Monday, October 31, 2011

A Shiver Looking for a Spine to Run Up

What an unmitigated disaster this creature is:

"The Palestinian President, in a remarkable assessment delivered on Israeli TV, says the Arab world erred in rejecting the United Nations' 1947 plan to partition Palestine into a Palestinian and a Jewish state. The Palestinian and Arab refusal to accept a UN plan to partition the then British-controlled mandate of Palestine sparked widespread fighting, then Arab military intervention after Israel declared independence the following year. The Arabs lost the war. 'It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole', Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] told Channel 2 TV on Friday, in a rare interview to the Israeli media. 'But do they [the Israelis] punish us for this mistake 64 years?'" (It was our mistake, says Palestinian chief, Amy Teibal, AP/The Sun-Herald, 30/10/11)

Essentially, what he has said to Israeli viewers (assuming he even knows the relevant history) is this:

In 1947, the United Nations, then just a white man's club dominated by a superpower under the thumb of a powerful, fanatical and utterly ruthless domestic lobby, decided to gift over half of my Palestinian homeland, including Safad, the city of my birth, to a recently arrived but powerful, fanatical and utterly ruthless movement of European colons who behaved as if they owned the place but had purchased no more than 6% of it at the time, trashing in the process our right of national self-determination. All that and more, yet the Palestinian and Arab leaderships of the day were mistaken in not accepting such a state of affairs.

What next? The Balfour Declaration was actually a win-win for Jews and Arabs, but we missed that boat too? The Zionist project has actually been character-building for us?

No, not that, because the man is utterly spineless, as the late Edward Said recognised almost a decade ago:

"Perhaps the one thing that strikes me as the low point in Arab inability to grasp the dignity of the Palestinian cause is expressed by the current state of the Palestinian Authority. Abu Mazen, a subordinate figure with little political support among his own people, was picked for the job by Arafat, Israel, and the United States precisely because he has no constituency, because he is not an orator or a great organizer or anything really except a dutiful aide to Yasir Arafat, and because, I am afraid, they see in him a man who will do Israel's bidding. But how could even Abu Mazen stand there in Aqaba to pronounce words written for him, like a ventriloquist's puppet, by some State Department functionary, in which he commendably speaks about Jewish suffering but then amazingly says next to nothing about his own people's suffering at the hands of Israel? How could he accept so undignified and manipulated a role for himself, and how could he forget his self-dignity as the representative of a people that has been fighting heroically for its rights for over a century, just because the United States and Israel have told him he must? And when Israel simply says that there will be a 'provisional' Palestinian state, without any contrition for the horrendous amount of damage it has done, the uncountable war crimes, the sheer sadistic, systematic humiliation of every single Palestinian man, woman, and child, I must confess to a complete lack of understanding as to why a leader or representative of that long-suffering people doesn't so much as take note of it. Has he entirely lost his sense of dignity? Has he forgotten that he is not just an individual but also the bearer of his people's fate at an especially crucial moment? Is there anyone who was not bitterly disappointed at this total failure to rise to the occasion and stand with dignity - the dignity of his people's experience and cause - and testify to it with pride, without compromise, without ambiguity, without the half-embarrassed, half-apologetic tone that Palestinian leaders take when they are begging for a little kindness from some totally unworthy white father?" (Al-Ahram, 26/6/03)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greg Sheridan's Worst Nightmare

Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan is a troubled man these days. The Australian's foreign editor is wracked by this terrible thought:

"Ireland is the land of my ancestors. I still have close family connections there. Without any qualification, I love Ireland deeply. It has, sadly, again fallen on tough economic times, but it is facing up to them resolutely. And it remains an astonishing source of culture. But if it elects [Martin] McGuiness, a former IRA terrorist, as president, for the first time in my life I will be thoroughly ashamed of the Irish... If they elect a wretched terrorist like McGuiness, the Irish will have demonstrated a loss of faith in themselves, their own inherent decency and moderation." (A figurehead should not be elected, The Australian, 27/10/11)

Needless to say, as far as I'm aware, Sheridan's never had a problem with Israeli terrorists, such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, becoming prime ministers of his even more beloved Israel (1977-83 & 1986-92 respectively), so there you go.

That aside, if I were Sheridan, I'd be consoling myself with the thought that things could be worse - much worse. How about an anti-Zionist for governor-general of Australia? Or worse still, how about a governor-general who actually was an anti-Zionist?

And why raise what for Sheridan must be the ultimate in nightmare scenarios?

Well, in the same column, having noted that the Irish presidency is largely ceremonial, he blithely alludes to "the solid steady people who have been our governors general - Quentin Bryce, Mike Jeffery, Bill Hayden, Zelman Cowan, going all the way back to Isaac Isaacs," seemingly unaware that the first of these native-born G-Gs, Isaac Isaacs (G-G: 1931-36), who was a Jew, was also an anti-Zionist!

The following quotes, which may be found at reveal that not only was Isaac Isaacs solid and steady, but remarkably clear-thinking and utterly principled as well:

"[T]here is no warrant, legal or moral, for making Palestine a Jewish State, any more than an Arab State, but there is every reason for making it what the Mandate terms it, a Palestinian nationality, that is bi-national..." (The Nationality of the Australian Jew, 9/9/47)

"[Political Zionism] has run the entire gamut of racial nationalism from the... very modest hope of restoration of Palestine as the centre of a new, positive, and intensive Jewish cultural life to the extreme theory of Jewish nationalism practically identical with Nazist and Fascist theory, which holds that the bonds of Jewish racial nationalism are eternally indissoluble, that there can only be ever one Jewish homeland, only one land in which the Jew can ever feel himself completely at home, that eternally he is a member of the Jewish racial nation, however that term may be defined, that he resides among the nations, as at present, only a temporary sojourner, that he is in Diaspora, in 'Galut', in exile, and that Israel's redemption from the sad fate of the last 1500 years or even the last 2500 years will be only when it will be restored to the role of completely and predominately Jewish independent statehood in Palestine, in whatever form and however achieved this Statehood may take, Commonwealth, Republic, or Dominion." (Palestine: Peace & Prosperity or War & Destruction? Political Zionism: Undemocratic, Unjust, Dangerous, p 23-4, 14/1/46)

"A most serious responsibility... for affording a just and acceptable basis for a peaceful and harmonious solution rests primarily on the shoulders of Political Zionism because it is actively pressing for political measures intended to swamp the Arab population [of Palestine]..." (ibid, p 5)

"[The demands of political Zionism are] inconsistent in demanding on one hand, on a basis of a separate Jewish nationality everywhere Jews are found, Jewish domination in Palestine, and at the same time claiming complete Jewish equality elsewhere than in Palestine, on the basis of a nationality common to the citizens of every faith." (ibid, p 11)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Israel 101 for Cops

"Police officers in NSW will take part in a seminar where they will be taught about the threat of terrorism faced by Jews and Israel, the history of Zionism and the Jewish community's connection to the Holy Land. The course, which will be run for the first time next month, is being conducted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) and the Communal Security Group (CSG) for members of the police force's anti-terrorism unit. JBD chief executive Vic Alhadeff said that the police had requested the seminar. 'It's to inform them and assist them in their work when they are dealing with issues that come up, and full credit to them for this initiative in approaching us', Alhadeff said. 'This is testament to the close and strong working relationship between the NSW Jewish community, through the CSG, and the NSW Police. Informing them on these issues can only be a positive in terms of the way the police deal with situations going forward', he said." (Israel 101 course for police, The Australian Jewish News, 28/10/11)

So Vic was just sitting at his desk twiddling his thumbs one day when, quite out of the blue, he got a call from the NSW Police: 'Constable Plod 'ere. We wanna learn all about the threat of terrorism faced by Jews and Israel, and while we're at it, the history of Zionism and the Jewish community's connection to the Holy Land, OK?' Right.

Frankly, I'm getting a little worried about Vic's memory. Why should this call from PC Plod have been so completely unexpected? After all hadn't Vic written in The Australian Jewish News only last month: "Our response to BDS forms part of a coordinated strategy... endorsed by counterparts abroad and Israel's Foreign Ministry. That response has included... engagement with civil society and politicians, patronage of boycotted outlets, cooperation with police, shop owners and centre managers, and exposure of the motives behind the BDS movement." (See my 15/9/11 post Wielding Zionism's Big Stick in the Senate.) And hadn't his mate in the NSW Legislative Council, Walt Secord, lectured the government thus: "With the BDS gaining support, the NSW Government and the Police Minister must ensure that companies with an Israeli connection are protected and are not unfairly treated." (See my 27/6/11 post An Israeli-Occupied Mind.) Not to mention the plods who once dropped in at Leichhardt Council's library just to say hi. (See my 26/5/08 post A Tale of Two Exhibitions.)

On the other hand, he did acknowledge the close and strong relationship between the NSW Jewish community, through its CSG, and the NSW Police, did he not?

Seriously though, whatever the genesis of Israel 101, it sure raises some issues:

1)Informing them on these issues can only be a positive in terms of the way the police deal with situations going forward, he said. Situations? What kind of situations, Vic? BDS situations? How will a Zionist-indoctrinated NSW police force deal with BDS situations? More aggressively perhaps? Watch this space.

2) Will the constabulary be provided with such priceless propaganda as the Board of Deputies glossy 2008 booklet: The Arab-Israel Conflict & the Peace Process: An Overview? If so, they'll be getting such cutting-edge codswallop as this, on the touchstone issue of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948:

"Obviously many, if not most, of the refugees fled... simply to avoid the dangers of remaining in a war zone. However, Arab sources accuse the Jewish forces of a concerted terror campaign aimed at removing the Arab population. An Israeli response is to point to documented Arab calls for the inhabitants of the area to leave their homes and make way for an Arab invasion, and to a serious effort by Israel to persuade the Arab population to remain. The issue is still the subject of intense historical controversy, since the events took place in the heat of war, and most of the historical conclusions are politically motivated. Both of the conflicting descriptions of the events probably have an element of the truth, depending on the exigencies of full-scale war. For example, the Jewish leadership in the mixed city of Haifa made a point of attempting to persuade the Arab population to remain in place, a call which was resolutely rejected in order to clear the way for the expected bombardment and invasion of the city*. On the other hand some of those who occupied strategically critical areas in the centre of the country between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were displaced, and others fled as a consequence of the highly coloured reports in the Arab media. In particular, lurid tales are still told about the deaths of the inhabitants of the village of Deir Yassin, which the Irgun insisted occurred unintentionally in the course of a battle to secure the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road. Essentially, however, the Arab exodus was a result of the fact that the war of 1947-1949 took place, in the sense that if there had been no invasion and a peaceful partition had been completed then it is unlikely that any substantial emigration would have occurred." (Causes of the exodus, pp 23-24)

3) If Vic Alhadeff ever becomes NSW Police Commissioner will the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies become the NSW Jewish Board of Deputy Sheriffs?

[* On Haifa in particular see my 7/5/08 post Bend It Like Benny.]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sucked in at Sydney University

Reading The Australian's spin on the coming Israel Research Forum to be held at Sydney University on October 31, you'd swear dissenting SU professor Jake Lynch was looking a gift horse in the mouth:

"University of Sydney scholars set to exchange ideas with visiting Israeli experts on neuroscience, tissue regeneration and other cutting-edge research areas are being warned the event will offend potential Muslim undergraduates... Associate Professor Jake Lynch, director of the university's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, has urged his colleagues to withdraw from the research gathering, and the university administration to cancel it. Dr Lynch has been a strong supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign designed to isolate Israel... 'The university risks sustaining reputational damage if the forum goes ahead', Dr Lynch told The Australian yesterday.'It risks being seen as condoning the complicity by Israeli universities in Israel's breaches of international law and indirectly with the university's social inclusion policy'." (University forum with Israeli scientists 'offends Muslims', Imre Salusinszky, 25/10/11)

Neuroscience, tissue regeneration and other cutting-edge research areas? Wowee! Who could say no? Can Dr Lynch be serious?

Well, yes, because our visiting Israeli experts hail from such august bastions of the apartheid state's military-industrial complex as The Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv University, each of which, in one way or another, aids and abets Israel's 44-year long occupation of the Palestinian Territories and its 63-year abuse of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples.

The fact of the matter is that, by flirting with such institutions, Sydney University contributes to their normalisation and exposes itself to charges of complicity in Israel's cutting-edge crimes.

Just briefly:

The Weizmann Institute for Science is the birthplace of Israel's nuclear weapons.

The Technion collaborates with Israeli military technology manufacturers such as Elbit Systems Ltd, a manufacturer of military, surveillance and security equipment, some of which is incorporated in Israel's illegal West Bank wall. Elbit also manufactures unmanned aerial and ground vehicles which are routinely used in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It also collaborates with the government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, one of Israel's largest military technology manfacturers and source, among other things, of protective shields for its Merkava tanks and missiles for its killer drones. (See Structures of Oppression: Why McGill & Concordia Universities must sever their links with the Technion University,, 26/10/10)

Tel Aviv University collaborates with the Israeli Ministry of Defence in preparing select Israeli high school students for work in Israel's arms industry. (See Tel Aviv hosts youth seminar on Science & Technology in the Service of Security, Alternative Information Center, 24/11/10)

Thank God someone's blowing a whistle.

[Related post: The ABC of Zionist Propaganda, 12/12/10]

Gilding the Libya

The Australian's Middle East correspondent, John Lyons worries about the rewriting of contemporary Libyan history:

"It began with unarmed protesters throwing rocks at a Libyan military base in Benghazi and ended with NATO, one of the world's most formidable military machines, spending months bombing Muammar Gaddafi's land and military positions. Amid all the celebrations of victory in Libya, the decisive role of NATO is being pushed into the background. But the reality is the toppling of Gaddafi simply could not have happened without the support of NATO." (The rebel fighters claim victory, but NATO offensive was decisive, 25/10/11)

Now just who is pushing the decisive role of NATO into the background?

Could it be... The Australian's foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan?:

"[T]he West's intervention in Libya was well-calibrated... It was enough to protect Gaddafi's enemies. It was enough to enable Libya's rebels to win. The rebels will be grateful for this help, but they won themselves. They own their revolution. They needn't resent their dependence on the US or on anybody else. They shed their own blood." (Vindication for the West's soft tactics, 22/10/11)

And another thing: what's this soft tactics shit?

If months of NATO bombing, which one commentator, former MI5 agent Annie Machon*, claims has taken Libya back to the Stone Age, can be described as soft tactics, one can only speculate where NATO's use of hard tactics may have taken it. To Hell but not back, maybe?

[*'NATO has bombed Libya back to Stone Age',, 19/10/11]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Martin Flanagan: Moderates & Extremists.

In an earlier post, The Peace Team: Politics & PR (5/10/11), I drew attention to the role of Age sports journalist Martin Flanagan in promoting Israel's joint Israeli/Palestinian so-called Peace Team.

Well, he's at it again. In his latest promo, Moderates must reclaim the public stage (22/10/11), Flanagan muses on the difference between good and bad journalism, asserting that "News Ltd has to ask itself whether the writing of Andrew Bolt in the recent [law] case, with the scale of its errors, distortions and innuendoes, is journalism or merely a form of propaganda."

Now leaving aside the fact that it's taken an adverse legal finding for Flanagan to establish Bolt's bona fides as a propagandist, it speaks volumes for his capacity for self-delusion that he's somehow incapable of seeing that he's equally guilty of the crime. Take, for example, the conclusion to Flanagan's piece:

"Journalism, is inherently subjective and, for that reason, limited. No matter how technologically sophisticated we become, the question will always have to be asked: who is telling the story?... Last week, Sulaiman Khatib, a Palestinian with the Peace Team, posted a link on Facebook to the Common Bond Institute, a forum for people on all sides of the Middle East conflict to discuss, together with their experience, best practices for resolving conflict. The following statement by Common Bond about the state of the media is as good as I have read: 'There is a chronic, growing sense of dismay, powerlessness, and fatalism in the Middle East and general global public, largely promoted by a lack of knowledge of models that work (for example, the Peace Team) and a media focus on animosity and small group extremists on all sides who fuel polarity and monopolise the public stage'. The public stage has to be reclaimed from extremists on all sides."

All this basically boils down to is: if only Israelis and Palestinians, instead of going all 'polar' and voicing 'extreme' views, could just get together and kick a ball around then everything would be sweet as, eh?

Now Flanagan's correct when he says that we always have to ask who is telling the story, or, in this case, who devised and packaged the Peace Team for which he barracks so loudly in the Fairfax press?

The Peace Team is one of the projects of The Peres Center for Peace, which, according to Wikipedia, "was founded in 1996 by Nobel Peace Laureate and current President of Israel Shimon Peres, with the aim of furthering his vision in which people of the Middle East region work together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development, and people-to-people interaction."

It follows then (or should) that for Flanagan whatever Shimon Peres says or devises is ipso facto moderate and best practice for resolving the Middle East conflict.

OK, so what does Shimon Peres have to say about that most fundamental of issues, the return to their homeland of Palestine's 1948 refugees:

"It is hard to separate the miserable plight of the Palestinian refugees from the claim to rhe 'right of return'. For the first generation of refugees, the experience of being a refugee and the culture that grew up around it served as a basis for the consciousness of exile from the land of their birth - the loss of the country, house, lands, landscapess familiar from childhood, and family graves - alongside the hope of returning to their homes. The second and third generations have inherited this experience, a powerful emotive load that grows ever stronger amid crushing poverty and degrading conditions in the refugee camps. The claim to the 'right of return' has to be seen against this complex historical background. However, it is a maximal claim; if accepted, it would wipe out the national character of the State of Israel, making the Jewish majority into a minority. Consequently, there is no chance it will be accepted, either now or in the future. No Israeli government would agree to a strategy that entailed the destruction of our national entity." (The New Middle East, Shimon Peres, 1993, p 189)

So Peres concedes we've got three generations of refugees here who just want to go home. But then he says, in effect, if we let them back into Israel (and don't forget the trouble Israelis, including Peres himself, went to in sending them packing in the first place), there'd be way too many of them and not enough of us. Or, to put it another way, there'd be too many of the wrong kind of people and not enough of the right kind - know what I mean? The national character of Israel must be preserved at the expense of the refugees' right of return, which term, you'll note, Peres encloses in inverted commas by way of indicating its lesser priority.

OK, so if maintaining that the Jewish character of Israel must take precedence over the implementation of the Palestinian refugees' universally recognised right of return (no inverted commas needed) represents the moderate position that must reclaim the public stage, then arguing for the latter must represent the kind of extremism that should be opposed.

OK, having heard from the moderate Shimon Peres, now let's hear from a Palestinian extremist - unlike the lovely, compliant Suleiman Khatib - a real little troublemaker. Her name's Lucy, she's from occupied Bethlehem, and she's been lured with others by the Peres Peace Centre to a peace pow wow in Nazareth:

"We went to Nazareth, and in the beginning it was very stressful for me. The Israeli facilitator wanted to impose things things on us, and I stood up and I told her, 'Listen, we are here to talk, and if you don't believe in dialogue, then let's go back home; we're in the wrong place'. We were supposed to talk in that program about 3 pending issues: refugees, Jerusalem, and water. And when we were there, they decided this was a hard topic, so we have to change it. The Palestinian group decided, 'Oh no, we are here to discuss these things'. So we sat together and we tried to find a way: if we have to go back, or shall we continue, and what will we talk about. I don't know where I got this idea, [but I said] 'Okay, guys, let's talk about our daily life'. They said, 'Yeah, but what do we have to say?' I said, 'Topics you can talk about: Okay, in the morning, you want to wash your face, you won't find water, especially during summer time. So we will talk about water issues. Okay, I still have a dream: the key of my uncle's house [in a Palestinian village inside Israel's pre-1967 borders] is in my hand, and I have a dream that one day my uncle will come from Jordan or Iraq or Syria - from the refugee camp. And the other part is Jerusalem: Easter is coming, and we have to worship in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the heart of the three religions'." (Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian & Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation, Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, 2011, pp 182-183)

So there you have it: the voice of moderation, arguing for the maintenance of an ethnographic, discriminatory state in Palestine and the voice of extremism, arguing for her people's right of return (unencumbered by inverted commas), which, if implemented, might disturb Israel's national, which is to say, Jewish character.

The question for Martin Flanagan is simple: where does he stand on this crucial matter?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rocket Science

One to watch:

"After the furore surrounding Marrickville Council's boycott on Israel this year, North Sydney Council is pushing for a state government ban on local councils adopting sanctions against any nation. The controversial motion is up for a vote at the New South Wales annual local government conference, which starts tomorrow in Shoalhaven. The North Sydney mayor and president of the Local Government Association, Cr Genia McCaffery, said she was in two minds about the proposal but has backed it because dictating foreign policy was not the proper role of councils. 'A trade sanction is something that is not the responsibility of the local government and we need to have proper recognition of what our responsiblities are', Cr Mc Caffery said. 'With that responsibility comes specialised knowledge and expertise. It's really not appropriate for a council to be involved in that kind of action'." (Move to ban councils from imposing foreign boycotts, Kelsey Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/10/11)

So BDS is rocket science and should be left to rocket scientists such as... Rudd and Gillard?

But that isn't quite the tune Ms McCaffery was singing back in April at the:

"Local government is more than roads, rates and rubbish. But it's not about Middle East meddling and international diplomacy, one Sydney mayor and president of the local government alliance insists. 'Foreign policy is clearly a federal responsibility', said Genia McCaffery, the North Sydney mayor and president of the Australian Local Government Association. 'We've got more than enough work to do without intervening'... McCaffery, an independent among an almost entirely non-partisan council, says she's 'sympathetic' to the Palestinian cause - but Marrickville Council went too far. It's jeopardised her push for long-argued-for constitutional recognition for local government, which she says is important to better manage the flow of funding from state and governments. 'If we start to do things like this that undermines what we're doing', she said." (Roads, rates, rubbish... foreign policy? Recreating local government, Jason Whittaker,, 7/4/11)

Now won't it be interesting to see how the conference votes on this issue? Could the following piece of information possibly act as a guide:

"120 mayors and councillors from across NSW gathered at a unique Passover dinner this week. Local Government Minister Barbara Perry was guest of honour at the unprecedented event, held in Randwick Town Hall on April 1 [2009]. Organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Local Government Passover Dinner included the mayors of North Sydney, Ryde, Kogarah, Gosford, Shoalhaven, Liverpool, Leichardt, Waverley, Randwick, Woollahra and Botany Bay." (Municpal Pesach,, 3/4/09)

PS: "Another contentious debate was a motion from North Sydney Council that councils be prohibited from implementing trade sanctions against foreign states - a reference to Marrickville's short-lived ban on trade with Israel. Shoalhaven's Gareth Ward, also a Liberal MP, caused a spot of uproar when he said the ban had been racially motivated. The motion was carried by the narrowist of margins - 105 to 103." (Carbon tax dominates conference, Harvey Grennan, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/11/11)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Class of 2011

Three of the 5 polliewaffles on the latest Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam Israel Fellowship tour recently sat their IBTIT! (I've Been To Israel Too!*) exams at an AIJAC luncheon. Needless to say, they passed with flying colours:

Amanda Rishworth, Labor MP for Kingston: "Rishworth said the trip was an amazing experience, and she was struck by the diversity in Israel and its vibrant democracy, as illustrated by the peaceful social protest movement, which she witnessed during her time there. The South Australian emphasised the importance of visiting Israel to understand its complexities. She said she was surprised by how small Israel is and how close it is to Lebanon and Gaza. She also said her trip enabled her to understand the vulnerability of Sderot, and that 'Israel is in a tough neighborhood'... Regarding peace efforts, Rishworth says she believes peace is only possible through bilateral negotiations and that the Palestinians now needed to come to those negotiations." (Pollies' Israel adventure, The Australian Jewish News, 21/10/11)

AIJAC: Bravo, Amanda! You've mastered just about every cliche in the rambamming book. Excellent use our signature 'v' word and nice focus on Amalek. Bibi couldn't have put it better. Score: 9/10

"Queensland Labor Senator Mark Furner: "Furner said that he was shocked by the number of rocket attacks into Southern Israel from Gaza and the extensive network of bomb shelters that were required. He said he could not 'imagine what sort of stress, what sort of anxiety those residents of Sderot would be going through on a daily basis'... Senator Furner, a former union leader [NUW], said he believes what is needed in negotiating is 'genuine commitment that must be reciprocated by all the parties involved'." (ibid)

AIJAC: Point well made, Mark. Israeli stress. Israeli anxiety. Constant rain of Hamas rockets. But while you were at it, couldn't you have conjured up the prospect of a future Hezbollah firestorm over Northern Israel? Not to mention the inevitable blitzkrieg on Central Israel if - G-d forbid - Amalek ever get their blood-stained hands on a sliver of Judea and Samaria? Also, that genuine commitment stuff. We sincerely hope you're not implying equivalence with Amalek there, Mark. Score: 6/10

Tasmanian Labor Senator Catryna Bilyk: "Following a meeting with Palestinian Media Watch, Senator Bilyk said that as a mother, a politician and an early childhood educator she was deeply concerned by the brainwashing of Palestinian children by the Palestinian media and the tendency to treat Israelis as dispensible and disposable. Senator Bilyk said that the concept of brainwashing children 'planted seeds of war' and was 'child abuse'." (ibid)

AIJAC: Nice to see such focus, Catryna! Amalek blowing its nose on Israelis and casting them aside. We like it. And not a tissue of a lie either! The zombie spawn of Amalek programmed to snuff out our flickering Light Unto the Nations and righteously condemned as child abuse. Very forceful. Good work. 8/10

Deferred exams?: Nicholas Champion, MP for Wakefield; Geoffrey Lyons, MP for Bass.

[* See my 30/3/09 post I've Been to Israel too.]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Witches Brew 6

Meet Liberal MLC Scot MacDonald, who hails from the Deep South, the Riverina to be exact. If it's a matter of 'By their friends ye shall know them', then you should know that he's a mate of federal senator Neo-Connie Fierravanti-Wells, Marie (BDS is EVIL) Ficarra, and of course the mover of the anti-BDS motion in the NSW upper house on 15 September, David Clarke:

"I support the motion. I did not know it was being moved today so I do not have extensive notes; I am going on my instincts."

How promising! Who needs any real knowledge of the issue? Just go with your instincts, honed by 20 years running a 'family business' in Guyra and a stint at the helm of Riverina Citrus. Don't give a fig if your contribution to the 'debate' is bound to be the proverbial lemon.

But first, a bow to those beaming gents in the gallery:

"I am a member of the Israeli friendship community [sic] and I acknowledge the presence of the Board of Deputies."

OK, so this hoary old chestnut's not a member of the citrus family, but hey, just go with those instincts and deploy it anyway:

"I think the most recent figure I heard was that the Marrickville brainwave would cost the Marrickville ratepayers $3 million; it would disadvantage them in many ways, their services would cost extra and they would have to forgo some services."

And hearing is believing? Right.

"In terms of the international perspective and the economic impact from campaigns such as the boycott, divestment and sanction [sic], I do not support boycotts in any way, shape or form. The history of them is weak, especially in South Africa, which has been mentioned several times in this debate. I think the great losers from boycotts are always the voiceless, the disadvantaged, the poor, the unskilled - those who do not have a say in these matters."

I think? Sure, ANC President (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Chief Albert Luthuli once said, "Economic boycott is one way in which the world at large can bring home to the South African authorities that they must either mend their ways or suffer from them,"* but hey, what would he know?

[*The Netherlands against Apartheid - 1960s,]

"What would be the outcome of the boycott, divestment and sanction [sic] campaign if it flowed through to Israel? It would largely impact on the Palestiniamns. Why do we have such discord and discontent amongst the Palestinians? Because inevitably they are at the bottom of the economic chain in that region."

Did I mention lemons? The Palestinian struggle then is not about having your homeland pulled out from under your feet, no, it's all about market share!

"Most companies that have been mentioned employ Palestinians. Hundreds of people travel from Palestine every day to work in the factories. What would be the outcome of boycotts and a reduction in economic activity by infrastructure technology, defence and food firms, et cetera?"

And the Israeli occupation/blockade/lockdowns/checkpoints etc*, which have put the Palestinians at the bottom of the economic chain (as our economic rationalist from Guyra so quaintly puts it), why they're actually, somehow, keeping the Palestinians in jobs, don't you know? Right.

[*See my 30/9/11 post The Other BDS.]

I guess Scot just had to get all that off his chest, but oh well, at least he kept it short.

But nowhere near as short as the next speaker, Robert Borsak of the Shooters & Fishers Party (Is Australia the only nation in the world blessed with such a party?):

"As time is limited I simply place on record that the Shooters & Fishers Party totally supports the motion. For both personal and policy reasons, we think it is a good motion and we will be voting for it."

Now wouldn't you just love to know what those personal and policy reasons are?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stolen Lives

We've been hearing a lot about Israel's Palestinian prisoners lately - but only as bit players in the much-hyped Gilad Shalit Show. With no international propaganda machine behind it, and virtually zero ms media focus (not even on the Palestinian hunger strike currently underway in Israeli prisons), their story is as mysterious to us as the dark side of the moon. Thankfully, however, at last there's a book out which focuses exclusively on the circumstances and experiences of the Palestinians - men, women and even children - who inhabit Israel's Gulag. Here's a slice of the preface:

"The 'security prisoner' rubric has become a code of identification for Palestinian prisoners in general... Applied in a blind, categorical manner, without distinction, it transforms thousands of Palestinians as they are seized, interrogated, detained and imprisoned in Israel into a single group that poses, as such, an identical level of danger which justifies special treatment: brutal arrest, prohibition from meeting a lawyer, torture and illegal interrogation methods, arrest without trial, lack of due process, disproportional sentencing, stricter living conditions, isolation, and also poor prospects of early release and parole. In contrast to the general approach towards prisoners, which is based on an individual assessment of a person and the extent of the danger he or she presents, the attitude of the State of Israel toward these 'security prisoners' is based on their group identification as 'threats'. This is true of Palestinians - of all ages, including children - arrested and incarcerated in Israeli jails, independently of their alleged offence or their sentence. Administrative detainees and prisoners serving life sentences, prisoners sentenced for organizing or participating in demonstrations, for being active in political movements declared 'illegal' by the occupying forces, for possessing ammunition, and for planning suicide bombing: all are categorized, en bloc, as 'security prisoners', as threats.

"What is resounding in its absence from this 'security' discourse is its background: the long years of occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the prevention of livelihood, of freedom of movement, of personal and community development, of education, of autonomous economy; in short, of self-determination and national independence. It is inconceivable to examine the issue of Palestinian prisoners without keeping this background constantly in mind." (Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, Edited by Abeer Baker & Anat Matar, 2011, p viii)

And yet, it is precisely this background that is missing in the ms media's coverage of the latest Israel-Palestinian prisoner swap.

In today's typically clueless Israel-centric Sydney Morning Herald editorial, Palestine's political prisoners, all of whom have been thrown into Israeli dungeons for resisting in one way or another the incursions and depredations of an illegal and utterly ruthless occupying power, are essentially just criminals: "1027 Palestinian prisoners convicted for specific crimes including multiple murders." (Israel's joy, and foreboding)

Needless to say, Murdoch's dyed-in-the-wool Zionist rag, The Australian reliably smears them as "notorious terrorists" and "villains," while concluding on this nauseating note: "We hope, perhaps in vain, that this [Israeli] lesson in the sanctity of life is not lost on the Palestinian prisoners as they, too, return home to their families." (Israel places high price on life)

But, where Israel and its chosen are concerned, The Australian just keeps on giving. Hilariously, Israel's release of the Palestinian hordes had one particular letter writer on the edge of his nineteenth nervous breakdown:

"What have we learned from the return of Gilad Shalit, imprisoned for 5 years in contravention of international agreements? We learn that Palestinians treat prisoners with disregard for conventions of humane behaviour. Is there any chance they would have made any concession to Israel to save the life of one of their own? They have shown that they care nothing for the lives of their people. They murder their own political opponents. They detonate themselves in missions to kill innocent Israelis. They place no value on life as they are fixated on hatred of Israel and its supporters. What the world has seen for more than 60 years is the struggle of a nation under siege. Israel is a fair and civilised nation. There would be no problem if Palestine was also. Please keep my name and address confidential because I no longer feel safe writing about Israel. I no longer have faith in Australians accepting views opposing their own. I have, at least temporarily, lost my nerve. Name and address supplied"


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Text & Subtext

"Shalit's five-year ordeal at an end," reads the headline on the front page of today's Australian.

The Palestinian people's 94-year ordeal still going strong.

"A young man taken prisoner by militants while protecting a country he loves, and two ordinary, devoted parents who never gave up fighting for his release - for 5 long years, the Gilad Shalit story has been etched deeply into the Israeli consciousness," reads the opening paragraph of One family's joy is heartache for victims of terrorism by the Herald's Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard.

Thousands of young Palestinian men and women taken prisoner by a brutal and heavily-armed occupation force while resisting the invasion and colonisation of their homeland, and tens of thousands of ordinary, devoted grandparents, parents, wives, husbands, siblings and children who never gave up hoping for their release (despite having no international PR campaign at their disposal*), the story of Palestine's political prisoners has been etched deeply into the Palestinian consciousness (but is all but ignored by our deeply racist, colonialist and thoroughly Zionist news media).

[*See Massive publicity campaign helped secure Israeli soldier's release, The Washington Post, 18/10/11]

This Festival of Western Racism

That the freeing of a mere cog in the vast terror machine of the Israeli Offence Forces, the iron fist of Zionist colonisation since its beginnings as a Zionist militia in 1920's Palestine, should so dominate today's Radio National Breakfast program and elicit in today's Sydney Morning Herald such partisan and frankly sickening headlines as Thin, pale but unhurt, a soldier makes his way home and One family's joy is heartache for victims of terrorism, reveals like nothing else what can only be described as the hegemonic hold of political Zionism over coverage of this issue in the mainstream media, and, by extension, the latter's criminal complicity in the now 94-year Zionist crime of wiping Palestine - and Palestinians - off the map.

One can only describe the media's coverage of Shalit's release to date (and I imagine this will remain true in the coming days) as revelry. I, therefore, fully endorse the outrage and sentiments of The Angry Arab:

"I almost did not want to blog today. I was too disgusted by the blatantly racist Western media coverage of the prisoner swap deal: and I'm not just talking about the typically racist New York Times, but even the French and British media. It was all about that one Israeli terrorist in Palestinian custody. The racism was everywhere: nowhere were Palestinians presented as human beings. We are never victims, just terrorists. Our grandparents are terrorists (an 80-year old was released today), our parents are terrorists, we are terrorists, our children are terrorists, and our unborn will be terrorists. This festival of Western racism coincided with the 50th anniversary of the massacre of 300 Algerian antiwar demonstrators by the French police. It was a fitting anniversary for those partaking in the festival of Western racism. Look at how many articles appeared that spoke of 'bereaved' Israeli families. As if Israeli terrorist soldiers don't kill far more of our civilians than any accused Arab terrorist. There is no comparison. You don't even have to go back to the origins of the conflict and the sole criminal responsibility of the terrorist Zionist movement. Just look at that typical racist newspaper, The New York Times: it has 2 pictures in today's hard copy about the prisoner release. One shows a frowning Hamas man with a gun, and the other shows Israeli children playing. Who needs words when you can use such images to make a point about the humaneness of one side and the backwardness of the other? The message is that the blood of the other side is spillable. That was the point and language of Netanyahu today when he spoke about 'blood on their heads'. Call this deal what ever you want in your racist media, which does not even try to feign objectivity any more, I will call it by the names of every one of our prisoners." (, 18/9/11)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't Mention the War

Now here's a reviewer who's never met a WASP war criminal he didn't like*:

"I think [Dick Cheney's autobiography] is the most important memoir to emerge so far from the Bush era. The thing I like most about it is the thing many critics hate: the unapologetic, straightforward explanation and defence of the policies Cheney promoted for the 8 years of his vice-presidency." (Heartfelt defence of the Bush years, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 15/10/11)

Fast forward to: "I do have one modest complaint about this memoir, however, and that is the things that are left out."

Let's see. There's China for one, and religion - but here's the one I really want to focus on: "Nor, beyond saying that he supported the military commitment, does he offer anything much about what he thought of the Vietnam war, which took place when he was a young adult."

Vietnam, eh? Here we have Australia's self-styled most influential foreign affairs analyst in Australian journalism, a guy who's not only met and interviewed Cheney, and who once summed him up as a "straightshooter," who finds it a tad strange that his "straightshooter" doesn't mention the war. Well, Greg, here's the reason why:

"In an era when many young men avoided military service for many reasons, few were so meticulous about the endeavor as Dick Cheney. Indeed, when the future secretary of defense arrived on the University of Wisconsin campus, he was arguably one of the most accomplished - and inventive - draft dodgers in the country. Unlike George W Bush, who performed some sort of service - ill defined and unrecorded as it may have been - in the Texas Air National Guard, Dick Cheney reacted to the prospect of wearing his country's uniform as a man with a deadly allergy to olive drab. Between 1963 and 1965, Cheney used his student status at Casper College and the University of Wyoming to apply for and receive four 2S draft deferments. As the fight in Vietnam heated up, Cheney fought like a true warrior to defend his deferments. Twenty-two days after Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August 1964, raising the prospect of a rapid expansion of the draft, Dick 'conveniently' - in the words of a 1991 Washington Post profile - married Lynne. Even if his student deferment was lifted, his status as a married man might have made the draft board more sensitive to Cheney's consistent, if frequently reframed, argument that he was needed on the home front, but the Vietnamese were not cooperating with Cheney's plan.

"The war kept demanding more and more American men, and the range of those who were eligible for the draft expanded rapidly. On May 19, 1965, it looked as if Dick Cheney's deferments would no longer protect him. He was reclassified with the most dangerous, draft status: 1A, 'available for military service'. No longer protected by his eternal student status, Cheney was still counting on his marriage to keep him off the front lines. But events were conspiring against him.

"Struggling to maintain the manpower for a war that he still thought could be won, President Lyndon Johnson announced on July 28, 1965, that draft call-ups would double. Three months later, on October 26, 1965, the Selective Services constraints on the drafting of childless married men were lifted. Da Nang was calling. And it did not look as though Dick had any excuses left. But there was one way for ambitious young men to avoid serving their country while maintaining their political viability. If Cheney had a child, he would be reclassified 3A, the status that allowed married men with dependents to remain out of uniform. That would work. Except, of course, that Cheney did not have a child - yet. Precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service eliminated special protections for childless married men, Cheney was no longer childless. His daughter Elizabeth was born on July 28, 1966. Convenient? Coincidence? That's not Cheney's style. Writer, Timothy Noah, did the math and suggested that the timing of Elizabeth's arrival 'would seem to indicate that the Cheneys, though doubtless planning to have children some time, were seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the draft. And acted on it. Carpe diem! Who says government policy can't affect human behaviour'. Of course, Dick Cheney left nothing to chance. He applied for 3A status immediately, receiving it on January 19, 1966, while Lynne was still in the first trimester of her pregnancy.

"Twenty-three years later, when Cheney appeared before the Senate to plead the case for his confirmation as GHW Bush's secretary of defense, the nominee was questioned about his failure to serve. Cheney responded by saying he 'would have obviously been happy to serve had I been called'. In a more truthful moment that same year, Cheney admitted to Washington Post reporter George C. Wilson that 'I had other priorities in the sixties than military service'. Cheney's lie to the Senate has never caused much concern, but that 'other priorities' line has dogged him." (The Rise & Rise of Richard B. Cheney, John Nichols, 2004, pp 35-37)

[*See my 29/1/08 post Greg Sheridan: In Praise of 'Great' Men.]

Shared Pain?

"There is pain on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide today, as the names of the 477 prisoners set to be released in the first stage of the deal for Gilad Shalit's freedom were revealed on the Israeli Prison Services website. For many in Israel it is inconceivable that men and women sentenced to multiple life sentences for terrorist attacks such as the 2001 bombing of a Tel-Aviv night club that killed 21, and a suicide bombing of a restaurant in Haifa in 2002 in which 14 people died, could be released.." (Anger in Israel over price paid for Shalit's freedom, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/10/11)

A night club and a restaurant. Thirty-five Israeli deaths*. Ouch!

What about the Palestinian side of the divide?

Although so many Palestinian structures have disappeared under Israeli bombs, shells, missiles and bulldozers that Pollard wouldn't have had the space to list even a fraction of them - even had she been so inclined - none are mentioned. Neither are Palestinian deaths, which number 6,540 between 29/9/00 and 30/9/11, according to B'tselem.

Give me Israeli pain any day.

[*1,095, 9/00-9/11]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lifting the Rock on Little Britain

Lifting the rock on the scandal involving former British defence secretary Liam Fox reveals an array of bizarre creatures not used to the harsh light of day:

"It began with a story about corporate 'blackmail' and ended in the downfall of one of the most effective defence secretaries in a generation. The final blow to Liam Fox - after 8 days of increasingly uncomfortable headlines - came when The Times revealed the names of some of the wealthy financiers who funded the first-class lifestyle of Adam Werritty, 33, Fox's globe-trotting friend and self-styled adviser. Evidence that Werritty's luxury travel to foreign shores alongside the defence secretary was part-bankrolled by a corporate intelligence firm with an interest in Sri Lanka, an investor who lobbies for Israel and a venture capitalist supporting closer ties with Washington, raised further questions about how Fox operated and whom he allowed in his inner circle... Finally on Friday The Times revealed that G3 Good Governance Group, a corporate intelligence company, Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, the chairman of BICOM - an organisation that lobbies the British government on behalf of Israel - and John Mouton, a venture capitalist, were among more than 6 different entities that each paid up to 35,000 pounds ($53,000) to a not-for-profit company set up by Werritty, which was used to fund his travel and entertainment." (The minister & the mystery man, Deborah Haynes, The Times/The Australian, 17/10/11)

Look at this one hopping around:

"Adam Werritty, the man at the centre of the Liam Fox cash-for-access scandal, has been involved in an audacious plot to topple Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was claimed last night. The self-styled adviser to Mr Fox, whose close personal friendship with the former defence secretary led to Mr Fox's downfall, has visited Iran on several occasions and met Iranian opposition groups in Washington and London over the past few years, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. Mr Werritty, 33, has been briefed by MI6 about his travels and is so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad - who thought he was Mr Fox's chief of staff - that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government, multiple sources have told The IoS." (Revealed: Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition, Jane Merrick & James Hanning, The Independent, 16/10/11)

And this one, furiously trying to burrow out of sight:

"BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, is Britain's major pro-Israel lobby. Founded in 2001 as an equivalent to America's hugely influential AIPAC, it is bankrolled by its chairman Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire and former arms dealer. Over the past 3 years Zabludowicz has given over 2 million pounds in donations. This year [2009], they sent 30 representatives to the AIPAC conference in America, a sign of BICOM's growing ambition. Incredibly, almost no one we interviewed for the film [The Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain] had even heard of Zabludowicz, a key player at the heart of the pro-Israel lobby in Britain. Our questions continually met with blank expressions from senior politicians and people in the Jewish community. Zabludowicz fiecely guards his privacy and does so with great success... Zabludowicz's father, Shlomo Zabludowicz, made his money through Israeli arms manufacturers Soltam Systems, a company which continues to thrive and recently provided the IDF with artillery for its Gaza campaign. Poju Zabludowicz also ran Soltam, but has since moved his money from arms into property. He is now estimated to own around 40% of downtown Las Vegas. Far more significantly, we have discovered that he owns property in the illegal settlements in the West Bank. He has a stake in a shopping centre in Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement which is seen as strategically crucial in ensuring Jerusalem remains in Israeli hands... He hoped to create one lobby that oversaw media and politics in the style of AIPAC, but met with resistance from the parliamentary Friends of Israel groups, guarding their patch. He does, however, play a role at Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) as a significant donor. He has also established a relationship with David Cameron, the man almost certain to be Britain's next prime minister. In September 2005 when Cameron was planning his Conservative leadership election campaign he met Zabludowicz for a coffee. Zabludowicz was suitably impressed with what he heard, and Cameron received 15,000 pounds from Zabludowicz over the course of his election campaign. To ensure that the donations complied with election law, he made the donations through his British subsidiary Tamares Real Estate Investments. Despite the CFI and BICOM not formally merging there is a huge amount of co-ordination. Many of BICOM's key figures also play roles in the CFI: Trevor Pears, Michael Lewis and Poju Zabludowicz are driving forces behind both lobbies. David Cameron also accepted 20,000 pounds from Trevor Pears in his leadership election." (The Pro-Israel lobby in Britain, Peter Oborne & James Jones,, 13/11/09)

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What You See Is What You Get

A ring-of-truth letter on Australia's Prime Minister:

"Everyone keeps on writing that PM Julia Gillard needs to put her convictions on the line and stand up for what she really believes in. Everyone keeps on writing that she is being manipulated by the powerbrokers, the factions and the kitchen cabinets and of course by the internal pollsters.

"What an insult to Julia Gillard! I know enough of Gillard to know she is her own person. She is part of the machinery, one of the powerbrokers and others in the ALP have come to trust her because of her views. I believe that what you see is what you get. Maybe what Julia has put out is what she is about. I don't believe she wants asylum seekers here. I believe that she believes in mandatory detention. I believe that the 'people smuggling business model' is one of her ideas. I believe that she doesn't believe age and disability pensioners should get a better deal. I believe that she is as harsh on our poorest as she claims to be.

"In 1983, Gillard was the president of the Australian Union of Students. Her ugly will for power then and her obstinate views contributed to the redundancy of the union, which went out of business altogether til 1987. What's happening now to the ALP and the Australian political landscape has not surprised me, and long ago I predicted such a parallel." (Gerry Georgatos, Bridgetown, WA, Green Left Weekly, 14/9/11)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Does Bob Brown Believe in the Tooth Fairy?

Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown placed the following questions, re the labelling of goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, on notice on 8/9/11:

"(1) Is the Minister aware of any products imported into Australia that have originated in full or in part from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories or in Israeli industrial zones in the Occupied Territories?

"(2)(a) Is the government satisfied that all goods originating from Israel or the Occupied Territories are truthfully labelled with their place or places of origin? and (b) Does the government require this differentiation on labels or import documentation? If not, why not?

"(3) Is the Minister aware of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) or any other government agency taking action against companies that label goods 'Made in Israel' when they are actually made partly or in full in the Occupied Territories? If so, what was that action and was there any remedy?

"(4) Is the Minister or Austrade officials, who cover Israel and Palestine, aware of any contracts and/or agreements between Australian and Israeli companies to conduct research or business in the Occupied Territories, including in Israeli industrial zones in the Occupied Territories? If so, can details be provided of these arrangements?

"We await the Minister for trade's answers."

While welcoming any move by The Greens on the subject of Palestine, Senator Brown's questions seem to be based on a false premise: that boycotting goods made in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) is warranted, but boycotting goods from Israel proper isn't.

With this in mind, I therefore wish to place the following Questions on Notice for Senator Brown:

(1) Does the senator believe that Israeli settlements have materialised out of thin air? If not, why not?

(2) Does he believe that the current and former Israeli governments have been and are wholly innocent bystanders in the proliferation of Israeli settlements in the OPTs?

(3) Does he believe in the Tooth Fairy?

I await the Senator's answers.

Recommended reading: Boycott the state, not just the settlements, Yousef Munayyer,, 23/7/11.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Gilad Shalit Show

If the prisoner is an Israeli soldier, he gets the corporate media's undivided and wholly sympathetic attention. Instead of being portrayed for what he is - just another mindless cog in the murderous military machine that's strangling Gaza and putting the boot into the West Bank - we get the following:

"His father described Gilad Shalit's ordeal as '1935 difficult days and 1935 difficult nights'. Held somewhere in Gaza for the past 5 years without any contact with international human rights organisations or his family, the young soldier has suffered as a pawn in the conflict between Hamas and Israel." (The price is high for the pawn in the Hamas Israel fight, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/10/11)

And just so you know Shalit's the corporate media's pin-up boy here, he gets not one, but 3 photos: a solo shot, one of Dad standing beside cardboard cutouts of his son, and one of "relieved Shalit supporters." Oh, and there's a "Diary of a hostage" covering the years 2006-2011.

Israel's thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, of course, remain faceless - but for this brief reference:

"Key among [Palestinian prisoners] is whether Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is on the list of those to be released. Serving 5 life sentences for his involvement in the murder of Israeli citizens, his release has long been Hamas's key condition for the release of Shalit." (ibid)

Just how many sleepless nights Barghouti's wife and children have had since his incarceration in 2002 is of no interest to the media whatever. And, needless to say, there are neither photos nor diary for this freedom fighter, no doubt because the Israeli version - 5 life sentences for involvement in the murder of Israeli citizens - is gospel for the corporates.

Sadly, even if all of the Herald's monkeys were put to work tapping away on their keyboards from now until the end of recorded time, there's no way they'd ever come up with the following:

"Barghouti contended that the Israeli authorities had no legal authority to arrest him (sighting the Oslo II agreement of September 1995 which gave PLC members parliamentary immunity from arrest by Israel), and no legal right to try him in Israel (sighting the 49th Article of the 4th Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of a protected individual or individuals from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power). He insisted from the outset that his was a show trial whose result was a forgone conclusion, held at the behest of Israeli political leaders who wanted to criminalise and blame the Palestinians (and ultimately PA president Arafat) for 'terrorism', while ignoring their own 36-year- old policies of occupation and illegal settlement that underlay the violence in the first place. 'My show trial says more about the sorry state of Israeli morality than it does about me. I pity the state of Israel - the Middle East's 'only democracy' stooping to fabricating charges in a show trial aimed not at truth and justice but rather to appease the Israeli masses who refuse to see any connection between their own brutal policies and the cycle of violence Israelis and Palestinians are now experiencing. Like President Arafat, I have become a scapegoat - my trial simply a public relations event by a morally bankrupt and visionless Israeli leadership desperate to cover up its own inadequacies. And I pity the Israeli people, lied to and misled by a Prime Minister promising peace and security and who has failed miserably in delivering either. I categorically reject the authority of this criminal court of occupation and I will not dignify the ludicrous claims against me by responding to them. If my trial were truly a search for truth and justice, it would be Sharon and the Israeli army behind bars - it would be the criminals of occupation who have perpetrated war crimes against the men, women and children of Palestine over the decades, who continue to violate UN Resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention with impunity'. (It is not I who is on trial in Israel, 3/10/02) 'We have been suffering under your sinister military occupation for over 36 years during which you killed us, tortured us, destroyed our homes and usurped our land. You made our life an enduring hell. We have an inherent moral and legal right to resist your occupation of our country. If you were in our shoes, you most certainly would do the same as we are doing. You would resist'. (Denouncing a show trial, Al-Ahram Weekly, 2/10/03) So from the beginning of his trial on 5 September 2002, Barghouti refused to recognise the authority of the court to try him, dismissed his defence counsel, and declined to plead on or contest the charges against him. Instead he issued his own 54-count indictment, charging the state of Israel with gross human rights violations on behalf of the Palestinian people, including violations of numerous UN resolutions, and took every opportunity to turn his trial into a trial of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories." (Palestinian Biographies: Marwan Barghouti,

And another thing:

"[Israel] is also battling diplomatic isolation after... its decision to continue with its expansions of settlements - considered illegal under international law." (ibid)

Is it just me or do you too get the impression here that Pollard's phrasing - considered illegal under international law - allows enough wriggle room for a certain other point of view such as 'God says it's OK, OK?'.

Why didn't Pollard simply put it this way: '... its decision to continue with its expansions of illegal settlements'?

Or is the Herald under someone's thumb? Stupid question.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Israeli BDS

While our Israel lobbyists and their stooges in politics and the media outbid one another in smearing the boycott campaign against Max Brenner outlets as a recrudescence of Nazi-style anti-Semitism*, for Israelis, the boycott is as Israeli as the Uzi submachinegun and the Mossad death squad. And yes, Israelis are more than happy to boycott any among them who fail to toe the party line:

"As unemployment grew in the Zionist economy in Palestine in the 1920s, Histadrut [Israel's trade union federation] launched a campaign to promote Jewish labor (Avodat Ivrit) and Jewish produce (Totzeret Haaretz), which was essentially a boycott of Arab labor and produce. David HaCohen, former managing director of Solel Boneh, described what this meant: 'I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there... to pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash Arab eggs they had bought... to buy dozens of dunums [of land] from an Arab is permitted but to sell God forbid one Jewish dunum to an Arab is prohibited; to take Rothschild the incarnation of capitalism as a socialist and to name him the 'benefactor' - to do all that was not easy'." (quoted in Histadrut: Israel's racist 'trade union', Tony Greenstein,, 9/3/09)

"To generations of Israeli fans, Yaffa Yarkoni has been 'the Singer of the Wars'. Whenever troops marched into battle, they could be sure Yarkoni would follow. Clad in fatigues, she raised spirits at the front with her rousing rendition of patriotic songs. So it seemed natural for Army Radio to interview the iconic singer in her home a few days before Israel's Independence Day this month. Once again, Israeli troops were at war, this time in the West Bank, where they were sweeping through Palestinian towns and refugee camps in Israel's largest military operation there since the 1967 Middle East War. But this time, Yarkoni offered no words of encouragement. Instead, she bitterly criticized the troops, the government and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in an anguished tirade that shocked her interviewer and enraged many Israelis. 'When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men, I said, 'It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?' Her words were deemed so offensive that the union representing the nation's performing artists called off a planned tribute to Yarkoni that had been in the works for 2 years. The head of the unit said it was forced to make the move after members of the public flooded its offices with complaints and returned tickets purchased for the event, and after sponsors cancelled their financial support. Government ministers denounced Yarkoni. The town of Kfar Yona canceled her performance at a Memorial Day event to honor Israeli soldiers who have fallen in battle. Youth movements declared a boycott of her music. The septuagenarian received so many hate calls... that she is now too frightened to appear in public." (A venerable voice in Israel is muted after questioning army's actions, Mary Curtius, Los Angeles Times, 29/4/02)

[* See my 13/9/11 post Smear & Loathing.]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bucking the Zionist Dybbuk

Isi Leibler misdiagnoses Malcolm Fraser:

"I retain fond memories of my genuinely warm association with Malcolm Fraser when he was prime minister and I headed the Australian Jewish community. Our relationship was based on shared values and my appreciation for his inestimable assistance on behalf of Soviet Jewry, ensuring that, while I was in Moscow, the Australian embassy provided support for my efforts on behalf of Jewish dissidents. I also recollect that in those days he was enthralled with Israel and he would spend hours discussing and enthusiastically lauding the achievements of the Jewish state. In Jewish mystical folklore we relate to a dybbuk - a malevolent spirit capable of dramatically transforming a person's entire outlook. I am tempted to attribute Malcolm Fraser's dramatic reversal of attitude to a dybbuk. In his recent Age column [It's now time for the West to recognise Palestinian statehood, 4/10/11], Fraser repeated his now standard portrayal of Israelis as villains and Palestinians as noble underdogs." (Israel loses an old friend in Fraser & we long for his return, The Age, 5/10/11)

You've got it the wrong way around, Isi.

If your recollection of Fraser's alleged past enthusiam for Israel is correct, I'd say he's since managed to shrug off the grip of the malign Zionist dybbuk that once had him in its thrall. Good on him. Maybe he could help you with your problem.

False Messiah 2

The English poet John Milton, writing on the evil of hypocrisy, focused on its general invisibility: "For neither man nor angel can discern hypocrisy, the only evil that walks invisible, except to God alone."

Angels aside, the men Milton had in mind must've been the simpletons Peter Hartcher was referring to in today's Sydney Morning Herald when he wrote about the warm reception given to Kevin Rudd in shopping centres across the nation:

"There is no equivalent in modern Australian politics of the striking disjuncture between the way Rudd is regarded among the political classes and his reception among the broader public. To those in the front-row seats of politics, Rudd is diabolical. To those further away from the stage, he is some sort of messiah." (Return of Mr Popular raises hackles on both sides of chamber)

God aside, the more politically astute among us can also recognise a phony when they see one:

"I thought the Labor Party preached that collective workplace agreements worked better than individual contracts. Collective agreements, it is claimed, are fairer and provide higher productivity. Not so for Party leader Kevin Rudd's wife, Therese Rein, who has all of the 800 Australian workers in her own business on individual contracts... Therese's firm also provided jobs to job seekers to be employed under Australian Workplace Agreements - the individual contracting arrangement Labor has promised to abolish." (Rudd clan's hypocrisy on IR,, 28/5/07)

"Contrast and compare the grandstanding of the Rudd government over Japanese whaling to its relative quiescence on the human rights crackdown in Tibet." (Kevin Rudd's Asia hypocrisy, Tony Parkinson,, May 2008)

"On June 9, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that Australia would be forming an international commission to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons... Rudd's emphasis on [North Korea and Iran's] supposed nuclear threat, while ignoring Israel's illegal nuclear arsenal (which it has regularly threatened neighboring countries with) and promoting the preeminent nuclear power, the US, as a force for stability represents a continuity in policy from the previous Howard Coalition government." (Radioactive Rudd's nuclear hype, Tony Iltis,, 13/6/08)

"Prime Minister Rudd has just announced our target for the emissions cuts as part of the planned Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). It's a tiny little 5% cut. Yep, that's it, just 5%. The galling thing is that he announced the number after talking about how important the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Murray-Darling basin are to Australia. And went on to talk about how urgent it was to do something about climate change." (Rudd's hypocrisy on climate change,, 15/12/08)

The pretender's sickening hypocrisy was again on display in yesterday's Fairfax papers:

"Believe it - the human cry for freedom and democracy is universal. In Tunisia, what began as one man's protest, so desperate he set himself on fire, became a symbol of the yearning for democracy across the region. Since then, we have been moved by the courage of the citizens who sought what is naturally theirs - in Tunisia, in Egypt*, in Libya - and right now, in Syria. Since March, the Syrian people have protested for their basic democratic rights. The al-Assad regime's response has been brutal. An estimated 2,700 people now lie dead. Still more have been harmed, imprisoned and tortured. The world was rightly sickened by this. But the al-Assad regime has shown neither remorse nor any will to change course. Indeed, the violence is escalating... Importantly, many of Syria's neighbours are part of the global outcry against the al-Assad regime's brutality. The Arab League and the Gulf Co-operation Council have spoken out strongly, calling for an end to the bloodshed... In sum, Australia stands with the Syrian people at this grave moment - as we have with the people of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia." (Australia stands with Syrians fighting for freedom)

The people of Libya... Egypt... Tunisia. But not those of Bahrain (which the GCC helped screw with their intervention force), Yemen (Saudi Arabia's backyard) or Palestine (support for Israel being, as Rudd has said, in his DNA).

No, folks, messiah he ain't.

Note: As Rudd's monstrous hypocrisy on the Middle East is a work in progress, those interested should also read my following posts: *Gypos Ratfuck Rudd's Policy Settings (1/2/11); When Will the West Intervene to Protect Bahrainis from... the West? (19/3/11); No Tears for Bahrain (7/4/11); The Tell-Tale Heart (2/6/11); Where Do You Go to My Unlovely? (3/8/11).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Proposal

Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian and this great nation's most influential foreign affairs analyst, couldn't believe what he'd just read in the Australian Jewish News:

"Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has joined Israel's other allies in criticising the decision to build 1100 new homes in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo... Rudd indicated the Australian Government was 'disappointed' with the Israeli government's move to permit construction. He said the 'decision to further expand the settlements was counter-productive to the Middle East peace process." (Rudd 'disappointed' at Israel decision, The Australian Jewish News, 7/10/11)

'Jeeesus, Kevvie,' he exclaimed, 'I can't let you get away with it this time!' Quicker than you can say Shit, not another bloody Israeli settlement expansion announcement*, he had lunged at his keyboard and banged out the following:

"Kevin Rudd is making a serious mistake and misjudgment about the Israel-Palestinian dispute, which is reducing Australia's potential to play a constructive role, harming our relationship with Israel and damaging the Gillard government... That [misjudgment] is that what the situation needs most of all is increased international pressure on Israel." (Rudd shouldn't join chorus of Israel bashers, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 6/10/11)

He paused for breath, so enraged was he at this, but the latest act of anti-Israeli lese majeste from the prime - sorry, foreign - minister. He so wanted to bail the bugger up and give him a piece of his mind thus:

'Have you forgotten what real love is, Kevvie? Have you? Real love is unconditional! So if you really love Israel, like we here at The Australian really love Israel, it doesn't matter what crazy thing it does, you forgive it, OK, no questions asked. Certainly none of this ISRAEL-BASHING I'm a bit disappointed in you kind of shit, OK? No, whatever fool thing it gets up to, just say to yourself - TO YOURSELF, Kevvie - Boys will be boys, take a deep breath, take it in your arms, smother it in hugs and kisses, and coo in its shell-pink ear, Who's a pretty boy then? You're so special, you're gorgeous, you're adorable, I love you sooo much. Be good now. But pressure? Discipline? No way!'

He then resumed typing:

"It is perfectly legitimate to make reasonable demands of Israel." (ibid)

But no sooner had he written that than his smoking fingers came to a grinding halt. No, it wasn't writer's block. He'd never had that problem. Quite the contrary, actually. No, try as he might, he just couldn't think of an example of a reasonable demand of Israel. Not one! Concluding that one simply does not make demands of Israel, he thought he'd maybe put himself in Rudd's shoes and try to imagine what might pass as a reasonable demand of Israel on the part of the foreign minister. But all he could come up with were such as these:

'Come to me, my melancholy darling. Sit down here and tell me all about it. Do try one of these scones I had Therese whip up especially for you. Oh sugar, how many times have I asked you before not to blow your nose on my tie.'

'Damn,' he exclaimed, 'no examples it is. If any letter writers should enquire just what might constitute a reasonable demand of Israel, the letters editor can simply bin them. Whereupon, he assaulted the keyboard once more:

"The several steps the Gillard and Rudd governments have taken away from Israel, especially expelling an Israeli diplomat over the misuse of Australian passports, an action that neither the French nor Germans took in similar circumstances, and which was opposed by Abbott, have a sad consequence. They have diminished our credibility with the Israelis. Lots of nations have credibility with the Palestinians, very few with the Israelis. Australia has lost that distinctive chance for influence and become just another member of the international chorus line that always blames Israel." (ibid)

He stopped typing, leaned back in his chair deep in thought, and idly began picking his nose. The excavation complete, he rolled the contents into a ball with his fingers and flicked it expertly at the wall, where, after gravity had done its work, about 3 or 4 cms below the point of impact, the snotball finally came to rest, joining countless others, large and small. That was it, he thought, Rudd's existential threats against Israel have got to stop. Resolved to have it out with the foreign minister directly, he first made a few phone calls to the boyz, as he liked to call them, before getting on the blower to the man himself. Preliminaries discharged, he cut to the chase:

'Face it, Kevvie, you've blown it. You had your chance. You could've been more understanding of Israel. You could've said, Passports shmassports, what's a few scraps of paper compared with the Ozraeli relationship? And just to prove I've got my priorities right, here are a few more. But no, you had to get up on your high horse, didn't you now? Still, all is not lost. I've just been on the blower to Michael, Vic, Col and the rest of the boyz and we've come up with a way you can restore our credibility with the Israelis, win back that distinctive chance for influence, and steal a march on Abbott all at the same time.

'So listen up! How about you or Gillard, depending on who's PM at the time, announce, in the lead-up to the next election, that Labor will, if elected, create the world's first Ministry for Israel? Not, you'll note, a Ministry of Israel, but a Ministry for Israel. Know what I mean? Now Michael, Vic, Col and the boyz reckon it might just do the trick. Of course, you'll have to introduce an Israel tax, but, hey, that'd practically sell itself, right? And - and I know you're not going to like this particularly, but you'll just have to swallow what little pride you have left, OK? - you'll have to make Danby Minister for Israel.

'Don't sound so pained! After all, he's been a sort of Shadow Minister for Israel for yonks, so why not just formalise it. Oh, yeah, one more thing. You know how Vic and Col and the rest of the boyz have to slink around and prod bods like Kelly and Fifield and Clarke and Nile and the rest to do the hokey pokey for Israel? Well, they just feel that if they all had jobs in the new ministry their invaluable work of ensuring that our political leaders and their mates in the media mind their manners and stay on the straight and narrow - know what I mean? - would be so much easier. And just think, Kevvie, all that demeaning scrabbling around for party funds would be a thing of the past. The coffers would be forever groaning.

'So what do you say, Kevvie? Here's Australia's coveted credibility with the Israelis restored, our priceless distinctive chance for influence back from the dead, and so much more besides. So, what do you think? Is it a goer?'

[* "The Israeli local committee for organization and construction in occupied Jerusalem has approved the building of 300 new housing units in the holy city. A weekly Hebrew paper said in a report on Friday that the new units would be included in Pisgat Ze'ev, noting that the international condemnation of the former 1100 units did not deter the committee." (Israel planning 300 new housing units in Old Jerusalem, The Palestinian Information Centre, 9/10/11)]

Saturday, October 8, 2011

False Messiah

"A grassroots campaign sponsored by Labor's Left to wrest control of the party from so-called faceless men and deliver power back to its membership will begin in Canberra today... The Left-sponsored charge is being led by Leichhardt councillor Darcy Byrne, who said 'deep-seated reform' was needed if Labor 'wants to be around for another 100 years'." (Labor Left launches 'renewal' campaign, Lauren Wilson & Milanda Rout, The Australian, 7/10/11)

Awesome! And Darcy Byrne's leading the charge. Cool... but is Darcy fair dinkum? Is he the new Labor Messiah come to raise Lazarus from its coma?

Well, there's only way to find out. Has he passed the Palestine test? Let's see:

"Recently Marrickville Council... has [sic] made itself a laughing stock through its attempt to implement a costly and inflammatory boycott against Israel. It was reported recently that this brief dalliance with foreign policy is going to cost ratepayers almost $4 million. The irony of a 'progressive' council spending millions replacing Israeli, [sic] Hewlett-Packard computers while sacking blue collar workers and cutting childcare for disadvantaged kids is lost on the Greens. This approach of running local governments as a clearing house for undergraduate political causes could easily be dismissed as the wacky pursuits [sic] of student politicians who never grew up.. But it's more sinister than that..." (The new Greens - just another political party? Darcy Byrne, The Drum, 18/4/11)


Fred Nile's History of Australia

Greece gave us Herodotus. Rome, Tacitus. England, Gibbon. Australia, Fred Nile.

From Your Kingdom Come 080808, A New Day for Australia's Prayer Gathering at The highlights are mine. The delights all yours:


(a) Australia's title - 'The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit', and Southern Cross in the sky above Australia.
(b) Australia's beginning in modern history. A dumping ground for convicts who were reformed and renewed.
(c) First evangelical Minister with the First Fleet - RICHARD JOHNSON, who laid evangelical foundations.


(a) Gallipoli - miraculous evacuation with not one casualty.
(b) Beersheba - Australia's Light Horse victory over Turkish Muslim Fortress.
(c) Jerusalem - Victory opened the door for the liberation of Jerusalem, which climaxed with the formation of Israel in 1948. (ZEPHANIAH 3:14-15 'HE HAS CAST OUT YOUR ENEMY'.)


(a) Australian victory at El Alamein Egypt, over Rommel's Africa Corp.
(b) First victories against Japanese Army in Malaya and New Guinea - Kokoda Trail.
(c) KOREA - Royal Australian Regiment stopped and delayed Communist Chinese advance.
(d) VIETNAM - Australian victory at LONG TAN.
(e) GULF WARS - Australian SAS destroyed SCUD Missiles aimed at Israel.
(f) IRAQ - Liberation of Iraq.
(g) AFGHANISTAN - Defeated Taliban Islamic Regime.
(h) EAST TIMOR - Defeated Muslim Militia, restored democratic Government.

"As a small nation, Australia has made an important impact on World Affairs in the providence of God."

Bonus offering from the above document: Fred reckons Australia faces "serious challenges." Could the last of the seven he lists be the most serious of the lot?: "Opposing the growing power and influence of 1 billion Muslims who are forcing their religious-political ideology, based on the Koran on Western Christian nations including Australia because it is an anti-Christ, which was formed by a false prophet Mohammed. (1 John 2: 20-26, 4:1-3, 4:15)."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Witches Brew 5

The Reverend Fred Nile of the openly Islamophobic Christian Democrats was practically beside himself in support of David Clarke's 15 September anti-BDS motion in the NSW Legislative Council. But first, he just had to say hello to his beaming mates sitting in the gallery:

"I also acknowledge the representatives of the Jewish Board of Deputies in the gallery and thank them for their support. Some members of the House are Jewish and I do not think the rest of us can fully comprehend the impact that an attack of this type would have on Jewish people. As a non-Jew, I wish to identify with the Jewish people at this time and sympathise with them for the strong feeling of revulsion that these types of campaigns cause in the hearts of every Jewish person."

Now for those who don't already know, Fred's got quite a track record when it comes to Jews (Good!) and Muslims (Bad! Really, really baaad!). He's the guy reportedly behind the virulent opposition to a Muslim school in Camden in Sydney's south-west (Nile party behind anti-Muslim school rally, Wendy Frew, SMH, 21/12/07); whose election slogans have included 'No nukes for Iran - we must defend Israel', and 'Ten-year moratorium on Muslim immigration'. (Nile raises crusade in by-election, Imre Salusinszky, The Australian, 6/11/09); whose campaign manager's son, CDP member Douglas Darby, was caught out sending emails telling Muslims, whom he claimed "habitually engage in child molestation, incest [and] pack rape," to "obey the laws of this country or f..k off to Afghanistan where Australians are allowed to shoot you people." (Obscene anti-Muslim emails put Nile on the defensive, Sean Nicholls, SMH, 21/11/09); and who thought so highly of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he actually read it out in the NSW Parliament (Long may Israel live!,, 22/6/11)

But, to really get a deeper insight into CDP 'thinking', especially on the subject of Israel, the potted bio of Fred's Parliamentary Secretary, Judith (Judy) Russell, at is hard to beat:

"Judy is the great granddaughter of Maud & Donald McBean, Donald being a Light Horseman... who saw service in Palestine (now Israel) in 1917, in particular Beer Sheba. Judy's delight in knowing her great grandfather was involved in the liberation of Jerusalem from Ottoman rule, thus paving the way for the rebirth of Israel in 1948, enhances her zeal and love for Israel and the continuing covenants all made by God with Israel. Judy has had 4 tours of Israel and looks forward to others, as the Lord leads. Her tours are specifically tailored to see what the Lord is doing today in Israel and interacting with the Jewish people... Judy has a passion for the Scriptures and in particular seeing the Lord's prophetic plans come to pass. Through her private studies she has found the entire Bible is a love story between God and His chosen people, Israel. The Church, born after the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, had to wait until Acts 10 where the gentiles were grafted into the Jewish root, via the precious blood of our Jewish Messiah. Judy gives thanks and praise to God for placing her in the strategic position in the NSW Parliament. It is with gratitude to Rev Fred and Hon Elaine Nile whose dedication and faithfulness opened the way for the CDP to have a place in the NSW Parliament that we have such opportunities to host so many Christian, pro Israel functions and activities."

Whether Fred & Co think we're all on the road to Armageddon (tellingly a question no journalist or researcher that I'm aware of has ever bothered asking) I don't know, but if Judy's theological musings and rambles among the chosen don't set off the warning signs, I don't know what will. Anyway, I digress. Back to Fred's speech:

"I believe that we should not be in any way tolerant of this campaign but reject it absolutely and stop it in its tracks. It is a most evil activity and one that should not be tolerated. I mentioned in my adjournment speech what happened in Germany. Probably, in some people's minds, they were just watching stormtroopers standing outside various businesses that were owned by Jewish people, stopping customers from entering those shops. The Nazis tested public opinion and, when there was no reaction, they moved to the next stage of closing those shops, smashing shop windows and so on. Then we had what the Nazis regarded as the final solution, which was taking Jewish people to concentration camps and removing them from the face of the Earth. That was the end of their campaign. We cannot be tolerant of even the smallest beginnings of this anti-Semitic campaign."

Stone the crows! You have landed on Max Brenner. Go straight to the Final Solution.

On the anti-BDS smear and loathing scale (see my 13/9/11 post Smear & Loathing), that'd only require references to lampshades made of human skin and soap from body fat to make it a ten-out-of-ten smear. And this clown draws a taxpayer-funded salary of over $233,000!

There is no God.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Peace Team: Politics & PR

"In order to disseminate an image [of itself], a government can employ what was originally labeled as propaganda. Following the harmful yet effective propaganda that was in circulation throughout the Second World War and the following Cold War, such image-shaping efforts have now been renamed in order to avoid the negative connotations. Governments now talk about 'public diplomacy'. Public diplomacy can affect the foreign policy of another country and thus influence their treatment towards one's own country. While this can be done through diplomatic, economic and military means, it can also be achieved through 'soft power'. Therefore governments target civilian audiences whose opinion has a bearing on the government's policy... In this way, outside governments began to realise that they can have a positive effect on the opinion of civilians and, in turn, on that country's foreign policy through carefully grooming their public image and explaining their actions to the rest of the world through information... The Israeli government takes the role of public diplomacy very seriously and as such devotes a number of resources to educating and influencing foreign audiences, particularly those in the United States. The Israeli government has its own word that has been used since the 1970s in relation to their own public diplomacy work. Hasbara is roughly translated as 'explanation' and is used in the context of Israeli policy and actions." (Israel: Propaganda, public diplomacy & soft power, Harriet Straughen,, 10/5/11)

One Israeli practitioner of 'public diplomacy', the so-called Peres Centre for Peace (PPC), has hit on the PR tactic of fielding joint Israeli/Palestinian sporting teams designed to mask and obfuscate the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestine's indigenous inhabitants.

Its Australian representative, Tanya Oziel, who breezily talks of bringing together "athletes from the two war-torn nations" (one of whom is a tad more war-torn than the other) and "breaking down barriers" (apartheid walls and checkpoints notwithstanding) has been busy since 2008 in promoting tours to Australia by an Israeli/Palestinian AFL 'Peace Team'. The Peace Team not only played in the 2008 AFL International Cup, but, for maximum public exposure, it became the subject of a film, Tackling Peace, screened on Channel 10 in 2009. (See Tanya Oziel honoured,

This year, the promotion of the Peace Team - which is to say Israel - in the Australian press has become the pet project of Age sports journalist Martin Flanagan, who has so far produced at least 4 promos on the subject.

Flanagan is an interesting case, apparently atypical of so many of our Israel-bound journalist junketeers. One is reminded of Humbert Wolfe's cheeky little rhyme: "You cannot hope to bribe or twist/Thank God! The British journalist/But, seeing what the man will do/Un-bribed there's no occasion to."

In his first piece on the Peace Team in June, Flanagan was at pains to explain just how pure his motives were:

"A few months ago I had reason to reflect on my own mortality and realised that the cause which interested me most... is peace. I realise, to some people, peace is an empty word. Perhaps it is best understood by considering its opposite - war, particularly as it is fought nowadays, with lots of civilian casualties. Children with limbs blown off, that sort of thing. I think war is hell. I'm not a pacifist, but do think there are people who carry peace with them through the world and they have my undying respect. I've gone to Israel for 10 days. I'm part of a delegation led by Tanya Oziel, the woman who organised the Palestinian-Israeli football team that competed in the AFL International Cup 3 years ago and is preparing to return. For the record, I am paying my airfares but my accommodation is being sponsored by the PPC..." (Peace is more than just a word, 25/6/11)

As you can see, Flanagan's bought into the PPC's propagandist notion of a 'war' between two 'sides', akin to a game played between two evenly-matched football teams. It may be the case, to adapt the adage that to a hammer everything looks like a nail, that to Flanagan, the blinkered sports journalist, every conflict from World Wars I and II on down looks like a football game, including the utterly asymmetrical struggle between Israeli coloniser and Palestinian colonised. So, whatever his illusions about promoting the Peace Team, he's well and truly party to the PPC's monstrous misrepresentation of reality.

Flanagan further compounds this misrepresentation with such faux profundities as: "I know I'm going to a deeply troubled region. I also know I'm going to a powerful land. Three great religious dreamings emanate in one way or another from there."

Israelis and Palestinians, he'd have us believe, are really just kids with 'issues' from a tough neighbourhood. So don't bother your boofhead with the actual, ongoing colonial dynamic of Israel's relentless campaign of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, just bring the lads "from two of the most violently conflicted groups on earth" together as a team, watch them get whipped by Nauru (which, incidentally, routinely votes for Israel in the UN), and finally have coach Robert 'Dipper' DiPierdomenico farewell them with these edifying words: "'I'll miss you blokes. We gotta stay in touch. When you play footy with someone, you might not see 'em for years. Then you see 'em walking down the street and say, 'F..., what are you doing?'." After that you can go home, pretending you've brought peace in the Middle East just that little bit closer when all you've really done is slap a bit of lippy on Israel's apartheid pig.

I'd like to think that some readers of Flanagan's often maudlin drivel can see through it, but if the following response is anything to go by, the PPC will have gotten its money's worth. It comes from the notreallyaustralian blog:

"Read editorial written by Martin Flanagan. After reading it, I was curious [as] to who Flanagan was. So I asked Lord Wiki. He's a journalist who writes a sports column. He's also the brother of Richard Flanagan, the Tassie author. I should have suspected that. The editorial was about the Palestinian-Israeli football team. Flanagan and some others are going to Israel to meet the players. Flanagan is impressed with the whole business, and so am I. I don't often have a lot of understanding about why Palestinians and Israeli's [sic] hatefully and violently fight over a tiny piece of land. Flanagan is more understanding than me. 'I know I am going to a deeply troubled region. I also know I am going to a powerful land. Three great religious dreamings emanate in one way or another from there'. Flanagan uses the term power of place. I think for some Jews and Palestinians, there IS a power of place. For others, I think the power of place comes out of the animosity towards the other group. It reminds me of the time that Jack came to the lake house with fake cat vomit. He showed it to his cousins, and they played together. Then suddenly, there was a huge tearful fight over the cat vomit. My sister and I were dragged into the drama. Suddenly, we realised that this was cat vomit we were talking about; and it all seemed so silly. No, I am not saying that Israel is like cat vomit. I am just saying that sometimes we cling to something simply for the fact that other people are clinging to it as well. I'd say for many Jews... they hate Palestinians more than they love Israel. And for many Palestinians, I bet they hate Jews more than they love their land of Palestine. I think the Palestinians and Jews who reach out to each other and try to make peace... I think they're the ones who truly love the land of Israel." (That weird American who's obsessed with Australia: Peace, Ministry of Magic, Clergymen, & Age, 26/6/11)

You can see the kind of damage Flanagan's folderol is doing out there.

Now I wish I could say that his June piece was a one-off, but I can't. In July he was at it again, telling us that:

"I went to Israel to find peace. People I told said, 'Funny place to go'. Our Tel Aviv hotel was on the beach across the road from the nightclub blown up by a suicide bomber in 2001; 21 died, one as young as 14. In front of the wreckage is a sculpture, rough-hewn from steel. It has two shapes, one male, one female, and in Hebrew the words: 'We will never stop dancing'." (Finding peace in an unlikely place, 2/7/11)

Except that Israelis are not dancing in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Shooting, raiding, arresting, imprisoning, torturing, bulldozing, evicting, dispossessing, and colonising, yes, but definitely not dancing.

In August came an account of a PPC event which brought together students from Melbourne's Bialik College and "youths" from Newport Mosque. Flanagan, of course, regaled them with the story of St Tanya ("the woman who had this crazy idea of taking Australian football to the Middle East as a peace initiative") and 'her' Peace Team. After which they all sat back and watched the film Tackling Peace and listened to a nice policeman discussing such things as "empathy" and "respect" and "seeing things from other people's viewpoint as well as your own." Flanagan concluded, naturally, with a paragraph advertising the next public appearance of the Peace Team. (Saturday Reflection, 20/8/11)

Finally, in September, came another round of applause for the "brilliant" Tanya and this glowing tribute to the Peace Team's Israeli members:

"When I told my Jewish dentist that some of the Israelis in the Peace Team were great blokes, he smiled and said, 'Why wouldn't the Israelis be great blokes?' to which I replied, There are blokes, good blokes and great blokes. I'm saying there were some great israeli blokes in the team'. They were the men I admired because to me they had a full consciousness of the reality in their country and were trying to find a new approach to it. One of them, Nimrod, the son of an Israeli female lieutenant-general, had fought in two wars. He was a very smart young man with inner composure who was concerned about the morality of the conflict. When the Peace Team had its first internal dialogue, Nimrod said to the Palestinians: 'Let's do a deal. We're going to do one some day. Let's do it now'." (Without politics, Peace Team is peaceful, 24/9/11)

Top blokes all! But the Palestinians? Why, it's enough to break Flanagan's heart:

"It is no secret that Palestinians generally did not support the Peace Team, believing it masked the reality of their political situation. A number of Palestinian players were threatened. One was under cyber attack the whole time he was in Australia. The attacks continued after his return to his home in the West Bank. This week he pulled out of the Peace Team."

Maybe, just maybe, Palestinians know something our PR man doesn't. But, of course, Flanagan doesn't want to go there:

"Personally," says he, "I don't want to get involved in the politics of the Middle East."

Martin, maaate, don't pee on our legs and tell us it's raining, ok?

Related posts: Sport Rots the Brain (19/8/11); Foul Play (17/6/11)