Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Greg Sheridan for Foreign Minister. NOW!

I'm so absolutely over-the-moon to know that Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of Murdoch's flagship The Australian, and (according to his website profile) Australia's most influential foreign affairs analyst, has become the go-to man for our foreign policy movers and shakers.

The remarkable thing, however, is that, despite his being to foreign affairs what the Pope is to the Catholic Church, it hasn't at all gone to his head - as it might say with a lesser individual such as his Fairfax counterpart, Peter Hartcher.

Truly, the man has the gentle, unassuming, even self-deprecating, manner of all genuine saintly figures: 

"Like a lot of journalists, I talk to politicians all the time and offer them the same views in private as I argue in public in my columns. I am certainly an equal opportunity know-it-all, happy to dispense what meagre wisdom I may possess to anyone wanting to lend me an ear. The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, and his predecessor, Kevin Rudd, were both kind enough once or twice to seek out my views. Abott has done the same." (Shero no speechie, Strewth, The Australian, 30/7/12)

So modest! I reckon he has to leave his phone off the hook to find the time to write those amazing columns!

I can see him now, over at News Ltd, dispensing his unique brand of foreign policy wisdom (and more) to Bob, Kevin (no slouch in the sainthood department either) and Tony:

Israel? (Eyes aglow,  he shifts in his chair, muttering to himself: 'Be still my jutting trousers!')

The plucky country! 


Death cult!

The recent bombing in Bulgaria?

Hezbollah and/or Iran, of course.


Makes Bush look like a sissy.


On the ropes!


Here. There. Everywhere. Especially under the bed! 


Notorious boondoggle!


Stressful interrogation, you mean?

Israeli terrorism?

Fie on you! Only ever been one (1) case! Baruch Goldstein. Each and every Israeli condemned him. And... and... his deed of derring-do has never - repeat never - been repeated!


Terrorist funding pipeline!

World Vision?


Michael Danby? 

Knows more about the Middle East than any other politician, but not as much as me, of course. Would make a great foreign minister.


Stuff Danby! Why are we beating around the bush here? Sheridan for FM NOW!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Good Refugees/Bad Refugees

There's something quite satisfying about deploying the historical record to expose the Zionist propagandists and scribblers who infest the ms media and rely on the general public's ignorance not to spot their lies and distortions.

Our scribbler this time around needs no introduction to those who follow these matters. Uber-Zionist and prolific letter writer, Michael Burd, is at it again, stoking community prejudices with yet another variation on his familiar good refugees/bad refugees theme: Jewish refugees of old good. Muslim refugees today - or illegal asylum seekers as Burd prefers to call them - bad.

Blessedly, I can spare you the entirety of Burd's latest letter. His bald assertions and groundless assumptions about those seeking entry to Australia by boat are best left to those more informed about the issue than I. I will say, however, that Burd's kind of honesty is at least preferred to that of  Zionists who cloak their racism with an expressed 'concern' for every kind of refugee under the sun but one. 

From the perspective of this blog, the first problem with Burd's letter is a relative bagatelle, really, but nonetheless of interest to afficionados of the Zionist propagandist's craft. The second, where Burd actually falsifies the historical record, unwittingly or not, is of more consequence:

"Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence uses the plight of World War II Jewish refugees (Humanity overboard, AJN 20/07) to advocate liberal treatment of recent illegal asylum seekers mainly from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestinian territories." (The Australian Jewish News, 27/7/12)

You'll note here the deliberate omission of the definite article before 'Palestinian territories'. Its inclusion, of course, would have resulted in an admission on Burd's part that the whole of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are Palestinian. However, Burd will only grudge the Palestinians the scraps that haven't yet been encroached on by Jewish settlements, roads, army bases, military zones, checkpoints, and what have you - and even that probably only for propaganda purposes.

"It is inappropriate to compare the recent flow of illegal, predominantly economic asylum seekers, to the Jewish refugees genuinely fleeing Europe in the 1930s and '40s. Jews who were lucky enough to be allowed entry into Australia, did not bring with them any hatred of Germans, Poles or other Europeans who assisted the Nazi war machine. These Jewish refugees did not seek revenge nor did they bring with them any prejudice or intolerance." (ibid)

Unfortunately, the facts reveal otherwise. When Harold Holt, as Minister for Immigration in the post-war Menzies Government, proposed mass German immigration into Australia in the early 50s, the organised Jewish community was adamantly opposed, as the following extracts from The Sydney Jewish News illustrates:

"Australia is one of the few places on earth in need of people. Those who are coming to her shores now will decide her fate and future... But... we must have Germans, we are told. Why? Because they are most readily available. No wonder! Having plunged Europe into 4 successive wars within a 100 years and set the world ablaze in two world conflagrations within 25 years they are now ready to leave the ruins of their own making. But, who wants creators of ruins? Let us indulge in the unhappy visualisation of an Australia into which Germans have imported their talents for hate and national intolerance. Are we to see goose-stepping Australians, uniformed youngsters and the rule of the bludgeon and of the Secret Police, as might happen within 50 years of German mass immigration into this country?... Surely, we Jews (but particularly Jewish immigrants to Australia during the last 15 years) are experts on Germans and on Nazism." (Rabbi HM Sanger, 5/1/51)

"An Emergency Fund to meet the costs of a state wide campaign against the proposed mass migration of Germans to Australia was launched by Mr S Steigrad at last Tuesday's meeting of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies." (Board launches emergency fund to fight German migration, 19/1/51)

"The duty of refuge is a duty to the oppressed, not the oppressors. There can be no duty of asylum towards the murderers of millions of women and children, nor even to those who merely acquiesced in it. The 100,000 Germans who are to be brought out here were all content to live under a Nazi Government with a Nazi programme which openly advocated barbarity. True enough, many of them are miserable now. But this, with rare exceptions, is the misery of the frustrated 'Herrenvolk' and not of the repentant sinner... Even if by a miracle - and it would have to be a miracle - screening were 90% effective, Australia would still be honeycombed with 10,000 fanatically indoctrinated Nazis in 4 years." (Professor Julius Stone, 16/2/51)

"Organisers of the campaign against mass German immigration yesterday said that last Monday's overflow meeting in the Sydney Town Hall would swell public opposition against the Federal Government's immigration policy." (Packed Town Hall meeting seen as start of bigger anti-German migration campaign, 2/3/51)

These displays of prejudice and intolerance (for that is what they are) on the part of Sydney's Jewish community in the early 50s are at least understandable in the context of the Nazi genocide of the war years. Burd, however, has no such excuse for his particular displays of prejudice and intolerance.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Refugee Factory

"A few weeks ago I was in Amman, the capital of Transjordan, and spent an evening driving round the town with an official of the Ministry of the Interior. The town was packed with these refugee Arabs [from Palestine], crouching in doorways, lying in the gutters, sleeping in the provincial buses, in schools, in hospitals, in the fields - even in the graveyards. Many of their faces were already gaunt with hunger. For years there has been no begging in this town, but at this time one could not walk ten yards down the street without being acosted for alms." (Letter from 'Middle East Observer' in The Spectator, August 6, 1948)

To revisit the bleeding obvious, Israel is a state built squarely on the foundation and maintenance of a massive 6-decades old Palestinian Arab refugee problem. After first driving out the mass of Palestinians from their ancestral homeland in 1948, Israel proceeded to write them off as 'absentees', settle Jewish immigrants in their homes and on their lands, and, in one of history's most breathtaking displays of historical chutzpah and revisionism, has played the sweet innocent ever since.

I was prompted to reflect thus on Israel's historical role as a refugee-producing nation when I read the following sentence: "Iraq will set up camps at two of its three border crossings with Syria to provide support for Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their homeland, a government spokesman said on Tuesday." (Iraq to set up camps for Syrian refugees, AFP, 24/7/12)

Who could've imagined, prior to the glory days of GW Bush and his Ziocon urgers, that within the space of a decade Iraqi refugees would be flooding into Syria and Syrian refugees into Iraq? The question then arises: if the war on Iraq (which resulted in a huge refugee exodus, now largely abandoned and barely remembered) was primarily about rearranging the Middle East to suit Israel, then what about the war in Syria? Is Israel, a nation which may well have produced, directly or indirectly, more refugees than any other on the planet, really just the innocent, even fearful, bystander its propagandists make it out to be?

The evidence, I'm afraid, suggests otherwise.

There's the documentary evidence:

In a recent post (22/7/12), Syria's 'Alawis: A Corrective, I quoted the words of Israeli analyst Oded Yinon to the effect that Israel's "targets" in Syria should be a) "the dissolution of [its] military power," and b) "its dissolution into ethnically and religiously unique areas." That was written in 1982 as Israel was cutting a swathe through Lebanon.

In 1996, US Ziocon strategists advising Netanyahu asserted in their infamous document, 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm' that "Israel can shape its strategic environment... by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria," a strategy closely tied to the idea of regime change in Iraq: "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions." Following the fall of Baghdad in April, 2003, the same crowd, from their redoubts in the Bush administration, turned their sights on Syria, with Paul Wolfowitz declaring that there has "got to be regime change in Syria," and Richard Perle telling the Syrians: "You're next." (See The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer & Walt, 2007, p 274.)

And in 2012 we've got the US State Department-funded US Institute of Peace (USIP) and its blueprint for regime change in Syria, The Day After: Supporting a democratic transition in Syria. (So you know where USIP's coming from, its president, US congressman Jim Marshall, voted to restrict UN funding in 2005, co-sponsored the Syria Accountability & Liberation Act in 2007, and signed a 2010 letter to Secretary of State Clinton, along with 326 other congressmen, affirming the US's "unbreakable bond" with Israel. Its leading light on the Syrian front is academic and Syria 'expert' Steven Heydemann, who had this to say of his pet 'project': "We have very purposely stayed away from contributing to the direct overthrow of the Assad regime... Our project is called 'the day after'. There are other groups working on the day before."* Oh, and cui bono? "We should hope for the best, Steven Heydemann says - democracy, secularism, maybe even peace with Israel - but not rule out the worst."**)

There are the links between the key personnel of the two external Syrian opposition groups, the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on the one hand, and assorted Ziocon groups and individuals on the other.(See The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking?, Charlie Skelton, The Guardian, 12/7/12)

Finally, there are those devastating explosions targeting the key structures and personnel of the Asad regime. Sure, they could have been the handiwork of the Free Syrian Army - anything's possible. But frankly, if educated guesses are more to your liking, you'd probably be on safer ground fingering the folk who brought down Jerusalem's King David Hotel in 1946 and enriched our store of euphemisms with the term 'targeted killings'.

So the question arises: are we today seeing Yinon's wet-dream unfolding?

The scenario sketched by political scientist Virginia Tilley sounds as plausible as any: "[The Syrian] opposition is a mixed bag, with sharp disagreements, particularly about external intervention, as well as whether, when and how to negotiate with the government. These disagreements are certainly sincere and most are principled. Left alone, consensus could gel. But Israel's interests, which weave through them like a fog, run in a different direction: to steer Syrian events away from any process that will generate a representative, stable and strong country in the long run. Far preferable for Israel is to keep things polarised to ensure a catastrophic internal crisis that will dismantle Syria's security forces, permanently fragment its political elite and paralyse domestic politics in bitter internecine squabbles (with rival foreign supporters), which as a package will ensure that a strong state can't be rebuilt. Thus Syria's independent role in the region would evaporate and Israel's foreign policy prerogatives will be secured. Even more perfect would be a Syrian collapse defined by sectarian bigotry, a game at which Israel enjoys grand mastery. Of course, Israel bases its whole existence ideologically on the premise that the Middle East and the world at large are entirely steered by bigotry, but this worldview has also proved useful as realist foreign policy. It's always easy to turn idle biases into rabid racism. The Mossad is also brilliant at infiltrating Arab movements, as Palestinians will bitterly attest, and has been sending agents across the Syrian border to gather intelligence and stoke 'tribal' divisions for decades. It can certainly do this with much greater facility now that the country is in such upheaval. Hence it's only sensible to assume that Israeli plants are all over the Syrian movement, among and within factions, playing off arguments about best ways forward. And as Israel's best outcome is crisis, polarisation and violence that will generate a weak Syria in the end, those arguing about negotiating with the regime must consider which of the voices rejecting negotiations are sincere and which are Israeli hand-puppets." (Crying wolf, foreign agendas & Israel's role in destabilising Syria, Al-Jazeera, 1/2/12)

But back to those Arab refugees - whether they've fled from Palestine to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan; from Iraq to Syria and Jordan; or from Syria to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - one thing's certain, they are all products of the refugee factory that is Israel.

[*Steven Heydemann on the 'Family Business' in Syria, Christopher Lydon, radioopensource.com, 12/5/11;**Inside the quiet effort to plan for a post-Assad Syria, Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 20/7/12]

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Sixth Eye

These are the two opening paragraphs of Fairfax scoop Intelligence world rocked by charge against Canadian:

"An alleged Canadian spy compromised Australian intelligence information in an espionage case that has sent shock waves through Western security agencies. The alleged sale of top secret intelligence to Russian agents by naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle has been the subject of high-level consultation between the Australian and Canadian governments and was discussed at a secret international conference of Western security agencies in New Zealand this year." (Philip Dorling, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/7/12)

OK, but what interested me most about Dorling's "exclusive" were these words:

"Sub-lieutenant Delisle worked at the Royal Canadian Navy's Trinity intelligence and communications centre at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Much of the information he allegedly sold was much more highly classified than the WikiLeaks cables and included top secret intelligence collected by the 'Five Eyes' intelligence community of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."

Only 5 eyes, Philip?

Not according to Israeli intelligence expert and Haaretz journalist, Yosi Melman:

"A third role [of Mossad] was to maintain secret, clandestine but very vital and useful contacts with its counterparts, whether it's... ASIO or... the CIA or...M16... And they have developed over the years very, very intimate relations, sharing information and... assessments and even, nowadays, going into the field, enjoying the operations in the war against global terrorism." (The Mossad, Rear Vision, 24/3/10)

You can read the full excerpt in my 28/3/10 post Up To Our Necks. See also my 29/5/10 post All the Way With Mossad?)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interrogating the BBC on Syria

Watching SBS World News last night, I found myself riveted by the item Syria's Turkish border units 'head for Aleppo'. It came from the BBC and featured reporter Ian Pannell, embedded, predictably, with a group of anti-government  "rebels" and [freedom?] "fighters."

Frankly, whether Pannell intended it or not (and I'm inclined to think not), the rebels came across as a bit of a worry. As indeed did the man showcasing them.

A close and critical reading of the transcript raised all sorts of interesting and disturbing questions, best addressed (on the buck stops here principle) directly to Ian Pannell himself:

"It's the Islamic month of Ramadan so when the sun goes down another day of fasting is done. And in Syria, the rebel army comes out to fight. We joined a convoy on a highly dangerous mission to Aleppo, driving around army checkpoints, sneaking along backroads, headlights off to avoid being seen passing under the nose of government troops and into Syria's 2nd city where the insurgency has found its loudest voice and the battle is at its most fierce."

So the rebels were outsiders in Aleppo, Mr Pannell? Were they invited in or did they simply impose themselves on the city? And just who in Turkey issued them orders?

[In Aleppo: A small group of people are screaming the familiar 'allahu akbar'.]

Was this perhaps staged for the BBC cameras, Mr Pannell?

"Many here are desperate for the rebels to succeed..."

How many, Mr Pannell?

"... but as the rebels take over this district many fear what you're really seeing is an Islamic takeover that'll unleash a whirlwind of devastation and bloodshed across this region. [Men construct a makeshift barricade.]"

Many fear? Many Aleppans, you mean?

Then are these Islamist - your word, Mr Pannell - rebels forcing themselves on Allepo?

"Hundreds, perhaps as many as a thousand rebel fighters have now pushed into this part of Aleppo city."

I think that answers my question. This is no indigenous force, right?

"As you can see, they've set up burning barricades to try and protect this particular district."

Run that past me again? These rebels are there to "protect" this bit of Aleppo? Did it need protecting, Mr Pannell? Did you gather any evidence that the residents wanted or needed protecting?

"There's a police headquarters and an intelligence office up the road and their fear is that reinforcements will head from downtown Aleppo."

Perhaps the police and their reinforcements thought they were protecting the district... from invading terrorists? What do you think, Mr Pannell?

"[Rebels snipe from buildings.] By daylight rebel snipers take to the roofs, copying army tactics. They control a number of districts and are ready to defend them. It was another day of intensive fighting as the fighters try to extend their control and seek revenge against men they accuse of being shabiha, members of the brutal government militia. There's little justice on either side here. [A group of what appear to be civilians are squatting on the road. The rebels fire over their heads, while another rebel puts the boot in.]"

Is shabiha the only Arabic word you know (apart from allahu akbar), Mr Pannell? Where's the proof these men were shabiha? And what happened to these men, Mr Pannell? Why didn't your camera stick around to show their fate? Or has that been edited out of your footage?

"Losing Aleppo would be a potentially fatal blow to President Asad and today the fightback began with helicopter gunships firing at rebel positions. [Scene of rebels firing skywards from a captured tank.] But even with a tank they'd captured from the army the fighters are vastly outgunned. But what happened next marked a dramatic escalation. [A jet streaks overhead.] For the first time fighter jets took to the skies, arcing through the air and strafing the ground, a mark of how desperate the government has become. But the last word goes to the victims, to the wounded and to the dead. [Swaddled corpse of woman shown.] Aisha almost looks like she's sleeping but she was killed today by an artillery shell. Only the victims are blameless here, and however this ends there will be more of them."

Only the victims are blameless here? So, Mr Pannell, in retrospect, what proportion of blame would you assign to the forces who entered Aleppo in the certain knowledge that they'd be drawing government firepower at the expense of the city and its people? And, just to take you back to Turkey, have you ever thought of doing a piece on their controllers and paymasters there?

Oh, and one more question, Mr Pannell. You're an experienced journalist. You've reported from Gaza. When Gaza was being pulverised by the Israelis in 2008/2009, Israelis being Israelis, they never tired of claiming that Hamas fighters - sorry, militants - were using Palestinian civilians as human shields. Is anyone in Syria using civilians as human shields do you think, Mr Pannell?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Finally, an Honest Politician!

An honest Australasian politician:

"Two women have won seats in Papua New Guinea's elections so far, doubling the number of women MPs. The journalist, poet and singer Loujaya Toni, 46, won a seat in Lae... Ms Toni, who has a master's degree in communications, dropped to her knees when the result was announced and sang a song of praise to God in Hebrew, the Port Moresby newspaper The National reported. 'I have no blood on my hands. I did not bribe anybody. I come with clean hands,' she said. 'My heart is singing hope so loud right now!'" (PNG tally of women MPs rises to two and counting, Hamish McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald, 25/7/12)

Notice I said Australasian and not Australian. That was deliberate. No Australian politician possesses the spontaneous honesty of a Loujaya Toni MP. With our lot, you've really got to do some digging to expose the Zionist within. The most you'll get out of the Australian ms media is an occasional hint. It's all sooo very elephant-in-the-room, know what I mean?

Take Christopher Pyne for example. We all know he's got the hots for Israel, so why isn't he shouting it from the rooftops? Or at least wearing an Israeli flag badge on his lapel?

Now if only he'd take a leaf out of Ms Toni's book, drop to his knees, and warble a song of praise to Herzl in Hebrew every now and then, we'd know where the bugger was really coming from, wouldn't we?

'At last,' we'd sigh, 'an honest Australian politician. A self-confessed, unabashed, fire-breathing  Zionist.'

He wouldn't even need to add the bit about having clean hands or not bribing anybody. The sheer, naked honesty of his performance, there in the House of Reps or out in front of the meeja, would make such a declaration entirely unnecessary. I mean, what could be more transparent than outing oneself as a member of the world's most bizarre cult in this manner?

How about it, Christopher?

But frankly, even if Christopher Pyne did a Loujaya Toni, he still wouldn't be fit to tie her bootlaces (or thonglaces as the case may be). After all, she's more than just your common & garden journalist, poet and singer - she's actually done something useful. She's come up with a cure for cancer! Dinkum:

"Among other things I am known for, being a naturopath since 2005 through my husband and I, our connection with the nation of Israel and its messianic Jewish community will come as a surprise to those who have known me personally. Since 2005, through our connection with the nation of Israel and its messianic Jewish community, James and Loujaya Toni have conducted fieldwork and created a product called TONIQ herbal formula bar which is said to cure cancer." (Herbal cure for cancer, Loujaya Toni, postcourier.com.pg)

Top that Christopher! That's what I call serving the community.

Finessing It in the Victorian & NSW Knessets

Is there anything Australian politicians will not do at the urging of an overweening Israel lobby?

Apparently not: Whether it's throwing a birthday bash for Israel in federal parliament,* making moan over BDS protests,** observing a minute's silence in memory of Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics,*** or observing the usual eternal silence on the subject of Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people, no form of kowtowing is too undignified. And that's just on the federal level!

With the feds in the bag, the lobby has lately turned its attention to state politicians.**** Herewith the latest twists and turns in the Zionist fine tuning of our state political institutions:

Down Victoria way, when faced with a judicial decision not to the liking of Israel lobbyists, Premier Ted Baillieu will make subverting it, through a legislative fiddle, top priority. A judicial confirmation of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly? Now don't you worry about that. We can fix it:

"The Victorian government will investigate whether tougher legislation is needed to prevent political protests closing down businesses, after a magistrate found in favour of anti-Israel demonstrators targeting the Max Brenner chocolate shop chain. Premier Ted Baillieu yesterday led a condemnation of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, as the activists plan to celebrate their court victory with another protest outside the Melbourne shop on Friday. 'The BDS group in my opinion is better titled as bigoted, dangerous and shameful,' Mr Baillieu said. 'They have sought to close down businesses just because they are associated with the state of Israel.' 

"Magistrate Simon Garnett dismissed trespass charges against 16 BDS protesters on Monday, finding they had a lawful right to be in the public space outside the store, and their demonstration in July last year was also lawful and did not present a threat to public order. Mr Garnett refused to dismiss charges of assaulting, hindering and resisting police against 5 of the protesters, with guilty verdicts entered against some yesterday.

"Mr Baillieu said he had asked Attorney-General Robert Clark to work with police to determine what action needed to be taken, refusing to rule out legislative changes to prevent a repeat of Mr Garnett's decision on the trespass charges. 'I remain very concerned when there's any protest that seeks to close down a business,' Mr Baillieu said." (Baillieu seeks to toughen protest laws, Pia Akerman & John Ferguson, The Australian, 25/7/12)

Meanwhile, north of the border in NSW, while you weren't looking (but then this sort of stuff never seems to find its way into the ms media, so don't be too hard on yourselves):

"The President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Yair Miller has been appointed to the state's Parole Authority. State Labor MP, Mr Walt Secord has congratulated Miller on his appointment as a Community Member of the State Parole Authority... Mr Secord, who is deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel said: 'This is an important appointment and an outstanding one. It carries a high level of responsibility. It requires the authority members to balance the need to protect the community with the need to rehabilitate offenders. It requires the wisdom of Solomon, and Yair Miller is well-suited for this position.'" (Yair Miller appointed to Parole Authority, jwire.com, 24/7/12)

Yair Miller, you might remember, was one of the two hugely entertained spectators who sat in the gallery of the NSW Legislative Council and watched as that body whipped itself into a lather over BDS in September last year (See my Witches Brew series 1-9, 17/9/11 - 23/11/11). And by golly we're lucky to get him I can tell you. After all, he's a very busy man. For example, he's not long back from the first Global Israel Diaspora Summit held by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem where "150 young Jewish leaders from around the world" discussed "the most pressing issues facing Israel today, including" - you guessed it! - BDS. (See Miller heads to Israel, jwire.com, 9/7/12)

[*See my March 2008 series The Israeli Occupation of Federal Parliament 1-5; **See my 15/9/11 post Wielding Zionism's Big Stick in the Senate; ***See my 2/7/12 post Massacre Inc; ****See my Witches Brew series 1-9 (17/9/11-23/11/11)]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Permission to Rant

"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." George Orwell

"The tragic death of a six-year-old in the Colorado cinema massacre not only highlights the madness of lax US gun laws, but the attitude of a society that appears all too ready to anaesthetise its young to the consequences of gun violence. A mother's choice to take a six-year-old to a midnight showing of a violent and confronting film is in itself a shocking reminder many parents, even in this country, seem to forget that the young are often unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Reports seem to indicate that this confusion could characterise the mindset of the young mass killer." Richard McCarthy Verrierdale (Qld)

That's about as good as it got in today's cluster of letters on the cinema massacre in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Never quite happy when the penny goes just so far but no further, I thought I'd fill in some of Richard's gaps. Watch the spray:

It takes far more than Hollywood to anaesthetise young Americans to the consequences of gun violence. American gun violence knows no borders. It's imperial, global. It blew Iraq apart. And it's blowing apart Afghanistan and a host of other places around the planet as I type. The very president who makes a show of mourning with the victims of the massacre has a kill list and a proliferating arsenal of drones which rain death and destruction from the skies on men, women and children, mostly brown - and therefore, in the eyes of the president, his Ziocon cabal and their errand boys, guilty as hell.

And seriously, what's that about the inability of the young to differentiate between fantasy and reality? Only the young? If violence is as American as apple pie, fantasy is even more so. Forget the kid, forget the demented murderer, why is the mother, any mother, anyone, flocking to such garbage - at midnight or any other time? What sort of society gets off on batmen, supermen or spidermen for God's sake?

Waiting for Francois Hollande

What a nice man is this shiny new French President, Francois Hollande. After that dreadful, strutting Sarkozy, you cannot help, mes amis, but feel a warm inner glow whenever you see his homely, smiling face on le TV. The thing is, he cares! He really cares!

Regardez as he wags his finger at the Russians who "hinder the search for a solution" in Syria, and earnestly declares that the bloodletting there is tres "unacceptable and intolerable." (Hollande presses Russia over Syria stance, The Daily Star, 17/7/12)

Regardez his deep sympathy for those who are forever on the verge of being pushed into the [Mediterranean] sea by those who don't exist:

"I intend on visiting Israel soon after I win the elections,' said Hollande in an interview with a French-Jewish news website about a week ago. He promised to fight an all out war against anti-Semitism in France, made it clear that he opposed any form of boycotting Israel, avoided repetitive remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and focused on the Iranian issue instead. 'We must be intransigent when it comes to Iran, whose nuclear program is a danger to Israel and world peace,' he said." (Will France's new president Francois Hollande be good for Israel? Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 7/5/12)

Regardez too his recent acknowledgment of past French war crimes:

"French president Francois Hollande has admitted the round-up and deportation of more than 13,000 Jews from Paris during World War II was a 'crime committed in France by France.' At a moving commemoration to mark its 70th anniversary, Mr Hollande praised former president and political rival Jacques Chirac, who in 1995 forced France to face up to its 'dark hours' of Nazi collaboration." (Hollande:we were guilty, The Age, 24/7/12)

What a beautiful man!

So, mes amis, I'm sure it's only be a matter of time before Mister Nice Guy (or Monsieur Petites Blagues (Mr Jokester*) as his devoted people call him) and Friend of Syria acknowledges and commemorates French war crimes committed outside France by France and faces up to France's dark hours of colonial bloodletting... in Syria:

"As pressure [by rebel bands] built on the French forces inside Damascus, military reaction ratcheted up from the comically ineffectual to the staggeringly brutal. Mandate forces tried to deal with [Hasan al-] Kharrat first. On 12 October [1925] a strong force supported by aircraft, tanks, and artillery moved into the Ghuta with a plan to encircle the rebels in the region of al-Zur, which was a heavily wooded area along the river in the eastern Ghuta. Peasants from al-Malayha warned the insurgents of the approach of the French column. The French first pursued Kharrat's band along the banks of the river; though they drew continuous sniper fire, they were unable to bring any rebels into the open. In frustration, they backtracked to the village of al-Malayha, which they looted and burned. The justification for this, intelligence claimed, was that a small boy of the village had alerted the insurgents of the visit of French troops a week earlier. The complicity of the villagers had thus facilitated the capture and humiliation of the earlier French force.

"The French then marched to the village of Jaramana, which they also looted and burned, though aerial and artillery bombardment had mostly destroyed it already. Although they never engaged Kharrat's band in the open, troops executed nearly a hundred villagers in the Ghuta, many of them in their fields and orchards. Mandate soldiers brought their corpses to Damascus as trophies, and they brought a number of prisoners as well. Some of the young male prisoners were publicly shot in Marja Square, the central square of Damascus. Mandate authorities left 16 mutilated corpses on display for most of the day. The dead were 'brigands', and the demolished villages where they had lived were destroyed for the crime of harboring brigands. French troops openly sold their plundered loot in the bazaars." (The Great Syrian Revolt & the Rise of Arab Nationalism, Michael Provence, 2005, pp 101-102)

[*Says his biographer: "Ever since he was a little boy he's used his humor to avoid conflict, to be the good guy, to be friends with everyone, and to avoid questions."]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Max Brenner 19 Cleared

Wonderful news from the Boycott Israel 19 blog:

"The substantive charges against the Max Brenner 19 (besetting and trespass in a public place) have been dismissed this morning in court. Five defendants are however still in court fighting specific charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police. The decision on the substantive charges is nonetheless a big win for our right to protest in public places in Melbourne. We have beaten back their attempt to criminalise dissent and silence the public pro-Palestine voice in Australia." (Substantive charges against Max Brenner protesters dismissed, 23/7/12)

You can read the details at boycottisrael19.wordpress.com.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Soul-Searching for The Greens after Melbourne By-Election

In 2011 in the NSW State seat of Marrickville, Labor's Carmel Tebbutt beat The Greens' Fiona Byrne by the narrowest of margins: 50.9% to 49.1%.

The Murdoch media, aided and abetted by certain Greens members, put it about that Byrne's support for BDS ensured her failure to win the seat for The Greens.

You can read all about it in my 29/3/11 post A Myth Is Born. (See also the following 3 posts with the same title.)

On 21 July 2012, in the Victorian Sate seat of Melbourne, Labor's Jennifer Kannis beat The Greens' Cathy Oke by a slightly less narrow margin: 51.38% to 48.62% (Labor declares in Melbourne by-election, skynews.com.au, 22/7/12).

BDS was not an issue in this election, The Greens having succumbed to the false notion that it was electoral poison: "Neither I nor the Victorian Greens support the BDS movement against the State of Israel." (Kathy Oke quoted in Danby declares war on Greens, The Australian Jewish News, 20/7/12)

When are The Greens going to wake up to the realisation that the real poison is backing away from principled positions, refusing to stand up to the lies of the Murdoch press, and trying to please political Zionists? Until they do, forgive me for considering them (with a few honorable exceptions, such as Fiona Byrne) as merely Labor-lite.

Syria's 'Alawis: A Corrective

Asad Abukhalil, aka The Angry Arab, one of the closest observers of the Syrian scene, was moved recently to blow the following whistle:

"It is the season of open bigotry against 'Alawites - qua 'Alawites. I see it in the Qatari-Saudi media and in the Western media. Western journalists are even justifying the butchery of 'Alawites by gangs of the Free Syrian Army. The coverage is almost exterminationist in aim. Every attack on 'Alawite civilians is coupled with a reference to shabihah (equating the two) and ''Alawite rulers'. It is quite unprecedented. I mean, key elements of the Zionist regime are Jewish, but I never see Western journalists justifying attacks on Israeli civilians [for that reason]. When you read articles on Syria... just replace the word 'Alawite with the word Jewish and see how it sounds. The fact that the Syrian regime is 'Alawite does NOT mean 1) that the regime has not repressed anyone and everyone regardless of sect: the key criterion is [regime] loyalty and not sect; 2) that the regime would have survived and endured without support from non-'Alawites (13-14% of the population); 3) that there has ever been a consensus among 'Alawites in support of the Asad regime. Overall, the Western media adhere to liberal standards - except when it comes to the Middle East. Then they start sounding like Europe's fascist media." (Angry Arab News Service, 20/7/12)

So what's really going on here?

It should never be forgotten that Israel, the archetypal Middle Eastern sectarian state, has long dreamt of remaking the area into a sectarian patchwork under its domination. The "most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date [1982] of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East," to borrow the words of scholar Israel Shahak, is the nightmare scenario of Israeli journalist and foreign ministry official Oded Yinon:

"Lebanon's total dissolution into 5 provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in the present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi'ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today." (A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties)

The Ziocon-initiated, US-led war on Iraq, which tore apart the cohesive, non-sectarian Ba'thist state and society there, effectively reducing it to three separate sectarian statelets (Shia, Sunni, Kurd), has been Israel's signal success so far. Syria could well be its second - helped along, if not yet a Libyan-style intervention, then at least by covert USraeli involvement.

Side by side with those mysterious explosions* aimed at key members of the Asad regime, the Western press has begun disseminating  Zionist fantasies of a dismembered Syria. Examples include US Zionist academic Franck Salameh's speculation about the 'logic' of a separate 'Alawi state in Syria (An Alawite State in Syria? nationalinterest.org, 10/7/12) and the following ludicrous analogising by Jonathan Kay of the Ziocon Foundation for Defence of Democracies:

"A small, marginalised people, kicked around the Middle East for centuries by Muslim empires, finally carves out an independent home for itself on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. But life remains precarious: Islamists seek to delegitimize the newly established homeland, declaiming the ruling sect as a gang of infidel occupiers. Now, the simmering hatred of the occupied people finally has been transformed into an unstoppable political and military intifada - cheered on by Western human-rights advocates... Like Israel's Jews, members of the 'Alawi sect in Syria regard their control of the nation as an existential issue. There is only one 'Alawi state, just as there is only one Jewish state, and its destruction would mean the end of the 'Alawis as a political entity on the world stage - probably forever." (How Assad's fall will lay ruin to the Alawi once-in-a-millenium promised land, nationalpost.com, 9/7/12)

To help clarify the position of the 'Alawis in Syria and chart a way through the ms media propaganda fog currently directed at them, a species of sectarian agitprop exposed so perceptively by Abukhalil, I thought it might be useful to present the following relatively objective assessment of Syria's 'Alawi community and its links with the ruling Asad dynasty. It comes from a 1991 Human Rights Watch publication, Syria Unmasked: The Suppression of Human Rights by the Asad Regime:

"Hafez Asad [Bashar's father] and many of his associates are 'Alawis, Syria's largest minority community. The 'Alawis, who number about 1.4 million, have their origins in peasant villages in the Jabal al-Ansariya mountain chain near Syria's Mediterranean coast. There they lived in relative isolation until fairly recently, preserving their heterodox beliefs. Extremely poor, many farmed the land of absentee Sunni landlords from Lataqia or Hama (though there were some 'Alawi landlords). The Sunni-'Alawi tension in Syria has its roots, in part, in this class distinction.

"In the 1940s, many ambitious 'Alawi youth entered the army or the Homs Military Academy - admission after 1945 was no longer based on social background - as a way of moving up in the world. And many did rise swiftly in the late 1940s and 1950s as military coups decimated the upper ranks of the officer corps. The Ba'th party also attracted some of these young 'Alawis, including Hafez Asad. By the early 1960s, many noncommissioned and junior officers were 'Alawis. Some of these young officers eventually led the party to power in 1963.

"Unable to rely on mass support, the Ba'thist officers turned to reliable co-religionists to secure control over the military. An 'Alawi officer named Salah Jadid assumed control over military assignments and promotions. In 1963, he purged some 700 officers, replacing more than half with 'Alawis.

"With Jadid's coup in 1966, an 'Alawi network emerged at the heart of the regime. Hafez Asad's coup in 1970 brought even more 'Alawis into top posts in the Ba'th party, security services, and key army units. Since then, the security services and commands of the key military units at the division and brigade levels have been securely in 'Alawi hands. Some two-thirds of Military Academy students and over half of the top ranks of the officer corps are also 'Alawis. The Ba'th party, too, has been strikingly 'Alawi, though less so than the military-security nexus. Both the Regional Command and the Central Committee have had a markedly 'Alawi membership - between a quarter and a half of the total. This is also true of other key party organs.

"At the very top, personal connections are narrower than 'Alawi status alone, and include relations to the Asad family, membership in Asad's 'clan', or ties to his natal village of Qardaha. Many of the top security chiefs, such as 'Ali Duba and Muhammad al-Kuly, belong to these more intimate circles.

"'Alawis have increasingly made large fortunes, usually through their connection to the security apparatus. They are to be found disproportionately among the country's foremost real estate magnates, construction billionaires, and wealthy black marketeers. Muhammad Haydar, for example, amassed a large fortune as the regime's economic chief in the 1970s; his kickbacks earned him the sobriquet 'Mister 5%'. Rif'at as-Asad became the richest of them all. With profits from smuggling and protection rackets, he built up an international portfolio of investments, including a casino in Malta, a hotel in Marseilles, a cement factory in East Beirut, a publishing company in Paris, and even a sizable bloc of shares in the Anglo-French Chunnel.

"In addition to making money, many 'Alawis have risen through the university and joined the professions and intelligentsia. Although influence and favoritism may have helped some, a number are very gifted and have taken their place among Syria's foremost filmmakers and authors.

"The regime has tried to organize the entire 'Alawi community as a base of support with partial success. Jamil al-Asad, another of the president's brothers, founded the 'Alawi-based Imam 'Ali Murtada Committee to galvanize 'Alawis behind the regime in the late 1970s, when it was most threatened. But such a blatantly sectarian group became an embarrassment and Asad disbanded it in 1983. There remain many poor 'Alawis who receive few benefits from the fact that they are so well represented at the top. Many 'Alawi intellectuals are sharply critical of the regime. And many 'Alawis are active in the secular opposition parties, especially in the Party for Communist Action, which is heavily 'Alawi both in its leadership and in its rank and file.

"At the same time, Sunnis, together with a handful of Druze and Kurds, have occupied many top posts, even if they may have been excluded from the innermost circles of power. Among the top Sunni officeholders are Vice President 'Abd al-Halim Khaddam, Defence Minister Mustafa Tlas, Ba'th Assistant Secretary-General 'Abdullah al-Ahmar, and Army Chief-of-Staff Hikmat Shihabi. Many of these figures have profited as handsomely as their 'Alawi counterparts. Tlas, for example, has amassed a fortune over the years and owns a well-known publishing company as well as agricultural properties and manufacturing concerns.

"Nor has 'Alawi domination of the regime necessarily kept many Sunni merchants and businesspeople from prospering. Among the more prominent are Othman al-'Aidi, owner of the Sham and Merinid hotel chains, and Badr al-Din Shallah, president of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce and a trader in agricultural produce. Christians, such as Armenian construction magnate Pyzant Ya'qubian, also have an important place among the business elite, as do those from other minorities, such as Shi'i tourism king Saib Nahhas.

"'Alawi favoritism is far from absolute. Nor is it in any way incorporated in law. But it is reasonable to conclude that the domination of the commanding heights by an 'Alawi clique has soured group relations in the country and detracted from the development of a secular and integrated Syrian society." (pp 93-94)

[*The latest of which has been described by the clueless Anthony Loyd of my previous post simply as a "rebel bomb" (Death of loyalists a blow to Assad, The Times/The Australian, 20/7/12).]

Friday, July 20, 2012

He Who Pays the Piper...

... calls the tune:

"A distant sponsor finances the war among the olive groves and walnut trees high on the Jebel Akrad mountains. Sometimes he supplies the rebel fighters there with weapons and ammunition. More often he gives them money, hundreds of thousands of Syrian pounds, that are carried along hidden trails by a courier coming from Turkey. With the sponsor's support, the rebels can raid, harry and ambush the logistic routes and outposts of the Syrian army in the valley beneath them. Without it, the hundred men of the Thwar [sic: thuwwaar] Tahrir khattiba [sic:katiiba], one of a dozen rebel units in the area, would be little more than desperate renegades struggling to survive. There is one major problem in the relationship. The rebels do not know who their sponsor is. 'We know what we are fighting against, but we don't know exactly who we are fighting for,' admitted the khattiba's [sic] commander, Lieutenant Ahmad, a tall athletic man in his mid-20s who was an infantry officer in the Syrian army before defecting 7 months ago to join the rebel Free Syrian Army. 'A middleman in Turkey masks the sponsor's identity. We can never deal with him directly. At the moment there are no conditions to the money and weapons we receive, but I'm worried that one day there might be.'... There are strong moral arguments for arming the rebels and ending President Bashar al-Assad's regime, but who exactly is financing the revolution and what is their agenda?" (Mystery donor causes unease among rebels, Anthony Loyd, The Times/The Australian, 19/7/12) 

Here we are - 2012 - and the source of the FSA's funds is a complete mystery! Who could the mystery donor possibly be? Well, as Dr Phil never tires of reminding us - the best predictor of future behavior is the past. So, going with Dr Phil's dictum, I offer the following extracts from CIA agent Wilbur Crane Eveland's 1980 book Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East in answer to Anthony Loyd's question:

"Leaving on the morning of July 24 [1956], I drove to Damascus and, as usual, registered at the Omayad. [Michail Bey] Ilyan [leader of the conservative Populist Party and wealthy landowner from Aleppo] would hear of my arrival, I knew, but this time I was reluctant to meet in his suite, which I assumed to be a target for bugging by the local surete. Employing what I could remember of my counterintelligence training, I searched my room for listening devices. Finally, feeling fairly secure, I was ready to discuss money with Michail Bey.

"When he arrived I pointed a finger at my ear and then turned up the radio to indicate that our talk would be secret and that the whinning Oriental music would prevent any eavesdropper from hearing what was said. This conspiratorial beginning seemed to delight Ilyan, who drew his chair close to mine and hunched over with elbows on his knees. Head bowed, looking alternately at me and the floor, my conspirator flicked his worry beads at a speed I thought might match that of the abacus clicking in his head to come up with a price tag for his operations.

"Telling him I'd been back to Washington and now had word of American plans, I said that we were prepared to consider helping him and his fellow Syrians help themselves... I asked what plans he had in mind, what support he'd need... and how long it would take to get results.

"A good 15 minutes of silence and worry-bead twirling followed as Ilyan stared intently at the rug on the floor. Finally, he made his proposal. 'Ya Ahmee, it will take money - much of it and soon - to care for the press, the 'street', key army officers, and others. When I asked him if the politicians too would want money, or if saving their country and their fortunes would be enough, Ilyan gave me a look I'd last seen when my mother had prepared to wash out my mouth with soap. 'Mr Eveland,' Ilyan said, 'we don't expect anything for ourselves. It's just those who have been offered dirty money to oppose us whom we'll have to buy off.' Far from convinced that I'd met my first honest man in the Middle East, I said I'd have to assure Washington that no pockets would be lined with our money. I'd not meant to offend him, of course, I added.

"Since getting down to specifics seemed impossible before we had a firm plan of action, I decided to try for an estimate of money and a time frame. After more silence, tongue clicking, and rustling of beads, Ilyan asked for 'a half-million and at least 30 days.' Since he hadn't said which currency he was referring to - about 3 Syrian pounds made a dollar - I deliberately chose the lesser possibility, saying that it would take time for the people who handled such things to collect that much Syrian currency on the Lebanese money market." (pp 202-203)

"Harvey Armado, head of the regional finance office of the Beirut CIA station, was one of the busiest members of the staff. Beyond his fiscal responsibility for the administrative and operational activities of all stations in the Middle East, Armado worked under direct orders from Washington on worldwide financial transactions. Having no prohibitions on foreign-exchange transactions, Lebanon was an ideal location for such activities... [W]hen I called on Armado to say I needed a half-million Syrian pounds, he hardly blinked. Did I need new money, old money, a mixture? Bundled or boxed? When I professed ignorance, Harvey suggested a combination of old and new Syrian bills from various banks in Syria, so that their Lebanese origin could not be traced from the bands on the bundles. 'Give me 2 days,' he said, 'and I'll have it for you in a nice suitcase purchased in Damascus.'" (pp 217-218)

"Now the winding mountain road I'd travelled so often before made it possible for me to watch for the headlights that would betray any car in pursuit. Ten miles into the mountains, as instructed, I reverseed my direction and checked the deserted highway over which I'd just passed. Coming back, at the Bludhan turning I swung left onto the casino road, which was steep, narrow, and winding - just right for me to be able to be sure I was alone. Finally I reached the old French gambling casino Ilyan had spoken of, which was dark - there was only a watchman's light inside. Turning around in the parking area, I drove back and found the side road that Ilyan had designated for our meeting place.

"There was no sign of life anywhere, as my odometer showed me that I'd gone the 2 miles described as the point at which I should make a U-turn and pull off the road. Alone in the stillness, I took stock of my situation. I was frightened. My mind kept racing. I thought I heard noises. Was I just imagining things? Then, from behind, I heard dogs barking, and soon a swaying lantern came into view. It was a Bedouin camel caravan, I realized. Just before it reached me, I stepped from the car and pretended to relieve myself in the ditch. Too scared to do anything more, I simply hoped that they weren't robbers and shuddered with relief as the caravan passed out of sight and beyond hearing.

"What seemed like an eternity was in fact only about 10 minutes before a car's headlights came bouncing into view and the dark bulk of Ilyan's limousine showed that my wait had come to an end. Shocked to see that he himself was not driving, I demanded to know why he hadn't come alone. His answer was simple enough: he'd never learned how to drive. In any case, he said, he trusted his driver, Artim, as he would a brother. So, as America's candidate for changing Syria's government puffed complacently in the back-seat on a long cigar, Artim and I transferred the suitcase, and finally the Chrysler went off in a cloud of dust.

"Sighing with relief, I drove back to Beirut, gradually relaxing as the cold mountain air blew about me. When I arrived at my apartment, I poured myself a stiff drink, sat on the balcony, and stayed until the sun came up, still thinking that the suitcase I'd handled might have a profound effect on 7 million Syrian lives." (pp 222-223)

Petras: From Welfare to Police State

Central to any real understanding of what's going on in the US today (with inevitable repercussions for the rest of us) is the deep and searching analysis of James Petras. Here's the conclusion to his latest essay The Great Transformation: From the Welfare State to the Imperial Police State. Do yourselves a favour and read the whole thing at petras.lahaine.org. And yes, Israel has a starring role:

"The conversion of a welfare state into a police state is the result of a militarized imperialism abroad and the ascendancy of finance capital at home, as well as the proliferation of security state agencies and related private industries and the strategic role of rightwing Zionists in top positions of the police state apparatus.

"This convergence of international and domestic structural changes took hold during the 1980s and 1990s and accelerated during the first decade of the 21st century. The downgrading of the vast public services of the welfare state was covered up by a massive government propaganda campaign to promote the 'global war on terror' together with a fabricated widespread domestic 'terrorist threat' involving the most hapless of suspects (including oddball Haitian millenarianists entrapped by FBI agents). The supporters and beneficiaries of the welfare state found themselves on the margins of any national debate. The mass media/regime propaganda campaign demanded and secured massive increases in centralized powers of domestic policing, surveillance, provocations, disappearances and arrests. Throughout the past decade, what the welfare state lost in support and funding, the police state gained. The rise of finance capital and the deregulation of the financial system crowded out any public subsidies to promote and sustain the competitiveness of the US manufacturing sector. This has led to a major break in the links between industry, labor and the welfare state. Huge tax write-offs to big business, combined with the growth in expenditures for a non-productive police state bureaucracy and a series of costly overseas wars, has led to unsustainable budget and trade deficits, which then became the pretext for the further savaging of the welfare state.

"Significant political, cultural and ideological shifts have aided the rise of the police state over the welfare state. The success of prominent American Zionists in securing power within key media propaganda mills and obtaining appointments to critical positions in the top echelons of the police state apparatus, judiciary, and imperial state bureaucracy (Treasury and State Department) has put Israel's colonial interests and its police state apparatus at the center of US politics. The US police state has adopted Israeli-style repression targeting US citizens and residents.

"US society is now split into two sectors: the 'winners' linked to the expanding and lucrative finance-security complex embedded in the police state while the 'losers', tied to the manufacturing-welfare sector, are relegated to an increasingly marginalized 'civil society'. The police state purges dissidents who question the 'Israel-First doctrine' of the US security-military apparatus. The finance sector, embedded in its own luxurious 'cocoon' of private services, demands the total gutting of public services directed toward the poor, working and middle classes. The public treasury has been taken over in order to finance bank bailouts, imperial wars and police state agencies while paying the bondholders of US debt. 

"Social security is on target to be privatized. Pensions are to be reduced, delayed and self-financed. Food stamps, access to affordable health care and unemployment support will be slashed. The police state cannot pay for glitzy new repressive technologies, greater policing, more intrusive surveillance, arrests and prisons while financing the existing welfare state with its vast education, health and human services and pension benefits.

"In sum, there is no future for social welfare in the US within its powerful financial-imperial-police state system. Both major political parties nurture this system, support serial wars, appeal to the financial elites and debate the size, scope and timing for further cuts in social welfare.

"The American social welfare system was a product of an earlier phase of US capitalism where US global industrial supremacy allowed for both military spending and welfare support, and where US military spending was constrained by the demands of the domestic socio-economic sectors of manufacturing capital and 'labor'. In an earlier phase Zionist influence was based on wealthy individuals and their congressional 'lobby' - they did not occupy key federal policy-making positions setting the agendas for war in the Middle East and a domestic police state.

"Times have changed for the worse: a police state, linked to militarism and perpetual imperial wars in the Middle East has gained ascendancy and now impacts our everyday lives. Underlying both the growth of the police state and the erosion of the welfare state is the rise of an interlocking 'financial-security power elite', held together by a common ideology, unprecedented private wealth and a relentless drive to monopolize the public treasury to the detriment of the vast majority of Americans. A confrontation and full exposure of all the self-serving propaganda which underpins the power elite is an essential first step [to change]. The enormous budgets for imperial wars are the greatest threat to US welfare. The police state erodes real public services and undermines social movements. Finance capital pillages the public treasury, demanding bailouts and subsidies for the banks. Israel Firsters, in key decision-making positions, serve the interests of a foreign police state against the interests of the American people. The state of Israel is the mirror opposite of what we Americans want for ourselves and our children: a free and independent secular republic without colonial settlements, clerical racism, and destructive self-serving militarism.

"Today the fight to restore the advances in citizens' welfare, established through public programs of the recent past, requires that we transform an entire structure of power: true welfare reform requires a revolutionary strategy and, above all, a grass-roots mass movement breaking with the entrenched 'two party' regime tied to the financial-imperial-internal security system."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unrequited Love

The love affair between Christian Zionists and political Zionists is a very one-sided affair.

No matter how many times Christian Zionists bill and coo their very special term of endearment - Judeo-Christian - the thoroughly narcissistic objects of their passion never really seem to get past the Judeo- bit.

And should any Christian Zionist be so bold as to touch on the subject of selective hearing, some of the more short-fused Israeli lover-boys have even been known to lash out and slap their Christian Zionist bitches around something terrible. Strangely, though, this never seems to dim the Christian Zionist ardour. Maybe they even see it as a turn-on:

"Israeli member of parliament Michael Ben-Ari publicly tore up a Hebrew Christian Bible after lawmakers expressed outrage that the religious text was sent to all parliamentarians by a Christian group, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. Israeli daily Maariv said Ben-Ari, of the right-wing National Union party, said 'This vile book has caused the death of millions of Jews and sending it is rude and provocative missions work by the church.' Throwing away the annotated Hebrew Old and New Testaments, he said: 'The place of this book and its senders is the dustbin of history,' according to the report." (Report: Israeli MK tears up Bible, maannews.net, 19/7/12)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adjective Power

Every so often along comes a letter to the editor that, like LSD, takes the mind to places it's never been before. And here it is, as you'd expect, in today's Australian:

"Israel takes in all Jewish asylum-seekers and refugees no matter where from. It does this even though it is only one third the size of Tasmania and has no oil wealth and receives no subsidies from the UN or NGOs to cover the cost of resettlement. "Considering so many asylum-seekers come from Islamic countries and claim they are not coming to Australia for economic reasons, they could all be easily resettled in any one of the 57 Islamic countries including their transit points of Indonesia and Malaysia." Michael Burd, Toorak, Vic.

Take that opening sentence for example. It reveals with blinding clarity the sheer transformative power of a simple adjective, in this case 'Jewish'. Simply by qualifying the words 'asylum-seeker' and 'refugee' with the word 'Jewish', Mr Burd actually gets to fool some folks out there that Israel, whose major export since birth has been Palestinian refugees, not only inhabits the moral high ground when it comes to refugees, but is actually (especially with the additions of a) third-size-Tasmania, b) no-oil-wealth, and c) no-UN/NGO-subsidies) a shining example for places like Australia when it comes to the treatment of these unfortunate people.

Just think of the possibilities!

If only some defender of the Third Reich, all those decades ago, had marketed Nazi Germany as a taker of all Aryan asylum-seekers and refugees no matter where from, people might have overlooked the non-Aryans fleeing for their lives or languishing (and worse) in concentration camps.

If only some defender of apartheid South Africa had proclaimed that South Africa takes in all White supremacist asylum-seekers and refugees no matter where from, maybe no one would have noticed the legalised discrimination and casual brutality suffered by non-whites.

See what I mean? A simple, well-placed adjective and you're sure to fool at least some of the readers (or, seeing your letter's in The Australian, most probably all of its readers).

But there's more! Take the adjective 'Islamic' (which Mr Burd trots out in his second paragraph), for example. I had no idea before reading his mind-expanding letter that, simply because a country, perhaps by virtue of maybe having a simple Muslim majority, could be deemed Islamic, an asylum-seeker or refugee, whether true believer or no, could easily be resettled there.

Just imagine, as long as the receiving country is 'Islamic', then all other differences, ethnic, cultural and linguistic simply melt away. Our Muslim asylum-seeker/refugee could be equally easily resettled in Saudi Arabia, Mali or Turkmenistan. Likewise, whether your 'Islamic' country be filthy rich, dirt poor or somewhere in between, it simply wouldn't matter.

Think of the possibilities here. Tony Abbott, for example, could swim out to a boatload of Shiite Hazaras from Afghanistan, attach a rope, and with the other end held firmly in his clenched teeth, single-handedly tow them all the way to Sunni, nay Wahhabi, Saudi Arabia. End of problem. (Maybe end of Hazaras too.)

But there's more, and this is the real power of adjectives! By deploying such heavyweights as 'Jewish', 'Islamic', 'Christian' and so on (black, white, brown and yellow have sort of had their day), you get to foment, spread, hype or reinforce division along sectarian lines. You get to promote that wonderful Clash of Civilizations game that so many of the punters, especially those who read The Australian, love to play.

And, wonder of wonders, you get to drive home the concept and fact of a 'Jewish' state as natural and inevitable. Works a treat.

The Great White Hope

"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was holding talks with Egypt's top military leaders last night, just hours after calling for them to help smooth the country's full transition to democracy... Choosing her words carefully in the politically charged atmosphere, Mrs Clinton said 'It is very clear that Egyptians are in the midst of complex negotiations about the transition, including the make-up of parliament, a new constitution and the full powers of the President. Democracy is hard,' she said." (Democracy is hard, Hillary Clinton tells Egypt, AFP, The Australian, 16/7/12)

Too hard for Americans, apparently:

"Polls show that voters all over the US are losing faith in their elected leaders. But the 900 residents of Talkeetna, Alaska, say their mayor is doing a great job bringing in tourist dollars and has served in office for over a decade. 'He's good. He's probably the best we've ever had,' resident Lauri Stec tells KTUU. 'He was just in the Alaska Magazine, and he's been featured in a few different things.' In fact, Stec hangs out with Mayor Stubbs most days at Nagley's General Store, even though she notes, 'He's growling at me right now.' That's because the 15-year-old mayor is actually a cat, who was elected to office as a write-in candidate shortly after his birth. In the United States voters can write the name of their preferred candidate if that person (or cat) isn't officially on the ballot. According to locals, residents at the time weren't excited by their candidates, so they voted for the cat 'as a joke'." (Cat celebrates 15 years as mayor, au.news.yahoo.com, 17/7/12)

"AJ Wade, a lifelong Democrat and one of 3 elected commissioners who run Hardy County in West Virginia, fiddles with his bolo tie as he tries to explain the results of his party's presidential primary, back in May. 'People here,' he says, 'would have voted for Mickey Mouse if he'd been on the ballot.' The fictional rodent was not running, however, so they ended up supporting a much less appealing candidate: Keith Judd, a convict serving a 17-year sentence for extortion in a Texan jail. Mr Judd won 58% of the vote in Hardy County to Barack Obama's 42%." (What's eating Appalachia? Many Democrats in the region seem to hate their president, The Economist, 7/7/12)

"[Economist Brett Bartlett says]'US public policy analysts aren't meant to make comparisons with the 1930s, but it is beginning to look like the Weimar Republic.' [Conservative journalist Michael] Fumento's view is equally bleak, though he looks to the Bible for analogy. 'If King Solomon was in the United States today and threatened to kill the baby, you know what the Democrats and Republicans would say? 'They'd say cut the little bastard in half.'" (Radicals push members out on a wing, Nick O'Malley, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/7/12)

Physician, heal thyself.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Undergraduate Editorialising at the Herald

Just how the Fairfax press hopes to lay claim to being a source of so-called quality journalism with its July 16 editorial, Time to tighten the screws on Syria's Assad, is beyond me:

"Another massacre has reportedly been carried out in Syria, possibly bigger than anything before in an uprising turning steadily into a civil war. Accounts relayed from the Sunni opposition say it followed a familiar pattern: bombardment of a rebellious village by the Assad government's helicopter gunships and tanks, then Shiite militiamen sent in with guns and knives to finish off survivors. The work of 'terrorists', says the government. The truth will gradually emerge, but is an imperfect picture."

That's July 16. And yet, the same issue contains a July 14 New York Times report that completely contradicts the preceding paragraph:

"New details emerging Saturday about what local Syrian activists called a massacre of civilians near the central city of Hama indicated that it was more likely an uneven clash between the heavily armed Syrian military and local fighters bearing light weapons." (Young fighters, not civilians, the victims of slaughter in Syria, Neil MacFarquhar)

Now where did those knife-weilding Shiite (Shiite for God's sake?) militiamen go?

OK, so Asad's biggest massacre yet, complete with shelling, shabiha and helicopter gunships, has been whittled down in the same issue to just another clash between the Syrian army and the armed opposition. And yet, on the basis of this hyped version of events in the village of Tremseh, drawn presumably from such oracles of truth as the Saudi/Qatari-funded Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Ziocon-linked Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,* the editorialist sees fit to launch into the following bizarre speculation:

"Already the shape of a worldwide violent schism in Islam, akin to the Reformation wars in medieval Christendom, can be visualised. As far afield as East Java in Indonesia, where Shiites are being jailed for heresy, or Mali, where ancient folk shrines to Islamic saints are being demolished, those who believe they hold to purity of belief are exerting their oppressive ways. Syria is the emerging vortex of this sectarian war, threatening to spill conflict into neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq - and with Israel and the Palestinians nervous close onlookers."

Where do I begin?

First the obvious historical errors: 1) The Reformation wasn't "in medieval Christendom" (5th-15th centuries), it followed it (16th century); 2) We are not today witnessing a "schism" in Islam. The split between Sunni and Shia Islam occurred as long ago as the 7th century.

Anyway, what I can't quite get my poor old head around here is that if Asad is the target of the editorial, why is the editorialist blathering on about those who "hold to purity of belief" and are "exerting their oppressive ways"? Obviously, he can't mean the secular, multi-confessional Ba'athist regime of Asad, oppressive though it undoubtedly is. (After all he talks elsewhere about "Syrian Christians clinging to [Asad's] regime out of fear of what Sunni dominance and the influential Muslim Brotherhood might bring.") So is he hush hush about the armed and highly sectarian Salafite/Muslim Brotherhood opposition to Asad because this would contradict his call for tightening the screws on Asad?

Truly this is undergraduate stuff.

Finally, and so predictably for a Fairfax outlet, there's the area's always innocent bystander, Israel, off on the side, nervously fretting over the carnage across the border. The cluelessness is complete.

So what to do? Join the party, of course:

"As much as the Western powers are weary of intervention in the Islamic world, the time has approached for force to be more closely considered."

Now don't you just love that bit about the "Western powers [being] weary of intervention in the Islamic world"? 

My God, is the lion weary of preying on the wildebeest? Is the great white shark weary of lunging at the surfer? Is heat hot? From what far-flung galaxy does our editorialist hail?

Take it away, Gina! Someone! Anyone!

[*See The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking? Charlie Skelton, The Guardian, 12/7/12.]

Monday, July 16, 2012

Labor Isn't a Brand, It's a Zionist Cause

"Delegates, sometimes when reforming our great Party is talked about, people say there is a problem with the Labor brand. But delegates, Labor isn't a brand, it's a cause." (Prime Minister Julia Gillard, NSW ALP State Conference, 15/7/12)

But what kind of cause? Alas, a deeply Zionist one.

Just follow the thread:

"A story of plot and counter plot, of frustration and ultimate success was told by The Right Honourable Dr HV Evatt to over 400 people at the Maccabean Hall when the Jewish National Fund opened its Jubilee Year last Monday night. Dr Evatt was President of UN committee on Palestine in 1947, and in 1949 was chairman of the Paris Assembly which debated the Trusteeship of Palestine. Later as Australia's delegate to UN he exercised his chairman's casting vote and was instrumental in having Israel admitted to UN membership. 'Australia stood for justice and had a knowledge of what justice demanded,' said Dr Evatt. 'When the debate was taking place on the establishment of Israel as a State, Australia did not avoid its responsibilities - it voted 'yes' and also voted for full recognition instead of de facto recognition.' Dr Evatt said Israel would stand side by side with Australia in the name of democracy and law and will do all it can to avert war. Mr A Landa, MLA, declared that if it were not for Dr Evatt in the years of 1947-49, Israel - who knows - may not have been in existence today... Mr Landa described Israel as a bastion of democracy in the Middle East. Mr HB Newman presented Dr Evatt with a parchment which was a certificate showing that a forest of 10,000 trees had been contributed by the Australian Jewish community and planted in Israel in Dr Evatt's name." (Dr Evatt at JNF Jubilee, Sydney Jewish News, 24/3/52)

"The ACTU president, Mr [Bob] Hawke, said yesterday that if he were the Israeli prime minister he would drop an atomic bomb on invading Arabs." (Hawke: I'd A-bomb Arabs, Chris Forsyth, The Daily Telegraph, 16/2/74)*

"UNION CHIEF WHO SAID: 'I'm proud our nation helped to kill Hamas terrorist in Dubai'... come hear outspoken Paul Howes." (JNF ad for its 2010 AGM, The Australian Jewish News, 7/5/10)**

"... ALP officials, Eric Roozendaal and Mark Arbib have spoken to me and requested that I should have my speeches vetted, visit the Holocaust Memorial, visit Israel and meet with members of various Jewish organisations..." (Julia Irwin, former Labor member for Fowler, August 2010)***

[*See my 13/7/10 post The Heart that Throbs for Bomber Bob; **See my 8/5/10 post Zionism Red in Tooth & Claw; ***See my 11/8/10 post Julia Irwin Spills the Beans.]

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Labor Elders Vet the Ideal Potential Candidate

"NSW Labor will vet the personal, financial and political history of potential candidates for the first time to ensure they do not bring the party into disrepute." (Robertson to put candidates under spotlight, Sean Nicholls, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/7/12)

Now how would that work in practice?

Something like this, I imagine:

Mark Arbib: Hello, Potential Candidate. Please, don't be deceived - despite our youthful appearance, we're actually Venerable Party Elders. My name's Mark, and this is Eric. Do you know who we are?

Potential Candidate: Oh, yes. Mark Arbib and Eric Roozendaal. And, I might add, to know you is to love you.

MA: Very good. So you want to become a Labor politician?

PC: Yes, very much.

MA: How much do you want to become a Labor politician?

PC: What's the going rate? $139,544 per annum? And the electoral allowance? $41,110? That's $180,654 pa. That's how much. Oh, yeah, and I'd sell my sainted mother too.

MA: Well, I must say we're impressed, aren't we Eric? Your motives sound beyond impeccable. But first we've got to ask you some very important questions that relate to hardcore Labor values.

PC: Shoot!

MA: I'm going to say a word and I want you to say the first thing that comes into your head, OK? Ready?

PC: I think I can guess already.

MA: OK, here's the word: 'Israel'.

PC: I know... 'vibrant'!

MA: Good boy! That means the rest should be a breeze. Eric?

Eric Roozendaal: Now keeping in mind this word association thing, what historical era comes to mind when I say the letters B... D... S...?

PC: Every time I hear those letters I'm transported back to... late thirties Germany: I see broken glass, Nazi stormtroopers, cowering Jewish shopkeepers... dreadful!

ER: Wonderful! Now when I say the words 'apartheid state' what comes to mind?

PC: South Africa, only South Africa, and nothing but South Africa.

ER: Excellent! And now for the taste test. Bring out the cups of hot chocolate, Mark. Right. Now I want you to take a sip from each of these two cups and...

PC: Excuse me... there's no need. The heavenly aroma wending its way into my flaring nostrils from the one on the right has to be... can only be... from Max Brenner's. I've been an addict for years.

Mark Arbib: Well, that's good enough for us, eh Eric? You've passed with flying colours. Welcome to the parliamentary Labor Party, young fella. Name your seat.

[*"[Mark Arbib] kept a tight rein on the state MPs. Julia Irwin, then member for Fowler, says he responded to a speech she gave on the rights of Palestinians by ordering her to take a trip to Israel and asking her to submit further speeches on the Middle East to him for clearance." (In Richo's footsteps, Labor's new Mr Fix-it, Deborah Snow, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/7/10); **On Roozendaal see my 14/11/11 post Witches Brew 7.]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ersatz Israel 2

"Whereas the new immigrants and their leaders, Dr Weizmann and Mr Brandeis and all the rest, had nothing of their own, even to force. The leaders talked so much of the Jewish nation and of Jewish culture that it was not seen that they had neither of these things in their baggage. They brought culture with them, but it was not Jewish: they brought Jews with them who proceeded to regenerate Palestine in a way any Occidental might have employed.

"They made great play of their introduction of Hebrew, which they caused to be made into an official language. On the very postage-stamps of Palestine they had the words 'Eretz Israel' ('the land of Israel') placed. But it would have been nearer to truth if the inscription had been 'Ersatz Israel.' They might talk Hebrew, but there was not a Hebrew deed done by them; they had, in a sense, to translate all their acts into it. The Hebrew with which they covered the surface of the National Home was like one of those figures in eighteenth-century farthingales which some people use to cover their telephones. That appliance, in fact, might well serve as an illustration of what, under their veil of Hebrew letters, the political Zionists represented. They were as utilitarian, progressive and scientific as telephones, and not a whit more national. In those early 'twenties the immigrants no more brought to Palestine the first fruits of a distinctive culture and civilization than these would have been brought there by the imposition of 31,000 telephone instruments.

"Nor, during the years which have passed since then, have their successors contributed the overdue crop. Just the reverse. As their numbers and power in the country have increased, all they have done has been to suck more and more national life out of it. Their institutions have grown more and more extraneous, to culminate in their monstrous Tel-Aviv, a great false hump strapped on to the shrinking back of Palestine.

"There are over 100,000 Jews in Tel-Aviv and none but Jews in it, yet it is as much a Jewish city as is London by Aldgate, or any other 'Jewish Quarter' in any other Western metropolis. In these 'Jewish Quarters' who but the Jews have been assimilated? The Kosher notices, the shop signs in strange characters, all the emblems of the sort meeting the eye, are nothing to set against the anglicization of Aldgate's denizens. Jewish life in the 'Jewish Quarter' has no doubt its faithful core, but for ever-increasing thousands it becomes a matter of a few labels, a few dishes of food, a round of Saturday sabbaths approximating more and more each year to the dechristianized Sunday sabbaths of the enveloping multitudes.

"Tel-Aviv is the embodiment of these conditions. It is nothing but the largest of all 'Jewish Quarters,' and, since its inhabitants come from so many sources, possibly the least individual, least nationalist, most heteroclite of any.

"This is a staggering thought, when it is remembered that by their own title, falsified though it be, the political Zionists were imposed upon Palestine in order to install there a thoroughly Jewish national civilization. Despite all their ability they have been unable to produce anything of this save here and there some of its unwarranted outer symbols. The truth is that their ability has no Jewish character, and only aims at producing the common occidental type of public works and places of instruction and of entertainment. The university, the technical schools, the laboratories, the experimental farms, the friendly societies, the discussion-groups, the symphony orchestras - they have them all, and a host of like institutions.

"The National Home has even blossomed into 'lidos' in the Hyde Park manner, imitations of imitations. As an ingenuous British Jew said to an acquaintance of mine, to whom he was discoursing enrapturedly of developments on the Zionist rivieras, 'It's wonderful what they've done in a few years. It'll soon be like Ramsgate.' Precisely.

"Nothing but Ramsgate indeed in its least Kentish aspect or some Central European spa was ever to be expected. In trivial and minor things the National Home population always has had the mentality and the practices which have corresponded to those of its leaders in weighty and major things. The Zionist leaders summoning Mr Ormsby-Gore to heel, the Zionist scientist spending long vigils at his experimental bench, the Zionist schoolmasters in their classrooms, the Zionist industrialist popularizing some product, the Zionist shopkeeper arranging some spring or autumn sale, the Zionist builder, lawyer, or commercial agent - all are part of the familiar socio-political circle in which our Western world gyrates, and gyrates till its dingier rims appear. Thereabouts, in Palestine, overfleshed women, dowdily nude, sunning themselves in shorts, form a section of circumference accustomedly vulgar to ourselves, but impious and ever rankling to the Christians and Moslems of that land.

"In major matters or minor, in meritorious or meritless or indifferent things, these people, these political Zionists, have shown themselves in fine capable of establishing in Palestine an up-to-date community, but from the start incapable of establishing one that was Jewish.

"Like so many other things, this deficiency of theirs has remained hidden, or unmentioned. It may be that to mention it now will only provoke the retort that to condemn the political Zionists because they are not national is unfair. The one thing which they are trying to achieve, it will be said, is this very nationalism, and if they have not achieved it immediately that is because of the enormous handicap upon them. Dispersed about the world, they have not been in a position to acquire any form of culture except the non-Jewish culture of the particular place in which one group or another of them has lived. For whatever task they may undertake their equipment is un-Jewish, and it is unreasonable therefore to expect them to transform their holdings in Palestine into a centre in all aspects Jewish at once.

"The plea is plausible, but is no answer to the charge. Evidently enough the political Zionists could only bring with them to Palestine an un-Jewish equipment (considering this now, for argument's sake, as in involuntary act of theirs). But what they could have brought with them, what it was necessary they should have brought with them for any sort of self-justification, was the Jewish spirit. If they were what they said they were, Jews and nothing else, they were bound to possess this; it must be automatically in their keeping. With the Jewish spirit directing them, their practical handicap of un-Jewish education would not have mattered, for the spirit would have shone through in their own new, untrammelled surroundings. From those first days of 1920 it would have manifested itself in open compunction if this or that handicap forced them into developing their unique National Home in any commonplace international way. However fine the work they might accomplish in the international style, they would have been dissatisfied with working thus. They would have been trying continually to alter their manner of work. They would have given voice to their discontent too, for their natural feelings must have welled up in them altogether beyond containing.

"That was an acid test of their genuineness: would they show compunction? It was a test in which, them and since, they have failed. Not compunction but contentment has marked their attitude from the beginning. They have been self-satisfied to think that their National Home reproduced so exactly the chief institutions of the countries in which they were born or in which they made their way. They have been proud of their carbon-copies of all the latest gospels, and have said so. They have vaunted the perfect parallelism of their lectureships and of their statistical bureaus and of their board-rooms with those most recently established in the West.

"Besides, their attitude to the surviving Jewish culture was proof in itself of their lack of the Jewish spirit. They were determined to compel those rabbis and layfolk who clung to this culture to subject it now to the political Zionist doctrine. 'We are being compelled to making common cause with these false Zionists,' Chief Rabbi Zonnenfeld protested to me when I came to Jerusalem and met him. 'The Government aids and abets them by declaring that their must be a single Jewish Community in Palestine representing all Jews, and that one under the control of the so-called Zionist Organization. We are to sit with people who desecrate the Sabbath, we, who are the true moral foundation of Zionism. In Palestine alone we number four thousand fathers of families, the delegates of at least a million Orthodox of the Ashkenazi in the world.'

"This was the major compulsion, this driving of the Orthodox into the service of a profane ideal. In much the same way, the Hebrew tongue was driven into the service of political propaganda. The politicians scored a point by using Hebrew as the common tongue. Gentiles thought it a proof of their innate Judaism. But for the Orthodox, for the true Zionists, Hebrew was a tongue sacred to prayer, too sacred to be debased to ordinary uses. For common intercourse they mostly used Yiddish or such Western tongues as they knew. But now the immigrants were compelling the use of Hebrew for everything. They were like innovators devalorizing poetry by driving everyone to shop and to gossip in pseudo-Shelley or practical-Keats.

"But it was not the restored Hebrew of the immigrants which contained the Jewish spirit, it was the Hebrew of the altar and the Yiddish of the Orthodox. Their Yiddish had become the vehicle of Hebrew thought, which was the soul of Jewry. The Hebrew of the immigrants, the Hebrew of the politicians, the Hebrew of the Zionist Organization, was on the other hand full of Yiddish thought. That is to say that at its best it was used by them for the grafted ideas, the part-Germanic, part-British, part-American, part-Danubian theories which they professed. Their Hebrew was the dialect of professors and of publicists in all tongues, unnational.

"Thus, then, in outlook and in act, the new immigrants, the political Zionists, showed themselves not the heirs but the changelings of Israel. Far from being anything national to Palestine, they did not even know their own true nationalism when they encountered it there amidst their pre-War population. To them it seemed nothing but an archaic religiosity." (pp 413-17)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ersatz Israel 1

Political Zionists like to present themselves as the true representatives of Judaism, and their creed, political Zionism, as a sort of vital ember that had for centuries been smouldering away within this ancient faith, waiting (improbably) only for the likes of Herzl, Weizmann, and Ben-Gurion to fan it into the flames of the toxic settler-colonial power trip we see wreaking havoc today in Palestine.

In fact, political Zionism, while paying lip service to, and exploiting at every turn, traditional Judaism, is nothing more than an aping of the ethno-national volkisch movements of 19th century Europe. As such it is the very antithesis of traditional Judaism.

Few outside the ranks of anti-Zionist religious Jews have so beautifully nailed the artificiality and inauthenticity of political Zionism quite as well as JMN Jeffries. Here, in two parts, is his polemic on this theme, taken from Chapter 24 of his majesterial analysis of the Palestine problem, Palestine: The Reality (1939). Chapter 24 is appropriately (and wickedly) titled Ersatz Israel:

"The 31,000 immigrants of 1919-23... restored the Jewish population to about its pre-War level. Therefore, as has been said, there was nothing so much in their numbers to alter the status of the Arabs. It was their new footing which altered that. It was this arrival of the Jewish immigrants 'by right and not by sufferance,' as Mr Churchill was to define it, which destroyed the status of the Arabs, who found themselves changed in a flick from being the owners of their home to being one of a pair of lodgers in it...

"Hitherto the Turks had been their landlords indeed, but the key of the house had been the Arabs' and the Arabs' only. Now the Arabs were presented with latchkeys to their own hearths, Zionist strangers were given identical latchkeys, and in a day or two were pointing out the rooms in which they had been born.

"There was this too. The immigrants of the early 'twenties brought with them ideas and schemes of life which were incompatible with their own pretensions. Later on, as their numbers grew, these ideas and schemes, developed and propagated, were to threaten the extinction of Arabism. For the moment what they signified was, of all things, the extinction of any Jewish national sense there might have been in Palestine, and of any basis of unity there might have been there between Jews and Arabs.

"The political Zionists often enough advise attention to the good terms on which the pre-War Zionists of Palestine had lived with the Arabs. They add that if it were not for the intrigues of various interested parties these good relations would have continued with themselves. The Arabs draw a different moral from the same fact. They point out that the pre-War Jews were on pretty good terms with the surrounding population primarily because they made no attack on the position of that population, and secondly because their ways and customs fitted in reasonably well with the ways and customs of the land itself. 

"What follows from this deserves every consideration. The ways and customs of the pre-War Jews, which thus fitted into the Arab scheme of things, were essentially Jewish. Therefore when Jews were real Jews and real Zionists, Zionists by devotion and not by 'right,' they were acceptable enough to the Arabs (the question of peril through mass migration not having arisen). When Jews, however, clamoured to enter the Holy Land as though it was theirs by title, yet the moment they were inside behaved as non-Jews and erased or hid the Scrolls of the Law beneath voters'-lists, by-laws of the G.F.J.L. (General Federation of Jewish Labour), agenda for Rutenberg company meetings and other such Occidental commonplaces - then the Arabs would have nothing to do with them. They could accept into their midst Jews who had some national character. They would not accept the new Zionist immigrants who had no national character at all, yet were full of bold and outrageous claims based upon something which they did not possess, and presented Trades-Union certificates and Directors' reports as the insignia of Moses.

"The pre-War Jews had held traces of cousinship with the Arabs, but they had never tried to make capital out of this fact, nor indeed had mentioned it at all. But cousinship had been pressed incongruously upon the suffering Feisal by Jews of the new type, such as Dr Weizmann and Professor Frankfurter and various gentlemen from New York and Boston, who had no trace of it. The Weizmanns and the Frankfurters were men of ability, but when they proffered themselves as 'cousins of the Arabs' they were ludicrous.

"The immigrants of the new 'mandatory' disposition, certainly all those younger ones who set the note for the attitude of the Zionist mass, were of this Frankfurter type, though they did not come from the United States. Mostly these young people came from Eastern Europe, but were hardly at all Eastern. They were European in a generalized way, without territorial connections but breathing the ideas in the European air. There had been indeed not so much physical side to their lives. Theirs was a disembodied existence, with no real home save in what was thought or spoken. They had grown up in books, and they lived in speeches.

"Jewish Palestine, as they found it, did not please them in the least. They thought of the old P.I.C.A. or Rothschild colonies, founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, parasitic. They found even such self-supporting farm-settlements as Zichron Jakob or Petach Tikvah not at all to their taste: I was to hear the latter called an 'agricultural ghetto.' As for the Jews of traditional type, the Jews of the 'Wailing Wall' and of the pockets of survival round Safad, they thoroughly despised them.

"The Jews of the 'Wailing Wall' were found good enough by them, it is true, as a means to an end, as living evidence for their claim of historic succession. But that was for the benefit of the outer world. Amongst themselves the newcomers hardly regarded their predecessors as alive. They looked on them as faded parchments employed as proof of pedigree, or as fossilized strata on which they had to gain a foothold ere rearing on the site their own brand-new, blue-print, political, lucus a non lucendo Zion

"Some of the apologists of this Zionism, aware of the deadly self-contradiction in its spurning of traditionalism, tried to mask this as a breaking-away from the subserviance and squalor of the ghetto. That excuse will not do. If the newcomers had but set their faces against dirt and overcrowding, there would have been no criticism to make of them, of course. But what they set their faces against was the distinctively Jewish life which lay beneath any superficial dirt and overcrowding.

"It was in squalid passages and peopled tenements and small dark synagogues that the Jewish ideal had persisted at its purist and most individual. This was the experience, not of the Jews only, but of all subjected clans or nations or races. Their national life continued in the houses of the poor and the conservative. The men afterwards called national liberators or revivers came respectfully and lovingly to the homes of the traditionalists, caught from them the vital breath, drew deep of it and exhaled it in power.

"It was not so in Palestine. The political youth who now began swaggering in by right wanted no feeble breaths from the chinks of the past mingling with their modern air-conditioning. They were Zion, or rather Zion was or would have to be what they were. It was take-it-or-leave-it for the spirit and the sanctuary. Once the ancestral deposit in Jerusalem had served its documentary purpose, they had no use any more for the bearded and ringleted Orthodox, who found themselves discarded and driven for self-preservation into violent dissensions with their very determined supplanters.

"So while the new Zionists, in the early 'twenties, outside of Palestine were making all possible capital out of Jewish tradition, inside Palestine, on the other hand, they were doing their utmost to relegate to limbo the pre-War Jews, the only Jews who represented tradition. These latter were appealing continually for redress against the politicians' endeavours to reduce their status, to contaminate their customs, to force them into politically-framed representative bodies. Petitions from them flowed to the Administration, to the Home Government, to the League of Nations, to private visitors of mark even, in a continuous stream.

"Their supersession betrayed the falsity of the whole political Zionist movement. If there was such a thing as the Jewish nation it was the traditional Jews who represented it. The other kind of Jews had, it is true, a vast deal of achievement to their credit. The history of Western civilization was alight with their names. As poets, musicians, thinkers and - in the material order - as men-of-business, they had been amidst the principal makes of of that civilization. There was no branch of it to which they had not contributed. But they paid the penalty of being whelmed by what they created. The Disraelis, Heines, Rubinsteins and Einsteins vanished as Jews in the Western world which they helped to construct.

"But the religious observances, the ways of life, the writings of the traditional Jews - that was something other men had not got, something the West had not absorbed, a separate culture. To have forced this on the Arabs would have been wrong, but at least it would have been something individual to force." (pp 410-13)

To be continued in the next post...