Thursday, June 30, 2016

Standing Up for What Matters*

Really, is there anything more annoying than political wannabes waffling on about a subject they clearly know nothing about?

I'm referring, this time around, to the Greens' Steph Hodgins-May, who's been doing just that on the subject of Palestine/Israel.


It's not as though Ms Hodgins-May has an excuse, mind you: she's been around now for 30 bloody years!


a) as "a former planning and environment lawyer" she's obviously tertiary-educated;
b) she's reportedly worked for the UN;
c) she's standing as an alternative to the LIBLAB duopoly; and
d) most atonishingly, she's put her hand up to run in the seat of Melbourne Ports against Labor's answer to Benjamin Netanyahu, Michael Danby.

Despite all that, this is the best she can come up with in response to a question from a card-carrying Zio as to what her position is on Palestine/Israel: 

"Sure, well the Australian Greens policy is that we support a peaceful, negotiated, two-state solution. We condemn all acts of violence and we oppose BDS. So that's the Greens' position and it's consistent with my views on the situation. It's an incredibly complex scenario what's going on in the Middle East and I wish I knew the answer to it, I really do, but what I do know is that... achieving peace there is not going to come down to what we are talking about in this election but please do understand that my view is consistent with the Greens' policy on this and I understand that the Labor Party's policy is also very similar and believes in a peaceful, negotiated, two-state solution in Israel/Palestine and we'll continue to support grass roots organisations that are working towards a peaceful outcome in the Middle East." (Greens candidate talks about her decision not to attend Zionism Victoria co-hosted debate,, 28/6/16)

Which may be summed up as: meaningless two-state mantra + put the guns & the BDS away, guys + gee whizz, it's all so difficult + anyway, our policy's the same as Danby's so what's your problem? + meaningless two-state mantra again + I don't know what I'm babbling about, but "grass roots organisations working towards peaceful outcomes" should keep this bloke happy.

Jeeesus, is it really too much to expect of a politically active, tertiary-educated, non-LibLab adult - taking on Danby of all people! - that she know something about this near-100 year old, headline-hogging colonial clusterfuck before opening her mouth on the subject in public?


[*Greens slogan]

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Big Brother is Alive & Well &...

... living  in Sydney, Australia:

"A leading Australian intelligence company is selling state-of-the-art surveillance technology to Bahrain amid concerns it could be used to target pro-democracy campaigners, according to an investigation by international human rights advocates. Published on Thursday, the report by London-based non-government organisation Bahrain Watch found that iOmniscient, which has its headquarters in Sydney, has since April partnered with US company Pelco and Bahrain's LSS Technologies to provide the Bahrain Interior Ministry with enhanced surveillance equipment. This includes 2000 CCTV cameras and facial recognition software. 'The rollout of this technology means at least one camera for every 650 Bahrainis, allowing nationwide, real-time tracking of the population,' said Bahrain Watch's Travis Brimhall, noting prior use of police video to indict protesters in the Gulf kingdom. 'Given the government's well-established record of targeting opposition and human rights defenders, we fear this will provide an advanced dissident-capture system where anyone found to be speaking out can be recognised and intercepted on a scale previously unseen.'

"Bahrain, home of the US Fifth Fleet, was in 2011 the site of mass demonstrations demanding political reform by the country's Shiite majority population. The protests were violently put down by security forces with assistance from neighbouring states [namely, Saudi Arabia], but dissent and repression have persisted...

"A global leader in video analytics, iOmniscient confirmed that it has projects with Bahrain's Interior Ministry to the value of 'several million dollars'. In particular, the company's chief executive, Rustom Kanga, noted the company's facial recognition software provides unique capacities to identify individuals in crowds. However, Dr Kanga said concerns about the misuse of iOmniscient's technology are unwarranted. 'If a person of interest shows up, he can be apprehended by the authorities while the general public is totally protected and their privacy is never compromised,' he said. 'The system essentially helps the human operator to be more effective more quickly, especially in emergencies. Innocent citizens have nothing to worry about'." (Warnings over abuse of Aussie technology, Zoe Holman, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/6/16)

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Very British Coup in the Making

A backgrounder from Craig Murray's It's still the Iraq War, stupid:

"No rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit. So why are the Blairites moving against [UK Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn now, with such precipitate haste?

"The answer is the Chilcot Report. It is only a fortnight away, and though its form will be concealed by thick layers of establishment whitewash, the basic contours of Blair's lies will still be visible underneath. Corbyn had deferred to Blairite pressure not to apologise on behalf of the Labor party for the Iraq War until Chilcot is published. For the Labor Right, the moment when Corbyn as Labor leader stands up in parliament and condemns Blair over Iraq is going to be as traumatic as it was for the hardliners of the Soviet Communist Party when Khrushchev denounced the crimes of Stalin. It would also destroy Blair's careful planned post-Chilcot PR strategy. It is essential to the Blairites that when Chilcot is debated in parliament in two weeks time, Jeremy Corbyn is not in place as Labour leader to speak in the debate. The Blairite plan is therefore for the parliamentary party to depose him as parliamentary leader and get speaker John Bercow to acknowledge someone else in that fictional position in time for the Chilcot debate, with Corbyn remaining leader in the country but with no parliamentary status.

"Yes, they are that nuts.

"If the fault line for the Tories is Europe, for Labour it is the Middle East. Those opposing Corbyn are defined by their enthusiasm for bombing campaigns that kill Muslim children. And not only by the UK. Both of the first two to go, Hilary Benn and Heidi Alexander, are hardline supporters of Israel." (, 26/6/16)

Worth a read in its entirety.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Chip off the Old Blockhead

From Greg Sheridan, OA, Jerusalem Prize:

"Once, a Greenpeace fundraiser came to our door, seeking a donation. 'Look, old boy,' my father said, 'I'm a bit busy at the moment. I'm cooking a whale in the back yard on my woodchip barbecue.' Another thought, another world view, so succinctly summarised." (The Forum, The Weekend Australian Review, 25/6/16)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Almost as Cute as Israel

"Establishing an embassy in Morocco will address a major gap in Australia's diplomatic network. Across North and West Africa, Australia now has embassies only in Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. Given the centrality of the Arab world in global politics, the government has recognised that this is inadequate and the joint parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, trade and defence this year recommended the establishment of a resident embassy in Morocco. Morocco is a key nation among moderate Arab powers and emerged from the Arab Spring with serious democratic reforms and political and social stability. It is also a key player in regional counter-terrorism efforts and a generally pro-Western and friendly power in the Arab world." (Libs plan 24/7 'global watch' and new eyes overseas, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 23/6/16)

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Price of Politics

Here's Wendy Carlisle's introduction to Background Briefing's latest (19/6/16) feature, The Price of Politics, on Radio National:

"If you want to know who's funding your politician's election campaign before voting on Saturday week, you'll be waiting a very long time. In fact, you'll have to wait a year after next. Australia's political donations laws are so lax the full list of donors and what they've spent won't be known until February 2018. But now there's a new report into political spending by the big end of town which shows just how little we really know about what our top companies are up to. For the first time the top ASX companies have been given a transparency score which is designed to measure just what those companies are up to and what they're telling their shareholders about their political spend. Di Martin has this report for Background Briefing.

"This federal election will be the first since explosive allegations about political donations were made in NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). It heard how the Liberal Party got around the strictest donation laws in the country, laws that banned property developers' donations in NSW. Yet donations made by property developers to a federal Liberal fundraising body were then routed back into NSW party coffers."

Then came a familiar, gravelly voice:

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 2016 annual general meeting of Westfield Corporation."

Di Martin continued:

"Frank Lowy's Westfield is one of the property developers whose donation of $150,000 ended up with the NSW Liberals."

Lowy again:

"The meeting is now open for questions and general discussion."

Then Martin:

"One of the first is from Stephen Mayne. He's standing in the federal election on a ticket of reforming political donations law. He's also a Westfield shareholder: 'When we made that donation in December 2010 were we aware that that money was going to be finishing up with the NSW Liberal Party when developer donations in NSW had been banned at that point?'"

To which Lowy predictably replied:

"We made the donations appropriately according to the law and the inquiries that were held after that have said we have not been advised of anything that we have done contrary to what is expected of us."

The underlying assumption here, of course, is that Westfield's 2010 donation was all about greasing the wheels for more shopping malls. But is there any real need to keep a naturally neoliberal, Liberal government sweet? Could there, perhaps, be another reason for the donation?

I have no idea. None whatever. But what I do know is that Lowy is an unabashed supporter of Israel and that the Liberal regimes of NSW premiers Barry O'Farrell (2011-15) and Mike Baird (2015-) have outdone all previous NSW and other state governments in demonstrating their love and affection for the apartheid state. (Simply click on the O'Farrell/Baird labels below and marvel at its manifestations and extent.)

Needless to say, this bizarre phenomenon is not touched on in Background Briefing's otherwise invaluable report.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Michaelia Cash: No Gertrude Bell

Last week's Kitchen Cabinet with Annabel Crabb on ABC TV proved definitively, if proof were necessary, that travel doesn't always, as the old adage assures us, broaden the mind.

Annabel's guest, the frenetic Minister for Women & Cats, Michaelia Cash, is described on the program's website as "whipping up a salmon bake and talking about her travels in the Middle East." But don't let your imagination run wild. Michaelia's no Gertrude Bell. Here's the relevant transcript - with annotations: 

MC: I went backpacking for 3 years.
AC: But that's such a long time to go backpacking...
MC: It is a long time to go backpacking.
AC: But why'd you go to the Middle East?
MC: Oh, I actually went to London first... I then met an Israeli girl and she said to me 'Look I live on a kibbutz in Israel... in the Golan Heights.' When you're a backpacker the beauty of it is you just go with the flow.

The Golan Heights is not in Israel. It's occupied Syrian territory.

AC: You just go with the flow?
MC: You just go with the flow, quite literally.
AC: Wow...
MC: And so it was fantastic.
AC: And did you venture into Palestine?

*Sigh* If you're in 'Israel', you're in occupied Palestine.

MC: I did go into Palestine. I lived in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the Muslim section, for 3 months.
AC: Right... and did you see much of the conflict first hand?
MC: I had arrived just after the intifada had ended, and so if you went out, basically everybody was armed.

Cash is referring here to the first intifada (1987-1993). "Everybody," of course, means Israelis.

I remember you'd go to nightclub after nightclub after nightclub.

Night clubs are such great places to learn about a country. Just remember: wherever you go, if you want to know what's going on - for example, why, in this case, "everybody was armed" - just go to "nightclub after nightclub after nightclub, OK?"

People would literally just be there with their machine guns and, you know, playing with them as though they were guitars. It was quite bizarre. So yeah, it was an interesting time to be in Israel. It was an interesting time to be there.

AC: Obviously, in Australian politics, there's always, um, you know, a fairly spirited debate about the Middle East. So where does it leave you?
MC: I very much believe in the two-state solution. I very much believe in the two-state solution.

Good grasp of the mantra there! Watch your back, Julie Bishop... 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bill Shorten Gives Bibi the Biff

The Israeli colonisation of the Israeli-occupied West Bank rolls on and on and on:

"The Israeli government has approved an additional $18m to pay for West Bank settlements." (Israel approves extra $18m for West Bank settlements, AFP,, 20/6/16)

But wait... what's this?

The formidable, utterly fearless Bill Shorten, armed with federal Labor's awesome July 2015 policy on Israeli settlements is, even as I type these words, on the blower to Netanyahu:

Listen up, Bibi, I'm going to read the riot act to you, OK? Here goes:

"Labor... recognises that settlement building by Israel in the occupied territories... is a roadblock to peace. Labor calls on Israel to cease all such settlement expansion... If... there is no progress in the next round of the peace process, a future Labor government will discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognised Palestine... "

So stop it, OK?

Bibi? Bibi? Are you there, Bibi?


Just kidding.

Monday, June 20, 2016

'Neighbours' From Hell

In Israeli-occupied Hebron:

"Fahdi had a scarred face and a shortage of teeth. During one nocturnal incursion a conscript laid a hand on his wife's breast and when he struck out another soldier hit him on the left cheek with a rifle butt and he lost three teeth. Then the offender smote him on the right cheek and he lost two more. Between my first and second visits to this family stick-wielding settler children had left their seven-year-old son with a four-inch scar on his scalp. Fahdi's brother Abdul lived next door and his nine-year-old son had recently been attacked by a woman who dragged him into her trailer home, held him down in an armchair - knee on stomach - then forced a stone into his mouth and manipulated his jaw until two teeth were broken. The bruises on his face had not yet faded. As Fahdi said, 'You couldn't make it up.' Abdul's wife had suffered fractured fingers when a mob of women went on a rampage and she tried to shield her five-year-old daughter from their fists." (Between River & Sea: Encounters in Israel & Palestine, Dervla Murphy, 2015, pp 270-271)

Murphy's latest book is a must-read.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Guardian: What Palestinian Refugees?

In the face of an ailing Fairfax press, a tepid, harassed and self-censoring ABC, and a ferociously zioconservative Murdoch press, I assume that some (how many?) Australians are turning to the online Guardian website as a news source. Few, I imagine, are aware that, with Jonathan Freedland at the helm, the Guardian is virtually a no-go zone for critical commentary on the subject of Palestine/Israel.

It should come as no surprise then to find there Guardian columnist Giles Fraser's warm and fuzzy, Israel-you're-better-than-this rubbish: You'd think that Israel, of all places, would respect its refugees: Africans facing genocide are making a modern-day Exodus, fleeing through the Sinai. But the Israeli government has no time for non-Jewish asylum seekers (17/6/16).

An extract:

"At the [Tel Aviv] bus station, I meet up with Mutasim Ali. who runs an advice centre for African refugees. He tells me that as legitimate refugees the state cannot deport them. Instead, the government is 'making conditions so hopeless that asylum seekers feel they have no choice but to leave'. Officially classed as 'infiltrators', they are subject to daily racism and harassment, being taken to the miserable Holot detention centre in the Negev, for no other reason, he says, than to 'break your spirit' and 'stop you integrating into Israeli society'. Some are offered cash sums of up to $3,500 to get on a flight to Rwanda or Uganda and basically bugger off. All of which is massively disappointing from the government of a country that inspired the first international agreement protecting the rights of refugees."

The problem here, of course, is a complete absence of context. The entire piece makes no reference whatever to Israel as a nation founded on the forced deportation of up to a million Palestinian Arabs in 1948.

Any who tried to return were shot out of hand as infiltrators.

Those Palestinians now under occupation, many of them the descendants of 1948 refugees, are subject to daily racism, harassment and worse designed to break both their spirit and their bodies.

The blockaded inhabitants of the Gaza ghetto, most of whom are also the descendants of 1948 refugees, are serially bombed and shelled, with the same aim of breaking both their spirit and their bodies.

And yes, the idea of throwing money at Palestinian refugees to basically bugger off has, from time to time, been mooted by Israeli officials.

The assertion that Israel has inspired anything even remotely humane with respect to the treatment of refugees is an obscene distortion of the truth. What dishonest, shoddy journalism this is.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Unvarnished Truth

Say it loud, say it clear:

"There is no decent politician in the world today who supports Israel."

- Gideon Levy, Bring Israel a Corbyn, Tsipras or Sanders, Haaretz, 24/9/15

Friday, June 17, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull's Moshe Dayan Moment

The truth, as they say, will out:

"Campaigning in Perth, [PM Malcolm] Turnbull agreed with the description of invasion for the first arrival of the First Fleet in 1788... 'Well, I think it can be fairly described as that and I've got no doubt... our first Aboriginal Australians describe it as an invasion... But, you know, you are talking about an historical argument about a word. The facts are very well-known. This country was Aboriginal land. It was occupied by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years - 40,000 years'." (PM faces renewed push for a treaty, Tom McIlroy, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/6/16)

And even, on the odd occasion, from a Zionist leader - in this case, the late Moshe Dayan:

"We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country [the total area was about 6%] we bought the lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built on the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal [Dayan's own village] arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat - in the place of Jibta, [Kibbutz] Said - in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua - in the place of Tell Shaman. There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population. [Ha-Aretz, April 4, 1969]"

Edward Said used that quote of Dayan's in his seminal work, The Question of Palestine (1979), but added, by way of explanation: "Even Dayan's terminology, frank as it is, is euphemistic. For what he means by 'the Arab villages are not there either' is that they were destroyed systematically." (p 14)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Real Greens

Our Australian Greens should take a leaf out of the United States' Green Party's book. Here is the latter's statement on US foreign policy, Palestine-Israel & BDS. (Their leader and presidential candidate is Dr Jill Stein):

"The Jill Stein campaign calls for ending support for governments committing war crimes and massive human rights violations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. It supports the BDS movement as a peaceful, nonviolent set of actions organized by civil society across the world aimed to end Israel apartheid, occupation, war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.

"US foreign policy requires an emergency overhaul, from a program of total global military and economic domination, to a policy of promoting international law, human rights and diplomacy. We must cease and desist from being, in the words of Martin Luther King, the greatest purveyor of violence the world over. Our foreign policy currently serves war profiteers and fossil fuel companies, but not the American people or the cause of global justice, peace and security. Our failed wars of the past 14 years have cost us 5 trillion dollars, left over a million people dead in Iraq alone, and killed or maimed tens of thousands of US service men and women. Yet we - and the Middle East - are far less secure, not more secure.

"In addition to ending our catastrophic and immoral wars for oil and markets, we must stop aiding and abetting the human rights violations and war crimes of our allies who are massively defying international law. This includes the Israeli government and the rulers of Saudi Arabia. With regard to Israel, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace and human rights within Palestine and Israel, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights.

"Therefore, the Stein campaign calls for ending military and economic support for the Israeli government while it is committing war crimes and defying international law. In addition, the Stein campaign supports actions of nonviolent resistance to the policies of the occupation and of the Israeli apartheid regime, including those of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which was endorsed by the Green Party of the United States in 2005 and is supported by thousands of civil society peace activists and organizations.

"Consistency in US policy regarding human rights and international law will begin, but not end, with Palestine and Israel. I will apply this same approach to other nations such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, among others.

"Finally, we call for the establishment of a Palestine and Israel Truth & Reconciliation Commission as the vehicle for shifting from an era of US support of human rights and international law violations to one based on justice and truth bringing all parties together as equals to seek workable solutions. A dedicated commitment to justice will further the security of all parties, Palestinians, Israelis, and all people in the region, much better than the current policies of politically, economically and militarily supporting the systemic and institutionalized abuse of one side against the other."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Greg Sheridan OA

"Two years ago, Greg Sheridan considered walking away from the role he has held at The Australian for more than two decades. The temptation was the plum position of Australia's high commissioner in Singapore. 'It would have meant leaving journalism forever,' Sheridan says. 'In the end, I couldn't bear the idea of not being able to write and say what you think.' Sheridan, 59, has been appointed an officer (AO) in the general division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to print media as a journalist and political commentator on foreign affairs and national security, and to Australia's bilateral relationships." ('One of the best kept secrets', Pia Akerman, The Australian, 13/6/16)

All of which merely means that Sheridan has been a faithful servant of Murdoch and USrael. No more, no less.

Orlando Tweets

"A steroid abusing, bipolar, self-hating, Jack'd-using native New Yorker who doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia legally buys an assault rifle and murders dozens of gay Latinos. The solution is clear: ban immigrants." Full Frontal, 15/6/16

"998 shootings since Sandy Hook. Two involved Muslims. 998 involved males. But yeah, must be a Muslim problem, not a male violence problem." Mildred, 12/6/16

Obama's Legacy

While we may find the slapstick routines of Trump and Clinton diverting, it's always the Zionist Grand Guignol behind the scenes that we should be focusing on. For example:

"While her speech today at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum included some vague criticism of ongoing Israeli settlement expansion, as usual that will have no impact on US policy, as National Security Adviser Susan Rice centred the speech on pledges of a record military aid package being agreed to soon. The aid package, which Rice reiterated would be the 'single largest military assistance package - with any country - in American history,' is expected to be between $37.5 and $40 billion over the next decade, which Rice said proved increasing aid to Israel isn't a partisan issue in the US, but 'an enduring American interest.' The US had initially offered a $40 billion deal which required the Israeli government to promise not to lobby the US Congress for more money during the 10-year plan, but this was rejected by Netanyahu." (Susan Rice assures Israel of 'largest military aid package in American history', Jason Ditz,, 7/6/16)


And all on Obama's watch.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Australia's Shame

"In a statement on [Israel's] Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Twitter feed on 6 April, head of the international defence co-operation department SIBAT Michel Ben-Baruch said that the country's defence companies signed export deals valued at US$5.6 billion... IHS Jane's tracked approximately US$2.1 billion worth of export deliveries - comprising new and ongoing orders - from Israel in 2015, with India being the country's leading customer followed by the United States and Australia." (Israel reports flat defence exports for 2015, Charles Forrester,, 6/4/16)

Monday, June 13, 2016

From the Horses' Mouths

One by one the Zionist shibboleths fall:

First there was Israel's deputy chief of staff, Yair Golan, who admitted that "the nauseating processes that occurred in Europe in general and Germany in particular, 70, 80 and 90 years ago" were "here among us, today, in 2016," and called for "national soul-searching."

Then there was the exiting defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon, who told us that Judeo-fascists were now in control of Israel - "[E]xtremist and dangerous elements... have overrun Israel and the Likud Party."

Then the mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, named Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, not so-called Palestinian incitement, as the reason for armed attacks on Jewish Israelis by Palestinians  - "You can't hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they'll reach the conclusion everything is alright."

Now a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, has said the same thing - "[S]ince we are in control of the West Bank... I think one should expect... that there will be people who think that they have to rise up and... fight against it." (Inside Israel's Mossad: Efraim Halevy on Upfront, Al-Jazeera, 28/5/16)

Furthermore, in the same interview, Halevy said of Hamas - "If you go to Israel and speak to the IDF field commanders... Every brigade commander who has been commanding a unit opposite the Gaza Strip believes that the best situation for Israel at this point in time is that the Hamas should be there rather than anyone else."

Finally, he dared to buck the party line on Iran - "I believe there is no existential threat to Israel from anybody in the world, including the Iranians."

In sum, Israeli experts are now telling us that Israel is a hotbed of racist and religious reaction; that armed attacks on Israelis by Palestinians are simply blowback for Israel's brutal occupation of the Palestinian territories; and that banging on about outdated Hamas charters and imaginary Iranian nukes just doesn't cut it any more.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Today's Chutzpah Chuckle

"Today [Israeli Independence Day], the people who made the desert bloom are at the forefront of making the entire world bloom." (Zeddy Lawrence, national editor, The Australian Jewish News, Yom Ha'aztmaut 2016 supplement)

Palestinian: Look out, world!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Land of the Profoundly Blind

This is a most interesting development:

"Tel Aviv's mayor on Thursday blamed Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories for a deadly attack carried out by two Palestinian gunmen that left four Israelis dead in the Mediterranean city. Labour Mayor Ron Huldai, 71, told Israeli army radio that the occupation was to blame for Wednesday evenings attack when two armed Palestinian men from near Hebron in the southern West Bank walked into a popular cafe and opened fire on revellers. 'We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights,' he said. 'You can't hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they'll reach the conclusion everything is alright... There has been an occupation for 49 years, which I was part of and I know the reality... We have to show our neighbours that we have true intentions to return to a reality of a smaller Jewish state with a clear Jewish majority'." (Tel Aviv mayor blames Israeli occupation for deadly cafe attack,

OK, so Ron Huldai's still wedded to the racist idea of a Jewish majority in the rest of occupied Palestine, but still, credit where credit's due. Maybe, in recognition of the mayor's incredible achievement in iterating the bleeding obvious, we should consider rephrasing Erasmus' famous dictum to: 'In the land of the blind known as Israel Ron Huldai should be king.'

The grim reality, however, is that in Israel it's the profoundly blind who have always ruled the roost, and who are responsible for the 49-year-old occupation and colonisation of the Palestinian territories. For example:

"I promise that all those involved in yesterday's deadly terrorist attack will not escape punishment." Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Lieberman: Israel will hunt down all behind the Tel Aviv attack, Tovah Lazaroff, The Jerusalem Post, 6/10/16)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

This smacks of disinformation:

"As Labor's Michael Danby toils in his seat of Melbourne Ports to prevent the Green tide crossing the Yarra, an intense Greens doorknocking campaign is under way. One door knockee wrote to Danby: 'A very nice sounding bloke just knocked on my door canvassing for the Greens. I said I wouldn't be voting Green because of their policy on Israel. The Greens have exactly the same policy on Israel as Michael Danby,' he said. 'I don't think so,' I replied.' The knockee had an idea of Danby's position on Israel, not least because he was a rabbi." (In the know, Strewth, The Australian, 8/6/16)

However inadequate and gutless The Australian Greens' policy is on Palestine/Israel - let me count the ways - the simple, verifiable fact is that it is still substantially better than Labor's.

Here, for example, is what Labor will do "if there is no progress in the next round of the peace process":

"... discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognised Palestine," and "announce the conditions and timelines for the Australian recognition of a Palestinian state." (See my 28/7/15 post ALP fiddles while Palestine burns.)

The operative word here is discuss.

Now here's The Australian Greens' policy:

"Given the continuing disregard by Israel of calls to halt settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, The Australian Greens: 1. Call upon the Australian government to halt military cooperation and military trade with Israel..." (Israel/Palestine March 2010)

IOW, institute a military boycott of Israel.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Meet Australia's Future Liberal Politicians:

"When Julian Chu arrived at a regular meeting of his Earlwood/ Kingsgrove Young Liberals on April 6 he knew it would not be business-as-usual. Mr Chu, the branch president, was about to be subjected to a bizarre attempted leadership coup. What transpired at that meeting - a group of about 20 outsiders who sat on the sidelines texting, interjecting and generally flexing their young factional muscles - is now being investigated by Liberal Party head office. This was no ordinary intra-party brawl. Those who wanted Mr Chu gone were mostly members of his own soft right faction: foot soldiers said to be operating on behalf of a handful of state and federal Liberal MPs.

"The names of those parliamentarians would be familiar only to close watchers of politics: junior minister and factional power-player Alex Hawke, Central Coast MP Lucy Wicks and member of the NSW upper house Scott Farlow. Senior Liberal sources described a network of party staffers, paid by taxpayers, who have set about disrupting weak branches to shore up factional control over internal party elections and processes. And the behaviour provides a window into the future. This new generation of party apparatchiks, who will tread the well-worn path from the youth wing into safe seats and ministries, are even more aggressive than their predecessors." (Coup bid fails as Young Libs flex muscles, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/6/16)

Budding Abbotts all!

But there's more! Always is. It just doesn't find its way into the Herald, of course. There's a certain interesting subtext with these factional bosses. For example:

Hawke was rambammed in 2010. To good effect, it seems. Here he is, channeling Netanyahu in federal parliament in 2013: "[Iran] is perhaps the biggest security question of our age." (Liberal, Labor debate Iran, AJN, 22/2/13)

Scott Farlow was rambammed in 2015. In the same year, he felt the need to unburden himself of the following in the padded confines of the NZW Legislative Council: "It is important for the Jewish people to have a home, for those who have been denied their land for 2,000 years to be reunited in their homeland Zion." (Israel Independence Day, 12/5/15)

(OMG, who would have thought? Lowy, Triguboff, Rubenstein, Alhadeff, Danby - all currently homeless!)

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Desperate Zionist's Last Retort:

"The problem is that on a scale of 1 to 100 of world problems you obsess about one that deserves at most a 10 while ignoring the many which are much more important in terms of human misery and urgency, such as Syria. That's the hypocrisy of your type: the only people worthy of your attention are the Palestinians. The rest? Well, who cares? You don't have any time for them, sorry. Too busy obsessing about the Palestinians." (Comment from 'Angel',, 4/6/16)

And the perfect (edited) response from's amazing Annie Robbins:

"'Angel', sometimes solving a problem requires consistent effort. You may be correct in your assessment that, on any given day, there are worse humanitarian disasters than the Palestine problem. The fact is, there will always be days like that. For example, when a tsunami occurs, more people may die on a given day than in the whole 51 days of war on Gaza.

"But when you have a long-standing problem, such as the oldest refugee problem in the world, and an entire people deprived of the rights we take for granted for generation after generation, it really makes no sense, if your goal is to solve that problem, to drop it every time another one pops up. That's just a recipe for shoving it further down the road - which is why it has persisted for so long.

"Now that's not too hard to understand, is it? Besides, we've got governments which focus their energy and resources on those other problems, at the expense of solving the Palestine problem, so it's not as though these other problems are being ignored. Our Civil Rights movement, for example, would never have happened if Americans had focused solely on the most urgent human rights disasters of the 60s, such as the Vietnam War in which many more people were dying. The fact is, then as now, we are able to multitask our activism.

"We get it. You want us to ignore your pet project: Zionism. Not going to happen. With consistent pressure we will bring about change. It may be slow going at times, but we'll get there. No sense ignoring Palestine's 68-year-old Nakba because of Syria (5 years), Yemen, Libya or wherever. There will always be other human disasters. 'Look over there!' she said.

"To sum up: the appalling truth is that, despite a plethora of international problems, Antiangel chooses to obsess over protecting one particular criminal state (which deserves no sympathy whatever), while ignoring the human misery caused by that state, as well as those other disasters, many of which, such as in Syria and Iraq, it is complicit in. That's the hypocrisy of her type, and the whole Zionist crowd: the only people worthy of her attention are the perpetrators of the longest-running case of gross human rights violations on the planet. The rest? Well, who cares? She doesn't have any time for them, sorry. Too busy obsessing about protecting Israel.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Last Thing on Their Minds

Remember when the Middle East's only innocent bystander 'miraculously' acquired East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Egypt's Sinai and Syria's Golan Heights in just 6 days back in June 1967?

Remember how, in the words of Alan Dershowitz, "the only question was whether the Arab armies would be able to strike the first military blow"? (The Case for Israel, p 92)

Remember UK novelist Howard Jacobson telling us on Q&A in May 2011, "You often hear people talking about the occupation.... I don't know anyone who wants the occupation. I don't know any Israeli who wants the occupation. But people speak about it as if it just kind of happened. One day there was an occupation. Out of a clear, blue sky Jews dropped... Israeli people dropped down and said, 'We'll have that piece of land'. It's not what happened."? (See my 24/5/11 post Gunfight at the Q&A Corral.)

So much for the flimflam. Here's the reality: 

"The [Israeli] military archives have released generals' testimonies that put the reader on the ground during Israel's capture of Jerusalem's Old City in the 1967 Six-Day War... Further testimony released Sunday was by Maj. Gen. Uzi Narkiss, who headed Central Command during the war. He told how the IDF had plans for conquering the West Bank in three days. He remembered that before the war he had told reserve officers in the 4th Brigade: 'I don't know if something will happen, but if it does, within 72 hours we'll drive out all the Arabs from the West Bank.' On June 5, Narkiss received orders to prepare for war... Narkiss phoned [Israeli West] Jerusalem Mayor teddy Kolleck. 'It's war, everything's in order... You'll be mayor of a united Jerusalem. We're enjoying great success; the armored forces are already inside.' Narkiss' testimony details his efforts to get the army into Jerusalem's Old City... As Narkiss put it, 'Since I'm a Jerusalemite and know this thing and know the concept of lamenting a missed opportunity for generations, I said that now was the time to take Jerusalem.' He was referring to the failure to keep the Old City in 1948." (Israeli generals in 1967 war: concerned over Jerusalem looting, hoping to drive Arabs out of West Bank, Gil Cohen, Haaretz, 5/6/16)

Monday, June 6, 2016

What a Babe!

"AIJAC (Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council) sent a series of 13 policy questions to the campaigns of both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, leading the Liberal/National coalition, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, leading the Australian Labor Party, to help their supporters as they go to the polls on July 2." (AIJAC asks policy questions,

Here's Q1: What is the importance to Australia of its relationship with Israel and how can that relationship be strengthened?

Now in case you're pressed for time, LibLab's answer could be rendered thus, courtesy of the Bard:

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/ Thou art more lovely and temperate."

For the masochists among you, here's an edited version of the answers:

M'Lord Turnbull: "Israel is a beacon of freedom and democracy in a region beset with violence and sectarian conflicts. It is a vibrant and tolerant society in an area that lacks freedoms... Israel is a centre of innovation... We have many shared historic, economic and cultural interests..."

Bill Shorten: "Australia and Israel's strong relationship is based on shared values: a commitment to democracy, freedom and security. We have a common experience as multicultural societies... Expanding our academic, economic and scientific exchange... will continue to strengthen our relationship."

And just so you know why we're on heat, here's a little snapshot* of the object of our passion:

"It happened the day Nasr overslept, was late for an important appointment, tried to avoid a checkpoint delay and was arrested. The handcuffs went on but no blindfold. 'Later I wished I'd been blindfolded.' As the soldiers locked him in a sentry-box-type cell beside the gate he noticed that one of them was a newcomer; later it transpired that this was the youngster's very first day on checkpoint duty. His three mates were well known to the locals.

"Soon, through his cell's tiny window, Nasr could see a friend approaching, twenty-seven-year-old Ali, accompanied as usual by his seven-year-old son, on their way to the family fields. Ali had passed through the gate, exchanging polite greetings with the soldiers, when one shouted a request for 'a light'. In response Ali turned, fumbling in a pocket - whereupon the newcomer panicked and shot him in the stomach. As he fled his son fled towards home, screaming. Nasr could see and hear the shooter becoming hysterical, as he realised his mistake, and being hugged and comforted by his mates. A helicopter would soon have arrived to rescue a wounded soldier but Ali lay unattended for four hours. On this side road no vehicle passed for the first hour. When a crowded taxi did appear, the soldiers dragged Ali onto the verge, opened the gate and ordered the driver not to stop. Now Nasr could see that his friend, only a few yards away, was still alive. 'I saw his chest rising and falling. I shouted again and again for an ambulance. They wouldn't listen, they wanted him to die first. When he stopped breathing they called the ambulance and it came in twenty minutes.'

"Subsequently, a doctor noted Ali's body's sinister yellow hue; this was a corpse drained of blood and the wound need not have been fatal. An inquiry heard evidence that that Ali was about to attack, was carrying a long, sharp knife. 'True,' said Nasr, 'he carried the knife to cut cauliflowers to sell in Ramallah.' Nasr's evidence was not required and he spent the next six months in 'administrative detention' (Israel-speak for imprisonment without trial). The inquiry concluded that Ali's death was accidental. Nasr was given to understand that if he disputed this verdict he would spend much longer in detention.

"Three years later Nasr's nightmares persisted. What stays most in my head is the boy's screams. He's ten now and he'll soon be an activist.' (I didn't ask what form his activism might take.) 'Asleep or awake I remember the blood running into the ground and me shouting and they didn't care - he's only an Arab, I'm only an Arab'." (Between River & Sea: Encounters in Israel & Palestine, Dervla Murphy, 2015, p 149)

What a babe!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ladies Who Rambam 2

Hilarious sound bites from Geraldine Doogue's latest Israel promo on Radio National, What Australia can learn from Israel... to support start-ups (Saturday Extra, 4/6/16).

The Gush was interviewing Jillian Segal of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce following the latter's trip to Israel last month with M'Lady Lucinda to explore its upstart start-up 'ecosystem'. (See my 20/5/16 post Ladies Who Rambam.):

JS: Everyone you spoke to [there] had this sort of upstart start-up nation in their DNA.


JS: We were struck by the fact that the Israelis are looking... to the rest of the world and their main aim is to have, as they would describe it, the social impact. It is to change the world, but it's also to do good.  

GD (agog): To do good?!

JS: To do good. To make money, and to do good at the same time...

Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Stop Tanya Plibersek in Her Tracks

For what it's worth - fuck all! - here's federal Labor's July 2015 policy fudge on Israeli settlements:

"Recognises that settlement building by Israel in the occupied territories that may undermine a two-state solution is a roadblock to peace. Labor calls on Israel to cease all such settlement expansion to support renewed negotiations toward peace... If... there is no progress in the next round of the peace process, a future Labor government will discuss joining like-minded nations who have already recognised Palestine..."

Returning to earth, here's the latest on the inexorable Israeli colonisation of the occupied West Bank:

"In a move which most analysts agree portends another massive expansion of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Civil Administration has brought in a special team to 'remap' some 15,000 acres of 'state-owned' land in the territory. The remapping on the one hand is done to label territory as 'military fire zones', which is then used to justify the military expelling the Arabs living in those areas, even those built before the occupation, as 'illegal' and give the land to settlements." (Israel remaps West Bank for massive settlement expansions, Jason Ditz,, 31/5/16)

Shadow FM Tanya - Once was Warrior - Plibersek is, of course, currently on the campaign trail.

If any of you out there manage to get her ear, you might like to ask whether she's aware of this rogue development, and if so, will she be calling on Israel to cease such settlement expansion forthwith.

If stopping a politician in her tracks is your thing, that should do the trick. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Speak & Be Heard, Just Not on Palestine, OK? 3

So far, so good:

"Speakers Trust have reinstated the video of Leanne Mohamad's speech and given MPACUK [Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK] a statement about the actual events that have taken place. This follows a campaign by MPACUK and other activists who demanded answers about what has happened and why Ms Mohamad had been treated in such a disrespectful manner. It seems that the Jewish Chronicle has misrepresented the whole saga..."  (, 1/6/16)

What a surprise!

"Speakers Trust CEO, Julie Holness, sent the following statement to MPACUK:

"All concerns communicated to us are taken very seriously but the private [email] message sent by the CEO [to Edgar Davidson], and made public without her consent..."

As indicated in my initial post in this series, Holness' email to Davidson couldn't have been more accommodating. 'Chummy', to use a very English word, comes to mind. Which raises the question whether a person who is seemingly unaware of Zionism's near 100-year war on free speech, or at least its current manifestations in the UK, is heading an organisation, the raison d'etre of which is to promote freedom of speech.

"... was inaccurately represented. Edgar Davidson wrote under a different identity as an accomplished 'Professor...."

This suggests that not only is Holness in undue awe of titles - bet she gets off on CEO!- but that she couldn't be bothered to check Davidson out before responding to him. Such laziness is inexcusable.

"... and the intentions in writing back were twofold: to defend the accusation that the... Jack Petchey Foundation promotes propaganda... and to let [Davidson] know that Leanne had not been selected for the Grand Final so that any comments to her would immediately stop... The comment of propaganda was not directed at Leanne's speech or at the topic..."

Let's take a look at that part of Holness' email to Davidson:

"There are... two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the - the speech must have a positive and uplifting message... - a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience... and this, by definition, means propaganda is ruled out... It is, however, the school that votes through its most talented speaker.... Unfortunately... a speech that does not observe these ground rules may very rarely get through on passion and delivery."

The clear implication here is that Leanne's speech was one of these. If this is not the case, then Holness' ability to communicate effectively is called into question, which, in turn, calls into question her competence as CEO of Speakers Trust.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Speak & Be Heard, Just Not on Palestine, OK? 2

Further to yesterday's post:

"On 19th May Leanne Mohamad... was chosen from among 19 finalists as the 2015/6 Redbridge Regional Final winner. She was chosen by an independent panel of judges. As a Regional Final winner the speech was posted online. Following vile and hateful comments posted online during this Bank Holiday weekend Speakers Trust removed the video of Leanne's speech. We will not tolerate trolling of young people. As a small charity without the capacity to moderate comments 24 hours a day it was considered essential to protect Leanne by temporarily suspending the regional video until we were able to consult fully with her school and family." (Joint statement from Speakers Trust & the Jack Petchey Foundation, On Leanne Mohamad & Speak Out competition, 31/5/16)

Let me get this straight - Leanne was "protected" from online abusive comments, not by moderating (or simply disallowing) comments, but by removing the video of Leanne's speech...

So it's now Leanne 0, Bullies 1.

Keep on digging, Speakers Trust.

NB: A petition calling for the Jack Petchey Foundation to uncensor Leanne is currently in circulation. Please sign!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Speak & Be Heard, Just Not on Palestine, OK?

The current round of Zionist bullying in the UK has hit a new low:

"A British Palestinian school girl, Leanne Mohamad of Wanstead High School, won the 'Speak Out Challenge' after giving this impressive performance to enthusiastic applause. But a day later, following complaints from extremist anti-Palestinian blogger Edgar Davidson, Leanne will no longer be sent through to the grand final of the public speaking competition. It seems that giving a personal account of the Nakba and a plea for an end to discrimination against Palestinians is not acceptable in the UK.

"Competition organisers Speakers Trust have removed the video from their website, Speak Out Challenge, and their YouTube channel.. The Speak Out Challenge is described thus: 'In each one-day workshop, students take part in games and exercises to encourage them to think on their feet in a fun, interactive and safe environment. The day culminates in a 'Speak Out' speech contest where students can speak on any topic they feel strongly about - using only their voices, their words and their passion. Notes are not allowed; they must use the techniques from the training.'

"The Free Speech on Israel network object to the undue influence that was imposed on Speakers Trust; 15 year old Leanne Mohamad should have been allowed to go through to the final..." (Speak Out or Shut Up? Schoolgirl's Nakba speech censored,, 29/5/16)

As usual, however, in cases like this, it is not so much the bully that concerns me, but the sheer cluelessness and cowardice of those who facilitate them. Without their help, Zionist witch-finders would simply be left to stew, without the oxygen of publicity, in their own bile.

But first the bully, blogger Edgar Davidson. A simple glance at his scribblings by any informed individual would reveal that we are dealing here with nothing less than a hard-wired Zionist fanatic.

Davidson, for example, defines his blog as "Confronting anti-Semitism & Israel hatred." IOW, he conflates anti-Semitism with opposition to Israeli apartheid. A dead giveaway. Leanne's brave and heartfelt speech is thus written off as "full of ignorant lies and blood libels."

Then there's his linking to like-minded fanatics for whom the very existence of the Palestinians is anathema:

"Where ARE all those Palestinians, the proclaimed one million of them who lived in Israel before they were 'displaced'? Nowhere. Nowhere, because they never existed." (9,000 photos from 1800's [?] British Mandate of Palestine - with no trace of 'Palestinians',

In fact, such is the madness on display in his post on Leanne Mohamad that a 15-year-old schoolgirl speaking candidly and movingly about Israel's relentless persecution of her people over more than six decades can lead him to conclude that "there is no long-term future for British Jewry."

Enough said about Davidson.

It's Julie Holness, the CEO of Speakers Trust (slogan: 'Speak & Be Heard'), however, that really has me riled.

Davidson published an emailed response he'd received from her in reply to his initial post on Leanne Mohamad's speech. And what an extraordinary document it is. Not only does Holness shows no sign whatever that she's dealing with a fanatic and a bully but bends over backwards to accommodate him:

"Thank you very much for your email... We take your concerns very seriously," she begins.

Neither a defence of the content of Leanne's speech, or of free speech in general, follows. Instead, she merely asserts that "There are... two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: - the speech must have a positive and uplifting message... - a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this... means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outside," and assumes that Leanne's speech is guilty on both counts.

She then goes on to, in effect, blame the school for voting Leanne as "its most talented speaker," and "an independent panel of judges from the local community" for selecting her as "their regional winner."

This is followed by a reassurance that a Speakers Trust panel has met and decided "unanimously against sending Leanne Mohamad through to the next stage and she will not be speaking at the Grand Final."

Finally, Holness asks Davidson if he wishes her to forward his email to her school.

Pandering to Zionist trolls, of course, merely encourages them to engage in further excesses. Davidson is no exception, replying that "The lies and blood libels in Leanne's speech actually go far beyond what even the terrorist organisation Hamas claims."

He will, moreover, have his pound of flesh:

"I see that the video is STILL on your website... if it is left there, there must be a clear statement about how it has breached the rules, why it is so offensive and why nothing like that can ever be accepted in the future. There must also be a proper video response."

Davidson, hard-wired as I've explained, simply cannot help himself.  

As for Holness, however, what an appalling indictment of the UK education system it is that the nation which single-handedly created the Palestine problem almost 100 years ago can produce individuals such as Holness who are, seemingly, blissfully unaware of both the fact and its ramifications.