Monday, December 31, 2012

Deploying the 'S' Word

You may have noticed several reports in the press recently on the subject of a move by The Greens to revise their policies with a view to avoid giving a free serve to their enemies in politics and the media. Although not directly related to the issue of BDS, it was really only a matter of time before media commentary on the matter fingered Greens support for the Palestinians as problematic.

The following introductory paragraphs to an opinion piece published in today's Age are apparently the first such instance. Its author, Nicholas Reece, is a former Labor apparatchik turned academic ("public policy fellow at Melbourne University's Centre for Public Policy"):

"The Greens party is at another crossroads. Will it reach its ambition of being the major left party in Australian politics, the new Australian Labor Party, or will it wither and follow the path of the old Australian Democrats? On the face of it, the Greens move to discard or reclassify many of their most contentious policies is a sensible one. Leaving the merits of the policy positions to one side, the campaign benefits appear significant. On campaign defence, it makes the Greens a smaller target to critics and helps avoid distracting attacks during a federal election year. In recent state byelections and the ACT general election, the Greens have been subject to significant attack over plans to freeze funding for private schools, including Catholic schools. In the NSW state election, a campaign was run against some of the more strident anti-Israel positions of the Greens. For the media, these are easy stories to write. For the ALP and Liberals, it makes for easy campaigning on the ground." (Greens see the campaign light at the political crossroads)

Leaving aside the question of whether Reece, who, as state secretary of the Victorian ALP, presided over the defeat of Victoria's last state Labor government, is really best equipped to opine on the Greens' search for electorally sustainable policies, my interest here goes solely to his use of those telling words "some of the more strident anti-Israel positions of the Greens."

He seems to be implying that any position critical of Israel, its ideological underpinnings, policies or behaviour, is ipso facto "strident" to one degree or another, 'strident' suggesting that the critic is at worst unhinged, and at best irrational, and that their views can therefore be safely disregarded.

(In citing the example of the last NSW state election, Reece is of course referring to Marrickville Council's attempt to incorporate the Palestinian BDS strategy in its praxis, and the bid by its Greens mayor, Fiona Byrne, to enter state politics, a move which triggered a strident, indeed hysterical, campaign by the Zionist lobby's media outlet, Murdoch's Australian.)

And so, simply by deploying the perjorative 's' word, a perfectly reasonable, non-violent strategy to help right the glaring wrongs - military occupation, apartheid, and enforced exile - inflicted by an aggressive ethnographic colonial-settler state on an essentially defenceless people is misrepresented  as being somehow too extreme and out there for popular consumption.

It goes without saying that this kind of distortion says more about the lazy, morally dubious Zionised culture of the ALP leadership, with its reflexive and nonsensical blather about Australia's "historic friendship with Israel" (to use Gillard's latest verbalisation), than it does about those within The Greens who have the moral fibre to publicly support Palestinian rights.

In a post at titled Should the Party stand for anything at all? Labor Party reformer Ben Aveling neatly sums up the party's parliamentary performers and machine men:

"Our grandees of 2012 represent no particular power base except the power that comes from being in government. Like a spaceship, they have no external support, no external constraints, no traction, inertia but not direction, and no external feedback. Our nomenklatura have little to no 'real world' experience. Too many have never worked anywhere else, are from political dynasties, and lack social peers outside the nomenklatura. They hear nothing that challenges their views. They mistake recycled prejudice for universally accepted wisdom. With no external contact, losing touch becomes inevitable." (15/7/12)

In describing the Labor nomenklatura, who hear nothing that challenges their views and who mistake recycled prejudice for universally accepted wisdom, Aveling could well have had Nicholas Reece in mind.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Union Frodos Brave Mordor Rockets

Another rambamming before 2012 ends? But of course:

A 16-strong Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) "nine-day, fact-finding mission," organised by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), "met [in November] with chairman of the Israeli-Australian Parliamentary Association Yitzhak 'Buji' Herzog, as well as with IDF and trade union officials. They also visited Sderot and Beersheva and spoke with Jews, Arab Israelis and Palestinians in their work places." (Unionists brave rockets, The Australian Jewish News, 14/12/12)

... and Palestinians in their workplaces?

Ah, so our missionaries must have come face to face with the consequences of an Israeli occupation, which, according to the World Bank, "sets obstacles that 'constrain investment, raise costs and hinder economic cohesion" and has led to 19% unemployment among West Bank Palestinians? (Stifled West Bank economy drains Palestinians' hopes, Yolanda Knell, BBC News, 16/10/12)

As if! Such obstacles as the Palestinian economy-killing West Bank wall and Israeli checkpoints of all shapes and sizes were nowhere to be found.

Search as they may, our intrepid union Frodos could find only one obstacle to Palestinian economic growth:

"At a factory in the West Bank, they met Palestinian workers vehemently opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement... Workers said West Bank boycotts had driven out some international companies, triggering unemployment." (Unionists brave...)

Thank God our Frodos were there to bear witness to the injustice of it all:

"Secretary of the Shop Distributive & Allied Employees' Association, Newcastle branch, Barbara Nebart said... 'It was good to speak to Palestinian workers because it pressed home to me that the average Palestinian person is someone who wants peace, who wants a decent living, a good education for their children, and wants to live in harmony, but they just aren't going to be able to do that while they've got the leaders that they do.'" (Unionists brave...)

And Shoppie Barb knows what she's talking about here because those Palestinian 'leaders' who want war, an indecent living, and a bad education for their children were doing their darndest to spoil the fun:

"Assistant secretary of the ACTU Michael Borowick, who is convenor of Trade Unions for Israel, said the visitors had just left Jerusalem when an air-raid siren sounded. 'The bus pulled over and we were expecting to get out and lie on the road, but an all-clear came through so we proceeded along our way... Ten minutes after we left Rishon Le Zion, a rocket hit and an 18-year-old man was killed,' he said." (Unionists brave...)

But, hey, the "mission" wasn't just about solidarity forever with valiant, BDS-defying Palestinian factory workers. No, our union Frodos also got a glimpse into the living hell forced on the good people of Israel by the rocket-wielding Saurons of Mordor.

As Shoppie Barb said:

"[V]isiting Israel during the conflict 'gave me the smallest sliver of an idea of what these people live with. The little unease I felt is nothing compared to what these people live with on a day-to-day basis.'" (Unionists brave...)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zionist Indoctrination

Of course, the following incident is a mere blip in the now 64-year-old Zionist campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine:

"A 15-year-old Arab boy was assaulted on Haim Bar-Lev Street in Jerusalem Monday evening. The police suspect he was attacked by several ultra-Orthodox youths. The boy sustained a head injury and was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. He is said to be in moderate condition... The assault is the latest in a wave of racist attacks disrupting Jerusalem over the past few months. In recent weeks, two Arab men... were the victims of hate crimes. Both suffered moderate wounds." (Hate crime? Arab teen attacked in J'lem, Noam Dvir,, 24/12/12)

But how revealing of the Zionist mindset are the first two comments on the thread which follows this Israeli report.

The first, from 'Sarah B, USA/Israel', reads:

"What are they doing in Jerusalem? What's wrong with Ramallah?"

Think about it. Here we have an American Jew, Sarah B, enabled by Israel's apartheid Law of Return (Jewish mum? No worries!) to claim not one but two homes - USA/Israel - laying down the law as to which part of Palestine an indigenous Palestinian should be living in.

The second is from 'Vlad', provenance unstated, but I'd guess Transylvania, wouldn't you? This guy's not only a cut above Sarah B ideologically but ever so witty into the bargain:

"Sarah, I hear Amman is even better than Ramallah."

Here's Transylvanian Vlad, channelling the spirit of the late American-Israeli Rabbi Meir (They Must Go!) Kahane, cracking a funny over expelling indigenous Palestinians to Jordan.

What can one say? There but for Zionist, or some other form of vile racist indoctrination, go you or I.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Keeping It Real

"Celebrated [Australian] playwright and screenwriter" Andrew Bovell on settler-colonialism:

"You can't get away from the fact that there are still two ways of seeing the past... those who regard European history as a process of benign white settlement and development, and those at the other end of the scale who regard it as an act of brutal occupation. Somewhere between those two paradigms, those two poles, one imagines the truth lies." (Quoted in Blood on the banks, Rosemary Neill, The Australian, 22/12/12)

So European settler-colonialism in Australia (or anywhere else for that matter) was sort of benign and sort of brutal? Really?

Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary doesn't have an entry for settler-colonialism but his definition of 'aborigines' says it all:

"Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize."

No, there's nothing 'sort of' about ceasing to cumber or fertilizing, Andrew. Nothing at all. It's just plain bloody brutal.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Straightening Out' the National History Curriculum

They can't get the story straight today:

"When Khaled Meshal arrived in Gaza a couple of weeks ago and made a speech to that effect, he insisted: 'We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews. We fight the Zionist occupiers and aggressors. And we will fight anyone who tries to occupy our lands or attacks us.' The British Observer mistranslated his speech as: 'We don't kill Jews because they are Jews. We kill the Zionists because they are conquerors and we will continue to kill anyone who takes our land and our holy places.' While the Observer would later run a correction after the tireless Ali Abunimah exposed the doctored quotes, its mistranslation was in line with Zionist propaganda." (Zionism, anti-Semitism & colonialism, Joseph Massad,, 24/12/12)

And they couldn't get it straight back in 1919:

"President Wilson was absent from the [Paris Peace] Conference and in the United States during February 14-March 14, 1919. Following a meeting with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Louis Marshall, on March 3, he was quoted as having declared that 'the Allied Nations with the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth'... The statement was cited in a number of papers in the Near East and, on April 13, at the suggestion of Professor Westermann, Secretary of State Lansing inquired of the President whether he had been correctly quoted. President Wilson replied on April 16 saying that he had not used any of the words quoted, although he had used their substance. He remarked, however, that the expression 'foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth' went 'a little further' than his idea at the time. All he had meant to do was 'to corroborate our expressed acquiescence in the position of the British Government with regard to the future of Palestine' - ie to reindorse the Balfour Declaration." (The King-Crane Commission: An American Inquiry into the Middle East, Harry N. Howard, 1963, p 31)

But their help in straightening out our draft national history curriculum is most welcome:

"The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has cautiously welcomed the final versions of the federal government's National Education Curriculum for ancient and modern history in years 11 & 12. ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim said the final versions were a 'significant improvement' on draft versions released earlier this year... Wertheim also commented that the final document for the modern history elective, The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East, was a 'much better quality document' than its draft, following ECAJ submissions to correct 'factual errors and tendentious language'.* A spokesman for ACARA said: 'ACARA consulted extensively with the Australian Jewish community. We welcome the input of the ECAJ as well as all stakeholders in the development of the National Curriculum.' Implementation of the history curricula by the states and territories will begin next year." (Curriculum changes welcomed, The Australian Jewish News, 21/12/12)

I've checked ACARA's website but we, the people, unlike Mr Wertheim, are not yet able to view the final version of the senior modern history curriculum.

[*For my analysis of Wertheim's submission, see my series Zionising the Draft Modern History Curriculum (2/8/12-26/8/12)]

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Elephant in Robert Caro's Room

If you thought Jesus was the only man who ever walked on water, think again. According to rambammed Herald hack Paul Sheehan, so can Robert Caro:

"If this is the time when people sit back and relax and, hopefully, even read, spare a thought for the greatest biography ever written, a commanding work of research, insight and narrative power which sheds light on why, on both sides of the Pacific and both sides of the Atlantic, politics is currently at such a low ebb and debt is at such a high tide. The Passage of Power, by Robert Caro, the 4th volume of a 3000-page masterpiece collectively called The Years of Lyndon Johnson, was released this year and such is its command of the workings of politics that it illuminates why America is on the brink of what has become known as 'the fiscal cliff'. Reading the greatest political biography ever written unlocks the labyrinth of congressional politics, the bias towards stasis, the in-built self-interests, the regional jealousies, the personal fiefdoms and the immense power of the special interest lobbies... Caro... has produced the most sweeping historical tour de force since Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, first published in 6 volumes between 1776 to 1778. It took Gibbon 22 years to write his 3000 pages. It has taken Caro 38 years and he is not finished. He has worked on this project since 1974, the year after Johnson died. Caro was a young journalist when he embarked on this. He is now 77, and still... working on volume 5... The virtuosity of Caro's narrative is driven by the depth and breadth of his research." (In assassination's aftermath, a real political master emerged, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/12/12)

Meanwhile, over at the Herald's opposite number, journalist Troy Bramston, in his survey of our politician's alleged summer reading, is similarly smitten:

"To my mind, the best book this year was [Robert] Caro's magisterial penultimate volume on Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power. To understand political power, how to secure it and how it can ultimately be used for good purpose, this book is indispensible [sic]." (Apparently, according to Bramston, Caro's latest is on Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's reading list.) (Summer reading speaks volumes, The Australian, 24/12/12)

As for Foreign Minister Bob Carr, he reckons only a mug would give Caro a miss:

"I can't think of anyone who would not want to see these volumes on his or her shelf." (Thoughtlines with Bob Carr, 7/11/11)

Awesome, eh?

Now if I may digress a little, it was under President Johnson (1963-1969) that US foreign policy took an interesting new turn, as Stephen Green makes abundantly clear in Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel 1948/1967 (1984):

"A US policy that helped, or at least permitted, Israel to build atomic devices from enriched uranium stolen in the United States appears implausible until one examines other strange dimensions in US-Israeli relations in the mid-1960s. Between 1964 and 1967, the Johnson administration found the parameters of US public support for Israel's security and territorial integrity to be too confining, and a new, unprecedented, covert military-security relationship was forged, of which the assistance to Israel's nuclear weapons program was only one aspect. In a period in which the Johnson White House was becoming increasingly obsessed with the war in Vietnam, Israel's military leaders offered to impose stability upon the peoples and countries of the Middle East - it was to be a 'Pax Hebraica'. There were, of course, costs involved for America. The United States would have to take the initial steps toward becoming what 3 previous Presidents had said we would never be - Israel's major arms supplier. We would also at least temporarily forfeit our role as primary mediator of the multifaceted Arab-Israeli dispute. The new arrangement would necessitate throwing our long-standing nuclear nonproliferation policy to the winds, the 1968 treaty to the contrary notwithstanding. Perhaps most important, US national security interests in the region would become merged with Israel's to a degree that was, and is to this day, unique in the history of US foreign relations. Inevitably, this new relationship would involve the US directly - operationally - in the Six Day War of 1967." (p 180)

And yet, amazingly for a journalist/historian who says his interest in LBJ has more to do with the subject of how political power is wielded in the US than the man himself, and whose coverage of LBJ's every move is supposed to be nothing less than exhaustive, Caro seems to have omitted all mention, in his earlier Master of the Senate, volume 3 in the series, of a letter Johnson wrote to Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles during the Suez Crisis of 1956-7, an intervention which strongly suggests that, to pinch Mitt Romney's expression, Johnson had Israel's back - even in the 50s. The letter was published in The New York Times of February 20, 1957:

"Following is the text of a letter by Lyndon B. Johnson, Senate majority leader, to John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, urging that the United States oppose imposition of economic sanctions against Israel by the United Nations. The letter was endorsed by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee:

"'My Dear Mr Secretary: I feel that I should tell you, most frankly, how disturbed I have been by recent stories in the press, which stories have appeared under the bylines of most reputable correspondents, that serious consideration is being given in the General Assembly of the United Nations to imposing economic sanctions against the State of Israel. The purpose of these sanctions would, or so it appears to me, be a most unwise move. It seems to me that this is so irrespective of whatever points of view one may take toward the various resolutions of the Assembly which have called for such withdrawals.

"To put it simply, the United Nations cannot apply one rule for the strong and another for the weak; it cannot organize its economic weight against the little state when it has not made previously even a pretense of doing so against the large states. I have, Mr Secretary, seen no suggestions in the United Nations of the application of economic sanctions against the U.S.S.R. Israel has in very large part complied with the directives of the United Nations. Russia has not even pretended to be polite.

"I have, as you know, been urging during the discussion on the Middle East a determined effort by the United Nations and the United States to go to the root causes of the troubles in the Middle East. One of these causes has been the hostile activity against Israel on the part of Egypt from the Gaza Strip and the threat of activity in the Gulf of Aqaba. I think you will agree that it is not utterly unreasonable for Israel to request guarantees by the United Nations that these attacks against her will not once more be prevalent, once she has withdrawn her troops from these two areas. Yet, I have seen no suggestion in the United Nations that economic sanctions should be applied against Egypt to force that state to agree to permanent cessation of hostile activities from those areas.

"There is always a tendency to oversimplify a most complicated issue when one writes such a letter as this and it is my hope that you will not think that this protest is made without some awareness of the complexities. These, however, cannot be stated in the space of this letter, nor should they be.

"But the merits, the justice and the morality in this situation are clear against such imposition of economic sanctions. It is my hope that you will instruct the American delegation to the United Nations to oppose with all its skill such a proposal if it is formally made." (Text of Johnson's Letter on Sanctions, The New York Times, 20/2/1957) (For the context, see my 17-18/10/12 posts on Eisenhower, Real US Presidents Stand Up to Israel 1&2.)

That Caro may be suffering here from a bad case of slipped halo is suggested by the following revealing account of a promotion of Master of the Senate in 2002:

"... I learned a few things while listening to Mr Caro speak. First of all, he openly acknowledged that he is Jewish, something I did not know until tonight. In fact, he told a light-hearted Rabbi joke to playfully jest about his heritage... After a 30-minute lecture about LBJ's senatorial career, Caro opened the floor for questions. I made my way to the microphone and managed to ask one. The event was being filmed so I made a point of not being confrontational. Still, his reaction to my seemingly benign question spoke volumes.

"I began... by presenting [him] with a photocopy of the front page of The New York Times dated February 20, 1957. One of the headline stories was Johnson leads action: party chiefs endorse letter to Dulles calling on US to resist UN move. The story described how Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson had staged a political coup against the Eisenhower Administration which - until LBJ's intervention - had supported UN efforts to impose sanctions on Israel for refusing to withdraw its military troops from the Gaza Strip and the Gulf of Aqaba in the wake of Israel's failed attempt to expand its borders by attacking Egypt in what is known to historians as the Suez Crisis. Johnson wrote a letter [above] to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles - which was published in The New York Times on the stated date - urging him not to support sanctions on Israel. The letter was endorsed by the Democratic Policy Committee. After passing the newspaper copy to Mr Caro, I put the following question to him (I'm paraphrasing): 'In the wake of the Suez Crisis, David Ben-Gurion had refused to withdraw Israel's troops from the Gaza Strip and the Gulf of Aqaba in defiance of the wishes of President Eisenhower and the United Nations. This was not unlike the situation today with Sharon. The UN was about to impose sanctions on Israel and this was fully supported by the Eisenhower Administration. But suddenly, Senate Majority Leader Johnson intervened by writing a letter to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and having it published on the front page of the NYT. Why has this story never been told in history books? I just bought your book yesterday, but I don't think you covered it either. At least I couldn't find it. The only place I've ever seen it is on an Internet website, At first I found this information difficult to believe, so I went to the library and found the NYT article from 1957 to corroborate the incident. Why has this story never been told?'

"Caro smiled nervously as I asked the question. Then he responded by changing the subject to civil rights. He never did respond directly to the article or my question as to why historians do not want to discuss the incident. He didn't even mention Israel or the Middle East. He completely ignored my question and me. I suddenly felt a degree of empathy for the Invisible Man. But I was polite. I let it go without asking a follow-up question. After all, the event was being filmed and at least I got a chance to plug my website. I turned and walked away as he babbled nonsense about how compassionate Johnson was regarding civil rights. One would think that in his 1,049-page manuscript he would have mentioned the 1957 incident. Not only did he not mention it in print, he side-stepped it completely when asked about it in public. From the expression on his face it was clear he understood exactly what I was talking about, but he was afraid to discuss it." (Book Review> 'Master of the Senate', by Rabbi Caro, Salvador Astucia,, 30/4/02)

One is left wondering whether Caro would be receiving the adulation of all the 'right' people today if he'd addressed the issue of the initial stirrings and flexings of Zionist influence in Congress, the baby steps, if you will, of the current Israel lobby.

Now to return to where we started. I would have expected Sheehan of all people to have noticed the elephant in Caro's room. After all, his current journalistic interventions on behalf of Israel notwithstanding, Sheehan was once able to track down and report a sighting of the beast. The year is 1988:

"BALTIMORE, Thursday: For anyone who thinks the so-called Jewish lobby exerts an enormous influence on American politics, last night would have provided ample ammunition for their belief. For the first time in the 1988 presidential election, the two candidates appeared at the same event and spoke on the same subject. The event to which both the Republican candidate, Vice-President George Bush, and his Democratic opponent, Mr Michael Dukakis, converged was the international convention of B'nai B'rith and both men spoke before the international Jewish organisation and passionately reaffirmed their support for Israel. 'The principles you fight for are my principles; the causes you champion are my causes,' Mr Dukakis said. 'We will never allow the security of Israel to be compromised,' said Mr Bush." (Candidates use same platform for Jewish vote, Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald, 9/9/88)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Is This a First?

News Ltd takes the piss:

"Novel Gift Ideas: Don't switch off with mindless airport novels this summer. Taylor Auerbach rounds up the best last-minute Christmas gift books for serious relaxation... Mossad by Michael Bar-Zohar & Nissim Mishal: An old truism goes that if you think Mossad are after you, they're not. The Israeli intelligence agency is behind some of the most daring and important missions in western history. If security agencies were bands, Mossad are The Beatles. Authored by two men in a sort of don't ask, don't tell manner, this book recounts some of Mossad's finest hours, including the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and the elimination of the Munich Olympic terrorists. Dealing in the dual currencies of enigma and stealth, Mossad is the deserved star of a book that keeps the pages turning swiftly." (Sunday Telegraph, 23/12/12)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jerusalem Syndrome

OK, it's Christmas Eve. Time to lighten up a bit. Here's one for all you wonderful Christian Zionists out there:

Jerusalem, 1920-21.

Amongst my strangest experiences in this fantastic city has been watching its varieties of religious mania. The Lord drives these people with the afflatus to his Holy Hill. The question is how they ought to be dealt with on arrival.

One morning an American turned up to see the Civic Adviser. His gambits were so good that I was completely taken in.

'I've had a great deal of experience in town-planning,' he said, 'and I assure you you are going the wrong way to work.'

That seemed reasonable.

'What you say is probably true,' said I, 'but we have to work along the line of least resistance, and must make or improve our alignments as and when people need them. Meantime, the general plan and survey of the city are in progress.'

I pointed to some charts and drawings on the walls.

'That's just what I'm complaining of, and where I've been sent to guide you. You're going the wrong way to work.'

'Well,' said I rather testily, 'if there's any particular section of the city you think should be differently handled, I'll give it consideration.' And I handed him pencil and paper.

'The fact is, you've got to begin with cubits.'

'With what?'

'With cubits. Here,' he said, making a black spot, 'is Solomon's Temple.'

Whenever we get to Solomon's Temple (what a charlatan Solomon was, the Moslem tradition that he was the great conjurer is surely sound!) - whenever we get to Solomon's Temple it's all over.

'I'm sorry,' said I, 'I have no time for... '

'You have no time for God's way... You... and what's to become of me? I've got to live. Your Administration is here to provide for people like me.'

And that was true, too, under the 'Wa'd Balfour.'*

There was an embarrassing pause. He gathered up his 'cubits' with an awful solemnity.

'I shall go and see Sir Herbert Samuel in person.'

I shrugged my shoulders and he left. Two hours later I had an agitated call on the telephone from the A.D.C. on Mount Scopus.

'A Mr ___ is here; says you have told him to see H.E. - seems rather odd in the head!'

Weeks after I saw him tramping he streets, frayed, hollow-cheeked, and half starved.

(A Palestine Notebook 1918-1923, CR Ashbee, 1923, pp 140-142)

[* Balfour Declaration]

The Incredible Lightness of Being an American Foreign Correspondent

So who's to blame for the US-led war on Iraq?

According to US foreign correspondent and author of Taliban Shuffle, Kim Barker, it was all the fault of the stoopid American people, with a little help from Fox News. (And so, ipso facto, it had nothing whatever to do with America's Zio-conservative urgers, both in and out of the Bush administration, who saw no daylight, as they say, between America's and Israel's interests. See my 22/12/08 post Absent-Minded Professors Inadvertently Set Iraq Ablaze.)

The following sad exchange comes from an interview with Barker conducted by the presenter of ABC Radio National's Big Ideas program on 23/12/12:

Paul Barclay: But everyone must have known that Afghanistan was the key location in terms of the fight against terrorism [sic], yet so much time was spent in Iraq... Why was that?
Kim Barker: I think there was really a sense that they had handled Afghanistan and they were going to go in and do Iraq, and I think... at that point of time [2003], if you were to poll Americans and ask them if Iraqis and Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, they would probably have said 'yes', and it was just this thing, you could keep writing stories but it didn't matter against the drumbeat of Fox News and the sort of jingoistic media you have now in the States where it's possible to just read and watch what validates your own particular point of view...
PB: But it was wrong, it was baseless...
KB: It was wrong, totally baseless...
PB: So you go to war on a baseless assumption?
KB: Well we went to war in Iraq because they were essentially harbouring WMD, right? That worked out well.

That's right, the American people decided that nothing was more important, certainly not Afghanistan and that Osama whatshisname, than getting rid of Saddam Hussein. There they were, taking to the streets in their millions, brandishing ATTACK IRAQ NOW! placards. Definitely, without all that pressure from below, Bush wouldn't have gone there. Stoopid Americans!

After almost 10 years of murder and mayhem in Iraq and trillions of US dollars down the drain, can such cluelessness in American (or any other) foreign correspondents be forgiven?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tony Abbott On the Prowl

The Australian's editor at large, Paul Kelly, reports from Albert Dadon's latest Israel love-in in London on a bloke on the make:

"Tony Abbott has used his presence at an Australia-Israel-United Kingdom Leadership Dialogue in London to deepen his support for Israel and accentuate the split with the Gillard government over Middle East policy. The Opposition Leader has highlighted the crack in Australian bipartisanship by arguing that Coalition support for Israel is values-based as 'the only mature pluralist democracy in the Middle East' and therefore, enduring..." (Abbott vows support for Israel, 21/12/12)

Pluralist? What part of Jewish state does this brawler not understand? Democracy? Has he not heard of the Great Gerrymander of 1948? Silly question...

Beyond spouting Zionist cliches and talking points, what does this boofhead really know about the Middle East conflict? Well, as Kelly freely admits in an opinion piece on Abbott in the same issue, bugger all: "Abbott knows little about Israel yet his views are fixed." (Abbott throws a mean Right hook and leads with his chin on values)

That wilful ignorance probably goes back to his student days. Back then, issues were never examined on their merits but mindlessly opposed simply because they were espoused by those who didn't happen to share his rigidly conservative Catholic outlook: "... Abbott turned up at Monash University in January 1977 for his first AUS conference* determined to fight the good fight... The right's determination to control or crush AUS had been revitalised by the students' decision a few years earlier to support the Palestine Liberation Organization." (Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott, David Marr, 2012, p 12)

[*See my 13/9/12 post Greg & Tony Do Monash.]

"Interviewed by The Australian outside the dialogue, Mr Abbott attacked the Gillard government's new position on granting Palestine observer status at the UN, alleging it was motivated by electoral factors and warned that Australia's election to the UN Security Council... must not trigger abandonment of its traditional support for Israel. 'We made the wrong decision... for the wrong reasons,' Mr Abbott said. 'My main concern is that this issue was not discussed in terms of the merits - it was discussed in terms of the electoral impact. Labor MPs felt people in western Sydney might be looking at this in terms of their own religious or political heritage from the Middle East and not from the viewpoint of what is best for Australia. Our view is that Australia should have been supported for a term on the Security Council because of our values, not because we were prepared to compromise them.'" (Abbott vows...) 

Kelly again: "The evidence is that Abbott is wrong on Labor's motives. Carr was driven by foreign policy, not domestic politics." (Abbott throws...)

That's correct: wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again! It probably didn't occur to this ignoramus that even the Israel-besotted Cameron government had abstained in the UN. More to the point, was the Mad Monk aware of the Vatican's stance?:

"The Holy See welcomes with favor the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the United Nations." (Vatican hails UN Palestine vote, wants guarantees for Jerusalem, Philip Pullella, Reuters, 30/11/12)

Probably not.

"The two-day London dialogue was striking for the contrasting level of party representation. Mr Abbott attended as Opposition Leader backed by 6 Liberal parliamentarians including 3 frontbenchers. Labor did not send a minister; its senior representative was Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Mike Kelly..." (Abbott vows...)

How interesting that imbalance! Seems like the Libs are out to impress the devilishly attractive  - at least to ms politicians - Albert Dadon. I wonder if the preponderance of this particular species has implications for who'll be turning up at the mover & shaker's Toorak mansion next year? (See my 20/8/10 post A Pre-Poll Breakfast Tradition.)

Furthermore, it had been reported that Kevin Rudd would be attending, although there's no mention of him here. (See my 4/11/12 post Pollies in Love-In.)

"In his speech to the dialogue gala dinner at London's Reform Club, delivered in Abbott's absence by George Brandis, the Opposition Leader said: 'The Coalition maintains a complete and unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. Israel is the only mature pluralist democracy in the Middle East. Israel's values and courage deeply impress Australians. While occasionally Israel, like all countries, makes mistakes, it is a bastion of Western civilization in a part of the world where human rights, including the value of respectful dissent, are not well appreciated. And for no other reason, it is in the interest of the West to show understanding and support for Israel. If Australia or Britain had rockets regularly lobbing on to our territories. I dare say we would suddenly be a lot less particular about the moral gradations of response that we sometimes feel like imposing on Israel.'" (Abbott throws...)

Note the US-style declaration: complete and unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. Under Tony Abbott PM, expect to see Australia in the UN General Assembly voting REFLEXIVELY with Israel, the United States, Canada and the Pacific Island floozies  NO MATTER WHAT ISRAEL DOES.

And how completely out of touch with the international perception of Israel as a thug and bully is that bit about Australians admiring Israel's values and courage.  But then, if it's Albert you're making a play for, what the f...

"In the interview, Mr Abbott said 'bad behaviour should not be rewarded, adding: 'The Coalition position is that there should be no further international recognition of a Palestinian state until the Palestinians are prepared to recognise Israel's right to exist behind secure borders as part of a two-state solution.'" (Abbott vows...) 

How bloody typical! While the rest of the planet's talking about Israeli settlements, Israel's preferred method of sabotaging a two-state solution, Abbott's all rockets and the Palestinian failure to recognise Israel's right to exist as an apartheid Jewish state which has refused to allow the return of Palestinian refugees for the past 64 years and occupied the West Bank and Gaza for the last 45.

David Marr's Quarterly Essay on Abbott, cited above, reveals much about the creature. Here are two quotes that should leave Australians afraid, very afraid:

According to Abbott, "The Coalition of the Willing went to war in Iraq 'to uphold universal values... if it's possible to engage in an altruistic war, this was it.'" (p 57)

"A few days after becoming leader of the Opposition, [Abbott] was given a quick quiz by Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age. Favorite film? 'Gallipoli. Seen it many times.' Film star? 'John Wayne.' Book? 'I'd have to say it's probably Lord of the Rings. It's the book I've read most.'" (p 3)

Memo to all you foreign Frodos out there who read this blog. If this pugilistic bogan should win power in this country next year, pray for us here in Mordor, OK?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Who Serves the Drinks?

"Within colonial histories, the term 'bwana' demarcated racial and class distinctions: white men were 'bwana' and white women 'memsahib.' The implicit distinction was between colonizer men as rulers and colonized boys as servants, an ideological as opposed to chronological distinction." (Jambo Bwana: Obama as Tourist-Guest,, 22/4/09)

The converse of political Zionism's current efforts to portray its project in Palestine as a return of the native son to a homeland from which he was long ago driven, is its wholesale repudiation of the nation that Israel is a settler-colonial state founded by European Jewish colons. This particular facet of Zionism's flight from reality (let me count the ways) looms large in contemporary Zionist discourse these days.

It is no coincidence, for example, that such a prominent contemporary apologist for Israel as Alan Dershowitz should have begun his 2003 book, The Case for Israel, by attempting to rebut the charge. Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State? is the question-title of the first chapter of his book. As you'd expect, Dershowitz's answer is a resounding 'NO!': "Israel is a state comprising primarily refugees and their descendants exercising the right to self-determination... refugees escaping the oppressive anti-Semitism of colonial Europe and the Muslim states of the Middle East and North Africa." (pp 13-14)

Sure, sure, Bwana, but it's not really that complicated. You see, there's a very simple test for what is and isn't a colonial state: Who serves the drinks?

"'You will have a coffee,' [Elisha] stated, snapping his fingers for the Arab waiter. He put me in mind of the racist post-'67 occupation joke: God calls the founders of the great faiths to his house and they sit around in armchairs - Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius. Suddenly they realise someone is missing. 'Where's Mohammed?' asks Buddha. God claps his hand to his forehead. 'Of course,' he says, 'I forgot. Mohammed! Bring 6 coffees right away!'" (The Death of Moishe-Ganef, Simon Louvish, 1986, p 116)

"There was some guy, I think his name was Muhammad, who became a friend of ours. What does that mean? He understood the game. He understood that the person who makes the decisions isn't... he got it that there's no reason to get the right permits and whatever, the way to do things is with the soldiers in the field. So that's how he got friendly with us. He'd ask, 'Hey, do you need cigarettes?' He would distribute gas in the area, so he'd always come and go, and if you needed something, then you give money to Muhammad and he'll bring it... or he wouldn't take the money. Food? Something to drink? Drinks, cigarettes, little things like that, sure. And in exchange, he'd cross more easily than other people." (Our Harsh Logic: Israeli soldiers' testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010, Breaking the Silence, 2010,p 278)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Theatre Review: 'Delivered At Last'

"According to the Jerusalem Post, 5,000 schoolchildren were to gather in the main square in Tel Aviv and smash their war toys with hammers. In exchange they would get goodies and peace toys. The first war toy would be smashed by the city's mayor. For all we know it could be a plastic F-111 from a cereal carton. Simon Louvish read the story out loud. 'I can't write satire about Israel any longer,' he said. 'It's not possible - all you need do is report.'" (Jewish jokes no laughing matter, Hugh Hebert, The Guardian Weekly, 1986)

The latest 're-enactment' - Delivered At Last - by the consummate drama queens over at Chutzpah Productions Inc., is a worthy successor to their earlier production, United In Battle.

As with the latter, Delivered At Last was rightly accorded front page treatment in last week's edition of The Australian Jewish News. (Who could possibly forget, in the AJN of November 9, the tear-inducing cover photograph showing a party of Australian Light Horse Association pilgrims, clad in imperial clobber, sitting astride their neddies and proudly carrying Australian and Israeli flags before the gates of Beersheba - sorry, Beersheva? Who could forget the paper's pulse-racing headline, United in battle, and the spine-stiffening text which followed: "Ninety-five years after the Australian cavalry defeated the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Beersheva, the landmark charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade was re-enacted in modern-day Israel. The event re-emphasised the historic ties between the two countries"? Ah, golden memories...)

Not to be outdone this time around, the AJN of December 14 featured four descendants of 30s Aboriginal activist William Cooper, ranging in age from the teenage to the eighty-something, standing solemnly against a backdrop of Aboriginal and Israeli flags.

Delivered at last trumpets the banner headline, which is followed by the words: "In 1938, Aboriginal leader William Cooper was turned away when attempting to deliver a petition to the German Consulate protesting the treatment of European Jewry in the wake of Kristallnacht. Last week, his grandson tried again..."

On page 3, under the header Righting a past wrong, we are reminded of the now familiar story* of how, on December 6, 1938, the 77-year-old Cooper led a protest march to the German Consulate in Melbourne where a 2,000 signature petition, protesting the 'cruel persecution' of Jews in Germany, was refused by the German consul-general.

[*Familiar at least to readers of this blog. See my posts on the lobby's first William Cooper production: Insufficiently Righteous (2/8/10); Record Rambam (25/10/10); The ABC of Zionist Propaganda (12/12/10).]

The AJN then goes on to describe the 're-enactment' as follows:

"Last Thursday, Jewish, indigenous and other Australians walked in Cooper's footsteps - from Footscray to the city - with Cooper's 84-year-old grandson Uncle Boydie Turner joining the crowd to deliver a replica of his grandfather's petition to Germany's honorary consul-general, Michael Pearce. An estimated 30 people began the walk at Footscray, with another 180 joining en route as they marched on the former address of the German embassy at Collins Street. Cooper's great-great-grandson, Kevin Russell, was at the front of the pack waving a trio of flags - Aboriginal, Australian and Israeli - which were bunched at the top, where a Magen David was attached. Some protesters carried a placard protesting Nazism. At the completion of the walk, the crowd streamed onto the steps of the former German embassy (which now houses a restaurant and law offices). Cameras took aim and all fell silent as an emotional Turner, donning a royal blue Jewish National Fund peak hat, read the petition aloud: 'We protest wholeheartedly the cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government in Germany.' Accepting the petition, Pearce disparaged the former German consul-general. 'I am pleased to right the wrong committed by the German consul on this spot exactly 74 years ago when he refused to accept the original from Turner's grandfather, William Cooper,' he said. Pearce is awaiting a formal response to the petition from the German Foreign Office."

While the above description of the march reveals an explicit Israeli connection, a feature too of CPI's earlier production, their restraint in not including a contingent of gun-toting IDF terrorists, or a (death) squad of Australian passport-toting Mossad agents, or even a Merkava tank or three, is an indication of the company's professionalism, irresistable as these touches must have been for them

I note in passing CPI's use of that magic crowd-swelling technique whereby the initial 30-something marchers were joined at strategic intervals, presumably out of side streets, by other groups of like-minded individuals who just happened to be carrying the appropriate placards and flags. Why was their no musical accompaniment, though? Certainly, there is no mention above of what should have been obligatory, the old shofar and drum, the volume and tempo of which could have been upped in the style of Ravel's Bolero with each new addition to the procession, thus adding immeasurably to the drama of  it all.

It is left to the AJN's editorialist to spell out the show's moral significance. Under the stirring title When good men stand up, we read:

"Thanks to Cooper, there exists a genuine affinity between the Aboriginal and Jewish communities that has yielded some surprising results. Just last week an Israeli educational program, which is being used in Australia to lessen the literacy and numeracy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in rural communities, was celebrated, while Jewish advocacy for Aboriginal rights has become commonplace. One of the themes often discussed in Jewish circles is that Jews, with our first-hand knowledge of persecution, are obliged to advocate on behalf of the world's persecuted and promote peace, tolerance and love."

But, needless to say, 'good' without 'evil' is a bit like your yin without your yang, somehow lacking, and so the canny editorialist, in tune with his audience, wheels out Australian Zionism's Devil du jour, CPACS' Professor Jake Lynch - "an unashamed supporter of the global Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel" - under the - you guessed it! - title When bad men stand up.

Now how neat is that? It's three cheers for William Cooper and interminable boos and hisses for Jake Lynch.

A final word on Delivered At Last. Some reviewers - certainly not I! - may quibble that the entire production, with its Israeli props, smacks of little more than the shameless appropriation and exploitation of the memory and legacy of a remarkable indigenous Australian, with the sole aim  being to distract its audience from Israel's crimes against another indigenous people. Some may even go so far as to claim that - and how far-fetched is this? - it is part of a desperate attempt by Israel's  fifth columnists in Australia to project their brutal settler-colonial venture in Palestine as a legitimate, indeed indigenous, striving for self-determination in an ancient homeland.

But enough of such churlishness, if the AJN says "Jewish circles" are out there flashing the peace sign, singing All You Need Is Love, and ministering to the needs of the wretched of the earth, who am I to disagree? And anyway,  tis the season to be jolly, no?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

100 Years of Zionist Shit

To date the Palestinians have had to put up with almost 100 years of Zionist shit - literally

2012: "Waste water from an Israeli settlement has flowed into agricultural lands in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, a local official said Tuesday. Deir Istiya village mayor Nathmi Salman said waste pipes from Yaqir settlement are faulty and have flooded the village's land, causing the formation of waste water pools. The sewage is nearing the main water spring of the Qana Valley by Salfit, he said, noting that livestock drink from natural springs in the area. Salman said it was not the first time the village was contaminated by settlement waste, and charged Israeli authorities with procrastinating over fixing the sewage system. This environmental damage is ongoing, while Israel claims the land is considered a nature reserve, he added." (Mayor: Salfit village flooded by settlement sewage,, 18/7/12)

1922: "The drainage debacle in the Wadi'l-Joz is for us, and many others, very serious. The Administration is, of course, responsible. It accepted the money from the Zionist Commission and failed to carry the work through effectively. Like all work done for purposes of politics and propaganda, rather than for its own sake - work that is not strictly honest - it has been 'found out.' The best Moslem residential area in the city has now been flooded with the drainage of Meoscheorim, and a pool of liquid sewage lies, at the moment of writing, in the lovely valley between the Grand Mufti's house and ours. For us it will mean that we shall probably not be able to return to our house. The property owners, all Moslem, are very angry. They have sent in petition after petition and all have been ignored. But they will probably not have enough cohesion to bring the necessary pressure to bear upon the Administration. Had the situation been reversed and the drains of a Moslem slum voided into the best Jewish quarter there would have been such an outcry in Israel as would have moved Wall Street and Park Lane:

Benjamin, and Levy, Cohen, and Sassoon
Lewis, Mond, and Meinertzhagen moaning all in tune,
Franklin, Montefiore, and Harrari in between,
Isaacs, Fels, and Israeli baying at the moon,
Ladenburg, and Schlezinger, and Trier, and Duveen,
All the tribes in harmony from counter, pale, and dune -
Was such a sorrow ever known, or such a scandal seen!
Samuel, Schiff, and Rothschild twined in richer chords,
Mourning all together in a cry that is the Lord's
(A Palestine Notebook 1918-1923, CR Ashbee, 1923, pp 205-206)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where's Greg?

Further to my previous post about an ailing Australian, what's become of its foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan? To borrow David Burchell's trademark simile, he seems to have 'vanished like a wraith'.

God I miss the bugger! I mean, apart from his river-deep-and-mountain-high passion for the Zionist entity, who else does the old pot-calling-the-kettle-black routine better than he, as in this, his last sighted column:

"One of [Defence Minister Stephen] Smith's least attractive features as a politician is his determination never to acknowledge difficult or unpleasant facts that contradict his fantasy narrative about the US, Afghanistan, his own relations with senior defence figures and other subjects. He is convinced that simply repeating, word processor like, the studied tediousness of his prepared cliches is a better approach than dealing with difficult facts." (Defence cuts make Americans uneasy: Privately the US is appalled at the Australian government's budgetary stance, 15/11/12)

So Worried About The Australian

I must confess I'm more than a bit worried about the health of The Australian. 'The Heart of the Nation' that has hitherto never missed a beat seems all of a sudden to have lost its ticker.

Yesterday's was the first edition not to carry an attack on the head of the Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, Jake Lynch, since December 6.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Green Light/Red Light

Question: When is it OK for an Australian citizen to enlist in a foreign army?
Answer: Silly question. When they join the Israeli army, of course...

A rare ms media news item on young Australian Zionists who are doing just that - Young Australians risking all to support Israel - appeared on ABC television's 7.30 on November 28. Here's part:

Leigh Sales: The Middle East ceasefire is a week old, but young Jewish Australians are preparing to go and join the Israeli Defence Force... Ben Milston wants to be a combat soldier in the Israeli Army...

Tom Tilley, Reporter: It's ambition that'll put him on the frontline of an ongoing and bitter conflict. He says it's his way of supporting Israel... Ben works in a Jewish cafe in Bondi and lives a comfortable life, so leaving friends and family to take up arms for the Jewish state wasn't a part of his life plan. But a gap year in Israel changed that.

Ben Milston: I guess I realised how comfortable I am being with other Jewish people, other people that might have, you know, the same emotions or experiences that it's just I guess a really nice connection to be with your own people...

TT: Ben's at the weekly leaders' meeting of his Zionist youth movement... These young Zionists believe the state of Israel is central to Jewish life.

BM: Are you Jewish first? Are you Australian first?... I guess for me I'm Jewish first.

Question: What about an Arab army?
Answer: Don't be ridiculous...

Here's part of the discussion on the struggle in Syria which appeared on SBS television's Insight program on October 30:

Jenny Brockie: Zaky, you've just been to Syria and you've made contact with the Free Syrian Army... Were you fighting with them?

Zaky Mallah: [T]he FSA armed me with that [AK] and I told them that it is against Australian law that if I was to take up arms and engage in combat, I will be charged when I go back home, so they took that off.

JB: If it had been legal to fight, would you have fought?

ZM: If the Australian government today gives me the green light to go to the front line tomorrow, to Aleppo, I'll be out of here within 24 hours.

I wouldn't even bother asking about Australians joining the Palestinian or Lebanese resistance.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blood Brothers

Love those happy clappers - they really know how to paint the town red, know what I mean?

Here's the Egyptian variety in full festive swing:

"Having chosen not to accommodate the constitutional demands of the secular and Christian opponents, and having long ago been spurned by the Sufi-based moderates, Mr Morsi and the Brothers have turned to the more extreme Salafists for support. These puritanical groups, which gathered roughly 25% of the seats in parliament, were displeased that the draft constitution being voted on does not specifically say that Egyptian law will be based on Islamic sharia. To secure their support, Mr Morsi... [has] hinted at a willingness to interpret the ambiguous new constitution in a very Islamic way. Just this week, for example, the government banned the broadcasting of any 'romantic' songs or videos on its 23 state-owned television and radio outlets, a move designed to salve a Salafist complaint against publicly funded 'obscenities.' It was 'throwing a bone to a dog,' said Hisham Kassem, a former publisher and human-rights activist, who pointed out that the real meat being offered the Salafists could be found at a place called Media Centre, headquarters for several major media organizations.

"Hundreds of Salafists have laid siege for the past 9 days to this media complex located in 6th of October City, a satellite community outside the capital, a few kilometres west of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Most participants are men in their 30s and 40s, in long beards and dressed in flowing galabias; a small percentage are women, dressed head to toe in black robes and niqabs. Their goal is to intimidate the men and women working in the broadcast outlets, people who, the Salafists say, are corrupt and biased against Islam. 'They do their job not to please God, but just to become famous,' one speaker at the protest said Friday. Each day, in a threatening ritual, the crowd slaughters a farm animal - a bull, a camel, a sheep - made up to represent one of the many on-air news presenters who work at the site. The animal, its face covered with a mask of the TV personality, is held on its side on concrete tiles heavily stained with blood, while a butcher slits its throat. The crowd cheers, calling out the name of the presenter - on Friday it was Wael Ibrashi of Dream TV - and shouted the ritual 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great). The animal then is strung up beneath a banner that shows President Morsi and the Salafist demand that he 'purge the media.'" (Morsi cedes to extremists on Egyptian constitution, Patrick Martin, The Globe & Mail, 14/12/12)

Meanwhile, up in the deep north, in Jerusalem town to be exact, it's well and truly party time:

"This week, on the 10th of Nisan, (April 2), the Temple Institute, in conjunction with other Temple oriented organizations, conducted an afternoon seminar, all about the korban Pesach - Passover offering. Classes were held in which the commandment of the Passover offering, the halacha (laws) surrounding the offering, and the practical application of the performance of the Passover offering in our day, were discussed. Hundreds of interested men, women and children attended the sessions. At 5:00 PM the classes concluded and the audience and the organizers reconvened out of doors, where more than a thousand people had already gathered in anticipation of the day's main event: a live demonstration of the korban Pesach.

"Two lambs had already been selected and a shochet (ritual slaughterer) was present. A small mizbeach (stone altar) had been constructed for the purpose of the demonstration. Kohanim (priests), in priestly garments (provided by the Temple Institute), were also in attendance. The re-enactment involved the slaughtering of the lamb, the gathering of its blood in the mizrak vessel designed especially for this purpose, and the dashing of the blood by the kohanim against the altar. The lamb was then dressed by the shochet. Organs that would be burned on the altar in accordance with biblical command were removed and displayed. The lamb was put on a spit as it was done in the era of the Holy Temple and roasted in a specially prepared oven, again, as it had been done in Holy Temple days. The meat was distributed to needy families. It was stressed throughout that this was only a demonstration for educational purposes. This was not a korban Pesach offering, which can only be done at an altar which stands in the precise location of the Holy Temple altar on the Temple Mount. 

"The two thousand plus crowd who attended was comprised of people of all stripes - ultra orthodox, modern orthodox and secular. In truth, it was a cross section of the entire nation of Israel. The interest was so strong and the desire to see the demonstration so intense that the re-enactment couldn't proceed until a 'sterile area' around the proceedings could be established. Local and overseas, religious and secular, media alike were enthusiastically covering the event. Most astonishing and rewarding was the palpable excitement which filled the air and animated the attendants. This was not your average afternoon 'entertainment'. It was truly as if an ancient collective memory had been revived. A spirit of holiday joy and unity was kindled. As the re-enactment wound down, many heartwarming calls of 'Next year in the Holy Temple' could be heard from the crowd." (The Temple Mount Institute, 2012)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chomsky: Let Them Learn Swahili First

In a 14 December letter to the Australian (where else?), a James Miller of Woolloomooloo, NSW, wrote in part:

"On what basis does the University of Sydney lend institutional support to a group with a guiding objective of boycotting Jewish business and cultural institutions? In case university leaders are interested, even that virulently pro-Palestinian, Noam Chomsky... considers the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with its boycott of Israeli universities as pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel. Chomsky further characterises the BDS movement as inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people."

The really interesting thing here is not Miller's par-for-the-course substitution of the word Jewish for the word Israeli, but his use of Leftist icon, Noam Chomsky, as ammunition for his attack on the BDS movement. Improbable as it may seem, there is some truth in Miller's claim that Chomsky has labelled BDS as anti-Semitic. While not quite as categorical as Miller would have us believe, Chomsky has, sadly, set the table for an anti-BDS feeding frenzy by Zionist propagandists such as Miller.

This came in the context of a 2/9/10 interview with Frank Barat, during which Chomsky characterised the 2005 call for BDS by Palestinian NGOs, with its three goals of an end to the occupation, equal rights for Palestinian Israelis, and support for the Palestinian right of return as a call for the "destruction of Israel," adding "it's a gift to the Israeli and US hardliners, they know perfectly well there's not going to be an implementation of the right of return." He further claimed that the call was grossly "hypocritical" because Israeli crimes are a mere "fragment of US crimes or English crimes or those in any other country," which he assessed as "100 times worse." He then went on to say (and here is the nub of Miller's propaganda) that a 2002 call at M.I.T to divest from Israeli universities "could and was attacked as pure anti-Semitism, unfortunately with justice." Rather than elaborate on this bizarre statement, however, Chomsky went on to complain that "the issue of anti-Semitism, which around here doesn't exist," unfortunately came to overshadow the issue of the Palestinians who were being hammered badly by Sharon at the time. A more appropriate target for action, he averred , would have been the ending of US arms sales to Israel. Finally, he suggested that more needed to be done to educate the American public before the BDS "tactic" was deployed.

Not quite what Miller makes it out to be, of course, but certainly grist for his mill. So let us examine Chomsky's words more closely:

Destruction of Israel? What does Chomsky mean here? Could he have been referring to the old 'driving the Jews into the sea' line (and BTW, what victim of settler-colonialism has not fantasised about driving his oppressors into the sea or wherever at some stage?). Or to the dismantling of Israel's apartheid laws, transforming it from a Jewish state into a state for all of its people, including dispossessed Palestinian refugees? Whatever he meant, he sure handed a gift to those Israeli and US hardliners he was so concerned should not be so lucky. Talk about loose lips!

They know perfectly well there's not going to be an implementation of the right of return? Presumably, 'they' are the Israeli and US hardliners, but what a strange way of putting it. Is he really indicating that he opposes the Palestinian right of return? If so, what other parts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the Palestinian right of return being simply a reflection of Article 13) would he also oppose? And if not... what the hell is he getting at? Where's the clarity here?

Israeli crimes are a mere fraction of US crimes? Maybe so. But surely this is little consolation to Palestinians who have lost everything. Can you really imagine a Palestinian reflecting thus: Oh well, Chomsky says the US has done much worse to folks on the other side of the planet so what have I really  got to complain about? Had an adjacent Palestinian groaned audibly at this point, I for one could not have faulted him/her.

Re the false allegation of anti-Semitism: while I can perhaps understand Chomsky's reluctance to giving those 'hardliners' a free kick (which, as I've already intimated is exactly what he's done in this interview), surely he can't be unaware that any criticism of Israel, no matter how meek and mild, can trigger this obscene smear? Moreover, the fact that he can say, at one and the same time, that the allegation was justified but that there's no anti-Semitism at M.I.T. suggests a concerning capacity for muddled thinking in one so lauded.

Fast forward to Chomsky's visit to Gaza in October this year, where he was interviewed by Rami Almeghari, in part on his position on BDS. Suffice it to say that only one of the above points is revisited. And guess which one. He begins by making two points: boycotts should be highly selective and should help rather than hinder those they're designed to help, in this case the Palestinian people. He then goes on to say this:

"If you call for an academic boycott of say Tel Aviv University you have to ask yourself what the consequences are of that call for the Palestinians and there's an indirect answer. When you carry out an act in the United States, you are trying to reach the American population and [make it] more supportive of Palestinian rights and [more] opposed to Israeli and US policies. So you ask yourself: what effect will an academic boycott of Tel Aviv University have on [an] American audience... [and] that depends on the amount of organization and education that has taken place in the United States. Today, if you look at [American's] understandings and beliefs, a call for an academic boycott of Tel Aviv University [would only] strengthen support for Israel and US policy because it's not understood. There is no point talking to people in Swahili if they don't understand what you're saying." (Chomsky in Gaza: academic boycott will strengthen support for Israel', Electronic Intifada, 20/10/12)

That's right, over two years after the first interview, Americans are still not ready for BDS! How long then must the Palestinians and their supporters wait for Americans to learn Swahili before they advocate a boycott of Israel's academic institutions? Like, forever?

The question arises: Just where is Chomsky coming from here? I'm inclined to agree with James Petras' assessment:

"Noam Chomsky has been called the leading US intellectual by pundits and even some sectors of the mass media. He has a large audience throughout the world, especially in academic circles, in large part because of his vocal criticism of US foreign policy and many of the injustices resulting from those policies. Chomsky has been reviled by all of the major Jewish and pro-Israel organizations and media for his criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, even as he has defended the existence of the Zionist state of Israel. Despite his respected reputation for documenting, dissecting and exposing the hypocrisy of the US and European regimes and acutely analyzing the intellectual deceptions of imperial apologists, these analytical virtues are totally absent when it comes to discussing the formulation of US foreign policy in the Middle East particularly the role of his own ethnic group, or the Jewish pro-Israel Lobby and their Zionist supporters in the government. This political blindness is not unknown or uncommon. History is replete with intellectual critics of all imperialisms except their own, staunch opponents of the abuses of power by others, but not of one's own kin and kind."  (from Noam Chomsky & the Pro-Israel Lobby: Fifteen Erroneous Theses, in The Power of Israel in the United States, 2006, pp 168-169)

Petras' essay on Chomsky should be required reading for any progressive with a serious interest in this subject.

STOP PRESS: This letter from Chomsky appeared in yesterday's Australian:

"I was surprised to read a letter to the editor of The Australian claiming that I regard the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement's tactics targeting Israel as 'pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel' and that I said BDS efforts are 'inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people.' (Letters, 14/12). These tactics have enormous support among Palestinians, and the charge of anti-Semitism should be dismissed with disdain. When Human Rights Watch 'calls on the US and European Union member states and on businesses with operations in settlement areas to avoid supporting Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law', it is advocating BDS tactics, rightly, and there is no hint of anti-Semitism. I have personally been involved in such forms of opposition to the Israel occupation for years, long before there was a BDS movement. Any tactics, however legitimate, can of course be misused. But they can also be used quite properly and effectively against state crimes, and in this case regularly have been."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Talking of Holocausts...

"The study of the Holocaust will become compulsory for all NSW school students in years 9 and 10 after a lobbying campaign by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies prompted the state government to include it in the syllabus. The chief executive of the board, Vic Alhadeff, confirmed he lobbied the Board of Studies and Department of Education for the change up until a month ago and commended them for the decision... Greens NSW MP John Kaye said the Holocaust is rightly an essential part of the state syllabus but should be taught in the context of the other 20th-century genocides." (Study of Holocaust mandated for schools, Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/12/12)

John Kaye is correct, of course.

But, while Zionist lobbyists like Vic Alhadeff may prattle on about the Holocaust being "a warning to every generation about the potential for evil, especially as a consequence of racial hatred, and about the inherent evil of totalitarian regimes," you can be sure that a stand-alone treatment, hopefully with an 'If only there'd been an Israel back then' spin, is the desired outcome. Certainly, any curriculum support material devised by the NSW Board of Deputies is bound to be problematic, as my 28/10/11 post Israel 101 for Cops indicates.

I wonder too if Alhadeff (and those politicians and bureaucrats who've finally* succumbed to his charms) fully appreciates the me-too logic inherent in pushing the (Jewish) Holocaust on the great unwashed. Will his learning curve, I wonder, be as steep as that of Maurice Messer's?

Maurice Messer? In case you've never met him, Maurice is the fictional chairman of the board of Holocaust Connections, Inc. in Tova Reich's wonderful 2007 satire My Holocaust:

"Unfazed , Pushkin Jones exposed his glistening teeth in a grin. 'Brother Maurice,' he declared, 'we of the United Holocausts rainbow coalition of all Holocausts, personal and global, have come here today to offer ourselves as your allies in your noble battle... against the travesty and disgrace of Holocaust denial. I am referring now to the denial of all Holocausts other than the Jewish Holocaust. We shall combat this kind of Holocaust denial unto death. I am speaking of the denial of the African-American Holocaust, for example, which I have the distinct honor and privilege of representing today, claiming our forty-acres-and-a-mule just reparations for the depredations of slavery. I am speaking, to cite yet other examples, of the denial of the Holocausts of my two chiefs of staff - Sister Honey's Women's Holocaust reflecting the confluence of fascism and misogyny, both dead-ending in violence, and the Native American Holocaust of Brother Foggy Bottom here, and, by extension, the Holocausts of all aboriginal and indigenous peoples everywhere, brutally uprooted by conquerors and colonialists and imperialists from their native soils since time immemorial, with special recognition due to the Palestinian Holocaust, a direct side effect of the monopoly by the marketers of memory of your Jewish Holocaust... This of course does not mean we exclude other Holocausts,' Jones elaborated. 'The Children's Holocaust, the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust, the Christian Holocaust, the Muslim Holocaust, the Tibetan Holocaust, and so on and so forth, all are gathered up equally under our great Holocaust tent... Nor should we neglect to make mention of the other Holocausts... past, present, and future, of nations too numerous to list, from Cambodia to Chechnya, from Russia to Rwanda, from Kosovo to Kurdistan, from Armenia to East Timor, plus Ecological and Environmental Holocausts, the impending Nuclear Holocaust, the Herbal Holocaust targeting marijuana and other fruits and vegetables, the Endangered Species Holocausts of plants and animals from bluegrass to baby seals, from bladderpods to lesser long-nosed bats, plus the personal and private Holocausts of our brothers and sisters everywhere on this earth, from Brother Kwame in the Oppenheimer diamond mines of South Africa to Sister Katya in the brothels of Tel Aviv, from Brother Unborn Fetus tossed in a Dumpster in Los Angeles County to Sister Granny set adrift on an iceberg to starve to death in the Eskimo sea, and on and on in an ancient and endless cycle of sorrow and woe. We are all survivors - cancer survivors, AIDS survivors, sexual abuse survivors, alcoholism survivors, mental illness survivors, circumcision survivors, menstruation survivors, propaganda survivors, et cetera et cetera. Move over, Brother Maurice, the neighborhood is changing, you are not alone, and you are not unique. No longer can you sit there on the ground like a tribe of Jeremiahs girded in sackcloth, covered in ashes, crying out in lamentation, Behold and see, if there be any pain like unto my pain! Your monopoly has been busted, Brother Maurice, your Holy-cause is history. We reject the hierarchy and caste system of Holocausts. All Holocausts are equal in the eye of God. No one Holocaust is superior to another, no one Holocaust is deserving of special treatment or recognition. All Holocausts are unique." (pp 243-245)

And I can just hear Vic down the track a bit:

"'Brother Pusher,' Maurice began, attempting to inject a diplomatic polish into his voice, 'I hear you, I feel your pain, I know where you're coming from, believe me. I myself started a very successful business from mine own, Holocaust Connections, Inc., mit a similar idea - sharing the moral capital from the Holocaust. But between you and me, you're barking up the wrong fire hydrant this time. The Jewish Holocaust is bigger from both of us. It's the super Holocaust, the state-sponsored systematic extermination from the Jewish people for the 'crime' of existing by the most advanced and civilized nation on earth - that's the scientific definition. There was nothing like it before or after and there never will be. Nothing can compete. You should quit while you're still ahead, you got a lost cause. Believe me, I understand how you feel. Everybody likes to think their Holocaust is the best, everybody likes to think their Holocaust is unique, but face it, the Jewish Holocaust is the most unique. So let me give you a little piece of advice from an old man who has seen a thing or two in his time, okay? Give up this crazy, childish narishkeit what you're doing, and come express yourself constructively by joining me in mine business. I'll make you a senior vice president mit complete control from the African-American Holocaust portfolio. What do you say, Pushka? Is it a deal?'" (pp 246-247)

Stay tuned.

[*See my earlier posts on this matter: Sam Lipski's National Curriculum (12/4/10) and Holocaust Studies Make the Grade (28/12/10).]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to Read The Australian 2

Murdoch's Australian may look rather forbidding to its legions of non-readers, but it's actually quite easy to navigate, provided you keep in mind that it is as much a crusading Zionist newspaper as it is a purveyor of genuine news, and that this therefore necessitates the adoption of the following precaution when reading it:

Whenever it's engaged in one of its regular crusades to capture, flay and fillet the best among us, which is to say anyone of note with the intellectual and moral courage to take a public stand in defence of the Palestinian people come what may, the victim invariably becomes the target of every conceivable expression of abuse and invective known to man, whether from the paper's dedicated attack dogs, its editorialists or its letter writers.

Do not, however, be put off by this. Simply know, in every fibre of your being, that in every case the opposite is true and draw the logical conclusion.

For example, having lately tired of firing salvoes at The Greens' Lee Rhiannon, the Australian has now turned its attention to the head of Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS), Jake Lynch. According to its various campaign communiques for 6-11 December (a campaign which continues to this very day), associate professor Lynch:

is partisan;
causes outrage and concern;
rings alarm bells;
makes inappropriate comments;
sparks furious responses;
is appallingly prejudiced;
indulges in groupthink at its worst;
is intolerant and illiberal;
is verging on the anti-Semitic;
attended a rally;
and is wayward and discriminatory...

And all this hue and cry because Jake Lynch supports the Palestinian BDS campaign, which, according to the same source for the same period:

is misguided;
is supported by racists and anti-Semites;
and is indecent...

This, of course, can only mean one thing: Jake Lynch is both a gentleman and a scholar.

Now as part of the same campaign, the Australian also says of CPACS that it:

is infected by the attitude of the closed mind;
displays destructive partisanship;
is controversial and counter-productive;
is more attuned to conflict than peace;
provokes the Jewish community;
is a left-wing infestation;
practises unconscionable indoctrination;
manipulates the young;
and pollutes Sydney University...

From which only one possible conclusion can be drawn: CPACS is a first-rate academic institution

Hey, it works for me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Zionism in a Nutshell

Jerusalem, April, 1921.

Little Mrs ___ (let us call her Rockenheimer) has turned up from the USA. She is bitten with Zionism. Dreamy, electric, and with that Semitic hardness which blinds while it sharpens, she is about to give a large sum of money to land experiments in Palestine: or, as she puts it, to 'demonstrate the truth of single tax.' Single tax is the bee in her bonnet, as it was in that of her magnetic millionaire husband...

Little Mrs Rockenheimer lunched with us and was, in acute American, charmingly naive and outspoken in her ideas. It is this sort of outspokenness in and out of season that so frightens the Moslem. And who would not be frightened? It makes even an English Gallio's flesh creep.

"It will come," she said prophetically, "I feel it in my bones that it will come!"

It is when a Jew feels things in his bones that the Moslem feels for his knife.

"What will come, Mrs Rockenheimer?"

"I feel it in my bones that this land - ALL of it - is going to belong to us."

Mark the simplicity of the feeling.

"But what are you going to do with the inhabitants, the 80% of the population who are not Jews?"

"What the Ay-rabs? They have Ay-raybia. Let them go there!"

How shall we deal with such reasoning?

Go home and read Josephus.

 A Palestine Notebook 1918-1923, C.R. Ashbee, 1923, pp 176-177

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Prisoner of Zion

Two items appearing recently in the print media speak to the peculiar rigidity of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, when it comes to the Middle East conflict, the second, significantly, composed (or approved) by Gillard herself exclusively for inclusion in the Australian Jewish News:

"Even if Gillard's forced capitulation on the UN vote on Palestine does not change votes in caucus, it will go down as a seminal episode in her prime ministership. Sources describe the cabinet discussion on the Monday night, when 10 of her cabinet ministers spoke against her position of a no vote against Palestine, as respectful. They were gobsmacked when at the end of it Gillard summed up by telling them that even though what they said was fair enough, this was not an issue for cabinet to decide, it was a question of prime ministerial prerogative. She told them she would exercise that prerogative to deliver Australia's vote against Palestine. Ministers were appalled, first, because she had failed to listen; second, that she was seemingly oblivious to the danger she faced; and, third, that there was only one view that mattered: hers." (PM's Praetorian Guards are revolting, Niki Savva, The Australian, 6/12/12)

"It's widely known that the debate within the Labor Party on how Australia should vote was a vigorous one - befitting the significance of the issue pending before the world. But it is important to distinguish between what was debated within the Labor Party and what is always accepted without debate. I am proud of my party's historic friendship with Israel. Nothing will ever change that and we will be proud and firm friends of Israel in the future." ('Our friendship with Israel is beyond debate', Julia Gillard, AJN, 7/12/12)

Is this not one of the great mysteries of Australian political life? Here is the leader of a party that has jettisoned just about every conceivable principle it ever stood for, to the extent that no one knows anymore quite what it stands for, telling two in-group audiences - not the rest of us note - that a supposed friendship with a foreign power, and not just any foreign power but a vicious, occupying apartheid state, is beyond debate.

Why this extraordinary degree of dogma, reminiscent of nothing so much as the doctrine of papal infallibility, this adamantine refusal to openly debate without fear or favour? Did Gillard climb into this ideological straitjacket unaided? What is the nature of its ties and clasps that none of our so-called intellectuals dare mention? Where is Australia's John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Innocents Abroad

"Four journalists who participated in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies' Journalist Mission to Israel reported back to the community on Tuesday night." (Israel trip journos report back, The Australian Jewish News, 7/12/12)

Hm, so what exactly did these intrepid souls discover in the home of the IDF coward and the land of the unfree Palestinian?

The Daily Telegraph's national political editor, Simon Benson, who, were are informed, "received the biggest applause" from the assembled believers, presumably for such staggering revelations as this:

"The difference is that one side fires indiscriminate rockets into civilian populations with the express intent on terrorising people or killing them. The other side seeks to defend itself and makes mistakes and kills innocent civilians." (For further news of Simon's stellar career as a reporter of  every twitch of the Israeli nerve as their sun was literally blotted out by nuclear-armed Palestinian ICBMs recently, simply click on the SB label below.)

Sky News presenter Brooke Corte, mere inches from those indiscriminate Hamas rockets, took a break from being terrorised or killed by Hamas rockets just long enough to gush:

"On the bus fleeing Beersheva trying to get out of the rocket range, I logged into my Twitter and watched the propaganda war between Hamas and Israeli officials unfold in real time. To be in that situation and watch how the two sides covered that on Twitter in real time as it was happening was a truly unique experience."

Boring, but so typical of the younger generation of twitterati! For example, just compare Brooke's limp 15 November tweet - "In northern Israel today looking across Lebanon and Syria. Beautiful and yet a little close for comfort" - with the literary flair and drama of the 40-something rambamee Peter Phelps MLC's 16 July tweet: "Just peered into Gaza, now I know how Frodo felt when he first gazed upon Mordor." (See my 20/7/12 post Frodos Gaze Upon Mordor.) See what I mean?

Sydney Morning Herald's Saturday edition editor, Judith Whelan, apparently a victim of the dreaded Jerusalem syndrome, poor thing, said that "since she has returned from her trip, every dinner conversation at home with her children has focused on Israel. Whelan, who spent a lot of time reading and studying the Bible in her youth, said Israel is a unique country. 'While standing on the Mount of Olives, I looked down at the huge Jewish cemetery, down the other side a huge Christian cemetery, and then a huge Muslim cemetery. And there, on the Mount of Olives, even in death you have this immense longing for this place. It is the holiest of places for three religions. Can we be surprised that it is constantly fought over?"

Surely proof, if needed, that thinking straight is often in inverse proportion to the mind's religious clutter. (For Whelan's thankyou note to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, see my 19/11/12 post Israel Lobbyist Asks: Why do we bother?.)

Now to the biggest of the JBoD's catch - Michael Ebeid, managing director of SBS. Young Michael, I remind you, was at the centre of the storm over SBS's decision to screen the British drama, The Promise, in November-December last year. In particular, he was assailed on the subject during a senate committee hearing by a gaggle of Israel's useful parliamentary fools (Senators Ryan, Fifield & Kroger). (See my 1/3/12 post In Senate Estimates They can't Hear You Scream.)

One would have thought that, after being forced to defend the public's basic right to watch The Promise and make up its own mind about it from a concerted and sustained attack by elements of the Israel lobby, he'd be wise to the buggers. But no, they got him in the end and packed him off to Israel for reprogramming.

A faint taste of what he'd been through with the lobby, however, can still be detected in his report-back from the experience. After first "reflect[ing] on Israel's great [!] democracy," Ebeid is quoted thus in the AJN:

"'My final general observation is that within Israel there seems to be more varied opinions and moderate views on Palestinian issues than what I've tended to see in Australia. But while I found Israelis do tend to have thick skin, often in the Diaspora community they tend to have a heightened sense of sensitivity around how Israel is portrayed here, and I think this is understandable because often the media is very black and white about how they present the issue.'"

Sad indeed.

Certainly, since the screening of The Promise nothing has appeared on this subject on SBS television that I'm aware of. Can we, therefore, conclude that Ebeid's rambamming was successful? The only other evidence we have that this may be the case comes from his tweets, which, I'm sorry to say, are hardly encouraging:

On 14 November he saw fit to retweet this typically thuggish threat from IDFSpokesperson: "We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead."

On the same day he tweeted: "Here is a great report by @simonbenson who I was with today in Sderot near Gaza." Simon Benson, for God's sake!

On 16 November he tweeted: "Being in Israel [this] week has reaffirmed my high respect for journalists who travel the world's hot spots to bring us the news." Of the heat in Gaza - nothing!

On 17 November he breaks into fluent Israeli with: "A video explaining the tactics Hamas terrorist group uses in Gaza. Sadly Palestinian people caught in the middle."

Finally, on 18 November, a killer tweet which reveals Ebeid's essential shallowness like no other: "Over Israel vs Hamas? Then switch over to SBSTWO at 11pm for Brazil vs Spain Futsal WC Final."

Fair dinkum, it's enough to make you weep.

To Israel, with Love

If you're Syria, even though you've declared that even if you had chemical weapons and could see the whites of your enemies' eyes, you wouldn't use those weapons against your own people, the Americans will still stand up and warn you of 'consequences' if you do.

If, on the other hand, you're Israel and you decide to operationalise your nuclear arsenal because you can see the whites of your enemies' eyes, far from expecting a warning from the Americans, you simply get on the blower to them, demand an emergency airlift of replacement arms and ammunition or else and they'll dutifully comply.

No, I'm not making this up. The latter scenario obtained in Israel during the October War of 1973, and you can read all about it in Chapter 17 - Nuclear Blackmail - of Seymour Hersh's 1991 book The Samson Option: Israel, America & the Bomb.

The Fur's Flying

The Australian Government's support for the Palestinian Authority's successful push for observer status in the UNGA sure has the fur flying on the editorial/letters page of this week's Australian Jewish News (7/112/12). And it's not just the government that's come under attack:

Is this, for example, the first ever criticism of an Israeli government by the AJN's editorialist?:

"Following Israel's response [ie, more settlement building] to the Palestinian statehood bid is like watching a person cut off his nose to spite his face... Israel's response has been childish and ill thought out." (The wrong response)

And even the AJN itself is copping stick. Here, Ameinu president Johnny Baker takes umbrage at last week's front cover which featured a photograph of foreign and defence ministers Bob Carr and Stephen Smith and the 'proceed-to-the-naughty-corner-IMMEDIATELY' accusation: You've let us down:

"The provocative and ill-conceived 'You've let us down' front cover of last week's AJN will do very little to enhance the standing of the Jewish community in the public arena. It is a classic case of how not to win friends and influence people. By pointing an accusing finger at politicians who have been consistent friends and whose cardinal sin was to advocate a stance taken by many prominent Israelis, The AJN has outflanked our communal leadership in expressing its outrage... Sorry AJN, but this time you have let us down."

Of course, Terry Davis of Lindfield, NSW isn't having any of this. He's gunning instead for Bob Carr, the bloke who dared to move the ALP from blind to tough love of Israel, and, in so doing, is apparently now up there in the ZDI (Zionist Demonology Index) with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hasan Nasrallah:

"One has to admire Bob Carr's ambition. In my view, as premier, he wrecked NSW, and now he's trying to do the same to the whole of the Middle East."

But my favourite letter has to be this touching tribute to mateship from Michael Danby MP, Labor's unofficial Minister for Israel, lamenting the lack of media limelight accorded his tag-team buddy, Clanking Colonel* Mike Kelly, who, Danby assures us, fought valiantly in the ranks of the blind luvvies** against Carr's yea-saying and abstaining tough luvvies:

"In the rush of events last week, mention that my parliamentary colleague, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Dr Mike Kelly AM, was one of the key stalwarts in defence of the pro-Israel position was overlooked. In fact Mike Kelly, Senator Glen Sterle and myself, were appointed by the right faction of the ALP Caucus to put proposals to Senator Carr. Unfortunately, Senator Carr would not agree to our suggestions. Dr Kelly was at every meeting with me, strongly arguing the case. I will never forget his steadfastness."

Shows you how clueless the 'right faction of the ALP Caucus' must be, pitting the 'Clanking Colonel' against Carr. Labor history - let alone history - is obviously not their strong point.

Actually, it doesn't look as though Danby's exactly flavour of the month at the AJN these days. How else to explain why his letter was immediately followed on the page by the following kick-arse correspondence from David Rosenberg, South Caulfield, Vic.:

"Labor and its leaders have now lost the plot in the foreign affairs department. Julia Gillard hasn't the courage of her own convictions to stand up for Israel in her left-dominated cabinet. As Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr swirls his way around the world, he has certainly picked up some communicable communication diseases from the United Nations, denigrating Israel at every opportunity. As John Faulkner has recently called for Labor parliamentarians to try to at least pretend to be ethical and to appear honest, Michael Danby sitting member for Melbourne Ports now has to ask himself: As the point man for Jewish representation, has he the courage of his own convictions? The party has left you, Michael; if you stand for anything, it's time to make a stand for the Jewish community at large. Leave the party, it's time."

Et tu, David?

[*On Carr and Kelly, see my 9/9/11 post The Pits; **On Labor's blind love (or 'falafel') faction, see my 30/11/12 post Pro-Israel Deadenders in Federal Labor. ]