Thursday, August 17, 2017

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... strikes again, and again, and again, and again, and again [...]:

"Providing the most specific details yet on Israel's ongoing series of military strikes inside war-torn Syria, Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel revealed today that Israel has carried out nearly 100 distinct military actions over the last five years specifically related to what they believed were Hezbollah-bound arms convoys." (Air Force chief: Israel has attacked Syrian arms convoys nearly 100 times in 5 years, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 16/8/17)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Four Corners' Hatchet Job on Lee Rhiannon

It is always worth keeping in mind that, despite the lurid fantasies of the right-wing nut jobs at News Corpse to the effect that the ABC is a bastion of leftist radicalism, the state broadcaster is in fact merely the propaganda arm of the Australian establishment.

Last night's Four Corners program, Inside the Greens: A Party in Turmoil, which featured former Greens leader Bob Brown and others attacking NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, was a case in point.

Cast your mind back to 2010-2011, when Sydney's Marrickville Council, dominated at the time by The Greens, bravely took a stand for Palestine by adopting a pro-BDS policy against the purchase of Israeli products, and when its Greens Mayor, Fiona Byrne only narrowly failed to snatch the NSW state seat of Marrickville from Labor for her party at the 2011 state election.

Many of Rhiannon's detractors on Four Corners have form going back to that time. Here's a reminder:

Sally Neighbour, the current executive producer of Four Corners, used to write for Murdoch's Australian, and earlier took The Greens to task (Divided we fall) in Morry Schwartz's The Monthly. (See my 3/2/12 post Get Rhiannon! 2)

Richard Di Natale, the current federal leader of the party, once cluelessly agreed to the proposition that the Palestinians should "recognise Israel's existence as a Jewish state," before later backtracking when apprised of the implications of what he'd said. (See my 23/5/15 post Richard Di Natale Reclassified.)

Bob Brown, the party's founder, has attacked the NSW Greens in the Murdoch press, claiming NSW Greens' support for BDS was "against his advice" and urging the branch to stick to "bread-and-butter issues." (See Bob Brown & A Failure of Courage, 1/4/11)

Ian Cohen, a former NSW Greens MLC, has condemned his party's support for BDS as "old style" and expressed concern about "Jewish community outrage." (See my 31/3/11 post Kahane Down Under?)

Christine Milne, Di Natale's predecessorhas spoken out against BDS, travelled to Israel (although whether or not at her own expense we do not know), and once spoke in favour of regime change in Libya. (See Some Questions for Christine Milne (21/4/12), Has Christine Milne Been Rambammed? (11/7/14), A Gripe About The Greens (24/3/11))

Jeremy Buckingham, a NSW Greens MLC, joined the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and signed the so-called London Declaration on Combatting Antisemitism. (See my 27/5/13 post Et tu, Jeremy?)

The issue of the NSW Greens' support for Palestine emerged only obliquely in the program. Presenter Louise Milligan's bias against that support, however, was clear at this point:

Milligan: While her leader is travelling the country, trying to hold his party together, Lee Rhiannon has flown to the Middle East and is crossing into Palestine.
Rhiannon: When you see it like that you can see why they call it an apartheid wall. What you see when you arrive in this country is apartheid. From the West Bank to Gaza, people are treated as second class citizens. Their human rights are ignored or abused.
Milligan: And she's still lobbing political grenades at her party: reviving a campaign to boycott Israeli businesses in Australia which has seen a backlash against the Greens in the past.
Rhiannon: There is a value in this campaign, and it's a reminder of why people like ourselves in Australia and around the world... it's time to reassess this form of struggle, because there are very clear examples of the value it brings to solidarity and the results it can achieve.
Milligan: Her leader disagrees.
Di Natale: It's not something that the Australian Greens have ever supported. It's not something that I support.
Milligan: It's these sorts of clashes with the federal party that have prompted the Greens elders to tell Four Corners it's time for Senator Lee Rhiannon to go.
Brown: Oh, well, you know, I've been living with Lee for 30 years, but it's the end of Lee's reign. The end is nigh, and I look toward the future.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Israel's 'Soul'

Israel's soul laid bare on a comedian's stage, says the headline of Agnes Nieuwenhuizen's review of Israeli writer David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar in The Australian (12/8/17).

Opening sentence:

"Don't miss David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar, a novel that offers profound insights into the soul of a nation and of one of its hapless citizens... "

So ethnocratic, apartheid states have souls? Interesting...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tim Fischer on John Lyons

Here's an excellent letter from today's Australian by former deputy prime minister (1996-1999) under John Howard, Tim Fischer:

"There is the good, the bad and the ugly in the Middle East. The Six-Day War reportage on its 50th anniversary year 2017 has been skewed, or was until the publication of the penetrating book Balcony Over Jerusalem by John Lyons. This book is the first in years to give a mention of substance to what happened on the fourth day when Israeli forces killed 34 US sailors on the USS Liberty, quickly apologised and paid reparations. Israel downplayed the saga while the US mounted a huge cover up, all exposed by the quotes Lyons has dug out, especially from Adlai Stevenson.

"Aligned spokesmen for Middle East countries will always skip over the ugly as they promote their country's perceived interests. Lyons details how parts of the honest debate on such issues as West Bank occupation in Israel are shut out of debate here in the Australian media and public domain. It is a subject that needs to be tackled for the truth to come out on the many complexities of the Middle East. It must be told without filters, shutters and threats." Mudgegonga, Vic

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 3 Months to Go

Damn! I forgot to post on the Balfour Declaration on August 2 - still, better late than never.

It's important to understand that the decision to issue the Declaration was confined to the British war cabinet, and that it was not debated in the House of Commons at the time. Only one MP, Joseph King (Liberal), raised the matter in the Commons, on November 19, 1917, 17 days after it was issued.

King asked foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour merely "whether the desire of the Government to see established a Jewish Zionist nationality in Palestine has been communicated to the Allied Powers, especially to France, Russia, Italy, and the Allied States; and whether it is one of the Allied war aims, or only a British war aim, to set up a Zionist community in the Holy Land."

And Balfour replied merely that "no official communication has been made to the Allies on the subject," and that "His Majesty's Government hope that the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people will result from the present war."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Syria Must Burn

Here's Zionist chutzpah for you: Syria must go on burning so a nuclear Israel can feel safe from... Iran.

"Israeli officials and other diplomats familiar with the situation are finally detailing the circumstances regarding the lead-up to the southern Syrian ceasefire agreement reached between the US and Russia, revealing secret talks were held in Amman and in an unnamed European capital city about the plan beforehand. Israeli officials were involved in the talks, and unsurprising given their public position since the ceasefire was announced, made clear they were unconditionally opposed to the ceasefire agreement, and objected to the creation of safe zones to limit combat in the areas. The reason for Israel's opposition to the ceasefire similarly appears to have been exactly what they've complained about since, that they believe any calm in Syria necessarily benefits Iran, and that anything that might conceivably move toward ending the Syria War must hand Iran some sort of specific defeat. It is this Iran-centric view of the Syrian conflict, despite Iran having a fairly limited involvement in it, which has led Israeli military officials to say they don't want ISIS to lose in Syria, and since the ceasefire's announcement that they are prepared to join the conflict simply to ensure that Iran, by which they mean the Shi'ite government, doesn't win." (Israel held secret talks with US, Russia to object to Syria ceasefire, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 9/8/17)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'Everybody Down There Loves Israel'

"The high level of support for Israel in Australia's Jewish community is often reflected by Australia's politicians. I was invited to a lunch for Israeli journalists in Jerusalem. One had just been to Australia on an organised trip, and when we were introduced she said to me: 'I love Australia! You guys talk Zionism better than we do!' I asked her what she meant. 'Everybody down there loves Israel. We met your Opposition Leader [Tony Abbott], who told us how much he loved Israel. We thought he was fantastic, but then we met Prime Minister [Julia] Gillard. She was even better. They were saying things you would not normally hear an Israeli say!'" (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, John Lyons, 2017, pp 262-63)

OK, did you cringe? Vomit? Curse? Go foetal?

Really now, do you need to know anything else about the simple-minded pricks who 'run' this bloody country?

For God's sake, BUY LYONS' BOOK NOW and educate yourselves!

As for Abbott and Gillard, far from being poles apart politically, they were united in their opposition to any light being shed on the Palestinian cause. When the Australian Union of Students (AUS) bravely took up the Palestinian issue and sought to educate Australian students on the matter, the thuggish Abbott, along with his nerdy sidekick, Greg Sheridan, attended an AUS conference at Monash University in 1977, the highlight of which, for them, was their disruption of a film night on Palestine sponsored by the AUS. As for Gillard, when she became president of AUS in 1984, she made it her mission to, in the words of David Marr, "take Palestine out of student politics." Gillard, in fact, even threatened to take pro-Palestine student politicians to court for calling her a Zionist!