Thursday, February 28, 2019

Mauritius Today, Palestine Tomorrow

A glaring running sore of British colonialism has at last received a measure of justice in the form of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict:

"Mauritius has won a case against Britain at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) involving decolonisation of the strategically important island of Diego Garcia, which is home to a US military base. Britain must give Mauritius control of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the ICJ said on Monday. The court in a majority opinion... said the decolonisation of Mauritius 'was not lawfully complete' when it obtained independence because Britain carved away the Chagos Archipelago from it and retained control over it. The opinion, which is non-binding, handed down by the majority of 13 judges said Britain 'is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible'.

"The sole dissenter was American Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Britain is not represented on the ICJ bench... The court gave the opinion at the request of the United Nations General Assembly made in a 2017 resolution. Vehemently opposed by the US and Britain, the resolution received the vote of 94 countries while 15 voted against it and 65 abstained. Britain opposed the referral to the court saying it was a bilateral matter with Mauritius and indicated it would reject it. There is unlikely to be any challenge to the US Diego Garcia base from Mauritius either... Britain cut off the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 before granting it independence in 1968. The residents of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed by the British colonial administration and it was leased out to the US, which set up its strategic Indian Ocean military base." (ICJ advises Britain to return Diego Garcia to Mauritius, economictimes.indiatimes, 26/2/19)

There are many parallels here with the case of Palestine. Once the Middle East was firmly in Britain's hands after WWI, the entire area should have undergone a natural transition to independence, what US president Woodrow Wilson called at the time, in point 12 of his famous 14 Points, "an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development."

Instead, the Middle East was well and truly denied that "unmolested opportunity of autonomous development" by Britain and France, with the former taking control of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and the latter Syria. France then set about crushing the first representative Arab government, based in Damascus, in 1920, while the British, in defiance of the wishes of Palestine's indigenous Arab majority, proceeded to open Palestine up to mass Zionist immigration and colonisation. Under the protection of British bayonets, these Zionist immigrants were eventually able to reach a point, in 1948, where they were strong enough to take control of Palestine by force of arms, drive out the bulk of its Arab Palestinian inhabitants, and set up a 'Jewish' state. The rest, of course, is history.

In both cases - the Mauritian and the Middle Eastern - indigenous peoples were cruelly denied "an unmolested opportunity of autonomous development" by racist, imperialist powers. The legacy of that denial remains with us today and screams out for the justice of decolonisation.. We applaud the ICJ verdict on Mauritius, and await a similar one in the case of colonised Palestine.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Israel Gets Down & Dirty in Yemen

"Mention any trouble spot in the Third World over the past ten years, and, inevitably, you will find smiling Israeli officers and shiny Israeli weapons on the news pages. The images have become familiar: the Uzi submachine gun or the Galil assault rifle, with Israeli officers named Uzi and Galil, or Golan, for good measure. We have seen them in South Africa, Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Namibia, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Chile, Bolivia, and many other places. From Manila to San Salvador, from Seoul to Tegucigalpa, from Walvis Bay to Guatemala City, from Taipei to Port-au-Prince, Israeli civilians and military men have been helping, in their own words, in 'the defense of the West'." (The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms & Why, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, p xii)

Beit-Hallahmi's groundbreaking expose of Israeli military involvement in conflict zones around the world, was published in 1987. Needless to say, nothing has changed:

"'If  Iran tries to block the Bab al-Mandab strait, I'm sure it will find itself facing an international coalition determined to prevent it. This coalition will include all Israel's army branches as well,; declared Benjamin Netanyahu in August, following Iran's threat against American sanctions. Such a coalition had already been set up in 2015 by Saudi Arabia, who partnered with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Pakistan. Israel is also an unofficial partner. Israeli cyber companies, gun traders, terror-warfare instructors and even paid hitmen operated by an Israeli-owned company are partners to the war in Yemen.

"In September, London-based Al-Khaleej Online published a long article about Israel's involvement in training Colombian and Nepalese combatants, who were recruited by the UAE for the war in Yemen... The report also says that Israel set up special training bases in the Negev, where the mercenaries were trained by Israeli combatants... The mercenaries later took part in the war on the port town of Hodeidah and other fighting zones in Yemen. The site's sources said Israel also sold bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia, some of which are banned. Recently it was reported and later denied that Israel also sold Saudi Arabia combat drones and intends to sell it Iron Dome systems as well.

"Many reports have been written about Israeli companies like the NSO group, which is suspected of selling Saudi Arabia Pegasus spyware accused of helping trace and survey Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, or the AGT company owned by the Israeli businessman Mati Kochavi, which in 2007 won the $6 billion bid to set up surveillance and monitoring systems in Abu Dhabi. But what remains a mystery is to what extent Israeli technology served the fighting forces in Yemen.

"Another company, Spearhead Operations group, which was set up by Israeli Avraham Golan and is registered in the United States, was responsible for assassinating Yemenite clergyman Anssaf Ali Mayo in December 2015. Mayo was one of the leaders of the Yemeni reform party, which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter is classified in the UAE as a terror organization... " From Yemen's war is a mercenary heaven. Are Israelis reaping the profits? Zvi Bar'el,, 15/2/19

Monday, February 25, 2019

Plague? What Plague?

Judging by the anti-Corbyn corporate media, you could be forgiven for thinking that those who recently left the UK Labour Party and set up a body known as The Independent Group (TIG) - now 8, having just been joined by Joan Ryan MP (chair of Labour Friends of Israel!) - were motivated first and foremost by the foul contagion of anti-Semitism, spreading like wildfire among party members.

Murdoch's Times, for example, ran a report by Daniel Finkelstein, headed Labour Party plagued by political preachers of hate (The Times/The Australian, 21/2/19)*

And yet, if you go to TIG's website, and click on their statement (of 11 principles), the plague of anti-Semitism supposedly afflicting the party doesn't even rate a mention! (

And if you go to the Labour Party website, LabourList, you can read that "the party received 673 accusations of antisemitism by Labour members between April 2018 and January 2019," involving just 96 individuals, only 12 of whom "were expelled," following investigations by the party's National Executive Committee (NEC).** (See Jennie Formby provides numbers on Labour antisemitism cases, Sienna Rodgers,, 11/2/19)

The revelation that "[t]hese figures relate to about 0.1% of our membership," according to Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, who released the data so that it could not be "misrepresented or misused for other purposes by the party's political rivals," really says it all. (ibid)

Plague of ant-Semitism? Pull the other...

[*For Daniel Finkelstein, see my 12/2/19 post Games Zionists Play;**I hasten to add here that, absent the details, we really have no idea whether the NEC got it right when it decided to expel the 12.]

Saturday, February 23, 2019

IHRA's 'Working Definition' of Anti-Semitism

In the propaganda war aimed at UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the party by his Blairite enemies, the false allegation of anti-Semitism has pride of place. Which begs the question: what, exactly, do these elements mean when they use the term? What, IOW, is their definition - if they actually have one - of anti-Semitism?

As often as not it will be the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) 'working definition' of anti-Semitism, which widens the scope of the term well beyond its traditional meaning of hatred of Jews simply because they are Jews to include criticism of Israel. The following history of that text, and how it came to be adopted by the British government, comes from a British judge, Stephen Sedley:

"In 2005 a working party of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, an EU institution, produced a forty-word 'working definition': Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

"It was followed by a series of examples, of unknown authorship, which, depending on their context, might constitute acts of anti-Semitism. Of the 11 examples, seven referred to Israel rather than to Jews. But both the definition and the illustrations were rejected by the EUMC, and in 2013 its successor, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), removed the entire text from its website as part of a clear-out of non-official documents.

"In May 2016 the same text was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a Berlin-based association of 31 states, at its meeting in Bucharest. To it were added, in the IHRA's press release, the list of 11 examples [...]

"In December 2016, a press release from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the prime minister's office announced that the UK had 'formally' adopted the IHRA's working definition of anti-Semitism, setting out the forty-word definition without any of the associated examples. It is not known what 'formal' adoption means in constitutional terms: either a text has to take legislative form, with all that this entails, or it remains simply a policy. On the same day Jeremy Corbyn announced that the Labour Party was adopting the definition.

"In neither of these announcements were the tendentious illustrations included. But central government has cited them as grounds for rejecting the advice of the Home Affairs Committee that the 'definition' should be qualified by spelling out that in the absence of additional evidence of anti-Semitic intent, it is not anti-Semitic to criticise Israel's government, to hold it to the same standard as other liberal democracies or to take a particular interest in its policies or actions. A number of municipalities, including London, Manchester and Birmingham, have adopted the list wholesale - London, among others, using a version which omits the proviso that the listed examples depend on their context.

"What is at issue is suggested by the prime minister's contemporaneous speech, quoted in the government's press release: 'Israel guarantees the rights of people of all religions, races and sexualities, and it wants to enable everyone to flourish.' From this it isn't far to the first of the 'examples' of anti-Semitism: 'Manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.' Leaving aside the difference between targeting and criticism, one asks: conceived by whom? The world at large, millions of Jews included, conceives of Israel as a state with the same rights and obligations as any other state, including an obligation not to extend its territory by incremental colonisation or to occupy and administer the land of others under military law. It is hardline Zionism, and hardline jihadism which coincide, as extremes tend to do, in regarding Israel as a 'Jewish collectivity' - jihadism by seeking to identify Israel with all Jews (making every Jew a legitimate terrorist target), Zionism by seeking to identify all Jews with Israel (whence the description of Israel's Jewish critics as 'self-hating').

"None of this is addressed by a definition which sets the bar needlessly high by stipulating hatred rather than simple hostility as the defining characteristic of anti-Semitism, nor by tendentious examples which look to immunise Israel from sharp criticism. Those who seek to make use of such material in the UK should perhaps remember that public authorities are bound by the Human Rights Act to give effect to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right of free expression subject only to restrictions prescribed by law - which the IHRA definition is not."

The above history, as well as Sedley's essay Defining Anti-Semitism can be found in the London Review of Books (4/5/17 & 8/2/18 respectively), or in Karl Sabbagh's go-to book on the subject of the campaign against anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party, The Antisemitism Wars: How the British Media Failed their Public (2018).

Friday, February 22, 2019

Ten Years is an Eternity in Politics

"Australia's Jewish leaders have praised Scott Morrison's attack on the UN's 'anti-Semitic agenda' as the nation celebrates 70 years of diplomatic relations with Israel." (PM praised for UN swipe over Israel, Richard Ferguson, The Australian, 20/2/19)

Did you know that "the nation" (aka Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten) has been singing Happy Birthday to You/Israel in federal parliament?

Think about it! There are 193 nations in the world - but only one that I'm aware of gets a bipartisan birthday bash every 10 years in federal parliament. And that's an apartheid state! Now how crazy is that?

Morrison used the opportunity, predictably, to berate the UNGA, "the place where Israel is bullied and where anti-Semitism is cloaked in language about human rights," while Shorten intoned the usual Labor mantra about Doc Evert being in the delivery room at the birth.

The aforementioned "Jewish leaders," by the way, constitute a veritable roll call of Israel lobbyists in Australia:

AIJAC's Colin Rubenstein - "Prime Minister Morrison was entirely correct in his reflections on the lopsided 'bias and unfair targeting' of Israel at the UN. Israel, a thriving 'beacon of democracy in the Middle East' with an independent judiciary, has been subject to overwhelmingly more criticism than any other country." (ibid)

Anti-Defamation Commission's Dvir Abramovich - "The PM... should be saluted for naming and calling out the UN's institutional anti-Israel bias, and for his iron-clad assurance Australia will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel against those hostile forces who wish to demonise and defame her."

Executive Council of Australian Jewry's Alex Ryvchin - "We commend the Prime Minister for vowing to stand with Israel at the UN, and for condemning the hypocrisy and double standards in its obsessive and disproportionate focus on criticising Israel."

Zionist Association of Australia's Jeremy Liebler - "Western countries who lay sole blame on Israel for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East bear real responsibility for the continuation of Hamas' terror activities."

Still, Israel's 70th was a pretty low key affair when compared with the lavish party thrown by former Labor PM Kevin Rudd back in March, 2008, for Israel's 60th. (See my 6 posts on the subject, all titled The Israeli Occupation of Federal Parliament.) Suffice it to recall Rudd's magnificent, gem-encrusted gift to Israel at the time, namely the following parliamentary motion:

"That the House: (1) celebrate and commend the achievements of the State of Israel in the 60 years since its inception; (2) remember with pride and honour the important role which Australia played in the establishment of the State of Israel as both a member state of the UN and as an influential voice in the introduction of Resolution 181 which facilitated Israel's statehood, and as the country which proudly became the first to cast a vote in support of Israel's creation; (3) acknowledge the unique relationship which exists between Australia and Israel; a bond highlighted by our commitment to the rights and liberty of our citizens and encouragement of cultural diversity; (4) commend the State of Israel's commitment to democracy, the Rule of Law and pluralism; (5) reiterates Australia's commitment to Israel's right to exist and our ongoing support to the peaceful establishment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue; (6) reiterates Australia's commitment to the pursuit of peace and stability throughout the Middle East; (7) on this, the 60th Anniversary of Independence of the State of Israel, pledge our friendship, commitment and enduring support to the people of Israel as we celebrate this important occasion together."

Simply stunning, eh?

Strange to tell, Rudd neglects any mention of Israel's 60th in his recent memoir, Kevin Rudd: The PM Years. Ditto for his grand tour of Israel in December 2010, during which the late Shimon Peres described Israel as being in love with Australia, and Rudd, speaking in Jerusalem's King David Hotel, joked about Menachem Begin's Irgun terrorists back in 1946 "undertaking some interior redesign" of the hotel. (See my 1-4 posts titled The Kevin Rudd Road Show for the details.)

Truly, ten years is practically an eternity in politics.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bob Carr on Corbyn & Anti-Semitism

Last night was one of those rare occasions when I watched ABC television's daily news discussion program, The Drum. Among the items for discussion was the contrived anti-Semitism crisis which continues to swirl around Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

One panelist, Andrew West of ABC Radio National's Religion & Ethics Report asserted categorically that UK Labour "certainly has problems in its grass roots and among MPs who've taken their criticism of Israel too far."

Whether or not these "problems" were genuine, or were from cynical Zionist trolls using fake profiles to advance their cause, was of course, never entertained. Nor did West feel obliged to explain what "taking criticism of Israel too far" entailed. And as for explaining the elementary difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, forget it. I seriously doubt that the distinction has ever crossed his mind. No, the UK Labour Party had "problems" with anti-Semitism and that was that.

Never mind, Bob Carr was there to sort all of this out. Well, sort of:

"How [Jeremy Corbyn] allowed the monstrous phenomenon of anti-Semitism to get any acknowledgment from any small corner of the British Labour Party membership, I simply do not understand. It would have taken basic political skills - no more than that - to have made it clear from the very start of these controversies that it is possible to oppose the occupation of the West Bank, the spread of settlements, the cruelty directed at the Palestinian people, without entertaining anything that smacks remotely of anti-Semitism, systemic criticism of Jewish people."

Again, Carr bases his comment on the same assumption as West: the party has real "problems" with anti-Semitism, but only because Corbyn hasn't effectively combated them, not because the British counterparts of the Australian "Zionist Zealots," about whose bullying he complained in his recent memoir, are using the accusation as a weapon solely to prevent a leader sympathetic to Palestinian rights from becoming prime minister.

Asked if Corbyn ever stood up to said anti-Semitism, Carr replied:

"He did it too late. He did it strongly at the Labour conference in September last year and unapologetically laid out his commitment to recognise Palestine and repudiate anti-Semitism, but as leader you've really got a responsibility for seeing that these things get no oxygen at the very start, and I'm ashamed that a fraternal party, a social-democratic party, has even got to take a moment's time to say we're not anti-Semitic."

In fact, Corbyn has denied the smear of anti-Semitism on many occasions. Where he is at fault is in not pointing out that naming and boycotting Israeli apartheid for what it is has nothing whatever to do with hatred Jews as such. As anti-Zionist Jew Tony Greenstein, suspended from the Labour Party in 2016 after allegations that he may have breached party rules, has written in an expose of the matter:

"Corbyn's response to the accusations of antisemitism was to repeat that he wasn't an anti-Semite, which was of course true. What he didn't seem to understand, though, was that when his Zionist opponents used the term 'antisemitism' they were not talking about hatred of Jews but hatred of Zionism. In other words they were talking past each other. If Corbyn had stood up to his accusers from the beginning then he would have shot this fox. To a very large extent Corbyn has been the author of his own misfortunes. All he needed to have done was to say that yes, he condemned antisemitism but he also condemned those who weaponised antisemitism for their own advantage. He could also have noted how supporters of Israel repeatedly accuse opponents of Zionism of 'antisemitism'. It is not as if Corbyn was unaware of this. One of his Jewish anti-Zionist friends, the late Mike Marqusee, had written a book about this, If I Am not For Myself. Jeremy Corbyn of all people should have understood what was happening. He has been involved in Palestine solidarity politics for over 30 years. He cannot be unaware of the fact that the standard go-to accusation of Zionism is to accuse their opponents of antisemitism. There cannot be a Palestine solidarity supporter in the country who hasn't been accused of antisemitism. This is entirely understandable. If you have to defend the theft of land, the demolition of homes, the allocation of 93% of Israeli land to Jews only, coupled with torture, administrative detention and abuse of children, then it is much easier to cry 'antisemitism'." (The story so far... , in The Antisemitism Wars: How the British Media Failed their Public, Karl Sabbagh, 2018, pp 29-30)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn & the 7 Dwarfs

A group of 7 MPs have just announced their resignation from the UK Labour Party, setting up a so-called Independent Group. This has been long expected. (See in particular my 3/8/18 post Lord Balfour Sabotages Britain's Labour Party. )

One of them, Angela Smith, in the course of a BBC television panel discussion of racism in the UK, blurted out all we really need to know about the 7 dwarfs: 'The recent history of the party I've just left suggests [racism] is not just about being black or... a funny tinge... but... the Jewish community equally."

No surprise then that 5 of its members, including Smith, are "supporters" of Israeli embassy front group, Labour Friends of Israel. Palestinians, presumably, in addition to the crime of not buckling to the Zionist project in their ancestral homeland, could also be marginalised as "funny tinged."

This mix of racism and Zionism, of course, will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the history of the Zionist movement, and, in particular, those notorious words of its founder, Theodor Herzl: "The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends."

And just look at how the congenitally Zionist Guardian (to focus on just one establishment media outlet) leapt on the 7 dwarfs' bandwagon, leveling yet more false smears of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and his party. This, for example, is from today's editorial:

"It is no secret that many, probably most, Labour MPs wish someone other than Jeremy Corbyn was leader. Many Labour MPs wish that Mr Corbyn would make the case for Britain in Europe, and that he did not equivocate about antisemitism in the party."

And this is from an opinion piece by Labour peer, Andrew (Lord) Adonis:

"Corbyn must treat antisemitism as an evil to be ruthlessly defeated. No one who expresses prejudice against Jewish people or the existence of Israel - including those who try to hide behind semantics when we all know exactly what they are talking about - has any place in our party. Corbyn has too many supporters and allies who are antisemitic. They must leave the party and Corbyn should require them to do so. Corbyn must give a speech deploring not just 'all forms of racism' but the particular horror of hatred of Jews." (If Corbyn doesn't want the Labour split to worsen, he has to listen, Andrew Adonis, 19/2/19)

But then what would you expect from the Guardian?

It should never be forgotten that the renowned editor of the Manchester Guardian (as it was known in 1917), C.P. Scott, editorialised, on the occasion of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, that "the Jews... have succeeded in establishing the beginnings of a real civilisation [in Palestine]," and were "making the waste places blossom as the rose," while "the existing Arab population... is small and at a low stage of civilisation... " (See my 2/7/17 post The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 4 Months to Go.)

Scratch the 7 dwarfs - or 5 of them at least - and you'll get racism and/or Zionism. Scratch the liberal Guardian and you'll invariably get a Zionist perspective on Palestine.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Macron Smears the Yellow Vests

France's dispossessed are now being smeared by their president:

"The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has condemned antisemitic abuse of a leading intellectual by gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protesters and said it would not be tolerated. Police intervened to protect philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut after he was targeted by a group of protesters on the fringe of a demonstration in central Paris on Saturday, according to videos posted on social networks. 'The antisemitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of what we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it,' Macron tweeted... Several protesters shouted 'dirty Zionist', 'we are the people' and 'France is ours', according to a video broadcast by Yahoo! News." (Macron condemns antisemitic abuse during gilets jaunes Paris protest, Agence France-Presse, 17/2/19)

This, of course, comes from a president who has falsely labelled anti-Zionism "a reinvention of anti-Semitism." (See my 27/4/18 post Trump's French Poodle.)

So, was the eminent philosopher, absent the adjective, falsely accused of being a Zionist?

It seems not:

"Parallel to Finkielkraut's denial of the existence of a black people comes his denial of the existence of a Palestinian people. Melding Sartre's 'the anti-Semite creates the Jew' with Golda Meir's 'there is no Palestinian people,' Finkielkraut regards the Palestinians merely as an epiphenomenon of Israel.' 'Is there anything in Palestinian identity,' he asks in his book of dialogues with Peter Sloterdjik, 'besides the refusal of Israel?'" (Race in Translation: Culture Wars Around the Postcolonial Atlantic, Robert Stam & Ella Shohat, 2012)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

'I Was an Occupier & All That Entails'

In a time of accelerating US regime-change criminality - first Iraq, then Libya, then Syria, and now Iran and Venezuela - it's timely that we be reminded of just what the Anglo-American invasion and occupation (dressed up by president George W. Bush and his neocon operatives as Operation Iraqi Freedom) was really all about.

Nico Walker, a former US army medic in Iraq, now doing time for armed robbery, has just produced his first book, Cherry, a novel, of which he says in interview: "The military parts are the ones that most closely mirror my experience." (Nico Walker: 'I needed to show how bad Iraq was', Killian Fox,, 17/2/19). Here's an excerpt from that interview:

"It was something I didn't want to lie about. I needed to show it for how it really was and dispel any myths. It was a pretty bad experience. We had been told there was this existential threat [to the Iraqis] we were supposed to prevent and it turned out not to be the case. Going there, you find out you're the problem. It seemed like we were trying to provoke as much fighting as we could... I don't want to give this wrong idea that I was some kind of pacifist or observer - I was an active participant. Maybe not to extremes, but I certainly didn't try to ever stop anything and I endorsed whatever was going on just by being there. I look back on it and think, wow, I was an occupier and all that entails."

Walker goes on to say: "Compared with what I'd been doing in Iraq, robbing banks seemed like kids' stuff. Obviously it was wrong; I realise this now."

There you have it - an army of jackboots, sent to Iraq on a pack of lies, which turned the place upside down and inside out. Remember this when you read your next installment of recycled regime-change propaganda from the Washington Post and New York Times in the Sydney Morning Herald, or from the Times and Wall Street Journal in the Australian.

[See also my 18/7/08 post Enlist Now! for an extract from that wonderful Iraq War expose (The Deserter's Tale) by another US soldier, Joshua Key.]

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Classic Greg Sheridan

They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

Philip Larkin


For you who do not know him - him being Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of Murdoch's Australian - this is really all you need to know:

"Israel is a small, clever, tough, extraordinary nation - a land of limitless impossibilities, as they say. And it has had giants among its leaders: David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, legends of diplomacy like Abba Eban or Shimon Peres, and legendary military heroes like Moshe Dayan. Netanyahu stands shoulder to shoulder with them At a time when Western politics in many nations is falling apart, he has been the seemingly indispensable national leader for a decade, winning four elections. He is known for his national security policies but he has also presided over the birth and development of the so-called Start-up nation, the progenitor of Nasdaq listings and patents and hi-tech everything." (Closing act in the age of Netanyahu may lie ahead, 16/2/19)

Now Greg's suffered from Exodus syndrome, like, FOREVER, and it's his Dad and Auntie Poppy who are largely to blame for setting his juvenile brain in this form of adamantine concrete at a tender age.

As he explains in his autobiography, appropriately titled When We Were YOUNG & FOOLISH: A Memoir of My MISGUIDED Youth" (2015): "My family was always pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. Dad often told me that if Christ was the saviour, the Catholic religion was true, and if he wasn't the saviour, then the Jewish religion was true... Auntie Poppy always told me I must never forget that the Jews were God's chosen people... Dad and Auntie Poppy were always pro-Jewish and pro-Israel." (p 22)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Look Who's Not Coming to Dinner

Murdoch columnist Janet Albrechtsen has hit on a new form of anti-Semitism - declining to attend "Shabbat dinners" organised by Vic Alhadaff of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (aka "the Jewish community").

Under the rubric of "building tolerance and respect," anyone who's anything in the political arena has apparently flocked to feed. All except one nefarious group that is. But I'll let Planet Janet take it from here: 

"There was a Shabbat dinner for Liberal Party leaders and members... There was a dinner the year before for Labor politicians, members of Young Labor and union leaders. Another one included many members of the Chinese community and other civic groups. Yet another dinner involved people and groups who help settle new immigrants. You get the picture You would be hard-pressed to find more genuinely inclusive events. These are non-political. Yet still the Greens have, for years, refused to be part of these dinners." (Greens have two faces and one is the ugliest of bigots, The Australian, 13/2/19)

You get the picture.

And this is supposedly because "the Greens have a history of out-and-out organisational bigotry towards the Jewish community," and "that is anti-Semitism." (ibid)

Oh dear! But there's one little matter Planet Janet's not letting her readers in on here. While she accuses the NSW Greens of having two faces, she ignores the fact that Vic Alhadeff wears two hats, functioning on the one hand as the representative of a Jewish community organisation in an open, multicultural society, while on the other as an unabashed lobbyist for the apartheid state of Israel.

This obvious conflict of interest came to the fore when the former NSW Liberal premier Barry O'Farrell controversially appointed him Community Relations Commissioner in 2013, an appointment which soon came undone the following year when, at the height of that year's Israeli killing spree in Gaza (aka Operation Protective Edge), Alhadeff sent an incendiary, pro-Israel email to Australia's Jewish community, which, in the understated words of a Sydney Morning Herald editorial at the time, "betrayed the sensitivity of his role as CRC chairman." (See my 28/7/14 post Vic Alhadeff: Multicultural in NSW, Monocultural in Israel.)

Thankfully, the NSW Greens at least, know a soft propaganda exercise when they see one, and have the courage to give it a miss.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Hands Off Iran

February 11 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution, which toppled the US-backed dictatorship of the Shah, whom the US had installed after overthrowing the democratically-elected government of prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.

Trump, of course, bent on a reprise of the 1953 coup, used the occasion to tweet his tender concern for "the long-suffering Iranian people":

"40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future."

In response Iran's foreign minister simply spelt out the facts:

"#40YearsofFailure to accept that Iranians will never return to submission. #40YearsofFailure to adjust US policy to reality. #40YearsofFailure to destabilise Iran through blood and treasure. After 40 years of wrong choices, time for @DonaldTrump to rethink failed US policy."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Homework is All

And today's use of the anti-Semitism smear is:

"Democratic politician Ilhan Omar has apologised after party leaders condemned her use of 'anti-Semitic tropes' in suggesting US congressional support for Israel is a result of campaign donations." (Democrat apologises for 'anti-Semitic tropes', AP/Sydney Morning Herald, 13/2/19)

To be specific, Omar's 'offence' came in the form of a tweet to the effect that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) "was paying US politicians to support Israel." (ibid)

Her apology read, in part: "Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes." (ibid)

Really, it's beyond sad to see progressive, pro-Palestinian, rookie politicians like Omar, who have merely spoken the truth, grovel in this way.

Instead of the 'education' she speaks of here, wouldn't it have been better for her (and others like her) as a young activist, before choosing to embark on a political career in the United States, to educate herself by reading Mearsheimer & Walt's definitive 2007 study The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy?

Had she done so, rather than grovel after the inevitable attack from the AIPAC mob and/or its dupes, she could simply have tweeted the following extract in response:

"AIPAC's success is due in large part to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda and to punish those who do not, based primarily on its capacity to influence campaign contributions. Money is critical to U.S. elections, which have become increasingly expensive to win, and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get financial support so long as they do not stray from AIPAC's line." (p 154)

In this game, it's really all about homework.

(FYI, read my 3/11/16 post Clinton Emails Reveal the Hold of Zionist Money Over Democrats.)

Thus Spake Franklin Graham...

... when asked about his support for Donald Trump:

"In the scriptures Caesar was the ruler of the world, and he was a ruthless person who killed who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people. But at the same time, the Bible says all authority on earth has been given by God, so for some reason God has allowed Donald Trump to become President of the United States." (In his father's footsteps, Barney Zwartz, The Sun-Herald, 10/2/19)

File under 'God works in mysterious ways'.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Games Zionists Play

Look at this paragraph by Daniel Finklelstein, described as "an editor and columnist with The Times".

(He's reviewing Deborah Lipstadt's Antisemitism: Here & Now, presumably for The Times, but it's just been recycled in The Weekend Australian Review under the capitalised headline NO DENYING IT, above a half-page photo of Arab demonstrators in Sydney carrying a large banner bearing an image of Netanyahu with a superimposed Hitler mustache and the word 'fascist' in English and Hebrew. And this in protest at Israel's serial Guernicas in Gaza. But I digress from the paragraph below.)

"[S]he stops short of calling either Trump or Corbyn anti-Semites. 'I don't know if either of these men is an antisemite, which is to say he harbours personal contempt for Jews'. This makes it all the more effective when she adds: 'While neither of them may be, both of them have facilitated the spread of antisemitism - they are directly responsible for the legitimisation of explicit hostility towards Jews'." (9/2/19)

If Finkelstein's review is anything to go by, Lipstadt's book seems merely part and parcel of the current Zionist campaign to cruel UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's election prospects by smearing his support for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitism.

As for the paragraph...

First, there's the obscene bracketing of Corbyn with Trump, the former a decent man of high principle, who has fought against racism all his life, the latter an unalloyed, narcissistic thug. And both in the same dock as far as their self-appointed judge and jury is concerned.

Then there's the statement, "I don't know if either... is an antisemite." This is along the lines of the classic loaded question, 'When did you last stop beating your wife?'

Following that comes the only ray of light in Lipstadt's utterance, the admission that anti-Semitism is "harbouring a personal contempt for Jews." I couldn't agree more. Ipso facto then, any forthright questioning, condemnation, or rejection of Israel, its Zionist ideology, or its practice, is clearly not anti-Semitic. Let me reiterate: anti-Semitism is hatred for Jews simply because they are Jews. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But no, Lipstadt cannot leave it there. "[B]oth of them" - the obscene juxtaposition continues - "have facilitated the spread of antisemitism..."

In what way?

Finkelstein cites a 2007 meeting with Palestinian-Israeli Islamist Raed Salah and quotes Lipstadt as saying of Corbyn "it seems that when he encounters [people like Salah], their Jew-hatred is irrelevant..." Presumably, and ludicrously, Corbyn is supposed to subject every one he meets to a McCarthy-style third degree: 'Are you now, or have you ever been, anti-Semitic?'

Meanwhile, Lipstadt's dark insinuations serve to distract many from the Zionist entity's ongoing crimes in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. Could that be their ancillary purpose?

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Jury's in on Morrison's Jerusalem Surprise

No wonder the Morrison government's got it in for the ABC:

"Australian embassies were put on notice to upgrade travel warnings and boost security BEFORE the Government's shock Israel embassy [16/10] announcement during the Wentworth by-election, sensitive documents reveal." (Australian embassies warned over security before Scott Morrison's Israel announcement, Dan Conifer & Michael McKinnon,, 9/2/19)

Note that was "JUST ONE DAY BEFORE"! (ibid)

So there you go. Damn the travelling public - as long as Dave Sharma gets in!

Speaking of the guy who once gushed that "Israel will always be in our hearts, blood, souls, veins":

"The documents... emphasised Mr Sharma's role in the decision. 'The Prime Minister will announce he has found the arguments put forward by Australia's former Ambassador to Israel [Dave Sharma]... persuasive,' it said." (ibid)

And yet, at the time the announcement was made:

"The Coalition denied the policy was aimed at wooing Jewish voters in the inner-Sydney electorate, which is home to the largest proportion of Jewish voters in Australia." (ibid)

The jury's in then: Scott Morrison's Jerusalem surprise - for the buck stops with the prime minister - was nothing more than a shameless grab for the Jewish vote, initiated by an Israel-besotted, wannabe politician and undertaken without regard for potential security, diplomatic or commercial consequences.

This commendable ABC sleuthing should be front-page news, but I won't be holding my breath for too long.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Good Old Days

Times journalist Charles Bremner profiles 80-year-old Farah Pahlavi, widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran, whose inglorious reign ended in 1979 with the birth of the Islamic Republic (A queen's treasure, The Australian, 9/2/19). Some gems from the former empress:

"In those days, Iranians were respected everywhere in the world, says the woman who was called the Jackie Kennedy of the East. 'Now you say you're from Iran and people look at you as if you'd said you come from god knows where. For 90 countries in the world, Iranians didn't need a visa. Now, even with a foreign passport they stop you at the frontier with 10,000 questions'."

"Devoting her life at a distance to the cause of the shah's orphaned people has enabled her to survive terrible knocks, she says."

"She is fueled by bitterness for the mullahs who, in her view, fomented revolution in 1978 with the connivance of communists, drove out a beloved monarch and crushed his people under Islamic dictatorship."

"Pahlavi... finds no fault in her late husband's reign. 'His Majesty', as she still calls him, was for her the wise and beloved father of a grateful nation."

"It is natural, she says, that Iranians yearn for a return of the shah. Reza [her 58-year-old son] is working from his Washington DC base to offer himself, should they want one day to restore him at the head of a constitutional monarchy."

What better example of the old adage 'They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing' than this?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Brace Yourselves

Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times journalist who died in 2012 in the Syrian city of Homs, has lately been the subject of media attention, focusing on a US court case in which her sister was awarded over $300m on the grounds that Colvin was "specifically targeted because of her profession, for the purpose of silencing those reporting on the growing opposition movement in the country." Presumably, this enormous sum is to be paid out of frozen Syrian government funds.

The verdict can legitimately be viewed as a case of lawfare, waged in the context of the US regime change war on Syria. The official narrative, of course, is that Syria is essentially an Arab Spring affair, in which an evil dictator wages brutal war against a people struggling for freedom and democracy, and indications are that we are about to be exposed to an overdose of the official narrative, either wittingly or unwittingly, in the form of a veritable flood of Colvin-related material. These include a biography by Lindsey Hilsum, In Extremis: the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, a documentary (Under the Wire) and a feature film (A Private War).

Hilsum, for example, has written (in the Guardian of course) that the verdict "should be celebrated by all who care about freedom of speech. At a time when journalists are frequently vilified and threatened, it acknowledges the significant role we play in exposing war crimes and injustice." (Marie Colvin verdict gives meaning to her death, 3/2/19) 

But what of the greatest war crime of all, the plotting and execution of wars of imperial regime change?

In light of the above, US journalist Rick Sterling's expose, Marie Colvin, Homs & media falsehoods (, 29/1/19), which accuses Colvin of distorting the truth in her Syrian coverage, should be required reading for anyone concerned with separating fact from fiction in the matter of Syria.

But to return to the theme of lawfare, check out this most interesting comment on the Colvin court case from the comment thread which follows Sterling's piece:

"If you have your sights set on becoming a multi-millionaire in America, then suing a country that engages in 'an extra-judicial killing' seems the way to go (though I'm guessing if the country you decide to sue is a member of NATO and/or isn't targeted for US-style regime change then you may have a harder time getting the verdict of your choice rubber-stamped.)

"What makes this brand new, US-created law even easier to rule in your favour is the fact that no actual evidence is required, or to put it another way, it's the quantity of so-called 'evidence' and not the quality. At least that's the case according to the presiding judge, Amy Berman-Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia who ruled that because the defence had gathered nearly a thousand pages of attached exhibits, declarations and 'expert reports', then an actual evidentiary hearing was unnecessary. That's right, the sheer volume of so-called 'evidence' literally outweighed any of its veracity, validity and objectivity.

"To make matters worse (if that is at all possible in a realm beyond satire and farce) it seems the bulk of this 'evidence' wasn't gathered and presented by any state and/or UN agency but by a dubious quasi-legal NGO with the grand-sounding (is there any other kind?) title of the 'Commission for International Justice & Accountability'.

"I should add that, in addition to the CIJA, the court relied on a Syrian defector, codenamed 'Ulysses' (it seems the entire official narrative is a made-for-Hollywood script and it seems no coincidence that this $300m plus court ruling is announced along with a supporting documentary and big screen Hollywood movie) who tells us that 'senior regime officials' celebrated after confirmation of her death, with one officer declaring (no doubt in a low growl): 'Marie Colvin was a dog and now she's dead. Let the Americans help her now.' Oh, and he helpfully tells us the Syrian intelligence officer responsible for targeting Marie 'Matrix' Colvin through the non-existent satellite phone and non-existent informer on the ground was rewarded with a brand new Hyundai car (no doubt painted sinister black or deep blood-red).

"Finally, how judge Jackson, who tells us Marie Colvin 'was specifically targeted because of her profession, for the purpose of silencing those reporting on the growing opposition movement in the country,' came up with the figure of $300m plus to be stolen from any Syrian state assets or accounts that happen to be in unfriendly foreign hands and given to her surviving family is a total mystery. Surely it cannot be for her projected earnings as a Sunday Times hack? (and let's face it, judging from her Homs reportage which is part 'colour revolution lite' and part Mills and Boon, she was hardly going to go on and win any literary Pulitzer prizes." (Paul Harvey, 3/2/19)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

She Has a Dream

"[I]f we are to honor [Martin Luther] King's message* and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel's actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.

"We must not tolerate Israel's refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the US government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the US government has pledged in military support to Israel.

"And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with... more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians - such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21% of the population." (From Time to break the silence on Palestine, Michelle Alexander**,, 19/1/19)

[*"I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight [4/4/67] because my conscience leaves me no other choice... A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam";**Michelle Alexander became a New York Times columnist in 2018. She is a civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.]

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Portrait of a Zionist Diva

In his book How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014), that formidable debunker of Zionist narratives and mythology, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, writes that:

"We must recognize that the key axis of a secular Jewish identity lies nowadays in perpetuating the individual's relationship to the State of Israel and in securing the individual's total support for it. If, until the 1967 war, Israel occupied a relatively secondary place in the sensibility of Jewish descendants in the West, from that point onward, this little state - which had just given a display of its great strength, even appearing as quite a power - became a source of pride for a goodly number of Jewish descendants. As is well known, any power attracts a mass of followers and comes to constitute, to a lesser or greater degree, a locus of adulation and worship. The image of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, svelte and spirited, perched on powerful armoured cars or leaning proudly against jet fighters, serves as an identity card for many new Jews throughout the world. The prestige that this gives has been used to the maximum by the Israeli state." (pp 93-4)

Sand could have been writing about Australian singer/songwriter Deborah Conway, just featured in the Sydney Morning Herald's GoodWeekend magazine:

"Carl Conway's family fled Russia to England after the pogroms around 1900. Deborah Conway's upbringing was not particularly religious - she doesn't believe in God - but the family had Shabbat dinner on Friday night and synagogue visits a few times a year. Over time, though, she has become increasingly passionate about her heritage. Conway and [husband Willy] Zygier ran the Shir Madness Melbourne Jewish musical Festival in 2015 and 2017 and both are avowed Zionists, believing in the development and protection of Israel as a Jewish state. Asked why her passion for Zionism has increased, she says 'I hate bullies and I feel like the world is bullying Israel.' The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement - which aims to end international support for Israel - is, says Conway, 'nothing short of horrendous anti-Semitism.' 'Look, there's no question there are contentious aspects of the Jewish state, but it's the only place in the world where Jews have a state'." (Love of a lifetime, Melissa Fyfe, 2/2/19)

To deconstruct this particularly egregious example of delusional identity politics: here we have a 'secular Jew', with no discernible connection to Palestine/Israel, who swears blind that the Israeli bully is really a victim - of "the world" no less - and maliciously smears as anti-Semites those who demand justice for the bully's Palestinian victims.

Reality couldn't be more twisted. But, to make matters worse, the feature's author, journalist Melissa Fyfe, apparently saw no need to raise an editorial eyebrow, or in any way challenge, Conway's appalling diatribe.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Franklin Graham Channels his Inner Frank

So, according to Australian journalism's number one Israel fanboy Greg Sheridan, he & Tony did Billy Graham in 1979:

"With Tony Abbott and an evangelical friend, I went to see Billy Graham at Sydney's Randwick racecourse in 1979. He was compelling and brilliant, with his dramatic gestures, magnificent voice, Hollywood good looks. Neither Abbott nor I felt impelled to join the throngs coming forward to commit their lives, simply because we were already Catholics... So we watched the performance with some admiration from the bleachers." (God and GrahamThe Australian, 2/2/19)

That little confession comes in what is essentially a promo for Billy's son Franklin, who'll be touring Australia next week.

As does this telling prognosis from Franklin Graham himself:

"I think, as a nation, our culture will descend eventually into chaos. In parts of the world where the Christian faith has not had much of an influence, such as the modern Middle East, it's scary what people have to endure."

Now in light of that, it's worth remembering what actually happened the last time the medieval forbears of Tony, Greg, and the Grahams 'toured' the Middle East - at various times between the 11th and 13th centuries centuries

Take, for example, the conquest of Jerusalem by those soldiers of Christ, aka Crusaders, aka Franks in the late 11th century. Forget "influence," 'impact' is the word here, and "scary" doesn't even begin to do justice to what Jerusalem's inhabitants had to "endure" in July 1099:

"With the fall of Jerusalem and its towers one could see marvellous works. Some of the pagans were mercifully beheaded, others pierced by arrows plunged from towers, and yet others, tortured for a long time, were burned to death in searing flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet lay in the houses and streets, and men and knights were running to and fro over corpses." (Raymond of Aguilers, quoted in Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade: A New History, 2004, p 316)

"After a very great and cruel slaughter of Saracens, of whom 10,000 fell in that same place, they put to the sword great numbers of gentiles who were running about the quarters of the city, fleeing in all directions on account of their fear of death: they were stabbing women who had fled into palaces and dwellings; seizing infants by the soles of their feet from their mothers' laps or their cradles and dashing them against the walls and breaking their necks; they were slaughtering some with weapons, or striking them down with stones; they were sparing absolutely no gentile of any place or kind." Gesta Francorum, ibid, p 317)

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Mike Carlton's 'On Air' 5

In conclusion...

"It was Fairfax that cracked. Ignominiously, Darren Goodsir, a decent man and a good journalist, was trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. From the boardroom and the executive suite, his lords and masters were howling for my head on a platter. So was the lobby. They had to be placated, he told me, yet he wanted to keep me writing for the paper. I could see his dilemma, an added distraction he did not need. As the Herald slowly imploded, with more and more of its best and brightest journalists 'taking redundancy' - that cloying euphemism - he had to battle to shore up newsroom morale and to keep the show on the road. Nor was his own job safe: notoriously, Herald editors had the career prospects of a subaltern on the Somme.

"For my part, I was angry that few at the paper seemed at all interested in the filth heaped upon me. Still less was I accorded the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting where I could put my case... Our negotiations were by phone and email. Goodsir wanted to suspend me for a cooling-off period of about three weeks until the end of the month, and he pushed me again to apologise to the aggrieved. I reluctantly agreed, with the proviso that I would not grovel to anyone who had called me Hitler's cocksucker and the like. I thought the deal was done...

"[A]t around ten pm, the phone rang again. It was Sean Aylmer, Fairfax's editorial director, and therefore Goodsir's boss... [H]is voice was cold. 'We've decided to suspend you indefinitely,' he said... The arrogance, the impertinence of this apparatchik calling late at night to relay this decision was bad enough. But Fairfax had broken its word to me. A rank and cowardly betrayal. Weak-kneed, the company had buckled to the pressure from the lobby and the bullying from the Murdoch press. How they would cheer in Holt Street when they heard they had won. I was not going to cop it anymore. 'You needn't bother suspending me. You can get fucked, Aylmer. I've just quit.' I slammed the phone down in his ear." (pp 513-15)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Mike Carlton's 'On Air' 4

Great globs of bias and invention in the Murdoch gutter tradition...

"The Herald was getting twitchy. There was a snowstorm of letters to the editor from Jewish readers protesting furiously about the column, the headline and the Le Lievre cartoon. The cartoon drew the initial fire; a lot of people assumed I had drawn it, and written the headline as well. There were angry demands for me to be sacked. Dutifully, the editor published some of the more rational letters in the paper. Other people cancelled subscriptions. A number of Jewish-owned businesses withdrew their advertising... On the grapevine, I heard that directors on the Fairfax board were having their arms twisted and their ears bent, not least by the AIJAC. Many were receptive.

"On Monday, 4 August the editor-in-chief of the Herald, Darren Goodsir, publicly apologised for the cartoon. He also phoned to ask me to apologise to anyone I had offended. Reluctantly, I said I would consider it. The time bomb was ticking.

"Unsurprisingly, it exploded in the Murdoch press, led by the Australian and the Daily Telegraph. I had been on their notorious 'shit list' for years. The Australian had managed to get hold of the tweets and a lot of the emails I had sent to my attackers. The tweets were available for all to see, but the emails were not and obviously had been forwarded to the paper in a bunch. By whom? Your guess is as good as mine. The next day they were splashed in a long front-page story. It was heaven on a stick for the Murdochracy. There were two big birds to kill with one stone: the hated Fairfax press in general, and me in particular. Away they went. 'Fairfax Media is under pressure to sack columnist Mike Carlton, who has been ordered to apologise for using anti-Semitic and abusive language towards readers,' it began. On and on it went, a poisonous cocktail of a few facts heavily larded with great globs of bias and invention in the Murdoch gutter tradition. With malicious dishonesty, the paper mentioned not once the torrent of Jewish hatred which had prompted my response. There was not a syllable of the Nazi smear, the 'Hitler's bitch' stuff. The impression given - deliberately - was that I had exploded with rage at polite, reasoned criticism.

"I believe the Telegraph was even more vile in its attack on me. I never bothered to read what it ran - not then, not since - but I was told it splashed all over the shop as well. Somebody showed me the artwork they had confected. Against the background of a bombed and burning village, my head had been wrapped in a keffiyeh, the chequered Arab scarf, then photo-shopped onto the stooped and evidently fleeing body of a man in burned and tattered clothing. Carlton's a terrorist, geddit?" (pp 511-12)

To be continued...

Friday, February 1, 2019

Mike Carlton's 'On Air' 3

Juicy carrots for politicians of all sides and pliant journalists...

"The lobbying is slick and sophisticated, sometimes subtle and unseen, at other times loud and combative. Huge effort goes into influencing Australian political and public opinion, and media coverage of Israel and the Middle East. Cabinet ministers and editors invariably take the phone calls. The AIJAC is always ready with a free, well-written article to push the current line on the opinion pages.* Generous financial donations are slung to the major political parties. In his entertaining Dairy of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr complains at length of the lobby's attempts to browbeat the Gillard government into backing the belligerent Likud hard line in Israel, a situation he thought scandalous and depressing.

"The respected Australian journalist John Lyons has explained, in detail, how the AIJAC operates and agitates above and below the wire to advance the policies of the Netanyahu government. Lyons, now a senior ABC editorial executive, is a former editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and for six years was the Australian's Middle East correspondent. In his memoir, Balcony Over Jerusalem, he writes: 'The longer I was in Israel, the more I realised that key figures in the Australian Jewish community sat on the far right of the Israeli political spectrum. In Israel I was able to have meaningful discussions with key army or intelligence figures about the Palestinian issue. But with many of Australia's Jewish leaders this was just not possible. It was almost as if they felt that, given they were not living in Israel, they needed to take a harder line than many people living there.'

"Lyons details the AIJAC's relentless public and private attempts to discredit him for his reporting, and the work of other Australian correspondents in the Middle East. When all else fails, the lobby hurls the 'anti-Semitic' tag into the ring. You criticise Israel or Netanyahu or the Likud party: therefore you must hate Jews. You are an anti-Semite. This is a giant leap, as daft as suggesting that to criticise Tony Abbott, say, or to question our defense policies is to hate Australians. But it is a charge almost impossible to rebut, with a dizzying catch-22 dangling from it. We say you are anti-Semitic, you say you are not. But if you disagree with us you must be anti-Semitic. Even to suggest that there is an Israel lobby is anti-Semitic.

"That's the stick for journalists unwilling to regurgitate the hasbara or propaganda pumped out by the Netanyahu government and the Israeli military. There are also juicy carrots for politicians of all sides and pliant journalists willing to be schmoozed. Money is no object. The AIJAC and another group, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, run regular 'study tours' to Israel, funded by generous Jewish donors. Selected politicians and hacks are flown business class, put up in five-star hotels, and wined and dined in the best Tel Aviv restaurants while being escorted around showpiece hospitals, kibbutzes and settlements. Lyons writes: 'No editors, journalists or others should take these trips: they grotesquely distort the reality and are dangerous in the sense that they allow people with a very small amount of knowledge to pollute Australian public opinion.'

"He is right. They offered me one of these junkets many years ago; I declined it for exactly those reasons. But it is a heroic figure indeed who stands between an Australian journalist and a gravy train. As I write, another eight hacks have returned from one. They were the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, the editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Australia, the editor of the Weekend Australian's Inquirer section, the news director of the Daily Telegraph, reporters from Channel 7 and Sky Television, and producers from SBS Television and radio 2GB. Their minder was Vic Alhadeff, from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

"Alhadeff evidently weaved his magic. At a welcome home reception at Sydney's Australian Jewish Museum in October 2017, the eight brimmed with gratitude. Israel 'captured my heart and my mind', wrote Anna Caldwell of the Telegraph. There were 'so many signs of hope... every day we saw Israelis and Palestinians working side by side - they all wanted peace'. All this discovered in a week. Everyone agreed it had been wonderful. Fancy that. These travelling troupes are sometimes allowed to see Gaza, but only from a distant hill.

"Here, then, were the wheels and levers of a powerful media machine aimed right at me. Murdoch's newspapers lined up alongside." (pp 509-11)

[*For example, Ryvchin popped up on the opinion page of The Australian only yesterday: Amnesty lost its way over Israel]

To be continued...