players. 'Look, you know about the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Everyone on the West Bank thinks of Israelis as our enemies. And the only thing I knew about Israelis was what people said about them, what I read in the newspapers and what I heard on the radio all my life. They are killing us, they are destroying our houses, and so on. Then I came to play on the Peace Team and met Israelis for the first time face to face as individuals. Before, they were 'the enemy'. But when I talk with the Israelis, I'm talking with a human being - not an 'Israeli' or whatever - you will surely change your mind." (Peace Team a mighty mark, Daily Telegraph, 13/8/11)

Now here's a guy who lives in what the Palestinian researchers, who keep tabs on these things, call Ground Zero for Israeli settler violence but claims he's only ever heard about these Zionist pitbulls? I mean, does he live a sheltered life or what?

[* 451 acts of settler violence in Hebron; 460 in Hebron governorate: Hebron: Ground Zero for Israeli settler violence, April/2011,]

As for the PT's Australian coach, Robert 'Dipper' DiPierdomenico, I sincerely hope his grasp of the game is better than his grasp of history:

"I couldn't believe people wanted to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to play football. I thought, 'You're kidding, aren't you?' I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Five weeks later I was in Israel coaching in the team. We're talking about thousands of years of war, and now look at them." (ibid)

Dipper, you're kidding, aren't you?

[On what really goes on in Israeli sport, read my 17/6/11 post Foul Play]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Time, Another Place

It's hard to believe but BDS campaigns against genocidal, occupying powers were once a breeze in Australia.

The following document, dated 10/9/99, can be viewed in its entirety at

"Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta has urged Australian workers to do whatever they can to pressure the Indonesian Government to bring the violence in East Timor under control, including details of protest actions. In a letter to the Labor Council of NSW, Ramos Horta says the support to date has been both practical and appreciated. But he asks the union movement to 'initiate suitable industrial action, such as refusing to service Garuda aircraft'.

"The ACTU this week endorsed a 'campaign for peace' including industrial action, consumer boycotts and lobbying efforts to bring the situation under control. A similar resolution has been endorsed by the NSW Labor Council. The Sydney community protests are being led by the CFMEU Construction division, which is providing significant resources and logistical support, backed by the Labor Council of NSW.

"Meanwhile, many trade unions have already announced action against Indonesian Government and related business interests, including:

1) The Maritime Union has imposed bans on all Indonesian ships and cargo and will block a shipment of around 80,000 tonnes of wheat due to be exported next week.

2) Printing workers are refusing to handle paper products made in Indonesia.

3) Community actions today forced the rescheduling of flights by Garuda Airlines in both Sydney and Melbourne airports.

4) Postal and telecommunication workers have placed bans on communications, including fault repairs, to the Indonesian Consulate.

5) The Australian Workers Union says refinery operators will indefinitely refuse to process Indonesian crude oil.

6) The Community & Public Sector Union has called for all government departments - including SOCOG - to suspend production contracts with Indonesia.

7) The Transport Workers Union has banned the airport loading of all Indonesian freight.

8) The Australian Nurses Federation has placed members on standby to respond to the looming humanitarian crisis.

9) Other unionists are voicing their concern directly with the United Nations, the Howard Government and the Indonesian Government.

"Individual workers are asked to back a consumer boycott of Indonesian products called by the ACTU. A full list of firms and products can be found at They are also being asked to boycott Indonesian tourist destinations, including Bali." (Ramos Horta calls for workers' support)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Wherever we go we find ourselves grappling with life's great mysteries: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Does God exist? How can I read the Murdoch press and retain my sanity? to name but a few. But these days the question on everyone's lips is this:

"Max Brenner says he is a man of peace who hates all forms of violence. So how has this chocolate maker become the target of anti-Israeli protesters in Australia who accuse him of being complicit with the Israeli military?" (Targeted chocolatier a 'man of peace', Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 13/8/11)

OK, maybe not on everyone's lips. Maybe just those with an agenda who like to play games with history:

"It's a claim which has outraged many who see the campaign against the 24-store Max Brenner chocolate chain in this country as an ugly echo of the anti-Semitism of 1930s Germany when Jewish businesses were targeted." (ibid)

And, it seems, no one is more perplexed than the bald guy himself. So perplexed he doesn't even need to shave his head. Is that perhaps because he's so busy scratching it, the hair never quite makes it out of the starting gate? Or is it because the 'chocolate' under his fingernails contains a substance that... But I digress:

"But it seems Max Brenner, the company's founder, is perplexed and dismayed at finding himself an unwitting symbol of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. A Max Brenner spokesman said Mr Brenner, who lives in New York, was on leave and unavailable for interview. But when asked in July 2009 about protests against his Sydney stores..." (ibid)

Hang on. July 2009? Oh, I see! Could Max have become so depressed over the emergence of the BDS-SS in 2009 that he fled Sydney for New York and now lives, curled up in a foetal position, somewhere in MB HQ?

OK, so what'd he have to say back in 2009?

"... Mr Brenner said he was no more than a chocolate-maker. 'Everything that has to do with conflict seems stupid (to me)', he said. 'Whether it is in Israel or not, anything to do with violence, aggressiveness or appearing at protests or boycotts seems silly (to me). But then again, I am just a chocolate-maker'." (ibid)

What a sweet guy! Wouldn't hurt - let alone protest or boycott - a fly, obviously. So why, why, why, Delilah, given that...

"The link between the 43-year-old Mr Brenner and the Israeli military is accidental and indirect, notwithstanding the fact that Mr Brenner, like other Israeli-born men, had to complete mandatory military service as a young man." (ibid)

... are those bloody BDS-SS still persecuting the poor man?:

"In 2001, the Max Brenner chain became part of the much larger Strauss Group, Israel's second-largest food and beverage company." (ibid)

Does this mean that Max, the "man of peace who hates all forms of violence," doesn't really exist any more? That he isn't really a reincarnation of some sweet little German Jewish chocolate maker with a brown-streaked apron, weeping amid the ruins of his Berlin shop back in 1938? That he's really just a logo? Guess so. Boy, did Cameron Stewart have us fooled for a while.

OK, so what we're really dealing with here is an international corporation? Albeit one that takes the notion of corporate responsibility very seriously indeed by giving succour to a very special, very needy - and terribly misunderstood - group of down-and-outs:

"... But Strauss also provides food and care packages to Israeli soldiers." (ibid)

Eureka, that's it then! It took us - well, Cameron Stewart actually - a long time (paragraph 13 of a 16 paragraph 'report'!) but we finally got an answer to our question: Max Brenner, aka Strauss Group, directly aids and abets, nay, has actually "adopted,"* the killers of the Golani and Givati platoons, and that is why he has "become the target of anti-Israel protesters." Mystery solved! But no, wait a minute, there's a catch...

"This, in the eyes of anti-Israel activists, justifies a boycott." (ibid)

Right, aiding and abetting the GGs is only a problem if seen through the wide, wild, hate-filled eyes of crazed anti-Semites, aka "anti-Israeli protesters."

Whereas, in the cool, calm and collected eyes of Cameron Stewart, whose 2005 trip to Israel, "partly sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry,"** has equipped him to see just how sweet the GGs really are, it's no problem at all.

[* See my 12/7/09 post How Sweet It Is; **Road to the point of no return, 24/12/05]

What'd You Say Your Name Was?

Put Cadel back in his box, line the streets, hand out the confetti, and strike up the band:

"More than 8 years after Australian special forces infiltrated the deserts of western Iraq at the start of what was to prove a brutal, bitter and divisive conflict, the very last diggers have withdrawn. That occurred on August 6 with the departure of 17 Aussie troops responsible for providing security at the Australian embassy in Baghdad. The only reason this did not pass entirely without notice was that Defence Minister Stephen Smith mentioned it at a media conference called to outline proposed reforms to the defence organisation." (Last diggers depart Iraq,, 9/8/11)

This ending to Australia's inglorious role in the greatest crime of the 21st century to date, involving the deaths of over 100,000 civilians, the creation of almost 5 million refugees, the decapitation of Iraq's professional elite, and the transformation of a once proud and cohesive nation into a collection of hostile sectarian statelets, has gone strangely (predictably?) unremarked by Fairfax and Murdoch pundits.

And yet Defence Minister Stephen Smith's words at the above media conference are highly revealing as to why we too were more than happy to put the boot into Iraq:

"Australia's war in Iraq cost billions but only a few lives..." (ibid)

Billions? Smith didn't elaborate? Was no one at the conference interested? Lest we forget: "The Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US3 trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US50-60 billion predicted in 2003. Australia also faced a bill much greater than the $2.2 billion in military spending reported last week by Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston, Professor Stiglitz said, pointing to higher oil prices and other indirect costs of the wars." (Iraq war 'caused slowdown in the US', Peter Wilson, The Australian, 28/2/08)

Only a few lives? For suckholes like Smith and the rest, Iraqi lives don't count. What a surprise!

"Despite Labor's longstanding opposition, Mr Smith acknowledged that involvement in Iraq had produced some benefits for Australia." (ibid)

How wonderful! Then the Howard government's contribution to the mugging and maiming of an innocent country is vindicated? Do go on, Stephen:

"He said a decade of land war in Iraq and Afghanistan had seen Australia working very closely with the US. 'We have seen a much stronger relationship so far as special forces are concerned and a much stronger relationship so far as intelligence has been concerned', he said. Mr Smith said senior Australian defence personnel had worked closely for a decade at a senior level with US, NATO and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel. 'That has left a singularly good impression', he said." (ibid)

There you have it. Every cloud has a silver lining. We got to snuggle up ever so close to Uncle Sam... and, yes, it was wonderful, as you'd expect... and... and, yes, he still respects us in the morning.

Doesn't he?

Monday, August 15, 2011

White Resistance/ Brown Terrorism

If you're white/European, and you took up arms against a white/European invading/occupying power in Europe during World War II, then you're a heroic resistance fighter:

And on your death, you'll be hailed in the corporate media, over and over again, as a resistance fighter.

In The Australian:

Fearless matriarch of resistance, 9/8/11; in which the word resistance crops up 8 times.
Nurse, journalist, soldier, spy (editorial); resistance x 2

In The Daily Telegraph:

The mouse that roared, 9/8/11; resistance x 3

In The Sydney Morning Herald:

Wartime heroine Nancy Wake dies at 98, 9/8/11 (obituary); resistance x 3
'White Mouse' used sass to outsmart the Nazi regime, 9/8/11; resistance x 4

And another thing - wonder of wonders! - you'll even get apologists for a certain contemporary invading/occupying power writing letters to the editor praising you to the skies:

"The death of Nancy Wake is a timely reminder of a stoic and courageous generation that has just about passed from our midst. The Second World War was a fight against a foe that eschewed humanity, enslaved peoples and exterminated communities. Nancy Wake inspired not just those she led but also those that suffered from the jackboot of occupation, oppression and race hatred. A true Australian heroine. Noel Hadjimichael Maroubra, SMH, 9/8/11

But if you're brown/non-European, and you take up arms against an invading/occupying power, whether white or brown, that either has the blessing of the US or may even be the US, anytime since World War II, you're an evil terrorist and you're going down.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Unnatural Gas

What Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian and this country's most vocal Zionist apologist in the corporate media, gets away with day in, day out, is beyond belief.

Here are just two of his more recent Middle East-related emissions - followed by some furious window-opening on my part:

"Similarly there was in recent years one authentic Jewish terrorist, Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994, at the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron, shot and killed 29 innocent Palestinians. He was immediately condemned by all shades of Israeli politics and all mainstream shades of the Jewish religion. His action has not been repeated." (The unheeded steps of a psycho killer, 28/7/11)

If only Sheridan had taken the trouble to acquire and read a copy of Jewish Terrorism in Israel (2009) by Ami Pedahzur & Arie Perliger, he might have thought twice before uttering that falsehood. Pedahzur and Perliger provide detailed information on 309 Jewish terrorist attacks between 1932 and 2008, perpetrated by 224 individuals. And they're just the rogue terrorists. As for the state terrorists, how long have you got?

"One of the biggest challenges is to reform the Arab world's profoundly dysfunctional political culture of paranoia and conspiracy theories, most of them centred on Jews and Israel. You can't quickly build a democratic culture with the public discourse saturated in poison." (Chill wind blows for Arab spring, 4/8/11)

Maybe after reading the following, he might like to revise that. Only joking:

"Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic... summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism. They are called Arabs. 'The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don't pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don't want to develop', she says. 'The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer'.

"Peled-Elhanan... has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past 5 years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology & Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism - but more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service. 'People don't really know what their children are reading in textbooks', she said. 'One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians'.

"In 'hundreds and hundreds' of books, she claims she did not find one photograph that depicted an Arab as a 'normal person'. The most important finding in the books she studied - all authorised by the ministry of education - concerned the historical narrative of events in 1948, the year in which Israel fought a war to establish itself as an independent state, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the ensuing conflict. The killing of Palestinians is depicted as something that was necessary for the survival of the nascent Jewish state, she claims. 'It's not that the massacres are denied, they are represented in Israeli school books as something that in the long run was good for the Jewish state. For example, Deir Yassin [a pre-1948 Palestinian village close to Jerusalem] was a terrible slaughter by Israeli soldiers. In school books they tell you that this massacre initiated the massive flight of Arabs from Israel and enabled the establishment of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. So it was for the best. Maybe it was unfortunate, but in the long run the consequences for us were good'.

"Children, she says, grow up to serve in the army and internalise the message that Palestinians are 'people whose life is dispensable with impunity. And not only that, but people whose number has to be diminished'... Asked if Palestinian text books also reflect a certain dogma, Peled-Elhanan claims that they distinguish between Zionists and Jews. 'They make this distinction all the time. They are against Zionists, not against Jews'." (Academic claims Israeli textbooks contain bias, Harriet Sherwood,, 7/8/11)

Fairfax Gets With the Program

Further to the previous post and the Israeli foreign ministry's mobilisation of useful fools in the Western corporate media to further its new rebranding Israel strategy (See my 30/11/10 post Once a Sow's Ear), has anyone out there noticed the proliferation of pro-Israel features in the Fairfax press lately?

Here are a few obvious efforts I've noticed:

1) Treading the halls of power: Yuval Rotem's high-profile diplomatic postings to Los Angeles and now Australia makes a move to politics an obvious next step, writes Damien Murphy (Sydney Morning Herald, 8/1/11) See my 8/1/11 post Media Tart.

2) Lunch with Naomi Chazan: Step into the ring with Naomi Chazan and you're likely to get bloodied. The outspoken Israeli realist talks to Jason Koutsoukis (Sydney Morning Herald, 11/6/11)

3) The Essay: Samantha Selinger-Morris, Old hatreds in a new medium: The internet spreads celebrities' anti-Semitic diatribes, but it also helps call them to account (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/7/11)

4) Lunch with Amos Oz: Burning curiosity not only helped this author craft his works, it led him to kill a fierce hatred, writes Peter Hartcher (Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/11)

5) A holy bunch of hedonists: Expecting military checkpoints and religious fanaticism, Andrew Taylor instead discovers a land where culture, nightlife and the beach often take priority over piety and politics (The Sun-Herald, 7/8/11)

Feature a Palestinian? You must be joking!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Holy Crap

"Nothing incenses me or provokes me like watching tourist promotions for the enemy state of Israel. I scream inwardly: The stones are not yours. The flowers are not yours. The beaches are not yours. The clouds are not yours. The blue of the sky is not yours. All will return to their owners. Then everything will be more beautiful and splendid." (The Angry Arab,, 6/7/11)

I know how he feels.

The Sun-Herald this week carried a double page promo on the stolen land in its travel supplement written by staff journalist Andrew Taylor, who, according to an appended disclosure, "travelled with assistance from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

A holy bunch of hedonists is clearly part and parcel of the Israeli foreign ministry's post-Mavi Marmara massacre PR strategy of recruiting foreign journalists and other useful fools in a concerted effort to airbrush the apartheid state (See my post of 30/11/10 Once a Sow's Ear).

Some gems:

"But visitors expecting to be manhandled at military checkpoints, harangued by religious nutbags or caught in crossfire will be in for a surprise. Israel is not merely a country-sized firing range but rather an ethnically diverse, vibrant land where cultural and late-night pursuits often take priority over piety and politics."

So Taylor didn't know that checkpoints were reserved for occupied Palestinians? Or that there's no such thing as crossfire because it's actually the Israelis who are doing all the shooting? Oh, really? But then, given the abysmal knowledge deficit of most of our ms media scribblers and babblers, quite possibly not. Anyway, to invoke the 'o' word would only cruel the sales-pitch and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise, so forget I ever mentioned it. Still, seeing I have, don't those late-night pursuits take on a whole new meaning?

"Jerusalem's first pleasant surprise is the steep hills carpeted in pines and cypresses that guard the western approaches to King David's city. Thanks to the determination of Jewish settlers in the 1950s to 'make the desert bloom', this side of Jerusalem resembles the alpine scenery of central Europe."

Amazing, isn't it? Despite King David being little more than a character in the Bible, with no real archaeological substance to back him or his alleged empire up, the Zionist narrative nonetheless mandates that he be the defining moment of the city's history - a little like referring to London as Emperor Claudius' city. Taylor's deliberate focus on a mere historical (if even that) blip, to the exclusion of 14 centuries of almost uninterrupted Muslim rule and presence in the city, is yet another example of what religious scholar Keith W. Whitelam calls the "retrojection of the modern state of Israel into the Iron Age."* But expecting anything other than Zionist cliches here is to forget that we're dealing with PR, not genuine travel writing. And to confirm just that, what does Taylor do in the very next sentence but trot out the tired old saw about heroic Jewish pioneers 'making the desert bloom'.**

[*The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History, 1996; See also Top Israeli archaeologists contest Jewish ties to Jerusalem, The Palestine Information Center, 10/8/11; ** See my 25/11/08 post Sir Bob Wows JNFaithful at Galah Dinner.]

In addition to the nonsense about King David's city, notice how the iconic 14-century old Haram ash-Sharif, with its golden Dome of the Rock (mislabelled Dome of the Mount!) and accompanying mosque, without which Jerusalem would be virtually unrecognisible, play second fiddle to a structure that had disappeared from history in Roman times:

"Above the Wailing Wall is Temple Mount, home to al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Mount [sic], with its iconic golden roof."

And check out the Israeli foreign ministry-approved tour guide/minder, Oded:

"A different guide, also named Oded, tells me that a bullet hole inside al-Aqsa marks the spot where King Abdullah I of Jordan was shot in 1951 for daring to suggest the Arabic [sic] world should negotiate with Israel."

Bet you say that to all the hack journos, Oded.

The message from Oded and his transmission belt, Taylor, of course, is that the 'Arabs' are always the clockwork violence-prone intransigents in this conflict.

While Taylor manages to swallow this familiar Zionist insinuation without gagging, the historical record, as Avi Shlaim's definitive study, The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists, & Palestine 1921-1951 (1988/1998) shows, will have none of it:

"In the last weeks of his life Abdullah was a lonely and disappointed man. Three weeks before his death he invited an American officer of the Palestine Conciliation Commission named Hamilton Fisher to his palace in Amman... After discussing certain specific aspects of Jordanian-Israeli relations, Abdullah asked Fisher to stay and talk to him about what he called 'a most personal and confidential problem which is breaking my heart'. This problem was that of peace with Israel. 'I am an old man', said Abdullah. 'I know that my power is limited; I know that I am hated by my own son... I also know that my own people distrust me because of my peace efforts. But despite all that, I know that I could get peace settled if only I had some encouragement and could get any reasonable concessions from Israel'...

"He said his own people distrusted him because they suspected him of wanting to make peace without any concession by Israel. He emphasised that this was an obstacle which he could not overcome. Please understand, he said, that despite the Arab League I would have the support of my own people and the tacit support at least of the British if I could justify peace by pointing to concessions made by the Jews. But without any concessions from them, I am defeated before I even start...

"[I]t would be erroneous to conclude that King Abdullah was assassinated just because of his contacts with the Israelis and because of his well known desire to make peace with them. The real background to the murder was the long standing rivalry between Abdullah and the Husaynis. It is true that his opponents were opposed to his settlement with Israel, but this was not their sole reason for instigating his murder. Nor was the assassination part of a broad Palestinian bid to capture power in Jordan or to reverse Jordanian foreign policy. The conspirators did not propose to renew the war against Israel. Some of them were moved by the dream of an independent, resurgent Arab Palestine, and by the fear of further Jewish advances at the cost of the Palestinian Arabs which the British-controlled Arab Legion might be either unable or unwilling to prevent. It was significant that all the conspirators were Palestinian Arabs who belonged to the mufti's camp. But although all the signs seem to point to the shadowey figure of the mufti, no evidence was discovered of his direct complicity in the murder." (pp 415-418) And what was Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's reaction to the assassination of Abdullah? A peace offensive? Not on your nelly. He proposed to the Brits that they take over Jordan, while Israel grabbed the rest of Palestine and the Sinai all the way to the Suez Canal, a proposal in which they showed little interest at the time.

Moving on, have you ever seen a more dreadful metaphor than this?:

"If Jerusalem is a little Marie Osmond, Tel Aviv is definitely the Stevie Nicks of Israel."

Ah, but here's something of value:

"There's certainly no sign of the boorishness that led English writer A.A. Gill, in his latest book, Here & There, to label Israel as home to the rudest people."

Isn't it amazing what you can report when you don't have "assistance from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs"?

Finally, it's not only Palestinian stones, flowers, beaches, clouds and sky which Israel has ripped off, it's also the food:

"Food is serious business in the Middle East. Israel's claim to be the home of hummus is hotly contested by neighbouring Lebanon..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We Need to Talk About Ted

What is it with Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and BDS?

What do we really know about this guy?

We know that he believes that until the creation of Melbourne's parliamentary bearpit in 1851, Victoria was engulfed in darkness, and we know that he's been successfully rambammed:

"The Chanukah Menorah was lit in the Victorian Parliament House by the Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, in attendance were the Deputy Premier of Victoria Rob Hull and leader of the Opposition Ted Baillieu, as well as other ministers and members of Parliament and leaders of the Melbourne Jewish community... [T]he head Shliach of the Chabad of Melbourne CBD, Rabbi Chaim Herzog explained that this festival teaches us of the need to ensure that the light overshadows the darkness especially when the deeds of the terrorists may their memory be erased make the darkness so plain to see... The leader of the Opposition Ted Baillieu was then invited to speak, he told the gathering that in relation to Parliament House, this house demonstrates that freedom and democracy arrived here 160 years ago, which like Chanukah demonstrates the victory of light over darkness, therefore it's appropriate that it be celebrated in this building. Mr Baillieu spoke of his trip to Israel, where he visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre, in which the darkness and suffering which the Jews endured was so obviously noted, therefore the festival of Chanukah will bring light on the nations to ensure no repetition of such events could occur." (Chanukah at Parliament House,, undated)

Speaking of Chanukah, had Ted been around for the following Chabad event he would surely have been inspired by this wonderful tale of a bravely flickering Jewish light in a sea of Arab darkness:

"Chabad of Melbourne CBD was the venue of 'A Lunchtime Encounter with the Rebbe's Shliach in Hevron'. When Rabbi Chaim Herzog... introduced Rabbi Danny Cohen the Rebbe's Shliach in Chevron, he said we may both be Shluchim of the Rebbe, but my shliches is the easier one at least I am not surrounded by hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs. Rabbi Cohen who lives in downtown Hevron with his wife and 6 children came to Melbourne to share the thrills and chills of living on the front lines of Jewish history - past, present and future. Chevron: The Biblical city of the founders of the Jewish nation is currently the home to hundreds of Jewish residents, a thousand Jewish soldiers and hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs. A large crowd came to show their support of what Rabbi Cohen is doing there, he encourages the soldiers to have faith, tour groups are invited for Shabbosim, young students are enlightened as to where the beginnings and endings of their forefathers took place. The lecture was followed by Lunch and Mincha."

What a shame he missed it, but all is not lost! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, for a real inspiration fix Ted need only access where he can read for himself all about those thrills & chills. If I may digress, my fav is the Youtube video with the following caption: "As worldwide media strains to portray Jewish soldiers as powerful brutes, a group of soldiers in Hevron boogied their way down an Arab street in full combat gear. See for yourself how the soldiers change the screech from the local mosque to a sweet melody of rhythm and outright fun!" (Combat gear coreography [sic] rocks the street!, 8/7/10)

We know that Ted should choose his friends more carefully:

"The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has extended 'sincere congratulations' to Victorian Liberal Party leader Ted Baillieu on his 'stunning election victory and on becoming the 46th Premier of Victoria'. Mark Leibler, AIJAC's National Chairman, also expressed appreciation for Mr Baillieu's 'long-standing support of Israel and genuine understanding of the interests and needs of the Australian Jewish community'. 'We have no doubt that as Premier, you will continue to be a true friend to both the Jewish people and the Jewish state', he added." (AIJAC congratulates Ted Baillieu on his election as Premier of Victoria,, 30/11/10)

We know that although Ted's election victory was like unto the victory of the Maccabees, Melbourne's Greek community was thankfully not put to the sword:

"The seventh flame of the Chanukah Menorah was kindled at an event in the Victorian State Parliament... Premier Ted Baillieu addressed the crowd regarding the significance of delivering his first speech at a community function, since his election as Premier, being during Chanukah for 3 special reasons. The Premier first acknowledged that Chanukah marked a personal victory for himself, as election results revealing his appointment to Premier were released on Chanukah. He later expounded on this comparison, by stating that Chanukah celebrates not just an ordinary victory, but the defeat of the masses by minority groups, even in the face of tremendous adversity. The Premier thus paralleled his emerging from his position as head of a minority party to head of the Governing party, to the miraculous win of the Maccabees over the multitudes of Greek soldiers. He also emphasised that Chanukah is celebrated as a festival of victory for the Jewish nation, marking an end to religious oppression." (Chanukah celebration Victorian State parliament,, undated)

We know that Ted is more than happy to see tax-free Australian dollars flow into Israeli coffers:

"'Anything is possible', was the message from The Hon Ted Baillieu MLA, Premier of Victoria, who was the guest speaker at the United Israel Appeal Community Evening held on Tuesday 15th March at Lincoln of Toorak. In stating that 'the Jewish Community is vital to the whole world', Mr Baillieu particularly noted the solidarity in our community which works so well together as we are [a] strong, inspiring and innovative unit... His sentiments highlighted the importance of the State of Israel in that Israel 'makes it possible' for their own but also for the others and UIA 'makes it possible' as it grows for the future of Israel." (2011 community evening,, 17/3/11)

While Ted may have missed hearing all about the thrills & chills in liberated Hebron, how lucky was he not to have missed these tales of Israeli daring-do in the evil kingdom of Hamastan:

"Second speaker for the evening was Australian-born IDF officer Captain Benjamin Rutland, Head of the NATO Desk, IDF Strategic Division. Rutland discussed his experience as a spokesperson for the IDF, particularly during the Gaza War and shared personal stories of Olim that he has been fortunate enough to have served with, many of whom would not have been able to if it wasn't for the assistance provided by the Jewish Agency and UIA." (ibid)

We know he's a party animal:

"<strong>Baillieu addressed a large gathering at Melbourne's Windsor Hotel last Wednesday as part of Israel's 63rd Independence Day celebrations. The habitual swimmer also made a 'teetotaller's toast' to the Jewish state... Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem commended Victoria for its support of Israel... The crowd was also addressed by Jewish Community Council of Victoria president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Sam Tatarka, whose organisation hosted the event." (Teetotaller toast to Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 10/6/11)

Finally, we know Ted'd be out of his depth in a puddle.