Monday, December 30, 2013

The Heart of Darkness

The masthead of Murdoch's 'flagship' paper in this country, The Australian, loudly proclaims itself to be The Heart of the Nation.

Now I'd only be inclined to go along with that claim provided that the adjective 'dark' preceded the noun 'heart'. Or, even better (and with apologies to Joseph Conrad), that it was replaced altogether with the words 'The Heart of Darkness', as befits the paper's status as the mouthpiece of the Abbottoir and all that is vile and retrograde in this country.

So what has provoked this little exercise in calling a spade a spade? What else but Ean - with an 'E' - Higgins' latest EXCLUSIVE:

"Sydney academic Jake Lynch's promotion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign [BDS] has discriminated against all Israelis in the same fashion as a pub owner hanging out a sign saying 'No Jews or Blacks Allowed', the lawyer leading a lawsuit against him will argue. Andrew Hamilton, representing the Israel-based legal action group Shurat HaDin, has submitted a sweeping statement of claim to the Federal Court alleging Professor Lynch has directly discriminated against academics, but also helped deprive all Israelis of cultural, educational, and professional opportunities."  (Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews', 28/12/13)

OMG! This is news? This is journalism? Seriously?

No, this is advocacy, pure and simple. The Heart of Darkness has donned the mantle of media-advocate for the plaintiff, and is getting in on the act even before the case is underway.

Call me sheltered, but I simply cannot for the life of me remember a media outlet intervening in a legal case in this fashion before. Of the 19 paragraphs that make up this pseudo-report, just one (1) is given over to a statement by the defendant. Extraordinary.

To return to those opening paragraphs. The simple fact of the matter here is that the pro-Palestinian BDS campaign is little more than a reaction to the behaviour of an apartheid state which, having booted out Palestine's non-Jews and stolen their lands and possessions, has put up a sign (known officially as the Law of Return) which reads, in effect, 'No Non-Jews Allowed'. 

Needless to say, on Planet Zion, reality is invariably reversed. Strange things happen there. Anti-racists, for example, are labelled racists by the supporters of a state based at its most fundamental level - the level of who gets in and who gets all the perks that come with getting-in, as opposed to those who don't - on biology.

On Planet Earth (how weird that this has to be emphasised time and again), it is Professor Lynch, not Andrew Hamilton (or Akiva as he likes to style himself), who, as a backer of BDS, stands against institutionalised racism, discrimination and exclusion.

As to those poor Israelis deprived by Professor Lynch of "cultural, educational, and professional opportunities," get ready to cry the proverbial river:

"Shurat HaDin alleges two academics [Dr Leonard Hammer & Dr Mordechai Kedar], who have joined the case as plaintiffs, have been adversely affected by Professor Lynch's policy [because]... [t]hey are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at [Professor Lynch's] Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies..." (ibid)

"Shurat HaDin's statement... says two of the applicants, David Hans Lange and Jonathan Bose, and their wives were 'deprived of the opportunity to attend the local Israeli public performances of Elvis Costello' because a scheduled performance in 2010 for which they had tickets was cancelled 'due to implementation of boycott calls'." (ibid)

The Heart of Darkness bleeds for these miserable wretches.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Punishing of Jake Lynch

The Australian's Ean Higgins must be gratified at the way he and his colleague Christian Kerr have got AusAID bureaucrats ducking for cover, equating the paper's anti-BDS beat-up for general "media attention":

"The Australian can reveal that earlier this year senior AusAID officers secretly considered blocking a $580,000 grant destined for Professor [Jake] Lynch's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show then AusAID assistant director-general Rebecca Bryant said she feared approving the grant might 'compound' media attention surrounding BDS, even though the proposed research program had nothing to do with the international boycott campaign seeking improved rights for Palestinians." (Academic hints at link between BDS campaign and rejected research grant, Ean Higgins, 27/12/13)

Curious this. If concern about attracting the attention of the media over BDS was really a factor in considering whether to fund CPACS, one really has to ask whether the likes of Rebecca Bryant and her colleagues at AusAID actually read or listen to the media. If they do, they'd know that neither Fairfax nor the ABC are campaigning against BDS or its supporters. Which leaves only Murdoch. And if their concern is attracting the attention of Murdoch operatives such as Higgins and Kerr, why not say so?

Now as you may remember, BDS supporter Professor Lynch had himself applied for a grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) which only became problematical when, in May, then opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop announced that a Coalition government would ensure 'no grants of taxpayers' funds are provided to individuals or organisations which actively support the BDS campaign'.

Well, it transpires that Professor Lynch's grant has been rejected by the ARC, and he has his suspicions that the present government has something to do with it:

"This year Professor Lynch submitted an application to the federally funded Australian Research Council for $290,000 to study the work of journalists in South Africa, Nepal, Australia and Britain. The ARC recently rejected the application. 'It could be, of course, that it was simply adjudged not quite good enough by the assessors,' Professor Lynch told The Australian. 'But the Bishop statement, and the earlier evidence that AusAID... improperly took my support for BDS into account, leaves me with suspicion that this has happened with the ARC too. I have a verbal agreement with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) that they will launch a Freedom of Information request to see if there is any correspondence showing a possible link'." (ibid)

We look forward to the result of the NTEU's FoI request.

Finally, in a Higgins/Kerr piece (of work), you know you're never going to get the Israeli organ grinder himself, but any of his local monkeys - no problem:

"Labor MP Michael Danby, a fierce opponent of BDS... said the ARC would have made its decision based on academic rigour. 'Jake Lynch is not a very highly regarded academic, he's just basically an ex-BBC journalist'." (ibid)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

For Hala

"A three-year-old Gazan girl has been killed by Israel. BBC says it was retaliation but doesn't say what she did." Charles Edward Frith, tweet, 27/12/13

The Gazan girl was Hala Abu-Sbaikha.

I dedicate this poem, Arguments, by Lisa Suhair Majaj, to her memory:

consider the infinite fragility of an infant's skull
how the bones lie soft and open
only time knitting them shut

consider a delicate porcelain bowl
how it crushes under a single blow -
in one moment whole years disappear

consider: beneath the din of explosions
no voice can be heard
no cry

consider your own sky on fire
your name erased
your children's lives 'a price worth paying'

consider the faces you do not see
the eyes you refuse to meet
'collateral damage'

how in these words
the world
cracks open

Friday, December 27, 2013

Israel Chokes the Bejesus Out of Bethlehem

"Research showing Christianity is now the most widely persecuted religious group in the world should be an urgent wake-up call to all who value the principles of religious freedom and tolerance enshrined in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 65 years ago this month. Indeed, Christianity could, after 2000 years, be facing extinction in its birthplace the Middle East... In Egypt, home to what was once a stable Coptic Christian community, but now besieged by Islamic extremism, 207 churches have been attacked this year and 43 destroyed. Previously thriving Christian communities are under siege everywhere - from Syria, where 450,000 Christians have fled the civil war, to Iraq, where a Christian community of one million has been decimated and now numbers barely 200,000, and on to Iran, where hundreds of Christians have been incarcerated and churches open at their peril." (A grim outlook for Christianity, editorial, The Australian, 26/12/13)

Got the picture?

Christians are doing it tough just about everywhere in the Middle East, except, it seems, in occupied Palestine.

I say 'it seems' because curiously Palestinian Christians are nowhere mentioned in The Australian's editorial.

As it happens though, they did get a mention on page 6 of the same edition:

"Nowhere has the impact of Israeli settlements and their growth been as keenly felt by so many Palestinians as in Bethlehem. The birthplace of Jesus Christ finds itself hemmed in on all sides by 22 Israeli settlements, the bypass roads that feed them and the 8m-high 'separation barrier' that snakes around its northern and western sides, cutting off its twin holy city of Jerusalem. 'Our little town has become even smaller due to the continued expansion of Israeli settlements,' Vera Baboun, Bethlehem's mayor, said in a Christmas message appealing to the world to heed their plight. Bethlehem has become more densely populated than Gaza, despite a steady exodus of wealthier residents, mostly Christians, anxious to escape what the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called 'a choking reality'." ('Choking reality' haunts holy city, Catherine Philp, The Times/The Australian)

Isn't it funny how the choking of Bethlehem didn't make it into the editorial... even when it was going on on page 6 of the same paper?! Work that one out.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'They Never Left'

Whether it was done deliberately, to placate the usual suspects, or out of sheer ignorance, the writer of the following introduction to a news item on Syrian refugees aired on ABC Radio National's "flagship current affairs program" AM on 23 December deserves the severest censure:

"The Lebanese government is refusing to build permanent homes for the many Syrian refugees that are enduring a harsh winter in camps across the country. Lebanon is bearing the greatest burden of the exodus from war-ravaged Syria, with a million refugees taking shelter there. The government is wary of the new arrivals because it doesn't want a repeat of 1948 when thousands of Palestinian refugees fled to Lebanon and never left." (Harsh winter ahead for Syrian refugees across the Middle East)

The hell they never left! They certainly tried, and here's what happened:

"Israel's defensive anti-infiltration measures resulted in the death of several thousand mostly unarmed Arabs during 1949-56, the vast majority between 1949 and 1952... Thus, upward of 2,700 Arab infiltrators, and perhaps as many as 5,000, were killed by the IDF, police and civilians along Israel's borders between 1949 and 1956. To judge from the available documentation, the vast majority of those killed were unarmed 'economic' and social infiltrators." (Israel's Border Wars: 1949-1956, Benny Morris, 1997, pp 135-7)

IOW, any Palestinian refugee caught trying to return to his home or land in 'Israel' after the ethnic cleansing of 1948, whether from Lebanon, Jordan or the Gaza Strip, was simply shot on sight by Israeli terrorists.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Taming of Tanya 2

Operation Taming Tanya seems to be coming along nicely:

"Some in Labor are predicting a big future for deputy leader Tanya Plibersek. Perhaps prophetically, this year she read Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and the autobiography of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir." (There's nothing like a good read: As they relax over summer, politicians plan to catch up with their reading, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 23/12/13)

Is this not a sign? Could the Labor Zionist operatives behind OTT - see my 30/10/13 post The Taming of Tanya - be grooming her for the top job once One-Term Tony's but a bad memory? And is it time maybe to start speaking of 'Short-Term Shorten'?

If so, Plibersek's highly embarrassing 'rogue Israel' outburst of 2002 (My Goodness, I don't quite know what came over me!) will have to be atoned for big time. Which is perhaps, if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, where Israel's first female PM (1969-1974) Golda Meir comes in.

Is Labor's Golden Girl about to become the Golda Meir of Australian politics? 

It's a hard ask!

For starters she's got to be able to say with a straight face when the time comes: Palestinians? What Palestinians?

Then there's Golda's legendary will of iron and heart of stone? Could that be a bridge too far for Plibersek?

It's not a pretty picture I'm afraid: 

"My moment of eye-opening disillusion with Golda Meir came early on in Elinor Burkett's new biography of the female premier, titled simply Golda. The year was 1950, and Golda Meyerson, as she was then known, was nearing 60 and had just returned from her stint as Israel's first ambassador to the Soviet Union. Her son, Menachem, off studying the cello in Yugoslavia, was having marital problems with his new wife. She was pregnant and insisted the couple return to Jerusalem to have the baby. Meir assumed her daughter-in-law was trying to sabotage her son's promising music career, so she decided that, as punishment, she would ignore her first grandchild. The baby girl that was born that year, Meira Meyerson, had a mild case of Down syndrome. Meir refused to see her. The child, she demanded, should be institutionalized. 'Golda was like a stone,' an old friend confessed to Burkett.

"That Israel's fourth prime minister was a stone is not news. Any of the half-dozen biographies already published, or even her own ghostwritten 1976 memoir, My Life, attest to what could generously be described as an iron will. And for a woman who shoved her way into the innermost circle of Labor Zionist leadership, a notoriously egomaniacal group of fiery political men, one can almost forgive her some spitefulness and coldness along the way. Certainly, one wouldn't want to judge Meir any more or less harshly than her male cohorts. What Burkett tries (and succeeds in) doing is taking a sympathetic but unapologetic look in order to discover what happened when her life intersected with power. It's not pretty. Anyone expecting the 'part Superwoman, a dash of Emma Goldman, a smidgen of Nelson Mandela, all wrapped up in the warmth of our grandmothers,' as Burkett describes the popular image of Meir, won't find her here. In her place is a tragic, lonely, sickly figure, a terrible mother who cuckolded and neglected her husband, alienated her loved ones and often terrorized her closest friends." (From Gal Beckerman's review of Elinor Burkett's Golda, Will of iron, heart of stone: book shines light on Golda Meir's harder side,, 29/8/08)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Still Waiting for Kristallnacht

At long last Sydney Morning Herald ranter Gerard Henderson has found his way home... to Murdoch's Australian.*

That leaves the appalling Paul Sheehan, now alone and palely loitering on the Herald's opinion pages. Is he too about to receive the tap? After all, as he's just candidly admitted, he's about as popular with Herald readers as a fart in a crowded lift:

"If you don't like what I write there is no more fertile place to read criticisms than The Sydney Morning Herald. Each year the paper publishes, by my estimate, about 6,000 criticisms of me on its letters page or online comments section. A further 1,000 criticisms, at least, are submitted but not published. I know people who skip my column and go straight to the comments because they like red meat in the mornings." (Time for real steel, not tinkering, 23/12/13)

Frankly, it's time he was put out to pasture... most appropriately on the same blasted heath where Sheridan and now Henderson graze.

And just to remind you how bad Sheehan really is (and while we're at it, just how corrupting is the practice of rambamming), take a look at this snippet from The Australian Jewish News of March 30, 2007:

"The resurgence of Nazism will likely lead to another Kristallnacht, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan told a Jewish audience last week. Sheehan, who travelled to Israel on a journalists' mission organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies late last year, told last Tuesday's Board of Deputies plenum that there is 'no question we will see another Kristallnacht because the Nazis are rising around the world'." (Second Kristallnacht ahead, warns Fairfax columnist)

[*Just in case you're naive enough to think that, in dropping Henderson, the Herald is making way for some fresh new talent, think again. It's apparently replacing him with former Howard government minister Peter (Grim Reaper) Reith.]

Sunday, December 22, 2013

'A Fierce Opponent of Apartheid'

Just look at this rubbish from yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:

"Ironically, as the Abbott government prepares to soften the laws against racially offensive speech, the O'Farrell government in NSW seems headed down a different path. This week, it announced the appointment of Jewish Board of Deputies head Vic Alhadeff as new chairman of the state Community Relations Commission. Alhadeff, a former South African newsman, was a fierce opponent of apartheid who lost grandparents in the Holocaust. He is a staunch defender of anti-discrimination laws, particularly those aimed at racism." (Inside job draws fire, Deborah Snow, 21/12/13)

A fierce opponent of apartheid?

Says who? Where's the proof?

And as for the uber, ongoing Israeli variety, Alhadeff doesn't even recognise it. This is as far as he's prepared to go:

"It is axiomatic that Israeli society is a work in progress and that Arab Israelis suffer disadvantage in various spheres.... It is also a given that the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is a serious issue, albeit inextricably bound up with the root cause of the conflict, which is the fundamental refusal to accept Israel's existence." (Israel: it's not black & white, The Australian, 1/3/12)

So 'Arab Israelis' suffer disadvantage in Israel (im)proper, and Palestinians under Israeli occupation (a word which Alhadeff cannot even bring himself to use) in the West Bank and Gaza have only themselves to blame for not crying uncle.

Just how fierce can "a fierce opponent of apartheid" be?

OK, enough already, you want the real thing, and Jewish to boot? Here he is. His name is Ronnie Kasrils:

"I am from a background which afforded me privileges in white South Africa, but I grew up with a social conscience and could not tolerate the cruelty and oppression against my black compatriots. After the Sharpeville massacre of March 1961... I took the decision to become an activist and joined the ANC. I was involved in demonstrations and soon came to understand that armed actions were required to reinforce the mass political struggle. I consequently responded to Nelson Mandela's call for volunteers to join the movement's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). I was subsequently on the run from the police, left the country for military training in the former Soviet Union, and worked throughout Africa in our military camps and on the front line. I became chief of military intelligence for MK." (Anti-apartheid: An interview with Ronnie Kasrils,, 27/9/12)

And here is Kasrils on apartheid Israel:

"What is taking place in Palestine reminds us, South African freedom fighters, of what we suffered from... Palestine is an example of people who were dispossessed of land and birthright just like the indigenous people of South Africa. As a Jew, I abhor the fact that the Zionist rulers of Israel/Palestine claim they are acting in the name of Jews everywhere. I am one of many Jews internationally, and in Israel itself, who declare 'Not in my name'... In the Israeli case, it is quite clear that non-Jews do not receive equal rights and treatment as Jews, but the Zionists are embarrassed to admit this. Consequently, they attempt to conceal the fact that Israel is not a democracy for all its citizens, but they have various laws to ensure that Jews receive preferential treatment. It is apartheid by another name. I refer here to the situation in Israel itself where over 40 laws give Jews privileges and rights over non-Jews. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it is quite a different matter where open and strict apartheid laws allow for the segregation and control of the Palestinian people whilst the illegal Jewish settlements receive State protection and privileges. But in both cases - Israel itself and the OPT - a clear system of apartheid-style rule operates." (ibid)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Buy This 'Vicious Anti-Israel Screed' NOW!

To warm you up here's Australia's leading Zionist comedian, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan:

"[T]he Israel I know is mostly secular, raucously, almost wildly democratic, has a vibrant left wing, having founded in the kibbutz movement one of the only successful experiments in socialism in human history. It is intellectually disputatious; any two Israelis will have three opinions and be happy to argue them to a lamp post. It is multi-ethnic, there is a great stress on human solidarity, there is due process. And I've never heard an Israeli speak casually about the value of Palestinian life." (Israel still looks good, warts & all, The Australian Literary Review, 6/5/09)

Now once you've picked yourself up off the floor, read this extract from Chapter 13 - Cut Off from the Tribe - of Max Blumenthal's new book Goliath: Life & Loathing in Greater Israel. The usual suspects are describing it as a "vicious anti-Israel screed" so you know it's good value:

"Over a plate of surprisingly decent bean curd sauce at the Chinese restaurant - one of only a handful I knew in [Tel Aviv] - [David] Sheen recalled how he arrived in Israel in 1999 from a solidly middle class, ultra-Zionist family from Toronto, Canada. At age 25, he was brimming with excitement about the earthy communal dream that awaited him: 'I saw Israel entirely through the frame of a Zionist education. I grew up in a very heavily Jewish environment, in a Jewish neighborhood, a Jewish school, synagogue - everything. The school was Zionist, and I was heavily immersed in the idea that we need Israel so there won't be another Holocaust, and that Israel needs us because it needs to be built up - it's surrounded with enemies so it needs our help to build itself. So when I first arrived in Israel I was thinking about the collective, and the concept of the Jewish people represented the strongest collective.'

"Though Sheen was heavily immersed in the tribalistic culture of Zionism, he had also cultivated strong leftist views through his participation in anti-globalization protests in Toronto. 'With every other issue besides Israel, I was on the left side of the spectrum,' he said. 'I was a PEP - a Progressive Except for Palestine.' Within a month of arriving in Israel, that began to change. He realized that everything he had known about Israelis and Palestinians was a fantasy cultivated through years of heavy indoctrination. His view of the occupation as a necessary, albeit unpleasant security measure was shattered after he spent long hours chatting with Palestinian workers who woke up at 4am each morning to slip into Israel from Nablus to work construction jobs for meager pay. 'Once I saw how the occupation created a permanent underclass and that it existed to promote exploitation - just by realizing that I broke with the PEP mentality.'

"Sheen's contact with actual Israelis undermined his idealized vision of the Zionist collective. 'Israelis were not exactly trying to pull together in the name of the Jewish people like I thought,' he said. 'It's a dog-eat-dog shark pool where you've got to swim to survive, and nobody has any idea of what civility means. People are manipulative and exploitative without any moral compunction or sense that there's anything wrong with that. They're not embarrassed about taking advantage of other people.'

"Alienated by the aggressive capitalism that was consuming urban life in Israel, Sheen retreated to a kibbutz in the Negev Desert called Kibbutz Samar. At first he thought he had finally found the slow-paced communal lifestyle he had been seeking. But then he peered beneath the kibbutz's socialist veneer: 'What broke me was they got workers from Thailand to work on the kibbutz for next to nothing,' Sheen recounted. 'I realized it wasn't really socialism they were practicing. It was socialism for Jews only. I grew up in multicultural Toronto where diversity was a positive thing. So it went against my values, and I tried to convince the kibbutz not to do this, to let the Thai workers live in normal apartments like everyone else - don't stick 6 of them in a fucking closet. Treat them like normal humans. Very few people even saw it as an issue worth discussing, let alone dealing with. They didn't see them as deserving of basic standards of living. They said, 'They're making more here than they would back in their country.' So that makes it okay? I wanted to get away from capitalism and away from exploitation, but I saw that kibbutz life was just that - it was segregationist Zionism. So I left.'

"In 2006, Israeli forces simultaneously carpet-bombed the Gaza Strip and Southern Lebanon. Israel blanketed the Strip with more than 6,000 artillery shells and missiles, deliberately destroyed Gaza's main power plant, then bombed the access roads to prevent the plant from being repaired. Within the span of about two months, the army had killed at least 202 civilians including 44 children in an operation billed to Israelis as a search for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In Southern Lebanon, Israeli bombing turned 800,000 Lebanese citizens - over a quarter of the country's population - into refugees while killing more than 1,100 civilians, including at least 300 children. Summarizing the views of the Israeli military leadership at the time, columnist Yaron London, one of the most prominent television journalists in the country, wrote, 'There is no longer any need for complicated distinctions... In practical terms, the Palestinians in Gaza are all [Hamas leader] Khaled Meshal, the Lebanese are all [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah, and the Iranians are all [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad.'

"Indignant at the disproportionate violence Israel had unleashed against civilians, Sheen joined up with the small but feisty bands of Israeli radical leftists who had dedicated themselves to direct action against their country's militaristic policies. During a gay pride rally in Tel Aviv called 'Queeruption', Sheen and a group of friends held signs reading, 'Stop the bombing.' They were immediately set upon by riot police who beat them with billyclubs before dragging them away.

"'I was shocked,' Sheen remarked. 'Nowadays everyone knows the police are brutal, but at the time I still couldn't believe that Israeli police would attack other Jews - and for simply holding signs.' At another anti-war protest in Tel Aviv, a prim-looking waitress burst through the door of a nearby restaurant and hurled a glass at the protesters. 'I watched that glass hit the ground and shatter. I can still hear the sound. It was when I realized that even in the heart of liberal Tel Aviv there is a seething hatred for anyone with humanistic values,' Sheen said.

"At the time, Sheen was living on a moshav (a collective farm) near the Gaza border. From his home, he listened to the thundering sound of bombs falling on Gaza all day and all night. 'The ground was literally shaking underneath my feet,' he recalled. Sheen ventured into town filled with revulsion at the shelling of Gaza. 'When I told people at the supermarket what I thought of the bombing, they would all say, 'What do you care? It's not going to hit you, it's hitting them.' I said back, 'It's hitting actual people. Doesn't that matter to you?' And they would get enraged and say, 'What are you, a fucking leftist? You don't care about the Jews.' That's when I realized that in Israel, you're either in favor of any level of violence unleashed on those people, no matter who they were, or if you're against it, you're with the terrorists. I was shocked that that attitude was so mainstream.'

"Sheen went on: 'To come out against these wars on civilians - you were cut off. You were not part of the tribe. You were not part of the Jewish people. You were alone. Once you have a personal experience like that, it etches those beliefs into your soul'." (pp 66-68)

Now do yourself a favour and go out and buy it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Adoration of the Sage

Meanwhile, raise a glass and drink in the following scene over at Melbourne's Grand Hyatt:

"A sixtieth anniversary calls for a pretty serious cocktail party, and so it was last night for law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, which marked the occasion in style at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. Among those attending from the government were Tony Abbott, Bronwyn Bishop (no party is complete without her), Kevin Andrews, Arthur Sinodinos, Mitch Fifield and the evidently omnipresent Josh Frydenberg, with Bill Shorten and Mark Dreyfus among those doing the honour for Labor. Also on deck were Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Israeli ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel. And in honour of ABL partner Mark Leibler, a giant in the reconciliation movement, some of the nation's leading indigenous figures on the guest list included Noel Pearson, and Djawa and Balupalu Yunupingu from East Arnhem Land. Leibler saved some special words for his guest of honour, the PM: 'On Israel especially you have always been prepared to support what is right and correct, as distinct from what may be 'politically correct'. I thank you for that commitment. And, like me, you understand that indigenous Australians are not only the country's most disadvantaged citizens, but the most discriminated against'." (Bottoms up, Strewth, The Australian, 19/12/13)

There is really only one way to do justice to such a scene: paint it in the style of some Italian Renaissance master. Something like this perhaps:

Mark Leibler, front and centre, sits on a throne elevated above the others, as befits a sage with a direct line to that which is eternally Right & Correct. High above, shining its light down on him, is an otherworldly Star of David.

A crowned and ermine-caped Tony Abbott kneels before him kissing his ring.

Shmuel Ben-Shmuel stands off to one side, a mysterious smile wreathing his face, his kippa, halo-like, floating ethereally only millimetres above his bald head.

Frydenberg stands opposite Abbott, his eyes fixed on the PM, unable to conceal his lust for crown and ermine.

Bishop, Andrews, Sinodinos, Fifield, Shorten, Dreyfus and Doyle, locked in poses of adoration and wonder, cocktail glasses raised high, gaze up at Sage Isi.

The Indigenous trio, in the bottom right hand corner of the painting, sprawl on the ground, looking every bit as though they have just been elbowed aside and trampled by Bishop, Andrews et al in the rush to hear Sage Mark's latest Dalai Lama-style pearl of wisdom.

Captured by the painter in a scroll at the very top of the painting, said pearl reads: 'O King Tony, on Israel you have always supported what is Right and Correct, and like me, you understand the plight of indigenous Australians.'

And there, in the bottom left hand corner of the work, lie a pile of torn and bleeding Palestinian bodies.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The New Face of Multiculturalism in NSW

Meet the new chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission, the state's promoter of multiculturalism:

"Mr [Vic] Alhadeff said he felt he had 'graduated' to the chairmanship after spending his formative years in Africa. 'I would have swastikas painted on my locker as a Jewish kid at school in Zimbabwe," he said. Mr Alhadeff said schoolyard racism, the death of his grandparents in the Holocaust and his work as a newspaperman in apartheid-era South Africa helped shape his view of multiculturalism. 'To this day I have this passion to promote respect for every person irrespective of the colour of their skin, the accent they may have, the language they speak, the faith they belong to, the culture which they represent,' he said." (Multicultural body gets new chairman, The Australian, 18/12/13)

On the face of it, no one could possibly quarrel with such an appointment. Judging from the above, Alhadeff appears eminently qualified to step into the shoes of his predecessor, Stepan Kerkyasharian.

The problem is that we're not getting the full story here. And that's because Alhadeff has neglected to mention that he's also a political Zionist, indeed arguably Australia's most active Israel lobbyist.

As such he's a vigorous defender of an exclusive, Jews-only ethnocracy predicated on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine's indigenous Arab majority in 1948 - the very antithesis of an inclusive, non-discriminatory multiculturalism where neither ethnicity nor creed are allowed to stand in the way of citizenship.

Putting it even more simply, Alhadeff supports the reservation of Israel for Jews the world over, including himself, while millions of Palestinian refugees are prohibited from returning to their homes and lands there, forever condemned to statelessness and exile in squalid refugee camps scattered about the Middle East - for no other reason than that they are not Jewish.

Just to demonstrate how alien this concept of a Jewish ethnocracy is to multicultural societies such as the United States and Australia, consider the following revealing extract from Max Blumenthal's absolutely must-read book on contemporary Israel Goliath: Life & Loathing in Greater Israel* (2013):

"In a 2008 meeting with then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, [Tzipi] Livni emphasized Israel's rejection of the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their confiscated land and property inside Israel on the grounds that the refugees threatened Israel's Jewish character. Rice, an African-American raised in the Jim Crow American South by a pro-civil rights Baptist preacher, shuddered at the implications of Livni's statement. 'I must admit that though I understood her argument intellectually,' Rice reflected, 'it struck me as a harsh defense of the ethnic purity of the Israeli state when Tzipi said it. It was one of those conversations that shocked my sensibilities as an American. After all, the very concept of 'American' rejects ethnic or religious definitions of citizenship." (pp 25-26)

It's hard to believe, I know, but even as rabid a Zionist as our own Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan once recoiled, even if only momentarily, when faced with the stark racism of another Israeli leader:

"What makes [Avigdor] Lieberman controversial, and unacceptable to many, is his view that as well as territory, Israel should give away people, too, in particular its Muslim Arab citizens. He doesn't want to expel them exactly, just redraw some borders so that some Arab towns and villages move into a new Palestinian state nextdoor, thus making Israel a more Jewish state. The idea of excluding people on the basis of their ethnicity or religion is anathema to every liberal principle... Yet it conforms to the reality of the Middle East." (Israeli right-winger redraws the battle lines**, The Australian, 17/12/07)

The bottom line is that Alhadeff's Zionism and the mission of the CRC to promote multiculturalism in NSW are clearly incompatible. NSW Premier Baruch O'Farrell has a case to answer here.

[*Go and buy Blumenthal's new book. In fact, why not buy several copies? It'd make a great Xmas present for anyone with a brain; **How interesting that a simple Google search for this particular column of Sheridan's yields only the reference in this blog. Has it been pulled, I wonder?]

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fred Nile's Big Fat Judeo-Christian Wedding

"Australian laws must be based on the Judeo-Christian ethic and not on any other religious laws." Christian Democratic Party platform, Principle 5

Fred's got his girl at last! Sound the shofars!  


But of course, Fred's is a big, fat Judeo-Christian wedding:

"If the headlines marking their wedding were to say, simply, 'Man marries woman,' it might please the Reverend Fred Nile and his bride Silvana Nero, and it might please their Lord... Nile, the 79-year-old groom and Christian Democrat MP, came with subtle blond streaks in his hair... He welled up with tears as Nero [55] approached the altar of St Thomas' Anglican Church in North Sydney, where guests included O'Farrell government ministers Mike Baird, Greg Smith and Duncan Gay and Labor's Luke Foley and Walt Secord, while the best man was upper house Liberal MP David Clarke. The bridal procession had been preceded by the blowing of the shofar, biblical instruments honed from the horns of rams or other kosher animals... Prime Minister Tony Abbott sent them a message: 'Marriage is about walking the same path together. It is a profound, rich and fulfilling journey that should draw out the better angels of our nature'." (Passions high as Nile celebrates marriage bill win, Rick Feneley, Sydney Morning Herald, 16/12/13)


Is Abbott for real?

Surely, he doesn't expect Australia's leading Judeo-Christian warrior to make do with mere angels?

Jeez, Tony, there's a bit more to your Judeo-Christian marriage than bloody angels.

For example:

"Wives must submit to their husbands, and are encouraged to have at least seven children. Condoms and the pill are forbidden. Mainstream medical care is likewise shunned... Community life is strictly regimented. Members rise at 6am... woken by a blast of the 'shofar', or ram's horn. There is a morning gathering... which includes prayers and singing, followed by work, either in the farmhouse, kitchen or fields... There is no TV, internet, magazines, newspapers or radio. Members are discouraged from contacting former friends or family and do not vote." (Secrets of the family, Tim Elliott, Good Weekend, 15/12/13)

Now if Fred's fair dinkum about this marriage, it'll be a blast from beginning to end.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Real Mandela

At last, the real Nelson Mandela appears in the pages of the Fairfax press thanks to journalist Paul McGeough:

"History's airbrush was in overdrive as world leaders and the media farewelled a truly great leader of his people - South Africa's Nelson Mandela. There would be no talk here that might be read as legitimising armed struggle by whole populations who are denied their rights. It was just too mucky, wasn't it, to go into the violence of armed struggle. But in sanitising Mandela's story, it seemed we were being asked to deny an essential element of the fight for freedom in South Africa.

"It was lost on dignitaries, from US President Barack Obama down, that the real Mandela story is greater than the arc of his leadership, as traced in their speech-making. This is because when the bit about violence is included, an audience has a better sense of the frustration experienced by black South Africans and hence can more appreciate the challenges in Mandela's long and brutal walk to freedom.

"And that becomes a teachable moment for us all - that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter; and when the fighting has stopped, yes, it would be great to have him for dinner and hear a retelling of his account, on being released from prison, of his rebirth as a man of peace: 'As I walked out the door, towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in [a] prison.'

"Searching the Factiva global news archive in the 6 days after his death, there were more than 35,000 mentions of Mandela. But narrow the search by adding 'violence' or 'terror' and indeed it seemed history was being cleansed. Put 'violence' beside 'Mandela' and slightly less than 1,000 reports use the word; add 'terror' and the count shrinks to slightly more than 100, and a good number of those refer to the violence of others.

"Obama's blurring of the story was intriguing. Instead of remaining silent on Mandela and the African National Congress' resort to violence in the wake of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, in which forces of the white regime gunned down 69 peaceful demonstrators, Obama made the oblique suggestion that the whole struggle had been peaceful: 'Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would - like Abraham Lincoln - hold his country together...' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose predecessors were staunch allies of white South Africa through apartheid, didn't make the journey. But he, too, gilded the lily, describing Mandela as 'a man of vision, a fighter for freedom who rejected violence'.

"Now, go back in the archives, to Mandela's 1964 trial on charges of sabotage and treason. 'We were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government,' he told the court. 'We chose to defy the government. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and when the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.' Mandela went into greater detail on the rationale for the ANC's armed wing, of which he was the founder. 'I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love for violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after... years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.'

"And notwithstanding pressure from Western capitals, Mandela refused to renounce violence or to disarm until the time of his choosing, i.e., when the deal was done with the white regime. And he could do the deal because of the man he was, including being a warrior for his people.

"Many Palestinians see their circumstances as apartheid-era South Africa replicated.* And while many went lightly on the role of violence in the African struggle, Netanyahu did get a shellacking at home. In Haaretz, Roy Isacowitz wrote: 'It's a pity that Netanyahu, vulgar and transparent as usual, tried to manipulate Mandela for his own purposes. It might be comforting to contrast the supposedly peaceful anti-apartheid legend with the obviously non-peaceful Palestinians - but that's not the way it was or is. Both sides wield violence in an armed conflict and state violence is no less lethal than the irregular kind.'

"The challenge for Obama and the rest then, is to back their rhetoric in the stadium with the kind of action their predecessors were reluctant to take when Mandela really needed help. They could speak up for political prisoners around the world, from China to Saudi Arabia; and instead of helping to manage the occupation, they might seek to have real effect in the Middle East peace talks, to honour Mandela's assertion: 'Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians'." (Sanitising Nelson Mandela's legend no help to today's fighters, The Sun-Herald, 15/12/13)

[*Not to mention many South Africans.]

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time to Get Serious, Tony!

Now that he has a mandate, it's time for Tony Abbott to get serious about about his Judeo-Christianity!

I mean, what's this in a sense nonsense:

"Western civilisation is inconceivable without our Judeo-Christian inheritance. Everyone who participates in western civilisation is in a sense a Jew." (Tony Abbott's address to the United Israel Appeal,, 9/3/11)

And just how lacking in conviction is this:

"'I think that we've got to treat our kids well, but I don't think we ought to say that there's no place ever for a smack,' [Mr Abbott] said." (Tony Abbott cops gentle smack over discipline comments, Lucy Carroll, Sydney Morning Herald, 13/12/13)

C'mon, Tone, you're just talking the talk. Isn't it time you started walking the walk:

"Following a hybrid of Judaism and Christianity, the [Twelve Tribes'] aim is to re-create the 12 tribes of Israel, thereby ushering in the return of Yahshua, who will arrive like a 'King coming for his bride when she is fully prepared for Him.' Members use the Old Testament as a blueprint for their lives. The insistence on communal living, hard work and, most controversially, harsh child discipline, are all modelled on life in 'the first church of Jerusalem'..." (Secrets of the family, Tim Elliott, Good Weekend, 14/12/13)

And as for smacking, gentle just doesn't cut it, know what I mean:

"According to Mark, unquestioning obedience is mandatory: children must reply 'Yes, Abba' (Hebrew for father) or 'Yes, Ima' to any parental command. Any breach earns a spanking with the 'rod', a 50-centimetre-long plastic stick, one of which is kept above the door ledge in every room. Parents are instructed on how to use the 'rod' in monthly child-training sessions and also in a 267-page Child Training Manual... Written by Spriggs, the manual insists that 'you must make it hurt enough to produce the desired result' and that 'stripes from loving discipline show love by the parent'. 'It's called 'the rod and reproof,' Mark says. 'The kids are not meant to cry. They're meant to 'receive' their discipline quietly. Then you tell them why you hit them and they say, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' It becomes a ritual'." (ibid)

Enough beating around the bush, Tone, it's time to put the suffer into 'suffer the children', OK?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The 'F' Word

Ever noticed how Fairfax and Murdoch routinely deploy the 'F' word - 'fled' - to mask the reality of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine?

Three very recent examples:

"But her [Dr Jean Calder] heart was elsewhere and by January 1981 she was in Beirut as a volunteer for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, working at the Haifa Rehabilitation Hospital in the Burj Al-Barajneh refugee camp, established by the UN in 1948 for Palestinians who fled from the Galilee in what is now Israel." (An act of love amid Gaza's war, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/11/13)

Pollard wouldn't dare tell us who or what they fled from. Maybe the Palestinians are just a naturally skittish people?

"The descendants of Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 when the state of Israel was created still live in squalid refugee camps across Lebanon." (Mountain refugees left in a freezing limbo, The Times/AFP, The Australian, 14/12/13)

Notice here how the unnamed Murdoch journalist draws no connection between 'fleeing their homes' and Israel's 'creation'. These are apparently two, quite unrelated phenomena!

Now here's my favorite. (Dima Bawab, BTW, is a British soprano "taking music workshops and concerts to Palestinian people in the West Bank." Note, not the occupied West Bank.)

"Bawab, 32, was born in Jordan and has Palestinian heritage: both of her parents were born in Jerusalem." (Choir noted for change, Matthew Westwood, The Australian, 14/12/13)

Bawab was born in Jordan - of parents born in Jerusalem! So why wasn't she born in Jerusalem?

Westwood's left that bit out. Being born in Jordan of parents born in Jerusalem is made to sound like a completely natural experience.

Maybe they just moved to Jordan because they were bored with Jerusalem? Maybe the air was better there? Hell, maybe the Centrelink payments in Jordan were better? Who knows? Who cares?

Here's a media culture that can't get enough of the 'Holocaust' (or its paler reflections, the 'killing fields' of Cambodia, Rwanda or Bosnia), but of the driving out, by bomb and bullet, of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948... not even a whisper.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Building Bridges... to Israel

While you weren't looking:

"The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) charted new territory last week when it expanded its bridge-building work to the far-western outback town of Broken Hill. It also visited the state's second city, Newcastle, for the first time in 20 years... These tours to regional NSW are a vital aspect of the work of the Board... [T]hey enable us to disseminate in-depth perspectives on Israel... The week's presentations reached a total of about 1500 high school students, principals and teachers..." (JBOD reaches the regions, The Australian Jewish News, 6/12/13)

See also my 23/8/10 post Coming to a School Near You?

Coming to a Screen Near You?

I wouldn't hold my breath:

"The Palestinian film Omar has been named the best feature film from the region at the 7th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The awards, held in Brisbane last night, assessed films from 70 countries with 39 films from 23 countries receiving award nominations. Omar, the first film to be funded by the Palestinian film industry, is its country's submission to the 2014 Academy Awards for the best foreign language film category. Omar is a political thriller and love story. It won a special jury prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes film festival earlier this year. The three Australian nominees - Tim Winton's The Turning (best feature), Mystery Road's lead actor Aaron Pedersen and Tracks' cinematographer Mandy Walker - missed out. Films from India, China and South Korea each won two awards. Entries from Bangladesh, Iran, Russia and Singapore won an award each." (Omar named best film at Asia Pacific awards, Michael Bodey, The Australian, 13/12/13)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Victorian Taxpayers Fork Out for Israel

"The Victorian government has announced a $500,000 fund to promote technology collaboration between the state and Israel. Local businesses or research organisations that have secured partners in Israel can apply for feasibility and proof-of-concept grants of up to $50,000 each. Applications remain open until all funds are committed." (Israel links,, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/12/13)

He Is What He Reads

"[A] Finance department report on spending habits of federal MPs reveals millions spent on overseas travel and office fitouts. In his downtime Tony Abbott reads Quadrant, Spectator, the Daily Telegraph, the Economist and Policy by the Centre for Independent Studies." (Politicians' expenses: Tony Abbott spent $474,707 in first half of 2013, Gabrielle Chan & Daniel Hurst, the, 12/12/13)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When Bennett Met Abbott

"'It's the easiest way to get a Blue,' says Nicholas Stafford-Deitsch, who became [Tony] Abbott's sparring partner. 'Unlike in other Oxford sports, you could win one as a novice, within months.' Hardly any students had prior boxing experience, and even fewer wanted to win a Blue by getting hit. That Abbott did has played a large part in his personal mythology ever since. On his website, boxing takes up a third of the space he devotes to Oxford." (Tony Abbott at Oxford: fighter, networker, Thatcherite, Andy Beckett,, 16/8/13)

When it communicates with the rest of the world, Israel always ensures that the message matches the man.

For example:

If you're gay, it's Israel's an oasis in a desert of Muslim homophobia;
If you're a Christian Zionist, it's Have a rapturous time in the Holy Land, OK?;
If you're an Australian politician with time on your hands, it's Psst, wanna freebie in Israel, mate?;
If you're a visiting 'diasporic' Jew, it's Welcome home, brother;
If you're an 'infiltrating' Eritrean refugee, it's Go back to where you came from, cushi;
If you're any kind of Arab, it's F**k off, Arab scum;
And if you're a Palestinian, it's Die, Arab scum.

Got the idea?

Now it's pretty damn obvious from the following news report that, before visiting Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett put the hard word on Tony Abbott to stick it to Iran, the Mossad spooks whose job it was to prepare a file on the new Australian PM had told him that, in Abbott's case, appearances most definitely aren't deceiving, and he really is just a dim-witted bogan bruiser, there to keep the seat warm for Josh Frydenberg:

"Israel has urged Australia to use its new found influence to force a much tougher deal on Iran over its nuclear program. Israel's Minister for the Economy, Naftali Bennett, told Prime Minister Tony Abbott that Israel 'badly wants a deal' to halt Iran's nuclear progress, Mr Bennett said... 'Our frustration is that we feel Iran is on the verge of having to give up its nuclear production because of the economic sanctions, but it's like a boxing match - the referee is counting the guy down six, seven, eight, nine, then just when he's about to give up the program, we are giving him a cup of water,' Mr Bennett said in an interview." (Israel seeks strong ally on Iran, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/12/13)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Israeli Apartheid: Visible from Space

Israeli apartheid may be visible from space, but not, it seems, down here on the ground in Abbottoir.

Despite the ms media currently being awash with references to the late, unlamented, and thoroughly vile South African brat, you'll find not a whisper about its even more evil twin, Israeli apartheid, such is the terror in our newsrooms at the prospect of a visit by the Zionist thought police.

And yet, those of conscience, familiar with both, couldn't help but notice that the two came from the same stock. One such, the South African anti-apartheid activist and associate of ANC leader Oliver Tambo, Ronald Segal (1932-2008), made the following observations as long ago as 1973:

"A second insight of the Arab case is the similarity between Israel and white South Africa. After all, the pioneers of white settlement in South Africa were refugees, too; from Catholic power and intolerance in Europe. And the subsequent history of the Afrikaners was long informed by the resistance to British imperial ambitions. The cause of the Jewish state has enjoyed support from the same sort of liberal opinion in the West that rose to the defence of the Boer republics at the turn of the century.

"The unique identity of the Afrikaner nation is now undeniable. And the cry of the Afrikaners - that they have nowhere else to go; that no reasonable refuge offers itself; that they are engaged in their conflict with Africans for no less than their very survival as a people, after centuries of separate existence - is not without its resemblance to the profile of Israeli nationalism. (Which is one reason why, for all the recent past of organized and even institutionalized anti-Semitism among them, the Afrikaners regard Israelis today with a kind of kinship.)

"And just how different has been the treatment of Arabs under their control by the Israelis from the treatment of Africans by white South Africa? Under the wrappings, many of the goods are the same. Land has been expropriated under various pretexts from Arabs who did not flee, and at times of relative peace; with compensation long delayed and, when finally paid, far below real value. And this plundering has been extended even to Druze land; though the Druzes have never been considered a significant security risk and are, indeed, permitted to serve in the Israeli armed forces.

"Whatever the security excuse, the Israeli Defence Laws have operated to treat Arab citizens quite differently from Jewish ones, with restrictions on movement, curfews, detention or banishment, and the confiscation or destruction of property. And though military rule within Israel proper has receded since the Six Day War, the occupied territories are administered on the basis of economic but not political integration. Some 40 to 50 thousand workers from these territories have already been sucked into the Israeli economy, in an effective relationship not so remote from that between white South Africa and the Bantustans. Indeed, many Israelis see in what would be a virtual Bantustan a solution to the problem of the West Bank: whose overt political autonomy would be in pawn to an inescapable economic subservience.

"Certainly, as the Israeli authorities have been quick to declare, such workers earn more in Israel than they would in the territories themselves, let alone almost anywhere else in the Arab world. But this argument is, after all, rather like the conventional apology of apartheid: that Africans in general earn much more in South Africa than they do elsewhere on the continent, and that the borders must be controlled to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to enjoy the notorious discrimination of racial policy. Yet even given the accuracy of the South African government contention, what matters, of course, is not the difference between black earnings in South Africa and black earnings elsewhere, but the difference between the earnings of blacks and the earnings of whites within the same country. Similarly, what matters in an assessment of Israeli society is that in general Arab labour from the occupied territories earns substantially less than does Jewish labour: not because, as in South Africa, the state explicitly requires it, but because there is, in institutionalized Jewish labour organization, a form of pressure on employers not possessed by migrant Arab labour.

"And the parallel with white South Africa is taken further. Israel is essentially a Jewish state, and Jewishness has been made an essentially biological phenomenon. By the Law of Return, 1950, Israeli citizenship is all but automatically conferred on any Jew who arrives and asks for it.And a decision was recently taken to confer Israeli citizenship on Jews still living abroad who choose to claim it. On the other hand, to become a Jew, it is not enough to fulfil certain residential and other civil requirements customary in other countries. It is not enough even to be born in the Jewish state. A Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother. (Whose Jerusalem?, pp 13-15)

Of course, there was an occasion, though only one that I can recall, when both branches of the Australian corporate press uncharacteristically lapsed into plain talk and used the 'a' word to describe Israel.  

Then the shit really hit the fan. (See my posts Consensus At Last (7/5/12) & Down the Memory Hole (10/5/12).)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Israel Lobbyist Fails Crocodile Dundee Test


In Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, tiresome tireless Israel lobbyist, and former South African apartheid-era journalist, Vic Alhadeff, portrayed his South African employer thus:

"I served as chief sub-editor of The Cape Times during the apartheid era - and Nelson Rohilahla Mandela was the unspoken presence in the room... As one of the nation's anti-apartheid newspapers, we were acutely aware that in our midst was a colossus whose time had come." (Media bans kept colossus out of sight, 7/12/13)

Just as well he said "one of" because really, to rephrase Crocodile Dundee, That wasn't "an anti-apartheid newspaper." This was "an anti-apartheid newspaper":

"The loss-making but hugely influential [Rand Daily] Mail had by then [1985] waged a lonely 30-year struggle on behalf of truth and decency against overwhelming odds. Scores of Kafkaesque laws circumscribed its coverage. It was infiltrated by government spies, communists and agents provocateurs. Its management was either inept or craven or both. Yet despite everything, and thanks to a succession of strong editors, the Mail not only survived but set a standard that all other media outlets in South Africa are still judged against." (The Daily Courage, Robin Knight, Time, 12/6/00)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cautiously Fighting Apartheid

Fair dinkum,  despite the millions of black and coloured survivors of South African apartheid, the best the Sydney Morning Herald could come up with to commemorate the passing of Nelson Mandela in its Saturday edition was the testimony of a white man. And not just any white man either - Australia's most vocal defender of Israeli apartheid:

"I served as chief sub-editor of The Cape Times during the apartheid era - and Nelson Rohilahla Mandela was the unspoken presence in the room. A key instrument in the government's strategy of subjugating the country's black population while keeping the ruling white sector uninformed about the revolutionary movements fermenting beneath the surface was press censorship. It was illegal for newspapers to promote the aims of a 'banned' organisation... South Africans never heard from Mandela or his colleagues... [Yet] Mandela was there. Silenced. Casting a giant shadow. And as one of the nation's anti-apartheid newspapers, we were acutely aware that in our midst was a colossus whose time had come." (Media bans kept colossus out of sight, Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12/13)

One of the nation's anti-apartheid newspapers?

So just what was it that qualified a South African newspaper of the time to be described as anti-apartheid?

"We consistently erred on the side of caution because we knew from harsh experience what the penalties were for violating the censorship laws." (Riots of change, Vic Alhadeff, The Australian Jewish News, 26/6/09)

Consistently err[ing] on the side of caution. I see... so that's what brought apartheid to its knees. Who would have thought?

But what a modest man Alhadeff is! I bet you didn't know what a critical role he played in the Mandela story?

I thought not.

Come now, surely you don't think Mandela could have done it all by himself? No, contrary to current media adulation, great man though he was, Mandela was no saint. Not even close! There were actually times when he needed to be taken aside and told to mend his errant ways... which is where Alhadeff comes in:

"Firmly opposed to apartheid, [Alhadeff] worked against it and even confronted Nelson Mandela personally when he felt the great man had been hypocritical." (Former journalist Vic Alhadeff,, 22/1/08)

I told you what a modest man Alhadeff is. I mean, why else would he not include that particular revelation in his piece for the Herald?

Perhaps the editor of the 'Independent. Always' Sydney Morning Herald could prevail upon him to tell the full story in a future edition.

For those not into holding one's breath, see my 23/10/10 post SuperVic?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mandela: 'Arafat is a Comrade-in-Arms'

If you search the Internet for evidence of Nelson Mandela's support for the Palestinian struggle, you'll generally come across this particular statement: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

Given that too little is known of his principled and unequivocal support for the Palestinians (never of course referenced in the mainstream media), I'm posting the relevant sections of an interview he did with the presenter of the US Nightline program, Ted Koppel in 1990. The interview took place at a public meeting in the City College of New York. At the time, Mandela, not long out of prison, was in the US on a tour, advocating for the continuation of international sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Needless to say, Koppel being Koppel, New York being New York, and the US being the US, the question of Mandela's links with Yasser Arafat and the PLO loomed large at the meeting.

Note that I've selected only Mandela's statements on this issue, simplified Koppel's rambling questions, and, in only one case, abridged Mandela's answer. The entire interview, along with Mandela's trademark dignity, gravitas and humour, can be enjoyed at (My tribute to vintage Nelson Mandela of South Africa part 2)

Mandela: We identify with the PLO because, just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self-determination.

Koppel: You met over 3 times with Yasser Arafat.

Mandela: Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gaddafi and Fidel Castro support our struggle to the hilt.

Koppel: You've said some controversial things which might alienate some people in this country. That could cause them to contact their congressman and say, 'Go ahead, lift the sanctions on the South African government.'

Mandela: One of the problems we are facing in the world today are people who do not look at problems objectively but from the point of view of their own interests. That makes things difficult because once a person is not objective, it is extremely difficult to reach an agreement. One of the best examples of this is to think that because Arafat is conducting a struggle against the state of Israel we must therefore condemn him. We can't do that. It is just not possible for any organisation or individual of integrity to do anything of the sort... It would be a grave mistake for us to consider our attitude towards Yasser Arafat on the basis of the interests of the Jewish community. We sympathise with the struggles of the Jewish people and their persecution right down the years... but that does not mean to say that the enemies of Israel are our enemies. We refuse to take that position. You can call it 'impolitical' [Koppel had been suggesting that Mandela needed to be more political/flexible to win American Jewish support] or a moral question [a Jewish leader had earlier accused Mandela of being amoral] but a man who changes his principles depending on who he's dealing with - that is not a man who can lead a nation... They must know what our stand is: Arafat is a comrade-in-arms and we treat him as such.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Moses' Mandela

How sweetly they're singing now:

"Nelson Mandela was one of the most prominent role models of our time. He was the father of his nation, a man of vision, a fighter for freedom who denounced violence. He gave a personal example to his people during the long years he was imprisoned." Benjamin Netanyahu,, 6/12/13

But back in the 70s and 8os they were singing a very different tune:

"The Israeli-South African relationship was not only about profit and battlefield bravado... After Menachem Begin's Likud Party came to power in 1977, these economic interests converged with ideological affinities to make the alliance even stronger. Many members of the Likud Party shared with South Africa's leaders an ideology of minority survivalism that presented the two countries as threatened outposts of European civilization defending their existence against barbarians at the gates.

"Indeed, much of Israel's top brass and Likud Party leadership felt am affinity with South Africa's white government, and unlike Peres and Rabin they did not feel a need to publicly denounce apartheid while secretly supporting Pretoria. Powerful military figures, such as Ariel Sharon and Rafael (Raful) Eitan, drew inspiration from the political tradition of Revisionist Zionism - a school of thought that favoured the use of military force to defend Jewish sovereignty and encouraged settlement of the biblical lands of Greater Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sharon, Eitan, and many of their contemporaries were convinced that both nations faced a fundamentally similar predicament as embattled minorities under siege, fighting for their survival against what they saw as a common terrorist enemy epitomized by Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) and Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)." (The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, 2010, p 8)


"The end of the Cold War dramatically altered the political and strategic landscape of Southern Africa. Cuban troops were already withdrawing from Angola when F.W. de Klerk replaced P.W. Botha as president in August 1989. The Berlin Wall fell 3 months later and de Klerk soon embarked on a radically different course that led to the release of Nelson Mandela in early 1990. With the Soviet and Cuban threat gone, South Africa could no longer appeal for Western support by invoking anticommunist arguments, nor could it rationalize repression of the democratic opposition by cloaking apartheid in Cold War rhetoric.

"... In Pretoria, the Israeli government went to great lengths to improve its image after Mandela's release. Veteran left-wing critics of apartheid were appointed to key posts, including Alon Liel, who became ambassador in 1992 and worked hard to redefine Israeli-South African relations for the postapartheid era. Even so, the legacy of the 1970s and 1980s left Mandela with a sour taste.

"A year before South Africa's first democratic elections, Elazar Granot of Israel's far-left Mapam Party addressed the delegates of the Socialist International - a global gathering of Social Democratic leaders attended by many European heads of state. Granot lavished praise on Mandela, comparing him to Moses and arguing that South Africa's president-in-waiting was even greater than Moses for he had actually reached the Promised Land. But Mandela did not succumb to his flattery. As Granot recalls it, the first words from South Africa's icon of foregiveness and reconciliation were: 'The people of South Africa will never forget the support of the state of Israel to the apartheid regime'." (ibid, pp 218-219)

That was in 1993. Today, neither the people of South Africa nor its government have forgotten worse-than-apartheid Israel's alliance with apartheid South Africa:

"As reported by South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper, Times LIVE, [and] Israel's Haaretz newspaper... South Africa's Minister for International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has confirmed a long-standing South African government position of not engaging with Israel.  Speaking on Friday... Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said: 'Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently... our Palestinian friends have asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the [Israeli] regime. We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better.' [She] also criticised the Israeli regime's recent announcement to build new, illegal, Jewish-only settler units on confiscated Palestinian lands: 'That arrangement there in Palestine keeps us awake... the last time I looked at the map of Palestine, I could not go to sleep. Its 'dots', smaller than those of the [former South African] homelands.'... Finally, [she] expressed her solidarity with the Palestinian people, saying: 'The struggle of the people of Palestine is our struggle'." (South Africa to 'curtail' relations with Israel, OptionsBDS South Africa, 2/12/13)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spot the Hypocrite

"The next time any Western intellectual calls upon the rest of the world to show courage by speaking 'truth to power' he or she should lead the charge by speaking 'truth to power' on the Israel-Palestine dispute." Kishore Mahbubani

"I've only been in this job for a few years but I'm staggered at how powerful some of these lobby groups are and I'm astounded by the lack of courage shown by politicians on all sides when it comes to standing up to them." (Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, speaking to Fran Kelly on Radio National's Breakfast program this morning)

Right, Richard, I'm staggered too. It's great to see you standing up against the poker machine lobby. Well done!

However, if there's one thing Palestine teaches we who stand up for her, it's how to recognise a hypocrite when we hear one:

"Support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement by the NSW Greens was a huge mistake, admitted Senator Richard Di Natale at the Limmud Oz conference last weekend. He said the position, adopted last year by NSW Senator Lee Rhiannonn never was or would be Greens federal policy. 'It was hugely damaging and it was the wrong thing to do. We are a democratic party, it was a state branch that passed it because people didn't understand what it meant, ' said Di Natale, who appeared on a panel... who probed The Greens on their policy affecting Israel and Australian Jews." (BDS was a huge mistake, admit Greens, The Australian Jewish News, 15/6/12) (See my 16/6/12 post Picking Off The Greens.)

Simply the Best

Did you know that The Australian is the Satchmo of Australian newspapers? That's because no other newspaper blows its own trumpet in quite the same way.

Rock your sox off with this bravura editorial performance/toxic spray from yesterday's emission:

"Regardless of what he is writing about - the Gallipoli centenary, Labor's existential turmoil or the policy pratfalls of a new government, as he is today - our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, brings his penetrating insight and peerless authority. The Australian is blessed with writers such as Dennis Shanahan on politics, Greg Sheridan on foreign affairs, John Durie on business and Judith Sloan and David Uren on economics, and many others in the top rank, who have lived through the big moments in the nation's history and are able to provide readers with a sense of perspective, knowledge and balance on the issues of the day. Along with experienced editors, they allow us to cut through the noise and tumult of a frenetic news cycle to explain events.

"Yet that can't be said of all media outlets, especially when seasoned journalists are being traded for ones unable to see beyond the dazzle of the instantaneous fix of Twitter or web-first publishing. These callow reporters and trainee talking heads are setting the pace at Fairfax Media and the ABC with their 'breaking' views and zippy analysis 5 minutes after something has happened. We can see the crude results in the way the Abbott government is being portrayed as bad, mad and chaotic by the baby faces in the press gallery and beyond. To date, the low-point of juvenilia was struck by John van Tiggelen, editor of the The Monthly*, old enough to know better but clueless about Canberra, who wrote about the Abbott government's 'onanistic reverence for John Howard' and described it as 'the frat party of Young Liberals who refuse to grow up'.

"This twaddle would be harmless if these ill-informed innocents were on the fringes of new media, learning their craft in the minor leagues. Alarmingly, these infantile musings reflect the priorities of their organisations: it's a reverse-publishing model, which sees the trivialities of Generation Y setting the agenda for once-venerable newspapers, which traditionally served older, educated, middle-income readers in Sydney and Melbourne. No wonder Fairfax Media editors have lost touch with loyal readers and the respect of the old-hands still in the newsroom. At the ABC, Triple-J alumni have wrested editorial and cultural control in the face of insipid leadership from managing director Mark Scott and his news director, Kate Torney. You wonder if anyone's really in charge at Pyrmont, Docklands and Ultimo and how long this idiocy can last." (Comment should not be cheap: Juveniles are setting the standard at Fairfax and the ABC)

[*Here's a tip: buy a copy of the Dec-Jan Monthly and read My Beautiful Bromance with Tony Abbott by Greg Sheridan. Its 'infantile musings', 'Gen Y trivialities', and general, all-round 'idiocy' will have you in the proverbial aisles. Who needs Barbara Cartland if you've got Greg Sheridan?]

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Unlovable Rogues

Monday's 7.30 Report:

Leigh Sales, Presenter: The furore over Australia's spying activities overseas has taken a new turn today with revelations of potential domestic spying here at home on Australian soil. A new document dating from 2008, purportedly from American whistleblower Edward Snowden, appears to show Australia's surveillance agency, then known as the Defence Signals Directorate, discussing the idea of sharing data collected about Australian citizens with its overseas counterparts.

Carl Ungerer, Security Analyst: Australians have to understand that the Australian Signals Directorate is operating within Australian law and doing so for the direct benefit of Australia's national security. The idea that they're a rogue agency out there collecting in inappropriate ways should be anathema to anyone who understands national security.

Tuesday's 7.30 Report:

Leigh Sales: As we go to air tonight, there are reports that ASIO has raided the office of the Canberra-based lawyer who claims Australia bugged the East Timorese cabinet during sensitive negotiations about a billion-dollar gas deal. For the first time there's a hint as to who provided the information that's the basis for that case, with the East Timor lobby claiming a retired Australian spy who acted as a whistleblower was arrested today.

Frank Brennan, Law Faculty, Aust. Catholic Uni: It seems that yesterday, 15 ASIO agents descended on the home and office of Bernard Collaery... conducted a very ruthless search... and took away everything which is germane to this case. There was also a visit made to the home of the prime witness for the Timorese and these proceedings, a retired ASIS agent. He and his wife were detained and he was questioned for some time. Whether or not he was arrested, I am not apprised of that information. But I can tell you that on Thursday these proceedings were to begin at the Hague with the arbitration. And the understanding was that the parties were to determine how to deal with the witnesses, particularly this key whistleblower, the allegation of the Timorese being that this whistleblower is able to provide credible, direct evidence of the bugging of the cabinet room and that that was done for commercial gain and would require the approval not only of the Director-General of Intelligence but of the requisite Australian Minister.

Today's 7.30 Report:

Conor Duffy, Reporter: Under the guise of an aid program for the impoverished country, a spy from the ASIS slipped into Dili. Far from helping out, he was there to bug the East Timorese cabinet, the room where the negotiating team talked tactics... The spy has now revealed all and is the star witness for an East Timorese legal action in The Hague to have the billion-dollar treaty scrapped... 7.30 has part of his crucial affidavit, which says that the then head of ASIS instructed him to plant a listening device in East Timor on the orders of then ASIS head and now ASIO boss, David Irvine... Yesterday, ASIO launched a pre-emptive strike, raiding Mr Collaery's home and office just before the hearings in The Hague, which start on Thursday... They also raided the ASIS whistleblower, seizing his passport and cancelling it, effectively stopping him from backing up his affidavit with oral evidence... Today, Attorney-General George Brandis rejected suggestions the raids were designed to hobble East Timor's case.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Crying Wolf Over Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism up 21% asserts the heading of a 25 November 2013 'news' item on the J-Wire website.

Its introductory spiel adds:

"In his report covering the 12 months' period ending on September 30, 2013, Jeremy Jones has reported 657 incidents defined by the Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission as 'racist violence' against Jews. The figure reflects a 21% increase over the previous year... Incidents included physical assault, vandalism, threatening phone calls, hate mail, graffiti, leaflets, posters and abusive and intimidatory electronic mail. Jones has made it clear that incidents based on criticism of Israel or references to Australian Jewry's involvement in politics were not taken into account."

(Note that the HREOC definition of 'racist violence' is defined as "a specific act of violence, intimidation, or harassment carried out against an individual, group or organisation (or their property) on the basis of race, colour, descent, or ethnic origin.")

What then follows is a list of what I assume is meant to be 19 examples of the above alleged "incidents" of "'racist violence' against Jews." I thought I'd check some of  them out:

1) "Cartoonist Leunig's defence of Nazi/ Jewish comparisons (Dec 2012)"

Leaving aside the incredible suggestion that everyone on the planet can presumably be compared to Nazis - except Jews - I've just taken the trouble to reread Leunig's essay Calm the hatred & try to love those who are not 'us' (The Age, 21/12/12), which I assume is the "defence" referred to, and for the life of me I can find no such thing. And even if I could, how the hell could this possibly be characterised as an incident of 'racist violence'?

2) "With the initial calling of the 2013 Fed Election on the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur, Jews were accused of 'whinging' for raising this as a concern (Jan 2013)"

So an accusation of "whinging" is 'racist violence'? And who was the perpetrator? Well, Israeli writer Judd Yadid for one:

"For the first time on record, Australians will go to the polls... on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Given that voting in Australia is compulsory, what issues... are at play? Here are some points to ponder: Jewish Australians who want to vote... can do so either by voting early at special booths or by post. Some of the Jewish community's most prominent leaders have said that it really isn't a big deal, and that it's no different to the predicament faced by all observant Jews every Saturday election day. Perhaps the outcry from some quarters is just plain old whinging." (Stuck between a rock and a holy place: The impact of Australia's decision to hold Election Day on Yom Kippur, Haaretz, 7/2/13)

Hm... this was all Julia Gillard's fault, and yet, despite setting the scene for this particular "incident" of "racist violence," she's just been awarded the 2013 Jerusalem Prize by the Zionist Council of Victoria, the Zionist Federation of Australia, and the World Zionist Organisation. Work that one out.

3) "The tragic story of Ben Zygier, an Australian/Israeli dual citizen who died in an Israeli prison, was used as a pretext by antisemites to accuse Jews in Australia of disloyalty (Feb 2013)"

Antisemites? Surely he's not referring to ABC Radio National's Breakfast presenter Fran Kelly, who dared - DARED! - to raise the question of loyalty in relation to Australian citizens working for Mossad. (See my 17/2/13 post Prisoner X5.) This is getting sillier by the minute.

4) "Call to 'eliminate' Jews in song, in Arabic, on ABC Radio (Feb 2013)"

I'm sorry, but one can only take so many red herrings. I simply refer you to my 8/3/13 post The Ultimate Zionist Whinge on this one.

Jones' list, of course, goes on, including even Max Brenner boycotts (May 2013)... but frankly, I've had enough already, and anyway I'm sure you've got the idea.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The 'Dauntingly Clever' Greg Hunt

Australia's environment minister, Greg Hunt, is now famous for his admission that Wikipedia is the go-to site for all things environmental, as in:

"'I looked up what Wikipedia said just to see what the rest of the world thought,' he advised the BBC... when put on the spot about whether there might be a link between Australia's latest bushfires and climate change. 'It opened with the fact that, 'bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry, climate'." (Wikipedia's verdict on Greg Hunt: 'terrible at his job', Tony Wright, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/10/13)

Killer quotes such as the one above notwithstanding, a feature on Hunt in yesterday's Fairfax magazine, Good Weekend, assures us that Hunt is no fool - at least academically:

"Dauntingly clever, Hunt graduated from Melbourne University with first-class honours in law, and won a Fulbright scholarship to Yale, where he completed a masters in international relations. He... did a stint as an intern with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in Geneva..." (The weather vane, Frank Robson)

At which point I can't help but ask: How can anyone with at least 25 years of formal education under his belt - with a focus on international relations and human rights to boot - get something like Palestine wrong? (OK, so why do I raise the issue of Palestine here? Only because Robson references it twice in his Good Weekend piece).

Here's the first:

"What... does he make of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's insistence that all asylum seekers arriving here by boat should now be called 'illegals'? At first, Hunt toes the expected line, saying it's refugees encamped in places like Cambodia, east Africa and Gaza who are 'missing out because those that are better off are able to take a flight to Jakarta and pay people smugglers to bring them to Australia'."

OK, he's got that Gaza's chockas with refugees - and that's an advance on fellow Liberals such as NSW MLC Peter Phelps, who thinks that the population of the Gaza Strip (aka Mordor) is composed of Orcs and Trolls* - but does he seriously think that Palestinian refugees, in Gaza or anywhere else, have been sitting around all these years dreaming of Australian visas, as opposed to one day returning to their stolen homes and lands in 'Israel'?

Now here's the second, even more telling reference:

"When he was 18, Hunt spent a year living on a kibbutz in Israel... The overseas adventure was... carefully planned, with help from a Jewish MP in Victoria who persuaded the kibbutz organisers to let Hunt stay, telling them, 'You never know, in 25 years' time this guy may do something with the government here'."

The very fact that Hunt volunteered this little anecdote as some kind of positive, commendable element in his life's trajectory speaks volumes about him. It's a bit like admitting that you formed your views on the Middle East conflict by reading Leon Uris' Exodus as a raw youth and have had no occasion since to revise them.

Add to that the fact that he clearly sees nothing wrong with the import of the anonymous Jewish MP's statement.

Now top that with the fact that Hunt's kibbutz 'experience' came in the immediate wake of Israel's brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982, culminating in the massacre of Palestinian refugees in West Beirut's Sabra and Shatila camps in September of that year.

So here we have a 48-year-old who's spent over half his life in formal education, with a focus on human rights, who just doesn't get Palestine.


Quite frankly, if he can't get something as simple as Palestine right, should we be surprised if he gets his take on climate science from a Wikipedia entry?

[*See my 20/8/12 post Frodos Gaze Upon Mordor.]