Sunday, March 31, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 9

On the speech of The Hon. David Shoebridge, The Greens, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of March 14:

As can be imagined, David Shoebridge's magnificent intervention was about as welcome as a sunny morning to a vampire.

He began by defending The Greens' refusal to take part in the "study mission" charade:

"That was primarily because of the one-sided nature of the itinerary, which is reflected in the one-sided nature of this motion. In a motion that purports to talk about 'building an understanding of the complex and various issues impacting on Israel and other jurisdictions within the Middle East,' it is extraordinary that in the more than 100 words and 5 paragraphs of this motion not one word about Palestine or the Palestinians. The human rights of the Palestinians are airbrushed out of the motion, just as they were airbrushed out of the itinerary... Having heard the contributions of members who went on the study tour and having read the motion, I can see that this is little more than a public relations exercise for the Israeli government."

Shoebridge's tack throughout was to focus on the 'study' tour's complete lack of balance.

If the PFoI were really interested in "building an understanding of the complex and various issues impacting on Israel," he averred, they could have met with "any members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or at least those members not currently being held in Israeli jails," or gone to Gaza, "the world's largest outdoor prison."

There, he pointed out, they could have seen "the X-rays that the Gaza doctors show of children's kidneys riddled with kidney stones because of the saline water they are required to drink [because] Israeli wells on the edge of Gaza are stripping out the fresh water from the arterial basin and [it] is filling up with sea water."

Or, he continued, they could have gone to the West Bank and "spoken to Palestinian villagers whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the apartheid wall," or to Hebron, where they could have gone on a "Breaking the Silence tour, where former Israeli soldiers would have told them about what goes on in the occupied territories, about the violence and discrimination perpetrated by the Israeli military and the settler movement against the native Palestinian population."

Shoebridge's blinding truths, however, proved too much for one particular denizen of the parliamentary gloom, namely Peter Phelps (Liberal, rambammed 7/12), the author of such memorable tweets as: "Just peered into Gaza - now I know how Frodo felt when he first gazed upon Mordor" & "Sang 'Hava Nagila' on a sand dune in the Negev while drinking Heineken."**

"What about the Qatar and Hamas civil war? What about what Qatar and Hamas do to each other?" interjected Phelps.

Kid you not: QATAR! (The goose of course meant Fateh.)

Shoebridge pressed on: "How could members not visit the Palestinian refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees from 1948, 1967 and beyond live in sub-standard, Third World conditions?"

But Phelps, his Qatar gaffe notwithstanding, was bent on making a complete goose of himself, honking: "What is the right of return for Vietnamese refugees?"

It was the speech which followed, however, that really set the cat - ahem - among the pigeons.

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Shaoquette Moselmane, MLC. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey; **See my 20/8/12 post Frodos Gaza Upon Mordor.]

Friday, March 29, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 8

On the speech of The Right Hon. Paul Green, Christian Democrats, in the NSW Legislative Assembly, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of March 14:

This'll be blessedly short. Promise!

First, a Green on Greens attack:

"It was disappointing that my wife and I were the only Greens on the trip. I would have been pleased if other Greens from the full crossbench of the Upper House had joined us. While I appreciate that opinions on issues vary significantly within The Greens - as was evidenced when they voted on the BDS motion - I was disappointed they did not take part in this very valuable study trip... Perhaps next time The Greens might take up the invitation of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies."

But it was more kids than comedy on Green's mind. In particular the kids of the Middle East's only Stalingrad, Sderot:

"[H]ow blessed Australians are to be able to send their children to school without a second thought. Our children return home after school and we all get on with our lives. Imagine the stress of parents in Sderot who must constantly wonder what will happen to their children on any school day... Some 75% of these children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder..."

And he was off, droning on and on about a study of Sderot's middle schoolers, which reportedly showed that "nearly half" suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and laboriously detailing how they were taught to "cope with anger and loss." You will, of course, be pleased to know that, as a result, "of the 48 pupils who had been diagnosed with PTSD in the intervention group, only 13 were still exhibiting symptoms 4 months later."

Needless to say, of the thousands and thousands of sufferers of permanent-traumatic stress disorder and worse across the border in Gaza, Green had nothing to say.

Finally, cop this:

"The tour group visited Gush Etzion Settlement Block at Efrat. The mayor of Efrat was one of my favourites. As a former mayor I was able to appreciate the work he does with the Arab settlements."

Yes, you heard correctly - Arab settlements! Only in the NSW Knesset!

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset: David - I just can't take this shit anymore! -Shoebridge, MLC. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey.]

Prisoner X: Loose Ends

1) Murder by another name?

"It was after 8 pm when warders on duty at the Ayalon prison in Ramla, an inland town south-east of Tel Aviv, realised that Zygier hadn't been spotted in his cell for more than an hour. Monitored by 3 surveillance cameras, the supposedly suicide-proof cell in wing 15 was originally built to house Yigal Amir, the right-wing fanatic who assassinated then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Divided into 2 parts, the cell's larger area contains a bed, a sitting area and a kitchenette, while the smaller section is a washroom equipped with a shower and toilet. When the guards finally entered the cell at 8.19pm, they found Zygier's body hanging cold and lifeless. 'Our job is to isolate him, not to keep him alive', said one of the guards who attended the scene." (How life of spy Ben Zygier unravelled, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/3/13)

2) What the...?

"Julie Bishop, the Coalition spokeswoman on foreign affairs, said on Monday that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, should ask Israel whether Mr Zygier was using his Australian nationality as a cover when he was working as a Mossad spy. 'If Mr Zygier was using his passports while working for Mossad, and that use was approved, I would expect the Australian government to be registering a protest with the government of Israel,' she said."

OMG, did she really say that? I can't believe it! Register a protest with Israel?! You don't register a protest with Israel ever, OK? You don't even raise so much as an eyebrow.

You treat the Adorable Hunk the way He's become accustomed, right? You snuggle up to Him, take his hand in yours (having first detached it from his M16), and whisper sweet nothings into His (admittedly tin) ear.

Things like:  Hey Honey, "the Coalition will never forget that you're a country under existential threat in a way that is beyond most Australian's experience and understanding."

Or, Hey Sexy, you're "a bastion of civilization," you know that?

Or, Hey, Darls, I just want you to know that I have "a complete and unshakeable commitment to your security," OK?*

Frankly, I don't know what's got into Jules these days. I mean she wasn't always like this. Back in 2010 she never said boo on the above subject. She was all excuses, like: "It would be naive to think that Israel is the only country in the world that has used forged passports, including Australian passports, for security operations."**

Maybe she's just trying to ape Julia's "feisty woman" performance. Someone should maybe tell her it doesn't seem to be working for the PM.

[*See my 22/8/10 post Wake in Fright...; **See my 14/8/10 post Bishop: 'Israel Could Do Anything'.]

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Pre-State Origins of Zionist Apartheid

So what makes Zionists, both within and outside Israel, the adorable creatures we know them to be?

Herewith are further musings on the substance of my previous post...

Uri Davis, author of the classic 2003 text, Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, explains the difference between racism and apartheid:

"Racism is not apartheid and apartheid is not racism. Apartheid is a political system where racism is regulated in law through acts of parliament. Racism is prevalent in all states, including liberal democratic states such as the current western liberal democracies. But in liberal democratic states, those victimized by racism have legal recourse to seek the protection of the law under a democratic constitution, namely a constitution that embodies the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an apartheid state, on the other hand, the state enforces racism through the legal system, criminalizes expressions of humanitarian concern and obligates the citizenry through acts of parliament to make racist choices and conform to racist behaviour." (p 37)

Israel emerged as a fully-fledged apartheid state, underpinned by a cluster of laws enshrining a division between Jews and non-Jews*, in the years immediately following its creation in 1948. Its apartheid legislation, however, didn't come from nowhere. It was preceded in the pre-state era by the Zionist movement's use of pressure tactics aimed at preventing the development of any kind of inclusive, non-Zionist initiative or enterprise involving Arabs and Jews. These tactics were indicative of the kind of racist, Jews-only mindset which eventually found expression in Israel's post-48 apartheid legislation.

The following two stories show how the Zionist movement, once unleashed on Palestine by the British, immediately set about forcing decent and independent-thinking members of the Jewish community there to make essentially racist choices, and punishing those who failed to toe the Zionist line.

The first comes from Lt.-Col. Walter Francis Stirling, the British Governor of the Jaffa district from 1919-1923:

"In the early days there were many Jews in Palestine who were not Zionists, but the pressure applied by the Jewish Agency became so great, and its Gestapo methods so severe, that few Jews dared openly express any other faith. Just before I left Jaffa a very important Jewish farmer from Richon-le-Zion sent a message asking if he could come and see me. I accordingly invited him to come to my office the following morning, but he refused to do that and asked for an appointment at my house after dark. When he arrived he told me he had come to ask for any advice on a personal problem. He explained how, as a small boy, he had been brought to Palestine by his father, one of the biggest landowners of his village. Growing up there, he had made numerous friends among the little Arab boys of his own age. On his father's death he had taken over the property and naturally continued to employ his boyhood friends as herdsmen, ploughmen and teamsters. That morning, however, the Jewish Agency had ordered him to dismiss all his Arab employees and to engage some newly arrived Jewish immigrants at a wage-rate far in excess of the pay of his Arab workmen. What should he do? If he dismissed the Arabs in the summary manner suggested, such bad feeling would be created that, being a vindictive people, they might well burn his crops. Apart from this consideration, they also happened to be his friends. The Jews who had been proposed to him as labourers knew nothing about farming, and certainly nothing about the local conditions. The Arabs would work to all hours of the night if it were a question of getting a crop in before the rain; the Jews would down tools precisely at 6 o'clock, no matter what the weather. He now saw no possibility of working his land on economic lines, and he would inevitably go bankrupt. I was put in a difficult position, for any advice I gave him would certainly be quoted and I should be denounced by the all-powerful Jewish Agency." (Quoted in From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism & the Palestine Problem Until 1948, edited by Walid Khalidi, 1971, pp 233-234)

The second comes from Sir Ronald Storrs, the British Governor of Jerusalem from 1918 to 1926:

"When, early in 1918, a lady, unlike the stage Woman of Destiny in that she was neither tall, dark nor thin, was ushered, with an expression of equal good humour and resolution, into my office I immediately realized that a new planet had swum into my ken. Miss Annie Landau had been throughout the War exiled in Alexandria from her beloved Evelina de Rothschild Girls' School, and demanded to return to it immediately. To my miserable pleading that her school was in use as a Military Hospital she opposed a steely insistence: and very few minutes had elapsed before I had leased her the vast empty building known as the Abyssinian Palace. Miss Landau rapidly became very much more than the Headmistress of the best Jewish Girls' School in Palestine. She was more British than the English, flying the Union Jack continually as well as exclusively so soon as that was permitted. She was more Jewish than the Zionists - no answer from her telephone on the Sabbath, even by the servants. She had been friendly with Turks and Arabs before the War; so that her generous hospitality was for many years almost the only neutral ground upon which British officials, ardent Zionists, Moslem Beys and Christian Effendis could meet on terms of mutual conviviality. Only once was her social ascendency challenged, and then by her own community. The occasion arose from a concert I arranged late in 1918 to provide funds for the Jerusalem School of Music. I had impressed upon its director, the accomplished violinist Tchaikov, that as neither the School nor the audience were exclusively Jewish he should at the conclusion confine himself to the first 6 bars of God Save the King; a condition he promised to observe. As he advanced to the front of the platform, we rose, when what was my consternation to hear not that confident, basic melody but the Smetanaesque melancholy of the Zionist National Anthem. After a bar or so (Tchaikov casting upon me the agonized glance of one succumbing to force majeure) the Chief Administrator asked me hoarsely 'What's that?' and when I answered 'Ha Tiqvah', asked again 'What's that?' 'Zionist National Anthem'. He sat down sharply, and was of course followed by all his officers and, with reckless British courage (but in an evil hour for herself), by Miss Annie Landau. She was forthwith pilloried as a traitress to the Cause, though there was no immediately apparent means of punishing her. The Zealots' opportunity came with her first Ball, which they announced that no self-respecting Jew could possibly attend. All my sympathies were with Miss Landau, as a friend, as a hostess, as public benefactress number one; but I was powerless to lighten her natural despair at being boycotted by her own people. On the evening of the dance 3 Jewish fathers waited upon me in the Governorate. They had called to enquire whether I wished them to attend the dance, and seemed disappointed at my refusal to give them a direct injunction. The unhappy men had been undermined by treachery in their own homes: their wives and daughters had bought new frocks, and had every intention of using them. When 4 hours later I contemplated the line of patriots, some resentful, some defiant, all duly following up the staircase in the triumph of the daughters of Israel, my satisfaction was tinged with sympathy for men and brothers, as I realized that in one relation of life there is indeed neither Jew nor Gentile." (Orientations, 1939, pp 434-435)

[*See my 24/5/10 post Second-Class Citizen Khaled.]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Making of Prisoner X

"Ben Zygier was a zealot. Intelligent, restless, he dreamt of working for Mossad. His dream ultimately killed him." So runs the blurb for Jason Koutsoukis' feature article, How life of spy Ben Zygier unravelled in the Sydney Morning Herald of March 25.

Koutsoukis' portrait of Zygier is remarkably accommodating of the young man's Zionist fantasies, with Zygier described as "a passionate Zionist, a young man who had so aspired to a life of heroism" and as "ready to defend Israel against its enemies, no matter what the cost.

His sketch of Zygier's life journey - son of a prominent Melbourne Zionist, graduate of Melbourne's Bialik College*, member of the Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, kibbutznik (1995), and eventual Israeli citizen (2003) - is nowhere the occasion for the raising of an editorial eyebrow. All, or so Koutsoukis' treatment of his subject suggests, is as it should be for a young Australian Jew. One simply can not imagine a young Arab-Australian, motivated by a burning desire to defend his people in Gaza or Lebanon, being handled with such kid gloves. 

Likewise Koutsoukis' tolerance of Zionist dogma. He blithely refers to Australia's Jewish community as "diaspora Jews," cluelessly giving currency to the Zionist notion that Jews such as the Zygiers, who live outside Israel, are somehow in exile from their real, Jewish homeland.

Equally problematic is Koutsoukis' characterisation of Israel as a "tiny strip of a nation surrounded only by countries either overtly or surreptitiously hostile to its existence." Anyone who's taken the trouble to acquaint himself with the history of this tiny strip of land will have no trouble in tracing this hostility back to imperial Britain's imposition of a European settler-colonial movement on an unwilling indigenous population. Apparently, it's too much to expect a little historical context here.

Then there's Koutsoukis' description of Mossad as "engaged in a furious shadow war against [Israel's] enemies." Now I'd always thought of wars as a matter of tit for tat, but all Koutsoukis can come up with is Israeli 'tat': "Mossad's most recent exploits include the car-bomb assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in 2008, the January 2010 killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai and at least 5 Iranian nuclear activists." God forbid any suggestion that Mossad is really little more than a glorified death squad.

There is, of course, another way of looking at the story of Ben Zygier, and that is as a case study in Zionist indoctrination. As one who appears to have taken the Mossad mystique more seriously than most, Ben Zygier may be seen as merely an extreme example of what can go wrong when a young Jew, whether in Israel or elsewhere, is raised on the Kool-Aid of Zionist ideology and fairy tales.

As it happens, Israel's preeminent critical journalist, Gideon Levy, has relieved me of the need to spell it out, having done a superb job, under the heading Hating Arabs is Netanyahu's gift to Israelis (Haaretz 7/3/13), of explaining just what it is that goes into the making of a young Israeli today. One need only extrapolate in Zygier's case.  (NB: While Levy focuses on the current Israeli prime minister, the racism at the core of Israeli apartheid is as old as the Zionist movement itself and its distorting effect on all who swallow the Zionist narrative uncritically can be profound.):

"Benjamin Netanyahu's children attacked an Arab cleaning man on the seaside promenade in Tel Aviv and caused him serious injuries. They attacked an Arab waiter in a Tel Aviv restaurant with chairs and their fists. They attacked an Arab from Upper Nazareth at the shore of Lake Kinneret because they heard him speaking Arabic. Netanyahu's children waved hate-filled signs against Muslim players of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team and set fire to its club house. Netanyahu's children attacked an Arab woman on a Jerusalem light rail train just because she was an Arab. All these events took place in Israel within a few days. The attackers were not of course the prime minister's biological children, but they were all the creation of his spirit, students of his views and pupils of his government's policies. These Israeli skinheads are the fruits of the nationalistic and racist atmosphere that has grown greatly in recent years, the Netanyahu years.

"Such a streak of anti-Arab violence is not just a coincidence of course. So many of these kinds of violent acts in such a short time never happened here before. Their source is planted deep within the Israeli experience that Likud-led government's have acted to nurture. A Jewish child in Israel grows up with the feeling he is a member of the chosen people, one who is allowed to do almost anything. He learns that only his people have rights to this land. This child knows his country must be Jewish, and only Jewish. During the Netanyahu years the child grew up with a feeling of continual danger, usually exaggerated and hollow. He hears all day long of the dangers lying in wait for him, all at the hands of Arabs and Muslims. He learns he is a member of the people who are always the greatest victims, there are no other victims. There are those who repeat for him that the Arabs are not people like he is, it is doubtful whether they are human beings at all; just suspicious objects, terrorists. They all want to throw him into the sea, stab him, plant a bomb, shoot a Qassam rocket at him or blow themselves up next to him. The child learns that Israel's Arab citizens are a cancer, a stab in the back of the nation and a fifth column; and it is necessary to strip them of all their remnants of rights. He learns that Israel 'gives' the Arabs too much.

"He sees alongside the road a fancy house in an Arab village and tells himself: Look at that. He hears Arab members of Knesset and tells himself: Look at us, what a democracy! He sees a veiled woman or hears someone speaking Arabic and knows this means danger. He doesn't even think to compare the treatment of Jews in Europe in the 1930s to the treatment of Arabs in Israel. He has never met an Arab Israeli for a real conversation, and there is absolutely no chance of that with a Palestinian from the territories.

"This child knows nothing about the Nakba, except that it is an invention of Israel-haters and the very mention of it is treason. Of the hundreds of villages that were destroyed and the fate of their hundreds of thousands of residents, some of whom still live in Israel, torn away from their families, banished from their lands and villages - he knows nothing at all and wants to know nothing. He has no idea what it means to be an Arab child his age in Israel who hears the prime minister of both of them describe the Arab child as a demographic threat. The Jewish child has never heard a single good word from the prime minister on a 5th of the citizens of his country, only condemnation, threats, exclusion and danger. All this he learned in even more forceful terms in recent years, the latest Likud years."

[*For Bialik College see my 21/6/12 post Mystery Man.]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prisoner X: The Latest Version

From Double agent disaster led to spy's downfall, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/3/13:

"Australian-born former Mossad agent Ben Zygier was responsible for one of the most serious security breaches in Israeli history, a breach that led directly to the arrest and imprisonment of two of Israel's most prized Lebanese informants. After a month's-long investigation initiated by Fairfax Media and completed by a team of reporters assembled by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, it can be revealed that Zygier was outfoxed in a game of cross and double-cross that ended with tragic consequences. Unable to bear the shame of his downfall, and facing a minimum 10-year jail sentence with no prospect of a return to the Mossad, Zygier took his life on December 15, 2010...

"Recruited to the Mossad at the start of 2004, Zygier, who took up Israeli citizenship in the mid 1990s, was first assigned to work in Europe trying to infiltrate companies that had business links with countries hostile to Israel, in particular Iran and Syria. According to the chief executive of one company that Zygier infiltrated, while Zygier was 'extremely sharp' he also lacked focus... Unable to achieve the kind of results expected, Zygier was pulled back from the field and assigned to a desk job in Tel Aviv, a psychological blow that proved to be the beginning of his undoing.

"In an attempt to improve his reputation within the intensely competitive atmosphere of Mossad, and get back into a coveted operations role, Zygier embarked on a rogue mission without informing his superiors. Acting on information surrounding the identity of an eastern European man known to be close to the militant Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, Zygier set up a meeting with the man towards the end of 2008 with the intention of turning him into a double agent who could pass information about Hezbollah activities back to Mossad. Instead the reverse happened, with Zygier becoming the conduit for information flowing from Tel Aviv to Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut. Contact between the two went on for months, with the east European repeatedly demanding that Zygier prove his bona fides as a Mossad agent by giving up real intelligence. Zygier complied, giving up the names of Israel's two top Lebanese informants, Ziad al-Homsi, and Mustafa Ali Awdeh. Both were arrested in the spring of 2009, possibly thwarting a chance to strike at Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Each was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour..."

Actually, Homsi's story is as intriguing as Zygier's. A member of Lebanese opposition leader Saad Hariri's Future Party, he was released after serving only 3 years in jail. Here's an account of his arrest in 2009:

"Saadnayel Mayor Ziad Homsi was accused of collaborating with Israel by Military Examining Magistrate Rashid Mezher, judicial sources told The Daily Star on Tuesday. Homsi, who could face the death penalty if found guilty, was transferred to the permanent Military Court. Homsi was accused of leaking information to Israel about Lebanese civil and military locations with the aim of conducting terrorist operations, the source added. Homsi was also accused of leaking information concerning certain political figures and the illegal possession of weapons. Homsi initially fought against the Israeli army in Bayader al-Adas, but the Israeli intelligence service Mossad then [?] tricked Homsi into travelling to Beijing by sending him a false letter from the mayor of a Chinese city, the source said. The accused met with an Israeli agent disguised as a member of the Beijing City Council and agreed to import merchandise from China to Lebanon. Homsi received a monthly salary of $1,700 for his collaboration, the source added. The accused again received an invitation to visit Beijing in 2007 where he was informed that he was working with Mossad. However, Homsi did not end his collaboration with Israel but rather accepted the task of searching for the bodies of missing Israeli soldiers in Lebanon. He was promised a reward of $10 million. The examining magistrate's report also said that Homsi was equipped with a camera with which to film cemeteries, a portable computer and a satellite communication device to facilitate his contact with Israel." (Mayor accused of spying for Israel, 30/9/09)

Finally, here's the kind of background that typically never made it into the Australian press:

"Lebanon's security services say that since November 2008 it has broken up no fewer than 25 Israeli spy rings. The reported arrest this week [2/2010] of a colonel in Lebanese army intelligence... brings the number of those charged to 70-plus; 40 of them are in Lebanese police custody... Aside from the alleged spies, the Lebanese say they netted fancy surveillance and communications gear disguised, among other innocuous things, as Thermos flasks, canisters of motor oil and battery chargers. The gadgetry may be what gave the game away. Security sources hint that France or perhaps Russia helped the Lebanese by supplying sophisticated systems to monitor and analyse the telecom data. The Lebanese then homed in on suspicious signals. Another clue may have pointed to the importance of the signals trail. Last summer, as the spies were being rounded up, a senior man in Unit 8200, the section of Israeli military intellegince tasked with eavesdropping on Israel's enemies, shot himself in his office. Colleagues blamed 'unrequited love'." (Not such a success: A round-up of Israeli spies, The Economist, 25/2/10)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 7

On the speech of The Hon. Matthew Mason-Cox, Liberal Party, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of March 14:

What a drama queen young Mattie is! He's clearly missed his vocation - creative writing. I defy you to read the opening paragraph of his speech without cracking up:

"'From the river to the sea' - the plaintive cry rings out and the echo returns, louder, louder still, building to a blinding crescendo, binding the seething mass of humanity gathered at the feet of Khaled Meshaal. The feared [?] yet exulted [?] leader of Hamas stands triumphantly as the gunfire rings out approvingly. His visit to Gaza on 8 December 2012 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas reverberates throughout the Arab world. It is all made possible by the very people he would mercilessly expunge from the very face of the Earth. However, the Jewish people have been that way before. This land from the river to the sea, this biblical homeland of the Jewish people, this State of Israel, sanctioned by the United Nations and sanctified by the blood of so many, will find another way. It simply has no other choice."

What possessed him here? Could it have been some memory of ploughing through Richard II in high school : "This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,/This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars/ This other Eden, demi-paradise,/This fortress built by Nature for herself..."?

Will the NSW Legislative Council ever be the same again?

Be that as it may, this is Middle East REALITY Check. Yes, Khaled Meshaal delivered a speech on the 25th anniversary of the foundation of Hamas in Gaza. And yes, he vowed never to give up the Palestinian right to every inch of Palestine "from the river to the sea." But no, there was no gunfire and no mention whatever of "mercilessly expunging Jews from the very face of the Earth." That was just a product of Mattie's overheated imagination. What Meshaal did in fact say, however, was "We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews. We fight the Zionist occupiers and aggressors."  But clearly, that's way over Mattie's head.

Part of his problem seems to be that he's never really grown up: "As a Christian it has been my lifelong dream to visit he land of my childhood stories and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus." Maybe he needs to sit down and read St Paul: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

This naivete perhaps has left the lad a real sucker for Zionist cliches, whether it's one of the oldest - "One proud Israeli I met... informed me that the Israeli people are like the prickly pear that infests large parts of their beautiful country: prickly on the outside but warm and sweet in the middle" - or the very  latest - "We were hosted by Noam Bedein from the Sderot Media Centre. Noam related how mothers have 15 seconds in which to stop their cars and try to get a couple of kids out and into a shelter. However, the mothers have found it impossible to stop their car and undo 2 sets of seatbelts. They are often forced to choose - which child do I save?" (Noam loves regaling foreigners with this one. See my 19/11/12 post Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother?.)

Everything about Israel, it seems, entranced Mattie. In fact, so inspired was he by the story of Ozraeli Arnold Roth, who has transmuted his pain over the death of his 15-year old daughter in a Palestinian suicide bombing into a foundation for kids with special needs, and so impressed was he by the way the citizens of Sderot have turned Palestinian rocket casings into "beautiful flowers that adorn the streets of Sderot," that, in his words, "I went to Israel a natural supporter and returned an ardent admirer. Perhaps I have found my inner Jew."

Indeed he has. Listen to this:

"I will repeatedly warn that this is the year of action against Iran should diplomatic efforts fail to deter it from its current path. A nuclear Iran is a threat to world peace so we all have a stake in these outcomes. Australia and the Middle East [?] have a stake in ensuring that Israel's security and future are assured."

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Paul - I'm so worried about the kiddies! - Green MLC. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey.]

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Three Reasons for Iraqis to Smile

OK, OK, so you've got a $4 trillion war which has resulted in 300,000 deaths, millions of refugees, rampant corruption, elevated levels of respiratory disease and birth defects, women confined to the home, and ongoing sectarian bombings, but look on the bright sight, editorialises Murdoch's Australian, because now Iraq has: a) "a constitution enshrining democratic principles and the rule of law"; b) "an elected parliament and government"; and c) "double-digit growth... projected for the next few years, provided sectarian violence is kept in check." (A new Iraq, 10 years later, 20/3/13)

Netanyahu & the Cauldronization of Iraq & Iran

"One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster please. If ever there was a region that deserved to be cauldronized, it is the Middle East today." Michael Ledeen, 2002

 Paul McGeough's reporting in the Fairfax press is nothing short of exemplary. Writing on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the cauldronization of Iraq, he refers to the latest study of the cost in lives and treaure of the Iraq war:

"'Great powers rarely make national decisions that explode so quickly and [so] completely in their faces,' says US Navel Academy professor John Nagl in an anniversary opinion piece. The cost of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld response to the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington has been enormous - 300,000 lives and $4 trillion, according to a new study by Brown University in Rhode Island." (Ten years on, war a part of daily life, Paul McGeogh, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/3/13)

Why is this so?

Because the US decision to cauldronize Iraq was far from being a "national decision," by which I mean a war fought in the US national interest. The following lines in McGeough's analysis go part way to explaining what I mean:

"Marking the Iraq war anniversary, The New York Times editorialised: 'None of the Bush administration's war architects have been called to account for their mistakes and even now, many are invited to speak on policy issues as if they were not responsible for one of the worst strategic blunders in American foreign policy.'"

So who were these "architects"?

They were the 'neoconservatives', more correctly called Zioconservatives, who promoted, both inside and outside the Bush administration, a "war agenda conceived in Israel to advance Israeli interests."* The leading architects of the Iraq war - the 'fucking crazies' as Secretary of State Collin Powell memorably called them - were men such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith.

"One of their fellow travellers," writes McGeogh pointedly, "deserves greater attention today, because of his eagerness for another war - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the eve of this week's visit to Israel by Obama, the Israeli daily Haaretz thoughtfully ran screeds from Netanyahu's September 2002 testimony to a Congressional committee. Substitute '2013/Iran/Tehran/Ahmadinejad' for '2003/Iraq/Baghdad/Saddam' in the following. 'There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons - no question whatsoever. And there is no question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately... Every indication we have is that he is pursuing, pursuing with abandon, pursuing with every ounce of effort, the establishment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. If anyone makes an opposite assumption or cannot draw the line connecting the dots, that is simply not an objective assessment... '"

Netanyahu, it should be remembered, was the recipient of the infamous 1996 neocon policy paper A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, which called upon Israel to adopt a strategy of destabilising the Middle East, including Iraq.

Another memorable appearance by Netanyahu in the lead up to the 2003 cauldronization of Iraq came not long after 9/11: "The September 11 atrocities created the white-hot climate in which Israel could undertake harsh measures unacceptable under normal conditions. When asked what the terrorist attack would do for US-Israeli relations, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blurted out: 'It's very good.' Then he edited himself: 'Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.' Netanyahu correctly predicted that the attack would 'strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.'" (The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, Stephen J. Sniegoski, 2008, p 139)

Like the Zionist agenda of 1948, the Ziocon agenda of a cauldronized Middle East has yet to reach a final conclusion - as McGeough pithily reminds us in his final sentence:

"Tomorrow, Tehran."

Finally, just recalling Netanyahu's near 3-year late 'apology' to Turkey for  the deaths of its nationals on the Mavi Marmara and Obama's stopover in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah regarding Syria, how resonant is this advice  from the Clean Break document: "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." That sentence, it should be noted, immediately preceded this: "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."

[*These are the words of Stephen J. Sniegoski. For a fuller presentation of his thesis, see my 22/12/08 post Absent-minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze.]

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 6

On the speech of The Hon. David Clarke, Liberal Party, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of March 14:

Behold a closed mind masquerading as an open mind:

"Following the conclusion of the organised study tour, my wife and I stayed for an additional period to meet with those people we believed would assist us in coming to an informed and accurate view of present day Israel."

How disingenuous! As if this Catholic ultra hadn't already made up his mind about Israel and just about everything else under the sun aeons ago.

Some examples of that informed and accurate view of Israel:

"I found Israel to be a free and democratic society. In fact it is a vibrant and open democracy and every possible viewpoint is represented in the political spectrum."

"I constantly marvel that for 65 years Israel has maintained constraint and calmness in the face of hostility, threats and terrorist attacks."

"In southern Lebanon the Islamist terror organisation, Hezbollah... periodically launches attacks on Israeli civilians with rockets and missiles provided by regimes in Syria, Iran, North Korea and others... To the west, in Gaza, the Islamist terrorist organisation, Hamas... periodically launches rocket attacks that target civilian areas..."

"What the United States faced on [9/11] is the threat that Israel has faced every day of its existence. It is something it has faced day in and day out for 65 years."

Such views, of course, are typical of the conga line of Islamophobic Zionist suckholes who now infest the Australian ms media, just about all of whom, it seems, have had a hand in shaping and confirming Clarke's views on Israel (and much else). Here, for example, is a list of his mentors from a speech he delivered in state parliament on May 27, 2003:

"For too long the media was a closed shop, off limits to those who were not part of the left elite establishment. Now we see the emergence of commentators who are articulating the mainstream views held by the great majority of Australians. One who did persevere in in difficult times was the late Bob Santamaria. I pay tribute to his memory: he was a man of heroic virtue. In present times, the Daily Telegraph's Piers Akerman is one who articulates what the majority of the NSW electorate thinks. Rare is the occasion when I find myself in disagreement with him. I find Miranda Devine, Christopher Pearson, Michael Duffy, Janet Albrechtson and Paddy McGuinness. Also worth reading, as I do, Paul Sheehan."

What a roll call of reaction!

Clarke concludes his "study mission" speech thus:

"[The study tour] reinforced my view that support for the State of Israel is necessary for the defeat of international terrorism; in fact, it is the frontline in that fight. It reinforced my view that the State of Israel is a land where democracy and freedom continue to flourish and that we in Australia have a moral imperative to lend our support. It was a righteous cause 65 years ago and it is still a righteous cause 65 years later."

Just how righteous a cause Israel was 65 years ago can be seen from the following sketch of Irgun terrorists at play in the Palestinian village of Deir Yasin on April 10, 1948:

"The gang was wearing country uniform, with helmets. All of them were young, some even adolescents, men and women, armed to the teeth: revolvers, machine-guns, hand grenades, and also large cutlasses in their hands, most of them still blood-stained. A beautiful young girl, with criminal eyes, showed me hers still dripping with blood; she displayed it like a trophy. This was the 'cleaning up' team, that was obviously performing its task very conscientiously." (Jacques de Reynier, International Red Cross chief in Palestine in 1948, quoted in From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism & the Palestine Problem Until 1948, edited by Walid Khalidi, 1973, p 763)

That Clarke's views are as removed from the reality of the modern Middle East as the planet Pluto is from the sun is amply indicated in an earlier Legislative Council speech when, in dismissing the Palestinian's right of return, he referred to "Palestinians who claim to have lived in Israel at the time of its independence in 1948 and who left for whatever reason..." (See my 17/9/11 post Witches Brew 1.)

Predictably, Clarke's views on Australian history are in like vein. I quote again from his speech of May 27, 2003:

"I look back on our history with great pride. I honour those who came to our shores in those early years from the British Isles. They came here as settlers, not as invaders, as revisionists would try to have us believe. They overcame great adversity and they laid the foundations... for our State and our nation. They sanctified our nation through their efforts, achievements and sacrifice. It is a monumental besmirching of their memory and a falsification of history to claim otherwise. God can give a vocation not only to individuals but also to nations. Great Britain had a vocation that brought great humanitarian advances to many parts of the world, and certainly to Australia."

That's right, folks, the settler-colonial tsunamis which devastated Palestine and Australia, are actually "great humanitarian advances"  initiated by God through the Britz.

Fair takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Matthew Mason-Cox MLC finds his "inner Jew" in Israel.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey.]

Friday, March 22, 2013

'Feisty' Julia

Letter in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:

"Memo to Julia Gillard: A 'feisty woman' would stand up to powerful groups such as the mining magnates and the Israel lobby. She would not allow the world's superpower to have bases on Australian soil, and she would certainly not use vulnerable people such as refugees and single mothers to benefit herself." Patricia Philippou, Waverly

The Spirit of One

"They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn't want to be broken." Bobby Sands

The following statement from Samer Issawi*, who has spent 240 days on hunger strike, was posted on his Facebook page by his lawyer Fawwaz Shloudy. (NB: I've taken the liberty of polishing the initial English translation by Shahd Abusalama):

"With regard to Israel's offer to deport me to Gaza, let me say this: While Gaza is undeniably part of my Palestinian homeland, I alone will decide whether and when I go there, just as I alone will decide whether and when I will go to any other part of Palestine, from the river to the sea, as is my right.

"I emphatically refuse to be deported to Gaza as this will simply bring back bitter memories of the expulsions of 1948 and 1967. We are fighting to liberate our occupied homeland, and for the right of return of our refugees, whether they be in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip or in exile, not to add to their numbers with deportees. Israel's systematic emptying of Palestine of its people and replacing them with strangers is a crime. Therefore, I refuse to be deported, and will only agree to being released in Jerusalem since I know that Israel wants to empty Jerusalem of its Arab people and turn us into a minority there. My decision is not a personal one but is based on a national principle: If every detainee succumbs to pressure to agree to be deported outside Jerusalem, Jerusalem will eventually be emptied of its people.

"I'd rather die in my hospital bed than be deported from Jerusalem. It is my life and my soul. Uprooting me from there would be like tearing my soul from my body. Away from Jerusalem, my life has no meaning. I am locked in its embrace. I say to my fellow Palestinians: embrace your cities, towns and villages, and never give in to Israel's wishes under any circumstances. This is not about Samer Issawi. It is a national issue, a principle, a conviction that every Palestinian who truly loves his homeland should hold. Finally, and for the thousandth time, I will continue my hunger strike until I am either a free man in Jerusalem or I die a martyr." (, 19/3/13)

[*See my earlier posts on Samer Issawi: Another First for Israel's Cutting Edge Thuggery (12/1/13); Prisoner X: The Really Big Picture (19/2/13).]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The European Disease

Wails Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, "Australia's most influential foreign affairs analyst,"* in today's Australian:

"Six years of Labor government, by this year's election in September, will result in a new Australia. We have contracted the European disease."(ALP has spread Europe's disease).

Well, he's got a point there. Australia does have the European disease - big time.

The only problem is it wasn't introduced by Rudd and Gillard.

It was introduced by Admiral Arthur Phillip in 1788 when he founded Australia's first British colony - later to be named Sydney - on the land of the Eora people.

The steel-borne European disease, aka settler-colonialism, spread rapidly throughout the vast island continent, decimating its indigenous people and reducing the land to a mere shadow of its former self.

Trust Sheridan to miss the real European disease.

Now no Sheridan column would be complete without a mention of Israel, and this one is no exception:

"In foreign policy we have moved towards the European consensus and away from the Australian tradition on issues such as Israel..." (ibid)

Which brings me back to the subject of the real European disease, settler-colonialism. A particularly virulent strain, called Zionism, was also introduced into Palestine by the British.

From its introduction in the wake of World War 1, Zionist settler-colonialism spread to such an extent that by 1949 it had ravaged almost 80% of Palestine, leaving the majority of its indigenous Arab population in refugee camps, either beyond its borders or in the two small enclaves that had miraculously escaped, at least temporarily, falling victim to the Zionist scourge.

That's quite a disease!


Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 5

On the speech of The Hon. Robert Borsak, Shooters & Fishers Party, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of March 14 (NB: The debate was resumed from February 28):

The Shooters Party representative, of course, just couldn't resist this cheap shot at The Greens:

"It is with pleasure that I join in debate on the motion of the Hon. Rick Colless regarding a recent study mission to Israel by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel, which comprised parliamentarians from all political parties, except notably and for their own reasons, The Greens, who I might add are pretty good at coming up with adolescent views and superficial solutions but it appears are not really interested in some world fact-finding missions."  

Adolescent? How about getting your kicks by blowing away the wildlife?

And speaking of being blown away, Borsak just loved Israel:

"It has to be said that despite the constant and dangerous environment within which Israel lives, I have now found a third place in the world where I feel truly safe."

Let me guess:

1) Australia, where thanks to Baruch O'Farrell, he can blaze away at anything that moves, at least in the bush;

2) The US, where, thanks to the gun lobby, every Tom, Dick and Robert can blaze away, in the bush or anywhere else for that matter, as the spirit moves him.

Now that feeling truly safe jazz, WTF is that all about? Well, it looks like it's got something to do with daddy:

"As I have previously noted in this House, I am the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor. My father was involved in the intrigues of the local resistance movement in Warsaw and the Jewish Ghetto during the Second World War, and was later condemned to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he described his experiences at the time as his descent into Dante's description of Hell."

Now you've almost got to feel sorry for poor old Vic Alhadeff at this point. There he is, sitting in the visitors' gallery, feeling as pleased as punch, with another successful rambam under the belt and all of the rambammed singing like canaries - in the very seat of government no less - and bloody Borsak comes out with I am the son of a Holocaust survivor!

'No! No! No!' he must've screamed inwardly. 'The Holocaust survivor (TM) card is our card! If the Poles are going to start playing it, where's it all going to end? Will the Russians be next?'

Still, you've really got to hand it to Borsak, the man's an incredibly fast learner! So fast that he can go from knowing SFA about Israel, its history, or that of the Middle East in general, to full-on expert in just 5 days:

"What became clear as the tour progressed is that Israel is a state run by the rule of law. It has a supreme court, a national parliament... It functions as you would expect any democratic society to function... Its robust democratic process is healthy, thriving, interesting and intriguing, to say the least. Its location in the world also requires a large overt, and I am sure covert, state security apparatus that, unlike its neighbours, does not run the state or oppress and cow its citizens."

Yeah, interesting and intriguing, just like democracy in NSW where Borsak and friend, with just 3.7% of the vote, get to call the shots - literally.

Finally, a cheery thought:
Amount Robert Borsak 'earns' per day: $342.
Amount someone on Newstart receives per day: $35.

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: David Clarke MLC on why Australia needs to get behind Israel 101%. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey.]

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Shocked & Awed'

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day the Americans came to Iraq in 2003, though not of course in 'suits and ties'. I continue the testimony of Raed Jarrer from the previous post:

"The real bombing started on March 21, 2003. This was the Shock and Awe. We were shocked and awed indeed, even for a family like us that has gone through many campaigns of US bombings. It was hell. Our house is located near Baghdad's airport and one of Saddam's palaces, and the bombs and missiles targeted these two sites intensively.

"I remember the first night, my mother was very scared. She was hiding under a blanket and reading the Qur'an. Everyone was telling her the blankets would not save her if the ceiling fell on our heads, but she was really, really scared. My dad looked very frightened as well. My two brothers and I wanted to go to the roof to watch the bombs, like we usually did during US attacks, but my parents didn't let us go.

"Within the first few hours, all of our windows were shattered. That night, our main door was ripped out of the wall and thrown inside the house. Just imagine the pressure. And every time a bomb falls, you see dust coming out of the walls. It's so crazy, the intensity.

"Those so-called bunker-buster bombs felt like earthquakes. Our house was shaking like a swing. It was going up and down and up and down, front and back. It was very intense. We all stayed in our safe room.

"The bombing continued for days. It did not stop for a minute. It was just bombing and bombing and bombing and bombing. After the first 3 or 4 days, I remember one morning we woke up, and it was actually done. So we went outside to assess the damage. The destruction was huge. Nothing was working: we did not have electricity, we did not have water. And we could see some sites around our house that had been completely destroyed by US missiles.

"A few weeks later our neighborhood was attacked and we had to flee our house. We put some clothes and money in 2 large suitcases and ran to our cars. I still remember the sound of bullets flying around us, and huge explosions. People running around in the streets, ambulances with a bunch of injured people in each of them. I drove one car with one of my brothers, and my parents took the other car with my other brother. Someone was running away, pushing his TV on his bike, with his wife and children running behind him. People were driving away very fast. We left everything - our house, the well, the food, the fuel, the safe room - and stayed at my uncle's place until Baghdad fell on April 9.

"We heard it on the radio. They described the statue being pulled down. Then I saw the first US tank rolling down the street. We thought it was an Iraqi tank, but then we saw an American flag. Some people were cheering for the tank from their roof tops. That broke my heart. I cried." (pp 302-303)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'Americans Will Come in Suits & Ties'

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day before the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. What follows is taken from the testimony of Palestinian-Iraqi Raed Jarrar found in Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice, edited by Alia Malek, 2011, pp 301-302:

"In February 2003, I was sure that the United States would invade Iraq. I was sure that the Iraqi government would collapse and that the US would occupy the country. I was thinking to myself, All my life I've lived with Palestine under a military occupation. Now my other country, Iraq, will fall under a military occupation as well.

"All of my family was in Iraq at the time; both my parents and both my brothers. I wanted to be with them, so almost 4 weeks before the invasion, I left my job [in Jordan], took a year leave of absence from school, and went back to Baghdad.

"I wanted to be with my parents because I was still traumatized from the 1991 war. So once I arrived in Baghdad I felt so happy to be reunited with my family. We had things that we had to do to be prepared. We paid a contractor to dig a well in our backyard, and then we installed water filters and pipes. We already had an electricity generator, so we just cleaned it up and fixed it. We didn't need to buy so much food because the Iraqi government had given us 6 months' worth of food rations. We bought fuel for the cars and stored it underground, and made a safe room in the house. I taped over all the windows in case they broke.

"I started getting into heated arguments with my dad about the invasion. What started as regular family chats ended up sounding like loud political forums. My father was happy about the invasion; he thought that it would bring the much-needed change, and that it would be better than the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. But I had been developing a very strong opposition to the US invasion in the months leading up to it. I started blogging in late 2002, and having to explain the situation to American and British readers helped me form my political position. I was opposed to the US occupation, and I thought that the crimes that had been committed by the Iraqi government did not justify a foreign invasion. I thought nothing justified a military occupation. That was my ideological line, and I was not ready to change it for my dad's sake. So there was some tension between me and my father before the invasion. He was saying, This government has no support. The Americans will just come and fix everything and leave in a few weeks. I remember he used this expression: Americans will not come to Baghdad wearing bullet armor, they will come wearing their suits and ties. This was his imagination.

"My mother and two brothers were more pragmatic in dealing with the situation. My mother wasn't a big supporter of a US invasion, but she thought it might be better for us. My brothers were against it, but not as strongly as I was.

"Even if the US came and made Iraq heaven on earth, I was still against the US invasion, period. Unfortunately, that wasn't the mainstream opinion in Iraq. I think most people fell in the same category as my mother, where they were not very happy with the government, they were not very happy with the invasion, but they thought, Oh, it might be for our good."

Part 2 tomorrow...

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 4

On the speech of The Hon. Walt Secord, Labor, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of February 28:

Here's Walt's rationale: "In a job that can be overwhelmed by discussion papers and briefings, I try to keep in mind that seeing things first hand provides the greater insight. That is why I try to see things for myself and that is why I support parliamentary study tours."

Like Fred, he's a serial offender: "This was my second visit to Israel in two years."

So putting 2 & 2 together: the more trips, the more insight, OK? Which should make Walt Secord the most insightful guy in the NSW Parliament, right?

But the insights can wait. First a wee housekeeping matter: "I acknowledge the effort to provide Palestinian and Israeli Arab perspectives, such as the Governor of Bethlehem and the Abu Ghosh Israeli Arab education officials."

That's right - Palestinians, finance, water, shalom-n-salaam. Boooring.

Now, moving (the operative word here) right along to matters of substance:

"Last year, I did a March of the Living-inspired trip, culminating in a trip to Yad Vashem... My 2011-12 study tour started in Armenia so that I could learn more about the first genocide of the 20th century... After Armenia I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland and then flew directly to Israel and visited Yad Vashem. I then travelled to Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan near the Iranian border to see a contemporary context of genocide. Halabja was where in March 1988 Saddam Hussein unleashed chemical gas attacks on the Kurds, killing 5,000 people.** As a person who has studied the Shoah, I believe that, as Nobel Prize winner and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi said: Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it. So while these visits are often challenging, they are vital to promoting that which must never be forgotten."

Insight: there's no business like Shoah business.

"On my study tour this year, 2012-13, I visited the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Armenia and Georgia... Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Bethlehem and the Aida refugee camp; the ancient ruins of Western Armenia; Turkey, Istanbul, Anzac Cove at Gallipoli; and, finally, Cairo and Giza in Egypt."


Re Turkey, Erdogan got cross with Israel over the Gaza flotilla; political Islam is challenging traditional Turkish secularism; and Turkey's got to 'fess up to the Armenian genocide.

Re Egypt, "I fear that it will be very difficult to travel [there] in about a year"; "I fear for its Christian minority"; tourism in Egypt is down; Will Morsi hand over power if he loses the next election?

What can I say? 

But hey, it's not all gloom-n-doom and penetratin' insights. How about his snaps?

"There were personal highlights too, such as taking my parliamentary colleague Luke Foley to his first Shabbat meal" and "gatecrashing the wedding of Yair and Sandra Miller in Jerusalem." There was "seeing... Rick Colless and his wife locate the WW1 grave of his great-uncle at Beersheba Commonwealth War cemetery" and "going out on the Sea of Galilee with Paul Steiner... the son-in-law of Jewish communal leaders and interfaith activists Josie and Ian Lacey."

But enough of such frivolity! Back to core parliamentary business:

"In addition to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies portion of the trip, I added on several days to explore Israel myself. Last year I visited the Gadot Observation Point near the Golan, Masada, Tiberius, Sderot, Gush Etzion, the Dead Sea, Ramallah, Nazareth, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat as well as Jordan."

But there's more!

"This year, as part of my exploration of other faiths, I visited the Baha'i Temple and Gardens in Haifa... [then] I travelled [to] and stayed at Kibbutz Kadarim in Israel's north. To get real first-hand experience, I caught an Egged bus from the roadside at Kibbutz Kadarim to Akko and then Tel Aviv. I sat among Israel Defence Forces soldiers on their way home for Shabbat."

All of which "raises the question of whether this trip has shifted my view on any matters in relation to Israel."

And what profound and deeply original insight is trotted out by way of answering the above question in the negative?

"[C]urrently Israel does not have a partner in [sic] peace."

Worth every penny, I reckon.

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Robert Borsak MLC. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey; ** "Halabja marked something of a turning point in the United States' scandalous support for Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran - including his use of chemical weapons against civilian as well as military targets. Ever since the Iraqi military had started using chemical weapons in 1982 and Iran had started complaining about it to the UN Security Council, the US had blocked any SC action on the matter... As then Secretary of State George Shultz later explained, Washington blocked international pressure on Iraq to stop using chemical weapons because 'you don't want Iran to win the war'." (Halabja & America's support for using chemical weapons against Iran, FL & HM Leverett,, 19/3/13)]

Monday, March 18, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 3

On the speech of The Hon. Fred Nile, Christian Democrats, in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of February 28:

Now Fred's a real Israel junkie. As he says, "I spent nearly 3 weeks in Israel in January and visited many of the pilgrim sites following the official tour." What's more, "I have been to Israel on 3 other occasions and have a good association with Israel."

So much for that bit of the motion which says that "the purpose of this study mission was to build an understanding amongst the delegates of the complex and various issues... etc, etc."

Or as Fred put it, "I did not have to go on this study tour to be convinced to give Israel support. I have always been on the record as strongly supporting the... state of Israel."

So there!

Not that we're surprised. After all, Fred has his Zionist talking points down to a fine art:

"I know there are a lot of statements made that Israel has to give up land for peace. Sadly, when Israel gives up land for peace, at it did with Gaza [?!], it gets rockets in return from both Hamas... and Hezbollah..."

"We saw the huge wall that had been built by Israel between Israel and Palestinian territory to protect Israel's security from suicide bombers."

Between Israel and Palestinian territory?!!!

Also, we have it on good authority from Fred that despite everything we've heard about those notorious Israeli checkpoints (chokepoints?) "there is tremendous movement from Palestinian territory into and out of Israel."

And ditto for Gaza, which is "not a concentration camp" because "every day, trucks are carrying in food, construction materials and so on, so that the community gets everything it needs."

Now that visit to the Knesset was certainly a buzz for Fred: "It has 120 members. The deputation learnt that this was based on the historical biblical Jewish Sanhedrin, which had 120 members." Why, he even discovered that "[t]here are some small religious parties that have some similarities to the Christian Democrats..."! (And you - some of you at any rate - think I'm just being satirical when I talk about the NSW Knesset.)

As you'd expect, Fred found Bethlehem "very interesting,"  although it must have come as a bit of a blow because "[i]t was previously a Christian city; now it is Muslim." And, sure enough, Fred being Fred, it was the Mooslims wot done it: "Sadly, a lot of the Christians have experienced persecution and discrimination, and that is why the majority have left..."

And this despite having been briefed by what he calls the "PLO Governor of Jerusalem" (no names of course). But what, one wonders, did Guv have to say? All we get from Fred is that he "shared some of the problems they were facing regarding finance and water."

Now if Fred's any guide here, the PA appears to have something of a PR problem. While  Israel's drama queens are banging on about Palestinian 'terrorism' and getting all the attention with 'Woe is us! We have only 15 seconds before being incinerated by a Hamas/Hezbollah/Iranian rocket', the PA dude just drones  on about money and water. Boooring!

Just to show what a handle the Israelis have on laying these foreign fools in the aisle, check this one out:

We're at Israel's Supreme Court in the awesome presence of one of Israel's "most experienced judges," Justice Dalia Dorner, right?

As Fred tells it: "During her presentation, one of the first things she mentioned was Australia's rejection of Jewish refugees prior to World War II."

Jewish refugees? Remember this is Zionist aristocracy speaking, the representative of a movement that in the 30s and 40s was only interested in importing the right kind of Jews into Palestine, the kind who would later go on to create their own non-Jewish refugees in 1948.

And here's Fred, whose Islamophobic Christian Democrats call for a "moratorium on Islamic [sic] immigration... while monitoring the willingness of the existing Islamic community to abandon support for terrorism...," so overcome with guilt that he tells us: "[E]ven though I was not the delegation leader, I did in my remarks apologise for that rejection - hopefully it will never occur again."

I reckon Justice Dorner's still dining out on that one.
Like his colleague Rick Colless, who thought the Israeli colonization of the West Bank was a process of "Palestinian people," "Muslim people," and "Jewish people" all "work[ing] together towards a peaceful solution," when it comes to the settlements Fred can see naught but peace and light:

"We visited [the] remarkable Israeli town of Efrat, in the region of Gush Etzion. We were beriefed by the energetic mayor... Oded Revevi, concerning the remarkable progress by the citizens of Efrat... What impressed me was the way that Jewish families are working in harmony with their Arab neighbours, who farm land right on the borders of Efrat and even within the town council boundaries - without any conflict or violence, but in a peaceful manner."

Apparently, no one told him that those same Arab "neighbours" are currently involved in trying to fend off yet another Israeli land grab in Israel's High Court of Justice.**

Finally, lest the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (listening in with rapt attention, in the form of its omnipresent CEO Vic Alhadeff, to the 'debate') be accused of not lining up a few Arab locals for our 'study' tourists to chat with, Fred cites two.

Although he describes Issa Jaber Abu Ghosh as a "Palestinian leader in [his] own village" of Abu Ghosh, it should be pointed out that he's actually an Israeli citizen and that Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, is in Israel (im)proper.

Typically, Fred doesn't refer to the content of Abu Ghosh's "briefing," except to describe it as "quite remarkable." (Still, if you're interested, you can check out a Radio National interview*** Abu Ghosh did with Rachael Kohn in 2008, where he's grandly described as "Chairman of the Interreligious Co-ordinating Council in Israel," and one who "takes his role very seriously as a promoter of peace and inter-religious co-operation.") Suffice it to say that the village of Abu Ghosh, which has a history of collaboration with the Zionist movement dating back to 1912****, was one of only 3 Palestinian villages to survive the Zionist ethnic cleansing of central Palestine in 1948. Any wonder then that Fred found the man "quite remarkable"?

The other Arab local was "Arabic Christian pastor Steven Khoury of the Arabic Calvary Church," whose presentation Fred describes as "very interesting." Just how "interesting" becomes apparent when you read, in a September 25, 2009 article in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, that Khoury - and here my flabber is well and truly gasted - is a PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN ZIONIST who believes that "it's the job of the Jews to return to the land and convert to Christianity, while it's the job of Christians to help bring that about."*****

There you go. Just when you'd thought you'd heard it all with Khaled Abu Toameh being a Zionist and all, now you've discovered a Palestinian Christian Zionist. Top that!

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Walt (I get around) Secord, MLC.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey; **See Palestinians argue in court against Efrat expansion, Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, 14/3/13;***The Spirit of Things, 22/6/08; ****Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948, Hillel Cohen, 2008, p 78; *****Bible politics and Palestinian Zionists, Tristan Sturm]

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Setting the Herald Straight on Hezbollah

Linton Besser is a Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald. He also teaches a course called 'Investigative Research' at Sydney's University of Technology on "how to access information available on the public record, which is often missed by those who do not know how to look for it." (Course or Conference Information,

And yet, in the Herald of March 16, he wrote a piece called Two bags of money and a lot of trouble in Beirut: A covert currency exchange went wrong for businessman Tony Kazal which contained the following jarring paragraph:

"A militant group financed by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah is best known for high-profile attacks against Israeli interests abroad. But in 2008 it became part of the government of Lebanon. The US and Canada regard it as a foreign terrorist outfit."

Best known for what?

Reading a thoroughly biased profile like that you'd have no idea whatever that Hezbollah originated as a home-grown and funded Lebanese response to Israel's 1982 invasion and occupation of Lebanon; that it was instrumental in ejecting the Israelis from southern Lebanon in 2000 and fighting them to a standstill in a 34-day war in 2006; that it is as much a social service and public works provider as it is a political and military organization; and that, but for its strength and effectiveness as the spearhead of Lebanese resistance to Israeli aggression and expansion in Lebanon, we'd probably have Israeli colonies there  today.

There is also no conclusive evidence to date that Hezbollah has targeted Israeli interests abroad.

Finally, it should be pointed out that Hezbollah became part of the Lebanese government in 2011, not 2008.

Could I suggest that before Mr Besser puts pen to paper on the subject of Hezbollah again, he consult the relevant entry at the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, a far more objective summary than that at Wikipedia. Better still he could try reading American academic Augustus Richard Norton's Hezbollah: A Short History (2007).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Fabulous Friendship

This is not the real story:

"It was just before question time that the Great Spill Kerfuffle began, a panic in the press gallery that a delegation of ministers was giving Julia Gillard a taste of what Kevin Rudd experienced that bumpy June day in 2010. It was news to the PM, who emerged from her office - shoulder resolutely untapped - to find a phalanx of television cameras and photographers recording her walk to question time. On and on it kept building, before blowing out in a puff of nothing. We hear it started with the stationing of some burly federal wallopers outside the office of former attorney-general and retiring MP Robert McClelland. This triggered talk the PM was paying a visit and there could be the prospect of a by-election, an early election or even... a leadership change. Rumours spread and metamorphosed, cameras rolled and Twitter went bananas." (Strewth, A spill wind, James Jeffrey, The Australian 15/3/13)

This is:

"So, what actually happened? Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem had popped in on his old friend McClelland, complete with the gift of a very nice bottle of plonk. The federal coppers Rotem had arrived with stayed outside and, well things got a tad out of hand." (ibid)

Of course, while few mainstream journalists, least of all those writing for the Murdoch press, would find the story of an Israeli ambassador, complete with Federal Police escort, bearing a gift to a federal politician of interest, others might.

Old friends, eh?

Now I do recall reading recently* that McClelland had been briefed by ASIO on Ben Zygier's arrest in Israel in January 2010 but was keeping the contents of the briefing to himself, a state of affairs which must have come as an enormous relief to the Israelis at the time. Nor has he since seen fit to release details of its contents to the press, a position no doubt much appreciated by the Israelis.

Make of that what you will.

When all is said and done, however, I guess Canberra, being Canberra, it must be rife with these fabulous, long-standing friendships between politicians and ambassadors, such that the latter, cops and all, are wont to drop in at Parliament House any old time and share a glass of whatever.

How very touching!

[*See my 9/3/12 post Prisoner X: Well Hello...?]

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 2

On the speech of The Hon. Luke Foley, Labor Opposition leader in the NSW Legislative Council, arising out of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFoI) "study mission" 'debate' of February 28:

Clearly the PFoI's 'ideas' man, Foley has obviously been lying awake at night trying drumming up a rationale for just why it is that NSW state politicians are falling over themselves to line up behind Israel. After all, hadn't Labor Left Pope Anthony (Albanese) once declared that "Foreign policy is a fair way from the parameters of the role of Marrickville Council."**

"Why would a group of State parliamentarians undertake a study mission to a foreign country, in this case Israel, given that the Australian Constitution provides that foreign affairs is a matter for the Commonwealth Government?" he asked. "I believe the answer is twofold: firstly, the role of NSW Jewry in the life of our state; and secondly, flowing from that is Israel's emotional appeal to NSW Jewry."

According to Foley, given that

a) "Jewish citizens of the colony and then State of NSW have always played a prominent role in the affairs and governance of our society;" and that

b) "Israel exercises an extremely powerful and emotional pull on Australian Jews;" such that

c) "the NSW PFoI group is not merely a friendship group with a foreign state [but] also a friendship group with the NSW Jewish community;" then

d) "[I]t was therefore appropriate for members of the NSW PFoI to embark on a study tour," because "I do not believe it is possible to fully understand the Jewish community of our State without making an attempt to familiarise ourselves with and understand the State of Israel."

Pretty neat, eh? Conversely, I suppose, because we can't find any Muslim First Fleeters and parliamentarians, despite "the extremely powerful emotional pull" on Australian Muslims of Mecca, no Parliamentary Friends of Mecca group has so far been formed. (If, on the other hand, we do eventually locate a Muslim First Fleeter...)

But I know what you lot out there are thinking, you cynical bastards. And so does Foley, because he hastens to add: "I note for the record that the 10 parliamentarians who went on the trip met their own airfares and accommodation costs." So there!

Padding his speech with a wad of 'Israel was born of the Holocaust' mythology and a reference to Vasily Grossman's The Hell of Treblinka (didn't I tell you he was an intellectual?), Foley goes on to pay lip service to the Palestinian untermenschen: "I acknowledge that in addition to our activities in Israel we also visited the [occupied] Palestinian territory, the West Bank, and were guests of the Palestinian Authority. We met with the PA governor of the Bethlehem district and some of his colleague. They, like our Israeli hosts, were most gracious with their time." [Typically, Foley's not telling what they had to say.]

And then, in an astonishing display of chutzpah, Foley comes out with this: "I conveyed to them the strong support of the Palestinian community in NSW for their legitimate national aspiration for a Palestinian nation state by the United Nations and the international community."

On what grand occasion of pomp and ceremony, one is left wondering, did the Palestinian community in NSW confer on Luke Foley the authority to convey such a sentiment to the PA?

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: the Right Reverend Fred Nile MLC reveals that God's in His Heaven and all's well with Israel. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey;**See my 18/1/11 post A Rising Tide of Pro-Israel Bias at the ABC.]

Friday, March 15, 2013

Doing the Donkey* in the NSW Knesset 1

The last time I set out to comment in detail on the bizarre antics of the inmates of the NSW Legislative Council was when they 'debated' the subject of BDS in September 2011. This resulted in 10 posts - the 'Witches Brew' series - spanning the period 17/9/11-17/12/11 and highlighting the lengths to which NSW MLCs are prepared to go in swearing fealty to the Israel lobby.

Having absorbed the blow of that particular 'debate', I had foolishly hoped that it'd be the first and last time I'd be witness to such a grovel in this particular forum. Alas, it was not to be. Many of the same motley crew, primed by a silly season sojourn in Israel, have taken the opportunity provided by a February 28 motion (that the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel January 'study mission' to Israel be 'noted') to do it all again!

Ready yourselves, therefore, for a series of non-consecutive posts, spread over the next few months (there's a lot of ground to cover here), featuring a series of ringing tributes to a fabulous, faraway land "where women glow and men plunder," and where "you can hear, you can hear the thunder/ Better run, better take cover." (Note that, although the motion was moved on February 28 the speeches which followed were only concluded yesterday with the motion's affirmation.)

The mover of the motion, National Party MLC Rick Colless, spoke first, giving a day-by-day summary of the 10-member (plus partner), 5-day tour.

Brace yourselves for the highlights. To borrow the words of the Angry Arab - You will learn that which you knew not before:

In what was to become a leitmotif of these speeches, The Greens just had to be fingered as party (line) poopers: "Noticeably absent from the group were The Greens from New South Wales. The Greens were the only political party represented in the NSW Parliament that did not participate in this very important mission." I had thought Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham might have cracked and found himself wedged between Fred Nile and Robert Borsak on a long haul flight to Ben Gurion Airport, but happily I was wrong.

After reminding his colleagues in the chamber of the alleged purpose of the "study mission" - "to build an understanding of the complex and various issues impacting on Israel and other jurisdictions within the Middle East" - Colless detailed the itinerary thus:

Day 1: Softening up talks from "peace negotiator" Dr Tal Becker of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; "interfaith" guru Chief Rabbi David Rosen ("enthusiastic & charismatic"); and Ozraeli "human rights" champion Isi Leibler ("succinct overview"). Visit to the Knesset ("one of the most robust debating chambers in the world"); the [illegally occupied and annexed] Old City of Jerusalem (full of "people who adhere to each of 4 [Is the 4th Buddhist?] different faiths... yet live in peace and harmony" [?]); and the Wailing Wall. [Hey Mark (Deckelbaum, guide), what's that structure on the top with the golden dome? Dunno, Rick, we Israelis can't see the dome for the wall.] Finally, dinner with Professor Gerald Steinberg ("enlightening").

Day 2: Bethlehem, to which "our Israeli friends were not permitted to go." Met the Palestinian Authority Governor of Bethlehem "who outlined the PA's perspective." [Which was? Another leitmotif of these speeches is that not one of these rambammed speakers bothers reporting back what any West Bank Palestinian, invariably anonymous, actually said. It's as though they've been programmed to switch off on such occasions. Funny, hey?] Visited Israel's Supreme Court. Had lunch with Jerusalem Post columnist [and Palestinian collaborator] Khaled Abu Toameh who said that the 'Arab Spring' was actually an "Islamic tsunami" [Catchy, eh?] and opined that "once the extremists get the upper hand in many of these areas they will then come after Israel once again... [T]hey would start by eradicating the Jews, then they would eradicate the Christians and then they will come after moderate Muslims and eradicate them as well," which patter "sent a chill up the spines of many of us." Finally, off to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs & Heroes Remembrance Museum, which "had a huge impact on all members of the group."

Day 3: Gush Etzion, "a Jewish settlement block [sic] within the Palestinian area," which "shows there is a great deal of will amongst the Palestinian people, the Muslim people and the Jewish people to work together towards a peaceful solution in that greater area." [My God, who'd have thought - Israel's colonization drive in the occupied West Bank is a joint Palestinian/Muslim/Jewish enterprise!] Met with Ruth Kahanoff, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry's Asia Pacific Department. [And you all thought Palau, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia etc voted with Israel in the UN as the spirit moved them?] That evening met with Arnold Roth, "a Jewish person formerly from Melbourne who has since gone back [?] to Israel," and whose "daughter died in a terrorist attack." ("To hear what the people have to endure in these terrorist attacks really makes one aware of the sort of terror the people in Israel live with every day.") Finally, dinner with "a Muslim family in the Palestinian area. It was extremely interesting to talk to them and get their views on where the area was heading." [But not sufficiently interesting for Colless to tell us what their views were, it seems.]

Day 4: Brigadier General Mike Herzog on "the changing Middle East landscape." Then Sderot where the first words we heard were "If you hear a siren, you have 15 seconds to get into a bomb shelter." Gee, "those communities live with that sort of stuff exploding every day." On to Beersheba's Park of the Australian Soldier where there's "a memorial to the Charge of the Light Brigade, which occurred on 31 October 1917." [See what I mean about learning that which you did not know before? Silly me, I always thought that the Charge of the Light Brigade took place on October 25 smack bang in the middle of the Anglo-Russian Crimean War of 1854. Oh well, can't win them all!] Dinner with Paul [wait for it] Israel of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

Day 5: Lunch at Metula on the Lebanese border in a "nice boutique hotel." ("Our hostess told us about the lovely and peaceful town. Someone [on cue] asked, 'What about the rockets?' She said [on cue], 'Well... [w]hen they fire the rockets they generally go straight over the top of us.' Someone else asked [on cue], 'What if they start shooting at you?' She said [on cue], 'Well... we shoot back'... The constant threat does not seem to worry them to any great extent." [Thank God Fred didn't fart is all I can say.] Finally, back in Tel Aviv that night with the Australian ambassador Andrea Faulkner.

Rick and his missus were so enamored of the place that they stayed on for 4 more days, exploring sites of religious significance in Jerusalem, visiting Masada, and inspecting "water recycling and irrigation projects with people from the Israel water industry." Though he's been back here 2 months, I like to think that some of that Israeli water still mingles with the Australian variety behind his ears.

Next in the Doing the Donkey in the NSW Knesset series: Luke Foley MLC reveals why he and his colleagues had no choice but to go to Israel. Stay tuned.

[*See my 2/3/13 post Doing the Donkey.]

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Israel: Still Apartheid After All These Years

This week (11/3-17/3/13) is the 9th International Israeli Apartheid Week.

To learn more about the only apartheid state still standing, just click on the 'Israeli apartheid' label below and read why the state of Israel, from the river to the sea, is so designated.

By way of providing a little background, I'm posting here two instructive texts.

The first states a fact that cannot be overstated: the fundamental historical difference between the old South African apartheid model and today's Israeli apartheid is that, whereas South Africa disenfranchised its black majority but kept it in situ as a source of cheap labor, Israel disenfranchised its Arab majority by sending it into exile in 1948. By this means Israel was able to turn what had been a Jewish minority into a Jewish majority, and so pose before a gullible world as a democracy. In fact, only when those exiled Palestinian refugees of 1948 are allowed to return to their homeland, and are there re-enfranchised, can Israel ever become a genuine, inclusive democracy of the kind South Africa is today. In the meantime, if the apartheid boot fits - and it does, beautifully - Israel will just have to wear the odious label:

"Very few Israelis - only right-wing Zionists - will say publicly that they support apartheid, see it as an example, or admire anything about South Africa. 'Liberal' Zionists always try to avoid any association of Zionism with apartheid, despite the obvious similarities. They commonly claim that whereas in South Africa the whites are wrongly oppressing the black majority, in Israel, whatever problems there are stem from the (non-Jewish) minority's refusal to accept the dictates of the (Jewish) majority. What this claim fails to take into account is that, until 1948, Arabs were a majority in Palestine, and turning them into a minority was indeed one aim of Zionism. But when the history of Zionism is examined and remembered, sympathy for apartheid is likely to surface. Thus, a letter to the editor of Haaretz in November 1985 reminds the readers of the history of Zionism: 'Events in South Africa are constantly in the news. President Botha did not want to hand over control to representatives of the majority. Fifty years ago, in 1935, the British High Commissioner wanted to set up a legislative assembly in Palestine. As far as I remember, Jews were allocated 2 seats... and the Arabs 11 [reflecting the respective sizes of the two communities; the British officials were to have 10 seats]... representatives turned the idea down out of hand the day it was submitted. Is it hard to understand President Botha?" (from South Africa & Israel: An Alliance of Desperation in The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms & Why, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, 1987, p 147)

The second contains the unexpurgated views on Israel of apartheid South Africa's leaders and opinion shapers, at a time when the typically faithless Israel began a flirtation with the rest of Africa. Despite this hiccup, the white and the Jewish supremacist states operated as a dream team from 1948 until the fall of South African apartheid in 1994*:

"From 1948 until mid-1961 Nationalist Party spokesmen, the Government and the Afrikaans press were unstinting in their praise of Israel. But suddenly, in July 1961, this harmonious atmosphere was shattered by Israel's decision to expand her diplomatic offensive in Black Africa which had been underway since 1956. Seizing the occasion of the visit to Israel by the President of Upper Volta, the Israeli Government issued a statement terming apartheid 'as disadvantageous to the interests of the non-white majority of the land.' Then in October 1961 Israel voted in the Political Committee of the United Nations to censure a speech by the South African delegate, Mr Eric Louw, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Finally, in November Israel cast its vote in the General Assembly in support of a resolution which deprecated South Africa's policy of apartheid 'as being reprehensible and repugnant to the dignity and rights of peoples and individuals.'

"The response of the South African Government and the Afrikaans press to Israel's 'about-face' was predictably bitter. Die Transvaler asked what the government of Israel would think if, uninvited, South Africa concerned itself with Arab refugees who, for 13 years, 'lived on Israel's borders in the most wretched conditions because they are not allowed to return to their original homes.' In a question difficult to answer in terms of premises accepted by both Afrikaners and Zionists, Die Transvaler asked: 'And is there any real difference between the way that the people of Israel are trying to maintain themselves amid non-Jewish peoples and the way the Afrikaner is trying to remain what he is? The people of Israel base themselves upon the Old Testament to explain why they do not wish to mix with other people: the Afrikaner does this too...'  Mr Louw accused Israel of 'hostility and ingratitude... in view of the fact that the South African government and individual members of the Cabinet have in the past gone out of their way to foster good relations with Israel.' [South African Prime Minister] Dr Verwoerd [1958-1966] lashed out by making the unflattering observation that the Jews 'took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.'" (Zionism, South Africa & Apartheid: The Paradoxical Triangle, Richard P. Stevens, 1969, p 24-25)