Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rupert's Raiders 2

The Australian Financial Review's investigation into Murdoch's raiders continues in today's edition:

"From Latin America, the United States and Canada, across Europe and Asia down to Australia and New Zealand. In every country, in every market, it was game on. They were on a mission and they had no rules - or rather, no one to call them to account. They were undercover. They would use funny code names and false money trails, secret informants, 'honey pots' and deep cover agents. They spoke of 'burning' the people they targeted. They called them 'flammable'. They had scorn for everybody who stood in their way and they expressed that scorn freely in encrypted emails to each other, secure that no one from outside their tight group would ever read them. There was no moral quality to doing this; it was a necessary part of the operation. It was part of the business. And what was that business? It's not terrorism, it's not suicide bombing, it's not weapons of mass destruction', says Jan Saggiori, a Swiss-Italian hacker who became a target of the underground operatives. 'It's pay television'." (Murdoch's inside job, Neil Chenoweth)

Hm... sounds like something out of the rogue entity that touts itself as the Middle East's only democracy and casually talks of 'lawn maintenance'* in Gaza. Maybe that's because it is:

"News Databank Systems (NDS) was an accident of history. In February 1998 an Australian technology consultant, Bruce Hundertmark, badgered Murdoch into shelling out $3.6 million to found a start-up company in Israel called News Datacom Research based on encryption technology developed by the Weizmann Institute, which took a 20% stake. (The details of the early history are airbrushed out of many accounts.)" (ibid)

According to Chenoweth, NDS went on to set up a special unit, staffed by former police and intelligence operatives, called Operational Security (OS) to fight the piracy of NDS pay TV smartcards. Based in Haifa, OS is led by Reuven Hasak, a former deputy head of Israel's domestic secret service, Shin Bet, and includes former US police and army intelligence operatives. Although working closely with law enforcement agencies to fight pay TV pirates, OS was also engaged in "recruit[ing] top hackers, turning them into informants and then using their expertise to learn how to reverse engineer or deconstruct the smartcards of their rivals." (ibid)

For the dirt on NDS/OS operations you'll need to consult Chenoweth's report. For our purposes, however, his backgrounder on Reuven Hasak makes interesting reading:

"Hasak had been slated for the top job at Shin Bet but his career was destroyed by revelations of perjury and cover-up over the murder of two Palestinian hijackers after they were captured in April 1984. They were killed by a Shin Bet agent, allegedly on the orders of Shin Bet chief Avraham Shalom. But, over 18 months of investigations, Hasak helped orchestrate a false story, coaching a string of Shin Bet agents to give sworn evidence that an army officer, Brigadier-General Yitzhak Mordechai, was the killer. Shortly afterwards the Landau Commission reported that perjured evidence and the torture of suspects had been a regular part of Shin Bet procedure, and introduced reforms. In October 1985 Hasak and two other senior Shin Bet officers went to then-prime minister Shimon Peres to reveal the cover-up and ask for Shalom to be replaced. Peres dismissed their concerns: 'Why did you just remember today? If wrongs were done, why didn't you prevent it a long time ago?' The three Shin Bet officers were forced to resign, and formed a security firm, Shafran. Ten years later, as three of Israel's most experienced spies, they were the logical choice when News Corp's general council, Arthur Siskind, needed to investigate a fraud at NDS."

[*See my 17/3/12 post Israel's Similes & Ours.]

Murdoch Media Syndrome

"Screaming, 'They're going to take us down!', a pilot stormed through his plane yesterday rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him to the ground just outside the cockpit... The unidentified pilot seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down, passengers said. 'They're going to take us down. They're taking us down. They're going to take us down. Say the Lord's prayer', he screamed... Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed 'irate' and was 'spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qa'ida'. The outburst came weeks after an American Airlines flight attendant was taken off a plane for rambling about 9/11 and her fears the plane would crash." (Passengers tackle pilot after mid-air snap, AP/The Wall Street Journal/The Australian, 29/3/12)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Young & the Limbless

Until today, I thought I'd heard just about every Zionist lie and misrepresentation ever uttered on the subject of the supposed awfulness of the Palestinian people.

But I was wrong.

It seems that, in its unrelenting demonisation of its historic victims, the Zionist mind is always capable of some new, ever more fantastic twist.

What follows is a letter in the current (30/3) issue of The Australian Jewish News from Jon Sackville of Caulfield, Victoria, who heard from a friend who heard from a friend who... Get the picture? OK, I'll leave it at that. Mr Sackville's letter speaks for itself:

"I was surprised that in my letter kindly printed in last week's AJN (23/03), a method used to obtain funds by cutting off limbs from children and seeking compensation from the Israeli government was omitted, probably due to disbelief.

"I also find it beyond belief, but a few years ago, a Jewish Australian was in Israel on business and was asked by a colleague to accompany her to Gaza to visit her boyfriend, a doctor working in a hospital there. Both of them were non-Jews.

When it was mentioned that it was a tragedy that tiny children had missing limbs, the doctor said, 'They cut limbs off their children, blame Israeli attacks and get compensation from the Israelis'.

"The doctor didn't know the Australian was Jewish and had no reason to lie. He was disgusted by these actions.

"I really feel it is important for the world to see who we are dealing with and if the story I suggested last week could be made into a short film on DVD, with the right backing, it could be distributed to many thousands of people by letter drop or millions on the internet."

Yes, Jon, what a great idea!

I can see it now, The Young & the Limbless, a real little schlock-horror gem in the 'children overboard' mold:

'Shit, broke again! Let's see now, which of the kids will it be this time? Strewth, I've already lopped one arm off each. Guess I'll have to start on the legs. Hmm... how about little Ahmad? Always running around getting into mischief that one. A logical choice, I reckon. And a real win-win: not only do I get to milk those dumb Israelis for a tidy sum but the little bugger's not running around getting into trouble anymore! Leila, go and find Ahmad for me while I sharpen the machete? There's a girl'.

Maybe Spielberg could be persuaded to come to the party on this one?

But seriously now, how can a paper as distinguished as the AJN publish such rubbish? Surely, surely the readers aren't going to stand for it? I for one can't wait for next week's reader backlash on the letters pages.* Look out, Mr Sackville!

But wait a minute.

I guess if you're the kind of reader brought up on Golda Meir's little ditty - 'Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us' - you'll swallow anything.

*PS(6/4/12):Backlash? What backlash? As I thought, there's not a whisper about Sackville's letter in the latest (6/4) issue of The AJN.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rupert's Raiders

In my post The Silence of the Intellectual (6/9/11), I took Robert Manne to task for failing, in his critique of Murdoch's Australian in The Monthly Essay, to focus on the paper's extraordinary and unremitting support for the state of Israel.

It now transpires that Murdoch not only employs its dupes as journalists and gives its propagandists free run of the opinion pages, but he's even got its intelligence operatives helping out at the office:

"A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry. The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring. A four-year investigation by The Australian Financial Review has revealed a global trail of corporate dirty tricks directed against competitors by a secretive group of former policemen and intelligence officers within News Corp known as Operational Security... The issue is particularly sensitive because Operational Security, which is headed by Reuven Hasak, a former deputy director of the Israeli domestic secret service, Shin Bet, operates in an area which historically has had close supervision by the Office of the Chairman, Rupert Murdoch. The security group was initially set up in a News Corp subsidiary, News Datacom Systems (later known as NDS), to battle internal fraud and to target piracy against its own pay TV companies. But documents uncovered by the Financial Review reveal that NDS encouraged and facilitated piracy by hackers not only of its competitors but also of companies, such as Foxtel, for whom NDS sabotaged business rivals, fabricated legal actions and obtained telephone records illegally... Covert operations in Australia were directed by the head of Operational Security for Asia Pacific, Avigail Gutman. At the time Gutman was based in Taiwan, where her husband Uri Gutman was the Israeli consul, before she was promoted to be a Group Leader based in Jerusalem." (Pay TV piracy hits News, Neil Chenoweth,, 28/3/12)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Contrary to Rumours...

David Flint is an emeritus professor of law:

"It took only one day for [Bob] Carr to demonstrate his weakness for the grand theatrical gesture, and for the most transparent spin. Having unwisely decided that his tete-a-tete with Graham Richardson should be broadcast, and on the basis of musings by one Papua New Guinea minister about a possible delay in the elections there, he said he would consider the most powerful attack on a foreign country short of a declaration of war - international sanctions. But it wasn't Iran or Syria, it was a friendly country." (Grand theatrical gestures are no way to conduct foreign policy, The Australian, 26/3/12)

I wasn't aware that either Iran or Syria had ever said 'boo' to Australia, let alone achieved the status of enemies of this country, but then I'm not an emeritus professor of law.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our Hunger Strikes & Theirs

"Palestinian hunger striker Hanaa ash-Shalabi was transferred to a hospital earlier today after Physicians for Human Rights determined her life was in danger, urging her to remain under observation in the hospital because of her 'feeble pulse'. She didn't stay long, however, as Israeli officials rejected the call for 'observation' and sent Shalabi immediately back to prison following her examination. Shalabi has been on a hunger strike for 33 [now 40] days. Shalabi became the second high profile hunger striker of the year for Israel, after a multi-month strike by Khader Adnan. Shalabi, like Adnan, is being held without charges under a military 'detention' order*. Shalabi had been held for over 2 years under a similar 'detention' order without charges as part of the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit. She was arrested again in February, however, and started the strike in protest at her complete lack of legal recourse for open-ended summary detentions." (Palestinian hunger striker hospitalized, in failing health, Jason Ditz,, 19/3/12)

In August 1995, however, you - who normally avoid ostentatious acts - went on a hunger strike in front of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem.
That's right. I wanted to bring public attention to the disastrous proportions that the [Oslo] agreement was taking on. Of course, one can express oneself in the Knesset, but words are not enough anymore, a powerful gesture was needed. Unfortunately, the hunger strike had less impact on opinion than I had hoped. With better organization and the involvement of the international press, the hunger strike probably would have attracted more attention.
How long did you fast?
Eight days.
(Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait, Uri Dan, 2006, p 136)

[* "The procedure of military detention, in all its phases, is conducted under a veil of utter secrecy and in violation of the right of the detainee to defense. It enables a person to be held in detention without evidence and without trial, on the basis of classified intelligence alleging that he constitutes a security risk. The nature of the allegations is known only to the actors involved: the General Security Service (GSS) who supplies the 'security material', the military commander who signs the detention order, the military prosecutor who is the advisor and representative of the military commander and the military judge who is expected to apply his 'judicial review' to the order. This hermetically closed circle, which does not leave even a shred of transparency, does not allow the detainee to defend himself, absolves the prosecutor from the burden of proof and prevents the judge from writing a reasoned decision. This is how administrative detention orders are issued. The maximum period of each single order cannot exceed 6 months, but the overall detention period can be extended indefinitely." (The Mysteries of Administrative Detention, Tamar Pelleg-Sryck, in Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, ed. by Abeer Baker & Anat Matar, 2011, p 124)]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Israeli Propaganda Week

"To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction." (The Purpose of Education, Martin Luther King, Morehouse College Student Paper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947)

Zionist propagandists will grasp at any straw to bolster their faltering case. The most recent example here has been an Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) poster barrage targeting the 8th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses across the nation.

One such poster features a photograph of Black-American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King with an accompanying, unsourced, though presumably genuine, quote. Google the quote and one of the first entries to emerge is the following from

"10 days before his assassination, at the annual convention on [sic] the Rabbinical assembly, Dr King said: 'The response of some of the so-called young militants does not represent the position of the vast majority of Negroes. There are some who are color-consumed and they see a kind of mystique in blackness or in being colored, and anything non-colored is condemned. We do not follow that course... Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect her right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality'. Source: I.L. Kenen, Israel's Defense Line, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY: 1981, 266"

[NB: I have highlighted in the above quotation the part which accompanies the photograph of King.]

What, I wonder, would the average Australian university student make of King's alleged words?

Putting to one side any analysis of the quote's content, one would hope that any students reading it would have the critical wherewithal to ask themselves (or AUJS) the following obvious questions:

1) Why is the quote not sourced as are those on AUJS's other 2 posters?
2) What is the source of the quote?

Assuming that any students were sufficiently interested as to google it and so access the above extract, one would hope that they would then have the nouse to ask two further questions:

1) Who is I.L. Kenen?
2) Is there any other source for the quote?

In answer to question 1) Isaiah Leo 'Si' Kenen (1905-1988) was the founder of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs (AZCPA), the forerunner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful component of the US Israel lobby, whose conferences provide the (candle-lit?) backdrop for American presidents' de rigueur declarations of undying love for the state of Israel. The full title of Kenen's book is Israel's Defense Line: Her Friends & Foes in Washington.

In answer to question 2) I can't find any other source on the net. (If anyone can find it in some volume containing say King's complete speeches, I'd be more than interested to hear from them.)

With these 2 answers in mind, I would therefore hope that such students would take the quote with the proverbial grain of salt.

Now assuming that King did say what has been attributed to him by Kenen, I would hope that students would then ask such questions as:

1) Is King, like the Pope, infallible?
2) Just how much did he know about the issue at the time?

To which, I think the following answers would have to be: 'no' and 'probably not much'.

I would hope as well that they would take into consideration the context in which it was said, that is, in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which the Zionist propaganda mill conned Americans into believing was a war for Israel's very survival, with President Nasser of Egypt cast in the role of the new Hitler gearing up to drive Israeli Jews into the sea. With so many Americans sucked in by the myth of an Israeli David overcoming an Arab Goliath, why not King?

Finally (and again I hasten to add if these are indeed King's words), I would hope that students would marvel at the grotesque spectacle of a renowned campaigner for the rights of his own oppressed people so blind to the colonial dynamic at play in Palestine as to prattle on about the security of the coloniser and his supposed transformation of a "desert land" into an "oasis of brotherhood and democracy." The cliched, propagandist desert/oasis metaphor suggests that King (?) hadn't the foggiest idea about the geography of Palestine, let alone what had really been going on there since 1917.

Certainly, the PR people behind the MLK poster, would naturally be banking on our students simply suspending their critical faculties and taking the quote at face value. In which case, their propaganda campaign will have been successful. Let us hope that our students are up to the challenge. And as for MLK, I think he'd be turning in his grave.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

With Flying Colours

I wasn't worried. I always knew that when push came to shove Bob would pass his Australia/America 101 exam with flying colours:

"Bob Carr has had his first meeting as Foreign Affairs Minister with a senior official of the Obama administration, reassuring Washington he is 'a great friend of the US', the official said. Some of Mr Carr's earlier writings raised eyebrows in Washington over his commitment to the US in the face of China's competing claim for attention. But after 2 hours of talks in Sydney yesterday, the US official Kurt Campbell said there had been 'no points of disagreement'. 'He listened carefully, he took a lot of advice, I felt very good about it', Dr Campbell told the Herald." (Carr assures US official of friendly intentions, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/3/12)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bob Carr's Maiden Speech

Our new foreign minister, Bob Carr, delivered his maiden speech in the Senate on March 21.

While his focus on key environmental concerns and call for religious tolerance are welcome, the core issues of his portfolio, particularly those to do with our Middle Eastern (and more recently African) involvement, receive scant attention.

In this post I examine the relevant sections of Carr's speech in detail:

"I want to address another global challenge. One month ago, US soldiers burnt copies of the Koran at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan."

So what is the US doing in Afghanistan? And why are we there? Carr doesn't say. In fact, the only other reference to Afghanistan in his speech comes when he acknowledges that both Lab and Lib share a common "commitment to Afghanistan." As if the murder and mayhem in US-occupied Afghanistan today can be reduced to an act of desecration.

"Days later, young people destroyed 238 war graves in Benghazi, Libya. Whether intentional insult or error of judgment, such acts look like cultures of war. Senators may recall the sense of cultures being at war that was felt on hearing reports of the terrible dynamiting by the Taliban of the Buddhas of Bamiyan - those statues carved in stone 15 centuries ago."

No reference to his predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who acted as a one-man cheer squad for Western intervention there? No reflection on the 'wisdom' of that intervention?

"At such times, people might subscribe to the notion that we are being tugged toward the nightmare that the American writer Samuel Huntington predicted in his 1996 book 'The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order'. I remember King Abdullah of Jordan saying at a Davos conference in 2004: Let us avert the clash of civilisations, and help the overlap of cultures. I think those were eloquent words. That notion of an overlap of cultures, I think, is inspiring, especially compared to the alternative notion of monochrome monoliths destroying one another's statuary, smashing one another's grave sites and burning one another's books."

Dragged into a clash of civilisations are we? Or willingly involved in illegal acts of regime change without regard to the cost in lives, resources and treasure? Not a whisper about Iraq, the great crime against humanity that opened the 21st century, just the uncritical invocation of a neocon meme. And strangely, not a whisper about the coming USraeli aggression against Iran despite Carr's characterisation of it on his Thoughtlines blog as "certifiable insanity."

"There have been in the world's history some marvellous cultures of tolerance, and we should dwell on them. In Southern Spain, in medieval times, Moslems, Christians and Jews lived and worked together in the polity known as Al-Andalus. Andalusia, of course, springs from that Arabic noun. One of the caliphs, Abd-ar-Rahman III, who ruled between 912 and 961 - his name has probably not been spoken in this Senate chamber for many years - appointed a devout Jewish scholar, Hasdai ibn Shaprut, as his foreign minister. Why recall this all these centuries later? Simply because of the symbolism. Here was a Moslem ruler who appointed a Jew as his foreign minister. It is what King Abdullah must have had in mind: an overlap of cultures. In that civilisation, Al-Andalus, while Christian Europe's libraries were small, the caliph's library at Cordoba reportedly burst with 400,000 volumes. Jews in this civilisation had their sacred writings translated into Arabic, because they liked the sinuosity of the language. As Maria Rosa Menocal wrote in the Ornament of the World - a beautiful book that I commend to the Senate - this was a society that had the courage to 'live with it's own flagrant contradictions'."*

Certainly the most interesting part of Carr's speech from our perspective. Yes, I think we can say with complete confidence that his reference to Al-Andalus, or any other high point of Islamic civilisation for that matter, is a first for the Australian senate. And yes, he's done well to draw the attention of its unrepresentative swill to such an example. After all, anything that sticks in the craw of Senator Cory Bernardi and his kind is more than welcome.

However, it does rather sit at odds with Carr's lifelong support for the Jewish supremacist state of Israel, which has more in common with the Christian supremacist regimes which followed the reconquest of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in the 13th century, regimes which culminated in the expulsion of an estimated 300,000 Spanish Muslims between 1609 and 1614 by King Philip III. This was perhaps the largest act of ethnic cleansing ever carried out in Europe up to that time, and a forerunner of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist forces from 1947 to 1950.

"We should ask what we Australians can do, in our modest way, to steer the world away from Koran burnings, the bombing of Buddhas and the despoilation of brave soldiers' graves towards peaceful overlap and pluralism. We can make sure that our multicultural society continues to tick over. I do not think there is a need to fetishise multiculturalism or to give it a capital 'M' but, simply, to relax into our easy going Australian ethnic and cultural diversity based on tolerance and respect. We can redouble our efforts in the Alliance of Civilisations - and earlier this afternoon I met another UN ambassador who was a member of that alliance - sponsored by the governments of Spain and Turkey. We can enhance our work in the region for interfaith dialogue. We can work with Indonesians, the largest Islamic nation in the world, which continues to spurn extremism."

All bandaid solutions I'm afraid. What we as Australians should do is decline to participate in, or better, forthrightly oppose, the kind of American imperial aggressions that set the scene for such behaviour and worse. But that, I'm afraid, is a bridge too far a conga-line suckhole like Carr.

"Running foreign policy is about protecting our national interest. Although by every tenet of diplomatic doctrine that comes first and foremost, it is also about being an exemplary global citizen when it comes to protecting human rights and protecting the world's oceans. To this I would like to add that in foreign policy we may also promote and defend cultural diversity, the idea of a planet of seven billion that celebrates and does not deny its contradictions."

Cultural diversity? Sure, it beats the resurgent Islamophobia of a Nicholas Sarkozy, but is that the best Carr can come up with?

[* Highly recommended: Blood & Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain, Matthew Carr, 2009]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drama Queens

No country produces drama queens, fabulists and obsessives quite like Israel. Here's Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu, for example, in full-flight at the UN General Assembly in 2009. How his audience kept a straight face is beyond me:

"This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene 3 decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past 30 years this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others."

Lying dormant for centuries!? Schlock horror at its best!

Reading Israeli 'journalist' Uri Dan's Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait (2006) only confirms the impression. When it came to bravura performances, Sharon, Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006, was more than a match for Bibi. The porcine war criminal had bullshit in buckets and chutzpah in spades.

Only Sharon, for example, could get away with this one:

"Lebanon is also strongly determined to obtain nuclear weapons." (p 229)

Lebanese nukes! And his faithful PR flak, Uri Dan, didn't even bat an eyelid!

And here's Sharon on the subject of the Holocaust. (Now I know what you're thinking: there couldn't possibly be anything I haven't already heard on that subject, right? Wrong!) Forget the antics of the Grand Mufti, according to Sharon, the Palestinian people itself is collectively responsible for the Holocaust. Here's how he spins it:

"The Shoah itself is linked to Arab terrorism of the 1930s since it encouraged the British government, then masters of the country, to publish the White Paper of 1939 that limited the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine to 75,000 people over 5 years. Those were precisely the years that saw the horror of Nazism. There is no doubt that without that White Paper hundreds of thousands, even millions, of European Jews could have been saved. At the time when Jews could still escape, the doors of Eretz Israel were closed to them!" (p 139)

Get the drift? Instead of engaging in a desperate revolt for independence from the British, whose declared mission since 1917 had been to hand their country over to Zionist colons, the Palestinians should have sat on their haunches, pondered the plight of Germany's Jews, and thought first and foremost about what they could do to help them. Yeah, right.

And talk about obsessed. Captain Ahab, in mad pursuit of Moby Dick, was a model of rationality compared to Sharon. For Sharon, Yasser Arafat was "the greatest enemy that the Jewish people have known since the end of World War II" (p 102), "a modern pharaoh" (p 134) who dwelt (at least until 1982) in "a kingdom of terror" in Lebanon (p 95).

And if ever you wanted a rationale for a land grab, try topping this one:

"I voted against ceding Hebron to the Palestinians; this would endanger the Jewish community resettled in the town. The number of deaths among those heroic Jews who have continued to live in Hebron since then has justified my fears. King David spent seven and a half years in Hebron, where he was crowned, and the town is mentioned 1,023 times in the Bible. And this what we are asked to give up?" (p 172)

A mere eight and a half years and it's yours for all time!

But if you think it's just Sharon who's crackers, listen to his biographer/buddy, Uri Dan:

"When Sharon, full of life, humor and energy, climbed into his jeep with his soldiers headed for the battlefield, I saw historical figures: the Jews fighting for their freedom against the Greeks, Romans and others; David confronting Goliath; the Judges of Israel; Gideon and Samson." (p 18)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sgt. Bales: Scholar & Gentleman

"Every American soldier I've known... has been a very fine human being and I can tell you that on a number of occasions in south-east Asia in tsunamis in Aceh and all over the world where the happiest sight on the horizon is a US soldier." Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, Q&A, 12/4/10

OK, so he may have blown 16 sleeping Afghan men, women and children to kingdom come, but you know what, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is not only the kind of gentleman you'd expect to find in the US army, but a Middle East scholar as well:

"Army comrades described him as a model soldier who was polite, professional and exceptionally cool under fire. A student of Middle Eastern history and customs, he often admonished younger GIs to treat non-combatants with courtesy and respect. 'Some guys have a pretty negative attitude, but Bales wasn't like that at all', said Captain Chris Alexander, who served with Bales in Iraq. 'He said there was no need to be a jerk. Be polite, be professional, and have a plan to kill everyone if you need to'..." (Model soldier's growing stress over cash crisis, Joby Warrick, Washington Post/Daily Telegraph/ New York Times/ Sydney Morning Herald, 19/3/12)

His Middle East studies taught him that Middle Easterners, whether Iraqis or Afghans, may variously be described as 'sand niggers', 'rag heads', 'dune coons', or 'terrorist shits who deserve to die'. They also made him fluent in such languages as Arabic and Pashto, with words such as 'habibs' and 'hajjis' tripping off his tongue. But that's not all. Bales' studies have really honed his capacity for critical thought, resulting in the following piercing insights:

"Bales offered his own insights on the war in Iraq after he fought in a battle in Najaf in 2007 in which 250 enemy fighters died, in clashes described by some as 'apocalyptic'. 'I've never been more proud to be a part of this unit than that day', he said afterwards in a testimony collected for a military training college. 'We discriminated between the bad guys and the non-combatants and then afterwards we ended up helping the people that 3 or 4 hours before were trying to kill us. That's the real difference between being an American as opposed to being a bad guy, someone who puts his family in harm's way like that'." (ibid)

Move over, Alan Dershowitz!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Emails & Emails

This just doesn't add up:

"As the international community struggled to absorb the bloodiest episode yet in Syria's brutal crackdown in Homs, Bashar al-Assad was in Damascus composing a private email to his wife [Asma], according to a cache of what appear to be emails from the Syrian first couple obtained by The Guardian." (President sent iTunes to wife while Syria burned, Robert Booth & Luke Harding, The Guardian/Sydney Morning Herald, 16/3/12)

I mean Bashar's an Arab, right? So his wife couldn't possibly be out shopping BY HERSELF in Europe, could she? I mean who's Bashar going to smack around every night if Asma's off in Europe? It just doesn't make sense. You know what? I reckon The Guardian's been hoaxed.

Yet, there are emails and there are emails, know what I mean? The following email, from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Syrian president, I can vouch for, coming as it does from the Syrian opposition and leaked to that most reputable of news sources The Angry Arab News Agency:

'Habibi Bashar, Let's face it, you and I and Nasrallah are all just a bunch of terrorists. Yes, and I have a nuclear bomb and deserve to be bombed by NATO. Oh, and we both killed Hariri. Oh, and we're also behind September 11. Cheers, Mahmoud'.

Now, if this isn't the SMOKING GUN we all need to wipe Iran, Syria and Lebanon off the map, I don't know what is.


Not only do we have young Israelis flogging Dead Sea mineral products (coming from an illegal factory in an illegal settlement built on illegally-confiscated Palestinian land in the illegally-occupied Palestinian West Bank) fanning out in our shopping malls, we also have them flogging dodgy paintings on our streets. Typically, the latter phenomenon has yet to engage the attention of the Australian ms media. But, thanks to the efforts of a New Zealand woman, the phenomenon has at least made it into the NZ press:

"A scam involving Israelis selling artwork door-to-door has been busted, thanks to the suspicions of a Richmond woman. The Israelis now face deportation. Immigration New Zealand says one, an overstayer, has been taken into custody pending deportation, 5 found to be working in breach of visitor visas have been served with deportation liability notices and a seventh, due to leave New Zealand voluntarily, has been warned about working in breach of visa conditions.

"Richmond resident Rebekah Young said she felt uneasy when a man claiming to be an Israeli student came to her door selling artwork 2 weeks ago. She said he told her they were one-off prints of original paintings. She liked one called Passion Flower and bought it for $180, and he told her a mobile picture framer could call and frame it. She paid a total of $320. Later she discovered a neighbour had been offered the same one, and another the same was seen in the back of the framer's van. She had expected he would be a Nelson framer, but he too was Israeli. 'I just had this sick feeling in my stomach that something was not right', she said. She said she then went onto her computer and googled 'art scam' and found similar stories in Auckland, Napier and Christchurch. So she rang the police. Police caught up with the Israelis when they called at another Richmond house. Young got her money back and handed over the artwork she had bought.

"Senior constable Marty Tutton, of Wakefield, said it was a case of buyer beware. Anybody could sell door-to-door but the issue was how they were selling and whether there was a misrepresentation, or an attempt to deceive. 'They have been spoken to and advised of the correct procedures in New Zealand'. He said there were 5 in a van and they admitted to selling artwork in Nelson, Stoke and Richmond. They were not charged but the police contacted Immigration NZ. Immigration NZ manager fraud and compliance, Peter Elms, said INZ staff and police visited a Nelson address on Monday and spoke to 7 Israeli nationals. 'INZ understands that the artwork being sold door-to-door is pictures purchased from China for a small sum and sold for between $150 and $400 each'." (Israeli art scammers told to quit country,, 15/3/12)

[For Mossad's activities in NZ, click on the NZ tab below. Also read the comprehensive report Mossad down under-again? (23/7/11) by KR Bolton at; For more on Israeli 'art students', see my 30/9/10 post Round Round Get Around...5.]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Abbott: We Are All Israelis

How interesting. Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott makes what must surely be one of the most hyperbolic and fatuous statements of his political career, namely, that 'We are all Israelis', and it's been ignored both by the ms media and his own website! Work that one out.

Abbott's revelation of our supposed Israeliness (Israelianity?) came in a speech he gave at Sydney's Central Synagogue on March 9, the only source for which is The Australian Jewish News:

"In so many ways, [Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy... A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope'. He added that Australians 'can hardly begin to comprehend' the existential threat Israelis live under. 'It is so easy for us in Australia to get moral qualms, if you like, when we read about Israeli actions in - on the West Bank for instance - or Israeli involvement in Lebanon. And yet, we are not threatened in the way Israel was and is, and if we were threatened in the way Israel was and is, I am sure that we would take actions just as strong in our own defence. When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I'm concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances'." (Abbott: We are all Israeli, 16/3/12)

Now if this isn't the biggest load of old cobblers from the mad monk to date, I'll eat my computer. Two points:

First, Israel is not a liberal, pluralist democracy. It's a Jewish ethnocracy based on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine's majority non-Jewish population, who live in refugee camps in neighbouring countries and who would love nothing better than to return and take part in a genuine, post-apartheid election, on an equal footing with Jewish Israelis, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, and Palestinians currently under military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Then and only then will Palestine/Israel amount to a liberal, pluralist democracy.

Second, the only threat, whether existential or actual, that's ever existed in Palestine/Israel from 1917 until today has been that directed against the Palestinian people by the Zionist colonisation of their homeland.

So, if it's a matter of Australians identifying with those under threat, as it should be, then as far as I'm concerned - to rephrase Abbott's words - Australians are Palestinians. We are all Palestinians in those circumstances.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Israel's Similes & Ours

In enumerating the reasons for the latest Israeli wilding in the Gaza Strip, which has to date resulted in the death of 25* and the wounding of 80, Jerusalem Post journalist, Yaakov Katz, has written matter-of-factly that "lastly, the IDF is using this as an opportunity to do some 'maintenance work' in Gaza and to mow the lawn, so to speak, with regard to terrorism, with the main goal of boosting its deterrence and postponing the next round of violence for as long as possible." (Analysis: Easy to start, hard to end, 10/3/12)

[*As of 12/3/12]

Maintenance? Mowing the lawn? Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! I've got a wonderful feeling. Everything's going my way. Hm, I think I'll go out and mow the lawn before it gets away on me. Gotta keep those nasty weeds in check, eh? For example, there's Mohammed Mustafa al-Hassumi, 65, and his daughter Faiza, 30. And there's Nayif Qarmout, 14, and Ayoub Assaliya, 13. Oh, and his 7-year old cousin too. Too damn many to mention, if you must know. OK, what'll it be? I've got so many damn new-fangled American mowers, snippers, trimmers and other whizzbangs in the garage I can hardly keep up with them all. Then there's the weedicides... but don't get me started on those. Maybe I'll just make do this time with the Apache helicopter, and the F16 and V-58 fighter jets. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go...

Oh well, I suppose horticultural similes come naturally to the kind of folk who, legend has it, made the desert bloom, but for the rest of us mere mortals, whenever we see Israelis in action, somewhat different, darker similes generally spring to mind. Similes like these, for example, from Australian journalist Tony Clifton, who witnessed Israeli industry and whizzbangery like you wouldn't believe in Lebanon in 1982:

"Israeli attempts to get into [Beirut] were like the efforts of a madman trying to smash down the door of a house with an axe. He flails away in a crazed frenzy, then he tires and his battering slackens; but then the rage grips him again and he hacks away with greater vigour." (God Cried*, p 23)

"Watching the Israeli air force smashing Beirut to pieces yesterday was like having to stand and watch a man slowly beat a sick dog to death with an axe handle." (ibid, p 24)

"[Israeli Prime Minister] Begin was not stopped by a phone call from President Reagan... he ended the war because he had got what he wanted, just as a rapist stops humping after he has had his orgasm." (ibid, p 13)

[*One of the finest pieces of engaged journalism/photojournalism ever written. For excerpts, click on the Tony Clifton tab below. Better still, do yourself a favour and pick it up on Amazon; See also my 13/2/09 post Backburning the Palestinians?]

Hit the Road, Jack!

Here's what passes for plain speaking in the US media. It comes from CNN's Jack Cafferty, 13/3/12:

"How much is enough? The US has been in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. President Obama insists we will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. Why? What's going to be accomplished by staying in that godforsaken hellhole for another 20 months that hasn't been accomplished in 10 and a half years?"

Yes, I agree, Jack. Get out of Afghanistan NOW! But what's this godforsaken hellhole business? Has CNN and the rest of the corporate media pack played no role in helping Bushama turn Afghanistan into a GFH? Jack? Oh, I see, you've got SFA to say about that. And anyway, if Afghanistan's a godforsaken hellhole, maybe it's because the Great Satan's taken up residence there, what do you think?

"Events are beginning to conspire against the US mission there. We had pictures of US marines urinating on dead bodies. We had the accidental burning of the copies of the Koran which further inflamed the hatred of the American presence there. And now we have the US soldier allegedly massacring 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children."

I understand. It's not the US "mission" that's been screwing Afghanistan and its people, it's "events" that have been screwing the US "mission." Right. Damn events! And shouldn't that have been accidentally or allegedly urinating on dead bodies?

"The Taliban are threatening to begin beheading US soldiers in response to this latest outrage, yet the Obama Whitehouse is out with the statement insisting that none of this will deter us from our mission. Which is what exactly? I have no idea what the hell we're still doing there anymore. Isn't Osama Bin Laden dead? The Karzai government is a puppet regime barely friendly to our government and the rest of the country hates our guts not unlike how we might feel if an army of occupation had taken up residence here in the US and begun desecrating our dead, burning our Bibles, and massacring our women and children."

At last, an insight! But why not call a spade a spade, Jack? What's this mission crap? What we've got over in Afghanistan ain't no mission! It's a regular, jackbooted army of occupation! And as such it's generated a stiff resistance, aka the Taliban. Face it, Jack, the Taliban's an own goal. But what's that you're telling me? Oh I see, you don't want to upset the viewers.

"Not to be cynical, but it's my nature. The one thing is if President Obama's election campaign is in trouble by Labor Day, suddenly, with a second term in doubt, my guess is he might decide to move up the timetable for bringing our troops home. Hey, whatever it takes. I don't know about you. I've had a bellyfull of Afghanistan."

And you know what, Jack? Afghanistan's had more than a bellyfull of your bullets, your drones and your colossal yankee arrogance.

Friday, March 16, 2012

He said That?!

To say that most Zionist comments on Israel-related blog posts are as boring as batshit is the mother-of-all understatements. This is because, as brain-dead ideological defenders of the indefensible, their authors have little but lame talking points churned out by Zionist propaganda mills to work with.

Just occasionally, however, a klutz among them comes up with a comment so hilariously dumb as to warrant my sharing it with you. The comment in question, from someone calling himself Frankel, comes from the thread following the January 2012 post Because policing the discourse is punk rock at the US blog L'Hote. Enjoy:

"I'm no fan of much of what Israel does, but as a Jew is it so unreasonable for me to become suspicious when I see so many people who have no skin in the game (that is, people who are neither Jews nor Arabs) take such a critical concern to the behavior of Israelis? And please spare me the line about the aid we give to Israel. The US gives plenty of money or other aid to countries with transgressions far worse than Israel and you don't hear a peep about it.

"I mean, look how women, gays, christians and palestinian refugees have to live in most of the middle east. I guess none of them are fortunate enough to be victims of Jews." JANUARY 28, 2012

What? Run that by you again?

Sure: Palestinian refugees are fortunate enough not to be victims of (presumably Israeli) Jews.

I mean where does one begin with this bloke?

What part of the following eye-witness testimony to Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine's indigenous Arab population, for example, does he not get (providing, of course, he can get his head around its use of capital letters)? The setting is Israel, 1950. Migdal (al-Majdal in Arabic) is now the Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon:

"When I got on to the bus, I could already feel the bitterness of the Arab inhabitants; the two Arab passengers with whom I tried to begin a conversation (without touching on the questions which I had in mind) gave laconic answers. When we arrived in Migdal Gad, I went to the barber, a new immigrant who had already been living in the city for 18 months, and asked him what had been happening over the previous 2 months. He said that the Agency - for him that was the government - had sent the Arabs away from the place and that they had not left of their own free will. He advised me to get further information from the military authorities. Tomorrow, he said, there will be no more Arabs in Migdal. His wife added, 'They are foul and dirty, those ghetto creatures'.

"I went to the ghetto. A soldier on guard stopped me: no entry. I talked to him and showed him my identity card. He let me through when he saw that I was a Jew - superior race. The picture that I then got was very depressing. People were settling their affairs in preparation for the exodus. The next day they would have to leave their houses, the homes of their fathers and forefathers, family possessions for centuries. One man was selling a writing desk in the street and others were selling all kinds of possessions. Armed soldiers were going through the streets keeping order. There was no one to visit, no one to talk to...

"At the other end of the street, about 300 yards from the ghetto, were the offices of the military governor. There was a notice on the door: 'housing committee'. New immigrants were standing in a queue here to be assigned the houses that would be vacated the next day. But what was particularly striking, juxtaposed to this oppressive poverty within the ghetto, was the number of luxury cars parked in front of the offices of the military governor; in one of the rooms I could see a group of 10 to 12 people sitting round a conference table littered with beer mugs. I could not hear what they were talking about, but I automatically assumed that they were discussing the last stages of the expulsion and redistribution of the homes of these unfortunate homeless people.

"I tried to get an official account of events from the military governor, but he was not there. The mayor, whom I found hard at work in the ghetto, remarked that now was not the time to write anything, and that if he was asked, he would supply details in a couple of weeks. He also said that this was not a good place for talking aloud: the Arabs understood Hebrew and the street had ears.

"There are now 1100 new immigrant families totalling about 4000 people; a large number of them are descended from oriental [Jewish] communities. Neighbouring [Arab] villages like Isdud, Yibna, Julis and other places have been devastated and the new immigrants have been settled in new settlements in the vicinity of the devastated villages. Not in Migdal, where no new houses have been built and where the immigrants are settled in the homes of former inhabitants; in their homes and on land that they have been forced to leave." (Joseph Abileah, from a letter published in the Palestina Bulletin, The Hague, 6 September 1969 - quoted in Palestine Comes First, Lucas Grollenberg, 1980, pp 72-73)

[To place the above in context: "al-Majdal/Migdal-Ashqelon About 2,500 Arabs still lived in Migdal-Ashqelon until the beginning of 1950. Most of them were already displaced persons who had been uprooted from their homes and gathered into the ghetto the state established for them on the outskirts of the town. Their freedom of movement was limited, and they were allowed to leave the ghetto primarily to work. Depending on how much freedom of movement each had been granted they'd seen or heard how their homes had been given to Jewish families who were moving into them. About 10 months elapsed from the day Moshe Dayan decided they were unwelcome in the town until the expulsion of all Arabs had been completed. The main argument was, as always, that they provided 'a haven for infiltrators'. The success of the project, which depended on the cooperation of more than a few Israelis - truck drivers, government ministers who were familiar with the decision, journalists adhering to the official line - would not have been possible had those involved not been convinced that it was 'for the refugees' own good' - they were treated as refugees even before being expelled. It wasn't enough that the Israeli Jews accept the separation of the 'refugees' from family members who had already been expelled to Gaza, or their life in the ghetto, as a fact not subject to appeal. Israel also tried to convince the Palestinians themselves that their evacuation to refugee camps in Gaza was a rescue. The procedures were similar to those the army and the state had previously employed elsewhere, but this time a few months of systematic effort were invested, including a 'campaign of whispers', lies and deception, daily violence and abuse, and a slightly more favorable currency exchange rate." (From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation, 1947-1950, Ariella Azoulay, 2011, p 196)]

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rudd & The Israel Factor Revisited

The Party Thieves (2010), by the host of ABC Television's Insiders program, Barrie Cassidy, is subtitled: The Real Story of the 2010 Election. It incorporates, need I say, the story of the revolt by key Labor parliamentarians against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his replacement by current PM Julia Gillard. That story has been pretty well canvassed by now, but, in light of this blog's focus, I find the following extract from Cassidy's book most intriguing:

"[Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities] Bill Shorten was typical of those who had become increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with Rudd's style and direction through 2009, and then even more so when the polls started to collapse... Two issues in particular troubled Shorten. He thought the government's backdown on climate change should have been formally announced by the Prime Minister and properly explained around the country. And he was annoyed when the government expelled an Israeli diplomat over the Dubai passports affair, where the passports of 4 Australians with dual Israeli citizenship were falsified as part of a hit on a top Hamas leader. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said that 'was not the act of a friend', and as such, it could not be tolerated. Bill Shorten believed the expulsion was an overreaction." (p 81)

Something rather strange is going on here.

Why does Cassidy merely record the above? Where's the raised eyebrow?

Could it be that he regards the second of Shorten's alleged motives for involvement in the plot to axe Rudd, namely the perfectly justified expulsion of an Israeli diplomat (something John Howard also did), as somehow quotidian?

I'm sorry, but surely the simple fact that Israel was in some way a factor in Rudd's fall is truly extraordinary and suggests that we may have reached the stage where, as in the US, politicians, even prime ministers, can be made or unmade by the Zionist lobby.

For newsmakers like Cassidy, the question arises: if the role of the Israel factor in knocking off an Australian prime minister is not worthy of real media scrutiny, what is?

[NB: This post should be read in conjunction with my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy. On Shorten's background, see my 18/3/10 post Portrait of a Labor Zionist.]

Colonel Vivian Gabriel

As promised in my last post, what follows is the little I know about the author of the invaluable 1922 whistle-blowing essay The Troubles of the Holy Land, Vivian Gabriel. It's taken from that richest of all sources on the early years of British collusion with Zionist skullduggery in Palestine, JMN Jeffries' Palestine: The Reality (1939):

[NB: Louis Brandeis was the American equivalent of Britain's Chaim Weizmann, a Justice of the US Supreme Court, and friend of President Woodrow Wilson. He visited Palestine in 1919; Major-General Sir Arthur Money was the Chief Administrator in Palestine, 1918-19.]

"One way and another, between the pressure brought by the [Zionist] Organization chiefs in London and by Brandeis of the golden memory, British officers who did not, like Balfour, see eye to eye with the Zionists, began to lose their posts. They were either forced into resignation or removed. 'One of the chief saboteurs of the Balfour Declaration was removed through his (Mr Brandeis's) influence', writes Mr Kallen, a cautious commentator. Our faithful Zionist Organization Report, too, has something to say of the last days of Major-General Money's rule. He had made a speech condemning the policy of creating 'separate institutions for different communities', whether charitable or educational.

"Shortly afterwards a circular letter was sent from Headquarters to all Military Governors asking their opinion as to the advisability of creating mixed Government schools, for Arabs and Jews alike. The Zionist Commission, it goes without saying, energetically resisted all these attempts, and it is possible that its endeavours, as well as representations made by the London Office to the Home Government had something to do with Major-General Money's recall from the post of Chief Administrator.

"As it happens, General Money already, and for the second time, had tendered privately to Lord Allenby his resignation from his thankless post. But if he had not decided to retire it is evident enough that he would have had to retire. He is not to be confounded with the 'chief saboteur of the Balfour Declaration' just mentioned. This was Colonel Vivian Gabriel (now Sir Vivian Gabriel). Colonel Gabriel was Assistant Administrator of OETA [Occupied Enemy Territory Administration] South. Before the War he had held several highly responsible positions in the Indian Civil Service. In 1914 he had been attached to the Headquarters Staff in Egypt. He then became a member of the British Military Mission to the Headquarters Staff of the Italian Army. At the time he was Financial Adviser to the Palestine Administration. He does not appear to have pleased the Zionists for a number of reasons. Among them, 'he busied himself in promoting British commercial interests. His circulars betrayed in culpable language the belief that Palestine was part of the British Empire'. (Wise-de Haas.)

"Lord Sydenham, when the opportunity occurred, some months later during a Lords debate, directly accused the Government of taking action against British officials, under Zionist influence. 'The military Administrator at the time', said he, 'found that his position had become impossible, and then a most capable Indian Civil Servant, appointed by the War Office as Financial Adviser, and specially commended for good work, was suddenly dismissed... He was condemned unheard, because it was stated that he had adopted 'an attitude inconsistent with the Zionist policy of the Government'. Lord Curzon, who closed the Debate for the Government, had not a word to say in reply." (pp 316-317)

It is to Gabriel's credit that he didn't go quietly, penning at least his eloquent account of Palestine's nascent troubles and warning against the catastrophe to come.

[See also my 26/12/11 post Zionism in the Dock.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Original Tat

"[I]n Palestine it is not consequences but causes which cry out for examination. The causes, which have been kept concealed or as far out of sight as possible, all are to be sought within the period from the [First World] War to 1923." (JMN Jeffries, Palestine: The Reality, 1939, p 574)

As the ms media frame it, Palestine/Israel is primarily a matter of tit-for-tat, a term which invariably crops up with each new round of Israeli savagery in the Gaza Strip, the latest included. The repetition of this term, with its historically contextless perspective, tends to deter the casual reader/viewer from a consideration or examination of the underlying causes of the problem, causes which cannot be lost sight of if one is to truly understand the problem and envisage a just and peaceful solution for it.

With this in mind, I have found it useful to consult those who were there at the time to witness the original tat, if I may call it that, namely, the forced imposition of an alien, European settler-colonial regime on a war-ravaged and defenceless non-European people, a regime so virulent and toxic as to turn their world literally upside down.

Vivian Gabriel (of which more in a follow-up post) is the author of one of the earliest, if not the earliest, critiques of the Zionist invasion of Palestine ever penned. His lengthy, 25-page article, The Troubles of the Holy Land, appeared in The Edinburgh Review of January, 1922. While the whole is well worth seeking out and reading, for the purposes of this post I've picked out some of the key passages and added linking summaries:

Beginning with a thumbnail sketch of Palestine's geography and population, Gabriel moves to an account of Ottoman Palestine. And what a contrast it is to Palestine under the succeeding British/Zionist heel.

"Before the war the people had their own elected representatives, generally from the leading local families, in the Imperial Parliament at Constantinople. They had also local self-government in the administrative council of the province. This was elected by the district councils, which were in turn chosen by the municipalities and village councils. Very few Turkish officials were stationed in Palestine, the majority of functionaries there being natives of the country. The administration, whatever its faults, was simple, inexpensive and suited to the people. Until the war, it was popular enough. The people resented conscription for the Turkish army and despised their Turkish rulers as men of inferior culture; but, on the whole, they were contented, secure and tranquil. The normal Turkish garrison was only about 400 men. The established religion was Moslem but there was complete toleration for other religions, and the various communities, e.g., the Orthodox Greeks, the Jews, the Catholics, each had their own charter of liberties and their own jurisdictional courts. The incidence of taxation was about 26 shillings a head of the population, but much latitude was allowed and actually not more than 20 were collected. The country paid its way and even yielded a handsome surplus to its Turkish rulers, to say nothing of the assigned revenues that went to the bondholders of the Ottoman Public Debt. Concessions for the development of mineral resources, ports and railways, had already been granted and work on them commenced. Fruit and grain enough for export were produced, and there were large gains also from the Christian pilgrim traffic.

"It has long been the fashion in this country to decry the 'unspeakable' Turk and to talk glibly of Ottoman misgovernment. To the student of administrative methods, the 'Corps du Droit Ottoman' tells quite a different tale. The regulations it contains are certainly suited to the people and conditions, and many of them, particularly those relating to representative institutions and the collection of the revenue, had been drawn up by the best experts in Europe and were the direct survivals of the old Roman law that was applied in the Asiatic provinces, with later infiltrations from the Napoleonic codes. Among these laws was one protecting the people from foreign exploitation by restricting immigration, and another confining transactions in real estate to Ottoman subjects.

"During the war, the people of Palestine suffered very badly. They were treated by the Turks as an alien hostile race, for their pro-Ally sympathies were well known: they were robbed and starved; their crops were seized, their fields cut up for trenches; their businesses were ruined and their able-bodied men were forcibly conscripted, even after 3 payments of exemption tax; tens of thousands of them died from pestilence or famine. When therefore the British and Allied forces over-ran the Holy Land, they were welcomed with such joy as had not been known before. It was indeed a liberation and the traditions of the British name promised great things for the future. Men wore their best clothes and strangers embraced each other on the roads from sheer gladness. There were endless 'Te Deums' in village mosques and churches, or in what the law had left in them."

Gabriel has more to say in the same vein but the following sentence on 1918 Palestine is telling: "The problem of Palestine was perhaps the easiest of solution of those that had been left to Great Britain as a result of the war." But no, they had to stuff it up, didn't they?

"The picture now presented by [High Commissioner] Sir Herbert Samuel's report, and by the reports of the commission on the Palestine disturbances [of 1921] and of the Zionist Organization, is by no means so refreshing, and recent visitors to Palestine find the situation overhung with clouds, the population sullen, morose and angry. The people say openly that they were better off under the Turks and are only restrained from violence by the fear of British bayonets; the machinery of military coercion is everywhere in evidence; public security no longer exists and even the High Commissioner himself travels with an armed escort; concessions have been suspended and developments remain in abeyance; the Holy Places are neglected, the government is out of touch with the people.

"Something must have gone seriously wrong in the interval to have produced a change so marked and unexpected. History records no other instance of the same kind under British rule."

Gabriel goes on to sketch the rise and rise of the Zionist movement, culminating in the issuance, by the government of Lloyd George and Lord Balfour, of the Balfour Declaration, which gave official British backing to the creation of a Jewish state... sorry, National Home, in Palestine, a development which quickened the pulse of many a European and North American Jew.

"In Palestine itself," however, writes Gabriel, "the people whose national home it already was took quite another view. They were still under the Turks, from whom they first heard of it. It was, to use their own phrase, a bolt from the blue, and they were thoroughly alarmed at the economic difficulty of two national homes in one house. Their great ambition was the promised independence and, notwithstanding Turkish taunts, they refused to believe that the British would not keep their word. This was their attitude at the beginning of the occupation, but a few months later, when a Zionist Commission under the leadership of Dr Weizmann arrived in Palestine, they began to be seriously perturbed."

This semi-official body, in its arrogance, proceeded to behave as though it owned the place. Hebrew was made an official language and the Zionists were given a monopoly over development. "Matters reached such a pass towards the end of 1918 that the chief administrator of Palestine was compelled to ask either for a military force to repress the civil population, or for a definite pronouncement of policy that would enable him to allay the popular excitement," wrote Gabriel.

A joint British-French proclamation promising popularly elected governments in their respective colonies... sorry, Mandates, was issued but the smooth-talking Dr Weizmann had Whitehall's ear and the proclamation's promise of democratic rule vanished as quickly as an Obama statement calling for an Israeli settlement freeze in the occupied Palestinian territories today. Things came to a head with the appointment of Britain's first civilian ruler, the British Zionist politician, Sir Herbert Samuel.

"The public had become thoroughly alarmed, and the tension was not allayed by the acts of Sir Herbert Samuel's government. The Jewish element in the public service was disproportionately increased and in nearly every position where a native was found he was counterbalanced by a Jew. The employment of a large number of Jewish workmen and labourers out of all proportion to the Jewish population of the country had displaced Arab labour and was a means of using public money for the very support of the immigrants whose introduction was viewed with hostility and alarm; men talked in whispers in the street and were afraid to use the post or telegraph; the official use of Hebrew was largely extended, and the native's ignorance of this tongue provided a reason for edging him out in favour of the Jew; even the postage stamps were surcharged with an inscription signifying 'the Land of Israel'; Zionists openly referred to the High Commissioner as 'the Prince of Israel'; the natives suffered great loss in 1920 by the prohibition of the export of grain in order to feed the foreign immigrants; an advisory council was formed, but it was nominated by the High Commissioner and contained an official majority; there was no representative government such as the people had been used to. A spark would have set the country in a blaze at any moment, and the High Commissioner evidently lived in constant apprehension of concerted action by the people. Machine guns and armoured cars were frequently paraded; at every railway station there was a Jewish linesman to watch the native station-master; the Arab notables were required to give security to keep the peace, although they had never broken it, or be imprisoned by default; the native press was muzzled while the Zionist ran free."

Gabriel concluded, in part: "It should not be forgotten that the Balfour Declaration is a pact between the Government and the Zionists, not between the latter and the Arabs, who were no party to it at all, and still refuse to have any official dealings whatever with Zionists. If by pursuing the present policy a worse than Irish question is allowed to grow, the land of our 3 great cognate faiths will be a shame to the whole world."

Now, what was that about tit-for-tat?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Whose Interest?

Pure coincidence, but it's interesting how the following news should come on the heels of my last post:

"A secret squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia's foreign military engagement... The Herald has confirmed that troopers from the [SAS 4] squadron have mounted dozens of secret operations during the past year in various African nations, including Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya. They have been out of uniform and not accompanied by Australian Secret Intelligence Service [ASIS] officers with whom undercover SAS forces are conventionally deployed. It is believed the missions have involved gathering intelligence on terrorism and scoping rescue strategies for Australian civilians trapped by kidnapping or civil war. But the operations have raised serious concerns within the Australian military and intelligence community because they involve countries where Australia is not at war... Despite the dangers, the then foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd last year asked for troopers from 4 Squadron to be used in Libya during the conflict. His plan was thwarted by opposition from the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, and the Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley." (Secret SAS teams hunt for terrorists, Rafael Epstein & Dylan Welch, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/3/12)

But really this should come as no surprise:

"Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has phoned Prime Minister John Howard to thank him for the role played by Australian special forces sent deep into Iraq to destroy missile sites aimed at Israel. While little detail has emerged about the activities of the SAS in the second Gulf War, indications are that its soldiers went in to knock out missiles aimed at Israel and at Arab countries helping the coalition cause. A major concern of coalition planners was that the hawkish Israeli Government would launch its own attacks on Iraq if Iraqi missiles landed on its territory - particularly if they were loaded with chemical or biological weapons... The US is understood to have assured Israel that it would be in a position to deal with any such threat before hostilities started.

"Israel's ambassador to Australia, Gabi Levy, told The Sunday Age that Mr Sharon rang Mr Howard a week ago to convey his appreciation for the part Australia played. That followed a March 25 call from Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, to his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, in which he passed on the appreciation and gratitude of Israelis for the job the SAS soldiers did in western Iraq. Mr Levy said Mr Downer briefed Mr Shalom on the coalition forces' activities in western Iraq and said that their aim was to prevent Scud missile attacks on Israel. Mr Downer said a high priority was given to that goal. It seems likely that the SAS moved into Iraq at least 2 days before the 'official' war started on March 20 with a cruise missile bombardment of Baghdad intended to kill the Iraqi leadership... Mr Levy said he knew nothing of speculation from the US that Australian and Israeli special forces operated together in western Iraq. On March 29, New York's Daily News reported that Israel was engaged behind the scenes providing satellite intelligence to supplement that of the US. It said Israeli agents in Baghdad had provided sensitive information to the US and its Sayeret Matkal commandos were operating in the desert in western Iraq with American and Australian special forces." (Sharon thanks PM for help, Brendan Nicholson, The Age, 13/4/03)

The question arises: Are we off on a frolic all our own, or are we just gormlessly tagging along with our USraeli mates again?

After all, the Israelis recently concluded a deal with Kenya, declaring that "Kenya's enemies are Israel's enemies" (Israel increase in support for Kenya's al-Shabaab battle draws fresh threats, Mike Pflanz,, 15/11/11).

Ditto for Nigeria. In the words of Israel's ambassador to that country: "Our hands are always open to our friends and partners. Nigeria is one of them. Efforts are on the way over this, we cannot say more than that now. It falls under a bi-lateral arrangement and relationship" (Israel joins Nigeria to fight Boko Haram, Konye Obaji Ori,, 8/3/12).

Further, hadn't Haaretz' security expert, Yossi Melman, declared on our own Radio National in 2010:

"A third role [of Mossad] was to maintain secret, clandestine but very vital and useful contacts with its counterparts, whether it's... ASIO or... the CIA or... MI6. And they have developed over the years, very, very intimate relations, sharing information and... assessments and even, nowadays, going into the field, enjoying the operations in the war against global terrorism"* (The Mossad, Rear Vision, 24/3/10).

Watch this space.

[*See my 29/5/10 post All the Way with Mossad.]

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Things They Do...

... to keep HIM happy:

"This week's meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to have ended more cordially than their last face-to-face. And Netanyahu does seem to have cooled his calls for war and threats to attack Iran even without notifying the US. After all, Iran doesn't even have a nuclear weapons program.

"According to Marc Ambinder, this is because Obama shared with Bibi 'the US's significantly ramped-up American covert sabotage and non-proliferation campaign' inside Iran, calming his fears of an impending nuclear weapon. Ambinder says 'the CIA's ops arm, the National Clandestine Service, along with the US military' are 'scrutinizing and seizing cargo shipments bound for Iran, tapping the black market for nuclear supplies and buying up spare parts, and maximising the collection of Iranian signal traffic'. One primary type of intelligence the US has on Iran's nuclear program is what is called 'measurement and signature intelligence', or MASINT. These are 'sensors on satellites, drones, and on the ground' measuring 'everything from the electromagnetic signatures created by testing conventional missile systems to disturbances in the soil and geography around a hidden nuclear facility to streams of radioactive particles that are byproducts of the uranium enrichment process'. The US 'knows what Iran has and doesn't have', says Ambinder.

"Ambinder's account of covert intelligence gathering conforms to a report from the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh in May of last year. Hersh reported that for years 'soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Force, working with Iranian intelligence assets' went directly into Iran to set these systems up. 'Street signs were surreptitiosly removed in heavily populated areas of Tehran - say, near a university suspected of conducting nuclear enrichment - and replaced with similar-looking signs implanted with radiation sensors. American operatives, working under cover, also removed bricks from a building or two in central Tehran that they thought housed nuclear enrichment activities and replaced them with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices. High-powered sensors disguised as stones* were spread randomly along roadways in a mountainous area where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction. The stones were capable of transmitting electronic data on the weight of the vehicles going in or out of the site; a truck going in light and coming out heavy could be hauling dirt - crucial evidence of evacuation work. There is also constant satellite coverage of major suspect areas in Iran and some American analysts were assigned the difficult task of examining footage in the hope of finding air vents - signs, perhaps, of an underground facility in lightly populated areas'.

"Ambinder's piece doesn't get deep into the sabotage elements of the covert war on Iran, but we of course know that the Stuxnet computer virus that infected Iran's nuclear facilities and broke a bunch of their equipment was a US project and that the US has sold broken equipment to Iran through third parties in international markets. Incidentally, Ambinder notes, while the US is sharing all this top secret information with Israel, Israel isn't sharing anything with us. 'Often', he writes, 'the US government finds out about explosions that kill Iranian scientists at the same time as the world press does'. Apparently Bibi doesn't feel comfortable divulging Israeli proxy terrorism with Obama." (Comforting Bibi: covert activity in Iran, John Glazer,, 7/3/12)

[*Of related interest: "The Lebanese army said Thursday its units had found and dismantled an Israeli spying device, apparently disguised as a rock, in southern Lebanon. 'The device was located thanks to intelligence from resistance forces (Hezbollah) near the area of Chamaa in southern Lebanon', the army said in a statement. According to the statement, the device, which was camouflaged as a rock, took and transmitted photographs. On December 16, 2010 the Lebanese army said it dismantled a similar device in the area of Barouk, southeast of Beirut. More than 100 people in Lebanon have been arrested since 2009 on suspicion of collaborating with Israel." (Lebanese army claims to have dismantled another Israeli spy device, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 17/5/11)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bob Carr Gets the Thumbs Up

He may have blotted his copybook in 2003 and baulked at bombing the Iranians in his blog, but, fingers crossed, we can't really complain:

Zionist Federation of Australia:

"ZFA president Philip Chester said it was unfair to judge his stance on [Iran]. 'There are lots of arguments for and against pre-emptive strikes [on Iran], including in Israel as well', he said. 'I think the important point at this stage is does he understand the grave risk that Iran represents to Israel and the world, [and] basically, I think he does'. Chester described Carr as a 'champion of human rights and democracy'. 'I think overall he brings a lot of knowledge and understanding to the table', he said." (Carr warns against Iran attack, The Australian Jewish News, 9/3/12)

Executive Council of Australian Jewry:

"'Bob Carr has a long record of support for Israel and the cause of democracy and human rights. He was a founder of Labor Friends of Israel in the 1970s, campaigned actively for the freedom of Soviet Jews, and has been an outspoken champion of Israel's right to exist in peace and security', said ECAJ's president, Dr Danny Lamm." (ibid)

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council:

"AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubinstein applauded Carr's long association with the Jewish community and record of support for Israel. 'AIJAC's positive working relationship with him goes back to the time before he was in Parliament, when he was an outstanding journalist and Labour Council activist', he said. 'We trust he will be an effective colleague to Prime Minister Gillard in furthering the government's policies in a range of areas, including maintaining the primacy of the Australia/US alliance, opposition to the dishonest and damaging Palestinian campaign for unilateral recognition of statehood, and the imperative of preventing Iran acquiring nuclear weapons', he said." (ibid)

The Australian Jewish News:

"A controversial blemish on his Israel record occurred when, as NSW premier, he presented the Sydney Peace Prize to Palestinian politician and activist Dr Hanan Ashrawi in 2003, but this has been far outweighed by his positive words and deeds. This made it that more surprising to read on his personal blog recently... that he strongly disagrees with a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities... Consolation can be taken from a Sunday Age interview with Carr from last weekend, which stated that 'views he held as a 'freewheeling private citizen' should be 'set aside' for the 'more precise' views he will now express on behalf of the nation'. Carr's predecessor Kevin Rudd ultimately was unable to keep his personal views out of Australia's foreign policy debate. Let's hope Carr fares better." (Editorial: The world according to Carr, 9/3/12)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Israel's Dalai Lama

OK, so he doesn't have a crimson robe or a giggle, but Israel's president, Shimon Peres, has guru-babble down to a fine art:

"The Israeli President, Shimon Peres, praised Facebook as a vehicle for social change during a visit to the company in Menlo Park, California. Peres, 88, arrived on Tuesday to launch his personal page on the site that he hopes will open a dialogue with Arabs. 'The matter of peace is no longer the business of governments but the business of people', he told Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, in an interview streamed live. 'Today the people are governing the governments. And when they begin to talk to each other, they are surprised. We should be friends'. Asked what Facebook could do to promote peace in the Middle East, Peres said: 'What you are doing is convincing people they don't have a reason to hate'. (Peres gets on Facebook, LAT/Sydney Morning Herald, 8/3/12)

"Israel is a small piece of land. We are not even 1% of the Arab space, you know. We don't have water. We don't have oil. Our greatness, if one may say greatness, stems from the fact that we had nothing to start with. So we turned to human talent because there weren't natural resources. The Arabs can do it too." (Epiphanies from Shimon Peres, Foreign Policy, March/April 2012)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pack Attack

The following eminently sensible letter from Peter Loewensohn, Cremorne, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday:

"As an Australian Jew, I sit and observe in trepidation, as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, endeavours to drag Barack Obama, kicking and screaming, into bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities ('Fears Obama meeting will not prevent Israeli strike on Iran', March 7).

"The purpose of Iran's reactors is sketchy. The West claimed proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The West was wrong.

"Iran has nothing to gain by attacking Israel, nuclear or otherwise. It may well attack, if in retaliation. We do know that to bomb the Iranian reactors is by all accounts an extremely difficult exercise, with no guarantee of the desired results, even if the US assists Israel.

"Netanyahu is reputed to have stated he doesn't want to be remembered as the Prime Minister on whose watch Israel was annihilated by Iran. With his present ambitions, he might well be remembered as the Prime Minister responsible for, at best, mass conflict in the Middle East, or at worst, World War III.

"If he devoted his energies to making peace with the Palestinians, rather than humiliating them, blockading them, bombing them and building on their land, his legacy may be that a peaceful solution was his doing.

"Regrettably, I can't see that happening with him as Prime Minister. There would need to be a change of government in Israel and a swing of opinion, more in line with increasing support there, for peace with the Palestinians. I hold my breath."

When non-Jews dare to criticise Israel on the letters page, Jewish Zionists (and occasionally non-Jewish Zionists) invariably trot out a propaganda-ridden response of some kind. Note, however, that our Jewish critic of Netanyahu, Peter Loewensohn, is singled out in today's Herald for special treatment, a veritable pack attack:

"Peter Loewensohn writes that 'Iran has nothing to gain by attacking Israel, nuclear or otherwise'. Simple logic should prompt all to share Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's concerns.

"First there is Iran's comments of annihilating a United Nations-member state from the face of the earth. Couple this with Iran's actions, of which the UN's nuclear watchdog has expressed 'serious concerns' relating to research and development 'specific to nuclear weapons' capabilities.

"While we have the luxury of contemplating the costs of an Iranian confrontation from the comfort of our distant Australian shores, Israelis are busy asking themselves what the far greater price will be of enabling a radicalised, despotic regime to gain a nuclear stranglehold on the Middle East." Evan Guttman, North Bondi

Nuclear stranglehold on the Middle East? Pot calls kettle black.

"Peter Loewensohn hasn't cottoned on to the fact that it is not Israel that is 'dragging the US, kicking and screaming' into a conflict with Iran. It's Israel doing the heavy lifting for the Obama administration facing an election in November and a public fearful of yet another Middle East war." George Fishman, Vaucluse

The chutzpah! The chutzpah!

"As an Australian Jew, I object to attempts by Peter Loewensohn to claim some sort of moral authority by opening his letter stating that he is an 'Australian Jew'.

"The nationality and religion of the writer is irrelevant.

"My nationality and religion give me no moral authority, intelligence or expertise in appreciating the nuclear threat, nor the military, political or geopolitical implications of Iran's theocratic government's quest to develop nuclear facilities and possibly nuclear weapons." Eric Borecki, Bellevue Hill

On the contrary, Mr Borecki, if a foreign government, which claims to speak not just for its own citizens but for Jews everywhere*, including Australia (even should they decline such 'representation'), trumpets its desire to attack another country, Mr Loewensohn, both as an Australian Jew and a thinking man, is not only within his rights to say that Israel does not speak for him, but no doubt feels morally obliged to do so.

[*"In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people. We are blessed to live in an age when there is a Jewish state capable of defending the Jewish people." Netanyahu's AIPAC speech, 5/3/12)

The Illusion of an Imaginary Common Interest

In light of the most recent Obama-Netanyahu AIPAC love-in, and the increasingly bizarre and dysfunctional US-Israel relationship, few words have as much resonance today as these from George Washington's Farewell Address:

"The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave... Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification... As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils!... Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests."

Read on and you'll see what I mean:

Obama to Netanyahu:

"As I've said repeatedly, the bond between our two countries is unbreakable. My personal commitment - a commitment that is consistent with the history of other occupants of the Oval Office - our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid. And as I've said to the Prime Minister in every single one of our meetings, the United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security. This is a bond that is based not only on our mutual security interests and economic interests, but is also based on common values and the incredible people-to-people contacts that we have between our two countries." (Remarks by President Obama & Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, Oval Office,, 5/3/12)

Netanyahu to Obama:

"Americans know that Israel and the United States share common values, that we defend common interests, that we face common enemies. Iran's leaders know that too. For them, you're the Great Satan, we're the Little Satan. For them, we are you and you're us. And you know something, Mr President - at least on this last point, I think they're right. We are you, and you are us. We're together. So if there's one thing that stands out clearly in the Middle East today, it's that Israel and America stand together." (ibid)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Another Compelling Reason to Go to War

As if invoking the Holocaust in his AIPAC speech to sell an attack on Iran were not sufficiently outrageous, the seriously unembarrassed Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, also saw fit to invoke the biblical story of Esther:

"This week, we will read how one woman changed Jewish history. In synagogues throughout the world, the Jewish people will celebrate the festival of Purim. We will read how some, 2,500 years ago, a Persian anti-Semite tried to annihilate the Jewish people. We will read how his plot was foiled by one courageous woman - Esther. In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people. We are blessed to live in an age when there is a Jewish state capable of defending the Jewish people. And we are doubly blessed to have so many friends like you, Jews and non-Jews alike, who love the State of Israel and support its right to defend itself. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for standing up for the one and only Jewish state."

Remember the refrain over Iraq? We were lied into a war. Well, this time around, not only are we being fed Israeli lies about Iran, but we're expected to swallow delusional Zionist fantasies and biblical mythology as well. That's chutzpah for you.

Author Robert Wright's reflections in The Atlantic on Netanyahu's abuse of the story of Esther are well taken:

"Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave president Obama a copy of the book of Esther, which will be read in synagogues this week in observance of Purim. Esther tells the story of a Persian government that tries and fails to wipe out all the Jews in the Persian Empire. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Netanyahu saw this as an occasion to generalize about Persians (or, as we call them today, Iranians). He told Obama, 'Then, too, they wanted to wipe us out'." (Bibi Netanyahu's Bible story, 6/3/12)

And Obama a) rolled his eyes? b) muttered to himself? c) sighed deeply? d) thought Jeeesus! e) bit his tongue and grinned idiotically f) all of the above?

"Here's a thought experiment: Supppose that an Arab or Iranian leader of Muslim faith met with President Obama and told him about some part of the Koran that alludes to conflict between Muhammad and Jewish tribes. For example, according to Muslim tradition, the Jewish tribe known as the Qurayzah, though living in Muhammad's town of Medina, secretly sided with Muhammad's enemies in Mecca. Suppose this Muslim said to Obama, 'Then, too, the Jews were bent on destroying Muslims'. What would our reaction be? I think reactions would vary. Some people would say, 'See, the Koran teaches Muslims to hate Jews!' Some would say, 'Wow, this Muslim is looking really hard for reasons to keep hating Jews, isn't he?' That second point, at least, would have some merit. After all, the Muslim could just as easily have pointed to parts of the Koran that say nice things about Jews - such as the part that says that God, in his 'prescience', chose 'the children of Israel... above all peoples'. Or the part that says that God 'sent down the Torah' as 'guidance to the people' and now had sent down the Koran 'confirming what was before it'." (ibid)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Doing the Time Warp Again

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Monday, March 5.

Although beginning with a funny ("I'd like to talk to you about a subject no one has been talking about recently... Iran"), towards the end of his speech a strange thing happened.

The lights suddenly dimmed, flickered and went out for the briefest of moments, and before the assembled AIPACers (who included more than two-thirds of the US Congress!) knew what was happening they had been transported, by some mysterious magic, from Washington DC, 2012 to Auschwitz, 1944!

But stranger still, Netanyahu didn't so much as bat an eyelid! It was as though time travel of this kind was somehow normal for him. No, he just carried on as though nothing had happened:

"As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live under the shadow of annihilation. Some commentators would have you believe that stopping Iran from getting the bomb is more dangerous than letting Iran have the bomb. They say that a military confrontation with Iran would undermine the efforts already underway, that it would be ineffective, and that it would provoke even more vindictive action by Iran. I've heard these arguments before. In fact, I've read them before. In my desk, I have copies of an exchange of letters between the World Jewish Congress and the US War Department. The year was 1944. The World Jewish Congress implored the American government to bomb Auschwitz. The reply came 5 days later. I want to read it to you: 'Such an operation could be executed only by diverting considerable air support essential to the success of our forces elsewhere... and in any case would be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources...' And here's the most remarkable sentence of all. And I quote: 'Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans'. Think about that - 'even more vindictive action' - than the Holocaust."

Seriously now, the man's mad. Bonkers. Loopy as. And yet did this realisation occur to any US congresscreature or government official within earshot?

Back in 1982, after the Israel Offence Forces, under the direction of then Likud prime minister Menachem Begin, had reduced large parts of West Beirut to what one Western diplomat described at the time as "truly a scene from Dante's Inferno," American, and even some Israeli, officials began to question the man's sanity.

Mind you, incredibly, it wasn't so much what the maniac had done, as his justification for it that caused the penny to drop:

"Contemplating the destruction of Beirut, Israel's prime minister sees a historical parallel. In his response to Reagan's birthday cable, Menachem Begin talked about Berlin. 'I did feel as a prime minister empowered to instruct a valiant army facing Berlin where, amongst innocent civilians, Hitler and his henchmen hide in a bunker deep beneath the surface'. A couple of days after the 'Berlin' message reached Washington, some senior US government officials genuinely seemed to question Begin's mental health. Even in Jerusalem, the disturbing thought has occurred to some Israelis that their prime minister is gripped by a 'dark and macabre fantasy'. 'He is now living in a surreal world', said a professor from the Hebrew University. 'Sometimes I think he is fighting the Warsaw ghetto all over again. He sees the PLO as Nazis and Arafat as Hitler in his bunker'. Ze'ev Mankowitz, teacher of holocaust studies in Jerusalem, described the prime minister's message to Reagan as 'a dangerous and delusional analogy'." (Beirut: The liquidation of a city, Robin Wright et al, The Sunday Times, 8/8/82)

Dangerous and delusional?

Yet who in authority today, in the US, in Israel, anywhere, dares say this of Netanyahu? Must Tehran become a scene from Dante's Inferno before anyone speaks out?

If ever proof were needed that we do indeed live in strange times, one need go no further than this month's AIPAC conference, with its preponderance of congressional sycophants, Obama's obscene grovelling and Netanyahu's hysterical rant.