Saturday, August 31, 2013

Poison Gas? Positively Churchillian!

This is hilarious. Here's Israel-loving court historian,* Andrew Roberts (of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 fame), a bloke who just can't reconcile himself to the decline of that colonial flight of fancy, the Anglosphere, getting stuck into Syria's Bashar al-Asad for allegedly "deploying chemical weapons against opponents of his regime":

"Only 4% of all battlefield deaths in the Great War had been caused by [mustard] gas, yet the foul nature of those deaths meant that gas held a particular terror in the public imagination. Since 1925, it has only been countries that are recognised to be outside the bounds of civilisation that have taken recourse to it. The latest outlaw to do so is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who deployed chemical weapons against opponents of his regime in the suburbs of Damascus last Wednesday... The first was Benito Mussolini's fascist Italy, which unleashed mustard gas on the Ethiopian subjects of Emperor Haile Selassie in the Abyssinian campaign of 1935-41.** The gas dropped by the Italian airforce was known by the Ethiopians as 'the terrible rain that burned and killed'." (Time for Obama to step in on Syria's gas attack on civilisation, The Australian/The Wall Street Journal, 27/8/13)

Note the two-word sleight of hand here: "since 1925." Fascinating! Why 1925?

While the crafty Roberts doesn't say, there can only be one answer. That was when his Chosen People,  the Britz, had finally finished 'pacifying' those Iraqis who'd had the gall to reject British control over their particular patch of God's green earth.

From 1920-1925, the Britz forced colonial rule on rebellious Iraqis by means of the Royal Air Force. As a British colonial official candidly admitted at the time:

"If the aeroplanes were removed tomorrow the whole structure [of British colonial domination] would inevitably fall to pieces." (Britain in Iraq: 1914-1932, Peter Sluglett, 1976, p 91)

No, the Britz weren't showering Iraqis with leaflets on the need to swap their particular brand of native 'barbarity' for the virtues of British 'civilisation'.

As you'd expect of the jolly old RAF, they were showering bombs on these surly sandniggers. And not just your kosher common and garden bombs either - you know, the ones that merely tear their human targets limb from limb.

Oh, no, your paragons of civilization, the political ancestors of David Cameron and William Hague, were dropping - wait for it - mustard gas.

Hey - and this is where the hilarity of Roberts' insufferable sanctimoniousness kicks in - those political ancestors I speak of weren't just your common and garden political ancestors either. The greatest of all modern Britz; the one who took on Hitler in World War II and delivered us - those of us who really matter anyway - from the horrors of Nazism; the most civilised of the civilised; the subject of many a tome by the adoring Robertz, the Grand Poobah himself, Winston Bloody Churchill, gave the orders to unleash "the terrible rain that burned and killed" 15 years before Mussolini:

"One of the main features of British forces in the area would be increased use of the Royal Air Force. In a letter to Sir Hugh Trenchard of 29 August [1920], Churchill made a decision which has now become notorious, mentioned in virtually every television documentary in recent years, but never published in full. This is the complete letter: 'I think you should certainly proceed with the experimental work on gas bombs, especially mustard gas, which should inflict punishment on recalcitrant natives without inflicting grave injury upon them.' One can look at this infamous request in two ways. Yes, Churchill wanted to gas the rebels. No, Churchill did not want them killed, just put out of action. In fact, it would have been hard to drop mustard gas on Arab rebels without 'inflicting grave injury upon them,' and this proved to be the case, since many hundreds of Iraqi rebels died in the attacks." (Winston's Folly: Imperialism & the Creation of Modern Iraq, Christopher Catherwood, 2004, p 85)

Since 1925, eh? What a phony!

[*For a look at the work of another British partisan court historian click on the Niall Ferguson label below; ** Roberts can't even get his dates right. This particular war went from 1935-1936.]

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Dumb American

"A key architect of an influential surgical strikes plan for Syria is publicly questioning the wisdom of carrying them out. 'I never intended my analysis of a cruise missile strike option to be advocacy, even though some people took it as that,' said Chris Harmer, a senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War." (Architect of US war plan doubts it will work, John Hudson, Sydney Morning Herald/Foreign Policy, 29/8/13)

Great Minds Think Alike

Now where have I heard this one before?

"'My question is this: if people are really persecuted here, why don't they go to India, which is two hours away? Why do they take a dangerous journey of 25 or 30 days in a boat to Australia?' So asks Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, in the course of a long discussion in naval headquarters in Colombo." (Sri Lanka heads back the tide, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 29/8/13)

Bugger me if it wasn't back in Sheridan's column of June 13 this year:

"The refugee convention envisages people fleeing across borders to avoid persecution. Consider Sri Lankan Tamils. There are tens of millions of Tamils living next door to Sri Lanka in India. They are certainly not persecuted. But India is poorer than Sri Lanka. Australia is much richer. So they choose Australia, not India. That is an immigration decision, not a refugee decision." (People are fed up with continued growth in asylum-seeker numbers)

Not to mention his column of October 22, 2009:

"Just being a Tamil does not make a person a refugee. Moreover, if you are fleeing persecution as a Tamil in Sri Lanka, why wouldn't you go and live in Tamil Nadu, the giant Tamil state of India, just next door to Sri Lanka? India does not persecute people for being Tamils." (Boatpeople paint PM into corner)

Months, nay years, before! And oceans apart! A Sri Lankan admiral and an Australian journalist - so alike it's scary! Now that's what I call spooky.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Intelligence You Can Trust

"Positions have hardened in the international standoff over Syria, as US officials said privately that a flood of previously undisclosed intelligence... convinced them the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against its own people... One crucial piece of the emerging case came from Israeli spy services, which provided the CIA with intelligence from inside an elite special Syrian unit that oversees Assad's chemical weapons, Arab diplomats said." ('Flood of intelligence' proof of chemical strike, Adam Entous/Sam Dagher, The Australian/The Wall Street Journal, 29/8/13)

Didn't Einstein once say: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe"?

[PS - 30/8: "The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime's deployment of chemical weapons... has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus reported... Senior Israeli security officials arrived in Washington on Monday to share the latest results of intelligence-gathering, and to review the Syrian crisis with national security adviser Susan Rice." (Israeli intelligence 'intercepted Syrian regime talk about chemical attack', Harriet Sherwood,, 28/8/13)]

Syria in a Nutshell

From James Petras' latest essay, The Obama Regime's Military Metaphysics Rejects Diplomatic Opportunities, 23/8/13:

"For years Bashar Assad worked closely with the US in (1) curbing Al Qaeda terrorists; (2) preventing cross border attacks in Israel; (3) denying sanctuary for insurgents fighting against the US occupation of Iraq; (4) complying with US policy by withdrawing troops from Lebanon.

"Syria was a 'co-operative adversary', maintaining regional stability and a tolerant multi-ethno-religious state in a region riven by Islamist and Zionist sectarian violence. But Washington under Obama magnified their differences and prioritized the policy of establishing a submissive client state. Instead of continuing a policy of diplomatic pressure and tactical collaboration, Obama joined an unholy alliance of Persian Gulf Islamic autocracies, ex-colonial European powers (especially France and England), Israel's secret service (Mossad), and Turkey's Islamist President Erdogan in arming, training, financing, and providing sanctuary to Islamist mercenaries led by Al Qaeda brigades.

"As a result, Syria is now riven by conflict, its economy has been destroyed, security is non-existant, and millions of Syrians have fled to Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and beyond. Thousands of jihadists have journeyed from afar to Syria's neighbors to receive arms, training and paychecks in pursuit of a Taliban-style regime in Syria as a springboard to destabilise pro-US client states in the region. Turkey's and Egypt's (under Morsi) intervention on behalf of the Islamist uprising helped provoke internal mass popular protests, weakening these US collaborator regimes.

"Obama's 'all-or-nothing' attempt to establish a client regime in Syria through [Islamist] violence has produced a no-win situation: either Assad retains power as a less cooperative adversary or the Islamist terrorists establish a regime that serves as a springboard for two, three, many caliphates." (

Meanwhile, back at the quarry, a certain US client state receives its orders:

"The bipartisan position [of send in the UN inspectors] emerged after briefings on Syria over the weekend from the US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, and top officials." (Bipartisan response to Syrian chemical attack, David Crowe, The Australian, 26/8/13)

[PS - 30/8: "After initially insisting that Syria give UN investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the UN to call off its investigation." (In rush to strike Syria, US tries to derail UN probe, Gareth Porter,, 27/8/13)] 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Palestinian Martin Luther King

The dumbed-down Sydney Morning Herald on Monday carried yet another opinion piece by Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Wearing his Jewish liberal - as opposed to his Israel lobbyist - hat, Baruch O'Farrell's recently-appointed NSW Human Rights Award judge took advantage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech to bask in King's reflected glory.

Inevitably, Alhadeff got around to quoting King's ringing admonition that "individuals should be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."

All I could think of was Israel's discriminatory, Jews-only Law of Return, and a Palestinian Martin Luther King saying: 'Individuals should not be judged by the Jewishness of their mothers, but by their actual - not imagined - connection to the land of Palestine.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Believe Nothing

As the US, British, and French dogs of war strain at the leash for yet another act of imperial hubris in the Middle East, you'll search the opinion pages of the Australian ms press in vain for an informed and savvy analysis.

Thankfully, there's always's Justin Raimondo. Just to whet your appetite, here's the salutary introduction - dealing with the Damascus gas 'attack' - to his latest essay, Transparent Hoax Could Lead to War:

"Those rolicking jihadists, the Syrian rebels, love a joke: although they can be deadly serious - such as when they're eating the internal organs of their enemies - what they enjoy more than anything else is a good prank. There was the time they claimed the Assad regime was killing babies in incubators - not very original, but hey, it worked for the Kuwaitis! Then there was the 'massacre' at Houla, which was alleged to have killed 32 children and over 60 adults: a photo started appearing in the mainstream media, documenting the slaughter. The state-supported BBC was first to run with it - until it was discovered the supposedly incriminating photo was taken in Iraq during the recent war. The photographer was justifiably furious, the story was withdrawn, and the Syrian rebels went back to the drawing board.

"I could go on for quite a while about the various Syrian hoaxes we've been subjected to, but let's get down to the latest one - a claim Syrian government forces used nerve gas at the Syrian village known as Ghouta. Videos posted by the rebels show rows of people killed or incapacitated without any dramatic indications of physical trauma: instead, the victims display convulsions and other signs of exposure to asphyxiating gases. Yet, as Ha'aretz reports: 'Western experts on chemical warfare who have examined at least part of the footage are skeptical that weapons-grade chemical substances were used, although they all emphasize that serious conclusions cannot be reached without thorough on-site examination. Dan Kaszeta, a former officer of the US Army's Chemical Corps and a leading private consultant, pointed out a number of details absent from the footage so far: 'None of the people treating the casualties or photographing them are wearing any sort of chemical-warfare protective gear,' he says, 'and despite that, none of them seem to be harmed.'

"Perhaps Allah is protecting the caregivers and others attending to the sick: or maybe the aid we're shipping the rebels includes some really neat stuff from Marvel Comics. On the other hand, maybe the whole thing is yet another put up job. You tell me.

"If the 'massacre' at Ghouta involved military-grade nerve gas, all those doctors and others milling around the fallen victims would be dead or in serious trouble. That's because the poison would stick around for days, penetrating the skin and being inhaled by anyone who came close to them or even entered the vicinity. Another problem is that, as Kaszeta says, 'One issue is that you can't really test for sarin gas, you test for chemicals that are released as it decomposes.'

"The UN inspection team was in Damascus anyway, investigating previous claims of poison gas use: of course, it's just a coincidence that this latest claim is made about a site a few miles from where they're staying. They are on their way to Ghouta even as I write: but how will they determine who used whatever chemical agents were unleashed, if indeed that is what happened? The answer is: they won't. They have only to come up with 'evidence' that some sort of 'WMD' was used: in spite of rebel claims that they would retaliate' in kind in response to previous alleged chemical attacks, it will simply be assumed by Western governments and media... that the Syrian government is responsible.

"As for Washington and its allies: they aren't waiting for the 'evidence.' They already know who is guilty, and who is not. A 'senior US official' is cited by ABC as saying: 'Based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts, and other facts, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident. We are continuing to assess the facts so the President can make an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons.'

"The War Party has the President's ear, and believe you me they aren't whispering in it - they're making their case loud and clear, in public and no doubt in private. The only dove in the vicinity of the White House is Hagel, and he's consigned to simply preparing the US military for any and all contingencies. On that front, the news isn't good: US forces are already converging on the region and moving into position."

You can read the rest without my help.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ask Not What You Can Do for Your Country...

... but what you can do for Israel:

"EXCLUSIVE: Tony Abbott is committed to upgrading relations with Israel as part of a suite of new policies on the Middle East that includes banning more terrorist organisations and a harder line on visits to Australia by extremists. A Coalition government would also step-up opposition to the 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' [BDS] campaign against Israel, withholding taxpayer funds from any organisation that actively backed the movement.

"The Australian has learned that the Opposition Leader will this week commit to extending to Israeli citizens an electronic travel authority, which in most cases provides nearly instant visa approval. The ETA system was introduced by the Howard government for citizens of advanced nations who have no history of illegally overstaying in Australia. The Labor government recently expanded the list of nations whose citizens are eligible for fast-track visas to 64 but left Israel off the list - a decision critics said was in line with recent moves by the ALP to distance itself from Israel, including at the UN. It is understood the omission of Israel caused consternation in Jerusalem. Both the EU and Canada provide visa-free entry to Israelis. An Abbott government would immediately direct that Israel be added to the list of nations whose citizens can access fast-track electronic visas for short-term visits to Australia.

"Under a range of new policies - which are being directed by Mr Abbott with broad support within the opposition - the Coalition would seek to ban the Islamist extremist organisation Hizb Ut-Tahrir and prevent foreign members of the group coming to Australia to promote extremism.

"The Coalition will also seek fresh advice from ASIO on the question of banning the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. Only the militant wings of these groups are currently banned in Australia, while the US, Canada and a number of Western nations have banned the entire organisations. Coalition policy documents draw attention to the fact that the US and Canada have banned more than twice as many terrorist organisations as Australia has.

"The Coalition plans to make it more difficult for 'preachers of hate' to visit Australia. It believes the federal government has the power to stop such visits on character grounds and should do so much more frequently.

"An Abbott government would also strengthen Australia's opposition to the BDS campaign by committing to a government-wide policy that prevents additional grants of taxpayers' funds to individuals and organisations that actively support the BDS campaign. The moves are widely supported in the Coalition but also reflect Mr Abbott's long-standing personal commitment to supporting Israel.

"He travelled independently to Israel as a young man and visited as an opposition MP before he became Liberal leader*.

"Mr Abbott and foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop believe Labor has deliberately moved away from its former close friendship with Israel, with its rhetoric becoming more critical. The Coalition opposed Labor's decision to abstain from - rather than vote against - the UN move to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to that of an observer state last year. The US, Israel and Canada voted against the proposal. The Rudd government has recently described all Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank as 'illegal'. Israel argues that because the land is disputed, and its status to be negotiated, this term is incorrect. The US does not use the blanket label of illegal.

"The Coalition's stronger support for Israel and harder line on extremist organisations is the clearest foreign policy difference between the two sides of politics." (Quick visas for Israelis as Coalition opens door, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 26/8/13)


Desperately Seeking Australian Apartheid

It's amazing the lengths some guys will go to to impress a girl. (Now to understand just how that statement ties in with the quotation below, you're going to have to stop reading this post NOW and go directly to my June 28 post, His Brilliant Career, where all will be revealed. Simply click on the Andrew Hamilton label below.)

Now as you will have gathered after reading my earlier post on him, Andrew (call me Akiva) Hamilton is an example of what has been called OZCS - Over-Zealous Convert Syndrome. In Hamilton's case, of course, the conversion has been to political Zionism, and such is the lad's zeal that, in addition to taking on Associate Professor Jake Lynch, he's now taking on his very birthplace, Australia:    

"The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement justifies its racist persecution of Jewish Israeli businesses in Australia, the UK, Europe and North America with the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state... But the analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa is false on every level. A comparison of Israel with Australia... reveals this clearly... Israel is one of the most un-apartheid states in the world, with a record of successful multiculturalism, protection and integration of minorities that puts most western countries, including Australia, to shame. Apartheid South Africa had a system of strictly enforced laws that enshrined racial discrimination against 'blacks' and 'coloreds' in every aspect of South African society. This was similar to, but more extreme than, the system of racist laws that Australia had in place prior to the recognition of indigenous Australians as equal citizens in 1967 (by Constitutional amendment)." (Israel, the un-apartheid state - a comparison with Australia, The Jerusalem Post, 21/8/13)

Now Hamilton's contention that Israel is "one of the most un-apartheid states in the world" is, of course, pure bunkum. For a state which converted an indigenous Arab majority into a minority by a) packing it off to exile in refugee camps in surrounding countries and refusing its return; and b) passing a Law of Return which allows in as citizens only persons deemed to be Jews, regardless of their origin, to be characterised as "un-apartheid" is high-order chutzpah, something we've come to expect from Mr Hamilton.

But rather than re-canvass the issue of apartheid Israel in this post, simply click on the Israeli apartheid label below and read through my various posts on the subject, particularly those which refer to the seminal work of Israeli scholar Uri Davis.

Without in any way underestimating the genocidal impact of white settler-colonialism on Australia's indigenous Aboriginal population, and keeping in mind that the sine qua non of both South African and Israeli apartheid derives from a body of discriminatory legislation, I intend here to deal only with Hamilton's assertion that Australia was some kind of apartheid South Africa lite until its Aboriginal population achieved 'equality' with other citizens in 1967.

To begin with, his charge that Australia had a "system of racist laws... in place prior to the recognition of indigenous Australians as equal citizens in 1967 (by Constitutional amendment)" is contradicted by such an elementary reference source as Wikipedia:

"It is frequently stated that the 1967 referendum gave Aboriginal people Australian citizenship and that it gave them the right to vote in federal elections. Neither of these statements is correct. Aboriginal people became Australian citizens in 1949, when a separate Australian citizenship was created for the first time (before that time all Australians, including Aborigines, were 'British subjects'). Aboriginal people from Queensland and Western Australia gained the vote in Commonwealth elections in 1962. However, the Commonwealth voting right of Aborigines from other states was confirmed by a Commonwealth Act in 1949 (the constitution already gave them that right but it was often interpreted differently before 1949). They got the vote in WA state elections in 1962 and Queensland state elections in 1965."

Finally, an examination of the historical background of of the Australian Constitution with respect to Aborigines in no way supports Hamilton's fiction:

"To understand the constitutional provisions which the Referendum [of 1967] amended, it is necessary to examine their origin at Federation. During the Federal Conventions of the 1890s, representatives barely mentioned Aborigines. Aboriginal welfare rested with the States. As the Commonwealth had no territory of its own (receiving the Northern Territory from South Australia only in 1911), it had no Aboriginal population to directly administer. Secondly, popular belief at the turn of the century held that Aborigines were a 'dying race' whose future, therefore, did not warrant a lot of discussion. The resulting Constitution of 1901 mentions Aborigines in only these two clauses: Section 51: The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:... (xxvi) The people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws. Section 127: In reckoning the number of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted. The motivation for Section 51 (xxvi) was the Commonwealth's desire to to have control over the migration, status or expulsion of non-white groups such as Chinese and Kanaka labourers. Aboriginal people, by being exempted, would not become the focus of discriminatory Commonwealth laws... The genesis of Section 127 was to create 'fairness' among the States. Only the white population would be counted in estimating the share of customs revenue each State was required to contribute to the Federal Government; States with large Aboriginal populations would therefore not be disadvantaged. An additional rationale related to the calculation of seats in the Federal Parliament, which were based on census figures." (Thesis: 'As One People': Interpreting the 1967 Referendum, Jane McLachlan-Chew, Department of History, University of Melbourne, 2006, available at

This then, is Hamilton's "system of racist laws... in place prior to the recognition of indigenous Australians as equal citizens in 1967 (by Constitutional amendment)," which is supposed to be "similar to" South African apartheid's "system of strictly enforced laws that enshrined racial discrimination aganst 'blacks'... in every aspect of South African society."

(NB: I'll be returning to other false and misleading assertions in his Jerusalem Post piece as time permits and the spirit moves me.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Devil is in the Detail

Congratulations, Andrew Penfold, founder and chief executive of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) on winning the inaugural NSW Human Rights Award, and many thanks to the Australian's social affairs writer, Rick Morton, for informing us of the fact in his report, Hard yards lead to recognition, in today's edition.

But Rick, why leave out the following devilish detail:

"Also attending the presentation [by NSW Premier Baruch O'Farrell] were many representatives of Sydney's Jewish community including the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Vic Alhadeff and Shalom Institute's Dr Hilton Immerman. Immerman nominated Penfold. The Shalom Institute, mentioned by Penfold in his acceptance speech, has been responsible for the Shalom Scholarships at the University of NSW. The Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Program offers residence at Shalom College to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying at UNSW... Alhadeff was one of the 3 judges." (Strong Jewish connection to NSW award, Henry Benjamin,, 22/8/13)

See my 19/5/13 post What Would Raoul Wallenberg Do? for more devilish detail on Baruch O'Farrell's NSW Human Rights Award.

BDS Gets the Parramatta Council Treatment

Here's the latest attempt in Baruch O'Farrell's NSW to crack down on the basic human right to protest for Palestine:

"The Palestine Action Group (PAG) has decided to continue with a protest against Israeli Chocolateria chain, Max Brenner, in spite of threats by Parramatta Council of fines of over $2000. The demonstration, part of the global movement calling for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, was organized well in advance of the threat of fines being issued today. The PAG has been coordinating with the NSW Police, who are facilitating the demonstration. Lutfi Zayed, a Palestinian activist with PAG, was contacted today and threatened by Council staff to cancel the protest or be fined... Dale Mills, lawyer and researcher at Sydney University in law in the field of political protest, says: 'If this became established council practice in NSW it would be the end of the right to protest'." (From Media Release: Parramatta Council censors Palestine supporters, protesters defiant, August 17, 2013)

This threat follows O'Farrell's threat to sack Marrickville Council over its pro-BDS stance in 2011; an unsuccessful move by the NSW Police in the NSW Supreme Court to prevent last year's Nakba rally and march in the Sydney CBD; and, most recently, the initiation by Israeli lawfare outfit Shurat HaDin of a complaint in the Human Rights Commission against Associate Professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University.

A quick internet search on the subject of the Liberal Party-dominated (7) Parramatta Council (and the Liberal push more generally into the formerly rock-solid Labor heartland of Western Sydney) is a bit of an eye-opener:  

Herald journalist Kate McClymont's Backroom deals and ballot rigging - welcome to the NSW Liberals (30/7/12) contains much that should be of interest to those who think that Labor has a monopoly on 'colourful personalities', especially the references to state MP Tony Issa, dubbed 'the Graham Richardson of the Liberal Party', whose son, Steven Issa, is the Deputy Lord Mayor of Parramatta.

Worth a read too is Herald journalist Nicole Hasham's Cranes on the horizon for Parramatta's new Liberal mayor (28/9/12) for a profile of Mayor John Chedid. For an insight into the mayor's winning ways, you might also like to peruse 'Truly offensive': Lord Mayor accused of homophobia (Kristin Shorten,, 21/1/13).

Closer to the subject matter of this blog, you would of course be fascinated to learn that Liberal councillor Jean Pierre Abood is big on 'Judeo-Christian morality' ( Michael Conditsis,, 13/12/12).

And did you know that Parramatta Council has a sister city relationship with Beersheva, Israel?

Interesting place, Parramatta.

PS - 31/8/13: "A Parramatta council spokeswoman confirmed it would be taking action. 'The Palestinian [sic] Action Group were informed in writing in September 2012 in a letter from the CEO that they required permission from council to hold such activity,' she said. 'After council became aware of another planned protest on Saturday, 16 [sic] August, 2013, a letter was issued by the council to the Palestinian Action Group that once again explained the requirement... NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said: 'The decision to impose punitive measures against the PAG is a matter for Parramatta Council'." (Council acts against anti-Israel group, Christian Kerr, The Australian)

No doubt Parramatta Council's offensive against the PAG came as a complete surprise to Mr Alhadeff.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The News Corp Fish...

... stinks from the head down:

"Rupert Murdoch has backed comments from Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, who says multiculturalism has 'had its day', with the media mogul adding that 'societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest'." (Rupert Murdoch attacked for 'irresponsible' tweets about Muslims, Oliver Laughland,, 20/8/13)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cowboys & Arabs Ride Again at Israeli FF

I notice that the "closing night event" of Albert Dadon's (AICE) Israeli Film Festival (13-28 August) in Sydney will be the screening of Otto Preminger's 1960 adaptation of Leon Uris' Zionist propaganda novel of 1958, Exodus.

Billed on the Palace Cinemas' website as merely "a lavish, ambitious chronicle of the formation of the State of Israel," Exodus, the original Zionist western (eastern?), takes the propaganda of Uris' novel to new heights - or should that be depths?

The very fact that this load of old Zionist cobblers is being dusted off for a festival such as this is a telling indication of the retrograde, colonial mindset of the festival's organisers. Try to imagine, if you can, a 2013 American film festival concluding with the quintessential 'cowboys & Indians' film They Died with Their Boots On, a 1941 take on Custer's last stand.

An indication of just how outrageously Preminger misrepresents events in Palestine in 1947-1948 may be found in the study Our Exodus: Leon Uris & the Americanization of Israel's Founding Story (2010), by Israeli scholar M.M. Silver. Silver zeroes in on the film's very American Lone Ranger/Tonto relationship between Zionist hero Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman) and his Arab sidekick Taha:

"The Taha-Ari friendship has a frontier quality of emergency patronage and rustic indebtedness. Taha swears that he owes everything to the Ben Canaans. 'When the Syrian Arabs murdered my father in his own mosque, Ari's father saved my life and my heritage,' exclaims Taha. 'Ari and I used to live together in Yad El. We shared the same room. Now to think that my house could become his tomb.' [Wounded during a jailbreak in Acre, Ari is nursed back to life in Taha's village.] Taha might owe his 'heritage' to the Zionist Ben Canaans, but owing to the wild logic of the frontier he is also forced to lodge the Jews' most vile nemesis. An old Nazi is in Taha's house plotting the deployment of his own 'personally trained' 80 Arab storm troopers and 300 newly recruited Abu Yesha villagers in a ruthless attack on the Jewish children's village Gan Dafna. Not willfully duplicitous, Taha appears as an honorable but weak Indian chief who is unable to keep both the good guys and the bad guys off his lands. Taha pleads, earnestly but ineffectually, with the Nazi. 'I am the mukhtar of Abu Yesha, and I will not attack Gan Dafna,' he implores. When he points out that there are 650,000 Jews in Palestine, his ghoulish Nazi guest replies 'temporarily.'

"Few of the details in this sequence make sense when removed from the binary oppositions and emotional expectations of a cowboy movie. There is no historical validity to the gruesome account provided by Taha's Nazi guest regarding his meddling. 'The Grand Mufti was our guest in Berlin during the war. Since we are now his guests, we have placed our experience in handling Jews entirely at his disposal,' the Nazi guest states. He explains that the strategic plan for the attack on Gan Dafna is to clear out the Jezreel Valley to guarantee passage for Haj Amin on his way to Safad, which will serve as the Mufti's 'provisional capital until every last Jew in Palestine is exterminated.' Handicapped by outrageous errors of geography and fact, this Nazi speech does more on its own to delegitimize the Palestinian side of the 1948 struggle than anything Uris ever attempted. As we will see, in his novel Uris pointed to real-life connections between the Mufti and Nazism, and he also indulged scathingly prejudicial descriptions of the Jews' Arab antagonists in the 1948 war. However, Uris never manipulated historically invalid devices to portray the fight as an updated and Palestine-transplanted chapter of the Nazi plot to exterminate the Jews.

"The late sequence in Taha's home is juxtaposed against jubilant scenes from central Israel, where a city crowd throngs on a summery night supposedly in late December 1947 to hear Barak Ben Canaan announce the UN vote in favor of the partition of Palestine and the establishment of a free Jewish state. Barak's oratory implicitly recognizes Palestinian sensitivities and grievances as being at the heart of the brewing dispute: 'We implore you,' the veteran Zionist diplomat addresses Palestine's Arabs, 'remain in your homes and shops, and we shall work together as equals in the free state of Israel.' The oration is a central plot event in the film narrative... As Taha, Kitty [Ari's American lover], and Ari listen to a radio broadcast of the elder Canaan's peroration, the mukhtar candidly spells out Palestinian objections to the land's newly approved dispensation. 'You have won your freedom, and I have lost mine,' Taha laments. Ari attempts to correct his friend: 'We've never had freedom. All our lives we've been under British rule. Now we will be equal citizens in the free state of Israel.' Taha's rejoinder conceptualizes the impending war as a fight for political power. If, as Ari insists, it makes no difference whether a group is a majority or a minority in a free democracy, why have the Zionists fought so hard to create a Jewish state, asks Taha.

"That is a good question, and it can be addressed cogently by an examination of the twists and turns of Jewish history.* But the climactic sequence of the Exodus film engages neither a serious investigation of history nor a serious political discussion of the causes of the 1948 war. Neither the nomenclature, the dates, or much else is accurate; the scene offers absurdly divergent explanations of the Palestinian cause in 1948 as either a Nazi plot or as a nationalist campaign for political power. The scene, in short, is not history in cinema, but cinema transmogrifying history as a western showdown.

"At the end of his blood-curdling interview with the Nazi, Taha dutifully pays obeisance to Middle East hosting rituals by promising his hateful guest dinner. Taha then rushes to Ari's room to warn him to get the Jewish children out of the Gan Dafna village by midnight the following day, the showdown hour designated for the attack by the Nazi-trained Arab storm troopers. Wrapped in traditional white headdress, Taha comes on as a film cliche when he conveys this vital intelligence to Ari - the good native of the cowboy western genre, he personifies a conflict between the demands of blood-brother friendship with a white man and tribal honor... After successfully evacuating Gan Dafna's small children, Ari leads a united Haganah-Irgun attack on Abu Yesha (he has no compunction leading the charge on the home village of his blood brother, because the Mufti's men are understood to have gained control of Abu Yesha). After winding through the alleys of the deserted village with his small force, Ari stops to behold what has happened to his lifetime friend, Taha. The camera follows his gaze down a straight alley; a swastika is smeared on a side wall to herald the handiwork of the Nazi agent. Looking straight ahead, Ari spots Taha, hanging dead from a noose with a blood red Star of David branded onto his chest. The form of execution, a hangman's noose, has relatively little meaning in the terrorized landscape of the modern Middle East. But its resonance as a token of justice, or lack thereof, in the epic frontier of the western knows no bounds." (pp 142-145)

So, on Wednesday night, August 28, at Paddington's Palace Cinema, festival-goers will be able to - ahem - screen out the valiant, scholarly efforts of Israeli historians such as Morris, Sternhell and Pappe to uncover the brutal truth behind the Zionist blitzkrieg in 1948 Palestine, and revert once again to the 'innocent' days of the 50s and 60s when the fantasy Exodus narrative of heroic Zionist pioneers battling impossible odds to avoid being driven into the sea reigned supreme.

[*I don't think so.]

[In a similar vein, you might like to reread my 12/5/13 post Israel: The Movie? and the 3 Battle of Hanita posts which follow.]

Monday, August 19, 2013

Conscription, Anyone?

My God, the revelations about Tony Abbott just keep on coming!

'Twas only on Saturday that we learned that Tone had once traversed the length and breadth of the Dark Continent in search of Cecil Rhodes. (See my 17/8/13 post Tony Abbott Carrying On Up the Khyber.)

Now we learn from an impeccable source that he's practically an old Middle East hand as well:

"He has travelled a bit in the Middle East and knows quite a lot about it, and remains a straightforward supporter of Israel, even opposing, as an overreaction, the government's decision to expel an Israeli diplomat accused of misusing an Australian passport." (A contest between constructed and unreconstructed man, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 17/8/13)

(If I may be so bold as to correct the old suppository here, it wasn't the Israeli diplomat himself but his Mossad mates who misused not one but several Australian passports.)

Is there no end to Tone's accomplishments? Apparently not. Just take a look at the level of sophistication underpinning his support for the war in Iraq:

"Although a safer world is in everyone's long-term interest, there's little immediate reward in being its policeman. The invasion of Iraq, for instance, certainly didn't give America or its allies access to cheap oil [or] strategic bases... It was to liberate other people, to advance everyone's interests and to uphold universal values that the 'coalition of the willing' went to war in Iraq. If it's possible to engage in an altruistic war, this was it." (Battlelines, 2009, p 158)

No, it doesn't get much more sophisticated or nuanced than that.

And don't think that under an Abbott dispensation, we'll be leaving all the heavy lifting to the US. Oh no:

"Former general Jim Molan has observed that Australia hasn't really pulled its weight either in Iraq or Afghanistan... It's wrong to expect America to be the world's policeman with only token assistance from allies. If Australia is to matter in the wider world, Australians should expect more, not less, future involvement in international security issues." (ibid, p 159)

Conscription, anyone?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Try Switching to Fairfax, Rubes

Colin Rubenstein of the Australia-Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) recently experienced a rare, 'Not happy, Rupert!' moment when he noticed the Australian referring to occupied Palestinian territory as, well, 'occupied Palestinian territory'.

As he grumbled in a letter to the paper published on 16 August: "the territory on which [Israeli settlements] are situated is disputed, not occupied, land."

Specifically, Rubes was responding to an August 13 AFP report  - Israel approves further settlements on eve of peace talks.

Then, on August 15, the Australian ran another AFP report - Prisoners freed but talks hit a hurdle - which referred, yet again, to the "occupied West Bank."


Only time will tell whether Rubes' epistolary intervention will be sufficient to get those subbies at the Australian to pull their fingers out and edit such offending reports.

In the meantime, might I suggest he switch to Fairfax instead?  It's way more Zio-friendly.

Just check it out:

August 13:  

Settlement push on eve of peace talks, Isabel Kershner, Sydney Morning Herald/New York Times: "contested area."

August 15:

Palestine joy as captives released before peace talks, Jonathan Ferziger, SMH/Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times: "land... seized during the 1967 war"

August 16:

Mediators meet in secret amid rising tensions, Isabel Kershner, SMH/New York Times: "disputed areas."

See what I mean?

Will old Rubes get his way? That's the question. Only future editions of the Australian will tell!

And rest assured, MERC will be there to keep you informed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tony Abbott Carrying On Up the Khyber

"Abbott's politics [at Oxford, 1981-83] stood out: 'He loved Maggie Thatcher,' says Crowe. 'He was even more conservative than he is now.' In May 1982, 6 days after the British sinking of the Argentinian warship General Belgrano, with 323 killed, an Oxford demonstration took place against Thatcher's military campaign in the Falklands. Hundreds of chanting students and locals, led by chained figures made up as corpses, converged on the Martyrs' Memorial, a traditional gathering place for protesters. Abbott hurriedly scraped together a dozen fellow rightwingers from Queen's, rushed to the memorial, and mounted a counter-demonstration in favour of the British war effort. Provocatively, he stood beside the peace protesters, one hand in his pocket, bellowing pro-Thatcher slogans... After Oxford... he travelled the length of Africa, vaguely pursuing an interest in the British empire and Cecil Rhodes in particular..." (Tony Abbott at Oxford: fighter, networker, Thatcherite, Andy Beckett, The Guardian, 16/8/13)

For an earlier manifestation of Abbott's barracking for the White Man as he hammers the Brown, see my 13/9/12 post Greg & Tony Do Monash.

PS: Just read this in Mike Carlton's column in today's SMH. Enjoy:

"At this point Abbott abruptly changes the topic, throwing up some ideas on stopping the boats and negotiating with the Indonesians, a task he says he is looking forward to but admits won't be easy. 'It's not the Indons' fault they're not in the Anglosphere,' he says. 'They're natives. Rice farmers. Different. You and I grew up with Enid Blyton and Biggles, Winston Churchill and their finest hour, the smack of leather on willow at Lords. I can still remember the thrill of waving a union jack at the Queen for the first time on the 1963 Royal Tour. But your Indonesians don't have any of that." (Don't quote me, says Tony, but maaate...)

I'd be substituting Cecil Rhodes though for Winston Churchill. The latter's a tad too contemporary for the likes of Tony Abbott.

PPS: But there's more! Here's Abbott's old maaate, the "suppository of all wisdom," Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, writing in today's Australian Weekend Review. There's really nothing quite like a virile, thrusting Anglosphere to turn these guys on:

"It is easy to be nostalgic for for Edwardian England, notwithstanding its many social injustices. It was an attractive, orderly yet liberalising time, the last time, perhaps, when England was young. By the 1950s, England is much less attractive, the global role is disappearing, the atmosphere all rationing and awkward narrowness, the long grumpiness of English politics just getting going. But America in the 40s and 50s is immensely attractive. It is beginning to feel its oats as a great power, the sense of destiny and purpose is palpable." (The Forum

Friday, August 16, 2013

Election 2013 5

The Australian's "suppository of all wisdom," Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, has just returned from - where else? - the land where the 4th most popular baby name is now - wait for it - 'Messiah'. He's been attending - you guessed it - "the 21st Australian American Leadership Dialogue," where he's been angsting with the dupes and slaves of AIPAC over the impact of the dreaded social media:

"In technology and political culture, the US often offers clues to our future. A former senior Republican appointee told me how hateful politics has become, because so much of it now is raising money and following Twitter feeds. Another operator, a Democrat, said he thought the political benefit of social media vastly overrated. Twitter is a way of distributing brief press releases. But you cannot convince anyone of anything on social media. It is not a place for reason, evidence and dialogue. It is a place for mobilisation, useful in certain ways during campaigns." (Keeping up with the Kardashians is no model for leadership, 15/8/13)

A place for reason, evidence and dialogue... what, like the Australian?

"A senior Republican was almost despairing about the effect of social media on politics, because social media favours grotesque oversimplification, outright lies and character assassination."

How about that? Just like the Australian!

Golly, gosh, gee, just look at where all this social media is taking us:

"This campaign is like watching a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians..."

Like, whatever happened to good old, grey gravitas?

"The word authority, the very concept, is unfashionable in our hyper-democratic and faux egalitarian popular culture. But the absence of legitimate authority leaves a horrible vacuum. Political leaders, who should embody legitimate, earned authority, have no alternative but to become celebrities. But the dynamics of celebrity are superficial, treacherous and hostile to public policy. Thus we get Rudd's 'selfies' (selfies - this is a loathsome dialect we must master). Rudd, a serious foreign policy thinker, has had to construct a celebrity persona - with endless attention to all aspects of social media, long-winded self-revelatory essays on his religious feelings and their compatibility with zeitgeist prejudice, carrying his sleeping bag through airports for celebrity sleepouts for the homeless, wacky and anachronistic efforts at slang to combat his natural prolixity... There is much less artiface in Abbott's public persona. But he too has responded to the need for leadership as celebrity. When he first became leader he emphasised his love of sport, his many marathon runs, surf livesaving events and the like... [T]he balance has gone badly wrong. It has nothing to do with running a nation well. We are loosing something of that. The Kardashians, repulsively compelling as they are, offer no model for leadership."

Seriously, maybe Greg should be running for PM.

After all, he'd have Rupert batting for him, and as a gent whose support for Israel resides in both his DNA and his bones, funding a Greg-for-Canberra push shouldn't be a problem. I mean, it'd almost be as though Vic Alhadeff himself were standing.

One thing's for sure, running on his strength as a fully paid-up "suppository of all wisdom" - or the embodiment of "legitimate, earned authority," as he'd probably prefer to put it - he'd certainly provide that missing "balance" vis-a-vis those two clowns, Rudd and Abbott.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gutless Wonders

"No country in the world accepts dictates from other countries about where it is allowed to build and where not." Housing Minister Uri Ariel, quoted in Settlement push on eve of peace talks, Isabel Kershner, New York Times/ Sydney Morning Herald, 13/8/13

US presidents come and go but those Israeli settlements just keep on going from strength to strength:

"Israel must persuade its Arab neighbors and the world community that Israel has no expansionist designs on their territory." - Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1969

"As a matter of policy, we do not provide assistance to the Israeli government for projects in the occupied territories." - Richard Nixon, 1969-1974

"This matter of settlements in the occupied territories has always been characterized by our government, by me and my predecessors, as an illegal action." - Gerald Ford, 1974-1977

"We consider these settlements to be contrary to the Geneva Convention, that occupied territories should not be changed by the establishment of permanent settlements by the occupying power." - Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981

"Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks." - Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989

"My position is that the foreign policy of the United States says we do not believe there should be new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. And I will conduct that policy as if it's firm." - George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993

"Because Israel believes when it comes right down to it America is the only big country that cares whether they live or die. That's why I can say, give up the West Bank. - Bill Clinton, 1993-2001

"Consistent with the Mitchell plan, Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop, and the occupation must end." - George W. Bush, 2001-2009

"For more than 4 decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel's security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region." - Barack Obama, 2009 -

US presidents always blink first.

NB: All quotes, except Carter's, from 10 Easy Pieces, Adbusters, July/August 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Think of Phillip Adams

Most thinking Australians, if asked their opinion of Radio National presenter (Late Night Live) and token Murdoch press 'leftie' (The Weekend Australian Magazine) Phillip Adams, would probably cite his progressive views, his avuncular amiability, or his many fine essays. Not me.

I simply cannot get past his hard-wired, almost subliminal, Zionism, imbibed during his youthful infatuation with Melbourne's coterie of leftist Jewish intellectuals, none of whom seem to have communicated to their worshipful protege the elementary distinction between being a Jew and being a Zionist. (See my 19/9/09 post He Just Doesn't Get It.)

Adam's default Zionism, only really surfaces, of course, when the topic under discussion is Palestine/Israel, and even then is generally so understated and fleeting that most listeners are probably unaware of it. Not to mention Adams himself.

As for me, time and again, while listening to his interviews on the topic, I find myself exclaiming: There he goes again! The bugger just can't help himself!

A case in point was his July 22 interview with visiting Palestinian doctor, Mona El-Fara.

The good doctor's harrowing account of the unconscionable levels of stress and malnutrition experienced by Palestinian women and children under Israel's unremitting blockade of Gaza - 75% are anemic - was met thus by Adams:

"We've done programs before on the stress, the terrible tension on both sides when you live in an area of bombardment."

Then, as if this assertion of an equivalence between Palestinian victims and Israeli perpetrators were not outrage enough, it was followed by an invitation for El-Fara to pin the blame for Gaza's suffering on its Hamas defenders:

"Now Israel will of course argue that the response to rocket attacks from Gaza is why they keep lobbing them on you. Are you critical of Hamas?"

Finally, there was Adams' reference to Palestinians "across the diaspora as you describe it."

Now how is one expected to take this, other than to conclude that Adams doesn't really consider that Palestinians whose grandparents were driven out of Palestine by Zionist terror gangs in 1948 constitute a diaspora?

Certainly, when the term was thrown around in true Zionist style (ie, as an ideological categorisation of all Jews not living in Israel) by one of his more recent (12/8) Jewish interviewees, US historian Deborah Lipstadt, Adams felt no need whatever to contest or qualify her use of the term - despite the fact that she was born in New York and has no real connection with Palestine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Australian's 'Suppository of Wisdom'

The Australian's foreign editor, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, continues to amaze.

Did you know, for example, that Tony Abbott "looked completely prime ministerial" in Sunday night's 'great' debate?

But then this is the "suppository of wisdom," as his dear friend Tony might describe him, who once declared that G.W. Bush "may well be judged, ultimately, a great president."

But that's not what really stood out for me in Sheridan's post debate commentary yesterday. This was:

"Notably there was no foreign policy beyond boats. However, some of Rudd's statements in this area were bizarre. It is astonishing that Rudd should blame the Sri Lankan civil war for a flow of boatpeople. The Sri Lankan civil war ran for decades. It didn't start under Rudd. It ended on Rudd's watch, so it didn't cause the boats." (Presidential Abbott sinks Rudd in debate, 12/8/13)

Remember here that we're dealing with "the most influential foreign affairs analyst in Australian journalism," according to his profile on the Australian's website.

Yet, this SOW seems not to have twigged to the possibility that, so long as the Tamil Tigers were around to protect the Tamil community from the depredations of a genocidal Sri Lankan military, there was really no need for Sri Lankan Tamils to jump on a boat.

Why, if such a thought had ever crossed his mind, the Australian's SOW might have to rethink his characterisation of Hamas as merely a "death-cult."* Heaven forbid!

[*See my 21/5/09 post Repeat After Me.]

Monday, August 12, 2013

Doing It For Israel at The Australian

Whether it's a column on Australia's defence industry, or merely a book review, if it's Rupert you're writing for, wherever possible one should render service to Israel.

Kudos to Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan and Miriam Cosic in this weekend's Australian:

"Apart from a superpower such as the US, or a government-directed industry like that in Russia or China, or an independent strategic manufacturing capability born out of desperate necessity such as Israel..." (Warships well worth protecting, Greg Sheridan)

"Loewenstein's journalism is controversial. His anti-Israel stance has alienated him from many, and the names offering advance praise for this book - John Pilger, Bob Brown, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein - will make some eyes roll." (Decency denied in our name, Miriam Cosic - reviewing Loewenstein's Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World)

Other journalists at the Australian could take a leaf out of Sheridan's and Cosic's book in this regard. For example, political editor Dennis Shanahan opened his page one lead story thus:

"Tony Abbott has declared fixing Australia's greatest 'national failure', dire indigenous disadvantage, will be one of his personal priorities if he wins office, and has secured the agreement of former ALP president Warren Mundine to deliver generational change."  (Abbott; my pledge to close gap)

Now wouldn't the following have been better?

Tony Abbott, inspired by Israel's passion to close the economic and social gap between its Bedouin citizens in the Negev and Israelis as a whole, with bulldozers if necessary, has declared that fixing Australia's greatest 'national failure', dire indigenous disadvantage, will be one of his personal priorities if he wins office, and has secured the agreement of former ALP president and Yachad scholarship beneficiary* Warren Mundine to deliver generational change.

I rest my case.

[* Investigation of Israeli Programmes to counteract communal/individual welfare dependency, 2006.]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The New Nasser?

"The two men can be seen together all over central Cairo, on banners, flags and on posters on sale to tourists and locals... The first man is the pan-Arab nationalist former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, hammer of the Muslim Brotherhood, who died in 1970. The second is General Abdel Fatah as-Sisi, head of Egypt's armed forces and, since the July coup that ousted the Brotherhood-backed president, Mohamed Morsi, the supreme power in the country. In the coffee shops of Cairo, where political discussions have bounced off peeling walls since Nasser's death, a vigorous debate is taking place over whether Sisi has deliberately risen in the former's likeness - and what parallels between the two men's careers may mean for post-revolutionary Egypt. While Sisi has pledged stability as a central plank of the military-led government he will shepherd towards elections in 9 month's time, he has also tapped into themes that Nasser used to enshrine his legacy as one of modern Egypt's most celebrated figures... In his public appearances since the 3 July coup, Sisi has mirrored Nasser's key messages of nationalism, scepticism of Western intentions, Arab dignity and strong leadership." (Egypt wonders if army chief is another Nasser, Martin Chulov, The Guardian, 8/8/13)

"Yet, considering the society from which [Nasser] emerged, the obstacles which he overcame, the personnel available to him, one is compelled to give a fairly high rating to the man of the Suez and Aswan, of the Sinai, of Yemen, and of Abu-Zaabal (his concentration camp). In the words of a CIA agent who had dealings with him between 1952 and 1954 (quoted by Joachim Joesten): 'The problem with Nasser is that he has no vices. We can neither buy nor blackmail him. We hate this guy's guts, but we can't touch him: he's too clean...'" (Nasser, Jean Lacouture, 1973, pp 375-376)

So how just how 'clean' is Sisi? 

"In August 2012, the newspaper at-Tahrir... reported that Gen. Sisi had 'strong ties with US officials on both diplomatic and military levels.' He had studied in Washington, attended several military conferences there, and engaged in 'co-operation with regard to war games and intelligence operations in recent years,' it said." (Profile: Egypt armed forces chief Abdul Fattah as-Sisi,, 3/7/13)

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke by telephone to his Egyptian counterpart Gen. Abdel Fattah as-Sisi on Friday morning, according to Arabic-language news agency Al-Hayat. According to the report, al-Sisi affirmed Egypt's commitment to maintaining the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel in the phone call, ahead of a meeting with Mohamed Morsy." ('Egypt affirms commitment to Israel peace treaty', The Jerusalem Post, 24/8/12)

Go figure.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Zionism Happened

Drop everything and read this fascinating account of the Galilee village of Buqei'a in the 1920s:

"Turning aside, the cavalcade rode into the village [of Bukeia], one of the oldest in Palestine, and extremely interesting as it holds the most ancient community of Jews in the Holy Land. They have been there for many centuries; according to their own story they are the descendants of the Jews who lived there before the Dispersion, it is quite probable they are, and that they escaped both Roman and Arab exterminators. It is in a most inaccessible spot in the mountains, and may well have been overlooked, even by those professed and bitter anti-Semites, the Crusaders. In this village, small as it is there are 3 distinct communities, Christian, Jew and Moslem, they live, and always have done, in the most perfect amity and accord. The Jewish community claims that both the Christians and Moslems living amongst them are of Hebrew blood, that they represent the people who apostatized many centuries ago. It is certain that the good offices of both these communities have time and again, according to the local tradition, saved the Jews of the village from persecution and even martyrdom, under the many conquerors these villages have known since Flavius Josephus surrendered in the well of Jotapata, and the last trace of independent Israelitish rule disappeared. A small Druze community, also, inhabits the outskirts of the place and lives on the most cordial relationship with the other peoples." (Galilee Galloper, Douglas V. Duff, 1935, pp 92-93)

The "cavalcade" referred to by Duff was a contingent of Palestine police led by a Briton known to the Palestinians of western Galilee as 'Abu George'. They had ridden into Buqei'a to investigate the murder of a Christian woman.

Writes Duff tellingly:

"Riding into the village at the head of his men, Abu George had expected to find the place seething with excitement, and to find the Christians demanding vengeance at his hands from one of the other sects, a situation which would have arisen in any other part of Palestine. Here the elders of the four communities had met together and were solemnly discussing the affair."

(The murderer, as it happens, turned out to be the woman's husband.)

Known also as Peki'in (or Peqi'in) in Hebrew, Buqei'a is now an almost exclusively Druze town.

Almost: "The only Jewish resident to remain in the village is Margalit Zinati, whose family has lived in Peki'in for centuries." (Last Jewish family leaves Peki'in, Goel Beno,, 3/12/07)

In Buqei'a we have the intriguing case of a Palestinian Arab village, in which Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, Arab Jews and Arab Druze had lived harmoniously together for centuries, but which is now almost exclusively Druze.

So what happened to destroy this tiny model of sectarian co-existence? 

In a word, Zionism.

In the 1920s and 30s, the British flooded Palestine with European Zionist colons, the latter hell-bent on transforming a multi-sectarian land into a Jewish majority state. The native Arabs, as natives have done throughout the history of European colonialism, resisted this foreign invasion, a resistance that today's Zionists and their dupes still seem to find utterly surprising and totally unreasonable for reasons that escape me.

Unfortunately for Palestine's Arab Jews, however, the Zionist colons' fraudulent conflation of Zionism with Judaism led to them being tarred with the Zionist brush. And so, when indigenous Arab resistance to the Zionists and their British backers peaked, in 1929, and again from 1936-1939, Arab Jews also felt the heat. The result in Buqei'a? In 1936, at the start of the first great Palestinian uprising, most of its Arab Jews left, never to return.

Those in search of an indigenous Palestinian model of ethno-religious harmony, as inspiration for a future non-sectarian, non-Zionist state between 'the river and the sea', need look no further than the little Palestinian village of Buqei'a as it was in the 1920s.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

That Backdrop

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." Propaganda, Edward Bernays, 1928

Now you see it. Now you don't. It flickers in and out of consciousness as you watch the evening news on TV or scan the photos in the morning papers. 'It' being the ubiquitous Australia-Israel: Chamber of Commerce backdrop in front of which so many of our political movers and shakers strut their stuff these days.

On August 6, as it happens, it was John Howard's turn. (Old stager shows he's still got it, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 7/8/13)

Australia-Israel... Israel-Australia... Australia-Israel... Israel-Australia...

Pure genius! Just another little trick up the sleeve of those in the business of normalizing apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing.

The Mysterious Abu Joe 1

The following terribly sad exchange with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey took place on Channel 7's Sunrise program on November 16 last year:

Presenter: OK. Next topic... Israel and Hamas are on the brink of war. Pro-Palestinian activists held a rally and a march in Western Sydney overnight. They are calling for a boycott of the pro-Israeli chocolate cafe chain Max Brenner. Joe, your perspective on this? Your Dad - as we know - came here as a Palestinian refugee. Do you think there is a need to see this here, over what is happening in the Middle East?

Hockey: No. Emphatically not. Leave the politics to the countries that are playing the politics. Don't bring the politics here. That is why people come to Australia - not to revisit all of the woes of another nation.

Presenter: What does your Dad think seeing all of this?

Hockey: Well, Dad's just so unbelievably grateful that in 1947* Australia welcomed him and he sees himself as an Australian. Full stop. He looks at it and he just thinks it will never be resolved over there. When you look at these sorts of events, how does it stop? But Israel does have, entirely, a right to protect its citizens.

Presenter: Oh, not to this extent.

Hockey: But hang on, understand this. There have been random bombings from Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist group. It is not a Government. It has taken over the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority. It has launched terrorist attacks into Israel. Israel has got a right to defend itself. Hamas is part of a wider terrorism network. The people of Gaza are not particularly embracing Hamas, and they are using it as a staging post to attack Israel. (

The real story here is not the boof-headed son. It's obvious from his answers that he's completely clueless when it comes to the Middle East, and that he'd repeat any fool thing put into his head by the usual suspects, just to blend in.

No, the real story, if our journalists but knew it - but of course they don't - is Hokeidonian the elder, described elsewhere as "dropping the 'donian' part of his name when he migrated to Australia in 1948 to get away from the turmoil of the Middle East." (See my 30/7/13 post Joe Hockey: My Palestinianity is Firmly Under Control.)

[*So which is it? '47 or '48?]

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Election 2013 4

I think Krudd's right: Tony Abbott is grossly deficient in 'ticker'. His shying away from a debate though is the least of it.

For example, it was evident at a Jewish community function in Sydney's Central Synagogue last year that he was speaking straight from the heart when he said:

"[Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy. A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope." He went on to say that, in effect, Israel was fighting for its "very life" in places like the West Bank and Lebanon, and that, as far as he was concerned, "Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances." (Abbott: We are all Israeli, The Australian Jewish News, 16/3/12)

But where was this real, Israeli Tony when he spoke at a Muslim community function in Sydney on Monday night? To be sure, he again trotted out the same old 'beacon' metaphor, but I'm afraid that this was about as good as it got:

"Australia in so many things, but particularly in this multiculturalism, is a beacon of hope to a troubled and divided world." (Address to the Auburn City Council Iftar, Lidcombe,, 6/8/13)


Why, I'd like to know, didn't he tell the Muslims what he told the Jews last year?

Why didn't he tell them that just because they had the misfortune to have been born without freedom or hope in such anti-Semitic cesspits of terror as the West Bank or Lebanon (to name but a few), that was no excuse for them not to pull their fingers out, recognise Israel as the beacon of freedom and hope that it is, and celebrate the fact that, as Australian citizens, they too are really Israelis?

I mean, if he can't tell a few bloody Muslims what he really thinks, if all he can do on such an occasion is waffle on about "unity in diversity," building a "stronger economy," and "proper infrastructure for Western Sydney," has he really got it in him to be Australia's next PM?

Election 2013 3

My fellow Aussies, according to Toeknee we are facing a "national emergency on our borders." And if Toeknee says it's an NE, then that's good enough for me - and it bloody well should be good enough for you too, OK?

Not unnaturally when one is in the thick of an NE, the question arises: Are the wife, the kids and the leaf-blower safe? You know... from the brown people determinedly, as Toeknee's mate Greg Sheridan puts it, invading our shores.

That's the question on everyone's* lips these days. I  for one would like to know. And I'm pretty sure you would, too.

Well, thankfully, one Adrian Smith of Arana Hills, Qld, has done the math (and the geography) and the verdict is in. We are safe:

"I don't share concerns about a flood of asylum-seekers reaching Australia by island-hopping across the Torres Strait. Manus Island is in the Bismark Sea, about 1000km from Cape York. It is about 300km, as the crow flies, from the northern side of the PNG coast. After crossing that stretch of water, any escapees would have to travel more than 600km across the PNG mainland, including the Owen Stanley Ranges, of Kokoda Track fame, to get to the nearest departure point." (The Australian, 30/7/13)

Now you may be wondering, despite his reassuring calculations, just why it is that Adrian is so confident that we really are safe from these scurvy, determined, yukky brown invaders.

It's simple, really. It's because he, unlike you or I, has the wisdom and good fortune to be living in the safest place in the country - Arana Hills, Qld.

But don't just take Adrian's word for it. Ask his good friend and neighbour, brynndg:

"[Arana Hills] is quiet and friendly with a low crime rate and an abundance of parks, national parks and schools, perfectly suited for families or those which [sic] just like to live in a quieter area but who travel daily to the CBD. The nearby national parks ensure plenty of birdlife and clear [sic] air as opposed to the smog and traffic noise associated with living in town. The local shopping centre has just been upgraded which has almost everything you could need... Internet and television reception is perfect. Additionally, Arana Hills was one of the few places in [sic] which remained dry during the recent floods which inundated the majority [?!] of the state of QLD." (Arana Hills - an undervalued area, brynndg, 27/2/13,

So there you go, my friends. Now that you know the safest place in all of Australia to stash the leaf-blower, what the hell are you waiting for? After all, when fighting the zombie invasion on the beaches fails (because you've run out of ammo and the zombies, being zombies, just keep on coming), there'll eventually come a time when you and yours will need to head for the hills - the Arana Hills, of course. So why not beat the inevitable rush? Get in early, I reckon.

Know this, my fellow Australians: in Arana Hills, your house is warm. Your chair is comfortable. The gates are securely shut. The security never fails. You are at ease. Untouchable. Nothing can harm you. Why would it? You are thankful for everything you have. You are thankful for everyone that you love. And you are thankful, for this, you can be sure. That you are safe. You. Are. Safe.**

Go on! Off you go!  And when you get there, say hi to Adrian and brynndg for me, OK?

[*"An Essential poll released on Monday showed 61% of surveyed Australians approved of the federal government's announcement that all asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat will be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and none will be resettled in Australia." (Malaria risk for mothers and children, Bianca Hall, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/7/13); **With apologies to the wonderful Transglobal Underground.]

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Election 2013 2

Toby (aka Rowan Atkinson) sorts out the wannabe Abbott ministry:

Hello, nice to see you all again.
Now, as the more perceptive of you have probably realised by now, this is Hell, and I am the Devil. Good evening. You can call me Toby, if you like - we try and keep things informal here, as well as infernal. That's just a little joke.
Now you're all here for eternity, which I hardly need tell you is a sod of a long time, so you get to know everyone pretty well by the end, but for now I'm going to have to split you up into groups. Are there any questions? Yes?
Um, no, I'm afraid we don't have any toilets. If you'd read your Bible you would have seen that it was damnation without relief. So, if you didn't go before you came then I'm afraid you're not going to enjoy yourself very much... but then, I believe that's the idea.
Right, let's split you up then.
Can you all hear me still?
All right, off we go...
Rambammers*, if you could step forward - my God there are a lot of you:

Prime Minister: Tony Abbott - rambammed 2008
Treasury: Joe Hockey
Communications: Malcolm Turnbull - rambammed 2006
Immigration: Scott Morrison
Climate Change: Greg Hunt - kibbutzed 1984
Foreign Affairs: Julie Bishop - rambammed 2009, 2010
Attorney-General: George Brandis - rambammed 2009, 2010
Finance: Andrew Robb - rambammed 2008, 2010
Education: Christopher Pyne - rambammed 2005, 2009, 2010
Employment: Eric Abetz
Defence: David Johnston - rambammed 2008
Health: Peter Dutton - rambammed 2008
Border Protection & Justice: Michael Keenan - rambammed 2008

[*See my 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too.]

So Worried About Eddie's Reputation

If Eddie Obeid isn't more careful with whom he associates, I swear it could seriously damage his reputation:

"'Immediately after he retired, was he a person of influence? Absolutely,' one senior Labor figure says. 'And that extended to the ninth floor [NSW Labor's head office in Sussex Street].' The clearest evidence of this was the deal Obeid cut with party officials when they were trying to convince him to leave Parliament. Obeid insisted that if he agreed to go, he should be replaced by Walt Secord - the former chief of staff to Kenneally and treasurer Eric Roozendaal." (The Godfather, Ane Davies & Sean Nicholls, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3/8/13)

"Labor's newest frontbencher Ron Hoenig has been forced to reveal he accepted a ticket to the NRL semi-finals from Eddie Obeid last September - a fortnight after being elected to parliament. The revelation is an embarrassment for the Opposition Leader John Robertson. He promised new standards for pecuniary interest register declarations by his MPs in the wake of the ICAC scandal and the first act of declaration has seen Mr Hoenig admit receiving a gift from Mr Obeid, who is facing accusations he was part of rigging a mine licence to benefit his family. Mr Hoenig, the opposition's ports and energy spokesman, confirmed yesterday he had been invited by Mr Obeid to the preliminary NRL final South Sydney played last year. 'I was invited by Eddie Obeid whether I'd like to accompany the Israeli ambassador to a South Sydney football game which I did,' Mr Hoenig said... 'I think he wanted a Jewish Labor party person to accompany the Israeli ambassador.'... Mr Hoenig's Obeid connection comes a day after The Sunday Telegraph revealed his son Ben was caught posting abuse and racist tirades on his Facebook page." (Eddie Obeid gave footy tickets as gift to new Labor MP Ron Hoenig, Andrew Clennell, The Daily Telegraph, 4/3/13)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Election 2013 1

No 3 elections are quite the same.

Here's the Sydney Morning Herald's political editor Peter Hartcher writing in today's paper:

"Approaching the level of the pitiful for a prime minister calling an election, [Kevin Rudd] actually asked sympathisers to send in $10 bucks." (Spot the difference between a reborn contrite Kev and Team Tony)

And here's Hartcher writing in the Herald on June 22, 2010:

"The concern [of Israel lobbyists] intensified last month when the government expelled an Israeli diplomat as a punishment for the passport abuse... All through this, the Israeli ambassador to Australia and some members of the Jewish community felt a chill in their dealings with the government. Phone calls went unreturned, normal dealings seemed to be suspended. The Jewish community reciprocated. When Labor approached key groups to hold fund-raising events for the coming election, they feigned busyness... The Jewish community was an important source of funds for the 2007 election. A single lunch in Sydney raised $100,000. A Toorak tennis court party for 200, attended by Rudd and Gillard, raised more." (What am I, chopped liver? How Rudd dived into the schmooze*)

Ah, those were the days! You can bet Abbott won't be holding out his hat for such petty cash.

[*See my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy.]

The Hounding of Jake Lynch

The bullying and intimidation of Jake Lynch goes on:

"An Israeli civil rights group has launched legal action against Jake Lynch, the head of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, in the Human Rights Commission, alleging his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement contravenes the Racial Discrimination Act. Associate Professor Lynch last year refused to assist Dan Avnon, the author of the only joint civics curriculum for Jewish and Arab school students*, to undertake work at the university as a representative of an Israeli institution... The Shurat HaDin complaint is based on Section 9 of the 1975 Race [sic] Discrimination Act. It reads: 'It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life'." (Professor faces legal action on BDS stand, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 2/8/13)

(*Kerr, of course, can't even tell the story straight: it's a civics curriculum for joint Jewish/Arab schools, not the other way round.)

While Mr Avnon was no doubt completely shattered by the experience (as only an Israeli can be?), it should always be kept in mind that when it comes to dishing out "distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour (who knows?), descent or national or ethnic origin," the apartheid, 'Jewish' state of Israel, of which his university is an integral part, is second to none.

Even a simple scan of the blurb for his 2009 book, Plurality & Citizenship in Israel: Moving Beyond the Jewish/Palestinian Divide, reveals that Israel's Palestinian minority experiences "unequal access to citizenship; unequal access to land; discrimination in access to public services; insufficient defence of minority rights in Israel's legal system; unequal obligations; [and] unequal economic opportunities." And while we're at it, name me one other country in the world which bases its immigration policy solely on biology?

One wonders, therefore, why such a "civil rights group" as Shurat HaDin, modelled, so Kerr tells us, "on the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre, that has successfully used US courts to target the Ku Klux Klan," needs to come all the way to Australia to bother one of this country's most ethical academics. Could there possibly be some other reason? Just asking. 

But back to the matter of difference, exclusion or preference based on national/ethnic origin and the Israeli apartheid state. Whilst pottering around on the internet recently, this particularly egregious example, of which I was hitherto completely unaware, really had me sitting up and taking notice:

"In May of 1948, the State of Israel was established as the modern nation-state of the Jewish people. That November, a state agency, the 'Central Bureau of Statistics' (CBS), conducted the first population census, at the height of the War of Independence [sic: ethnic cleansing of Palestine]. Under a curfew of 7 hours, military and security personnel proceeded to canvass every Israeli household and register all its citizens. An order was given specifying that those absent from their homes would not be registered as citizens and that their ownership of goods, property and land was not to be recognized. Though the order was formulated in universalistic terms, applying to all inhabitants, its sanctions were in effect applied only to the Palestinian Arab population, for it was only members of this group who were not at home. Hundreds of thousands had fled and had been driven from their homes during the fighting [sic: ethnic cleansing]. While the census was ostensibly an enumeration of all residents, it in fact created the population that it was counting. Those who were not counted were thereby excluded from the target population, their rights forfeited. This included not only the refugees who had left the territory under Israel's control, but internal refugees as well. Of those absent during the census, many were internal refugees, remaining within the territory that eventually became Israel's... Though this group was given Israeli citizenship, their property rights were never restored, and they became the statistical category of 'present-absentees'." (The Uncounted: Citizenship & Exclusion in the Israeli Census of 1948, Anat Leibler & Daniel Breslau,

Only in Israel.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Say NO to Negotiations!

An important statement from Palestinian activists in North America (

Palestinians in Shatat (Diaspora) Say NO to Resumption of Negotiations

We, the undersigned Palestinians and Palestinian organizations in shatat and exile, write today to express our firm opposition to the resumption of bilateral Israeli/Palestinian negotiations under US auspices in Washington DC, today, July 29.

For 20 years, the negotiations have not served Palestinian interests. Through countless sessions of futile negotiations, Israeli settlement construction has escalated, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are held behind bars, and Palestinian rights - including Palestinian refugees' right of return - are no closer to implementation.

While the Netanyahu government is planning the massive dispossession of Palestinians in the Naqab via the Prawer Plan, the negotiations serve only to provide a thin veneer of legitimacy to the aggressive policies of Israeli occupation and apartheid. Our rights - the rights of the Palestinian people - and our land - the entire land of Palestine - are not for sale or bartering at the negotiating table.

That this process is presided over by the United States government, which provides $3 billion annually in military aid to Israel, and specifically by Martin Indyk, former research director at the infamous Israel lobby organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), only adds insult to injury and makes clear that these negotiations will bring nothing of value or benefit to the Palestinian people.

Today, we say: PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not represent us! Our rights cannot and will not be bargained away at a negotiating table in Washington, DC. Instead, we affirm that the Palestinian people are one people and our cause is one cause. Our people have struggled for 65 years in order to achieve the liberation of the land and people of Palestine and the implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

As Palestinians in shatat, we are not being represented here, and we demand to reclaim our voice and role. We do not accept these negotiations, and our rights, our people, and our land are not for sale!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Zionist Hypocrisy Alert

"We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying employment for it in our country." Theodor Herzl, Zionist Godfather, 1895

I really don't know which is the more revolting: the hypocrisy of Zionists who speak out for refugees, so long as they're not Palestinian refugees (or indigenous people, so long as they're not indigenous Palestinians), or the alacrity with which opinion editors give them a platform to do so in our newspapers - which is precisely what opinion editor Paul Austin has done in today's Age:

Under the heading Stop the ugly politicking: this is a matter of life & death, tax lawyer and national chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Mark Leibler claims that "[i]t chills me that we have come to a point where we are denying refugees reaching Australian waters any prospect of ever being settled in this country."

At various points, he refers to "vulnerable refugees fleeing persecution [who] while deserving of our empathy... are instead left degraded and dehumanised"; "[Australia's] record as a nation that embraces a 'fair go' for refugees fleeing persecution"; "our moral obligation to contribute to the global refugee crisis"; and the fact that "most refugees would want to go home if it was safe to do so."

Leibler's piece is replete with noble sentiments and oozes humanitarian feeling. But there's only one thing wrong. He just happens to be one of Australia's foremost apologists for Israel, a colonial-settler state with a Jewish majority only achieved by the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and the creation of over 750,000 Palestinian Arab REFUGEES, who are still refugees today, 65 years later.

That's right, Palestinian refugees. Remember them, Mark?

Just to remind you, the following account, by Swedish photo-journalist Per-Olow Anderson, was published back in 1957. Anderson's concluding questions are as relevant today as they were in the 50s:

"Human suffering is nothing new to me. As a photo-journalist I have encountered it many times during the newspaper and magazine assignments that have taken me to 74 countries in the past 20 years. But none of my experiences was more shocking to me than my introduction to the plight of the more than 1 million Palestine Arab refugees in the Middle East, whom I first saw in April, 1956, on my arrival at Gaza on an assignment for my Swedish magazine.

"The Palestine Arab refugees exist in misery and despair in crowded camps in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip - in caves in Palestine, squatters' rows near large Arab cities, and the slums of the cities themselves. I have seen the squalor of their tents and mud huts sprawled on rocky hillsides and in bone-dry, dust-blown valleys. I have felt their grief and suffering, heard their bitter memories and frustrations, and their tense and emotional cry: 'Justice, justice! All we ask is justice!'

"What is justice in their particular case, and why has it been denied them for so long? When the United Nations sanctioned the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, it did not intend that the Arab population of the territory given to the Jews should be expropriated, expelled or forced to flee. But this is what actually happened. Nearly a million Arabs whose ancestors had lived for countless generations in Palestine lost their lands and homes and became penniless refugees, to make way for Jewish refugees, who had themselves been forced by Nazi persecution to flee their homelands.

"The world has extended its help and sympathy to the Jewish refugees. Everything possible was done for them and the conscience of humanity was so stirred that it approved of their being given a Jewish state of their own. Ironically and tragically, however, the world in attempting to right an injustice to one people sowed the seeds of injustice to another. The Palestine Arabs, whom the Jewish refugees displaced, also became victims of war and terror. For them, the world set up only a relief agency to hand out a dole and to carry out a plan for resettling them in other Arab lands, against the wishes of both themselves and of the countries to which they were to be assigned. Nothing has been done to answer the desire of the Palestine Arabs for repatriation to their former homes, or to compensate them for the loss of their property, or to enforce the UN-imposed boundaries that would have divided Palestine almost equally between Jew and Arab.

"I cannot see why - after 9 years - the world still has not solved this problem. I cannot understand how the world at large came to forget these people who, in terms of human suffering, are paying an agonizing price for a mistake for which all of us are responsible." (From the Introduction to They are human too...: A Photographic Essay on the Palestine Arab Refugees)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Misrepresenting the Evian Conference of 1938

The Australian Jewish News spins the 1938 Evian Conference:

"A Melbourne rabbi is hopeful the 75th anniversary of the Evian Conference on Jewish refugees will prompt the federal government to formally acknowledge Australia's lack of action at the time. Exactly three-quarters of a century ago this month, representatives of the Western allies met at Evian-les-Bains in France on the initiative of US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an attempt to develop a policy for absorbing Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria. But the Evian Conference turned out to be an abysmal failure, with almost no country making any significant commitment to increase their intake of Hitler's hapless victims... When Britain's notorious White Paper on Palestine emerged in May 1939, virtually closing the gates of the Jewish homeland, the fate of European Jewry was sealed. In July 1938, as country after country remained non-committal to the plight of the Jews, an Australian representative at the conference, Thomas White... stated: 'It will no doubt be appreciated also that as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration.' Australia partly relented and later accepted some 15,000 Jewish refugees." (75 years since the world shut us out, 19/7/13)

Note here how Palestine, then still a country with an overwhelming Arab majority which had just waged a bitter 4-year campaign of armed resistance against the British/Zionist policy of flooding its homeland with East European Jews, is brazenly referred to, in true Zionist style, as "the Jewish homeland".

Note how Britain is claimed to have "closed the gates" of Palestine with its 1939 White Paper when in fact it merely reduced Jewish immigration to 75,000 over the following 5 years in a belated attempt to satisfy the legitimate Arab demand for an end to the kind of mass Jewish immigration designed to convert the Arab majority into a minority in its own homeland.

And note how there is no mention whatever of the key role of the Zionist movement in scuppering the conference because it had no interest in German Jews going anywhere but Palestine. (For the details, just click on the Evian label below and read my 21/11/11 post Laying Siege to German Jews.)

A rare dissenting letter in The Australian Jewish News of July 26 by Professor Bill Rubinstein of Caulfield South, Victoria, refuses to toe the AJN line on this issue:

"Your article and editorial regarding the 75th anniversary of the Evian Conference is seriously misleading. Rather than closing the doors to Jewish refugees, after the Anschluss with Austria (March 1938) and Kristallnacht (November 1938), most of the world allowed in more Jews than before; Evian was irrelevant to this process. Britain let in up to 75,000 Jewish refugees, mainly in 1938-39, the most famous of whom was Sigmund Freud... The United States admitted more than 100,000 Jews as immigrants between 1938 and the end of 1941. Australia's reluctant decision to admit 15,000 refugees from the Reich (when this country's total population was only 6.5 million) was the first time Australia had admitted any refugees. About 72% of Germany's Jews actually left Germany before the Nazis (not the democracies) closed the door. However, more than 95% of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust were not in Germany, but in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe, especially Poland, the USSR, Hungary, and the Netherlands. Before the war, these Jews were not refugees, not under Nazi rule, and were irrelevant to the Evian Conference, which exclusively concerned Germany. Any Jew in the USSR who expressed a wish to leave Stalin's utopia would have been shot or sent to a gulag. Polish Jewry was divided into 3 main factions: the Zionists, the Bund, and Agudas Israel (the strictly Orthodox party), the latter two being fierce opponents of Zionism. The Bund advised its followers to stay where they were and to fight anti-Semitism through an alliance with the Polish working class. Obviously, they could not have known what the fate would be of Jews trapped under Nazi rule, and neither could the Western democracies."