Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Australian's Gibbering Fantasist In Residence

Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian and the "most influential foreign affairs commentator in Australia" (, is as mad as a meat-axe and I for one don't know if I can take it any more. Judge for yourself:

"Once again, Anzac Day and all that it represents are under attack. The dark servants of Sauron are gathering in Mordor, orcs and goblins, elves gone over to the dark side, the wraith-like nazgul and the dark riders of historical mayhem, once more to shatter the traditions and peace of the good hobbits of Middle-earth. I refer, of course, to the ideological Left girding its loins for a fresh assault on the alleged militarisation of Australian history. A slew of dismal academic books, unspeakable in their mediocrity and tendentiousness, presage a full-blooded campaign to destroy the most popular, the most unifying and the most historically sound celebration in our national life." (Gibbering fantasists set sights on Anzac Day, The Australian, 29/4/10)

Not that he's actually read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, mind you, but the movie, now that's a different matter! After all, didn't he once confess, "As a naturally lazy fellow I was always watching TV of an evening"? (Two bob's worth of life lessons, The Australian, 18/4/09)

But back to Sheridan's 'defence' of all things Anzac from the 'onslaught' of his imagined academic Forces of Darkness (funny how he doesn't name names), the mob he describes so colourfully as "gorged on grants, tenure, fellowships, faux academic prizes, subsidised centres and all the paraphernalia of the academic gravy train, beyond the wildest imaginings of any David Williamson satire... ":

"[T]here is... something wondrously ahistorical and ignorant about the standard line against the Australian efforts in World War I, whether at Gallipoli or on the Western Front or elsewhere. The proposition that Australia mindlessly, needlessly and foolishly followed Britain into World War I is completely wrong... Australia joined Britain in WW I for 4 reasons: just cause, empire solidarity, regional security interests and long-term maintenance of Australian security... But most importantly there was the question of Australia's long-term strategic self-interests. Australian leaders, and the population, understood correctly, that the British empire (and I write this as an Irish Australian who could not possibly have less sentimental attachment to the British crown) provided for Australian security, provided for Australian prosperity and to a large extent embodied Australian values."

Now I know that I'm a little off topic here, but Sheridan's retro-projection of his fantasies about the US-Australia alliance onto the circumstances of our involvement in WW I got me thinking. Should a man gorged on Israeli press junkets and pumped by a 'prize' for services to "the state of Israel and its ideologies" (Jerusalem Prize, 2007) be trusted with Australian (or any other) history? Were our Anzac volunteers really, as he asserts, primarily motivated by a clear belief that Australia's security was at stake (leaving aside, of course, whether that was in fact the case)? Or were their motivations more mundane?

Why not, I thought, consult one of those "tens of thousands of ordinary young men" who, according to Sheridan, "lived and died for something greater than themselves" at Gallipoli? Surely, the 'defender' of their day against the Gibbering Fantasists of the Academic Left wouldn't presume to take issue with their testimony?

OK then, why, for example, did Major Oliver Hogue (pen-name Trooper Bluegum) volunteer?

Here's how he explained it in his 1916 book Love Letters of an Anzac. The following letter, his first, is dated September 17, 1914:

"My Dearest Jean, I've got news for you, Honeybunch... It's the biggest item of news which any young man can, in these stirring days, tell to his sweetheart. Aye, your own heart will have told you. I'm a soldier of the King! I write it proudly: I could do nothing other than enlist.

"This is going to be a big war, a long war, the greatest war this old world has ever seen. Within a year the streets of Sydney will be placarded with big posters, 'Your Country needs you.' I don't want to go to war as the result of the importunity of Kitchener. I don't want my friends to point their fingers at me and say, 'Why don't you go?' Most of all, darling, I don't want you to lift your lovely blue eyes to mine, wondering if I will play the man. I want you to feel and know that when the Empire called, your MAN answered...

"Then, with a rush, came thoughts of the rigours and horrors of war: cold, sleepless nights; long weary marches; hot, thirsty days; fierce, bloody battle; maybe wounds and death. Death! Fancy dying with so little done and so much to do! I had given so little to the world in return for all the good things showered on me. I had done so little for Old England in return for my priceless British Citizenship. And sunny Australia - land of my birth: year after year I had roamed her fertile fields, sailed her tropic seas and climbed her rugged mountains. How little I had given in return! How trivial my services towards the making of the nation...

"I thought the whole thing out, dearest one. I fought the whole thing out, and I felt I could go out to battle for Empire, leaving behind home and friends and ease and comfort and all the good things that flesh is heir to. But I was not quite sure, my darling, if I could leave you. Then I looked up at the wall and saw your picture - the one I love. Near by - curiously apposite - was the picture of His Majesty George V. Somehow the final tussle resolved itself into King or Love. You know I've no silly ideas of Divine Right. Oliver Cromwell knocked all that nonsense on the head a few centuries ago. But I do realise all that the King stands for. And so I stood irresolute, gazing first on one picture, then on the other... For a brief space I thought I'd toss for it; I even took a coin from my pocket. The I scouted that idea as silly and cowardly: I alone had to make my decision; I could not trust it to the spin of a coin.

"I took your picture down from the wall and gazed at it, oh, so fondly... There could be only one answer... You always were my inspiration... And I could have sworn the picture smiled approval when I made the great decision. You know it was not that I loved thee less, but Empire more. 'I would not love thee, dear, so well, loved I not honour more'. I'd often heard that, but never knew what it meant till now. God bless you, my own. I went up to the barracks in the morning." (pp 9-12)

Who's the gibbering fantasist now?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fairfax's Israel Blog

What the... ?

The Fairfax website has recently added Zionist propagandist, Jewish Studies academic and scribbler for The Australian Jewish News Dvir Abramovich to its list of bloggers, with the job of "cover[ing] the Jewish world and Israel from a local and global perspective." Abramovich's blog is called Chutzpah. A more appropriate name might be Israel Rocks! or Israel Rulz, OK?

Abramovich's latest post, Israel's survival a huge achievement (26/4/10), is a veritable checklist of Zionist cliches and talking points:

There's the Israeli dream: "Born in the shadow of the Holocaust, Israel was carried in the hearts and minds of Jews for thousands of years and became a reality against all odds. Israel's founding fathers took one of history's greatest gambles and won."

But not the Palestinian nightmare.

There's a hyped Arab blitzkrieg: "On May 14 1948, as David Ben Gurion declared the new state's independence, warplanes rumbled overhead, attacking within 5 hours."

But no ethnic cleansing of Palestine's indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants from December 1947 to January 1949.

There's alleged applause from Nelson Mandela: "It's no surprise that Nelson Mandela was so moved by Israel's leaders that he required all African National Congress leaders read the writings of Israel's past prime ministers."

But no word on apartheid, Israeli-style. [See my 21/9/09 post Israeli Apartheid: The Jury's In ] Or Israel's defacto alliance with the apartheid regime in South Africa. Or Mandela's speech on The International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People (4/12/10) when he said: "When in 1977, the UN passed the resolution inaugurating The International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

There's the miraculous transformation of once "militarily inexperienced" and "persecuted" European Jews into state-of-the-art, go-anywhere-anytime arse-kickers.

But no passport fraud.

There's Israel's Law of Return, trumpeted as "the first universal immigration law in history [which] grants every Jew who needs and wants automatic citizenship."

But no 62-year refusal to implement the Palestinian refugees' Universal Declaration of Human Rights-backed right of return to their stolen homeland.

There's the miracle of "despite having to devote enormous resources to defence in 7 wars, [Israel] has managed to build a robust democracy."

But nothing about squillions in American aid and ordnance.

There's the - wait for it - "only democracy in the Middle East."

But no reference to the Great Gerrymander of 1948 which produced hundreds of thousands (now millions) of de-nationalised and disenfranchised Palestinian exiles.

There's a "flourishing oasis in the desert."

But no uprooted Palestinian orchards.

There's "extremists that constantly seek to torpedo any attempt at peace [and who] want to deny the simple pleasure of co-existence to Jews and Arabs who simply want quiet, normal lives for their children."

But no names. No Ben Gurion, Begin, Shamir, Netanyahu, Barak, Sharon, Olmert etc.

There's an imaginary siege: "At 62, Israel is still surrounded by external threats."

But no siege of Gaza.

There's a "tragic [- tragic! -] deadlock with the Palestinians."

But no Israeli refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return or to end the occupation.

There's "Israel's [alleged] desire for a just peace [which] has never diminished."

But not its actual desire for maximum Palestinian land with minimum Palestinian people.

Now I wouldn't like you leaving this post thinking Abramovich isn't capable of criticism where criticism's due. He is. And criticism doesn't get much more swingeing than this: "The Israeli people have never claimed perfection. Mistakes are inevitable in a democracy."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Do You Want Your News Limited?

"Rebecca Weisser, opinion page editor for The Australian, told a Limmud-Oz audience that the opinion pages in commercial newspapers were part of the business of giving the readers what they want to read." (Australian editor seeks big ideas, big names & good writers, The Australian Jewish News, 12/6/09)

Except that what the readers want to read is decided by... Rebecca Weisser:

"In the case of a mainstream daily newspaper, such as The Australian, she said, the views need to fall within mainstream views, which should be apparent to the reader. An example, she said, was an opinion piece written by a Palestinian intellectual that argued for a one-state peace solution for Israel. Weisser rejected the submission on the grounds that it was too radical. 'If an opinion piece would seem more at home in the Green Left Weekly, then it would probably not [sit well in] the opinion section of a mainstream paper', she said."

And who is this Zionist Guardian of The Mainstream View at News Limited?

Briefly, one who calls the Israeli-occupied West Bank a "contested place" and for whom the only good Palestinian is a "moderate" one; one for whom Israel's illegal West Bank colonisers and pogromers are just regular volk unfortunately forced to live with "the threat of violence" but nonetheless bravely determined "to create a place that is safe to rear their children"*; and one for whom the likes of Alan Dershowitz, Michael Danby MP and AIJAC's Colin Rubinstein** are the interviewees of choice.

[*Visions of the old settlers, The Australian, 29/11/08; **Mideast Studies accused, The Australian, 21/11/06]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

'An Unmistakeable Whiff of Zionism!'

Ghassan Hage, Professor of Anthropology & Social Theory at Melbourne University, reflects on the the Cronulla riots (11/12/05) in his contribution to the 2009 anthology Lines In the Sand: The Cronulla Riots & National Belonging, Edited by Greg Noble:

"I kept a straight face and nodded when Marwan said: 'Mate, Alan Jones is a Zionist. Ackerman is a Zionist... they all go on special trips to Israel. The Israelis look after them and they pay back by working hard on making everyone hate us...' But I couldn't help revealing a smile when he said: 'you're naive if you think that the Zionists miss a chance of turning people against Arabs. And so, if you ask me, the mob in Cronulla, they were all influenced by Zionists or Zionists themselves...' The thought of all those beach boys in Cronulla as Zionists was hilarious. And I was smiling what must have looked like a condescending smile. It was unprofessional of me and Marwan was rightly offended. He prides himself to be well informed and an avid reader, and he is way beyond being intimidated by anybody or anything that threatens his firm beliefs. It also helps that he is a very solidly built bricklayer twice my size: 'yes go ahead and laugh, Mr Professor, you're a fucking idiot like the rest of them'." (Zionists, p 252)

"Perhaps what initially made the thought further linger in my mind was the vague sense of an analogy at the level of my own subjective imaginary between the way I think of the Israeli state 'encircling' and 'destroying' Palestinians and the image of the Cronulla crowd encircling that lone Lebanese guy and going for him. This is very thin indeed as far as social scientific evidence goes, but it is what made the thought 'linger on' in the back of my mind not what sustained it as a serious analytic proposition. What did sustain it analytically was the idea that slowly firmed in my mind that, despite their radical differences, Zionist politics today and the Cronulla crowd are/were both manifestations of assertive monoculturalism." (p 253)

"Unlike places such as England, where multiculturalism continued to temper emergent monocultural tendencies, the Australia of John Howard [1996-2007], after 10 years of a government committed to a politics of White restoration, was perhaps one of the few places in the Western world outside Israel where people were continuously and systematically invited to be 'relaxed and comfortable' in asserting White colonial 'core values' in the face of 'Third world looking people' who supposedly did not share these values and to be proud of themselves doing so. The Cronulla pogrom, in so far as it was a racist festival of self-indulgence, is unthinkable without the broad legitimisation by government and pro-governmental media of the White politics of 'counter-victimology' that it represented. In this construction, if you feel that it is you who is victimised by minorities, and not vice-versa as the multiculturalists like to claim, then you are probably right... don't let the multiculturalists censor you, express your outrage! This was long ago a foundational White minority Hansonite refrain, part of what I called then the ideology of 'White decline'. The Howard government, slowly and surely, ensured the propagation of this attitude throughout Australian culture by making it the very ideology of White reassertion. It is a paradoxical hybrid which not only asserted a belief in the cultural superiority of 'western' values, but which managed to fuse a sense of being threatened with a sense of domination: the purpose of being in power is not to feel powerful, but to assert your claim to be a victim: powerfully! Here again is an unmistakeable whiff of Zionism! You dominate, invade, penetrate, humiliate the Palestinian third world looking other... but at the end of the day, the problem is Palestinian/Arab aggression and anti-Semitism. Now here is the point that could be usefully highlighted: Australia under Howard had had more than 10 years of encouraged assertion of this type of White monoculturalism when the Cronulla event occurred. At the same time, and despite this, multiculturalism was too well entrenched in everyday life to simply disappear. So those Lebanese boys, mainly in their late teens and who are supposedly so un-integrated, must have grown up not just in the midst of Sydney's multicultural suburbs but also in the shadow of the aggressive reassertion of monocultural values. So why on earth are they only the product of multiculturalism? Are they not also, if not more so, the product of multiculturalism?" ( pp 256-257)

I was reminded of Hage's insightful analogy when I read the following in Murdoch's Daily Telegraph recently: "Sydney has Australia's largest proportion of Middle-Eastern born residents, but in a city of more than 4 million people they still number only about 120,000. Undeniably the community is disproportionately represented in criminal activity. You only need to go to the jails to see what NSW prison's officers have come to call their 'Gaza Strip'." (A culture of crime, Chris Masters, 9/4/10)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Where Our Troops Are 'Serving'

As part of its Anzac Day coverage the Sydney Morning Herald published a Department of Defence list of Australia's overseas military involvement under the heading WHERE OUR TROOPS ARE SERVING (23/4/10). I've omitted Border Protection (400); East Timor (404); and the Solomon Islands (80) to highlight our far greater Middle East involvement, reordered the Herald's list in order of numbers of troops involved, and added some explanatory information in brackets:

Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) 1550
Operation SLIPPER (Middle East) 800
Operation PALATE II 1

Operation KRUGER 80 (Protecting the Australian Embassy in Baghdad)
Operation RIVERBANK 2 (UN Assistance Mission for Iraq)

Operation MAZURKA 25 (Australia's contribution to the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) in the Sinai, a non-UN organisation established in 1981 to oversee the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979)

Operation AZURE 17 (UN)
Operation HEDGEROW 8

Middle East
Operation PALADIN 11 (UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) established to supervise the truce agreed at the conclusion of the first Arab/Israeli War of 1948. Our involvement commenced in 1956)

The salient point here is that we currently have 2, 433 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq solely as a result of the former Howard government's servility towards the United States and the pathetic me-tooism of the Rudd government.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Creative Destruction

"War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing."

Edwin Starr's 1969 antiwar song is... well, sooo 1969!

If NSW Jewish Board of Deputies' CEO Vic Alhadaff had his way those lyrics would read: War! What is it good for? Absolutely everything.

In a review of Dan Senor & Saul Singer's Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracles, Vic boasts that Israel had "63 companies listed on the NASDAQ in 2009, second only to the US..." and explains, after imbibing deeply from Senor & Singer, that it "all boils down to one word - army." (Military secrets behind Israel's economic miracle, The Australian Jewish News, 19/3/10)

If Senor & Singer are right, far from being a breeding ground for war criminals, the IDF is really a training ground for entrepreneurs.

Vic "elaborates":

"1) The military - and battlefield - experiences which shape the Israeli character demand that young adults take initiative, demonstrate leadership and handle life-threatening situations in real time, thereby engendering personality attributes and imparting IT knowledge that give them a leading edge when they enter the workforce. 2) The Israeli military has an egalitarian ethos that encourages soldiers to challenge authority. This culture, translated to civic life, lends itself to challenging the status quo and being creative, innovative and self-reliant. 3) By the time Israelis enter university, they have served in the army and tend to be more responsible and focused, with a clearer career direction, than their peers. 4) The nation's military and defence industries generate successful spin-offs in the IT and commercial sectors."

If this is so, there can be no doubt that the IDF's Epic Existential Struggle with the Islamofascist Hordes of Hamastan last year will produce such a bumper crop of budding innovators that the US will inevitably be bumped down to second place on the NASDAQ.

For a tantalising glimpse of the IDF's current crop of Einsteins, Freuds, Bubers and Weizmanns* in action, taking the initiative, demonstrating leadership and handling life-threatening situations in real time, you might like to read the following three selections from Norman Finkelstein's latest (2010) book, 'This Time We Went Too Far': Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion:

"In postinvasion testimonies IDF soldiers recalled the macabre scenes of destruction in Gaza: 'We didn't see a single house that remained intact... Nothing much was left in our designated area. It looked awful, like in those World War II films where nothing remained. A totally destroyed city'; 'We demolished a lot. There were people who had been in Gaza for two days constantly demolishing one house after the other, and we're talking about a whole battalion'; 'One night they saw a terrorist and he disappeared so they decided he'd gone into a tunnel, so they brought a D-9 [bulldozer] and razed the whole orchard'; 'There was a point where D-9s were razing areas. It was amazing. At first you go in and see lots of houses. A week later, after the razing, you see the horizon further away, almost to the sea'; 'The amount of destruction there was incredible. You drive around those neighborhoods, and can't identify a thing. Not one stone left standing over another. You see plenty of fields, hothouses, orchards, everything devastated. Totally ruined. It's terrible. It's surreal'. One veteran of the invasion designed a T-shirt depicting a King Kong-like soldier clenching a mosque while glowering over a city under attack, and bearing the slogan 'If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!' 'I was in Gaza', he elaborated, 'and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure'." (pp 61-62)

"The Goldstone Report concluded that 'the Israeli armed forces repeatedly opened fire on civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities and who posed no threat to them', and that 'Israeli armed forces had carried out direct intentional strikes against civilians' in the absence of 'any grounds which could have reasonably induced the Israeli armed forces to assume that the civilians attacked were in fact taking a direct part in the hostilities'. The postinvasion testimonies of IDF soldiers corroborated this wanton killing of Palestinian civilians in an "atmosphere" where "the lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers': 'You see people more or less running their life routine, taking a walk, stuff like that. Definitely not terrorists. I hear from other crews that they fired at people there. Tried to kill them'; 'People didn't seem to be too upset about taking human lives'; 'Everyone there is considered a terrorist'; 'We were allowed to do anything we wanted. Who's to tell us not to?'; 'I understood that conduct there had been somewhat savage. 'If you sight it, shoot it''; 'You are allowed to do anything you want... for no reason other than it's cool' - even firing white phosphorus 'because it's fun. Cool'." (p 88)

"No doubt some IDF soldiers exploited the occasion of the massacre to give free rein to their sadistic impulses while others were brutalized by the environment. Thus, IDF testimonies recalled 'the hatred and the joy', and 'fun' and 'delight' of killing Palestinians, the wreaking of destruction 'for kicks' and to 'make [oneself] happy'. And thus soldiers bantered, 'I killed a terrorist, whoa... We blew his head off'; 'Fortunately the hospitals are full to capacity already, so people are dying more quickly'; and 'He just couldn't finish this operation without killing someone'." (p 92)

Please Vic, whatever you do, don't pass Up-Start - sorry, Shoot-Up, sorry, Start-Up Nation on to Tony Abbott.

[* Vic alludes in the introduction to his review to the fact that Einstein, Freud, Buber and Weizmann, "each of whom pushed the frontiers of humankind's intellectual capacity in his own unique way, all served on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's first board of governors," and claims that this "underscores the premium which Israel placed on intellectual prowess, even before the State had been established, and which continues to this day." Einstein, Freud and Buber (if not Weizmann), of course, may have a different take on this, not to mention their being forcibly conscripted into the IDF by Vic.]

See also the Tony Clifton quote which heads my 1/2/09 post The Banality of Evil.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perennial Terrorism

There's no such thing as the good old days if you're an Israeli settler. It was terrorism then, it's terrorism now, and... you guessed it, it'll be terrorism tomorrow. If you think about it, it's a wonder there's a settler left standing:

"Mr Netanyahu used his Memorial Day address to warn that terrorism presented the new threat to Israel. 'Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. It has been accompanying us since the first days of Zionism, since the Jewish settlement in the land of Israel was resumed in the late 19th century. Today, terrorism is supported by radical Islamist regimes, led by Iran, which have turned the call to destroy Israel into their daily bread'." (Netanyahu insists building to go on, John Lyons, The Australian, 21/4/10)

And Bibi's right, of course, the Palestinians have been doing 'terrorism' from Day 1:

"The 1901-2 attempt of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) to 'remove the peasants who cultivated the land so far' from a tract of about seventy-thousand dunums in the Tiberias district (the largest single piece of land thus far purchased for Jewish settlement in Lower Galilee) met with stiff resistance from the Arab inhabitants of the villages of al-Shajara, Misha and Melhamiyya, who were to be dispossed by this purchase. Of this land, over sixty-thousand dunums had been purchased from the big Beirut merchant family of the Sursuqs, and their business partners, the Tuenis and Mudawwars. Some seven hundred had been bought from local landlords, and three thousand from some of the fellahin [peasants] themselves. According to the account of the incident by H M Kalvariski, an official of the JCA, the peasants not only refused to be removed from their lands; the JCA agent who had engineered the land deal, a Mr Ossovetsky, 'was shot at; troops were brought and many tenants were arrested and taken to prison'. Through the forceable intervention of the [Ottoman Turkish] authorities, lands cultivated by the inhabitants of the three villages were seized and they were prevented from tilling them. Over the next three years, the Jewish agricultural settlements of Sejara, Kafr Tavor, Yavniel, Menehamia and Bet Gan were set up on these lands." (Peasant Resistance to Zionism, Rashid Khalidi, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship & the Palestinian Question, 1988, Edited by Edward Said & Christopher Hitchens, 1988, p 217)

Must be in the blood.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No George Marshall

"On Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US 'will not waver in protecting Israel's security and promoting Israel's future', while noting while the Jewish state is 'confronting some of the greatest challenges in its history, but its promise and potential have never been greater'. Clinton also pointed out that in 1948 it took President Harry Truman just 11 minutes to recognise the state of Israel. 'And ever since, the US has stood with you in solidarity'." (Obama affirms 'unbreakable' US-Israel ties, AFP, 20/4/10)

So Truman took no more than 11 minutes to recognise Israel, eh? Just couldn't wait, right?

Was it because he knew it was the right and proper thing to do? Was he the instrument of Divine Providence?

Get real.

A bunch of American realists in the form of US diplomats to the Arab states had met with Truman on 10/11/45 to urge him to resist Zionist pressure for a Jewish state in Palestine. Truman candidly replied: "I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism: I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."

Another American realist, former WW II US Army Chief of Staff and Truman's Secretary of State General George C Marshall (of Marshall Plan fame), adamantly opposed Truman's May 14, 1948 recognition of Israel because he knew that Truman was allowing domestic politics - or, as then Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett put it, "a very transparent attempt to win the Jewish vote" - to interfere with the rational formulation of US foreign policy.

Hillary, you're no George Marshall.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Questions for Q & A to Answer

Last night's Q & A on ABC Television, Premiers, Population & the Politics of Fear, featured as panelists Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, former NSW Premier Bob Carr, Heather Ridout from the AIG and Simon Sheikh from GetUp. Oh, and one other that had me scratching my head: Shimrit Nothman - simply described as an "Israeli-born communications consultant."

What Q & A didn't tell us was that Ms Nothman was a professional hasbara (pro-Israel PR) spruiker. I had to google to find that out:

As one of the speakers at a December 2009 State Zionist Council Israel promotion, Small Country, Big Ideas, Nothman was introduced thus in its program: "Shimrit Nothman grew up in Israel and worked in Israel advocacy in Europe and North America. She has a Masters in Conflict Resolution and runs a small communications consultancy. Shimrit plans to return to Israel next year and work in policy development." And in case that didn't sink in, Nothman and her fellow panelists at the promotion's Symposium: 2020 - Visions of the Future of Israel were billed as "various members of our community with a special relationship to Israel [selected to] discuss the future of our beloved and complex homeland." (

Which begs the questions: How did she come to be on Q & A and why wasn't she introduced as an Israel advocate?

Clearly out of her depth, Nothman's vacuous interventions were few and far between, but revealing nonetheless.

Here she is on the issue of population:

"I think we can learn a lot from Israel, actually, because Israel and Australia are very similar in the way they both have huge immigration waves. Well, Israel had a bigger one. It actually has had a tenfold increase in population within 60 years and I think that's a huge amount of newcomers, and you can see in Israel that this has been the only country, basically, to finish this - the last century with more trees than it started. Israel has also managed to grow all its own goods in Israel to accomodate every person that lives in Israel and also to export food, and it's a leading - it's just a leading country in agriculture technology today around the world, so I think that in any case with innovation, with people that are willing to understand that changes will have to be made when we are more people around in Australia, I think it can be done."

You'll note here the Israel advocate at work. You'll also note the glaring omission of the fact that that the bulk of Israel's indigenous population continues to rot in refugee camps beyond its borders, following their ethnic cleansing in 1948, not to mention the fact that you can only immigrate to Israel if you have a Jewish mother/grandmother. Note too how Ms Nothman parrots Jewish National Fund* (JNF) propaganda: "The planting of the first forest in honour of Herzl in 1904 started a revolutionary enterprise: the reafforestation of the land. By 1947 the JNF had planted 5 million trees, but by the JNF's centenary in 2001 the total topped 220 million. Israel became the only country in the world with more trees at the end than at the beginning of the 20th century." ( [See my 14/6/08 post A Certain Jewish Tree Planting Group]

And here's Nothman on the vexed issue of asylum seekers:

"It's very interesting because I'm a new immigrant. True, I did not escape persecution. It's a very nice country, Israel, and I did follow my heart here, my husband, but in any case when you come from another country into a new country you have to face so many problems. I don't know how many of the people sitting out here today have actually done it. You know, to move a country means to leave all your support system behind you: your family, your friends, and sometimes get to a country that does not speak your language. Sometimes they have different values. So to add to that the fact that these asylum seekers are also fleeing persecution and obviously willing to risk their life going on boats in the middle of the sea, I think that we should, all of us as Australians, be very compassionate to these people."

Aw, ain't that nice? Let's all show some compassion. Yet a little more googling suggests that Nothman was just playing to her audience: In response to a Sydney Morning Herald column by former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello, in which he argued that the government should "stop the sea trade and insist all claims for refugee status be made offshore," (Be firm & clear: no access by boat, 4/11/09) one, Shimrit Nothman was singing a different tune in the comments thread of the Herald's website: "The government should definitely listen to the logic behind Peter Costello's words. The question is not simply what action the government should take in facing the problem but rather what message each of the different alternatives for action send to these asylum seekers." (Comment 76 of 77, 5/11/09, 5:35 pm)

Compassion? Stop the boats? Now I'm all confused.

What's going on at Q & A?

The Penny Drops at The Australian

Whatever happened to the 72 virgins* and the terrorist death cults*?

"University of Toronto sociologist Robert Brym... carefully studied all 138 suicide bombings between September 2000 and mid-July 2005. He concluded that, in the vast majority of cases, the suicide bombers themselves, whatever their ideological predispositions, or the groups that claimed responsibility, had lost a friend or close relative to Israeli fire. They acted, he wrote, 'out of revenge'." (Sin-binned for blowing the whistle, John Lyons, The Australian, 17/4/10)

[See my posts *72 Virgins... Again! (21/7/09); Repeat After Me (21/5/09)]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Sewage from Hitchens

"[Edward Said] never lost the capacity to be wounded by the treachery and opportunism of supposed friends. A few weeks ago he called to ask whether I had read a particularly stupid attack on him by his very old friend Christopher Hitchens in The Atlantic Monthly. He described with pained sarcasm a phone call in which Hitchens had presumably tried to square his own conscience by advertising to Edward the impending assault. I asked Edward why he was surprised, and indeed why he cared. But he was surprised and he did care. His skin was so, so thin, I think because he knew that as long as he lived, as long as he marched forward as a proud, unapologetic and vociferous Palestinian, there would be some enemy on the next housetop down the street eager to pour sewage on his head." (Edward Said, Dead at 66, Alex Cockburn, 25/9/03)

Christopher Hitchens once co-edited a book with Edward Said called Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship & the Palestinian Question (1988). Now, in a recent book review in The Atlantic Monthly (Idealism of an earlier age), recycled in Murdoch's Australian Financial Review (16/4/10), Hitchens is blaming the (Palestinian) victims and putting the spew into spurious scholarship:

"Almost no concession made by either side was ever sincere, or would not have been withdrawn or amended if the other party had accepted it."

There are no Palestinian victims here, no colonised, no occupied - just one of two presumably evenly-matched sides, slugging it out, and, most importantly, refusing to concede an inch to the other.

Yet, in 1996, in his introduction to Said's essays on the bankrupt Oslo 'peace process', Peace & Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Processs, Hitchens couldn't have been clearer on the subject of who was wielding the hammer:

"Consider merely the question of Gaza. If the Belgians or the Dutch or the British had ever dared run a conquered territory in this way, in the period after 1945, it can be hoped (and it may even be believed) that a torrent of international condemnation would have descended. Nobody has ever visited this part of the projected 'Greater Israel' and come away with anything but the most decided revulsion. Having shamed themselves beyond description in this little strip of former Palestine, the Israeli authorties smilingly decided to make a present of it to their former subjects. I should here like to quote from an interview I conducted, in the week of the White House handshake, with Ilan Halevi of the PLO delegation. (Mr Halevi is a Palestinian Jew and was at the time the ambassador of the PLO to the Socialist International, as well as a strong supporter of the Arafat-Rabin accord.) 'When they offered us Gaza as a beginning', he told me, 'I suggested that we say, 'Sure. But what will you give us in exchange?' It may or may not be significant that the only decent Jewish joke to come out of the whole affair was told by a member of the PLO. The offer was, in other words, always understood at some level as a sordid trap. On the day of the White House accords, I also dined with a senior American diplomat who had once had charge of Israel-Palestine negotiations. He told me of a previous occasion, when the late Gen. Moshe Dayan had suggested a 'Gaza first' ploy. Instructed to wait upon Dayan and tell him that such an offer was too transparent by half, my vis-a-vis had found him no whit abashed. 'Never mind', said the hero of 1967, 'We'll still double-cross that bridge when we come to it'." (p xvi-xvii)

But it gets worse. According to the Hitchens of 2010, not only does he entertain the notion that the victims of Zionist aggression should have been in the business of making concessions to their aggressors, but that they should also have been owning up to their hand in... the Nazi Holocaust no less:

"There was perhaps a moment when an unambivalent Israeli admission of responsibility for the original expulsion of the Palestinians could have had a healing and even cathartic effect. There may even have been a time when a sincere Arab denunciation of the role of the grand mufti of Jerusalem in the Holocaust* might have softened a heart or two. But that time is well in the past... The parties of God have the ordering of things now, and we must wait meekly upon their awful pleasure."

If only the Palestinian victims had damned one of their own for daring to sup with the devil of the day in defence of his people and homeland (conveniently overlooking, of course, the fact that Zionist ultras were actively seeking the same devil's blessing in their war with the British), a heart or two might have softened!?

Here's the spew in Hitchen's spurious scholarship: 1) The mufti's doings in Nazi Germany and the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 are on a par and a mutual apology is therefore in order; 2) Ben-Gurion and his successors had a heart.

At two points in Said's introduction to Blaming the Victims, it's almost as though, in relation to this particular bucket of Hitchens', he had his co-editor in mind:

"Almost from the moment that the state of Israel came into being in 1948 - and although the preparations were made well before that time - the West was deluged with a whole series of narratives and images that acquired the solidity and the legitimacy of 'truth'. In spite of the presence of a comfortable 67% majority of Palestinian Arabs who owned over 90% of the land in 1948 (this was after decades of Jewish immigration and settlement) the world heard of an 'empty' territory whose inhabitants brutishly opposed Jewish settlement in Zion even after the Holocaust had occurred. Thereafter the myths proliferated and formed a system which, in the West at least, it became inordinately difficult to deny. The 'Arabs' left Palestine because their leaders told them to; the Arabs were out to destroy the Jewish state, and since they were already in league with Hitler, their opposition to Israel was essentially racist and fascist..." (pp 3-4) And, further on: "Most of all the Palestinian has suffered because he or she has been unknown, an unacknowledged victim, and worse, a victim blamed not only for his or her disasters, but for those of others as well." (p 6)

Said had expanded on this idea in an earlier work, After the Last Sky (1986):

"There has been no misfortune worse for us than that we are ineluctably viewed as the enemies of the Jews. No moral and political fate worse, none at all, I think: no worse, there is none. With so much discussion recently of the Holocaust, I am centrally aware of the fact of the destruction of European Jews, an abomination which nevertheless I find hard to consider separately; there is always the connection made between Israel and the Holocaust, how one makes restitution for the other. I find myself saying that a generation later the Holocaust has victimized us too, but without the terrifying grandeur and sacriligeous horror of what it did to the Jews. Seen from the perspective provided by the Holocaust, we are as inconsequential as children on a playground; and yet - one more twist in the reductive spiral - even at play we cannot be enjoyed or looked at simply as that, as children playing games that signify little. Just by virtue of where we stand, every playground is seen as a 'breeding ground for terrorists', every pastime a 'secret plan for the destruction of Israel', as if our own destruction was not a great deal more probable. Something either pernicious or negligible can be attributed to us, no matter what we do, wherever we are, however we think or act." (p 134)

Hitchens' obscene suggestion that the victims of the Zionist project in Palestine should be apologising for their alleged part in the Hitlerian Holocaust would have Said turning in his grave.

[* See my 22/3/08 post The Israeli Occupation of Federal Parliament 6]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Better Class of Refugee

Don't you just love the emissions of uber-Zionist letter writer Michael Burd (Toorak)?

His latest erupted in Monday's Australian:

"Perhaps if the refugee and asylum-seekers particularly those from the Middle East/Africa would assimilate more, not bring with them their age-old hatred and prejudices that they claim they are fleeing Australians would be more sympathetic to their plight. The refugees who came to Australia in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and who came from Asia in the 70s - most fleeing war torn regions with little or no English and different cultures - were successfully integrated into Australian society." (12/4/10)

Michael's other favourite outlet is The Australian Jewish News, which recently highlighted another mob that's apparently finding it difficult to assimilate/integrate:

"The recent announcement that Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist, will marry Marc Mezvinsky, a Jew, caused some to rejoice, and others to weep. A few pointed out that mixed marriages in the Diaspora increased by 200% over the past 50 years, with one blogger going as far as to declare that, 'Chelsea will serve as a private gas chamber for Marc. After him, his family tree will be Judenrein [clean of Jews]... this wedding is really a funeral. Funerals don't make me happy'." (Making religion relevant, Dvir Abramovich, 26/2/10)

Happy Afghans

Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian, ejaculating on ABC Television's Q & A 0n 12/4/10:

"Well, Tony, I would say that I agree with Kevin Rudd 100% that throughout history, overwhelmingly the US has been a force for good. Every American soldier I've known, and I've known a lot of American soldiers, has been a very fine human being and I can tell you that on a number of occasions in south-east Asia in tsunamis in Aceh and all over the world where the happiest sight on the horizon is a US soldier."

And he's right, of course. Take Afghans for example. Nothing makes them happier than the sight of an American soldier on the horizon. No, they don't exactly dance in the streets whenever these beacons of goodness appear. Their preferred method of celebration is to pick up a gun and shoot them:

"US troops have withdrawn from a notorious valley in eastern Afghanistan that has seen some of the worst fighting of the war... The fight for Korengal Valley officially ended yesterday after the last US soldiers were airlifted from a ridge above a collection of stone buildings and sandbagged bunkers. A low-key press release announced the 'realignment' of US forces out of the valley where 42 US soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded since 2005. US troops had fought their way up and down the cedar-studded slopes of the valley. The intense fighting in the area was portrayed in a film, Restrepo, named best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in February, and has sparked at least one book and a video-game scenario. In one famous incident, a US soldier was photographed fighting off an attack in his underwear. The Americans pulled out because they determined that instead of bringing stability to Korengal, they had largely proven 'an irritant to the people', said the top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. 'We're not living in their homes, but we're living in their valley', General McChrystal said last week as the withdrawal was getting under way. 'There was probably much more fighting here than there would have been' without a US troop presence." (US leaves Afghan valley of death, The Times/ The Wall Street Journal/ The Australian, 16/4/10)

Funny people those Afghans.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Be Afraid... Relax

"Among the many considerations that show what a man is, none is more important than seeing either how easily he swallows what he is told or how carefully he invents what he wants to convince others of." Machiavelli

How Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan spins the government's Counter Terrorism White Paper*:

"In other ways, the global terror network is growing more menacing. As the Rudd government's white paper on terrorism noted, Hezbollah is now a very widely spread international terrorist network, with a great deal of technical capability and a serious presence in Australia, and could be expected to strike at many targets if conflict with Iran broke out." (A nuclear threat we cannot ignore, The Australian, 15/4/10)

What the White Paper actually says:

"2.1.4 Other forms of terrorism: Jihadist terrorism is the predominant focus of Australia's counter-terrorism efforts due to its spread, impact and explicit targeting of Australians. But terrorism motivated by other beliefs has affected Australia in the past and will affect us in the future. Australia is currently home to a small number of people who support other causes that involve active terrorist campaigns overseas. The terrorist movements they support do not necessarily see Australia as a target for their violence but some might see that Australia could be used as a suitable or convenient location for an attack on their enemies. This includes groups with a long history of engaging in terrorist acts and a current capability to commit them, such as Lebanese Hizbollah's External Security Organisation. Future geo-political events could mean other terrorist movements with a presence or support base in Australia could become willing to engage in operational activity here. And in the future new terrorist threats could manifest themselves in Australia, either as a by-product of events overseas or as a result of political grievance within Australia. There will always be the disaffected and disempowered, often but not always at the fringes of communities, or the followers of radical ideologies, who mistakenly see advantages in the use of terrorist tactics." (p 14)

[*See my 11/3/10 post Who's Afraid of Hezbollah?]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The 'R' Word

Words of wisdom from Uri Davis:

"There is no collective guilt. Children are not guilty of the crimes of their parents; Germans in general are not guilty of the crimes of the Nazi occupation of Europe; western Christians in general are not guilty of the genocide of the holocaust; and Europe in general is not guilty of crimes against humanity perpetrated against Jews. Only anti-Jewish racists are guilty of what they did and continue to do to Jews. And, by the same token, children of Zionist settlers in geographical Palestine are also not guilty of the crimes perpetrated by their parents. Responsibility is, however, a different matter. While children of Zionist settlers in geographical Palestine are not collectively guilty of the crimes perpetrated by their parents against the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people, citizens of the State of Israel have a responsibility, a duty, which citizens of other states do not have in the same way, to raise their voices against these crimes, act in defence of the victims of these crimes and work for due reparation, compensation and return of the dispossessed and expelled Palestinian Arabs. This is the case not because children of Zionist settlers are collectively guilty of these crimes, but because these crimes were committed and continue to be committed in their name.' (Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, 2003, p 12)

Unfortunately, Tal Jabotinsky, great-granddaughter of Zionist revisionist leader, fascist and Likud godfather Vladimir [Ze'ev] Jabotinsky* [1880-1940], just doesn't get the responsibility thing:

"I am very proud of the family I come from, I carry the heritage proudly. I am proud of all my family, including my great-grandfather [Zionist forefather Ze'ev Jabotinsky] and grandfather [Ze'ev's only son], my mother, my father and my siblings. I am here with everything I carry from the Jabotinsky legacy to add to that... Every year there is a special remembrance ceremony. Shimon Peres [and other politicians] are there every year. Politicians and my family are intertwined, it is not a rare thing to pick up the phone and hear one of them - there are a lot of funny stories in my family about that." (A chat with Tal Jabotinsky, new Betar shlicha [Israel representative] in Melbourne, The Australian Jewish News, 7/8/07)

Avindav Begin, grandson of Jabotinsky disciple, Irgun leader and first Likud prime minister of Israel Menachem Begin [1913-1992]**, does:

"'Murderous blood flows in Israeli arteries', says the grandson of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Avindav Begin, who is also the son of the current Likud Knesset member Benny Begin, refuses to stand during the Israeli national anthem 'Hatikva' and participates in protests against the Apartheid Wall. He does not see himself as a Jew or a Zionist and believes that his grandfather did not make real peace with Egypt. He is also not worried about being the target for rotten eggs after his inflammatory interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. The newspaper said in a lengthy report: (Avindav) Begin examines the psychological roots of the Jewish-Arab conflict in his new book End of the Conflict, which was published recently in both Hebrew and Arabic. He suggests a radical solution to spare all religious, national and ideological sectors, encouraging everyone to live together as human beings. Despite being brought up in a very nationalistic family, and perhaps for this reason, he did not agree with the theories of his father and grandfather." (Begin's grandson: 'murderous blood flows in Israeli arteries',, 13/2/10)

[*See my 12/6/08 post Pemulwuy in Palestine. **As Irgun leader, Begin was responsible for the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre. As Likud PM (1977-1983), he was responsible for Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the Sabra/Shatila massacre.]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sam Lipski's National Curriculum

"The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensible ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a 'victim' state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood - in particular immunity to criticism, however justified." (Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, 2000, p 3)

Efforts by elements of the Israel lobby to have what they term 'Shoah studies/Holocaust education' included in Australia's new national history curriculum for year 10 have had a measure of success with the appearance in the draft curriculum, of the following unit:

"12. Depth Study 1. The Great War & its aftermath: The significance of WW II, including the Holocaust and use of the atomic bomb. Content elaboration: (1) understanding the social & scientific impact of the war including the nature and effects of the Holocaust; what total war meant for civilians in Asia, Europe & Russia; developments in science & technology (2) examining reasons for the defeat of Germany; discussing the dropping of the A-bombs & the Japanese surrender (3) debating the significance of WW II (eg assessing the 'Good War'); looking at the impact of propaganda; analysing the contribution & change in status of women; study migration away from Europe; comparing the 1945 post war settlement (eg the Marshall Plan with Versailles Peace arrangements; discussing consequences of the Holocaust)"

That Israel lobbyists are more concerned with making pro-Israel hay out of the Holocaust than with its place in history soon becomes apparent, however:

"The inclusion of Holocaust education within the proposed history curriculum was not strictly satisfactory though, with [Robert] Goot [of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)] criticising the decision to incorporate the Shoah as part of a wider unit looking at the aftermath of WW II. 'The conflation of themes, and the attempt to assimilate other large and complex areas of study into the curriculum for teaching the Holocaust, invites confusion and will make what is already a challenging teaching and teacher-training task virtually impossible', he said. 'The formulation of the curriculum concerning the Holocaust needs to be refined'." (Holocaust studies welcomed into new national curriculum, The Australian Jewish News, 5/3/10)

Now, leading Australian Zionist, Pratt Foundation CEO and former AJN editor Sam Lipski has weighed in with his concerns that, even should ECAJ get the kind of refinement they want, this would still not ensure, from the Zionist perspective, the right result:

"While welcoming its inclusion as 'an important step forward', the ECAJ said it was 'disappointing' that the Holocaust was listed within the wider topic of WWII, and 'regrettable' that the draft's focus was on discussing the Holocaust's 'consequences', rather than on what actually happened. Together with Jewish educators and other community stakeholders, the ECAJ will be expressing these concerns during the public consultations. I wish them well... But nobody should have any great expectations. Even if the government planners accept every one of the Jewish community's suggestions - and that's unlikely - there's no way of ensuring that's how the curriculum will be taught in the classroom... given the track record of many Australian teachers on allied subjects such as Israel and the Middle East..." (Shoah studies are not enough, AJN, 9/4/10)

ECAJ's concern about discussing the Holocaust's 'consequences', would, I imagine, relate to any suggestion that Europe somehow sought to assuage its guilt over the Holocaust by acquiescing in Zionism's takeover of Palestine, or, to put it in terms that a year 10 student would surely understand, because the Germans perpetrated the Holocaust against European Jewry, the Palestinians had to pay with the loss of their homeland. You can just see the hands going up: 'Miss, that's not fair!' No, unless the Holocaust is made a stand-alone unit, any such discussion could prove counter-productive from a Zionist perspective. And then you've got Lipski's Zio-centric concern about ensuring how the curriculum will be taught in the classroom... given the track record of many Australian teachers on allied subjects such as Israel and the Middle East.

So what does he propose? Why, the further (even preferred) inclusion in the national curriculum of Zionist foundational mythology no less: "The Passover haggadah* in the history section... and the biblical text from Exodus, Chapters 1-20, in the English section."

Lipski avers that "the Jewish interest, and the wider Australian interest, would be better served if the coming generation of Australian students learnt about Jews and Judaism from 'the exodus master story' rather than from 'the Holocaust master story'." As he explains: "Studying the Holocaust in a Jewish historical vacuum... inevitably means that it will present Jews as uniquely victimised in human history - and only as that. Without also studying who the Jews were, how they began, and what they've had to say about themselves and to the world over 3 millenia, a generation of Australians will gain a misleading picture. Of no benefit to them, and certainly none to the Jews."

[*The Haggadah is a Jewish religious text that sets out the order of the Passover Seder. Reading the Haggadah is a fulfillment of the scriptural commandment to each Jew to 'tell your son' about the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah. (wikipedia)]

Lipski's plaint offers a fascinating insight into the Zionist mindset. On the one hand, while he wouldn't balk at any pro-Israel propaganda dividends accruing from pushing what Finkelstein calls the "specious victimhood" of the Holocaust master story in the national curriculum (the best possible ECAJ refinement), he believes that only the addition of the exodus master narrative would ensure the maximisation of such dividends.

And what exactly is this exodus master narrative alluded to by Lipski? Well, it just so happens that it's the first installment of Zionism's national mythology. The proverbial thin end of the Zionist wedge, so to speak. To quote from the puckish Shlomo Sand, who is to Zionist mythology what Richard Dawkins is to religious mythologies in general:

"For Israelis, specifically those of Jewish origin, such [modern European national] mythologies are far-fetched, whereas their own history rests on firm and precise truths. They know for a certainty that a Jewish nation has been in existence since Moses received the tablets of the law on Mount Sinai, and that they are its direct and exclusive descendants (except for the 10 tribes, who are yet to be located). They are convinced that this nation 'came out' of Egypt; conquered and settled 'the Land of Israel', which had famously been promised it by the deity; created the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon, which then split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They are also convinced that this nation was exiled, not once but twice, after its periods of glory - after the fall of the First Temple in the 6th century BCE, and again after the fall of the Second Temple, in 70 CE. Yet even before that second exile, this unique nation had created the Hebrew Hasmonean kingdom, which revolted against the wicked influence of Hellenization. They believe that these people - their 'nation', which must be the most ancient - wandered in exile for nearly 2,000 years and yet, despite this prolonged stay among the gentiles, managed to avoid integration with, or assimilation into, them. The nation scattered widely, its bitter wanderings taking it to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland, and distant Russia, but it always managed to maintain close blood relations among the far-flung communities and to preseve its distinctiveness. Then, at the end of the 19th century, they contend, rare circumstances combined to wake the ancient people from its long slumber and to prepare it for rejuvenation and for the return to its ancient homeland. And so the nation began to return, joyfully, in vast numbers. Many Israelis still believe that, but for Hitler's horrible massacre, 'Eretz Israel' would soon have been filled with millions of Jews making 'aliyah' by their own free will, because they had dreamed of it for thousands of years. And while the wandering people needed a territory of its own, the empty, virgin land longed for a nation to come and make it bloom. Some uninvited guests had, it is true, settled in this homeland, but since 'the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion' for 2 millenia, the land belonged only to that people, and not to that handful without history who had merely stumbled upon it. Therefore the wars waged by the wandering nation in its conquest of the country were justified; the violent resistance of the local population was criminal; and it was only the (highly unbiblical) charity of the Jews that permitted these strangers to remain and dwell among and beside the nation, which had returned to its biblical language and its wondrous land." (The Invention of the Jewish People, 2009, pp 16-17)

The only thing I can't understand is Lipski's recommendation that Exodus, Chapters 1-20, be included in the English section of the national curriculum. Isn't it supposed to be history?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kafka Lives

I dealt with the 'quality' of justice meted out to occupied Palestinians in 'the Middle East's only democracy' in a 21/7/08 post The 'Motiveless Malignancy' of Samir Quntar. In that post I cited a 2006 report by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, which showed that in Israeli military courts Palestinian defendants received near (97.7%) automatic convictions, 95% in plea bargains.

A further insight into such Kafkaesque matters emerged in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald in the case of Israeli whistleblower, Anat Kam, charged with espionage over the release of classified documents relating to the IOF's policy of 'targeted' assassinations of Palestinian suspects: "'This [case] gives us a rare peek into what is a daily reality in security affairs, most of which pertain, naturally enough, to Arabs: a request by the security establishment is given almost no serious discussion', said an Israeli analyst, Ofer Shelah. He added, 'The magic words 'GSS' [General Security Services] and 'state security' are enough for the judge to say Amen'." (Israeli reporter 'stole' 2200 secret files, Jason Koutsoukis)

Friday, April 9, 2010

High in the Sky Hopes

"The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before, Israel's interest in a peace process - other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo - has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon, is 'to sear deep into the consciousness of the Palestinians that they are a defeated people'." (The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam, Henry Siegman, LRB, 16/8/07)

This diplomatic scam of scams continues:

"Barack Obama is 'seriously considering' proposing a US peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to 2 top administration officials. 'Everyone knows the basic outlines of a peace deal', said one of the senior officials, citing the agreement that was nearly reached at Camp David in 2000. He said a US plan, if launched, would build upon past progress on such issues as borders, the 'right of return' for Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem. The second senior official said, '90% of the map would look the same' as what had been agreed in previous bargaining. The US peace plan would be linked with the issue of confronting Iran, Israel's top priority, explained the second senior official. He described the issues as 2 halves of a single strategic problem: 'We want to get the debate away from settlements and East Jerusalem and take it to a 30,000ft level that can involve Jordan, Syria and other countries in the region' as well as the Israelis and Palestinians." (Obama's latest Middle East peace plan a case of back to the future, David Ignatius/Washington Post Writers Group, The Australian, 9/4/10)

Away from settlements and East Jerusalem, 30,000ft up in the air?

Yeah, right.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Crying (Lone) Wolf

"Near Eleusis, in Attica, there lurked a bandit named Damastes, called Procrustes, or 'The Stretcher'. He had an iron bed in which travelers who fell into his hands were compelled to spend the night. His humour was to stretch the ones who were too short until they died, or, if they were too tall, to cut off as much of their limbs as would make them short enough. None could resist him, and the surrounding countryside became a desert." (

The procrusteans of today's counterterrorism industry (and their journalist stenographers), have been giving Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood murderer, a going over:

"While the hunt for bin Laden and his henchmen remains a focus of counterintelligence efforts abroad and in Pakistan particularly, US officials understand that the al-Qaeda threat has long since mutated from a bin Laden-centric attack strategy into a hierarchy of threat levels, external and increasingly internal. 'One of the phenomena that our counterintelligence people face now is that they have to worry about the big threat of a mass casualty attack along the lines of a repeat of [sic] 9/11... and also the extreme other end, which is the lone fanatic converted by the internet', says a former CIA officer and White House adviser, Bruce Riedel. 'The latter is someone who, at most, is peripherally linked to any kind of foreign terrorist organisation, like Major [Nidal Malik] Hasan at Fort Hood, but who can still be quite deadly'. The jihadi landscape reveals several degrees of al-Qaeda affiliation, says Lydia Khalil, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations. The original leadership has passed a baton to regional subsidiaries, often coopting the nationalist struggles of disaffected local groups. Then there are 'associated free agents' who choose to commandeer al-Qaeda's rhetoric and cause, Khalil says. 'Next, there are groups of entrepreneurial jihadists: radicals from outside conflict zones who nurse simmering grievances and conceive small-bore plots, rather than attempting spectacular attacks... And then come the 'lone wolves'. Nidal Hasan has been charged with opening fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, last November, killing 13. Paul Pillar, a US intelligence veteran, says: 'They are people who are inspired at least in part by the sort of ideological framework that bin Laden represents and has propounded. They are motivated at least as much by anger over specific policies and events and conflicts, but they are not sent or directed to conduct operations by al-Qaeda central'." (Osama who?: Capturing or killing the al-Qaeda leader has become less important in America's war against terrorism, Simon Mann, Sydney Morning Herald, 2-4/4/10)

So Major Nidal Hasan is your typical lone fanatic/wolf, right? Wrong. Even the procrusteans above seem to feel the need to qualify their representation of him as a jihadi of the lone wolf variety, deploying such caveats as peripherally linked and inspired at least in part.

It has fallen to author* Mark Ames to blow the whistle on those who would cry (lone) wolf over Major Hasan. Here are the opening paragraphs of his salutary essay, The memory scrub about why Ft Hood happened is almost complete... If it weren't for archives (, 24/11/09):

"What happened to all the initial reports that accused Fort Hood killer Maj. Nidal Hasan of having snapped because he was distraught over the Army's refusal to grant him either a discharge or an exemption from being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, wars which the Muslim psychiatrist abhorred - and how it was this callous Army refusal to accomodate Maj. Hasan that led to his downward spiral into despondency, rage and mass murder? We heard quite a bit about this in the first couple of days, and then - poof! That part of the Fort Hood story disappeared so neatly that I almost started to wonder if I'd imagined it - such is the power of media bombardment versus a mere soap bubble like the human memory. I might have forgotten too and gone along with the reality-scrub, the way all of Official America has gone, but thanks to all the news archives, it was possible to check the record as it was first reported on November 5, and trace how a key part of the Nidal Hasan story was airbrushed away from reality.

"The Army's pig-headed failure to accomodate Maj. Hasan was, for a time, the most important - and most damaging - detail for understanding his shooting rampage. Because if Maj. Hasan tried to get out of his deployment, and if he telegraphed every warning signal possible (emailing terrorists, cruising 7-11s in his Al-Qaeda costume) to bolster his case to reverse his deployment orders, and all the while the Army bureaucracy ignored him despite his 20 years' service - then that means the massacre can't be blamed just on one crazy Islamofascist's inner evil. Instead, much of the blame for driving Maj. Hasan to crack would fall on his superiors in the Army, who held his fate in their hands. They could have shown some flexibility, but instead treated him with the kind of callous bureaucratic insolence and nasty ethnic harassment you'd expect to find in a 19th century army, not 21st century America. If the Army really did fail to respond to a million-billion signals from Maj. Hasan, then it means we'd have to investigate more than just his evil little Muslim soul. We'd also have to look at the environment that changed him from a good loyal soldier into a cracked lunatic. That would mean examining just how screwed up the Army culture really is, how poorly it manages its resources and personnel, and why we went so long without knowing how bad things were...

"We'd also have to examine the link between Hasan's rampage and the Army's record number of suicides this year - which so far nearly equals the total number of US combat deaths in Iraq. A lot of this year's suicides involve Army personnel which hadn't yet shipped out to the war zones, like Maj. Hasan - a grim statistic that belies the chickenhawks' screeching attacks denying the existence of pre-combat stress syndrome. But the problem with investigating questions like these is that the answers could be one giant bummer - nothing makes an American's brain switch into 'hibernate' mode more quickly. The point being that as the horror of the Fort Hood massacre started to emerge, a lot of people were interested in superimposing a more comforting, simplistic version of events over the anbiguous, demoralizing reality. According to the new version of what led to the Fort Hood massacre, all along Maj. Hasan was a sleeper-jihadist moled up inside the Army structure, patiently waiting for his Al-Qaeda handlers in AfPak to give him the jihadi signal - and in the meantime, the Islamofascist sleeper cell ran around Walter Reed scaring the shit out of his Army colleagues for 2 years straight with his frothing lectures threatening to behead Infidels and pour hot oil down their necks."

[*Going Postal: Rage, Murder & Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine & Beyond, 2005]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Israeli Settlements: No Thanks

What the Australian public thinks of Israeli settlements - from the Sydney Morning Herald's online poll Have Your Say:

Date: 2-4/4/10
Respondents: 1,382
Question: Do you support Barack Obama's stand against Israel's construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories?
Yes: 73.9%
No: 8.2%
Don't Know: 17.9%

Support for Israel may be in the Prime Minister's DNA, but almost three-quarters of Herald respondents have not been similarly genetically altered.

If, on the other hand, you read Murdoch's Australian and its recycled Wall Street Journal propaganda pieces, you may have encountered the following: "Pop quiz: What does more to galvanise radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video?" (Islamists' real target is seriously Gaga, Bret Stephens, 5/4/10)

If, like those Herald respondents above, you answered (a), Bret reckons "you are perfectly in synch with the new Beltway conventional wisdom, now jointly defined by Pat Buchanan and his strange bedfellows within the Obama administration," which is his way of telling you you're a right dickhead. If, however, you answered (b), Bret reckons "you probably have a grasp of the historical roots of modern jihadism," which means he thinks you're pretty cool because, like him, you know that it's really Western tits and bums that get your jihadis going, not Israeli settlements.

Always a better class of polling in the Murdoch press.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter in Jerusalem

Imagine the following scenario in Sydney this Easter: The government has blocked all entry points to Sydney's CBD and only those Catholics issued with permits to access St Mary's Cathedral are allowed through. Thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed in the area and have assaulted some of the worshipers seeking entry to the Cathedral.

Impossible to imagine? Substitute Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem for Sydney's CBD and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for St Mary's Cathedral and you've got Easter in Jerusalem this year.

Welcome to Jerusalem, the Eternal, United, Undivided Capital of Israel.

Typically, none of this was reported in the Australian corporate media.* Nor, I venture to add, in hope of contradiction, did any of our church leaders say a word about it. And our politicians? Forget it. But what of those who parade their 'Christian' credentials? Sorry, they appear to be all Christian Zionists these days.

Remember the dhimmi, beloved ideological weapon of Zionist propagandists and Islamophobes?

The dhimmi (an Arabic word meaning a free, non-Muslim subject living in a Muslim country) is the allegedly persecuted non-Muslim (Christian or Jewish) community living under the yoke of Muslim despotism. Dhimmis, so the story goes, having suffered the great misfortune to have once been conquered by Muslims, have been living ever since without any legal rights as second-class non-citizens in Muslim states.

How ironic then, in light of this construct, to hear Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem this Easter railing that "all of the people have the right to access their holy site without harassment, to practice their traditions that have been performed for hundreds of years without any obstacles. The Jerusalem Patriarchate announces its total rejection of all procedures that prevent followers and those of other denominations from reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during Good Friday and Holy Fire Saturday." (Tensions high as Christians flock to Jerusalem, Ma'an News Agency, 3/4/10)

But what would the Greek Orthodox Patriarch really know? Surely Palestinian Christians are faring better under Jerusalem's current Jewish rulers than ever they were under the grinding heel of the Muslim Arab or his successor the Muslim Turk?

But what if those days under Arab and Turkish 'tyranny' were, in hindsight, The Good Old Days?

Here's the first British Governor of Jerusalem (1918-1926), Sir Ronald Storrs, writing about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the time of its passing into British hands:

"The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was for some time guarded by British, French and Italian sentries, and was Out of Bounds to the soldiers who had fought to free it from Ottoman rule. This rule, here at least not oppressive, had been represented within by an hereditary Moslem guardian, a dignified figure in turban and quftan, whose ancestor had been appointed to the place by Omar, the conqueror of Palestine in the 7th century. Strong suggestions were made to me by undenominational Christians that this Moslem ward over the holiest place in Christendom was an outrage, which no Christian Governor should tolerate. Few of these critics had ever entered the Holy Sepulchre (or indeed any other church): none had paused to consider what manner of Christian would have proved an acceptable candidate for the post. The Orthodox community would never have tolerated a Roman Catholic; nor a Roman an Orthodox or an Anglican - even if the Anglican Church had possessed, or aspired to 'rights' in the Sepulchre. Neither could have endured a Protestant - assuming that any Protestant would have consented to act. The Shaikh did his work well, maintaining the Status Quo and public order as long as he could, and on occasion calling on the police. I will go so far as to say that he was the one functionary, military, civil or religious, from High Commissioner to municipal scavenger, against whom throughout my 9 years in Jerusalem I never heard a complaint." (Orientations, 1939, p 308)

[*As usual, far from the action, Fairfax's Middle East correspondent, Jason Koutsoukis, was busy chronicling the ravings of a Romanian tourist cavorting in the polluted waters of the Jordan River: "'This is the water that Jesus was washed in', he said. 'This water belongs to God. Why would God want to make anyone sick with this holy water?' Watching a euphoric Mr Ferraro splash around the River Jordan as if it was his bathtub, few could doubt his sincerity. But when he started gargling the muddy concoction, some might reasonably have questioned his mental health." (There's nothing like a dunking in dirty water, Sydney Morning Herald, 2-4/4/10)]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

SBS Frames Palestinians

Did you notice how SBS World News' 6:30 bulletin framed the Palestinians last night? The item, US urges Gaza restraint, began with newsreader Lee Lin Chin (of the hedgehog hair and outlandish clothes) intoning, "Leaders of the Hamas militant group which controls the Gaza Strip say they're working to curb rocket attacks against Israel by smaller factions," and ended with her declaring, quite gratuitously, "Nearly 20 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past month." Which, if you think about it, is part of the larger Palestinians attack, Israelis respond frame. Which, in turn, is part of the even larger Palestinians are perpetrators and Israelis are victims frame.

Nor was the body of the report, a little BBC number by correspondent Tim Franks, any better.

Despite Palestinians being shot at, murdered and wounded on a near daily basis in the Gaza Strip, Franks had the gall to say that "over the past year it's been a relatively rare sight but once again Palestinian hospitals were taking in the wounded, in this case 3 children with minor injuries."

This was followed by a round of Israel Says: "Israel says it's not the one provoking violence. Last week 2 Israeli soldiers died along with 2 Palestinian gunmen after the Israeli army staged a brief incursion into Gaza. The army said it was pursuing Palestinian militants who were attempting to lay bombs along the border. The week before a missile hit this farm inside Israel killing a worker."

Finally, we had Israeli Army PR flak Lt Col Avital Leibovich (Blonde? But of course!) singing that hoary old Israeli number It's Raining Rockets: "If the situation in Israel will be quiet, it will also be quiet in the Gaza Strip. If we will continue to face this war zone, this rain of rockets from the Gaza Strip... then Gaza will not be quiet."

The only fleeting insight into what the Israelis have been up to inside Gaza these days came in that bit about the Israeli army staging a brief incursion into Gaza.

Let's look at the record for the period 1/3/10-1/4/10, shall we? The following data has been abstracted from the Farming Under Fire blog:

1/3/10: Israeli troops shell northern Gaza Strip, fire on Palestinian and ISM demonstrators, and shell Palestinian resistance fighters with 4 flechettes, killing 1 and wounding 1.
3/3/10: Israeli army penetrates northern Gaza Strip and levels land previously razed.
4/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinian houses in northern Gaza Strip.
5/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinians collecting bricks in northern Gaza Strip.
11/3/10: Israeli warplanes bomb village near Egyptian border.
12/3/10: Israeli troops penetrate northern Gaza Strip and level land already razed. Israeli troops fire on Palestinians collecting bricks.
16/3/10: Israeli troops fire into air to disperse peaceful protest over Israel's establishment of a 300-metre wide 'buffer zone' on Gazan side of border.
17/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinians protesting 'buffer zone'.
18/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinians protesting 'buffer zone'. (Thai worker in Israel killed by Palestinian rocket.)
19/3/10: Israeli warplanes bomb Khan Yunis farm and rocket ruins of Gaza International Airport, wounding 13 Palestinians collecting aggregate.
20/3/10: Israeli army penetrates northern Gaza Strip and abducts 17 Palestinians collecting aggregate from ruined site.
22/3/10: Israeli warplane rockets Rafah tunnel. Israeli troops fire on Palestinians collecting bricks in northern Gaza Strip. Israeli troops wound Palestinian in central Gaza. Israeli warplane rockets Gaza City, damaging houses and wounding 8 Palestinians with glass shards.
23/3/10: Israeli army penetrates northern Gaza Strip and levels land.
24/3/10: Israeli troops penetrate Gaza Strip and abduct 5 Palestinians collecting construction materials.
25/3/10: Israeli troops wound 2 Palestinians collecting aggregate near Khan Yunis.
26/3/10: Israeli army penetrates Gaza Strip near Khan Yunis accompanied by tanks and warplanes, killing 4 Palestinians and wounding 8. (This was the BBC's aforementioned brief incursion resulting in the deaths of 2 Israeli soldiers.)
27/3/10: Israeli army demolish house and raze land.
28-29/3/10: Israeli army levels land previously razed.
30/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinians commemorating Land Day, wounding 4.
31/3/10: Israeli troops fire on Palestinians collecting aggregate. Israeli army penetrates Gaza Strip near Khan Yunis and levels land already razed.
1/4/10: Israeli air raids (13) wound 3 Palestinians in Gaza City. Israeli navy shells Palestinian fisherman. Israeli tanks shell northern Gaza Strip.

Had SBS News presented a more balanced report, hedgehog hair's 2nd bookend might have looked more like this: Nearly 20 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past month, resulting in the death of a foreign worker. The Palestinians, for their part, have been shelled, bombed, rocketed and fired on by Israeli forces at least 22 times in the same period, with 5 killed and 30 wounded. Furthermore, the Gaza Strip has endured 6 Israeli incursions, resulting in 22 Palestinians being abducted and the destruction of much property and agricultural land.

Friday, April 2, 2010

McGeough's Good, But...

Paul McGeough, one of Fairfax's Middle East correspondents and author of Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit... & the Rise of Hamas, is no hack, let alone a Zionist propagandist in journalist's clothing - which accounts for his relative absence in this blog, largely devoted to exposing the latter.

In a recent interview, for example, McGeough neatly revealed his awareness of just how dodgy the Zionist narrative is:

7.When was the first time you changed your mind on something important? 1978: On a flight in North Africa I sat next to the first Palestinian I had met to be advised that Leon Uris left some significant elements of the Middle East Crisis out of Exodus. (Storm chaser: 20 questions)

However, I must say that a few things in his feature, Israel's nightmare scenario in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, irritated me profoundly.

In particular, the title. To put it in context, here's the relevant paragraph: "Palestinian minds have already turned to a calculatedly provocative alternative - collapsing the entire institutional facade of the Palestinian Authority and instead, to campaign for Israel's demographic nightmare of a bi-national state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In such a state the fast-growing Palestinian population would become the majority - ending Israel's right to claim itself as a Jewish state and, in the absence of citizenship rights for all, smashing its claim to be a democracy."

Why is it a nightmare for Israel to become a normal country, that is, a state for all its people, indigenous and non-indigenous, Muslim, Christian and Jew? Would McGeough have described the prospect of black majority rule in South Africa as a nightmare in the days when South Africa was still a state ruled by a white minority regime? Surely, if anyone in Palestine/Israel today (or for the past 62 years) can be described as suffering from nightmares or a nightmare scenario, it is the Palestinians.

And that expression calculatedly provocative. Are Palestinians being provocative in imagining that what had, until 1948, been theirs will once again be theirs? Is their acknowledging the reality of demographic projections being calculatedly provocative? Should they adopt a one-child policy to avoid being seen as provocative? Should their children perhaps be seen not as children but as calculated provocations?

And why does McGeough lapse into Zionist terminology and false equivalence when he writes that "Extremists on both sides - Hamas among the Palestinians and the fundamentalist settler movement in Israel - have laid claim to the land from 'the river to the sea', but each claiming that it be controlled by their side"?

Is it extreme for a dispossessed and occupied people to want to return to the homeland from which they were expelled, and to take up arms in an attempt to do so, but somehow moderate for a colonial-settler movement - and here I'm referring to the Zionist project in all its manifestations, not just its latest fundamentalist settler incarnation - to engage in 'redeeming' a land from its original owners? Far from being extreme, I would have thought that indigenous resistance to such an extremist movement was not only rational but necessary.

And as for fundamentalist Israeli settlers wanting it all, isn't McGeough aware that the ruling Likud Party itself rejects the idea of a Palestinian state, by way of claiming all of Palestine from the river to the sea?

NB: For those interested, an excellent critique of McGeough on Iraq is Alex Miller's Paul McGeough: sustaining the big lie,, 17/11/03

Murdoch's Arab Mates

"Any doubts that Rupert Murdoch has a god complex have been dispelled. Murdoch and his wife ,Wendi, have celebrated the baptism of their daughters Grace 8, and Chloe, 6, at what some reports say is believed to be the baptism site of Jesus Christ beside the River Jordan. Hello! magazine devoted 18 pages to the event, which was hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were named as godparents..." (A big day for Grace & Chloe, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/4/10)

"Murdoch's newspapers and television stations have misrepresented and distorted news from the Middle East for decades. Yet here he is in Abu Dhabi being cossetted and flattered by Arab princes and businessmen, people who want to make money with or from him. They are Rupert's kind of Arabs. Like him they have no conscience. What they have in common is money and power. Murdoch already has extensive connections with the Saudis, especially with Prince Al Walid bin Talal, who owns 7% of News Corporation stock (& is therefore the largest single invester outside individual members of the Murdoch family). In return Murdoch has bought a 9.9% stake ($70 million) in Talal's Rotana media group: while in Abu Dhabi he announced a further deal, between Fox International Channels and the local twofour54 company in what was called 'a creative content initiative'.

"Herein lies the fatal weakness of the Arab world. The fundamental problem is not just Israel and the 'west'. It is certainly not the man and woman on the street. From Morocco to the Gulf they support the Palestinians wholeheartedly. The central problem is the lack of will and principle in the Arab state system, and underneath this, the lack of democracy. Almost all of the 'leaders' who speak for the Arabs on the world stage are unrepresentative, either because they have no elections or because they debauch the electoral process. They are the guardians of 'western' interests, not the interests and aspirations of their own people. Proper democratic processes would result in the election of governments that would give active support to the Palestinians. There would be no wall between Egypt and Gaza and there would be no negotiations or backdoor trade with Israel as long as it occupies and colonises Arab land. There would be no deals with a man whose media abuses the Arabs and supports their enemy. In the real world of international diplomacy states usually use their resources to achieve diplomatic and strategic ends. Only the Arab states (especially the Gulf States) give theirs away for nothing. While the people of the West Bank and Gaza are struggling to hold their ground, while their friends and supporters around the world rally and campaign for them, they are let down at every turn by their Arab 'brothers' holding positions of power and influence." (Murdoch's kind of Arabs: Sleeping with the enemy, Jeremy Salt, The Palestine Chronicle, 16/3/10)