Friday, June 29, 2018

Another Zionist Attack on Australian Aid to Palestinians

You'll recall the case of World Vision's Gaza director Mohammed El-Halabi, seized by the Israelis in 2016 and falsely accused of diverting Australian aid money to Hamas, despite neither the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade nor World Vision Australia finding any evidence for the accusation. (See my 23/3/17 post The Halabi Affair.) (And incidentally, here it is, June 2018, and, search as I may on the Internet, I can find no reference to what has happened to El-Halabi.)

Now, another Australian aid organisation, the ACTU's Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA, has come under attack by the usual suspects for the heinous crime of helping dispossessed and colonised Palestinians.

'Venomous' doesn't begin to describe Murdoch's Daily Telegraph. "TERROR EXCLUSIVE" shrieked its front page yesterday, "Audit into jihadi links to Aussie aid - GAZA DRIP." (That final shriek, btw, gets my nomination for any 'Lamest MSM Pun of the Year' competition currently in contemplation.)

That was followed by this opener from "national political editor," Sharri Markson:

"An urgent investigation is under way after revelations millions of taxpayer dollars are being funnelled to a Palestinian aid organisation in the Middle East that employed a leader of a terrorist group. The Daily Telegraph can today reveal the money web that sees cash move from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade through a Sydney-based charity to a Palestinian aid organisation which employed the leader of a vicious jihadi group known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP has masterminded plane hijackings and suicide bombings, and is on the official terror lists of the US, the European Union and Canada. In total, $21 million of DFAT funding has been given to a charity set up by the unions, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, which has funnelled millions through to the Ma'an Development Centre - whose project co-ordinator in Gaza was the recently killed PFLP leader Ahmed Abdullah Al Adine. He was hailed a martyr at his funeral, which was guarded by at least a dozen PFLP terrorists. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop last night said a 'full audit of funding' to Union Aid Abroad had been ordered."

Describing the Marxist PFLP* as "a vicious jihadi group" is just the kind of cheap propaganda you'd expect from Markson, once described by former Labor politician, now Murdoch columnist for The Australian, Graham Richardson (in a model of understatement) as someone who can be "irritating and sometimes go too far."

Two things should always be kept in mind whenever Israelis, or their fifth columnists in places like Australia, start banging on about 'Palestinian terrorism'. 

The first is that the Palestinians, like all occupied people, have the legal right, in the words of UNGA resolution 37/43 of 1982, to resist occupying forces "by all available means, including armed struggle." 

The second is that for Zionists to bleat about 'Palestinian terrorism' is the very height of hypocrisy. Not only did they use terror in their ruthless, armed takeover of British Mandate Palestine, but they have continued using it on a daily basis against defenceless Palestinians and others ever since.

The Israelis have, of course, long been gunning for both APHEDA and World Vision Australia, as this propaganda piece from Jason Edelstein of NGO Monitor, published in Murdoch's Australian in 2012, indicates:

"In a new report, Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Centre) presents 'conclusive evidence' that a Gaza-based organisation supported by two Australian groups is linked to the Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine terror group. The report explains that the Australian Agency for International Development and World Vision Australia are 'providing financial aid and other forms of material support to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, an agency of the proscribed terror organisation the PFLP... As NGO Monitor has shown, APHEDA... engages in activities that fuel the conflict and do not promote humanitarian objectives. APHEDA campaigns for a one-sided and immoral arms embargo that would impair Israeli defence against terror attacks, uses demonising 'apartheid' language, endorses the so-called Palestinian 'right of return' and partners with organisations promoting BDS and 'lawfare' tactics. Its Middle East tours have served as the basis for promoting BDS campaigns in Australia." (No peace in hidden agenda of aid agencies, 30/3/12)

[*For George Habash and the PFLP see my 6/5/18 post Gideon Levy: 'Habash Was Right'.]

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Who Funds Parliamentary Junkets to Israel?

From the introduction to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's (ASPI) latest report Who funds federal parliamentarians' overseas travel? An analysis of non-Australian government funded parliamentary travel between 2010 and 2018:

"During the nearly 8-year period covered by this report, Israel, China and the USA were the top 3 destinations for parliamentarians sponsored by non-Australian Government entities. The top non-Australian Government sponsor for parliamentarians travelling to Israel was the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)... According to the disclosures made in the federal parliamentary Registers of Interest... federal parliamentarians received 102 sponsored trips to Israel, 63 to China, and 49 to the USA where the costs were paid for by non-Australian Government sponsors. The report counted two 'types' of trips - flights and accommodation; and accommodation only. The vast majority of all trips were flights and accommodation."

In brief, Israel is the number 1 travel junket for clueless, unprincipled Australian politicians, and it's overwhelmingly on the Israel lobby's (tax-exempt?) dime. Maybe the next ASPI report could focus on what the lobby gets in return for their money. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Neither Forgotten Nor Forgiven

Words such as 'mealy-mouthed', 'circumlocution', and 'prevarication', hardly begin to do justice to this appalling sentence:

"Prince William is visiting a region where three decades of British rule between the two world wars helped establish some of the fault lines of today's Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (Prince on 'delicate' tour of fault lines, AP, agencies/Sydney Morning Herald, 26/6/18)

Helped? Some? You're joking.

The simple fact of the matter is that there were no "fault lines in Palestine" in 1917 when the British issued the Balfour Declaration. The British, without help from anyone else, created them by flooding the country with fanatical Zionist colonisers from eastern Europe, bent on turning the place into a Jews-only, utopian state. Britain, and Britain alone, is responsible for creating today's 100-year-old Palestine problem. It was an own goal.

Britain's exclusive role in laying the foundations for the dispossession of the Palestinian Arab people should never be forgotten. Nor forgiven.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Candy Royalle 1981-2018 RIP


I am my grandfather's memories
of sunshine streaming through olive trees,
Of women sitting around and clucking like hens
as they crush garlic with spices to make
that night's meal
whilst men tend gardens
plough the fields
of their baladi
their homeland.

I am my grandfather's memories
remembering that he was raised as a Christian
in a land of Muslims
with Jewish friends.
He played in the dirt
with his future enemies
shared meals
and didn't yet know
that history was in the making
somewhere in Europe.

I am my grandfather's memories
and the things he doesn't even know yet
Like: he was one of millions of pawns
negotiated in a deal
that would alleviate the guilt of the world
for crimes committed
that they had no hand in
there was no hatred -

I am my grandfather's nightmares
where stories came
horrors that caressed the ears
of him
his parents
others in their community.
It whispered that death
was wiping out whole villages
mass graves were being filled
blood was being shed
so much
that rivers ran upon the earth
turning it crimson.
Violence was making the ard arid
land once fertile -

I am my grandfather's nightmares
where he wished to be deaf
to the stories of the nakba.
Where to stay was to die
where to leave was to die -
death comes in many forms
and when your feet can no longer
touch the dirt
you took your first steps upon
that's a form of death too.

I am my grandfather's memories
of the stories coming closer
of terror being sowed
whilst the peasants plowed the land.
He thought of the danger
his aging parents were in
he thought of his own life ahead of him
he'd seen his people torn from the earth
no more roots
they wandered out
crying for their losses
mourning the dead
asking allah what they did
to deserve this.
He'd seen whole villages
razed to the ground
and he knew
that a knock on the door
was imminent
that the violence ravaging his land
would not stop
in fact it intensified daily
and so knowing that under occupation
was no place to live
he left one day
saying goodbye to his parents
he swore he would send for them
once he had found somewhere safe.

I am my grandfather's memories
as he stepped out that door
one last time
held his hand up
to shield his eyes
breathed in slow through his nostrils
and forced himself to remember
every smell.
He opened his eyes wide
allowed them to sting
and looked upon his village
one last time
he forced himself to remember
every sight
then closed his eyes
and committed to memory
all those memories before 1948
so that he would leave in love
and not hate.
Opening his eyes
I am his memory
of walking away
of the crunch of dirt beneath his feet
listening to the earth's conversation with him
how the wind wished him well
through the trees
and he talked back with his heart
knowing he wouldn't return
he swore to his homeland
it would reside forever inside.

I am my grandfather's memories
as he immigrated to Lebanon
to try to start again.
How he worked long hours
as a refugee in a foreign land
trying to gather the money required
to save his parents
from the death which was beckoning.

I am my grandfather's memories
as he managed to bring his parents over
then start his own family
getting married
having children
tragically losing a wife
getting married again
having more children
and trying to provide for them.

I am my father's memories
of being born into a displaced family
where the homeland is referred to constantly
where he had a sense
that he belonged elsewhere
where the injustice was keenly felt
but where the world seemed not to care
nor understand
the plight of his people.

I am my father's memories
of a family striving to survive
always on the outside
and he as a child growing
in another war-torn country
but knowing that he would leave
before the army could get to him.

I am my father's memories
of being kidnapped twice
and twice being set free
for he did not subscribe
to any form of religious extremism.

I am my father's memories
of constant warfare
being shot by rubber bullets
choking on tear gas
listening to missiles
soar overhead
hoping against all hope
that their bullet-riddled apartment block
would not be hit next.

I am my father's memories
of being 18 and knowing if he did not leave
he would have to bear a weapon
and the death that comes with it -
either behind it
or in front.
So he left that land
knowing that he could never return -
he became a deserter of a war
he did not agree with.
As that plane
ascended towards the heavens
I am his memories of hope
for a better future
but sadness that he may never
see those whom he loves

I am my father's memories
of picking grapes in France
trying to save enough money
to get further away.

I am my father's memory
of boarding a plane for Australia
where he knew my mother to be
and tearing up his passport
arriving as a refugee.

I am my own memory
of being 8 or 9 years old
and listening
to the voice of my grandfather
on a tape he's sent us
from a land I can barely imagine
but whose music I hear
whose food I eat
whose history I am already learning.

I am my own memory
of being 10 or 11 years old
and seeing my Dad
cry for the first time
because we would no longer be
receiving those tapes.
My father who knew his father was dying
and couldn't return
didn't get to say goodbye to his Baba
on his deathbed.
That's when I became
my grandfather's memories
you see he could no longer remember
now that he had been buried.

I am my own memory
of being a teenager
and struggling to exist
between two cultures:
one which sought me to hang on to a past
and one which forced me into the future
one which sought to fill me with love
and one which forced me to belong to this land.

I am my own memory
of trying to understand
why my father was always so angry
until I was old enough to see
that where once my father
had been a warrior
he was now nothing more than a worrier
and I mistook that fear
at losing his family
his land
everything that I took for granted
for anger.

I am my family's blood
where these memories
these histories
course through my veins.
Where my own feet
have not yet touched the soil
of where my great grandfather
my grandfather and
my father's footsteps roamed.

I am the memories of the displaced
the lost
the hidden
the lies
the propaganda
the hatred.

I am the memories
of blue skies
dry heat

I am the memories
of that lost land
and this land gained.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Foxtrot? Tommyrot! 2

When I responded to Paul Byrnes' Herald review of the Israeli film Foxtrot (see my 21/6/18 post Foxtrot? Tommyrot!), I was under the impression that the grief-stricken Israeli parents of Act 1 were those of an Israeli soldier killed in Act 2. This, it seems, is not the case, as yet another review of the same film in the same paper (why?) indicates (A bloody legacy, Stephanie Bunbury, 23/6/18).

The parents who wake to a knock on their door one morning, only to be told by military officials that their soldier son, Jonathan, has been killed, apparently represent every Israeli parent: "In Israel, actor Lior Ashkenazi says, everyone knows exactly what has happened; in a country with compulsory national service, that morning knock is like a code. This woman's child must be dead. 'In Israel, everybody knows somebody in this position... It surrounds you: the grief'."

To which I can only add - Bunbury doesn't, of course - if the occupying Israelis are enveloped in grief, it is simply beyond imagining what the occupied Palestinians, whose death toll is infinitely higher, are going through. But when was the last time you saw a commercial release featuring Palestinians in a sympathetic light (not to mention getting TWO reviews in the same media outlet)? In fact, what this 'morning knock' business is really all about is hyping a supposed threat to the occupier by the occupied, and casting the occupiers as victims.

Bunbury then says of Michael, the father, that he "fought his own war in Lebanon. Of course he did: there is always a war on. Everyone carries the same burden." It seems she's blissfully unaware that all of Israel's wars have SFA to do with self-defence, and everything to do with acquiring more territory. Such land-grabs, of course, are always hyped as existential threats, and the "burden" in murder and destruction is borne exclusively by Israel's Arab victims.

Moving on to the second act (which, you'll recall from Byrnes' review, is set at a checkpoint in the desert), we're told that it's set at a "checkpoint near the Lebanese border." Here the confusion grows. The soldiers manning the checkpoint are described as lifting "the barrier for a lone camel passing through." There is, of course, no desert anywhere near the Lebanese border, and certainly no camels either. So what gives?

What Byrnes' in his review calls "an accident" is clarified in Bunbury's: "One of their number panics and shoots an entire car of young Palestinians. The solution presents itself: bury the car, including the bodies, in the ever-present mud." Which only leads to further confusion. Who are these mysterious Palestinian youths (over whom, it seems, no tears are shed)? If the checkpoint is "near the Lebanese border," then it's got to be in the Galilee, and the "young Palestinians" would therefore be Israeli citizens. If, on the other hand, they're Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, then all I can say is they're a bloody long way from home.

More confusion arises from the Israeli response to the gunning down of the Palestinians. As anyone familiar with the modus operandi followed by Israeli troops when they murder Palestinians will know, the invariable practice is simply to blame the victims, stick doggedly to the concocted story, and be hailed as heroes by the vast majority of Israelis. Burying the evidence with the help of a bulldozer that just happens to be nearby? I don't think so.

But Maoz, the film's director has an explanation. Bunbury quotes him as saying, "You don't have to be a genius to understand that there is not such a specific roadblock, not such a specific reality."

And you don't have to be a genius to understand that Maoz, quoted elsewhere in the review referring to Israel "a pathetic and anxious society with the distorted perception that comes out of a terrible past trauma," is playing the Holocaust card, a move designed to get Israel off the hook for its crimes against the Palestinians.

I'll let the Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy have the final say on this phony film:

"The film unit of the Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office would not have dared produce such a pro-Israeli and pro-army film like Foxtrot; they would have known that nobody would believe them. Neither could the unit have produced such an aesthetic film - poetic, symbolic and metaphorical. Nor is there a ship of fools that would accept such a demented level of ignorant assaults on the film by the culture minister without having seen it, she might not have realized what a PR treasure it is.

"Her colleague, a general in the war against the boycott, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is also information minister, should have instructed his ministry to immediately distribute the film worldwide as part of his battle. There's nothing like Foxtrot for beautifying the image of the state. Look how beautiful we are, we Israelis. What great cinema we have, what beautiful homes we live in and how beautiful are our Holocaust survivors; even our much maligned checkpoints are so beautiful.

"Sanuel Maoz made a beautiful film - and a deceptive, misleading film. The last thing it deserves is to be decried as harming the state. Its foxtrot is dirty dancing. Maoz says that the film is a metaphor for universal questions about fatalism, choice, fate and the individual's ability to shape his future. Those are worthy and fascinating subjects. Maoz could have dealt with them by means of a story line about a wrong diagnosis of cancer, a critical date that a couple never went on, or someone who was fatally late for a flight. Instead, he chose to focus the debate in the context of the Israeli occupation. And so he shouldn't play dumb and claim that this is an artistic and imaginary film, without context or obligation to reality and truth. The moment he chose the occupation as the arena for his film, he turned it into a political and current events film. Not only is that not the way to dance the foxtrot, as Maoz discovered too late, this is not the way the occupation looks - in fact, there's no resemblance at all.

"Beautifying the occupation is no less grave than tarnishing its image. Calling Israeli soldiers is a terrible thing, but presenting them at checkpoints the way Naomi Shemer described the soldiers in her iconic 1968 song At the Nahal Outpost, where she saw 'lots of beautiful things,' as well as 'small poetry books on shelves' - that was no less grave. A lie is a lie, no matter what direction it takes. There aren't lots of beautiful things at a checkpoint. Not even one. Maoz decided to embellish it. He has the artistic right to describe reality as he sees it, but he can't ignore the implications of his hallucinations. When an IDF checkpoint looks like a beautiful surrealistic scene in an old-time Italian movie - maybe they'll believe it in Venice. Here it's not possible. There are no beautiful checkpoints like that, with a camel passing silently by and an ice-cream truck with a blond girl painted on it.

"Neither can he shirk responsibility for the message or for the fact that the Palestinians are momentary extras, and even in that context, their depiction is so different from the reality. In Foxtrot, they ride in a collector's Chevy, with Israeli license plates, wearing their finery, on the way to a wedding or back from a party, erupting in wild joyful song.

"There aren't a lot of apartments designed like the one where Yonatan's parents live and there are no soldiers who sit at checkpoints drawing comics in their many hours of free time and checking the incline of the packing container, which is a metaphor for the extent of being stuck in the mud.

"The soldiers at the checkpoints simply don't look like that. They don't throw sorrowful looks and they're mainly busy with brutality, not comics. Most of them didn't grow up in House Beautiful apartments belonging to handsome architects who married their students; the ones that did go to the elite 8200 intelligence unit. They can be shown anyway one wants, but when an Israeli director with political awareness does that, he's making propaganda, not cinema.

"It's not the 'scene' that everyone is talking about that makes this film infuriating. Not the killing by IDF soldiers and not the concealing of evidence that followed. Foxtrot is trying to conceal something else entirely: It's trying to conceal the ugliness." (A beautiful film about the occupation, 1/10/17)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

From the Horse's Mouth

Well, I'll be damned if Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation chief executive Simon Haines isn't conceding that our much-vaunted Western civilisation is "wicked, colonial, imperialist and racist":

"But normal academic processes will be followed, and the centre will have no power of veto. If the centre doesn't like the direction in which the university takes the course, it will withdraw. 'If we felt, three or four years into the degree, that this is not working out, the stories we are getting from the students [are] that most of the courses are pointing out that the West is a wicked, colonial, imperialist, racist... civilisation, we would say, 'look, we didn't give you the money to do that, we want something balanced'." (It may be academic, but it's talk of the town, Jordan Baker, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/6/18)

He just wants some balance, that's all...

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Time for a New Australian Party

Clearly, Australia needs a new political party. One unburdened by any pettifogging concern for the national interest. One that makes no bones about getting its inspiration and marching orders from afar. My suggestion is that it be called the Whatever Israel Wants Israel Gets Party (WIWIGP).

And this could be it in embryo:

"Senator Fraser Anning (QLD) [Katter's Australian Party] last night filed a Notice of Motion... to the effect that Australia will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of of Israel and move our embassy to the western side of Jerusalem... the motion was defeated in the senate today by 50-4... Dr David Adler, AJA [Australia Jewish Association] President said, 'It is an explicit core policy of AJA that Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish nation... AJA has worked closely with Senator Anning's office and support his motion. 'We want to recognise him as a friend of the Jewish people... It is an opportunity to put Australian senators to the test on this important matter of principle... ' [...] Dr David Adler told J-Wire: 'Obviously we are disappointed that the vote... was lost It appears that both major parties instructed their senators to vote no. We know that there are quite a few LNP senators that given a free vote would have voted yes'." (A motion to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital & to move the Australian embassy there,, 19/6/18)

Senators Anning, Bernardi, Burston and Leyonhjelm are obvious founding father material, and WIWIGP is sure to grow like topsy as Liberal and Labor politicians, who orate endlessly about 'shared values' and 'unbreakable bonds', declare their true allegiance at last.

In fact, WIWIGP could end up as the largest party in Australia's federal parliament!

Finally, some honesty in Australian federal politics.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Foxtrot? Tommyrot!

How depressing are those book/film reviews in the msm which, inadvertently or otherwise, distort and cover up the reality of Israel's war crimes. (Of course, it goes without saying that Israeli books/films are virtually the only ones to make it into the msm.)

The latest specimen is Paul Byrnes' review of Israeli 'war' film Foxtrot for the Sydney Morning Herald. Herewith my gripes and grumblings:

"If a film makes war seem fun, you can pretty much know the director has never been near one. Samuel Maoz is an exception. He served in the Israeli Defence Force in 1982 during the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. It's clear that it was a shattering experience." (Painful portrait of war's deep scars, 21/6/18)

Yes, Paul, "a shattering experience" it was - particularly for the over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians who got it in the neck (not to mention the more than 30,000 wounded) when Maoz and his mates blitzkriegged into Lebanon at the time. But we don't want to talk about the real victims here, do we, Paul?

"His first feature film, Lebanon, recreated the life of a tank crew on active duty. The whole film was set inside the tank, which was both technically daring and completely terrifying."

C'mon, Paul, seriously now, where else would you set an Israeli film? Except perhaps in a cockpit, or in the space immediately behind the sights of a rifle.

"Foxtrot is a different kind of movie, but just as scarifying. It steps back to dramatise what it's like for the family of an Israeli soldier when they receive news that he has been killed. That's the first act."

But emphatically not what's it's like for the family of a Palestinian blown away by an Israeli soldier.

"The second act takes place in the desert, where a group of young IDF soldiers man a lonely checkpoint."

Just a minute, Paul. You mean there's still some desert left in Israel - after over 100 years of making the desert bloom? Or are we talking about the Sahara or the Gobi here? Is that where Israel's borders are now? But seriously, the whole fucking point of your Israeli checkpoint is that it's set up with only one purpose in mind - to mess with the lives of occupied Palestinians (as in 'how many checkpoints does a Palestinian have to negotiate to get from occupied Bethlehem to occupied Jerusalem?'). Do you get my drift, Paul? Your Israeli checkpoint needs PEOPLE. Ergo, there is NO SUCH THING as "a lonely checkpoint," OK?

"A third act returns to the family, now in post-traumatic disarray."

Hey, Paul, was part of their "post-traumatic disarray" having their home demolished? Oh wait... that only happens to Palestinian families.

"Foxtrot has been hugely controversial in Israel... The right in Israel objected to the film's depiction of Israeli soldiers covering up evidence of a killing."

Noooo! The most moral army in world, lying? You're kidding me. I simply don't believe it.

"One of the soldiers is Jonathan... In one of the film's most surreal moments, Jonathan dances with his rifle as if it's a woman... making his comrades laugh... He's just a kid, horsing around, trying to entertain his pals and relieve some tension; he's also a bulwark, a defender of the nation."

Oh no, Paul. He's neither "bulwark," nor "defender of the nation." He's an OCCUPIER, pure and simple. Strewth, is it really that hard?

Apparently so. Paul Byrnes has given Tommyrot 4 stars.

On Crossing Lines

Where some people draw the famous 'red line' never ceases to amaze me:

"A line was crossed last week when Charles Sturt University students turned up at a 'politically incorrect'-themed party in costumes from three of the most horrendous episodes in history." (Ignorance or arrogance behind offensive outfits, Vic Alhadeff, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/6/18)

Golly, gosh, gee, isn't this the same Vic Alhadeff (chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies) who, as (LOL) NSW Community Relations Commissioner, just couldn't restrain himself from leaping to apartheid Israel's defence while it was busy dispatching Palestinian civilians in Gaza to kingdom come by rocket and shellfire, and, as a consequence, ended up resigning from the CRC position after coming under criticism? (See my posts Baruch O'Farrell's Poisoned Chalice (13/7/14), They Hardly Felt a Thing (14/7/14) & Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel (28/7/14) for the gory details.)

Not that Alhadeff considered himself to have crossed a line at the time. In fact, far from blaming himself for his decision to resign, he blamed "the reaction from some" (to his whitewashing of Israeli murder and mayhem) for constituting "a distraction to the work of the CRC."

Nonetheless, the Herald has no compunction whatever in hosting Alhadeff's humbug from time to time. For example, in the same piece we get the following gem of gems:

"[W]hen we lose sight of fundamental principles of decency and the lessons of history, we risk losing our moral centre and slipping into dangerous territory in which prejudice and bigotry are permitted to flourish."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Where's Israel?

I just love the annual Lowy Institute Poll and its 'Feelings Thermometer', don't you?

"Please rate your feelings towards some countries, with 100 meaning a very warm, favourable feeling, zero meaning a very cold, unfavourable feeling... "

"This year for the first time," says the Poll, in its gloss, Feelings towards other countries, "we have included in the same 'thermometer' question the three nations Australians have felt most warmly towards in the past: New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Each is very warmly regarded, and the separation between them is almost insignificant."

I just don't understand! Why isn't Israel included here?

After all, PM Harbourside Mansion (salary now almost $538,500) is on record as saying that we and Israel share the values of "ingenuity, resilience and hard work," and that "we have an unbreakable bond that is only getting stronger."


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The War in Yemen: No Proxy Conflict with Iran

"Alongside their throttlehold over which reporters can visit what parts of Yemen, and thus what story they can tell, Saudi and Emirati investments in public relations, lobbying, think-tanks, and political consultants are shaping the narrative about their war there. Headline writers, pundits, Wikipedia, news correspondents, and even some so-called experts frame the asymmetric conflict as a 'proxy war.' Sunni nations led by Saudi Arabia are battling Shi'a Iran and its regional proxies, the story goes; the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster thus appears as un-named collateral damage.

"The word 'proxy,' incongruously accompanied by the label of a 'civil war' between an 'internationally recognized government' and 'Iranian-backed militia,' rationalizes the unwarranted, unprovoked Saudi-UAE intervention in Yemen. Some headlines and stories reflect sloppy journalism and the tendency to mindlessly reiterate hackneyed tag-lines. However, make no mistake: big petrodollar spending around DuPont Circle systematically produces a story-line that exonerates the murder and starvation of Yemenis who are not even 'Shi'a' in the name of countering overblown Iranian influence.

"A proxy war is a clash between contending powers that do not engage directly in combat. Rather, rivals arm, train, and goad third parties in smaller countries to fight one another. The classic Cold War cases were civil or cross-border wars in Central America and southern Africa where communist or socialist forces battled US clients. In the big antagonism between patrons - the Soviet Union and the United States - the battlefield was in the so-called Third World. Some sources (like Wikipedia) characterize the Korean and Vietnam wars as 'proxy' conflicts, because the American objective was to defeat communist 'proxies;' but these conflicts, named for the places US forces engaged, are more commonly, and accurately, recalled as direct American interventions, or instances of American imperialism. Like scores of US interventions during the era of bipolar competition, they reflected a hegemonic urge to insulate friendly allies from popular revolutions, and to perpetuate dependent regimes.

"The US- and UK-supported Saudi and UAE dynasties and their hired analysts insist that their Yemeni adversary is a proxy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The inference is that Arab Gulf monarchies righteously resist Iranian - or Shi'a - influence in the Peninsula. Therefore, forty months of relentless bombing and blockade are justified as self-defense.

"Poppycock. Sure, the Houthi militia have ex post facto Iranian support - not in their several pre-2011 rebellions against the Salih government, but more recently. When they swept into Sana'a in 2014, with the turncoat support of Salih and his regiments, they instigated regular flights to and from Tehran. This infuriated the Saudi and Emirati governments, who ordered the bombing of Sana'a's runways and the indefinite shutdown of the airport. Improbably and irrationally, given the domestic roots of their grievances, the Houthis adopted Iranian slogans "death to America, death to Israel." PressTV and other Iranian propaganda outlets champion the Houthi cause.

"Civilian transport and propaganda do not, however, proxies make. The evidence of Houthis receiving Iranian arms despite the strangling Saudi-led, US-backed air and naval blockade is thin; the missiles they fire are low-tech and antiquated, mostly leftovers from the Soviet era. Iranians have not been filmed inside of Yemen. If anything, cries of 'Iranian-backed' grossly inflate Tehran's influence, and even that is more self-fulfilling after-the-fact prophesy than casus belli. No reasonable claim can be advanced that the Houthis take their marching orders or even their inspiration from the Islamic Republic. Two rather aside points in this regard: first, until recently the Persian Twelvers did not even consider the Zaydi Fivers as Shi'a; and secondly, the 'cold war' between Tehran and Riyadh is as much about republican vs. royal visions of an Islamic state as it is a denominational confrontation between the two great branches of Islam.

"Moreover, the 'internationally recognized government' has been in comfortable exile in Riyadh since March or April of 2015. 'Internationally recognized' is another way of saying that the so-called government of Abdarrubuh Mansur Hadi - often portrayed as a puppet - has no domestic mandate or following, only Gulf sponsors. These patrons, particularly Saudi Arabia, have a history of meddling in Yemen against popular movements and democratic impulses. Among other instances, the House of Saud backed the Zaydi Imamate against republican officers in North Yemen during the 1962-1970 civil war: then, and perhaps now, the fear of republicanism overrode any antipathy towards Zaydi Shi'ism. The Gulf patriarchies worried about uprisings in North Africa; the mass protests in Yemen in 2011 - led, incidentally, by women - caused genuine panic in the palaces.

"The most dangerous aspect of the 'proxy war against Iranian-backed militia' narrative is that is deflects attention away from indisputable war crimes. The Saudi-led coalition is now making a push on the strategic Red Sea port of al-Hudaydah, which has already been out of commission for three years and remains 'occupied' by Houthi rebels. Al-Hudaydah port and the governorate of al-Hudaydah lie along the Red Sea coastal plain known as the Tihama. The people of the Tihama, residents of fishing, herding, pottery-and-basket-making, and sharecropping communities who have already suffered disproportionately from Saudi-led bombing and the naval blockade, are dark-skinned Yemenis of mixed Arab and African ancestry. Spiritually, they identify with the Shafi'i denomination of Sunni Islam. Socially, they are the poorest of the poor. Politically, they have no sympathy for the Houthis, much less Iran.

"The victims of the coming - or current - onslaught are not 'proxies of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.' They are starving children under attack by filthy-rich monarchies wielding the most advanced weapons Britain and the United States have to sell." (War of aggression: the Saudi & UAE slaughter in Yemen isn't a proxy conflict with Iran, Sheila Carapico,, 6/6/18)

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Suez Aggression Rides Again

It's back to 1956*, chaps, with Britain and France now key players in the Saudi/Emirati intervention in Yemen.

In addition to arming the Saudis, Britain (along with the US) has just vetoed a UNSC resolution designed to prevent a Saudi/Emirati attack on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. (See UN rejects plan for ceasefire in Yemen port, Jason Ditz,, 15/6/18)

As for the French, they've apparently deployed special forces to Yemen to bolster Emirati troops there. (See French special forces on the ground in Yemen, Jason Ditz, 16/6/18)

These two imperial recidivists, you'll remember, accompanied Trump on his bombing run in Syria in April. Now they're at it again, this time in Yemen. When will they ever learn?

As Syrian MP Fares Shehabi tweeted on June 16: "In short, the UK, US & France are behind all of our nightmares and tragedies in the region! We don't have any positive collective memory of anything good they did for us! For a century all they did was conquer, destroy, divide, loot, abuse and terrorize our people!"

[*When Britain and France colluded with the Israelis to seize the Suez Canal and topple Egypt's president Nasser. See my 14/4/18 post Anthony Nutting Turns in His Grave.]

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Malcolm's Party

It has been said that the fish stinks from the head down. Well, you can smell the head of Australia's governing Liberal Party a mile away. Get a whiff of this:

Last year...

"Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest paid politician in the OECD... Mr Turnbull's base pay rose to $527,854 after the independent Remuneration Tribunal ordered a 2% pay rise for politicians last year, delivering him a $10,000 jump." (Turnbull's pay highest of any OECD leader, Eryk Bagshaw, The Sun-Herald, 27/5/47)

Next month...

"Malcolm Turnbull will pocket a pay rise of more than $10,000 next month after the independent Remuneration Tribunal decided to lift salaries for federal politicians by 2%... The decision will see the Prime Minister's annual income rise to $538,460... " ($10k top-up for Turnbull as pay lifted for MPs, Joe Kelly, The Australian, 14/6/18)

Then, of course, there's the awful stench of the party's rank and vile:

"The [Liberal Party's] council... voted, by a narrow margin of 43 to 31 votes, to relocate the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a highly contentious move opposed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during the debate." (Liberal Party council votes to sell off the ABC, David Crowe,, 16/6/18)

Smelling salts, anyone?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

It Seemed Like a Jolly Good Idea at the Time

I introduced Thursday's post, Erin Go Brath, with a quote from Ronald Storrs (1881-1955), the British governor of Jerusalem from 1920-26. As indicated, the quote comes from his highly-regarded memoir Orientations (1937). It is obvious from the passage that, at the time of writing his book, Storrs was a starry-eyed admirer of the Zionist colonial project in Palestine. But, as the bloody reality of that project inevitably became apparent, the penny began to drop for him, as those wonderful, enterprising Zionist chappies of the 20s turned on Britain in the late 40s and went for its jugular.

Here's how Zionist historian Rory Miller concludes his essay Sir Ronald Storrs & Zion: the dream that turned into a nightmare (Middle East Studies, July 2000):

"For the Zionists the story [of British involvement in Palestine] concluded well with the birth of the State of Israel. For Storrs the story did not have such a happy ending. By the time of Israel's founding in 1948, Storrs' long-time interest in Palestine had crystallized into a loathing of Zionism. It had even turned into paranoia with Storrs concerned lest his public pronouncements on Zionism might result in his assassination by Zionist extremists and get him 'sterned off', as he liked to phrase it... Entries into his diary such as 'Palestine news is heartbreaking' and 'Palestine is worse than ever... I wish I could let my anxiety, even despair lapse into... indifference' evoke the bitterness, hostility and resignation of a man who had involved himself in the Palestine question for over 30 years. Indeed it is a private note made by Storrs when he was contemplating adding an addendum to the 1948 reprint of the final and definitive edition of Orientations that emotionally and eloquently best sums up the totality of his opposition to Zionism and his belief in the harm wrought by the Zionist experiment in Palestine by this time: 're-reading these chapters I compared what Britain had done for Zionism with what Zionism had done to the British, to the peaceful inhabitants of the Holy Land and to the Middle East, to Judaism and ultimately to world Jewry, to the fair name of the United Nations, to the Anglo-American relationship, upon which the future of humanity depends - then, in the speech of our book of common prayer - 'I held my tongue and spake nothing. I kept silence, yea even from God's* words, but it was pain and grief to me'."

[*The Book of Common Prayer actually says, 'good words'.]

Friday, June 15, 2018

New Kid on the Block?

On Wednesday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution (GA/12028) condemning Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians and asked UN chief Antonio Guterres to recommend an 'international protection mechanism' for occupied Palestinian territory. Only eight countries voted against the resolution: Israel, the United States, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Togo.

Much the same shameless Pacific line-up as usual, except that Palau's been replaced by the Solomons - a first time appearance as far as I can recall.

Now as it happens, the Solomon Islands' PM is currently visiting Australia, discussing "a new undersea internet cable between Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomons, which Australia is helping to fund." (Pacific 'pressured to cut ties with Taiwan', Primrose Riordan, The Australian, 14/6/18)

OK, if Australia is funding the thing, what's the Solomons' contribution? Just asking...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Erin Go Brath

"In spite then of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews, [with the Balfour Declaration] world Jewry was at last within sight of home... No longer would the Jews remain a people without a land, in exile everywhere... Civilisation had at last acknowledged the great wrong, had proclaimed the word of salvation. It was for the Jews to approve themselves by action worthy of that confidence: to exercise practically and materially their historic 'right'. The soil tilled by their fathers had lain for long ages neglected: now, with the modern processes available to Jewish brains, Jewish capital and Jewish enterprise, the wilderness would rejoice and blossom like the rose. Even though the land could not yet absorb sixteen millions, nor even eight, enough could return, if not to form The Jewish State (which a few extremists publicly demanded), at least to prove that the enterprise was one that blessed him that gave as well as him that took by forming for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism." (Orientations, Ronald Storrs, 1937,  pp 357-58. Storrs was Jerusalem's first British governor.)


Following in the footsteps of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Cork City Council, the Dublin City Council, Galway City Council has declared its solidarity with the people of Palestine and support for the BDS movement.

Here is Galway's most excellent motion:

1. Since its violent establishment in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of more than half of the indigenous people of Palestine, the state of Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law; noting also that Israel continues to illegally occupy and colonise Palestinian land, discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, imposes an inhumane blockade and siege of Gaza and denies Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes, Galway City Council fully supports and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom, equality and justice and commits itself to discontinue all business contracts it has with Hewlett-Packard, both HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for business and government services, as well as the HP spin-off DXC Technology as HP and DXC provide and operate much of the technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people. (Galway City Council adopts motion to boycott Israel, Micheal O Maoileoin,, 12/6/18)

Meanwhile, in the settler-colonial backwater known as Australia...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Night Thoughts of a Western Civilisationist

Those baby boomers have a lot to answer for, it seems:

"Western civilisation is losing its pre-eminence because it threw it away in the 1960s. When the burgeoning demographic of Baby Boomers reached angry adolescence, they had found the truth in sex, drugs and rock and roll and making love not war. Being angry at the establishment was exciting. Many never learned another thing and, like Peter Pan, never grew up, especially those who taught humanities and social sciences in schools and universities. Their minds turned towards subjects where victimhood and identity politics determined intellectual content, and violence and intimidation became the medium of communication. These are the eternally young Philistines who are responsible for the Australian education system today. The Ramsay Centre is a wonderful antidote but it is fighting a war against a large barbarian enemy and will need more troops and a well-developed strategy to win. Rome fell because of the enemy at and within the gates - and the loss of civic virtue. The West faces China, Russia and militant Islam and this cancerous social disease of eternally young and stupid totalitarian toddlers inside. The new dark ages are a distinct possibility." (Letter of Jim Wilson, Beaumont, SA in The Australian, 29/5/18)

Only in the Murdoch press...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

AUJS is Joking, Right?


"A female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers has graced the front cover of a University of Sydney student newspaper, and Jewish students who complained about the cover have been 'condemned' for censorship. Hamida al-Taher killed more than 50 people, mainly Israeli military personnel, when she blew herself up in Southern Lebanon in 1985. The special edition of the University of Sydney's student newspaper Honi Soit, produced by the student women's collective a fortnight ago, put her on the cover and called her a 'martyr' in an issue dedicated to the struggle against 'Israeli colonisation'. The student queer collective's edition of Honi Soit on April 16 was criticised for having a picture of a petrol bomb on the cover and supporting a boycott of Israel. The Australasian Union of Students has called for an apology over the covers. 'They are particularly disturbing to Jewish students as they display a blatant disdain for Israeli victims of violence,' AUJS national political director Noa Bloch said." (Jewish students take aim at 'distressing' paper, Richard Ferguson, The Australian, 8/6/18)


What is it that the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) just doesn't get here?

Maybe some capital letters will help:

A LEBANESE freedom fighter dies in an operation which kills ISRAELI troops occupying LEBANON, and is therefore hailed a martyr. But, for some strange reason, the AUSTRALASIAN Union of Jewish Students that's a no-no.

Now AUSTRALIAN troops have killed God knows how many TURKS, VIETNAMESE, AFGHANS and IRAQIS in TURKEY, VIETNAM, AFGHANISTAN and IRAQ respectively, and are honoured for their 'sacrifice' with an annual commemoration known as Anzac Day. But, presumably, the AUSTRALASIAN Union of Jewish Students has no problem with that.

Hope that helps.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Spartans in Afghanistan

The 'exploits' of an Australian death squad, operating until 2013 in Afghanistan are currently the subject of a major Sydney Morning Herald investigation. Central to the story is an officer known only as 'Leonidas', "who cannot be named for legal reasons." If 'Leonidas' isn't proof that Hollywood is far more than a US Weapon of Mass Distraction (as if that were not bad enough) but a form of spiritual pollution which plays havoc with the minds of the cretins who flock to its juvenile productions, I don't know what is:

"At the time (2009), he was part of an SASR [Special Air Service Regiment] patrol that was increasingly dividing the regiment. A warrior culture was being embraced by some special forces troops but loathed by others. It involved tattoos and a devotion to the Hollywood movie 300, which glorifies the fighting prowess of the ancient Spartans, and whose climactic moment involves an enemy soldier being kicked off a ridge. Several former SASR officers say this rock-star ethos emboldened certain soldiers to test the elasticity of the rules of engagement - rules that govern when a soldier can take a life. 'The regiment over time prided itself on being an organisation that broke the rules but not the law,' explains one former officer... 'What happened, though, was during the Afghan campaign, there was a group of individuals who believed they were immune from the law'... [In] the patrol Leonidas belonged to... sources say, junior members were pushed to kill rather than detain." (SAS's day of shame: war crime allegations: bound detainee kicked off cliff and executed, Nick McKenzie & Chris Masters, 9/6/18)

As a SMH reviewer wrote of 300 back in 2007: "Welcome to the new double-speak. Sparta as a metaphor for America, courtesy of Warner Bros, in which the politics of eugenics is reborn amid one of the most sickeningly violent and mindless films of the new millennium. Adolf Hitler would have been pleased: he may have lost the war, but his ideas live on in mystical, military propaganda like this, aimed at spotty boys in need of heroes. God help us. Of course, latent fascism isn't new in American military movies. It's just that it's rarely as politically naive as it is in 300. That's me being charitable. It's just possible the filmmakers intended it to be as inflammatory as it is. These are strange times and 300 fits the mood of a part of the West that would like to see the Middle Eastern barbarians bathed in their own blood. This is their kind of movie, complete with references to 'barbarians' and 'Asian hordes'. Perhaps the Klan has become a new demographic for Hollywood." (In the name of freedom, Paul Byrnes, 6/4/07)

The 'genius' behind this filth, director Zack Snyder, was quoted at the time as saying, "My feeling is if a movie's not sexy and fucking violent and fucking cool, then why go sit in the theatre? I look at the screen and half the time I'm like, 'I'm going to fall asleep. Somebody's going to have to kill somebody. Or fuck somebody.' A movie should kick you in the face." (Sympathy for the Spartans, Stephen Applebaum, The Australian, 21/3/07)

And guess what? Snyder's 'movie' did just that - to an innocent, handcuffed, Afghan shepherd, Ali Jan:

"[A] junior soldier described a scene he'd witnessed which was haunting him. It involved an irate and frustrated Leonidas grabbing one of the PUCs [Persons Under Confinement] and walking him to the edge of a cliff... Leonidas gave himself a short run-up then kicked the detainee. As he plunged, his face smashed into rocks. Then the injured man was executed, the junior soldier told his superiors. A second witness... has corroborated that story. He says he saw Leonidas kicking 'the hell' out of an Afghan detainee. The witness says this incident mirrored the climactic 'kick' scene from the Spartan movie, 300."

I really don't think I can take too much more of this Western Civilisation shit.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Get Thee to a Monastery!

Stop the search, John, Dreg, Tony! I've found just the place for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. Heaps of room and like-minded inmates:

"A remote 800-year-old hilltop religious retreat in Italy is to become the latest in a wave of right-wing academies attempting to shape the next generation of populist leaders in Europe. The Trisulti monastery, about a two-hour drive southeast of Rome, is being converted by Benjamin Harnwell, a conservative Catholic ideologue from... England, who said he was determined to 'defend the Judaeo-Christian roots of society.' Boasting connections at senior levels in the Vatican, Mr Harnwell, 42, is also backed by former White House strategist Steve Bannon... " (Monks out, right-wing believers in, The Times/The Australian, 9/6/18)

Er... shouldn't that be Binyamin Harnwell?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hypocrisy Alert!

Dreg Sheridan, foreign editor of Murdoch's Israelian, currently has his knickers in a knot over the Australian National University and Sydney University's thumbs-down to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. (This currently homeless entity, significantly, is chaired by former Liberal PM and warmonger John Howard and includes Tony Abbott on its board.)

The Australian National University's rejection of the Centre, he rants hysterically, "has shown us beyond doubt how illiberal, intolerant and anti-Western our big public universities have become... Western civilisation has a huge number of enemies at universities. Ramsey looks like a businessman preparing for a Rotary Club meeting when actually he has been invited to a knife fight. (Our universities are no longer seeking the truth, 7/6/18)

However, as Sheridan has earlier admitted, he and his bestie, Abbott, have been veritable purveyors of illiberality, intolerance and wilful ignorance since their own university days in the 70s: 

"No doubt the silliest thing we did at the [Australian Union of Students] conference was to attend a Palestinian film night. Because AUS was spending our money, we wanted to assert... our right to be there. So we heckled the film a bit." (The Tony that I - and others - remember was never violent at uni, The Australian, 12/9/12. See my 13/9/12 post Greg & Tony Do Monash 1.)

So instead of viewing the film with open minds and maybe learning something new, the pair attended with only one aim in mind - to prevent others from learning about Palestine. Apart from any other concerns (such as the Centre's potential for acting as a Trojan horse for the whitewashing and/or celebration of European/US imperial and colonial crimes, to take but one example), our universities are right to be wary of anything touted by such arch hypocrites as Sheridan and Abbott.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Don't Even Think About It

What makes Israel different from every other country on earth (apart, that is, from its cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinians and other Arabs who stand up to its bullying) is that it is not a state of its citizens, but, in line with its 'Jewish state' Zionist ideology, the state of Jews all over the world - whether or not they wish to take up or refuse Israeli citizenship.

This, of course, means that while Jews get the red carpet treatment should they ever wish to avail themselves of Israeli citizenship, non-Jewish, indigenous Palestinian Arabs, whether evicted from their Palestinian homeland by Israeli forces in 1948 and 1967, or subjected to Israeli military occupation and the violence of Israeli settler thugs since 1967, haven't got a snowflake's chance in hell of ever being granted Israeli citizenship.

Yes, the Palestinian remnant, which escaped being ethnically cleansed in 1948, and which now constitutes 20% of Israel's population, are Israeli citizens, but of a distinctly inferior, second-class kind.

As it happens, one of the latter's MKs had recently dared to place a bill on the Knesset's agenda, calling for Israel "to be defined as a state of all its citizens." That is, mandating real equality between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.

The result? "On June 5, the Knesset issued a press release stating that its Presidium (a group consisting of the speaker and deputy speakers) voted to disqualify [it]." (Israeli lawmakers kill 'equality of all citizens' bill before it is even introduced, Mohamed Mohamed,, 6/6/18)

Yes, Virginia, Israel is an apartheid state.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Serial Killers, Serial Liars

Gaza's Great March of Return began on March 30 this year. Israeli snipers shot 773 Palestinians with live fire that day. On March 31, the Israeli army boasted in a tweet:

"Yesterday we saw 30,000 people; we arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed."

That tweet was soon deleted, but not before Israeli human rights organisation Btselem captured it.

Now, it seems, the army that knows where every bullet landed is at a complete loss to account for the bullet that took the life of Razan an-Najjar:

"While the investigation into the killing of 21-year-old Palestinian nurse Razan Najjar by Israeli troops last week continues, the military has already offered a brief preliminary statement Tuesday, saying that no shots were 'deliberately or directly aimed towards her.' Yet the 21-year-old volunteer medic was shot in the back while trying to reach wounded protesters."  (Israeli army claims slain Gaza medic wasn't shot deliberately, Jason Ditz,, 5/6/18)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

'Anti-Semitic' Crimes & Punishments


Offence: Tamika Mallory did say to the US Centre for Constitutional Rights on Friday, "It's clear you (Israelis) needed a place to go - cool, we got that. I hear that. But you don't show up to somebody's home, needing a place to stay, and decide that you're going to throw them out and hurt the people who are on that land. And to kill, steal, and do whatever it is you're gonna do to take that land. That to me is unfair. It's a human rights crime."

(Tamika Mallory was co-chairwoman of the 2017 5 million-strong US Women's March against Trump last year and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2017.)

Punishment: Disinvited yesterday to be the keynote speaker at next week's Victorian Council of Social Service 'Good Life' summit in Melbourne. VCOSS said it was "concerned both by comments Ms Mallory made in recent days regarding Israeli-Palestinian affairs, and the capacity for these remarks to overshadow the Good Life Summit. An Andrews government spokesman said VCOSS had "made the right call." The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) "welcomed the council's decision." (Source: US activist dumped for 'Israel crime' claim, Richard Ferguson, The Australian, 5/6/18)


Offence: Saul Eslake did say in interview with The Saturday Paper on May 19,"Malcolm Turnbull said when he became prime minister he was going to lead a thoroughly liberal government. Now he's going to give the police the kind of stop-and-demand-ID powers that the secret police in the KGB in the Soviet Union used to have, or the Gestapo. It makes one want to puke."

(Saul Eslake is the former chief economist for ANZ and Merrill Lynch's Australian arm, and a refugee activist.)

Punishment: Forced to apologise to Holocaust survivors: "I accept that my reference to the Gestapo in this context was inappropriate, and I hereby apologise to you [ADC] - and through you to any Holocaust survivors or their descendants... for it." (Source: Eslake sorry for his ABF-Nazi comparison, Richard Ferguson, The Australian, 29/5/18)


Offence: Julian Burnside did retweet a photo of Peter Dutton dressed as a Nazi.

(Julian Burnside QC OA is a barrister, human rights lawyer and refugee activist.)

Punishment: Apology: "I would say that I am very sorry that some people were offended by the tweet. It is worth noting that I did not compare our present conduct with the events of the Holocaust, and I never would... I agree with the ADC that nothing in the world today is equivalent to the Holocaust... " (Source: letter re Peter Dutton on, 30/3/18)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Getting to Know 'The Economist'

Every so often, the Australian republishes an editorial from the weekly magazine The Economist. Such is the wealth of mean and nasty material in Murdoch's broadsheet, billed on its masthead as The Heart of the Nation, that I have so far given the occasional Economist piece a miss. However, an Economist editorial (in the May 19 edition of The Australian), bearing the quite incredible headline Give Israel a reason to loosen Gaza chokehold, caught my attention, and, for my pains, I read on, only to discover that which I did not know before.

I won't burden you with too much of its sheer awfulness. The following three examples more than suffice:

1) "Gaza is a human rubbish-heap which everyone would rather ignore. Neither Israel, nor Egypt, nor even the Palestinian Authority wants to take responsibility for it. Sometimes the poison gets out - when, say, rockets or other attacks provoke a fully fledged war... "

Can you imagine a late 1940s editorial describing Europe's displaced persons camps as 'human rubbish-heaps'? It takes a special kind of human being who can look at Gaza today and describe it as a "human rubbish-heap." The same kind that talks of the need to periodically 'mow the grass' there, know what I mean?

Then there's the conceit that Israel, which created the Gaza Ghetto 70 fucking years ago, is not 101% responsible for its creation.

And finally, notice how the editorialist stands reality on its head, with Israel's barbarous, serial massacres in the Gaza Ghetto, each and every one triggered by an Israeli provocation, are spun as Palestinian "poison" provoking an Israeli response. This is nothing but the vilest victim-blaming.

2) "Every state has a right to defend its borders. To judge by the numbers, Israel's army may well have used excessive force... "

MAY WELL HAVE... ??? Seriously? Apparently, the use of US-supplied Remington M24 sniper rifles, firing 'butterfly bullets' (which "explode upon impact, pulverising tissue, arteries and bone, while causing severe internal injuries"*) against unarmed civilians protesting behind a prison fence merits only a "may well have used excessive force." One wonders what it it would take to get a clear admission of excessive force out of this bastard.

3) "If Hamas gave up its weapons, it would open the way for a rapprochement with Fatah. If it accepted Israel's right to exist, it would expose Israel's current unwillingness to allow a Palestinian state. If Palestinians marched peacefully, without guns and explosives, they would take the moral high ground. In short, if Palestinians want Israel to stop throttling them, they must first convince Israelis it is safe to let go."

Where does one even begin with this Zionist gobshite?

"If Hamas accepted Israel's right to exist..."? What, as a permanent, Jewish supremacist, apartheid state in Palestine? And note the outrageousness of "Israel's current unwillingness to allow a Palestinian state." Only NOW has Israel been unwilling to allow a Palestinian state? Really?

"If Palestinians marched peacefully, without guns and explosives..."? What does the editorialist think they've been doing all these weeks?

"If Palestinians want Israel to stop throttling them, they must first convince Israelis it is safe to let go."

Words fail me. This last is simply beyond belief. Up there in the victim-bashing stakes with the best of the worst.

I think I now know all I need to know about The Economist.

[*See Palestinians face explosive bullets, dangerous gas bombs, Mersiha Gadzo,, 4/5/18.]

Monday, June 4, 2018

Shoot the Medics & Bomb the Hospitals

Unfortunately, Israel's murder of Gaza nurse Razan an-Najjar is not a first. In fact, since the Gaza protests began on March 30, it has been open season for Israeli snipers on Palestinian medics:

"While Israel has drawn criticism over its 'excessive' and 'disproportionate' use of force that has killed at least 114 unarmed Palestinian protesters and wounded more than 13,000 since March 30, many have also drawn attention to the Israeli army's targeting of medical personnel. During mass demonstrations on May 14, 17 medical personnel were injured by Israeli live ammunition, and one paramedic [Musa Abuhassanin] was killed, according to Gaza's Ministry of Health. Seven ambulances were damaged that day... Since the start of the Great March of Return movement on March 30, 238 health personnel and 38 ambulances have been affected, according to the World Health Organization. According to a new report by Safeguarding Health in Conflict, a coalition of NGOs, among the countries experiencing the highest number of attacks on healthcare, the occupied Palestinian territories is second only to Syria." (Palestinian medics struggle to provide healthcare amid attacks, Mersiha Gadzo,, 29/5/18)

This, of course, should surprise no one familiar with modern Palestinian history. Targeting Palestinian (and other) health workers, patients, and facilities has always been a Zionist specialty. Take Israel's bloody siege of West Beirut in July 1982, for example:

"In West Beirut an orphanage, a home for the disabled and a mental home were all bombed. The children's hospital at the Sabra camp was hit and patients were killed; the Gaza hospital at the Bourj al Barajneh camp was bombed, and so were the 'Akka Palestinian hospital, the American hospital near the American University of Beirut and a hospital in the foothills of Aley. In one day seventeen hospitals were hit. The scenes inside these hospitals - further scenes from Goya or the Inferno - were complete pandemonium as the bodies of the dead and wounded were brought in. Administrators and doctors protested that their hospitals were clearly marked with Red Cross or Red Crescent signs. According to the Lebanese Red Cross, the Israelis also attacked its ambulances, cars, and volunteers, preventing them from evacuating the wounded and bringing food and medical supplies." (The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, Jeremy Salt, 2008, pp 257-58)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Razan an-Najjar in a Nutshell

Razan an-Najjar, a 21-year-old mother, nurse, and 3rd (or maybe 4th) generation Palestinian refugee incarcerated in Israel's Gaza Ghetto, was murdered by an Israeli sniper on Friday while treating the wounds of her fellow refugees - who were demonstrating for the elementary right to return to their ancestral homes and lands, from which their forebears were ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces in 1948, and which lie on the other side of the Ghetto wire.

RIP, Razan.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Australia's Senate Hard at Work

So good to see our talent in the Senate hard at work serving Australia the state of Israel, and earning every cent of their near $200,000 p.a. salary.

Senator Leyonjelm, you'll remember, recently returned from the apartheid state, determined to put pressure on the Australian government to end our funding for the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which, quite coincidentally of course, just happens to be on Israel's to-do list. (Parenthetically, given Evatt's role in the partition of Palestine in 1947, which gave the Zionists all the excuse they needed to go on the warpath and create the very problem UNRWA was set up to deal with, I'd say helping fund it is the least we can do for our part in this ongoing crime against humanity.)

But Leyonjelm's just an unproven, raw recruit in the ranks of those Australian senators who've got the hots for Israel. If you really want to see a master at work, check out Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz's latest (31/5) media release:

"Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has welcomed Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's letter to the Palestinian Authority asking them to explain whether Australian aid funding is creating space within their budget to fund the so-called Martyr's [sic] Fund. Senator Abetz, a Member of the Australian Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, has long advocated for the Australian Government to use its influence in an effort to end the Martyr's [sic] Fund which rewards the families of Palestinian terrorists who kill or harm Israeli citizens, including civilians. In 2017-18, Australia is providing more than $43 million in aid to the Palestinian territories. 'The Palestinian Martyr Fund [?] not only encourages murder and terror attacks, it is a major barrier to peace in the Middle East. The 'please explain' issued by the Foreign Minister is a strong and very welcome action that will hopefully apply pressure to the Palestinian Authority to end this murderous programme,' Senator Abetz said. 'Australia's strong defence of Israel in the United Nations shows a clear determination by the Government to back Israel as the only free and democratic nation in the Middle East. I am very pleased that the Foreign Minister has taken on board the representations made by myself and colleagues on this important issue which goes to the heart of our Australian values. Should the Palestinian Authority continue to fund murder and attacks through this or other PA funds, I am hopeful that the Australian Government will take the further step of pausing all Aid until the programme is eliminated,' Senator Abetz concluded." (Government issues 'please explain' to Palestinian Authority,

Friday, June 1, 2018

Spot the Loonie!

Bob Carr's tweeted (16/5/18) question "Is Washington in the hands of people who are clinically insane?" pretty much answers itself given the evidence he tenders:

"This quote from their ambassador to Israel, justifying the shift of the US embassy, would appear to present a prima facie case for institutional admission & a program of medication with longer term therapeutic attention: 'Well first of all, I would take issue with beginning the history lesson in 1947. Go back another 3,500 years. Go back to the Bible. I'll tell you an interesting story. One of the great commentators on the Bible, his name was Rashi, and he said, the reason that the Bible begins with the creation of the world is to create the chain of title from God directly to the Jewish people for the land of Israel, so that if the nations of the world say that the Jewish people don't own the land of Israel, they would point to the fact that God created the world and gave it to them'."

It's a virulent form of insanity called political Zionism, Bob. It's what's driving the Israeli settler movement. It's what's driving Israel. It's what's long been driving US policy in the Middle East. It used to fly pretty much under the radar, but it's now there for all who are paying attention to see.