Friday, November 30, 2012

Pro-Israel Deadenders in Federal Labor

You might like to know just which Labor politicians, apart from ministers Stephen Conroy and Bill Shorten (see my 28/11/12 post The Powerlessness of One), supported Prime Minister Julia Gillard in advocating a NO vote for Palestine's application for observer status at the UN. I'm not sure whether the list is complete or not, so will add names if and when I become aware of them:

Michael Danby, MP for Melbourne Ports (VIC)
Mark Dreyfus, MP for Isaacs (VIC), Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change & Energy Efficiency
David Feeney, Victorian Senator, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence
Don Farrell, South Australian Senator, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability & Urban Water
Bernie Ripoli, MP for Oxley (QLD), Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flogging Rubbish at The Age

Far out! The opinion editor of today's Age seems to think that Jeffrey Goldberg's latest bout of Zionist flatulence is just what those seeking enlightened opinion on Palestine's bid for observer status in the UN need to make sense of it all. Actually, I doubt the silly bugger even bothered reading it first.

How else to explain why a piece, originally titled How Palestinians can finally achieve independence, was retitled in the Age Palestinians doomed by intransigence when the only intransigence referred to in the text is Israeli intransigence?

Any masochist bothering to sniff Goldberg's emission at once enters that strange parallel world of the Zionist propagandist, where words you thought you knew the meaning of take on a whole new meaning, and history is replaced by mythistory, the reverse of what actually happened.

Did you know for example that the word resistance means indiscriminate murder? No? Read on:

"The Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza said, in a televised speech last week, that his group remained committed to a policy of indiscriminate murder. He gave the policy a different name, of course. 'Resistance,' he said, 'is the shortest way to liberate Palestine.'"

Did you know that "Arab nations... invaded the nascent state of Israel"?

He's referring, of course, to Palestine in 1948, but what he asserts happened there at the time bears not the slightest resemblance to historical fact. Far from invading 'Israel' Arab forces were engaged in resisting - in the usual sense of the word - an attempt by Zionist forces to overrun as much of the country as possible, regardless of who was assigned what by the UN.

Here, for example, is the testimony of the man who commanded the most effective of the Arab forces engaged in trying to stem the Zionist offensive, the Arab Legion's John Bagot Glubb:

"The claim that, on 15th May, 1948, the Arab states attacked Israel has already been disproved. We have seen that the Zionists attacked the area allotted by the UN to the proposed Arab state several weeks before the 'Arab Invasion'. Apart, however, from the time factor, no Arab army attacked Israel, except the Egyptian, which crossed from Sinai into an area allotted to the Jewish state in the partition plan. The Jordanians only entered the Arab state, which they found had already been invaded by the Israelis. All the battles fought between the Arab Legion and the Israeli army took place on the territory of the Arab state or in the Jerusalem international area, both of which had been attacked by the Israelis before the Arab Legion arrived. Jordan never, on any occasion, attacked Israel. Of the other Arab states, Lebanon took no part in 1948. Syria fought one border action at Samakh and then withdrew. She did not invade Israel. The Iraqi army sent a token force of 3,000 men, which engaged the Israelis across the Jordan at Jisr al Mejama. It then withdrew through Amman and joined the Arab Legion in defending the Arab state in the Nablus-Jenin-Tulkarm triangle. When holding Jenin, it was attacked by an Israeli force which tried to seize Jenin (a town allotted to the Arab state) but was repulsed. The Iraqis, throughout all the fighting, remained on the defensive inside the Arab state. They also did not attack Israel." (Peace in the Holy Land, 1971, p 309)

Then there are the ludicrous premises that underpin Goldberg's proposed 'strategy' for Palestinians wishing to acquire an independent state of their own. These are:

a) American Jews are so enamoured of civil rights in the US that they would clasp the Palestinians to their bosoms if only they'd drop both their guns and their demand for independence and call instead for the right to vote in the Knesset;

b) Given a), Israeli Jews would be so terrified of Israel being called an apartheid state, and so eager to avoid the attendant pariahdom, that they'd present an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza ("with security caveats," of course) to the Palestinians on a platter. In which case, problem solved, the Palestinians would have a state of their own!

What a genius!

Frankly, any opinion editor who thinks that kind of nonsense suitable fare for readers deserves nothing less than a public flogging with rolled-up copies of his paper.

The Good Old Cold Shoulder

"It wouldn't matter whether it was John Howard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott in the prime minister's chair... [the Israelis] know they've got us by the balls... partly because of the strength of the Israel lobby..." (Unnamed "Australian official" in the wake of the 2010 Mossad passport affair. Quoted in Betrayed PM should not be taken for granted by Israel, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/2/10)

"A prominent Jewish community leader will seek an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard with the hope Australia will yet oppose a Palestinian seat in the United Nations. Philip Chester, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said time was of the essence before the Palestinian bid is put to the vote in New York on Thursday (around 7.30 am Friday). 'We're exploring that right now,' Mr Chester said. 'Our aim is to talk to the Prime Minister at the first instance, others we have to think about.'... Mr Chester was at pains to emphasise his organisation would not make threats..." (Gillard under Jewish pressure over Palestine, Daniel Flitton, The Age, 28/11/12)

Threats? Was at pains to emphasise? How interesting! Now where did that suggestion come from? Daniel? Philip?

Perish the thought that the Israel lobby would ever actually threaten an Australian Prime Minister.

OK, well, there's always the good old reciprocal cold shoulder:

"Australia had long been one of Israel's 3 most supportive friends, along with the US and Canada. But now there were troubling signs that Rudd had decided to distance Australia from the Jewish state and himself from the Australian Jews he had called friends. It started in February [2010] with the Government's angry reaction to news that assassins with the Israeli intelligence service Mossad had forged 3 Australian passports to enter the United Arab Emirates to kill a Hamas military commander... in his hotel room... It sharpened a week later when Australia switched its vote in the UN to signal a weakening of support for Israel... The concern intensified last month when the government expelled an Israeli diplomat as a punishment for the passports abuse... All through this, the Israeli ambassador to Australia and some members of the Jewish community felt a chill in their dealings with the government Phone calls went unreturned, normal dealings seemed to be suspended. The Jewish community reciprocated. When Labor approached key groups to hold fund-raising events for the coming election, they feigned busyness, but it was deliberate and unmistakeable retaliation. The Jewish community was an important source of Labor funds for the 2007 election. A single lunch in Sydney raised $100,000. A Toorak tennis court for 200, attended by Rudd and Julia Gillard, raised more. But as this year has unfolded, it became increasingly clear such effort would not be repeated." (What am I, chopped liver? How Rudd dived into schmooze mode, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6/10)*

FYI: The Age has just concluded a 7,144 reader poll on the question: How should Australia vote on a bid to give Palestinians UN observer status? The results are as follows:
Yes: 60%; No: 31%; Abstain: 9%

[*For the full story on the night Philip and his mates had dinner with Rudd at The Lodge, see my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy. Just click on the 'Rudd government' label below.]

The Problem With Morsi

"We've got a $4.5 billion IMF loan to Egypt under consideration and Morsi wants our help with that. Why is there massive assistance to Egypt? It grew out of the peace treaty [with Israel]. Without that peace treaty, the chances of our treating Egypt as a special case are going to diminish dramatically." (Aaron David Miller, former analyst with the US Department of State, now with the Woodrow Wilson Center. Quoted in Obama presses Egypt to help rein in Hamas as Gaza conflict escalates, Chris McGreal & Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, 15/11/12)

"In the words of a CIA agent who had dealings with him between 1952 and 1954 (quoted by Joachim Joesten): 'The problem with Nasser is that he has no vices. We can neither buy nor blackmail him. We hate this guy's guts, but we can't touch him: he's too clean...' " (Nasser: A Biography, Jean Lacouture, 1973, pp 375-376)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Powerlessness of One

These two quotes were made for each other:

"Cabinet sources told The Australian yesterday that at least 9 ministers spoke against Ms Gillard's 'personal decision' to have Australia vote against the resolution to give Palestine observer status at the UN. The torrid meeting was described as 'vigorous' and 'willing' with only one minister, Senator [Stephen] Conroy, prepared to speak on Ms Gillard's side and only one other Minister, another Victorian, Bill Shorten, prepared to vote with the Prime Minister." (PM facing rebellion in the ranks, Dennis Shanahan & David Crowe, The Australian, 28/11/12)

"Bob Brown is killing us on this issue through the power of a simple, commonsense message: Bush is an imbecile and Australia should not be a part of his war. Mind you, our position could be worse - Conroy could be in charge. At today's Shadow Cabinet he formally moved that we endorse Howard's deployment of troops and an American invasion of Iraq, irrespective of the UN. Not even the other Big Macs - the US faction of Rudd, Smith and Swan - could support him. All he had was his own vote. Imagine that: the ALP supporting Bush and Howard in the invasion of a country on the other side of the world without UN approval. If we followed the Conroy doctrine, after the next election, Brown would be the Leader of the Opposition." (Mark Latham, The Latham Diaries, 2005, p 211)

Australia's Foreign Policy Shame

What a bizarre, bottom-dwelling cult is the ALP these days.

And, as always, it's the party's stance on the question of Palestine, more than any other perhaps, that should strip away any lingering illusions we may have that it is anything more.

A simple, straightforward, morally correct decision to vote in favour of Palestine's cap-in-hand bid for observer status in the United Nations General Assembly is simply beyond it. Instead, in deciding to abstain, it's positioned itself, in cowardly fashion, on the fence.

In addition, but for what has been described in the ms press as cabinet and backbench revolts, its parliamentary leader and prime minister, Julia Gillard, in complete thrall to the planet's most deluded and psychotic national entity, would have had us alone and palely loitering on the international stage with naught but the US, its toxic brat, and maybe Canada, for company.

While one would think the ALP long past embarrassing, one gets the distinct impression that the aforementioned 'revolts' were really nothing more than a desire by ministers and MPs to avoid international ignominy. To hell with notions of elementary justice for the Palestinians, the governing party, warned by former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans, who had briefed Labor MPs on Monday, that "[it] would be on the wrong side of history if [it] stood with the US and Israel against the rest of the world," has merely recoiled from the idea of being shamed in such a public manner.

It goes without saying, of course, that the Abbott opposition is immune from any shame whatever, with its foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, quoted as saying the government's "decision to abstain was disappointing because the Coalition backed a no vote as 'the path to peace and reconciliation'," a position virtually indistinguishable from that of the Prime Minister's "personal view," which was that a vote in favour "would hurt the peace process because the US has threatened to withdraw funding for the Palestinian Authority."

Perhaps the only satisfaction to be gleaned from this whole sorry saga is that "the Israeli government is understood to be furious" and "seething," and the Government's 'Minister for Israel', Michael Danby, "is said to be heavily bruised by the stoush after pushing for Australia to reject the Palestinian bid."

[Quotes drawn from Backbench revolt forces PM to drop Israel support, Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald, 28/11/12; Gillard rolled on Palestine, The Age, Daniel Flitton, 28/11/12)]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting It

Whilst all decent people should applaud the member for Calwell's support for the Palestinians, one remains puzzled by this statement:

"'What I've struggled to understand, there seems to be this fear of offending Israel,' Victorian Labor MP and chairwoman of the Palestinian friendship group, Maria Vamvakinou, says. 'To be honest with you, I don't get it. This is an international issue and if you take an intellectual approach to it, it's about an ongoing occupation that goes to the question of justice, one people being subjugated by another. I can't see how my colleagues can't see this. I don't understand how you can refuse to see what is happening to the Palestinian people is wrong.'" (Messages from the war zone, Daniel Flitton, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/11/12)

Which of the following press-clippings, to list but a few*, does Maria not get?

"The Jewish community was an important source of Labor funds for the 2007 election. A single lunch in Sydney raised $100,000. A Toorak tennis court party for 200, attended by Rudd and Julia Gillard raised more." (What am I, chopped liver? How Rudd dived into schmooze mode, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6/10) 

"On Wednesday evening... the heirs to Richard Pratt's multi-billion-dollar fortune - Alex and Heloise Waislitz - opened their Toorak mansion to 20 of Melbourne's brightest young business people. The special guests were Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier John Brumby. And the price of admission? $5000 a head... For one upcoming function at the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, the waiting list has grown to 700 to hear Ms Gillard talk... About 800 people are now scheduled to attend the function. Premium tables will set participants back $3,300." (Leaders strike gold, hobnobbing with the top end of town, Damon Kitney, The Australian, 30/7/10)

"On the Labor side (and as far as I know the same applies to the Liberals), a newly selected member for a winnable seat is hosted to a private fundraising dinner. A table full of Jewish businessmen are happy to hand over $10,000 for the candidate's first campaign. That's a big bonus for a new member and many never forget that generosity. I was never afforded the honour, but I can say that I would have been suspicious of the motive." (Former ALP politician Julia Irwin - See my 11/8/10 post Julia Irwin spills the beans.)

"... Ms Gillard attended a pre-election breakfast with the Jewish community at Mr Dadon's Toorak mansion on Sunday. The ALP increasingly regards Mr Dadon as a major conduit to donations, including from the Jewish business community." (Mathieson job on the line, Epstein & Millar, The Age, 19/8/10)

[For those interested in more, simply click on the relevant label below.]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gaza ABC

The following lyrics, from Alex Kirby's wonderful song, Gaza ABC, flow naturally from the previous post: 

ABC stop killing me,
DEF you all,
GHI don't want to die,
It's JKHeLL on earth.

And this is me, learning very well my Gaza ABC.
This is me, Ma, learning very well my Gaza ABC.

MNO not my classroom,
PQR you mad?
STU shoot bombs in here,
VWXY me?
And Z, my friends they all lie sleeping.
ZZZZZZZZ, we all lie sleeping.

123 is given me,
free time from falling death,
456 I pick up sticks,
cause my friends they're buried yet.

This is me, learning very well my Gaza ABC.
And I'm taking my education very seriously.

789 minutes of time, they got back to working early.
It's 10 to 12 and it's raining shells,
You know the peace was sweet but hurried.

And this is me, Ma, learning very well my Gaza ABC,
And I'm taking my education very seriously.

'Rebuilding Lives in Gaza & Tel Aviv'

The pernicious Israel lobby-mandated doctrine of balance was impossible to miss on SBS World News last night. Newsreader Lee Lin-Chin set the tone early in the bulletin: "And later, Coming to terms with the conflict: rebuilding lives in Gaza and Tel Aviv."

Shattered lives! Palestinian and Israeli.

Israelis first? But of course!

Li Lin-Chin: Earlier this week there was a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv which injured 29 people, the first such attack in more than 6 years. Today the ceasefire with Hamas is still holding and the city is pretty much back to normal. On the surface anyway, with a little tension underneath. Here's SBS correspondent Luke Waters reporting from Tel Aviv:

It's difficult to believe but less than a week ago Israel was on the brink of all-out war. It's Saturday night here in Tel Aviv. The bars and restaurants are back in full swing. But just how do locals cope with being on the brink of war one day and face normal existence the next?

[Barfly 1] 'It's not new for us. It's kind of normal and we try to continue with our life.'

[Barfly 2] 'This is the situation. This is where we live. That's what you do about it. You one day live like this and the next day like that.'

That's life indeed in Tel Aviv where bars are full and optimism and fun go hand in hand. [Pan to string quartet playing on promenade] On the surface the sentiment on Golden Beach promenade is similar. Even in less than ideal conditions the waves attract a crowd. [Pan to hang glider] Some even take to the air for entertainment. [Pan to surfboard rider] Tel Aviv resident Arik Cohen says all is not what it seems. Despite the bravado, everyone's aware of the dark reality: 'You live your life but you know something can change at any day.' Arik finds his peace in the water.

[Pan to two fatties] Sisters Aviva and Yael now live in Paris but returned to Tel Aviv last week. 'When we heard that the war started that's why we decided to come because we want to share with our friends and family the situation.'

Giving some confidence: Israel's Iron Dome anti-war missile system which intercepts rockets as they bear down on populated targets. In the 8 days of violence, the system intercepted more than 400 missiles, a success rate of 84%.

[Restaurant patron] 'In a couple of years we'll have 13 of them which will cover Israel completely and then Iran will not be a problem which they are today.'

And with more modern weapons from Libya and Sudan now making their way to Gaza, the range and accuracy of the enemy's arsenal is improved. [Pans to high rise with hole in side] But as this badly damaged building shows, the system certainly isn't fallible and 16% of rockets that did get through like the one which fell here at Rishon LeZion*, the 4th biggest city in Israel and only 15km from central Tel Aviv.

[Man] 'What is new here is that this is the first time some missiles arrived to this area.'

[Woman] 'We are not scared. We are very brave in Israel.'

So far Israel's technology will help temper an old problem, with hopes it will prolong peace. But beyond the bars and the beaches a grim, deadly reality prevails. Everyone hopes differently.

[Arik Cohen] 'It's like you're in another world when you're in the water, so yeah, it's definitely a good escape.'

Ultimately, hope for a peaceful solution remains the ideal outcome.


Lee Lin-Chin: On the other side of the border, schools in Gaza have reopened for the first time since the ceasefire was declared in the territory. But, while the children have turned up, the lessons are yet to start:

Nadim Baba, Al-Jazeera: Back with their friends, but for these children there's only one thing on their minds. Many at this school witnessed Israeli air strikes. Some lost their homes. No one can forget what they saw.

[Girl] 'A piece of shrapnel hit my sister in the arm and my uncle's house was hit by a missile.'

And this is what they're doing on their first day - no lessons, just fun.

[Fatima Abu Ahmad, School Principal] 'Psychologically, they're not ready to resume their studies because of the awful things they've seen. They have stories of death and destruction and rubble and fear, things that are not normal.'

But when it's time for drawing it's clear war has traumatised many of these young Palestinians. 'I couldn't sleep all night,' says this girl. 'I was so scared they'd bomb our house. Nobody in our house could sleep.'

The school was badly damaged when a missile hit the mosque next door, meaning several classrooms can't be used. In the middle of the morning more people have arrived. They're the second shift. Like many schools in Gaza this school has two shifts because of overcrowding, and the damage to the classrooms has only made that problem worse. Trained counsellors will also be working with these children, the beginning of a long process, especially because the older ones still display signs of trauma from the war with Israel 4 years ago.

[Counsellor] 'Most of the children which we've seen suffer from nightmares, some behavioural problems such as aggression, bed-wetting, some learning problems, concentration and attention impairment and other problems.'

The physical damage to the school should be repaired in a few weeks but the emotional trauma that these children carry with them will take much longer to heal.


[* I love the way Waters had to go to Rishon LeZion to find a damaged building for inclusion in a report on Tel Aviv.]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gaza for the Complete Idiot

Priceless. Cartoon in today's Sun-Herald by Glen Le Lievre:

1. So I moved into this new neighbourhood.

 A suitcase in each hand, the door of the house is kicked open: BAM!

2. Problem was, someone was already living there.

Bearded, sandal-wearing figure imploring, as in 'But this is my home.'

3. So I convinced him to move to a hole in the backyard. A win win, right?

Figure in hole peers out from under sheet of corrugated iron.

4. But I didn't trust him, so I made life in the backyard unbearable, hoping he'd up and leave - even though he had nowhere to go.

Steel-jawed traps ring figure in hole.

5. From time-to-time he decides to take the whole thing personally and starts throwing stuff at the house.


6. I have a right to defend myself.

Myriad artillery & tank barrels point menacingly at figure in hole.

7. So I shell the backyard.


8. God forgive him for making me make him make me make him make me make him cast the first stone. 

Ground around hole black and smoking. Sheet of corrugated iron twisted out of shape. No sign of figure.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Several of Australia's political cartoonists have weighed in on the subject of Israel's latest massacres in Gaza:

Typically, the only one who managed to get to the heart of the matter, as he does with every subject he deals with, was the incomparable Michael Leunig.

A typically questioning, introspective Leunigian character is shown, in 4 scenes, reflecting on the news from Gaza which he's just read about in the paper. His observations, one per scene, follow the pattern established in pastor Martin Niemoller's famous description of the Nazi consolidation of power in 30s Germany - First they came for the communists... then they came for the Jews... (The third is especially redolent of this brave cartoonist's brushes with Australia's Israel lobby reflected on in his essay The Cartoonist's Lot in his collection, The Lot: In Words, 2008):

First they came for the Palestinians and I did not speak out because I was not a Palestinian.

Then they came for more Palestinians and I did not speak out because I feared hostilities and trouble.

Then they came for even more Palestinians and I did not speak out because if I did, doors would close to me, hateful mail would arrive, bitterness and spiteful condemnations would follow.

Then they came for more and more Palestinians and I did not speak out because, by then I had fallen into silence to reflect upon the appalling, disgraceful and impossible aspects of human nature. (The Age, 21/11/12)

Please tell me it had nothing to do with the dreaded doctrine of 'balance', but Leunig's sublimity was followed the very next day in The Age by the clueless Dyson:

Standing on a large target, a masked 'militant' is lighting the fuse to a rocket labelled HAMAS. At the top of the frame: MARTYRDOM FOR DUMMIES.

Alas, it was all down hill from there. In yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, Moir, still clueless after all these years (at least on the Middle East conflict), had drawn an anonymous Australian citizen, newly emerged from a news agency with a folded paper tucked under his arm and carrying a brief case with the label MID EAST on its side. Walking towards him, holding a placard containing the words IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD DEC 21, is the eternal, bearded, barefoot protester. The weary citizen quips, PROMISE?

Why? Well, because, plastered on the wall around the newsagency's doorway are posters advertising the latest news: IRAN THREAT, ISRAEL RETALIATES, HAMAS RETALIATES, GAZA: EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE..., ISRAEL RETALIATES AGAIN...

Notice how it's never ISRAEL ATTACKS? Moir inadvertently offended the community's arbiters of what can and cannot be said on this subject back in 2003 and is probably still having nightmares about it today (See my 24/1/08 post We Remember Warsaw) Anyhow, I digress. Back to those posters on the wall of the newsagency:

Here's my favorite, on Syria: SYRIA: ABBAS STRIKES - REBELS RETALIATE

ABBAS!!! That's right, Abbas, USrael's Palestinian lapdog!


And then, freaking Abbas again: ABBAS RETALIATES - REBELS RETALIATE .

What a goose Moir is. Surely, anyone whose knowledge of the issue is so limited that he not only confuses the Quisling president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, with Syria's Bashar Asad, but worse, thinks that the old biblical law of an eye for an eye is a sufficient explanation for the various struggles underway in the area, is simply unfit to comment on them.

And if proof were needed that such cartoons as Moir's, which promote the lazy view that they're really all as bad as each other over there, only work to keep people in the dark regarding the actual Israeli coloniser/Palestinian colonised dynamic that underpins the Middle East conflict, it surely came in the form of this morning's Online Readers' Panel pie graph on the question: What best describes your attitude to the current Middle East conflict? The results were as follows: They are as bad as each other - 39.8%; Sympathy towards the Palestinians - 32.2%; Sympathy towards Israel - 16.9%; Don't know - 11.1%.

There you go: Moir - cartoonist for the 'I couldn't be bothered researching this issue properly so to hell with both parties' brigade.

Friday, November 23, 2012

No, Tony, It Isn't Rocket Science

The readers of Murdoch's Australian are often too clever by half. The following letter, for example, appeared in yesterday's edition:

"About the Middle East conflict, it occurs to me if little boys throw stones at big boys and the big boys keep coming over and beating them up, what should the little boys do? Surely the answer is to stop throwing stones. I would expect that after 65 years the message might be starting to sink in. After all, it isn't rocket science, is it? (No pun intended)." Tony Physick, Goolwa, SA

Good one, Tony, but what if the little boys aren't throwing stones but simply objecting to being pushed around by the big boys?

He's hitting an Arab, and I'm doing nothing
Unit: Nahal
Location: Hebron
Year: 2009

The forward command team... kept telling us they hit Arabs for laughs all the time. On patrols and... they always hit them, but there was one time that was my main event... One day we got an alert. We jumped up, began to gear up, me and the medic were getting the gear for the jeep, and the company commander opened his office door, came out, and said: 'Scram everybody, only me and -- are going.' He told me to leave my gear and come as I am. He wasn't wearing his bullet-proof vest or anything, just his uniform and weapon. We drove to the Pharmacy checkpoint. There were two or three kids there who wouldn't go through the metal detector. We stopped the jeep, he got off, took a boy to the alley.

One of the kids who wouldn't go through the machine?

Yeah. And then he did what he did.


He... I can see it, like a film. First he faced the kid, the kid was close to the wall, he faced him, looked at him for a second, and then choked him with the... held him like this with his elbow.

Against the wall?

Choked him up against the wall. The kid went wild, and the company commander was screaming at him, in Hebrew, not in Arabic. Then he let him go. The kid raised his hands to wipe his eyes, and the commander gave him a blow. The kid stopped wiping his eyes and dropped his hands, he left his hands at his side, and then the slapping started. The kid began to scream, it was scary, and people started coming around the checkpoint to look in the alley. Then I remember the commander coming out and telling them 'It's OK, everything's OK.' He yelled at the kid: 'Stay here, don't go anywhere.' He came out, said everything was OK, called over the squad commander from the checkpoint, stood facing the kid and told the squad commander, 'That's how you deal with them.' Then he gave the kid another two slaps and let him go...

How old was the boy?

A teenager. Not eighteen. More like thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old.

(From Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010, Compiled by Breaking the Silence, 2012, pp 24-25)

It's the occupation, stupid.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gerard Henderson: Greenhorn on the Green Line

My God the Sydney Morning Herald is a sad case these days. Having had nothing to say, apart from its news reports, on the latest bloody Israeli rampage in Gaza (not even an editorial - but then, judging by the Herald's editorial record on the Middle East conflict, that's probably a blessing) since hostilities commenced, it wasn't until November 20 that it finally chose to publish an opinion piece on the issue.

Better late than never, you might say, but what if I tell you it's by Gerard Henderson?

The very title of the piece, Hamas will never achieve a Palestinian state while killing Israeli civilians, indicates the epic scale of Henderson's historical amnesia, managing as it does to completely overlook the monumental fact that Israel's creation was based on the mass murder and expulsion of the majority of Palestine's indigenous Arab population and the wholesale theft of their homes and ancestral lands.

That elephant-in-the-room aside, however, I intend to concentrate on just the following paragraph as evidence of the man's utter unfitness to be allowed anywhere near this subject:

"Around this time last year, I visited Sderot in south-west Israel, not far from the Israel/Gaza border. Sderot is within the Green Line. That is, it is part of the state of Israel that was created by the United Nations in 1948."

First things first: Is this a first ever admission by Henderson that he's been rambammed? I ask this because, despite, as you know, always being on the alert for instances of this corrupting practice, he hasn't until now come to my attention.

However, it's to the heart of the paragraph - Henderson's tender concern for the integrity of the so-called 'Green Line' - that I wish to address. Not that this concern is anything new for this pompous pundit, having once complained that one of the problems of the BDS campaign is that it doesn't "distinguish between Israel's pre- and post-1967 borders..."*

The implication seems to be that the occupied, blockaded and undernourished Palestinians of the Gaza Ghetto (some of whom, incidentally, are the descendants of parents/grandparents ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces in 1948 from the village of Najd, on whose lands the Israeli town of Sderot has been built) have neither right nor reason to hit back at their oppressor because, extrapolating from what he's written, the UN decreed, in 1948, that something called the 'Green Line', situated between the Gaza Strip and Sderot, has the imprimatur of international law and the same status as, say, the border between Canada and the United States.

This is, of course, bunkum.

The state of Israel was not created by the United Nations in 1948. It was declared by David Ben-Gurion on behalf of the Jewish Agency on 14 May 1948 as Zionist forces were busy overrunning and establishing control over as much Palestinian territory (whilst expelling as many of its inhabitants as they could in the process) prior to various armistice agreements with the Arab states coming into force in early 1949.

It is these armistice lines - referred to collectively as the Green Line - that constitute Israel's de facto borders. Nor has Israel, following Ben-Gurion's refusal to spell out Israel's borders in his May 14 declaration of independence, ever been interested in any other than de facto borders. This is because, for Israel, borders have always been a moveable feast. The hoot here is that while Henderson may take the Green Line seriously, no Israeli government ever has. Does the word lebensraum mean anything to you, Gerard?

Where the United Nations came in was to pass a resolution on November 29, 1947, partitioning Palestine into a Jewish (56%) and an Arab (44%) state. During the fighting which followed, Zionist forces, ignoring the UN-proposed borders, despite the Provisional Government of Israel, in a letter to US President Truman, describing the new state as "an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947,"** and the US recognising Israel 11 minutes after it was declared "[w]ithin frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947," went on to take significant areas of land allotted to the Arab state, giving them final control over a whopping 78% of historic Palestine.

Needless to say, having ethnically cleansed and occupied by force a further 22% of Palestine, Israel went on to claim that the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947 had no legal force because of its rejection by the Palestinians.

The clueless Henderson has clearly confused the UN partition resolution of 1947 with Ben-Gurion's declaration of Israeli statehood in 1948.

Quite apart from his errors of fact, and in view of his reverence for the Green Line, both with regard to Sderot and, presumably, throughout Israel, it is interesting to note that nowhere, to my knowledge, has Henderson ever spoken out against either Israel's Apartheid Wall or its West Bank settlements, both of which lie beyond the Green Line.

Having cleared that up we are left to reflect on just why it is that the Herald has seen fit to publish, as its sole commentary thus far on the current flare-up of the world's longest-running (1917-?) foreign policy saga, the views of someone who is clearly not on top of the subject and whose only acquaintance with it would seem to come from trips to Palestine/Israel sponsored by Israel lobby organisations.

[*See my 23/2/11 post A Day in the Life of the Herald; **See Letter from the Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel to the President of the United States, May 15, 1948,]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

News Ltd's Pro-Palestinian Saboteur Strikes Again

The nameless pro-Palestinian saboteur, who has heroically taken it upon himself to subvert the dominant 'Israel First' paradigm that rules the roost at Murdoch's News Ltd, has struck again, this time in the pages of yesterday's Daily Telegraph.

His handiwork was clearly evident in the graphic which accompanied Simple Simon Benson's latest advertisement for SUFFERING Israel:

LIFE GOES ON AS THE ROCKETS RAIN DOWN shouted the banner headline superimposed on a photograph of a Palestinian rocket emerging from a Gazan city (L) and an Iron Dome rocket emerging from its launcher in Israel (R).

At the bottom of the two photos, blurred together to form one, was a red square and a yellow circle. The red circles contained the words Qassam Rocket, GAZA (L) and Iron Dome, ISRAEL (R). And in the yellow circles: 800+ Missiles launched from Gaza (L) and 85% Interception success rate (R). 

In keeping with the Left/Right juxtaposition, below this graphic, were block descriptions of how a Qassam and an Iron Dome work.

Accompanying the Qassam half, however, was a photograph.

A mean, nasty, smirking Qassam rocket? No way! A mean, nasty, smirking Qassam launch squad? Not on your nelly!

No - three Palestinian guys with - wait for it - slingshots! No kidding!

And the saboteur's bleeding obvious message? If truth be told, compared to Israel's bloated, US-supplied arsenals of shells, rockets and bombs (containing depleted uranium and who knows what else),  which receive practically no attention from the corporate media, those fearsome 'Palestinian rockets', with which the corporates are currently bombarding us, are little more than slingshots.

Not since our News Ltd saboteur slipped the headline Living under the cloud of Israel's cruel apartheid into the 5 May 2012 emission of The Australian, which caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the time, have we seen anything quite like this. (See my posts Consensus at Last... (7/5/12) and Down the Memory Hole (10/5/12).)

Where and when, I wonder, will News Ltd's brave pro-Palestinian saboteur strike next?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bu(llshi)do for Peace?

Two items of interest heard on SBS World News tonight:

"Barack Obama has bluntly told Cambodia it won't have a full relationship with the US until it improves human rights and undertakes democratic reforms. Obama's visit is a first by an American president to Cambodia, a country shunned for decades over the Kmer Rouge's genocidal regime. But all is not forgiven. The US remains concerned at the lack of free and fair elections, detention of political prisoners and land seizures. The president told the Cambodian leader Hun Sen these issues remain an impediment to relations."

Let me get this right: the US isn't quite ready to kiss and make up with Cambodia because of a "lack of free and fair elections*, detention of political prisoners and land seizures," but there's no daylight whatever between the US and Israel, which is guilty of all 3 and more. [*The Israelis expelled most of their Palestinian voters in 1948.]

And speaking of kissing and making up, hugs were all the go between the Palestinian and Israeli coaches of a joint Israeli Jewish/Palestinian karate team in an item filmed at the Karate World Championship in Sydney this week. Budo for Peace, as the joint team is known, was described by SBS as "a Middle Eastern martial arts organisation dedicated to peaceful cooperation between Jews and Arabs."

Said one of its members, Dror Zigel: "We all live in Israel. It doesn't matter whether we're Arab, Christian, Jewish. We all live in Israel."

Very good, Dror, but I've got a question: if it doesn't matter whether a team member is Jewish or non-Jewish, because "we all live in Israel," why then must Israel be a Jewish state?

The Israeli Ambassador to Gaza

Palestinian kids are being torn limb from limb or pulled limp and lifeless from the rubble of destroyed apartments in Gaza but you won't be reading anything about that in Rupert Murdoch's Sydney tabloid, the Daily Telegraph. Certainly not from the pen of the recently rambammed Simon Benson.

No, Benson's job, it appears, is to serve up to readers examples of the Israeli soul, which, even as Hamas rockets literally block out the sun over Israel, always manages to shine through.

You will of course remember, from the previous post, young Sivan Hanukayer from Israel's Stalingrad, Sderot:

"She says that when the rockets rain down, all she can think of is hate. Wanting her enemies across the border 'dead, erased'. When it's over, and she returns to a rational state, she sympathises with the Palestinians across the border who are used as human shields by the jihadists."

That was in last Friday's edition. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph (18/11), Benson brings us the heart-warming story of Dr Lior Sasson, who specialises in mending Palestinian kiddies' hearts:

"As Israel and Hamas exchanged rocket fire..."

Parenthetically, if you had to 'receive' rocket fire, which would you choose, that coming from Gaza or that raining down on Gaza from Israel? Just asking.

"... over the border, doctors from the Save a Child's Heart Foundation were planning a procedure that would offer [7-year old Palestinian] Mohammed [Naser] a life that would have otherwise been tragically cut short... 'We never let the conflict interfere with what we are doing,' the foundation's head of surgery, Dr Lior Sasson said. 'If there is a kid we can help, we do it. If we are successful, we send home an ambassador.'"

Fat chance, Dr Lior! These brainwashed savages, unlike Benson and the readers of the DT, are blind to the radiance of the Israeli soul. As Benson says:

"His family cared little for the irony - that they had to turn to a people they are told are their enemy to save their son's life as their leaders prepared for full-scale war." 

You can imagine the scene:

Benson: Do you not realise, woman, the incredible irony in your son being healed by those you've been taught to see as your enemy? Do you not see that, while the good Israeli doctor is saving your son's life, your leaders are trying to kill him?

Mrs Naser (Remains silent, looking puzzled, as if thinking, Who the hell is this lunatic?)

Benson ('thinking' aloud): As I expected, irony is quite simply beyond these people. (Scribbles thought in notebook and departs for long liquid Tel Aviv lunch.)

But this business about little Mohammed returning to Gaza as an ambassador for Israel has got me intrigued.

Just imagine, if you will:  Mohammed's back in Gaza City with his family. He sets off, through the rubble-strewn and smoking streets, the constant din of Israeli planes, helicopters and drones and the occasional sound of exploding bombs failing to deter him in his mission. You see, Mohammed can't wait to tell his best friend, Ahmed, about the wonderful Dr Sasson and all the other beautiful Israeli souls he's met in Israel.

Before long he reaches Ahmed's two-storey house. Or what is left of it. He stands in disbelief, gazing at what looks like a concrete and rebar version, only larger, of an Ikea furniture piece which someone's simply given up on assembling in sheer frustration and left behind after first taking to it with a sledgehammer and then setting it on fire.

"Ahmed!" he cries out in anguish. His only answer is the sickly-sweet smell of rotting flesh which wafts his way from somewhere deep under the pile. Overcome by a steely anger he simply cannot control, he looks up at the humming, droning sky and screams: "Fucking Israelis!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother?

Now I don't know about you but I've often wondered about the mysterious deputies referred to in the moniker NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. I mean, we all know its public face and CEO, the ubiquitous Vic Alhadeff. But just who are these faceless deputies?

Well, you're not going to believe this, but I recently found myself meandering along the mean streets of a certain Australian city when the proverbial flatbed truck came careening around a corner and, quite by happenstance, deposited a certain document at my feet. And blow me down if it wasn't penned by one of the faceless ones! Spooky, eh? Now as the document - a letter in fact - would appear to be of some interest to students of the rambamming phenomenon which receives so much attention on this blog, I've decided to post it in full, omitting only the name of the author:

Am Israel Chay! My dear fellow deputies,

As we well know, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies study tours to Israel are to the Australian journalist as candy is to a child. In fact, how often have we joked together that those who miss out sound awfully like that kid in the song: 'What about me? It isn't fair...'

Seriously though, given the meagre results of our most recent effort, I find myself compelled to ask: are we really getting our money's worth these days? Or, to put it even more bluntly, what kind of propaganda bang are we getting for our big bucks?

Unfortunately, up and coming Greg Sheridans seem in pretty short supply these days and, I'm sorry to say, I fear we may be facing a bottom-of-the-barrel scenario. Take the latest lot of junketeers, for example. Although eight of the species have recently been wined, dined and schmoozed in the usual right royal manner by our Israeli partners, only two, Judith Whelan of the Sydney Morning Herald, and Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph, have so far made any effort to repay our extraordinary kindness.

And, of the two, it's really only Simple Simon, as we are want to call him sotto voce, who's produced the goods. Frankly, this is simply not good enough.

To take Whelan first. The woman's clearly all sizzle and no sausage! I mean, check out the header on her piece: The normality of a nation on the brink. Full of promise, right? Redolent of Poland on the eve of the day when the massed German panzers began revving up for a visit.

But then what do we get? The Dark Forces of Amalek in Gaza are raining intercontinental ballistic missiles, bristling with nuclear warheads, on Tel Aviv and our Israeli brothers and sisters are barely 15 seconds from becoming toast, and all bloody Whelan can come up with is this drivel:

"Through it all, the traffic kept moving, planes kept taking off and the volleyball players on the beach kept on with their game... Look at the streets of Tel Aviv and you wouldn't know it. The people here seem used to these situations - they have lived under the threat of rockets, of suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks for too many years. They know when to worry, and they are not too worried yet." (16/11/12)

Not too worried yet? Now how in Herzl's name is the Herald reader going to take Israeli SUFFERING seriously after that?

And then she goes AWOL up at Metula on the Lebanese border and ends up quoting some silly old bugger called Rivka Jacobs: "When I open my window in the morning, I say, 'Good morning, Hezbollah!' Because we are just 600 metres away."

Shit! I mean, seriously, how lame is that compared to our blessed Joseph Trumpeldor's dying words as his sacred blood became one with the soil of our beloved Eretz Israel: 'Never mind, it is good to die for our country'?

After that, all I can say is thank God for good old Simple. I mean, the PAIN of our people in Israel is instantly brought home to the readers of the Tele the moment they read his opening words:

"You know things are getting pretty grim when you have to put your dog on valium to cope with stress. Or plant gum trees around your home to obscure it from terrorists firing rockets at you." (In the never-ending Gaza war even dogs take tranquillisers, 16/11/12)

And just imagine the frisson of terror experienced by Tele readers as they read this little ripping yarn:

"Like any normal Sydney family [the people of Sderot] worry about the rising cost of living - mortgage repayments, power prices, grocery bills. But they have an extra burden. Three kilometres away... is the city of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinian families live under the grip of terror imposed by Hamas and its jihad brigades intent on erasing the Zionists from the land they claim to be Palestine."

Admittedly, just between you and me, there is the odd factual error here - it's Gaza City, not the city of Gaza; it's 1.5 million Palestinians, not families, who live in the Strip; the only terror Palestinians have ever experienced has come, and let's be frank here, from the IDF and its predecessors; yes, unhappily, Israel was once known as Palestine; and finally, Simple can't decide whether Sderot has 20 or 24 thousand people - but hey, this is Simple Simon writing for the even simpler Simons out there who read the Tele, so who's to twig?

I also like the way Simple brings the fundamental humanity and decency of our Israeli brothers and sisters to light:

"Sivan Hanukayer... says that when the rockets rain down, all she can think of is hate. Wanting her enemies across the border 'dead, erased'. When it's over, and she returns to a rational state, she sympathises with the Palestinians across the border who are used as human shields by the jihadists."

Ah, the immortal Israeli soul, irrationally hateful only in the direst of circumstances but always resuming its natural tendency to turn the other cheek and even empathise with its enemies when the danger is over. Compare that with Simple's wonderful depiction of the Gazans as hostages of Hamas jihadists, leaving the reader to deduce that, as victims of the Stockholm syndrome, they're simply incapable of either rationality or empathy.

And, bless his soul, Simple even fell for that old ham, Noam Bedein:

"Noam Bedein, the director of the Sderot information centre, says the entire town has been on edge for weeks. It's hard to lead your life constantly looking out for missile shelters just in case your 15-second race for life starts. That is how long they have to get into a bomb shelter before terror strikes. 'Mothers have to stop their cars, get out, try to unbuckle two kids, then get them to the shelter,' he tells me. 'What the mothers are discovering is it's impossible... they are being forced to choose. Which child do I save?'"

Oh well, if Simple could swallow that and regurgitate it for his readers, no doubt they'll lap it up. (Yuk! I've just thought of the implications of that sentence!)

But Simple's piece de resistance surely has to be his final paragraph. That should clinch the deal with Tele readers, no sweat! I bet you didn't know that the dastardly leader of the "jihad brigades," as Simple calls them, had actually managed to insult the memory of our immortal Aussie diggers? Read on:

"Al-Jaabari [sic] has carried out hundreds of rocket attacks on Israeli towns including Be'er Sheva, where the Australian Light Horse Brigade is remembered for heroic feats in 1915 - defending a land that is in a constant state of war."

Only Simple could come up with Aussie diggers defending Israel 34 years before it came into existence from the invading Turks who'd ruled it since the 16th century. Priceless!

OK, to return to the subject of this letter, as good as Simple's contribution to the cause is, it's still only one out of eight, or one and a half if you include Whelan's pathetic effort. One wonders, therefore, why we bother. Any ideas?

Looking forward to your thoughts on this vital matter, fellow deputies.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shooting Refugees in a Barrel

I walk between darkness & light - the night of exile & the shining memory of home.
The land I knew is given up to strangers.
There, in the sunshine, do they feel my shadow?
(Quoted in They are human too... by Per-Olow Anderson)

How nauseating the pretence, on last night's SBS and ABC news, and generally, of a balance of power and suffering between Palestinians and Israelis. And how typical the absence of the kind of contextualising information which allows such a deception to take place.

Viewers would hardly know, from the framing and presentation of this issue, that the struggle in and around the Gaza Strip is about as equal as that between a spider and a fly. Even to talk of sides lends an utterly spurious equivalence to what is really nothing more than the relentless, sadistic battering of an essentially defenceless refugee population by a psychopathic occupying power armed to the teeth. 

That's right - refugees. Probably the single most important piece of contextualising information for understanding what is really going on in Gaza today is the fact that about 1.1 million of its 1.5 million people are the descendants of refugees driven there by the Zionist ethnic cleansing of southern Palestine in 1948. So when you hear the next, carefully crafted ms media misrepresentation of Israel's current wilding in Gaza, try to keep in mind the staggering fact that Israel is yet again mercilessly savaging the very people it transformed into refugees 64 years before - people, moreover, who have been denied the right of return to their ancestral lands because these have been reserved, in Israeli apartheid legislation, 'for Jews only'.

By way of a reminder of just who the Israelis are currently mauling in Gaza, here's part of the introduction to a collection of memorable photographs taken in Gaza in 1956They are human too..: a photo-essay on the Palestine Arab Refugees. The photographer, and author of the following moving words, is the Swedish photo-journalist, Per-Olow Anderson:

"Human suffering is nothing to me. As a photo-journalist I have encountered it many times during the newspaper and magazine assignments that have taken me to 74 countries in the past 20 years. But none of my experiences was more shocking to me than my introduction to the plight of the more than 1 million Palestine Arab refugees in the Middle East, whom I first saw in April, 1956, on my arrival at Gaza on an assignment for my Swedish magazine.

"The Palestine Arab refugees exist in misery and despair in crowded camps in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip - in caves in Palestine, squatters' rows near large Arab cities, and the slums of the cities themselves. I have seen the squalor of their tents and and mud huts sprawled on rocky hillsides and in bone-dry, dust-blown valleys. I have felt their grief and suffering, heard their bitter memories and frustrations, and their tense and emotional cry: 'Justice, justice! All we ask is justice!'

"What is justice in their particular case, and why has it been denied them for so long?

"When the United Nations sanctioned the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, it did not intend that the Arab population of the territory given to the Jews should be expropriated, expelled or forced to flee. But this is what actually happened. Nearly a million Arabs whose ancestors had lived for countless generations in Palestine lost their lands and homes and became penniless refugees, to make way for Jewish refugees, who had themselves been forced by Nazi persecution to flee their homelands.

"The world has extended help to the Jewish refugees. Everything possible was done for them and the conscience of humanity was so stirred that it approved of their being given a Jewish state of their own. Ironically and tragically, however, the world in attempting to right an injustice to one people sowed the seeds of injustice to another. The Palestine Arabs, whom the Jewish refugees displaced, also became victims of war and terror. For them, the world set up only a relief agency, to hand out a dole and to carry out a plan for resettling them in other Arab lands, against the wishes both of themselves and of the countries to which they were to be assigned.

"Nothing has been done to answer the desire of the Palestine Arabs for repatriation to their former homes, or to compensate them for the loss of their property, or to enforce the UN-imposed boundaries that would have divided Palestine almost equally between Jew and Arab.

"I cannot see why - after 9 years - the world still has not solved this problem. I cannot understand how the world at large came to forget these people who, in terms of human suffering, are paying an agonizing price for a mistake for which all of us are responsible. For, whatever way you look at it, that is the penalty imposed on these innocent people. Their grievances are real, and their cause is just. Their homes are across the armistice lines in Israel, on land that had been Arab property for more than 1,300 years. For 9 years they have clung to their wretched footholds near the Israeli frontier in hopes that some day they may return.

"The world has done little to give them a faith in humanity. So long as it neglects to do so they will turn to any power which holds out the promise of justice. After 9 years, they will clutch at any straw."

Just remember, next time you watch the travesty that passes for news on your television sets: 64 years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gillard: Drop Your Rocket, Hamas!

"[A]n Australian official said the Israeli secret service had probably calculated that, even if it were caught using forged Australian passports, Canberra would not retaliate. 'It wouldn't matter whether it was John Howard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott in the prime minister's chair, they know we wouldn't sever relations. They know they've got us by the balls,' partly because of the strength of the Israel lobby, he said." (Betrayed PM should not be taken for granted by Israel, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/2/10)

Palestinian violence and aggression is a staple of establishment politics (and media) in Australia. And not without reason too, given its deep historical roots.

In fact, the Palestinians' very first act of aggression, and undoubtedly their most outrageous, was to be living in Palestine when the nascent Zionist movement decided, around the end of the 19th century, that it belonged to them. And the Palestinians' aggressive refusal ever since to be shot, shelled, bombed, rocketed and otherwise blasted into history's dustbin has been a lasting embarrassment to the Western world's recognition that, as long as the State of Israel has its hands firmly around the balls of its 'leaders', they must act as though the sun literally shines out of its khaki-clad arse.

It is this decidedly uncomfortable state of affairs that explains the current Australian prime minister's impersonation of a broken record:

Julia Gillard, 2008: "Israel's air strikes were a response to an 'act of aggression' by Hamas which had broken the ceasefire. 'We are saying to Hamas that they should cease any further action.'" (quoted in A time for fighting, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 29/12/08)

Julia Gillard, 2012: "Australia is gravely concerned by escalating conflict in the Middle East. The Government condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately. Australia supports Israel's right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks. Such attacks on Israel's civilian population are utterly unacceptable. Further escalations in rocket attacks from Gaza, such as those seen overnight, will not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or their cause for self-determination and statehood. We urge both Hamas and Israel to exercise restraint and to protect the lives of civilians. The Government of Australia will work earnestly with other countries to end further attacks from Gaza and to encourage a de-escalation of this conflict. We encourage regional countries, particularly Egypt, to support efforts to restore peace. The only way forward is a two-state solution based on direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis." (Conflict in the Middle East,, 16/11/12)

'Please Sir, Ahmed Hit Me First' & Other Zionist Fairytales

Israel's latest assault on Gaza: the lie of who started it, John Glaser,, 11/11/12:

"Israel has again attacked Gaza. In its aerial and ground assault that began on Saturday, November 10th, at least 7 Palestinians have been killed, 5 of them civilians, 3 of whom were children. Up to 52 others, including 6 womem and 12 children, have been wounded.

"As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it's being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it.

"And it's a lie.

"It's true that on Saturday, prior to the expanded Israeli bombardment, the Popular Resistance Committees shot an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Defense Forces vehicle near the Gaza border, wounding four Israeli soldiers. But what prompted the firing of the anti-tank missile?

"First, on Monday, November 5th, Israeli forces shot and killed 23-year old Ahmad Nabhani when 'he approached the border fence with Israel.' According to at least one account, Nabhani was mentally challenged.

"Then, on Thursday, November 8th, the Israeli Occupation Forces - eight tanks and four bulldozers, to be exact - invaded southern Gaza, shooting and killing a 13-year old boy. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (via): 'According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 16:30 on Thursday, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting by IOF military vehicles that had moved into the 'Abbasan village, 13-year old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. At the time he was shot, Ahmed had been playing football with his friends in front of his family's house, located nearly 1,200 meters away from the area where the IOF were present.'

"So, even if honest observers brush to the side the cruel and inhumane Israeli blockade on Gaza and refuse to let it influence the equation of exactly which side started this flare up of violence, it is clear Israel started this latest clash. And in response to the response, Israel has waged a harsh, disproportionate military assault.

"This would be a simple thing to understand if, for example, Western media bothered to ask the other side what happened. Palestinian news media immediately reported that the anti-tank missile Israel was supposedly responding to was admitted to by the Popular Resistance Committees, who described it as 'revenge' for preceding Israeli violence on Gaza. But that basic task of honest journalism is apparently out of the question.

"Every single Israeli incursion or attack on Gaza is accompanied by the same narrative: Israel fairly responded to unprovoked Palestinian rocket fire.* The last major war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, in December '08-January '09, also carried this narrative. Israel committed war crimes in that one-sided conflict, targeting and killing hundreds of civilians, using indiscriminate weapons, and intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure. It has become an accepted fact - even among critics of Israel - that the offensive was a response to Hamas rocket fire. The rocket fire did indeed occur immediately before the assault, but it was in response to Israel's breaking of the 6-month cease-fire, which even Israeli officials in WikiLeaks cables admitted Hamas had kept to."

[*Re Israel's standard propaganda formula, 'they fire, we respond', check out some of my posts written when Operation Cast Lead was in full swing: Rockets/Militants/Rockets/Militants (28/12/08); Stop It or You'll Go Blind! (31/12/08); Fania Makes Amends (1/1/09).]

Friday, November 16, 2012

ABC Tigress Mauls Israeli PR Flak

My God that Fran Kelly of Radio National's Breakfast program is a regular tiger - sorry, tigress. Once she gets her claws into some hapless PR flak, that's it. Dead (nay, mince) meat!

And so it was yesterday morning when the Israeli Prime Minister's oleaginous spokesman, Mark Regev, on the line from Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem to sell Israel's latest killing spree in Gaza, found himself on the receiving end of she-who-goes-straight-for-the-jugular.

A fearless defender of the poor and the oppressed, more on top of the Middle East conflict than Finkelstein and Loewenstein combined, Kelly gave the unfortunate lad no quarter - none! Why, the poor bugger could hardly get a word in edgewise and, by the end of it all, was literally reduced to silence.

Mark Regev? Reduced to silence? Don't believe me?

Seeing is believing. Here's the transcript, read it for yourself:

FK: Well, let's return to the leading international story of the moment, the Israeli strikes on Gaza which have killed Hamas' top military commander. Hamas says the death of Ahmed al Jabari will, as they put it, open the gates of hell. Israel launched about 20 strikes on Gaza overnight after a spike in rocket attacks against Israel over the weekend. Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says he's preparing to intensify the Gaza operation if necessary. Four years ago Israel launched a ground offensive along with a blockade of Gaza which killed over one thousand Palestinians and left 13 Israelis dead. Mark Regev is the chief spokesperson for for the Israeli prime minister. He joins us from Jerusalem. Mark, welcome again to Radio National Breakfast.

MR: Good morning.

FK: Mark, why does Israel argue that the assassination of Ahmed al Jabari is legitimate?

MR: This particular individual is a military commander, the commander of Hamas. He was directly responsible for countless rocket attacks across the border. You know, over the last few months we've literally had hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities, on Israeli towns, on Israeli villages, on rural communities. They indiscriminately just target civilians. It's a war crime, it's an act of terror, and enough is enough after we had 120 such rockets on the weekend. We said we're gonna strike back and we're gonna neutralise this threat to the Israeli civilian population.

FK: And does Israel believe it has done that now? If Ahmed al Jabari was directly responsible for those attacks in your words, he was killed in the first strike, the first attack in those 20 strikes, is that the end of it now? Have you achieved your mission?

MR: We've also, in parallel, targeted missile facilities in the Gaza Strip because we are, of course, concerned with retaliation and over the last few months Gaza, the Hamas leadership, has received from Iran, and also from Libya, thousands of rockets and missiles and we're trying to take them out so we don't see these munitions target our civilian population. We've got an alert on in the south today. Obviously, schoolchildren are in bomb shelters. Everyone's preparing for a Hamas retaliation and so we're acting...

FK: Well you would expect...

MR:... we're acting...

FK: I beg your pardon, Mark.

MR:... we're acting to take, trying to neutralise that threat as best we can.

FK: So you would be expecting retaliation. Hamas is threatening retaliation because, as you have schoolchildren sheltering in bunkers, they claim they had some children among the civilians killed in these air strikes overnight.

MR: It's a very important distinction, a very important distinction. They fire indiscriminately into our civilian population, trying to kill our people. We are trying to be as surgical as is humanly possible, and it's very difficult because, as you know, Hamas puts its military facilities right deliberately in the middle of civilian neighbourhoods, using Gaza civilians as human shields. Nevertheless we're making every effort possible to avoid civilian casualties. The people of Gaza are not our enemies. The enemy is Hamas, these extremists who, under Australian law, Israeli law, American law or European law, Japanese law, Canadian law, Hamas is registered as a terrorist organisation and rightly so.

FK: The people of Gaza are not your enemy but the people of Gaza, with these first 20 strikes, some - many - have already been injured and some have already been killed. More will be killed if Israel escalates this offensive. Is Israel preparing to intensify the operation?

MR: The bottom line is we didn't want this round of fighting. We were responding to this escalation that Hamas instituted over the weekend. Now they've started this, we'll finish it. We cannot allow...

FK: And what does that mean?

MR: That means we cannot allow Hamas to hold the civilian population of southern Israel, more than 1 million people, hostage to constant rocket attacks. We were down in the south earlier this week and we heard schoolchildren and they said to us, you know, children all round the world they hear a bell that means school's about to start or school's about to end. When children in southern Israel hear a bell, it's a siren. They run to a bomb shelter and they've got all of 15 seconds to get into a bomb shelter before that missile launched by Hamas hits them and possibly kills them. We can't stand for this. No government in the world would see its civilian population that are targeted this way by a group of terrorists on the other side of the border. We have to act to protect them.

FK: So when the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon urges both sides of this conflict to de-escalate the tensions now and the violence now it doesn't sound like Israel is prepared to do that yet.

MR: We will continue to make sure that our civilian population is safe. That is our first obligation as a government. You've gotta remember there's one million Israelis who live in the southern part of our country who have been on the receiving end of rockets from Gaza, not for days but for weeks and for months now and it's simply intolerable. What would the Australian government do if its civilian population was targeted by terrorists? You would act. The Australian government would act and rightly so to protect its people. Well, we're doing exactly the same.

FK: But when you say, and Israel says, they started it, we're going to finish it, what does that mean, because 4 years ago Israel invaded and blockaded Gaza. Many people, many, many hundreds of people, Palestinian civilians and others, including Israelis, were killed in that. It didn't finish it. The pattern established suggests that, you know, strikes like this and escalating strikes like this don't end anything.

MR: Well, the real solution is, of course, peace, to negotiate a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbours. The problem is that Hamas opposes peace, Hamas opposes reconciliation, Hamas even opposes dialogue with Israel. We hope it's possible to negotiate peace with the Palestinians but it's clear Hamas is the enemy of everyone who wants to seek peace and reconciliation in this part of the world. They're in the camp of Iran and Hezbollah. They're very very extreme, they're very radical. I would argue that they're not only the enemy of Israeli civilians, they're the enemy of Gaza civilians, because instead of putting their efforts into making schools in Gaza better, investing in Gaza infrastructure, these Hamas radicals put the people of Gaza... their radical, anti-Israel agenda is more important to them than anything else and the people of Gaza suffer because of that.

FK: Mark Regev, thank you very much for joining us on Breakfast.

MR: Thank you for having me.

FK: Mark Regev is the chief spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

They Also Serve Who Only Sit Like Ducks & Wait

Fairfax's Middle East correspondent, Ruth Pollard's latest (13/11/12) report - Frustrations mount over 'crazy' tit-for-tat Gaza strikes - on Israelis living with Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, is a cut above the usual ms reporting on this issue. I'm , therefore, posting it in full, with commentary where appropriate. (Ms reporters such as Pollard are, of course, excluded by Israeli authorities from reporting from the other side):

"The alert sounds and a voice booms out across the neighbourhood, intoning urgently in Hebrew: 'Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom.' The phrase means Colour Red, and it is part of an early warning system established in communities in southern Israel to signal an imminent rocket attack from Gaza. When the alarm sounds, 'you have 15 seconds to grab the children, get into the hallway, shut all the doors, cover the kids and wait for the boom - we do not ever know where it falls,' says Micky Keidar, who lives on Kibbutz Re'im with his wife, Reut Nehushtan, and their two children. It is a stomach-churning, terrifying routine familiar to most families living in the towns and kibbutzim along the Gaza border, and many say they are tiring of the constant threat. 'I do not agree that the only solution is that they bomb us and we bomb them,' Mr Keidar says. 'The government [of Israel] must stop the bombing but they must do it in a peaceful way... and Hamas must stop throwing bombs and missiles at us.' Ms Nehushtan agrees: 'It is crazy for us and crazy for them,' she says. 'There is no effort on the part of either government to talk - it does not affect their leaders, it does not affect our leaders but it effects the people on both sides.' As Mr Keidar walks along the small paths lined with bright pink bougainvillea that connect Kibbutz Re'im's houses to the kindergarten and dining hall, military helicopters and jets fly overhead, interrupting what he describes as - mostly- a very peaceful existence. We arrive at a house that just two weeks ago sustained a direct hit from a missile fired from Gaza, which is just 4.7 kilometres away. A gaping hole in the external wall reveals a bedroom destroyed - its owner had just got out of bed and run to the hallway at the sound of the alarm, barely escaping serious injury or death, Mr Keidar says."

OK. Mr Keidar is clearly unhappy with his predicament but one wonders if it ever occurs to him that his government has a vested interest in maintaining it? Without concrete evidence of Israeli 'suffering' in a place such as Sderot, government PR would lose a vital element in its 'volatile Lebanese border/moving Yad Vashem/besieged Sderot' pilgrimage route for foreign political, media and other dignitaries. Why, gullible hacks such as our very own Miranda Devine would not then be able to vomit such invaluable pro-Israel PR as this: "We flew by helicopter south to Sderot, where dozens of Israelis have been killed and wounded in the past decade by rockets fired from nearby Gaza. We saw burned-out missiles, piled in neat stacks at the back of the police station, and labelled with the date they arrived. One bore the previous week's date. People are starting to return to the town after the rockets slowed in 2008, but you can understand the fear Israelis have, with a hostile Hamas-controlled Gaza in their midst, and the future prospect of a similar threat in the West Bank." (See my 27/11/10 post Amanda Does Israel.) If it's any consolation to Mr Keidar and those in his position, without their predicament, pro-Israel propaganda in the West would lose its QPE. QPE? Yeah, Qualitative Propaganda Edge.

"They are not the only ones questioning the effectiveness of the military's actions against militants in Gaza, whose response - a barrage of rocket fire - disrupts the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli civilians. Five years ago a group of Israelis from villages and townships along the Gaza border formed Other Voices, and they have called on the government to 'immediately enter into diplomatic and political contacts with the Hamas government. 'We are sick and tired of being sitting ducks who serve political interests,' the group's latest statement to prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich reads. 'Rockets from there and bombardments from here do not protect us. We have played around with those games of the use of force and war for long enough. And both sides have paid, and are continuing to pay, a high price of loss and suffering,' they said. 'The time has come to endeavour to reach long-term understandings which will enable civilians on both sides of the border to live a normal life.'"

At last a break from the usual reportorial formula of Palestinians attack/ Israelis retaliate!

"Julia Chaitin, a resident of Kibbutz Urim and spokeswoman for Other Voices, described the constant bombardment as 'a crazy situation.' 'There is no military solution to this issue - there must be another way.' Dr Chaitin has maintained constant contact with friends in Gaza and says the situation for them is also untenable. 'I talked with one friend today and he told me the [Israeli] air force was just striking, it seemed to him, indiscriminately all over Gaza - it is an impossible situation.'"

But, but, but, isn't it always, always, always Palestinian and only Palestinian fire that's indiscriminate?

"The overwhelming strength of Israel's defence forces over Gaza's militant groups, even with their newly acquired weapons, exacts a heavy toll, not just on militants but on a civilian population already struggling with an unemployment rate of 45%, severely restricted electricity services and dangerously contaminated water supplies. Gaza remains subject to severe restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of people, by land, air and sea as a result of Israel's blockade and a significant number of the coastal strip's 1.6 million residents live below the poverty line, the United Nations says."

Whaaat! How dare Ms Pollard deviate from 'suffering' Israelis to SUFFERING Palestinians!

"Security experts have also raised questions about whether the current approach - in which Israel launches air strikes against Gaza militants to prevent what it describes as potential terror attacks - is working. 'It is true that Hamas fires at Israel in response to our actions,' Giora Eland, former director of the National Security Council told the newspaper Maariv recently. 'We need to check whether this policy is good or whether it should be changed... This is discussed in the security establishment. It's a question that has been asked again and again for many years: what is the policy, when do you initiate military action and what is your threshold.'"

OMG! Straight from the horses's mouth: "It is true that Hamas fires at Israel in response to our actions."

"Eshkol Regional Council chairman Haim Yellin described an equation that is 'accepted by everyone', in which Israel targets those who it says are planning terrorist attacks and, in response, militants fire Kassam and Grad rockets into Israel. 'It is clear to me that this is the situation and we have to learn to live with it, so long as there isn't a peace agreement or a large-scale military operation like Cast Lead,' he told Maariv."

And again: "Israel targets those who it says are planning terrorist attacks and, in response, militants fire Kassam and Grad rockets into Israel."

"Alex Fishman, a commentator for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, described Israel's Gaza policy as an 'admission of failure'. 'Israel now finds itself in a pathetic, if not flat-out stupid situation, in relation to the Gaza Strip. Almost every two weeks, in a recurring cycle, it deals with an additional round of violence. This scenario of terror-attack-reaction-rocket fire ad infinitum is essentially the Israeli government's admission of the failure of its security policy when dealing with the Gaza Strip.'"

Alex, mate, what part exactly of Giora's and Haim's statements did you not understand?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Barry's Fake Ban

"O'Farrell government ministers have have been slapped with a travel ban - of sorts. The Premier has ruled there should be no more trips for longer than one week, meaning lengthy (and expensive) ministerial sojourns to the Americas and Europe can quickly become 'death marches' according to one weary government source. Mr O'Farrell also believes NSW should be focusing on Asia, rather than either Europe or the US - the traditional spot for holidaying ministers." (MPs' wings clipped, Sunday Telegraph, 11/11/12)

Right, just one week, ladies and gents, and it's gotta be Asia, OK? Unless, of course, you're going to Israel.

That's always a different matter. If it's Israel, you can stay longer, as Peter Phelps MLC, NSW Government Whip, and Jonathan O'Dea, MP for Davidson, did when on their highly productive visit* there from 11-21 July this year.

And, of course, Barry's already pencilled in a mass multi-party junket there for January next year, claiming "there's much to learn from each other."**

[*Phelps, for example, tweeted revelation after revelation, such as: "The Arabs I was having lunch with seem quite contented" and "Just peered into Gaza - now I know how Frodo felt when he first gazed upon Mordor." See my 20/8/12 post Frodos Gaze Upon Mordor; **See my 12/6/12 post Goings On in the NSW Knesset.]

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Full Monty

Presumably to coincide with Armistice Day, The Weekend Australian ran a two-page feature on the Battle of El-Alamein by editor-at-large Paul Kelly and national security editor Patrick Walters.

Called Australia's pivotal role in 'the end of the beginning' remains underrated at home, the star of the piece (apart, that is, from the Australian troops who fought and died in the iconic World War II battle to stem Rommel's advance on Egypt) is, as the feature's sub-heading (The rout of the Desert Fox's troops by Monty's men reversed Nazi fortunes ) indicates, British Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Montgomery, or Monty as he's affectionately known, is described by Kelly and Walters in glowing terms as "the key to the victory," a hit with the Australian troops, and "a clear thinker and superb organiser."

They further credit Monty's victory at El-Alamein with marking "the beginning of the Allied march to Berlin." High praise indeed!

Now to detour for a bit, Kelly, unlike foreign editor Greg Sheridan, is not generally known as a spruiker for Israel. Given The Australian's staunchly pro-Israel editorial line, however, it should come as no surprise to find that, in addition to his authorship of several tomes on contemporary Australian political history, Kelly's also a contributor (along with Israel advocates Peter Kurti and Philip Mendes) to a Centre for Independent Studies booklet, What's New with Anti Semitism?

The following blurb, from the CIS website, gives ample indication of the publication's content and direction:

"In 2011, criticism of Israeli government domestic policy intensified in Australia with the emergence of the international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign here. The local BDS campaign was directed against Israeli-owned businesses in Australia such as Max Brenner Chocolate, as well as non-Israeli owned companies perceived to have any perceived connection to Australian activities in the Occupied Territories. Critics of the BDS said the campaign went beyond criticism of Israeli government policy and amounted to a new form of anti-Semitism. In a CIS Round Table discussion on December 2011, Paul Kelly, Philip Mendes and Peter Kurti asked whether a new anti-Semitism is emerging in 21st century Australia."

And so, in light both of Kelly's praise for Monty and his involvement with the likes of Kurti and Mendes in what appears to be yet another smear of the global BDS campaign, I thought it'd be useful to air the clear-thinking Monty's wrap of the immediate postwar situation in British Mandate Palestine. Mind you, I'm not sure that Kelly or The Australian could handle the full Monty.

The following passage is taken from The Memoirs of Field-Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K. G., 1958:

"My next port of call [in 1946] was Palestine. For many months the situation here had been deteriorating and acts of terrorism were being perpetrated by illegal Jewish armed organisations, such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang...

"I was much perturbed by what I heard and saw. A political decision was, of course, needed in Palestine but the terms of it were not at the moment my concern. What was very definitely my concern was the action of the Army in aiding the civil power to maintain law and order, and in this respect the situation was dismal. The High Commissioner seemed to me to be unable to make up his mind what to do. Indecision and hesitation were in evidence all down the line, beginning in Whitehall; a policy was required, and then decisions. The Palestine Police Force was 50% below strength, and this at a time when the situation was clearly about to boil over; its morale was low and it was considered as a force to be no more than 25% effective - through no fault of its own. All this had led to a state of affairs in which British rule existed only in name; the true rulers seemed to me to be the Jews, whose unspoken slogan was - 'You dare not touch us.'

"I made it very clear to the G.O.C. in Palestine (Lieut.-General Sir Evelyn Barker) that this was no way to carry on. The decision to re-establish effective British authority was a political one; we must press for that decision. If this led to war with the Jews, from the Army's point of view it would be a war against a fanatical and cunning enemy who would use the weapons of kidnap, murder and sabotage; women would fight against us as well as men, and no one would know who was friend or foe. All this demanded a drastic revision of the way of life of the serviceman in Palestine; social activities would have to cease, the fullest precautions must be taken and, generally, everyone must be given a proper understanding of the task that lay ahead. I would insist that the Police and the Army be given a firm and very clear directive, and I would then give the fullest support in their difficult job. Before leaving Palestine I expressed my views to Whitehall. As I had done in Cairo, my last act was to address a large gathering of officers in Sarafand Camp, at which I told them what was going on and my ideas about the future." (pp 423-424)

OMG! did Monty say "a cunning and fanatical enemy"? Afraid so. Of course, unlike Kelly and Co, over in their Zionist bubble at News Limited, Monty had had some real experience of Zionism's charm and winning ways:

"When the struggle in Palestine was at its height, attacks on persons and buildings were made by various illegal organisations. One organisation, called the Stern Gang, even sent a party to Europe and it had succeeded in blowing up the British Embassy in Rome.

"Since it was considered that I might be a target for Jewish attack, a policeman was posted outside my flat in No. 7 Westminster Gardens; and whenever I went to Hindhead for a week-end with the Reynolds family, a policeman from Haslemere was sent to watch the house. Personally, I did not think police protection was necessary. However, one day my A.D.C. answering the telephone in my office heard a voice at the other end say: 'Is that the War Office? This is the Stern Gang speaking.'

He replied: 'Good. What can I do for you?'
The voice said: 'Tonight, for the Field-Marshal, a bomb.'
My A.D.C. said: 'Thank you. I will let him know.'
The voice: 'Are you trying to be funny?'
The A.D.C. said: 'No, I thought you were.'
The voice: 'Did you? Then there will be a bomb for you too.'

"After which parting shot it rang off. No bombs arrived that night, or later. Perhaps it was because of the policeman."* (p 471)

Not sure any of that would ever find its way into the pages of The Australian, know what I mean?

[*For the full monty on the Stern Gang's overseas campaign, see my 6/7/12 post Anyone Remember the Stern Gang's London Offensive?]

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Palestine on a Platter

No field of study in Israel, it seems, is free of Zionist indoctrination, not even science. The following, copied from an Israeli textbook on microbiology, first appeared on the Angry Arab News Service blog for 7/11/12:

"In 1999, scientists completed sequencing the genome of Clostridium ecetobutylicum, a nonpathogenic bacterial species. Because some other species of Clostridium are major pathogens (one produces the food toxin that causes botulism, and another is responsible for tetanus), the scientists hope their sequencing work will yield insights into what enables some species to become pathogens while others remain harmless. However, C. acetobutylicum's ability to convert starch into the organic solvents acetone and butanol is what has a prominent place in history. In 1900, an outstanding chemist named Chaim Weizmann, a Russian-born Jew, completed his doctorate at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He also was an active Zionist and advocated the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1904, Weizmann moved to Manchester, England, where he became a research fellow and senior lecturer at Manchester University. During this time, he was elected to the General Zionist Council. Weizmann began working in the laboratory of Professor William Perkin, where he attempted to use microbial fermentation to produce industrially useful substances. He discovered that C. acetobutylicum converted starch to a mixture of ethanol, acetone, and butanol, the latter an important ingredient in rubber manufacture. The fermentation process seemed to have no other commercial value - until World War I broke out in 1914. At that time, the favoured propellant for rifle bullets and artillery projectiles was a material called cordite. To produce it, a mixture of cellulose nitrate and nitroglycerine was combined into a paste using acetone and petroleum jelly. Before 1914, acetone was obtained through the destructive distillation of wood. However, the supply was inadequate for wartime needs, and by 1915 there was a serious shell shortage, mainly due to the lack of acetone for making cordite. After his enquiries to serve the British government were not returned, a friend of Weizmann's went to Lloyd George, who headed the Ministry of Munitions. Lloyd George was told about Weizmann's work and how he could synthesize acetone in a new way. The conversation resulted in a London meeting between Weizmann, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. After explaining the capabilities of C. acetobutylicum, Weizmann became director of the British admiralty laboratories where he instituted the full-scale production of acetone from corn. Additional distilleries soon were added in Canada and India. The shell shortage ended. After the war ended, now British Prime Minister Lloyd George wished to honor Weizmann for his contributions to the war effort. Weizmann declined any honors but asked for support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Discussions with Foreign Minister Earl Balfour led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which committed Britain to help establish the Jewish homeland. Weizmann went on to make significant contributions to science - he suggested that other organisms be examined for their ability to produce industrial products and is considered the father of industrial fermentation. Weizmann also laid the foundations for what would become the Weizmann institute of Science, one of Israel's leading scientific research centers. His political career also moved upward - he was elected the first President of Israel in 1949. Chaim Weizmann died in 1952."

Leaving aside the obvious errors of fact in the above text - not least the one about Weizmann receiving his 'honor' after the war - and its various false and misleading impressions - the main one being that Weizmann's contribution to the British war effort was the sole reason for the government of Lloyd George issuing the Balfour Declaration - and focusing just on its propaganda impact on young Israelis, one is left wondering whether Israel's budding scientists ever really see through this blatant attempt at indoctrination to the dubious morality of the text's underlying proposition: namely, that it is somehow OK for one party to reward another by giving him something which clearly belongs to a third.

In that most unlikely event (thinking being akin to hard labour for even the more intellectually astute among us) their thoughts might well tend in the same direction as those of the great JMN Jeffries:

"[T]he price paid is preposterous beyond belief. Reading Mr. Lloyd George's text [a reminiscence in which Lloyd George, in explanation of his motives, makes more of Weizmann's acetone than of  the government's desire to secure the support of influential US Jews in an effort to persuade the US to enter the war] you would imagine that there had been some scaling-down of payment, but what happened was just the contrary. Mr Lloyd George with some artfulness screens with Dr Weizmann's refusal of any honours for himself (to which I render entire homage) his suggestion of colossal honours, if they can be called honours, for a body to which he was attached. Far from scaling down the price paid for the acetone, the Prime Minister by accepting this suggestion consented to give for it a reward beyond all price. A Grand Cross of the Bath or an order of Merit given to Dr Weizmann, however valuable to the recipient, would have cost the State nothing. But, even supposing that Dr Weizmann had 'absolutely saved the British Army,' to confer upon him and upon his in return proprietary rights in a country which was in possession of another race and was secured by treaty to that race, was this reward applicable to the occasion? If land was the only possible recompense, there were the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man, and other British places in Britain's free gift, ready to be handed over.

"No British commander obtained more than an earldom from the Great War. No commander of any of the belligerent powers on land or on sea, from Foch and Jellicoe downwards, some of whom at least must have saved armies or navies sometime, by the very order of things, no commander of them all received more than title, or decorations, or grant of money. Yet for Dr Weizmann history is turned inside out, geography is suppressed, a people is disenfranchised and an empire is forsworn. All in return for a formula for making propellant-paste, which was valuable for a while and after a while was superseded.

"The thing is outrageous. The whole sum of war-profiteering is a mite in comparison with this. Even if the Palestine prize were not given for acetone, but for the enlistment of Jewish support in the United States and other countries (Mr Lloyd George's alternative essential motive) what then? It would still be outrageous, it would still be the most gigantic and most intolerable 'deal' of the War." (Palestine: The Reality, 1939, pp 195-196)