Sunday, November 30, 2014


There was a child went forth everyday,
And the first object she looked upon, that object she became,
And that object became part of her for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and red morning-glories and the song of the phoebe-bird...
And the apple-trees covered with blossoms and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road,
And the old drunkard staggering home from the outhouse of the tavern whence he had lately risen,
And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that passed, and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheeked girls,
And all the changes of city and country wherever she went...
Her own parents; he that had fathered her and she that had conceived her in her womb and birthed her, They gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave her afterward every day, they became part of her. 

(From There Was a Child Who Went Forth by Walt Whitman

The streets of Gaza were flooded the day we returned. Axle-deep water was playing havoc with traffic - trapping cars in the middle of the road...

This is Gaza, on the cusp of winter - wet, cold and dirty.

In roadside garages groups of Palestinians were huddled around fires burning in drums or simply on the concrete floor. Outside, spirited smiling children wade through the knee-deep water in bare feet. The scars of war in Gaza are still obvious - many destroyed buildings are left in ruins...

Almost 4 months on, I have been drawn back to Gaza by the face of a seven-year-old girl. Her name is Aseel Al-Bakri.

The last time I saw her was on August 4. She was lying in a morgue at Gaza's Shifa Hospital, a few hours after an Israeli airstrike had killed her.

That day, the ABC crew in Gaza had arrived at her house, just minutes after it had been crushed from above. The concrete structure was a crumpled mess of twisted metal and the destroyed remnants of a family's life. We watched and filmed as the girl's tiny body was rushed out on a stretcher, and thousands of Palestinians swarmed around the rubble in the summer heat.

Ever since, I have wondered why Aseel Al-Bakri's home was targeted by an Israeli bomb. So I have come back to Gaza to find out.

After several detours around the floodwater, we arrive at Martyrs Square street in the ash-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. I immediately recognise the house... still a mass of rubble lying untouched.

Over the road we meet Aseel's father, Mohammed Al-Bakri, and his 4 surviving children.

It turns out, his daughter, Aseel was not the only death that day. His wife, infant daughter, brother and nephew were also killed in the same air strike.

Now the family lives in 3 small rooms across the street. The children bear the scars of the lethal attack.

Ten-year-old Haneen has burns on her face and wears a brace on one arm. 'I can't bend my elbow properly,' she said. 'I had to have a skin transplant onto my face, and you can see the burns on my forehead.'

On the morning of August 4 Haneen and her little sister Aseel had just returned from buying falafel. Their mother Ibtisam was baking bread and the family was preparing to eat breakfast. That is the last thing the children remember. Their next recollection is waking up in a Gaza hospital and being told their mother and two sisters were dead.

Mr Al-Bakri is a religious man. He stoically insists that his wife and two children are now in a better place. 'It was very sad for me to discover what happened,' he said. 'But we believe in God and we wish that they are all now in heaven.' When pressed, he opens up a little more about the family's trauma. 'I can't explain what I'm feeling right now. I can't hide my sadness. I feel stressed and depressed,' he said.

His eldest daughter Yasmeen, 12, sits listening as her father speaks. Later she too talks about the death of her mothers and sisters. 'I remember the nice times we used to have going with my mother to visit our grandparents. I miss playing with Aseel and talking to her,' she said.

Ever since the air strike, the Al-Bakri family has been moving from place to place, living where they can. They cannot afford to rebuild. Everything was destroyed and the family only has two grainy photographs of Aseel. In one, the 7-year-old is smiling at the camera as she holds her 8-momth-old sister Asma, who was also killed... "

(From Gaza conflict: Family of child killed in Israeli air strike relives attack, Hayden Cooper,, 30/11/14)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Palestine Problem Simply & Directly Explained

The two blackest dates in the Palestinian calender fall in November.

The first is November 2, the day in 1917 when the British government - in the infamous Balfour Declaration - promised Palestine to the Zionist movement.

On that day, Britain paved the way for the coming eviction of the Palestinian people from its ancestral homeland.

The second is today, November 29, the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly, in the infamous Resolution 181, proposed the partition of Palestine into 'Jewish' and Arab states.

On that day, the UN gave its blessing to the eviction of the Palestinian people from its ancestral homeland.

When the next smug Zionist propagandist reminds you, as he surely will, that but for their intransigence, the Palestinians could have had their own state in 1947, remember these words:

"I recall a visit to our house by Dr Ralph Bunche [1903-1974], then deputy chairman of the UN Special Committee on Palestine. He had arrived as member of a commission and I said to him, 'Would you permit me to explain the problem simply and directly? I do not wish to enter into the political intricacies nor to review the history and consequences of the problem. All I want to say is this: 'I own this house and cannot understand why I should renounce or surrender it; nor can I be convinced that any law in the world or any international resolution can make me me consent to hand it over to foreigners, even if they have no house. I do not understand my responsibility in this regard. This is my house, I am here, and I do not wish anyone to share it with me.' With a pained expression Bunche answered, 'Believe me, dear lady, this simple statement of yours is more convincing to me than the great pile of documents stacked on my desk'." (Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist: The Life & Activism of Anbara Salam Khalidi, 1978/2013, pp 144-45)

In 1977, the United Nations (in belated recognition of its role in evicting the Palestinian people from its homeland 30 years earlier?) designated November 29 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Friday, November 28, 2014


International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People







Thursday, November 27, 2014

Religion or Race?

In arguing against the tendency of Islamophobes to claim that because Islam is a religion they can't, therefore, be considered racists, Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, unfortunately puts his foot in it with this:

"The distinction between race and religion is a complex one... the two can overlap. For example, we consider anti-Semitism to involve a form of racism, even though Jewishness involves a religious identity. This is because Jewishness also has an ethnic character; Jews consider themselves to be a people."  (Distinction between religion and race should not make bigotry respectable, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/11/14)

Jewishness has an ethnic character?

Says who?  

Jews consider themselves to be a people.

Which Jews?

The truth is that anti-Semites invariably consider Jews to be 'a people', as do political Zionists. To the extent that both believe in biology as the key determinant of a person's identity, and discriminate against others on that basis, both exhibit racism.

As Shlomo Sand explains:

"The State of Israel defines me as a Jew, not because I express myself in a Jewish language, hum Jewish songs, eat Jewish food, write Jewish books or carry out any Jewish activity. I am classified as a Jew because this state, after having researched my origins, has decided that I was born of a Jewish mother, herself Jewish because my grandmother was likewise, thanks to (or because of) my great-grandmother, and so on through the chain of generations until the dawn of time. If chance should have had it that only my father was considered a Jew, while in the eyes of Israeli law my mother was 'non-Jewish', I would have been registered as an Austrian..." (How I Stopped Being a Jew, 2014, p 2)

And where does this biological determinist nonsense lead? Shlomo Sand again:

"There is a close link between the identification of Jews as an ethnos or eternal race-people, and the politics of Israel towards those of its citizens who are viewed as non-Jews, as well as towards immigrant workers from distant lands and, clearly, towards its neighbours, deprived of rights and subject for nearly 50 years to a regime of occupation. It is hard to deny a glaring reality: the development of an essentialist, non-religious identity encourages the perpetuation of ethnocentric, racist or quasi-racist positions, both in Israel and abroad." (p 7)

As for Islamophobes, scratch one and you'll invariably find an Arabophobe underneath.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Natives Are Restless

Face it, it's a thankless task being a Zionist. No matter what you do to... sorry, for... the natives, the buggers are never happy:

 2014: "John Lyons quite rightly points out the rise of the Israeli right wing under Benjamin Netanyahu (Settlers fuel cycle of bloodshed, 22/11*) but seems to suggest this is Netanyahu's doing. The opposite is true: the growing right wing keeps him in power. And the right wing has grown because of the evidence presented by Palestinians about their intentions. In the 1990s Israelis still hoped for peace, resulting in the Oslo accord and the withdrawal from south Lebanon. Hamas bus bombings, Hezbollah missiles and Yasser Arafat's suicide bombing campaign soured that faith and brought the pro-settler Ariel Sharon to power. Hamas's use of Gaza to pour thousands of missiles into Israel confirmed what withdrawal from the West Bank would bring. New incitement by Mahmoud Abbas and recent lone-wolf terrorism only push Israelis further to the right. Relentless Palestinian aggression is the cause of Israel's move to the right; Netanyahu and the settlers are only its beneficiaries." (Letter to The Australian by Dov Midalia,** Bondi Junction, NSW, 24/11/14)

1986: "On 4 December 1986, two young Palestinian students were shot dead by Israeli soldiers after a sit-down protest at a blockade set up near Birzeit University in the West Bank. In the week that followed, several more violent confrontations took place between the military and Palestinian inhabitants, in the course of which two more Palestinians were killed and several wounded. During December, a large number of articles appeared in the Israeli press, reporting or reflecting on what had taken place.

"In those articles appearing in the Jerusalem Post, the following expressions were used to refer to the response of the Palestinians all over the occupied territories to the first two shootings: 'wave of disturbances', 'unrest', 'wave of demonstrations', 'eruption', 'outbreaks', 'turmoil', 'disorder', 'riots', disturbances swept the West Bank', 'widespread disturbances continued to rock the Gaza Strip'.

"The actions of the IDF officers, however, were represented by the following expressions: 'self-defence', 'preventing further violence', 'breaking up a demonstration', quelling the disturbances', 'maintaining law and order', 'troops used 'maximal restraint'...

"Israeli settlement was referred to both as the solution to, and justification for, the confrontations: 'The disturbances should prompt the government to set up more settlements in the territories. Settlements are an assurance of security'. An IDF soldier who admitted to shooting one of the two Birzeit students argued, 'We were caught in an impossible situation. Had we retreated, no Israeli from the nearby settlements would be able to travel on the main road leading west'.

"Another common assertion in the articles surveyed explicitly or implicitly blamed the PLO for the occurrences: 'The disturbances at Birzeit University... are part of an attempt of the PLO to murder prospects for peace by inciting to riot'; 'there may be some guiding hand behind the eruption of simultaneous demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Gaza'..." (Colonial Law & Ideology - Israel & the Occupied Territories, Ben Cashdan, pp 72-3, in Palestine: Profile of an Occupation, Khamsin, 1989)

1936: "The facts are extracted from the official Communiques: To destroy properties and crops! Do you call it STRIKE?*** To destroy schools by fire! Do you call it STRIKE? To murder man, to desecrate graveyards, to destroy water resources! Do you call it STRIKE? To stab and shoot innocent animals ie cows, horses, and donkeys! Do you call it STRIKE? To enter under pretext of friendship or pity and ask for water to drink and to pay the donor with a bullet in his back! Do you call it STRIKE? To throw bombs and put fire to the factories, hospitals, sanatoria, and Children & Invalid Homes! Do you call it STRIKE? To destroy bridges and derail trains and to cause the death of innocent people inside! Do you call it STRIKE? In conclusion: A land and fields which were full of stones and thorns, and have been converted into a true garden of Eden with a strenuous and ambitious work of twenty-five years, to put it back into its old wild and desert aspect in twenty-five minutes by uprooting, cutting, burning the several thousands of fine trees of oranges, lemons, citrus, olives, winegrapes, and other trees to combat malaria! Do you call it STRIKE? or Barbarism, Savagery and Cruelty?" (Letter to The Spectator by Benjamin Levy, 17/7/36)

[*See my 23/11/14 Dross & Gold in The Weekend Australian; **For more of Dov Midalia see my 30/7/11 post Leave Our Islamophobes Alone, OK?; ***In response to mass Zionist immigration under British auspices, the Palestinian Arabs staged a general strike (19/4/36 - 11/10/36), the opening round in a revolt that raged until 1939.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Nation State of the Jewish People

The following news reminds me of the old biblical injunction: 'There is nothing new under the sun':

"A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country's democratic character. Opponents, including some cabinet ministers, said the new legislation defined reserved 'national rights' for Jews only and not for its minorities, and rights groups condemned it as racist. The bill, which is intended to become part of Israel's basic laws, would recognise Israel's Jewish character, institutionalise Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and delist Arabic as a second official language. Arab Muslims and Christians make up 20% of Israel's population." (Israeli cabinet approves legislation defining nation-state of Jewish people, Peter Beaumont,, 24/11/14)

What we have here seems to be yet another piece of Israeli apartheid legislation (ranking alongside Israel's Law of Return (1950), Absentees' Property Law (1950), and Development Authority Law (1950), to name but 3 of the pack) which will operate to further entrench the divide between Jewish and non-Jewish (Palestinian) Israelis, enhancing the first class citizen status of the former while exacerbating the second class citizen status of the latter.

(Before proceeding further, however, that talk about the bill "undermining the country's democratic character," cannot be allowed to pass without comment. As I've pointed out many times in this blog: Any state that has most of its indigenous population living outside its borders, unable to return (Palestinian refugees), and the rest living either under a draconian military occupation (occupied Palestinians) or as second-class citizens within its borders (Palestinian Israelis), simply cannot be described, no matter how it is spun, as a democracy in good standing. An ethnocracy, yes. An apartheid state, yes. But emphatically, not a democracy.)

It's the 'Jewish people' concept that bears closer examination. This feature of Zionist ideology dates back to the very beginnings of the political Zionist movement. The concept rests on the false premise that Israel is 'the State of the Jews' - that is, all Jews, no matter where in the world they reside, or whether they embrace or reject an alleged connection to said 'State of the Jews'. According to the 'Jewish people' concept, Israel is not, therefore, simply the state of its citizens. The concept thus has important implications for Jews who are citizens of countries other than Israel.

The following excerpts on the subject are taken from an essay by W.T. Mallison, Jr., The Legal Problems Concerning the Juridical Status & Political Activities of the Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency, published in the William & Mary Law Review, Spring 1968:

"Zionism and its 'Jewish State' act upon the postulate that anti-Semitism is fundamental and ineradicable. Upon this postulate the Zionist juridical objectives that 'the Jewish people' be constituted as an additional nationality entity, membership in which is to be conferred upon all Jews, are based. The 'Jewish people' concept is used to recruit Jewish immigration to Israel and to achieve other Zionist political objectives. The Zionist 'solution' to anti-Semitism is to 'ingather' all Jews into the State of Israel...

"The 'Jewish people' concept is consistently advanced as a juridical claim in international law decision-making contexts. A particularly well known example involved the exploitation of the claim in the Eichmann Trial Judgment... 'The connection between the State  of Israel and the Jewish people needs no explanation'...

"The United States Department of State has commented upon the 'Jewish people' concept as follows: 'The Department of State recognizes the State of Israel as a sovereign State and citizenship of the State of Israel. It recocognizes no other sovereignty or citizenship in connection therewith. It does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon the religious identification of American citizens. It does not in any way discriminate among American citizens upon the basis of their religion. Accordingly, it should be clear that the Department of State does not regard the 'Jewish people' concept as a concept of international law'...

"At the outset it should be recognized that the enunciation of the 'Jewish people' concept or claim in public law-making contexts involves an assertion of jurisdiction over Jews in the United States. The enunciation, consequently, involves implementation as well...

"The double loyalty issue is... recognized by some of the Zionist elite and dealt with in apparent double talk. For example, Mr Berl Locker, speaking as chairman of the Zionist Executive at a Session of the Zionist General Council, stated as one of 'the basic doctrines of Zionism in the present day': 'The State of Israel lays no claim to the political loyalty of Jews resident in other countries. Jews are good citizens in all countries of their domicile and especially in the countries in which they enjoy equal rights. But Jews as a community do possess a collective loyalty to the State of Israel, as Israel is the national home of the entire Jewish people.'

"On its face this statement is simply double talk since it can be interpreted textually as meaning either single or double loyalty. A Zionist statement, however, must usually be interpreted in greater depth than 'on its face'. The italics in the original indicate, of course, the relatively greater significance of the italicized statement concerning the loyalty of Jews to the State of Israel. Further analysis requires a basic understanding of Zionist public law. Such law is concerned almost exclusively with collective rights and duties consistent with the collective 'Jewish people' concept. From this perspective the statements which are not in italics have no Zionist significance since they are only concerned with individual  Jews ('good citizens'). The italicized statement concerns the Zionist concept of the 'entire Jewish people as well as the lower level concept of 'Jews as a community.' Since Zionism is concerned with collective rights and duties this is the only part of the quotation which has meaning to Zionists.

"The contemporary implementation of the 'Jewish people' concept continues to emphasize the immigration of Jews living in 'exile' or in the 'diaspora' (the Zionist terms for Jews who are nationals of any state other than the State of Israel) to Israel. In view of the substantial failure of Zionist recruitment of Jewish immigrants in the United States, Zionism has developed other major political objectives within this country which are conducted in spite of the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Between the United States and Israel which deny authority to conduct such activities. Each of these objectives is documented in the 1963 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing concerning the 'Activities of Nondiplomatic Representatives of Foreign Principals in the United States.' Perhaps the most important and comprehensive one is to conduct Zionist political activities in the United States as if they were genuine American activities. A related objective includes the domination of the mass media of communications with Zionist-Israel political viewpoints presented to make them appear to be American ones."

Most interesting those last two sentences.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Birds of a Feather

"Representatives from the Jewish community were among the VIPS who welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sydney at a reception on Monday night... Sitting in the front row with NSW Premier Mike Baird and other dignitaries was NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinak, who congratulated Modi on the speech he delivered to 20,000 people at Sydney Olympic Park." (Jewish leaders meet Indian PM, The Australian Jewish News, 21/11/14)

"Mr Modi's links with hardline Hindu groups, especially the Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, continue to worry many from religious minorities in India. There was a clear reminder of this when about 300 members of Sydney's Sikh community staged a protest outside Allphones Arena where Mr Modi spoke on Monday. Karandeep Singh Chadha, a spokesman for the protesters, says many people from religious minorities in India do not feel safe and that groups associating with Mr Modi have an 'agenda to make India a Hindu Nation' by wiping out other religions." (Protesters shadow the visits of Chinese and Indian leaders, Matt Wade & John Garnaut, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/11/14)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dross & Gold in The Weekend Australian

Conflating ISIL violence with Palestinian resistance to JSIL violence, hyping JSIL as a bastion of anti-terrorism and a bulwark of civilisation, urging Australia to adopt a more pro-JSIL 'narrative', and claiming that JSIL and Australia are made of the same stuff, takes a special kind of chutzpah, but, make no mistake, Israel's ambassador to Australia, Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, has proven equal to the task:

"At a meeting of the UNSC this week Australia brought the focus of the council on to the topic of countering terrorism. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop contended that in order to adequately address terrorism, the UN must work together to learn from, and support one another in efforts to root out the perpetrators of radical violence. I applaud this initiative of Australia's, because Israel for decades has been one of the most consistent victims of radical religiously motivated violence, but we cannot fight it alone. As Bishop remarked, radical Islamic terrorists 'are an affront to Islam. All of us, including Muslim communities themselves, must do more to negate the violent extremist narratives of terrorists and denounce radical preachers of hate in our midst'. Israel sits at the frontline of the terrorists' threat and to curtail their radical dystopia from consuming the civilised world a strong and prosperous Israel is vital. This is why free and democratic countries, like Australia, should forge a strong alternative narrative of their own, that can counter the narrative of violence stoked by militant Palestinians and Islamic State. To recognise that an attack on Israeli citizens is an attack on the same fundamental ideals upon which countries like Australia were built: this is the narrative that will demonstrate to Islamic extremists that when they attack Israel - when they desecrate peaceful faith - they attack a camaraderie of nations that will not tolerate violence as a political tool." (Terror: the enemy of Palestinian statehood, The Australian, 22/11/14)

But if Ben-Shmuel's transparent sales pitch on page 15 of The Weekend Australian was its dross, Middle East correspondent John Lyons' factual and well-researched feature on the rampant Israeli colonisation fueling Palestinian desperation was its gold, effectively nailing  Ben-Shmuel's blatant hasbara:

Where the ambassador prattled on about "a grotesque theatre of violence perpetuated by a ruthless band of Palestinian extremists," and "bands of disgruntled and radicalised Palestinians [taking] matters into their own hands," Lyons wrote of "a gang of about 50 masked men [who] left Yitzhar, home to some of the most violent settlers on the West Bank, and attacked Palestinians as soldiers standing near watched on," and "armed gangs which frequently roam the West Bank destroying olive trees owned by Palestinians or attacking Palestinians physically." (Settlers fuel cycle of bloodshed)

Where Ben-Shmuel paid the obligatory lip service to "sustainable statehood for Palestinians," Lyons made no bones about the fact that the Israeli government was working to make this impossible: "While the new battle for Al-Aqsa is the immediate cause of the violence the longer-term cause is Israel's continuing expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank... They are systematically eating up land which Palestinians say should be their state and are often being built on privately owned Palestinian land... Anyone who drives across the West Bank today will see a skyline dominated by Jewish settlements."

That said, I do have one quibble in relation to Lyons' report. It comes with his initial framing of the Palestine/Israel conflict as "a new round of hostility between these two ancient combatants."

This is not an ancient struggle stretching back to the mythical 'time immemorial'. It's actually no older than World War I, when the British government of the day, in an act of monumental folly, climbed into bed with Chaim Weizmann's Zionist Organisation, and duly gave birth, in November 1917, to a right little bastard known as the Balfour Declaration. And the rest, as they say, is history - with which I expect Lyons to be familiar.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our Most Recently Rambammed

Sarah Ferguson: How do you account for [the Israel lobby] wielding so much power?
Bob Carr: I think political donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel
(7.30 Report, 9/4/14)

The names of the four journalists recently rambammed by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (but not divulged in last week's Australian Jewish News - see my 15/11/14 post Why So Coy? 2) have at last appeared in this week's AJN, along with some of their deathless 'insights'.

Drum roll (or should that be shofar blast?):

David Wroe, Fairfax's defence and national security correspondent:

"Commenting on why the international media is harder on the Israelis than the Palestinians [???!!!], Wroe said it does 'expect more' from Israel. '[They] are the grown-ups [???!!!] in this conflict. They are a relatively wealthy democracy [???!!!], a sophisticated country with high education levels, they have the support of the world's most powerful country. We hold them to a higher standard [???!!!]. Does that let the Palestinians off the hook too frequently, yes, almost certainly, I wouldn't deny that. They literally do get away with murder'." (Media's double standards, 21/11/14)

I imagine Gideon Levy's piece, reproduced in my 28/10/14 post Palestinian Resistance 101, would be wasted on this goose.

Joe Aston, Australian Financial Review columnist and Nine Network roving reporter:

"... said 'very sadly' that he thought peace was 'a dream in the medium term'. 'When [PA president Mahmoud] Abbas talks about the attempted murder of Rabbi Glick and observes that it was committed by a martyr, a hero, it makes a lot of his statements in English very meaningless [but] I think Bibi's continued establishment of settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem is, if not central, certainly incendiary... certainly announcing growth in those settlements during the Kerry negotiations was a difficult sell for Israel'."


Laura Jayes, Sky News political reporter "was unavailable to present on the evening."


Rowan Dean, editor, The Spectator Australia:

"The crux of the matter is, quite simply, the Palestinians are not interested in anything that allows a Jewish majority state to exist alongside them. Their TV programs, their crossword puzzles, their kids' books are all about demeaning Jews. Arabs are told from birth that Jews are really subhuman and to be got rid of'."

Pretty hardcore, eh? No wonder, this bloke's got real form - just click on the label below.

OK, that's that lot then, but we still don't know who the 4 journalists are who were rambammed by AIJAC at the same time - see my 15/11/14 post Why So Coy? 2.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Paul Sheehan: Toeing the Likud Line

Twice-rambammed (2006 & 2008) Sydney Morning Herald calumnist Paul Sheehan just couldn't help himself.

With the leader of Jewish State in the Levant (JSIL) having recently laid down the latest Likud party line, namely, that ISIL and Hamas "are branches of the same poisonous tree," all his Fairfax acolyte down under had to do was toe it:

"Although this attack appears to have nothing to do with Islamic State, it was the latest in a series of attacks on Jews by Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent weeks, the same blood fever that has led hundreds of young men... to travel from throughout the Muslim diaspora to join the butchery of Islamic State..." (Jews bare [sic] the brunt for naive hatred of Israel, 19/11/14)

And omit, of course, any mention whatever of the "blood fever" that has JSIL fanatics butchering occupied Palestinians, or "intransigents" as Sheehan styles them:

"The core basis of hostility to Israel is a lack of acknowledgment that most of the constrictive actions Israel has taken in the Palestinian territories - the walls, roadblocks, security restrictions - has been in reaction to an intransigent Palestinian political culture, a template set in place 45 years ago by the corruption and rejectionism of the first Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat..."

OK, I knew your eyes would be rolling at this nonsense. But guess what? So did Sheehan:

"Israel's arguments are routinely greeted with eye-rolling cynicism, as if the Israelis are the bullies of the Middle East..."

As if... FFS!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Playing With Fire in Jerusalem: 2014 & 1929

Yesterday's attack by two Palestinians on a West Jerusalem synagogue is a stark reminder that those Israelis who would mess with the status quo on occupied Arab East Jerusalem's Haram ash-Sharif are playing with fire. This has been acknowledged by no less than the head of Israel's Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen:

"While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly points an accusing finger at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Israel's top secret security service said Tuesday he did not believe Abbas was responsible for the current round of terror and violence... According to the Shin Bet head, the central factors behind the current violence were the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir... and attempts by Israeli legislators to change the status-quo on the Temple Mount. According to Cohen, visits by right-wing MKs and attempts to introduce legislation which would change the status quo on the flashpoint holy site were the main factors for rising tensions in East Jerusalem... 'The religious aspect which latches onto the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict is very dangerous and volatile because it has implications on the Palestinians and Muslims around the world. We must do everything we can to defuse the current tensions,' Cohen said." (Shin Bet chief: Abbas is not inciting terror, Attila Somfalvi,, 18/11/14)

Those possessing more than a nodding acquaintance with modern Palestinian history may recall the events in Jerusalem and Hebron of August 1929 and see a parallel with the situation today. The following vivid account of those events is by American journalist Vincent Sheean:

"The disorders of Friday resulted in many deaths among both Jews and Arabs (the Arabs including Christians as well as Moslems), and the impulse of murder continued for a week. At the end of the terror the official roll for Jerusalem was: 29 Jews and 38 Arabs killed, 43 Jews and 51 Arabs wounded...

"The horrors of Friday in Jerusalem were followed by something much worse: the ghastly outbreak at Hebron, where 64 Jews of the old-fashioned religious community were slaughtered and 54 of them wounded. Hebron was one of the four holy cities of Judaism, and had a small, constant Jewish population since medieval days. These were not Zionists at all; a more innocent and harmless group of people could not have been found in Palestine; many of them were Oriental Jews, and all were religious. They had had nothing to do with the Zionist excesses [in Jerusalem], and had lived in amity with their Arab neighbours up to that day. But when the Arabs of Hebron - an unruly lot, at best - heard that Arabs were being killed by Jews in Jerusalem, and that the Mosque of Omar was in danger, they went mad... the Jewish houses were rushed by the mob, and there was an hour of slashing, killing, stabbing, burning and looting...

"I cannot, at this late date, go through all the story of that week; it has been told over and over again... At the end of the disturbances the official British casualty lists showed 207 dead and 379 wounded among the population of Palestine, of which the dead included 87 Arabs (Christian and Moslem) and 120 Jews, the wounded 181 Arabs and 198 Jews...

"The effort to be an efficient, unemotional newspaper correspondent was difficult to the point of impossibility. Living as I did without sleep and without rest, eating little, and that at the weirdest hours, I should probably have collapsed in time simply from physical exhaustion. But there was a great deal more in it than that. I was bitterly indignant with the Zionists for having, as I believed, brought on this disaster*; I was shocked into hysteria by the ferocity of the Arab anger; and I was aghast at the inadequacy of the British government. I knew that the Moslem authorities were trying to quell the storm, and that the British officials were doing their best against appalling difficulties; I also assumed that the responsible Zionist leaders (none of whom were in Palestine then) had done what they could. But all around me were the visible evidences of their failure. Although I had spent a good part of my life amid scenes of violence and was no stranger to the sight of blood and dying men, I had never overcome my loathing for the spectacle even when it seemed, as in some of the conflicts I had witnessed, compelled by historical necessity. But here, in this miserable little country, no bigger, in relation to the rest of the world, than the tip of your finger in relation to your body, I could see no historical necessity whatever. The country was tiny and already inhabited: why couldn't the Zionists leave it alone? It would never hold enough Jews to make even a beginning towards the solution of the Jewish problem; it would always be a prey to such ghastly horrors as those I saw every day and every night: religion, the eternal intransigence of religion, ensured that the problem could never be solved. The Holy Land seemed as near an approximation of hell on earth as I had ever seen." (Personal History, 1935; quoted in From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism & the Palestine Problem Until 1948, Edited by Walid Khalidi, 1971, pp 298-300)

Britain's 1930 Shaw Commission, charged with the task of investigating these events, concluded that their immediate cause was: "The long series of incidents connected with the Wailing Wall... but the incident among them which in our view contributed most to the outbreak was the Jewish demonstration at the Wailing Wall on 15 August 1929."

"The fundamental cause, without which in our opinion disturbances either would not have occurred or would not have been little more than a local riot," the Commission concluded, "is the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future... The feeling as it exists today is based on the twofold fear of the Arabs that by Jewish immigration and land purchases they may be deprived of their livelihood and in time pass under the political domination of the Jews."

If, for Sheehan, Palestine in 1929 was "as near an approximation of hell on earth as I had ever seen," one can only wonder what he'd make of it today.

[*These were the 'Maccabees', armed followers of Vladimir Jabotinsky, godfather of Revisionist Zionism, the movement which, in its current Likud incarnation, now governs Israel. Netanyahu's fire-eating father, Benzion, was Jabotinsky's secretary. See my 24/9/11 post Benzion, My Father.]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shlomo Sand: To Be a Jew in Israel

Essential reading from Shlomo Sand's whistle-blowing must-read How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014):

"To be a Jew in the State of Israel does not mean that you have to respect the commandments or believe in the God of the Jews. You are allowed, like David Ben-Gurion, to dabble in Buddhist beliefs. You may, like Ariel Sharon, eat locusts while keeping a kosher household. You may keep your head uncovered, as do the majority of Israeli political and military leaders. In most Israeli towns, public transport does not operate on the Shabbat, but you should feel free to use your own car as much as you like. You may gesticulate and hurl insults at a football stadium on the sacred day of rest, and no religious politician will dare protest. Even on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, children freely play on their bicycles in every courtyard in the city. As long as they do not come from Arabs, anti-Jewish abominations remain legitimate in the state of the Jews.

"What is the meaning, then, of being 'Jewish' in the State of Israel? There is no doubt about it: being Jewish in Israel means, first and foremost, being a privileged citizen who enjoys prerogatives refused to those who are not Jews, and particularly those who are Arabs. If you are a Jew, you are able to identify with the state that proclaims itself the expression of the Jewish essence. If you are a Jew, you can buy land that a non-Jewish citizen is not allowed to acquire. If you are a Jew, even if you speak only a stumbling Hebrew and envisage staying in Israel only temporarily, you can be governor of the Bank of Israel, which employs only four Israeli Arabs in subordinate positions out of a staff of seven hundred. If you are a Jew, you can be minister of foreign affairs and live permanently in a settlement located outside the legal borders of the state, alongside Palestinian neighbours deprived of all civic rights as well as sovereignty over themselves. If you are a Jew, you can not only establish colonies on land that does not belong to you, but can also travel through Judea and Samaria on roads that the local inhabitants, living in their own country, do not have the right to use. If you are a Jew, you will not be stopped at roadblocks, you will not be tortured, you will not have your house searched in the middle of the night, you will not be targeted nor will you see your house demolished by mistake. These actions, which have continued for close to fifty years, are designed and reserved solely for Arabs.

"In the State of Israel in the early twenty-first century, does it not appear that being a Jew corresponds to being a white in the southern United States in the 1950s or a French person in Algeria before 1962? Does not the status of Jews in Israel resemble that of the Afrikaners in South Africa before 1994? And is it possible that it might soon resemble the status of the Aryan in Germany in the 1930s? (Resemblance has its limits, however: I utterly reject the least comparison with Germany in the 1940s.)

"How, in these conditions, can individuals who are not religious believers but are simply humanists, democrats and liberals, and endowed with a minimum of honesty, continue to define themselves as Jews? In these conditions, can the descendants of the persecuted let themselves be embraced in the tribe of new secular Jews who see Israel as their exclusive property? Is not the very fact of defining oneself as a Jew within the State of Israel an act of affiliation to a privileged caste which creates intolerable injustices around itself?" (pp 85-7)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shlomo Sand: The 'New Jews'

Essential reading from Shlomo Sand's whistle-blowing must-read, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014):

"According to the spirit of its laws, the State of Israel belongs more to non-Israelis than it does to its citizens who live there. It claims to be the national inheritance more of the world's 'new Jews' (for instance, Paul Wolfowitz, former president of the World Bank; Michael Levy, the well-known British philanthropist and peer in the House of Lords; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Vladimir Gusinsky, the Russian media oligarch who lives in Spain) than of the 20% of its citizens identified as Arabs, whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born within its territory. Various nabobs of Jewish origin from around the world thus feel the right to intervene in Israeli life; through massive investment in the media and the political apparatus, they increasingly seek to influence its leaders and its orientation.

"Intellectuals who know well that the state of the Jews is their own also figure among the ranks of the 'new Jews'. Bernard-Henri Levi, Alan Dershowitz, Alexandre Adler, Howard Jacobson, David Horowitz, Henryk M. Broder and numerous other champions of Zionism, active in various fields of the mass media, are quite clear about their political preferences. Contrary to what Moscow meant for Communists abroad in former times, or Beijing for the Maoists of the 1960s, Jerusalem really is their property. They have no need to know the history or the geography of the place, nor are they obligated to learn its languages (Hebrew or Arabic), to work there or pay taxes, or - thank heaven! - to serve in its army. It is enough to make a short visit to Israel, readily obtain an identity card, and acquire a secondary residence there before returning immediately to their national culture and their mother tongue, while remaining in perpetuity a co-proprietor of the Jewish state - and all this simply for having been lucky enough to be born of a Jewish mother.

"The Arab inhabitants of Israel, on the other hand, if they marry a Palestinian of the opposite sex in the occupied territories, do not have the right to bring their spouses to live in Israel, for fear that they will become citizens and thereby increase the number of non-Jews in the Promised Land.

"That last assertion, in fact, requires a certain amplification. If an immigrant identified as Jewish arrives from Russia or the United States along with his non-Jewish wife, the latter will have the right to citizenship. However, even if the spouse and her children are never considered Jews, the fact that they are not Arab will prevail over the fact of not being Jewish. 'White' immigrants from Europe or America, even if not Jewish, have always enjoyed somewhat tolerant treatment. To diminish the demographic weight of the Arabs, it is judged better to weaken the Jewish state through non-Jewish dilution, so long as the newcomers are white Europeans." (pp 84-85)

Next post: Shlomo Sand: To be a Jew in Israel

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Much Can a Koala Bear?


No sooner has Tony Abbott declared that Australia was "nothing but bush" and "extraordinarily basic and raw" before the coming of the White Man in 1788 than he's draping G20 summit attendees with... koala bears. (Kissing koalas charm G20 leaders,, 16/11/14)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why So Coy? 2

Sarah Ferguson: How do you account for [the Israel lobby] wielding so much power?
Bob Carr: I think political donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel (7.30 Report, 9/4/14)


For the second time the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and AIJAC have shied away from naming those who've just returned from one of their joint Journalists Missions:

"Four journalists who participated in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies' recent mission to Israel will report on their experiences and impressions next Monday, November 17, 7.30pm at Central Synagogue. The intensive week-long program included a visit to Sderot, a tour of Yad Vashem, and briefings from Prime Minister's spokesperson Mark Regev and other top authorities. The group also heard from Palestinian spokespersons in Ramallah and visited a Druze village. '[The mission] gave the participants rare access to key players across the board,' JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff, who accompanied the journalists, said. 'We encourage members of the community to turn out to hear what they have to say.'... The group was accompanied by four journalists who travelled as guests of AIJAC." (Journos to report back, Australian Jewish News, 14/11/14)

Is this omission of names becoming a trend? If so, could it perhaps be in response to my popular file - I've been to Israel too, 30/3/09 - in which the names of those journalists and politicians who just can't help themselves are recorded on an ongoing basis?

Palestine & Labor's Funding Dilemma

Former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr is confidently predicting a shift to a more pro-Palestine position in the ALP:

"If a backbencher in the next Labor government rises at caucus to move that Australia recognise a Palestinian state, I would expect it to be carried overwhelmingly - even on the voices as it was at the recent Queensland and NSW party conferences." (Letter to The Australian, 12/11/14)

A potential problem for the party, however, lies in its need to fund election campaigns. Without a system of taxpayer-funded elections, raising funds can be an expensive business, and political donations from wealthy individuals in the Jewish community have long been an important source of campaign funding for the party.

In his recent book, Diary of a Foreign Minister, for example, Carr quotes former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd as saying that Jewish political donations made up about one-fifth of Labor's funding for the 2007 federal election. This money, of course, is predicated on Labor adopting a position of blind, uncritical support for Israel. Should it deviate from this, ever so slightly, as Rudd found in 2010, this is what can happen:

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

It seems that British Labor too is in a similar bind:

"The Labour party is facing desertion by Jewish donors and supporters because of Ed Miliband's 'toxic' anti-Israel stance over Gaza and Palestine. In a fresh headache for the Labour leader, it is understood that Mr Miliband has been warned that Jewish backers are deserting the party in droves over what community leaders perceive to be a new, aggressive pro-Palestine policy at the expense of Israeli interests... [A] previous donor said they had been asked by the party to arrange a fundraising dinner for Jewish Labour supporters but had found no takers. 'Miliband won't get that [money], I can tell you that now,' he said. 'I was going to do a couple of dinners and invite prominent members of the community, who are quite wealthy, to raise funds. They just wouldn't touch it. It was too toxic for them to even consider. There is a lot of reluctance to support Miliband financially, unfortunately.'... Prominent Jewish supporters say problems started in the summer with Mr Miliband's aggressive condemnation of Israel's ground incursion into Gaza last August, which he described as 'wrong and unjustifiable'. He accused David Cameron of being wrong not to have condemned the land operation and claimed that 'Israel was losing friends in the international community day by day'. This was followed by a decision to whip a vote calling on the Government to unilaterally recognise Palestine - against long-standing British and Labour policy that recognition should only be part of a negotiated two-state settlement. That decision was opposed by a number of senior Labour MPs - including at least two shadow cabinet ministers - who warned it would haemorrhage Jewish support... A number of Jewish former Labour supporters also compared Mr Miliband's stance on Gaza unfavourably with David Cameron's, which, they suggested, had been calibrated to ensure that prominent Tory Jewish supporters stayed on board." (Labour funding crisis: Jewish donors drop 'toxic' Ed Miliband, Oliver Wright,, 9/11/14)

What a fine state of affairs, where political parties must calibrate their foreign policy to suit those who, while comfortably domiciled in places such as Australia or Britain, entertain fantasies that Palestine actually belongs to them.

[*See my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy.]

Friday, November 14, 2014

30 US Neocons Screw 13 Million+ Arabs for Israel

"Warning that the world was growing numb to the worsening crisis in Syria and Iraq, in which at least 13.6 million people had been displaced from their homes, the United Nations appealed to western countries to open their borders and make good on donation pledges." (As 13.6m people displaced, UN appeals to West for help, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald,13/11/14)

"In the course of the past year [2002-03], a new belief has emerged in [Washington]: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history. They believe that the right political idea entails a fusion of morality and force, human rights and grit. The philosophical underpinnings of the Washington neoconservatives are the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Edmund Burke. They also admire Winston Churchill and the policy pursued by Ronald Reagan. They tend to read reality in terms of the failure of the 1930s (Munich) versus the success of the 1980s (the fall of the Berlin Wall)." (White man's burden, Ari Shavit, Haaretz, 3/4/03)

"What characterizes neoconservatives is not only their ideology... but also their personal interconnectedness in terms of organizations, publications, schooling, and even blood. Of crucial importance... is how the neocons, over the years, identified closely with the interests of Israel, and how their Middle East agenda paralleled that of the Israeli Likudnik right. In fact, much of the neocon approach to the Middle East can be seen to have originated in Likudnik thinking. And the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon worked in tandem with the neocons in supporting both the war on Iraq and later militant policies toward Iran and Syria. The overarching goal of both the neocons and the Likudniks was to create an improved strategic environment for Israel... to weaken and fragment Israel's Middle East adversaries and concomitantly increase Israel's relative strength, both externally and internally." (The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, & the National Interest of Israel, Stephen J Sniegoski, 2008,pp 4-5)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Australian Fangs Bob Carr

If Murdoch's Australian is really, as it it hypes itself on its masthead, The Heart of the Nation, then I'm afraid it's a black one.  
Robert Manne, in his 2011 Quarterly Essay on the paper, Bad News: Murdoch's Australian & the Shaping of the Nation, correctly described it as "unusually ideological... committed to advancing the causes of neoliberalism in economics and neoconservatism in... foreign policy... a remorseless campaigning paper."

He went on in his essay to discuss The Australian's various ideological campaigns, whether against 'the Left', black armband historians, The Greens, the ABC, the Rudd government, those opposed to Australian involvement in Iraq, and what it has lately taken to calling, in the area of climate science, 'warmists'. But (for reasons best known to himself) Manne devoted no space whatever to The Australian's wholly uncritical and unrelenting editorial support for the state of Israel, something that renders it indistinguishable from the Likudnik Australian Jewish News.

The latest example, its editorial of November 11, targets former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, a relatively recent, but quite blessedly public, defector from the ranks of those who can be relied on to toe the line on Israel at every turn.

More venomous than the taipan, more mendacious than Pinocchio, more furious than the proverbial woman scorned, a mere extract suffices:

"If this were only a random display of relevance deprivation syndrome by Mr Carr in his dotage it would be sad. But the one-time premier of NSW is a consummate operator with an eye for a headline and a nose for mischief. We cannot say what is in his heart, but his analysis is deeply flawed and deserves to be exposed. In some ways Mr Carr is falling into the Left's posture trap of late that has seen Labor MP Melissa Parke in lock step with the ratbags of the sorry boycott, divestment and sanctions cavalcade that lays the blame for the ills of the Middle East on Israel. On the other hand, of course, are the rabid Holocaust deniers. It's an ugly pincer movement that is trying to assault not just a vibrant democracy but the only functioning one in that troubled region. Far from being a polity of fanatics, Israel is a pluralist, if sometimes rowdy and passionate, state that does not discriminate against Palestinians; its laws are ethnically blind. An incendiary term such as apartheid does Mr Carr no credit, drawing a parallel between two systems, histories and struggles that are unrelated. Palestinians have lived well in Israel and have enjoyed all the rights of normal citizenship. Some have pointed to the dividing wall on the West Bank as an act of hostility, but Israel has an obligation to protect its children from the clear and present threat of attack. No one wants to see atrocities such as car bombs at school bus stops, but this is the grim reality for Israelis." (Bob Carr's ludicrous epiphany: Israel is a beacon for democracy in a hostile region)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Popping Popeye

Next time you see an Australian politician on TV strutting his stuff in front of an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce backdrop, think of Popeye:

"Australia is quietly exporting dozens of missiles to other countries to try to recoup some of the $200 million it has wasted on them in botched military purchases*... The deals have been conducted without publicity... because they are an embarrassing reminder of failed defence projects that have cost taxpayers more than $1.4 billion... Defence has also sold two of its Israeli-built, air-to-surface, Popeye AGM-142 missiles to South Korea... the remainder were disposed of by 'explosive demolition'." (Missiles go cheap: defence's fire sale, Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 11/11/14)

But where the Defence Department is concerned, Popeye's not all that's getting popped:

"Sensitive Department of Defence documents are being regularly destroyed by defence bureaucrats, with erased files including abuse scandals at Duntroon, 'chemical and biological warfare', and 'treatment of Indonesians captured in Malaysia (in 1964-65)'... Fairfax Media can reveal only about 0.3% of surviving Defence records for 1957 to 1987 are listed on the National Archives' electronic database, and even fewer are publicly 'open', effectively shielding the vast bulk of files from public scrutiny." (Defence records being destroyed & kept secret, Greg Pemberton, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/11/14)

[*"In the late 1990s, the RAAF purchased the AGM-142 Popeye missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense systems for use on the F-111 bombers. Due to integration problems, their use was delayed until 2006, just 4 years prior to the bombers end of service." (Wrist-slapping unlikely to halt Israeli military sales to Australia, Henry Lebovic,, 19/12/12)]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Dogs of (World) War (I)

"The Armistice [of 11/11/1918] ended four years of bloodshed and heartache across Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia." (Today's Herald editorial: Remembrance Day: complacency is our enemy)

Right, and then the BritZ and the French unleashed those two savage mongrels, the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) and the Balfour Declaration (1917), on a war-ravaged Middle East.

Bob Carr Mugged By Usual Suspects

Bob Carr's declared transition from Labor Friends of Israel (1977) to Labor Friends of Palestine (2014) has the usual suspects ducking for cover or jumping up and down. What a pathetic rabble they are:

"As the party prepares for a rancorous ALP national conference battle over the issue [of recognising Palestinian statehood], several of Mr Carr's former colleagues moved to distance themselves from his comments - or openly attack him. Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said recognition of Palestinian statehood must occur in the context of a negotiated peace process. 'I don't think we should diminish the seriousness of the apartheid struggle in South Africa,'* the opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman told Sky News's Viewpoint." ('Pope' Carr raises party ire on Israel apartheid claim, Jared Owens/Verity Edwards, The Australian, 10/11/14)

Here's South Africa's Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils writing about his visit to Israel in 2007:

"We are leaving through Tel Aviv airport and the Israeli official catches my accent. 'Are you South African?' he asks in an unmistakable Gauteng accent. The young man left Benoni as a child in 1985. 'How's Israel?' I ask. 'This is a f**cked-up place,' he laughs, 'I'm leaving for Australia soon.' 'Down under?' I think. I've just been, like Alice, down under into a surreal world that is infinitely worse than apartheid." (Israel 2007: worse than apartheid, Mail & Guardian, 21/5/07)

But then what would he know?

"Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby... called Mr Carr 'the Pope of Social Democracy' pronouncing party policy. 'Bob Carr never says anything about the 7 million peaceful Tibetans living under Chinese oppression,' he said. 'He has never said anything about the 300,000 North Koreans in concentration camps. He said little about the 200,000 dead in Syria, or the Christians and other minorities facing death right across the Middle East,' Mr Danby, one of two Jewish federal Labor MPs, told The Australian."

Funny how Labor's unofficial Minister for Israel, Israel, and Israel, in that order, only ever pipes up on Tibet etc whenever a thinking politician has the guts to point out the bleeding obvious in relation to Palestine.

"Josh Frydenberg, the Coalition's only Jewish MP, attacked Mr Carr as a 'lazy' minister and a 'dilletante' on foreign affairs. 'This grandstanding by Bob Carr is all about him. It is nothing else but an obsession on Bob Carr's part,' Mr Frydenberg told Sky News's Australian Agenda. 'I just think it is because he has got relevance-deprivation syndrome. He was a failure as a state premier, he was a failure as a foreign minister'."

Well, what else is he going to say?

[*Carr had said: "... an indefinite occupation morphs into the extremists' goal of a Greater Israel. With one catch. It will have two classes of citizen. 'A term used about another country on another continent', Ehud Barak told me when I as foreign minister discussed this very dilemma. The word is apartheid, of course... and the only word that can be applied if, within one nation, there is one set of laws for one race and an inferior set for the other - the other being the majority." (Why I'm now a friend of Palestine, The Australian, 8/11/14)]

Monday, November 10, 2014

Geraldine Doogue, Rapt

Seems like Geraldine Doogue just can't get through her Saturday Extra slot on Radio National without some of that good old Israeli PR stuff:

"Israel's surveillance relies almost entirely on human intelligence, primarily Palestinians living in the occupied territories, that are recruited by Israel's secret security service Shin Bet. One of the most notorious cases involves the son of a Hamas founder, 17-year-old Mosab Hassan Yousef, who was recruited in the late 1990s to spy on his own people for over a decade. He was given the code name The Green Prince. And his relationship with his Israeli handler Gonen Itzhak was unconventional to say the least. A new documentary screening in Australia this week brings Mosab Yousef's story to the screen for the first time."  (The Green Prince)


"He was groomed to be a future leader of Hamas," exulted her guest, Israeli film maker Nadav Schirman, "he is a real prince of Hamas."

"The story of [his] relationship [with his handler]," Schirman explained, "is a story of hope, of friendship transcending politics."

Geraldine, of course, gets the wobblies with just about any Israeli guest but how could this one have known about her childhood passion for fairy tales? Spooky!

"When you're in Ramallah," she gushed, "you can see Jerusalem. You can touch it. Now that can be a threat... or an unbelievable possibility."

Back in Jerusalem, knuckle-dragging Jewish mobs may have been combing the streets, baying for Arab blood, but nothing could penetrate the charmed circle inhabited by Geraldine and her guest at the RN studio here in Sydney.

"We [colonising Israelis and colonised Palestinians, that is] are very close," he rhapsodised, "sons and daughters of the same region."


Incredibly, Geraldine managed to shake the spell just long enough to venture the following observation:  

"We, my producer and I, were intrigued by the psychological profile of Mosab himself and we didn't necessarily feel your film asked all those questions about whether this man was a stable man. He did this betrayal of his own people. As he said: 'To work for Israel is worse than raping your own mother' so he did this amazing betrayal and I still couldn't quite understand why."

Which led to the following extraordinary riff by Schirman, so extraordinary that I am compelled to interrupt with a succession of reality checks where required lest Shin Bet HQ be inundated with half-witted Hamas terrorists hammering on its door and demanding some of what Mosab's on. Oh, and also because the lovely Geraldine was obviously so smitten the last thing that would have occurred to her was to interrupt his flow with a question - if you know what I mean:

"This is at the heart of the film because when you talk to Shin Bet agents and handlers, motivation, why would somebody work for Israel? Why would a source betray their own people and work for the enemy? That's the motivation... Motivation is something that evolves over time so that there's not one reason why Mosab did it... Now when you see the film... you'll see that his first motivation was revenge. He said, 'Yes, I'll work for the Israelis because I wanna kill one.' Then he's sent to prison as part of his cover and then he realises Hamas is torturing their own people for no reason..."

Right, so its Hamas, not Shin Bet, that does the torturing. So glad we got that one right.

"... so he's confused because he grew up to be a prince in Hamas..."

Notice how what began as a code word has taken on a life of its own with Schirman.

"... and then he goes to meet the Shin Bet again expecting them to be manipulating him but no, they're like, no listen, you've gotta be a good student, you've gotta respect your parents, you've gotta be a good Muslim, pray 5 times a day, you've gotta finish your school, and he's confused but he's very curious."

Sucked in!

"You have to understand Mosab grew up in a devout Muslim family. The first time he saw a movie was when he was 22. All he knew was Islam, and all of a sudden the Shin Bet handlers are teaching him about democracy, the rule of law, they're teaching him about the constitution... about philosophy."

Schirman's tripping here.

Democracy? For Palestinians?  
The rule of law? For Palestinians?  
The constitution? Israel doesn't have one FFS!
Philosophy? Give me a break!

"His mind is expanding so he's learning a lot..."

Now I did say Schirman's tripping, didn't I?

"... and then he's a kid and he gets to play James Bond."

Hang on, I thought he'd been groomed to be a prince? What's this James Bond nonsense? So much for the efficacy of Hamas grooming.

"You know, the Palestinians of the West Bank lived under Israeli occupation so there's a lot of barriers."

This must have come as something of a revelation to Geraldine.

"They can't go everywhere they want but he has a special permit, he can go everywhere. There's freedom, there's power, another motivation. There's the excitement and most important as he grows as a young man internally he comes to understand that he's doing the right thing. He's preventing terror attacks so he's helping not only the Israelis, the Americans, the Australians who happen to be visiting and sitting on a bus and can be blown up."

So Shin Bet dungeon's are really just reform schools for wayward Palestinian youths who didn't know right from wrong until ripped from their beds at 2 pm in the morning by Shin Bet operatives, sorry, educators?

"He's also helping his own people because of the retaliation cycle..."

Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate, Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate, Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate... got that listeners?

"... so he believes he's doing the right thing, and most importantly, I asked him, 'Mosab, how can you sleep under the same roof as your parents and betray them' and he's like 'I was earning money, I was putting food on the table of my family. The fact that I worked for the Israelis kept my father alive. My father was on the kill list. The fact that I collaborated with the Israelis helped keep him alive so am I a traitor or am I helping them?'"

There you go... the only way for a Palestinian youth to get his Dad off the Shin Bet kill list is to agree to inform on him. Right...

"One just has to open their mind and understand him."

Geraldine: Hm...

Seeing Geraldine's completely lost for words, which is kind of unusual for her to say the least, allow me to ask the bleeding obvious of Schirman: Nadav, since Mosab's now shacked up with Israel's bitch, aka the USA, and experimenting with Christianity and yoga,* does that mean Dad's back on the Shin Bet kill list? Oh, and If Israel's so hot, why isn't Mosab living there? Hm?

[*"I believe by daily [yoga] practice every morning and breathing to clear our minds from pollution, from all type of mental intoxications, we are able to handle the challenges of life, the challenges of the mind that we create for ourselves, better." (Mosab Hassan Yousef, quoted in Yoga, Hamas & hope: The story behind The Green Prince, Hannah Brown, The Jerusalem Post, 24/5/14)]

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bob Carr: Nagging Questions Remain

Whilst I welcome politicians finally seeing the light on the subject of Jewish State, and going public with it, their enlightenment is invariably less than 100 watt.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr is a classic example of the phenomenon, as his address to the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) on Friday night, reprinted in part in The Weekend Australian, reveals.

Some excerpts, annotated:

"Pennant Hills Golf Club in Sydney is an unusual place for an epiphany on the changes in Israel. Still, it was there I met a Christian volunteer who went to the occupied territories to escort Palestinian children to school, to protect them from verbal and physical violence by Israeli settlers. Violence against Arab kids? Christian volunteers to protect them? From Jewish settlers? None of this was around in 1977 when I rented a room in Sydney Trades Hall and called on Bob Hawke, ACTU president, to help me launch Labor Friends of Israel. In 1977 the Israeli occupation was 10 years old. There were 25,000 settlers. It was easy to believe the Israelis were holding the West Bank only as a bargaining chip. Arabs were terrorists." (Why I'm now a friend of Palestine)

Easy to believe? Who was easy to believe, Bob? Someone must have been in your ear at the time, spruiking the cause. After all, a party operative (Carr was not an MP until 1983) doesn't simply up and start a fan club for a foreign state apropos nothing. (Carr reveals neither why he set up - or helped set up? - LFOI in the first place nor whether he now regrets having done so. That late, great, always staunchly pro-Palestine NSW MP George Petersen describes Carr in the 80s as "an unabashed admirer of United States capitalism" with "a total commitment to the ideology of economic rationalism." (George Petersen Remembers, 1998, p 356) For the WikiLeaked details of Carr's and Hawke's links with US diplomats back in the 70s, see my 11/4/13 post Rats in the Ranks.)

And those Arab terrorists? You honestly couldn't see them for what they were, a national resistance movement with genuine grievances? As a voracious reader, did it not occur to you to read a book on the subject, one not pushed on you by those whispering in your ear at the time? And are you now prepared to concede, after all these years, that George Petersen (and Bill Hartley) got it right on Palestine? Just asking.

"Israel has gone from secular to religious... from cosmopolitan to chauvinist... 'The symbol of Israel used to be the kibbutz,' says a friend in the British Labor Party. 'It's now the settlement.' They have doubled in the past 54 months alone."

So when Israel, to use your terms, was secular and cosmopolitan, it was OK? You really had no idea that exploiting religion for political ends has been a central feature of Zionism from its inception? What part of Jewish State did you not understand? And don't tell me you still can't see that the kibbutz was just the settlement of its day? Is it really that hard, Bob?

"He (UK MP Richard Ottaway) and others in centrist politics, have been sickened by settler fanatics standing on seized Palestinian land declaring God gave them Judea and Samaria, and the Arabs are inferior anyway."

What about the kibbutz fanatics who perpetrated the Palestinian Nakba, Bob? Those who, by fire and sword, drove out the indigenous Palestinian population in their hundreds of thousands in 1948, stole its land, and refused its return?

But wait, what's this? 1948 finally gets a look-in:

"In 1977 when we launched Labor Friends of Israel we knew none of [the Palestinians'] narrative. Now Israeli historians... have gone to the archives of their army to tell the full story of how massacres were used during the foundation of Israel in 1948 to drive out 700,000 Palestinians."

You really needed Israeli historians to explain why all those Palestinian refugees were twiddling their thumbs in refugee camps throughout the Middle East? Seriously?

And who are you to preach to those you once dismissed as mere terrorists? 

"Palestinians must commit to non-violent resistance, not a third intifada. They must build international support. They must engage with the righteous Jews who condemn the takeover of Zionism by the fanatics."

The takeover of Zionism by the fanatics? Blimey! You still haven't twigged to the fact that Zionism, from Herzl to Netanyahu, is fanaticism incarnate? 

Still, it's a measure of how just how much Israel has alienated so many in the Western political establishment (the recent House of Commons vote, dealt with in my 17/10/14 post Britain's Moral Responsibility for Palestine, is another case in point) that Carr can conclude his speech thus:

"Forty years ago I signed up to be president of Labor Friends of Israel. I still count myself a friend of the liberals in that country but it serves the cause of a just peace better by me this week becoming patron of Labor Friends of Palestine."

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Whinge Goes On

"The Sydney Morning Herald could be forced to defend its decision to run an anti-Semitic cartoon..." (Fairfax faces press council showdown over anti-Semitic cartoon, Nicola Berkovic, The Australian, 5/11/14)

Notice how you can't even complete a sentence in Murdoch's Australian without encountering a problem? In this case, it's the anti-Semitism smear. This ferociously Zionist rag has merely to assert anti-Semitism for it to be so.

"... and an accompanying article by former columnist Mike Carlton at the Australian Press Council. A Sydney engineer, Wayne Karlen, 60, and two Jewish readers have lodged a complaint with the press council about the publication of the cartoon and column, arguing they are 'racist', 'severely biased', 'inflammatory' and 'highly offensive'."

Nothing new here, of course. These are the usual Zionist whinge-words trotted out on those rare occasions when someone in the ms media, sufficiently moved by the plight of the Palestinian people at Israeli hands, manages to find the words (or, in the case of cartoonists, the images) to adequately convey the brutality of Israel's war crimes. The cartoonist in question is, of course, Glen Le Lievre. (Just click on the Carlton and/or Le Lievre labels below for a backgrounder.)

"Mr Karlen, who is not Jewish..."

Presumably, this makes him an objective observer.

"... said his late father had fought the Nazis in World War II and he found the publication distressing. 'It was important for me at the outset to complain because I identified with anti-Semitism and Nazi propaganda because my father served in the Royal Canadian Airforce,' he said. 'That was a terrible time and terrible history and to see that replicated in a relatively respectable newspaper... I just thought it was wrong'. The cartoon... showed a Jew with a hooked nose casually destroying Gaza. The image... also included a Star of David."

So Karlen "IDENTIFIED WITH anti-Semitism and Nazi propaganda"? Work that one out if you can.

What's striking, however, isn't the man's pathetic incoherence, but how someone with an alleged concern for what the Nazis did to European Jewry can so completely ignore, unlike Carlton and Le Lievre, bless them, what the Israelis got up to in the course of their latest Massacre Protective Edge (8/7-26/8) in Gaza, namely, to cite the findings of the Russell Tribunal's Emergency Session on same, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution, and incitement to genocide.

Thankfully the Herald has so far resisted yet another surrender to Karlen and friends:

"Mr Karlen said the trio decided to lodge the press council complaint after failed attempts by the Human Rights Commission to broker a settlement with Fairfax."

I for one, however, won't be holding my breath.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Don't Mention Palestine at LaTrobe University

The 'Vision' statement of Victoria's La Trobe University reads in part: "La Trobe will be a University known for its excellence and innovation in relation to the big issues of our time..."

And yet, when one of its student politicians, Ryan Higginson, set out to draw the attention of the student body to what certain other student politicians had said on the subject of one of the big issues of our time, namely Israeli genocide and apartheid, he got suspended for his pains:

"In a win for the political right, student activist Ryan Higginson has been suspended from La Trobe University. For 8 months, the 19-year-old will be unable to attend classes or set foot on any La Trobe campus.

"According to its own regulations, the Misconduct Office that investigated Higginson is bound by the rules of 'natural justice'. But in La Trobe's kangaroo court, he was denied legal representation at the hearing. He was prohibited even to be accompanied by someone with legal training. And the full evidence against him was not available to Higginson or his lawyers.

"Higginson was accused of putting up posters that name and quote elected La Trobe Student Union office bearers. The quotes were taken from a student union council meeting that debated Israel's most recent assault on Gaza. The posters are alleged to have created an intimidatory atmosphere on the campus.* The charge is obviously ludicrous. Does the Labor Party create an intimidatory atmosphere when it puts up posters that quote Tony Abbott? What about a newspaper that publishes a politician's comments? Students have a right to know what happens in the student council and the arguments that their representatives make there.

"Another deeply concerning aspect of this case relates to the influence of federal politicians. Education minister Christopher Pyne published an op-ed in The Australian just days before Higginson received notice of his misconduct charges.** The minister had demanded that university administrations crack down on left wing activists and put aside concerns about 'free speech'.

"The day after Higginson received his notice, Labor MP Michael Danby announced that he had written an appeal to the university and had received a prompt phone call from the vice-chancellor in return. He declared that the disciplinary hearings would be held as a result of his representations to the university.

"There is no doubt that there is a campaign of intimidation occurring on university campuses. It is being waged against left wing activists."*** (La Trobe suspends left wing activist, Jessica Lenehan, Red Flag, 20/10/14)

In the spirit of truth in advertising, La Trobe University's 'Vision' statement should perhaps be amended to: La Trobe will be a University known for its excellence and innovation in relation to the big issues of our time, with the sole exception of Israeli genocide and apartheid... 

[* "The student making the complaints at La Trobe, Jessica Cornish, 25, is now represented by Arnold Bloch Leibler in her complaints of harassment and intimidation against the Socialist Alternative and Students for Palestine. She said she had voted down a motion condemning Israel's 'ethnic cleansing' in Gaza, posters were pasted on campus walls accusing her of supporting genocide in Gaza. She also faced taunts from the students." (Left-wing student club banned, Timna Jacks, The Age, 6/9/14);**See my 6/9/14 post Pyne Whine Deconstructed;*** See my 10/9/14 post AUJS Plays the Anti-Semitism Card.]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Plot Thickens

For the context, first read my 13/10/14 post Why Was Mustafa Dirani Targeted on September 18?

Q&A, 3/11/14:

Walid Sabone: The Muslim community is still perplexed on the police raid of 20 Muslim homes. There were allegations of unnecessary force by the police, allegations that some of the suspects did not know each other and the police went to all this trouble and only achieved one arrest and seized one plastic sword. How did the police get it so wrong...

Neil Gaughan (Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner): ... the reasons why those warrants were executed is we had credible information to suggest that a terrorist attack was imminent and we took the appropriate course of action and we have no apologies for that... It was not a plastic sword that was seized. I will get that very clear.

Tony Jones: What was it?

Neil Gaughan: It was a legitimate sword that was seized. It wasn't plastic. It was taken because it was a weapon..."

Sydney Morning Herald, 5/11/14:

"The owner of a sword seized in counterterrorism raids in Sydney insists it is a plastic religious decoration and claims police told him it would be returned to his mother." (Seized sword was plastic, owner insists, Rachel Olding)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Senator Brandis on Q&A: Unasked Questions

Thus spake the Attorney-General Senator George Brandis on Q&A last night:

"If you are a dual Australia Israeli citizen and you choose to become a member of the IDF, there is nothing wrong with that... There is no equivalence between the standing army of a foreign friendly state like Israel and a terrorist insurgency like ISIL, and I'm not aware of a single instance that a Jewish man or woman... who has seen service in the IDF has come back to Australia and perpetrated a terrorist crime."

Brandis' assertions raise a number of questions which, unfortunately, didn't get an airing on Q&A:

First, wasn't Israel born of a sectarian (Jews only), terrorist (Hagana, Irgun, Stern Gang) insurgency which cut a swathe through British Mandate Palestine in 1947-49, expelling the majority of its non-Jewish inhabitants?

Second, Brandis needs to be reminded of the case of the ill-fated Australian Jew and Mossad recruit Ben Zygier who got up to God-knows-what in the Middle East, most likely on an Australian passport, thus, potentially, putting all Australian passport-holders at risk. (See in particular my 17/2/13 post Prisoner X 5.)

Third, and foremost, Brandis obviously has no qualms whatever about Australian Jews serving in the IDF, just so long as their terrorism is directed against Palestinians or Lebanese or whoever else takes their fancy. Nice.

What a pity no-one in the Bankstown audience raised such matters with the man, not to mention the fact that he doesn't even acknowledge that Israel is in occupation of the Palestinian territories. (See my 7/6/14 post Lap Dancing for Israel?)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Now For the Catholic Version

I've read thousands of letters to the editor which push one or other element of the false Zionist historical narrative, but the following, from Sophie York, Turramurra, NSW in The Australian, is the first I've ever read in the ms press which pushes a false Catholic narrative:

Here it is, minus the first sentence: "It was determined Catholic monarchs who threw off 700 years of dictatorial Moorish oppression in 1492 at the Battle of Granada, freeing Europe which then developed into constitutional monarchies and democracies. Catholicism, with its belief in individual human dignity, was the seedbed for modern democracy, because it rejected caste systems and wealth dictating innate value. It thus championed the poor, disabled and working-class, it let women work (nuns were teachers and nurses) - and all these formerly disenfranchised groups were eventually given the vote." (29/110/14)

First, a brief perspectival corrective from Emeritus Professor of Hispano-Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter, Richard Hitchcock, taken from his 2014 study Muslim Spain Reconsidered:

"Christians had no 'divine' right of possession over [the Iberian Peninsula]. Furthermore, the Muslims were not an occupying power in Christian territory; they were a permanent presence in the continent of Europe. Their state was one which was governed by a different raft of beliefs, but this circumstance did not necessarily obstruct relations with other powers... In retrospect, one may observe objectively that, by a number of yardsticks, the level of civilisation, for want of a better word, as manifested in al-Andalus was superior to that found elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula and, in some periods, in the rest of Western Europe... The history of the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages has traditionally been presented as that of two opposing creeds, yet the sources do not support this interpretation. When there were major thrusts from the north southwards or vice versa, it was when political weaknesses were perceived by either side. Such incursions were not motivated by religious interests, except at the time of the Crusades... There was no inherent hostility existing between al-Andalus and other powers in the Iberian Peninsula because of differing religious beliefs, at least for the first three and a half centuries after [the Muslim conquest] of 711." (pp 194-95)

Second, just look at those factoids and sweeping generalisations.

1) Dictatorial? How so?
2) Muslim Granada was blocking the development of constitutional monarchies/democracies in Europe? Come again?
3) Catholicism, with its belief in individual human dignity? Except for Jews (forced conversions/expulsion), Muslims (ditto), Christian dissenters (hello, Inquisition)... need I go on?
4) The Catholic church as a champion of the working class? Pull the other.

As I always say: Only in The Australian.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Temple Mount Taliban

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the target of an attempted assassination in Jerusalem on Wednesday, is described thus in the Australian press:

1) "... a far-right Israeli religious activist... part of a movement to grant Jews permission to pray at the site known to them as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, which houses the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem." (Attack puts holy city on edge, Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Reuters/SMH, 31/10/14)

2) "... a leading campaigner for prayer rights for Jews at the sacred site known to them as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary." (Closure of sacred site 'an act of war', Robert Tait, Telegraph/SMH, 1/11/14)

3) "... a Jewish activist who wants Jews to pray at the complex. At present, Israel allows Jews to visit... but not pray." (Day of rage engulfs Jerusalem, John Lyons, The Australian, 1/11/14)

Absent further inquiry, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Glick was little more than an advocate for religious freedom.

In fact, he's the former director of The Temple Institute, an outfit which declares that:

"Geo-politically, the Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin. Many scenarios can be imagined which would accomplish this, the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched, would entail Moslem recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple." (Frequently asked questions,

Puts rather a whole new construction on the matter, know what I mean?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Melissa Parke: Filling Julia Irwin's Shoes

West Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke (Fremantle) courageously tabled Wollongong University political scientist Marcelo Svirsky's pro-Palestine BDS petition in federal parliament last Monday. (See my 1/10/14 post Marcelo Svirsky's Long Walk for Palestine.)

In doing so, she has distinguished herself as the only Australian parliamentarian - Liberal, Labor, Greens or independent - with the guts to speak out plainly in this setting on the subject of Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people. The last federal politician to do so, need I remind you, was the redoubtable Labor MP Julia Irwin, who retired in 2010. (See my 11/8/10 post Julia Irwin Spills the Beans.)

Contrast this abject state of affairs with the recent House of Commons debate, which resulted in British MPs from all parties slamming Israeli criminality and intransigence, and voting 274-12 in support of a Palestinian state. (See my 17/10 post Britain's Responsibility for Palestine.)

 In her speech, Parke noted, in a statement of the bleeding obvious:

"I do wish to dispel some of the misunderstandings around the official BDS campaign, including that its supporters are anti-Semitic and intent on the destruction of Israel... It is not anti-Semitic to protest injustice."

Such expressions of the bleeding obvious, however, are intolerable to the Israel lobby. This explains the following riposte from Labor's Glenn Sterle in the Senate on Thursday:

"It is time that the member for Fremantle stopped spouting propaganda that comes directly from organisations and groups that are devoted to genocidal ideologies."  (BDS comments 'ill-informed', Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 1/11/14)

Talk about projection!

Sterle, needless to say, was rambammed in 2007.