Friday, January 31, 2014

'Improving the Lives of All Israelis, Jewish or Not'

"While not without fault, Israel has proven its long-term commitment to democracy and liberty and to improving the lives of all Israelis, whether Jewish or not." (Janet Albrechtsen, It is time for Middle East to police its own region, The Australian, 29/1/14)


Clearly, Planet Janet hasn't read Max Blumenthal's must-read Goliath: Life & Loathing in Greater Israel (2013):

"In the eyes of Palestinians, there are few symbols of Israel's occupation more recognizable than the Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer. Custom-fitted with explosive-resistant armor, the 49-ton tractor was the instrument responsible for Rachel Corrie's death and the demolition of more than 1500 civilian homes in Rafah between the years 2000 and 2005. Since the dawn of the occupation in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), the State of Israel has destroyed well over 26,000 Palestinian homes. Most of these demolitions occurred in and around occupied East Jerusalem and in the Gaza Strip, but also in places such as the Jenin Refugee Camp, where a drunken bulldozer pilot nicknamed 'Kurdi Bear' reduced densely populated neighborhoods to a canyon of doom, boasting that he 'left [Jenin's] residents with a football stadium so they could play.'

"As the state stepped up its campaign of 'Judaization' under the watch of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian neighborhoods in mixed Israeli cities were becoming acquainted with the US-manufactured Caterpillar-D9 as well. Fifteen minutes east of Tel Aviv, in the Lod Ghetto, where Palestinian citizens lived surrounded by lower-class Jewish communities, I visited a de facto refugee camp filled with the residents of an entire neighborhood that had been leveled to the ground the night before.

"On December 13, 2010, 17-year-old Hamza Abu Eid was taken out of class at his high school in Lod and summoned to the principal's office. 'The Israelis are destroying your house right now,' the principal told him. 'It is best that you remain here. The last thing we want is for you to have a confrontation with a police officer.'

"But Abu Eid could not stay. He rushed to his family's house, hoping to salvage whatever belongings he could before the bulldozers from the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) rumbled through. When he arrived it was too late. The bulldozers had destroyed virtually everything - all seven homes belonging to the Abu Eid family were reduced to rubble. A black-masked Israeli riot police officer grabbed Hamza, restraining him while the bulldozers finished their work and preventing him from attempting to save his belongings. Three refrigerators and a TV set were among the appliances that Hamza's family lost in the destruction.

"In the end, 74 people were left homeless - including 54 children - and were forced to sleep under the open sky during the coldest period of the year. No government social worker arrived with assistance, nor did the state offer any temporary aid. The families gathered whatever belongings they could, pitching tents like so many Palestinian refugees have done in the past, and placing a sign over their land plot. It read, 'Abu Eid Refugee Camp.'

"When I arrived at the encampment, the area looked like Rafah after Israeli operations during the Second Intifada, or the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead. Unlike these occupied areas, however, the Abu Eid camp was located only 15 kilometers from Tel Aviv in the Abu Toq neighborhood of Lod. All of Lod's Palestinian residents are citizens of Israel, but they are treated by the state like foreign aliens, or worse, as an existential threat to the survival of Zionism.

"For years, the Abu Eid family applied for permits to allow them to renovate their homes to accommodate their growing family. But the state zoned their neighborhood as agricultural land and refused their requests (applications for renovation and building permits are almost always denied to the Arabs inside Israel). Finally, the state ordered them to seek residency elsewhere because their homes were slated for demolition.

"Directly beside the Abu Eid refugee camp, building has begun on a yeshiva directed by an Orthodox rabbi from the United States named Yaakov Saban. And plans were authorized to build a road directly through the center of the neighborhood. Pressure on the Palestinian Israelis of Lod to leave intensified day by day, thanks to the far-right takeover of the city.

"Widespread corruption had prompted the collapse of the elected municipality, enabling the Israeli Ministry of the Interior to install an emergency government consisting of hand-picked military officials. With the Ministry of the Interior under the control of Eli Yishai, who led the right-wing religious Shas Party, the new municipality became a means for meting out the wrath of anti-Arab populists against the local Arab population. 'They are poor in culture, poor in behavior. No ambition,' the mayor of Ramle, a neighboring city, said of the Palestinians of Lod.

"By the time the Abu Eid family's homes were demolished, as many as 30 demolition orders hovered over the Arab residents of Lod. The Arabs of Lod were not only denied the right to renovate their own houses, they also claimed they were forbidden as Arabs from living in a giant, new public housing complex built in the heart of the city. Thus they were confined to an overcrowded ghetto doomed by state plans that prioritized Judaization.

"I arrived at the Abu Eid camp on January 25, 2010, to observe a protest by Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, a national movement that grew out of the protests against East Jerusalem evictions of Palestinian families, and which was establishing a presence in mixed cities around Israel, as well as in the most threatened areas of the West Bank. Amiel Vardi, a veteran activist, explained to me, 'For years I've been trying to say, 'Don't think the occupation will stop at the Green Line.' Now we see it's not stopping. They're using the same methods with the settlements, with the courts, and with the Shabak [Shin Bet] on both sides of the Green Line. Go to the Abu Eid camp in Lod or to Al-Arakib [a repeatedly demolished Bedouin village in the Negev], and there's absolutely no difference from what I see in the Hebron Hills.'

"I entered the remains of the Abu Eid family dwellings at the end of Lod's Helen Keller Boulevard, finding small groups of grizzled men seated around open fires and sipping tea, while small children clambered in and out of tents erected beside piles of rubble, debris, and shattered home appliances. A forlorn-looking middle-aged man named Riyadh Abu Eid met me at the entrance and took me into the makeshift camp.

"'This place was here before 1948,' he said. 'They destroyed it because they said we had no permit. But we can't get permits because we are '48 Arabs. We asked many times and were denied every time. They say we are terrorists. But look around - this is the real terror. Throwing children into the street on the coldest day of the year - that is terror.'

"According to Riyadh Abu Eid, many children from camp were unable to attend school because they could not concentrate. A 9-year-old girl who was especially traumatized had refused to leave her bed for days. Riyadh did not try to conceal his desperation. 'We do not feel safe here,' he said. 'We want to ask the United nations and Obama for international protection from a fascist government that has proven capable of massacring the unarmed.' He added, 'The days of 1948 have come again'." (pp 165-67)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

She's Baaack

Whaddya know, Planet Janet's back on The Australian's opinion page with more of her all-leather chutzpah after an unnoticed and unmissed absence of...?

And blow me down if she hasn't "humbly draft[ed] a speech for President Obama after spending the last few weeks in the US where newspapers have been busily reporting continuing crises in the Middle East, and failed peace talks, because Sunni and Shia, the two main branches of Islam are once again pitted against one another." (It is time for Middle East to police its own region, Janet Albrechtsen, 29/1/14)

That just about says it all really.

You see, in the beginning was the word, and the word was Sunni-Shia Divide (S-SD), the latest USraeli propaganda construct designed to deflect attention away from the actual roots of violence in the Middle East - 'good' old-fashioned imperialism and colonialism. In the scribblings of USraeli propagandists these days everything that moves or stirs in the Middle East is a manifestation of the dreaded S-SD.

And Planet Janet's Obama has had a gutful:

"It is a speech I must give because, to be frank, America is sick of its role as the international policeman of first resort... America - and I am sure our great allies abroad - has grown tired of being called upon to solve these conflicts."

Poor old Barack! He's like: 'OMG, these never-ending interventions are such a drag! I mean, America's had it up to here being dragged kicking and screaming into conflict after conflict in the flogging Middle East. Enough already! She is so fucking droned you wouldn't believe.'

After all:

"In the name of human decency and liberty, we helped free the Iraqi people from a government that gassed and slaughtered tens of thousands of its own citizens. We helped liberate the Afghan people from the brutal yoke of the Taliban. We then provided support to put an end to the murderous regime in Libya."

It hardly matters for Planet Janet, of course, that Iraq only had an attack of the S-SD after the Yanks waded in in 2003. Or that the Yanks paved the way for the Taliban by backing its 'Holy Warrior' forbears against a secular, Russian-backed Afghan regime from 1979 to 1992. Or that, in the case of Libya, the Shia half of the equation has been conspicuous by its complete and unremitting absence since the year dot.

Planet Janet's Obama, of course, has only one thing on his mind:

"The world cannot wait for Sunnis and Shia to continue to slaughter each other in the name of Mohammed and a centuries old conflict about his rightful heir."

Thankfully, on the Syrian front of the S-SD, our sock-puppet Prez has the advantage of the foreign policy expertise and wisdom of the world's leading statesman:

"The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, best described the conflict in Syria as one between bad guys and bad guys. He is right. We need more of this frankness."

That the conflict in Syria has bugger all to do with the S-SD, and everything to do with the sectarian genie unleashed in Iraq by those wonderfully 'decent, liberty-loving' folk, Bush, Blair and Howard, a genie which has slipped across the border into a secular Syria, bristling with CIA-supplied arms and wallets stuffed with Gulf petrodollars, is of course neither here nor there to Planet Janet.

Then there's that other unfinished business in the Middle East, which has bugger all to do with the S-SD - the unresolved issue of Zionist ethnic cleansing and colonization in Palestine (1948-2014):

"Finally, as part of the resolution of this conflict in the Middle East, I call on Hezbollah and Hamas, and all Arab governments which haven't yet done so, immediately to recognise Israel as the legitimate homeland of the Jewish people. Until that happens there will be no enduring settlement of outstanding issues in the Middle East, whether they are conflicts over land or religion. While not without fault, Israel has proven its long-term commitment to democracy and liberty and to improving the lives of all Israelis, whether Jewish or not."

Planet Janet, of course, neglects to mention that Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Hamas are on the same side here, and also that Jewish Israel is the mother of all sectarian entities in the Middle East.

And quite how the Palestinians are expected to get an "enduring settlement" out of giving the thumbs up to Israel's wholesale theft of their country is anyone's guess, but face it - what else would you expect one of the rambammed (2008) to say?

Notice here that, with respect to the Zionist entity, Planet Janet covers her svelte, leather-clad arse with the lawyerly formulation, "while not without fault." Typically, such faults are never spelt out by the likes of Planet Janet (too long a list maybe?), just glossed over with tripe about Israel "improving the lives of all Israelis... Jewish or not," about which matter I'll be returning in my very next post.

And isn't it amazing that not even the spectacle of Planet Janet putting her tongue in Barack Obama's mouth does it for certain old grumps:

"Nothing can save Barack Obama from ignominy, not even Janet Albrechtsen's formidable skills as a speech-writer." George Fishman, Vaucluse, NSW (The Australian, 30/1/14)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just How Bright is Julie Bishop?

As I once wrote, I just don't do agreement with The Australian's 'Suppository of All Wisdom', Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan - except in one instance when he lashed out with this unequivocal statement:

"Julie Bishop... has not produced a single sentence of substance or originality while in the portfolio." (See my 17/2/11 post Sheridan Biffs Bishop, MERC Cries Foul.)

I was reminded of the above by the following item in yesterday's issue by The Australian's Middle East Correspondent John Lyons:

"A group of eminent Israelis has urged Australia to continue to support 'the international consensus' that Jewish settlements on the West Bank are illegal. The group said it noted 'with deep concern' Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's recent comments about settlements. Separately, four leading lawyers, including former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair, have 'reminded' Ms Bishop that it is the unanimous position of judges of the International Court of Justice that settlements are illegal. The lawyers say that status has been confirmed by resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council and is the longstanding position of the Red Cross, the EU and most countries. The Times of Israel reported that Ms Bishop had questioned whether settlements in the Palestinian territories were illegal. 'I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal,' it reported the Foreign Minister as saying." (Israeli lawyers caution Bishop, 27/1/14)

Is it not a damning indictment of Bishop that she has to be reminded of the fundamentals of international law by the leading lawyers of an Occupying Power?

'Great' Minds Thinking Alike

Australian Catholicism's Godfather, Cardinal George Pell:

"We should know more about Asia, but we do not belong to Asia. We are not of that world. We are an outpost of Western civilisation. It is one thing to oppose England in the cricket, but it is foolish not to acknowledge the British origins of our institutions - except the Catholic Church. Parliament, the law, schools, hospitals and military all follow British models. And Europe, like the Americas and Australia, cannot be understood without the Judeo-Christian tradition. For these reasons... I commend the national school curriculum review. A curriculum which does not mention James Cook and has no secondary references to the First Fleet or the Anzacs is badly skewed. Christianity is mentioned only 11 times, once more than Islam." (Today's a day for us to rejoice in history's page - our page, Sunday Telegraph, 26/1/14)

Zionism's Godfather, Theodor Herzl:

"We should [in Palestine] form a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism." (The Jewish State, 1896, Dover edition, p 96)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just Another Dumb Middle East Correspondent

From Observer journalist Harriet Sherwood's goodbye to Gaza:

"This was my last trip to Gaza before returning to London to live and work. I moved to Jerusalem in May 2010, to report principally on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... I arrived eager to learn more about what is frequently called the world's most intractable conflict, and to try to understand the powerful feelings of historical injustice on both sides." (Goodbye Gaza: our correspondent reflects on her time in the Middle East, 26/1/14)

To stop you there, Harriet. I'm mystified. Please tell us about the terrible historical injustice inflicted upon Israelis by Palestinians.

Adam Goodes vs the IDF

According to our politicians, Abbottoir and Israel have heaps in common. Abbottoir's new Prime Headkicker, Tony Abbott, for example, has even declared that "Australians are all Israelis."

I simply cannot comprehend, therefore, how our two countries could have come up with such widely divergent choices as these:

The 2014 Australian of the Year is Indigenous man, Adam Goodes, who "wants to help break down the boundaries between races and won't rest until all Australians are treated as equals." (Goodes has racism in his sights, Adam Gartrell,, 25/1/14)

The 2014 Israeli Person of the Year, on the other hand, is the Israeli soldier "who protect(s) all of us 24/7 by fighting against terror." ('Jerusalem Post' Person of the Year: The Israeli soldier,, 26/1/14)

Now if I may may be allowed, as an expert here, to translate the above from the Israeli language, Hasbara - a tongue notorious for veiling and obscuring reality - into plain English, it'd go something like this:

The 2014 Israeli Person of the Year is the Israeli soldier 'who protects our colonial-settler land-grab (1948-2014) by separating, confining, obstructing, intimidating, abusing, robbing, beating, arresting, gassing, shooting, shelling, and bombing the Indigenous Palestinian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories 24/7.' (For just some of the gory details see my 5/12/12 post As Though They Owned the Place.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Abbottoir Day 2014

Herewith the latest news about our Dear Leader on Abbottoir Day 2014:

"Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has met with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. They met at the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. At the start of their meeting, Australian Prime Minister Abbott told Prime Minister Netanyahu, 'I daresay you had an interesting day. I want to stress the affinity of Australia to Israel and remind you that apart from Israel, Australia is the only country on earth that's had a Jewish person as Commander in Chief of the army, Chief Justice and Head of State." (Abbott meets Netanyahu,, 24/1/14)

LOL, that Head of State (from 1931-36) was, of course, Governor-General Sir Isaac Isaacs, a confirmed anti-Zionist.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Undisturbed Sleep of Michael Gawenda

"Sandomierz is a beautiful little town in south-eastern Poland... Once, before the war, many of its inhabitants were Jews. As we walked along the streets that were once Jewish streets, this group of American and Australian Jews, there were no signs, nothing at all, to suggest that the Jews of Sandomierz had a history going back hundreds of years... The past sat in my heart like a stone. On the once Jewish streets of Sandomierz... lived Poles. I wondered whether they knew what had happened to the people who once lived here and if they did know, did the ghosts of the dead Jews ever come to disturb their sleep?"

So begins the soulful essay by former editor of The Age Michael Gawenda, in the January 18 edition of Fairfax's GoodWeekend magazine.

While it's perfectly natural for Gawenda to ruminate thus on his Polish-Jewish parents' homeland and the terrible fate of Poland's Jews under the Nazis, nagging questions arise.

Is it possible for a Jew, any Jew, who lives in an era when the lives of Jews are seemingly dominated by the fact of a powerful Jewish state, one moreover, which loudly proclaims that all Jews constitute one people and that it, Israel, represents them, to carry on as though Israel and its manifold crimes are in no way his or her concern?

Is it possible for a Jew to be alive to the fate of his father's forbears in Europe but dead to the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who were driven out of Palestine by the founders of the Jewish state, and whose homes are now inhabited by the descendents of Eastern European, including Polish, Jews?

Apparently, for Gawenda, it is.

Mind you, as the son of a Bundist father, Gawenda is by no means overtly Zionist. And yet, in his memoir, American Notebook: A Personal and Political Journey (2007), he can blithely invoke the Nazi genocide to marginalise and dismiss the 63 years of Palestinian suffering done in his name as a Jew as well as the next Zionist apologist:

"Is it really necessary to say that there is no comparison in reality, no analogous situation between the Nazi treatment of the Jews and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians? It seems that it is. The attempted genocide by the Nazis of European Jewry was almost successful. Whole communities were wiped out. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were executed by the Nazi killing squads that followed the German army into the Soviet Union. Of Poland's estimated 3 million Jews, 200,000 survived. At least a million people were killed in Auschwitz, among them hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children who were gassed shortly after their arrival. The characterisation of Israel as a Nazi state by some of its critics is based either on ignorance or on something much more malevolent." (p 157)

Gawenda here provides a perfect example of the following phenomenon so well described by Israeli activist and scholar Uri Davis:

"It is to Hisham Sharabi that I owe the insight that though the Israeli ethnic cleansing of 1948-49 and the Israeli occupation of 1967 are no less cruel than, for instance, the mass ethnic cleansing that had taken place in India and Pakistan at about the same time, or the French occupation of Algeria, the tragedy of the Palestinian Arab people is that their persecutor and occupier is identified in Western narrative not as a 'Zionist', nor as an 'Israeli', but as a 'Jew'. This, Sharabi pointed out further, unfortunately means that so long as the Israeli occupation does not mass transport the Palestinian people into death camps, annihilate them in gas chambers and dispose of their bodies in crematoria with columns of smoke curling out of the chimneys, the cruelty of the Israeli occupation and the truly horrific suffering of the Palestinian people remain invisible to enlightened public opinion." (Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, 2003, p 18)

It seems that, safely inoculated by Holocaust memory, the ghosts of dead and dispossessed Palestinians will never disturb Gawenda's sleep.

Friday, January 24, 2014

From Kevin 07 to Kevin 747

What a miserable pack of entitled flakes and fakes these Australian politicians are.  

Kevin Rudd for one:

"Not even a resounding election defeat could clip the wings of Kevin 747. In his first three months out of office, former prime minister Kevin Rudd went on a jet-lag inducing odyssey of eight foreign capitals, spending 60 days outside Australia. The Mandarin speaker met Chinese officials and delivered speeches in Beijing on four separate, week-long trips in September, October and November. He has flown to New York and London three times, Paris twice and had engagements in Washington, Bahrain, Zurich and Toronto." (Staying active: retiring Rudd keeps up life of a jet-setter, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/1/14)

Why not Israel? After all wasn't Rudd the bloke who once declared that he had "support for Israel in his DNA"?

Bob Carr for another:

"It reads like the bucket list of a dedicated sightseer. Except Bob Carr managed to tick of some of the world's must-see tourist and cultural destinations in just 19 months as foreign minister. The history buff found time in a hectic schedule of official meetings to visit 67 sites in 30 separate countries." (Top role took Carr on journey of a lifetime, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/1/14)

What, no Israel? Wasn't he a founding member of NSW Labor Friends of Israel back in the 70s?

A Guide to the Fishman Phenomenon

A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald (10/1/14) from one of the BoyZ:

"Congratulations to the Abbott government for using every means at its disposal, including turning back the boats, to stop the illegal entry of foreigners into Australia." George Fishman Vaucluse

How to get your head around the peculiar mindset of this individual?

He's obviously quite-comfortable-here-in-Vaucluse-thank-you, having been sharing his thought bubbleZ with the Herald readership from this address for longer than I can remember. (BTW, Herald letters editors may come and go, but one and all, they cannot get enough of Fishman's inane thought bubbleZ, and the bugger's bound to bulk large in any Herald letters anthology.)

But here's the thing: despite his exclusive Sydney address, as a Zionist, Fishman insists that faraway Palestine, which he calls (the Land of) Israel in line with the dogma of the cult to which he belongs, is his real home because the Big G once said so.

And because Palestine is really his home, the Arabs had no right being there in the first place, had to go don't you know, and must be kept OUT (or down as the case may be) in perpetuity, regardless of whether he chooses to live there or remain 'in exile' in his Vaucluse ghetto.

Typically, members of the Zionist cult such as Fishman find validation for their own brand of exclusion in tough White GoyZ who share their peculiar obsession with keeping people who may be brown and - Heaven forbid! - Muslim OUT.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Man's a Genius!

The latest Pearl of Wisdom excreted by Australian PM Tony Abbott in Davos, Switzerland:

"The difficulty in Syria is that, as I famously, perhaps infamously said during the election campaign, it often seems like a struggle that involves baddies versus baddies. Obviously we want to see a more peaceful, more just, more democratic Syria. Obviously we think that the Assad regime has acted in monstrous ways towards its own people. I guess the best way for all of them to demonstrate that at least some of them are goodies is to lay down their arms and to try to ensure that the conflict which is currently devastating that country and its people starts to subside." (All eyes on Tony Abbott as he lays out foreign policy stall in Davos, Katherine Murphy,, 22/1/14)

This bloke's up there with the Dalai Lama.

Sydney Morning Herald Hits New Lows

The Sydney Morning Herald (Independent. Always.) goes from bad to worse.

No sooner has the awful, carping Gerard Henderson moved from its opinion pages to those of Murdoch's Australian, than he's replaced with the likes of Tom ("It would appear that the Palestinians remain vicious thugs")* Switzer, an opinion editor of The Australian from 2001-08, and former Howard Government Minister for Putting the Boot into Trade Unionists Peter Reith.

Today's online issue is particularly appalling:

One of its lead news items, Australians fund terror groups, is followed by this quite categorical assertion:

"Drug-trafficking proceeds are funneled into Hezbollah in huge money-laundering operation."

Click on this and you come to a 'report' by Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker headlined, Terror groups taking cut as drug money is laundered.

The opening 2 paragraphs read:

"Terrorist groups are profiting as part of a money-laundering operation involving hundreds of millions of dollars Australians are spending on illegal drugs. The revelations come as Australia's biggest money-laundering investigation, Project Eligo, has identified hundreds of unwitting Australian residents being duped into helping launder the drug money overseas - including funds generated by outlaw motorcycle gangs and people-smuggling operations."

Then comes this 3rd paragraph:

"It is believed at least one of the 'exchange houses' used in the Australian laundering operation delivers a cut from every dollar it launders to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist group."

It is believed...? Whatever happened to the earlier, categorical drug-trafficking proceeds are funneled into Hezbollah...?

Whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist group...? This of course is completely false. 

One is moved to ask: is there a Zio-Smear 101 unit in journalism courses these days?

[*This comes from a piece by Switzer in the Australian Financial Review of December 23, 1998, and was the subject of a complaint of racial vilification by Ali Kazak before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW in 2000. Kazak's complaint was substantiated.]

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Abbott's 'Jakarta Focus' in Focus

Tony Abbott in 2012:

"Sensible countries focus their foreign policy on what's clearly in their national interest. That's why I keep saying that the next Coalition government's foreign policy would have a 'Jakarta focus rather than a Geneva one'. What happens in our region usually matters more to us than what happens elsewhere. What's more, we can usually better influence what's happening in our region... In foreign policy, the first priority of an incoming Coalition government would be to repair the damage done to Australia's relations with our neighbours... East Timor... Indonesia..." (On world stage, Rudd spoke loudly and carried a small stick, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/2/12)

So how's it all going now, Tone?

"Australia had been 'stupid' to allow its navy ships to cross into Indonesian territory, and tension over the incident would delay the process of repairing relations damaged by recent spying revelations, according to a senior Indonesian politician." (Australia 'stupid' on territorial breaches, Indonesian MP says, Michael Bachelard & David Wroe, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/1/14)

"Attorney-General George Brandis has given an extraordinary undertaking not to read highly sensitive documents seized by ASIO agents in a raid on East Timor's lawyer last year. The undertaking comes as Australia attempts to thwart a Timorese bid in the Hague to have the material returned." (Brandis to Hague tribunal: I won't read East Timor files, Tom Allard, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/1/14)

Well done, Tone, George, stay focused and keep up the good work!

Indians Dreaming of Cowboys

"Peace Now, an Israeli group that opposes settlements, released a report on Saturday saying that at least 44 new settlement sites had been established in the West Bank since Mr Sharon was elected prime minister in February 2001. The outpost settlements are most vulnerable to attack by Palestinian militants because they are often located outside perimeter fences. Their residents are considered the most ideological and radical of the settlers. 'They imitate the Wild West. They have horses. They have cattle. They have guns. They are playing cowboy and treating others, in this case the Palestinians, as though they are the Indians,' said Amiram Goldblum of Peace Now." (Israel orders removal of illegal settlements, Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 1/7/02)

"Itamar has a wild west feel to it and Hayman, who was born in Hollywood and left the US for Israel 15 years ago, sees himself as a modern John Wayne, pioneering settlement in a hostile land. 'I'd rather be making the news than watching it in television,' he says." (Settled in & staying put, Catherine Taylor, The Australian, 6/7/02)

Got the pic?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, two Australian 'Indians' are dreaming of cowboys:

Warren Mundine:

"Jewish people are a nation of people originating from a common geography, genealogy, language and religion. They were also dispossessed of land and sovereignty and dispersed over thousands of years, yet they maintain their identity as a people and nation." (Vilification law changes not about freedom but how we think about race, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/12/13)

Noel Pearson:

"In the legal world, Arnold Bloch Leibler is a force of nature, with clients including a disproportionate share of the country's wealthiest companies and families, and a vast pro bono practice stretching from the Yolngu of Arnhem Land to the Yorta Yorta of Victoria. During an articled clerkship at ABL's Collins Street headquarters I came to know the story of Australia's Jewish community and how a people endured oppression and discrimination through history; how they rose up from the ashes of the Holocaust." (Invaluable lessons in striving on behalf of one's community while serving humanity, The Australian, 21/12/13)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Believe It or Not

Opinions on the Middle East don't come much more suave and sophisticated than this:

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:

Israeli Settlements:

"I don't want to prejudge the fundamental issues in the peace negotiations."

International law:

"I would like to see which international law has declared [settlements] illegal."


"It's anti-Semitic. It identifies Israel out of all other nations as being worthy of a BDS campaign. Hypocritical beyond belief."

(From: Australia FM: Don't call settlements illegal under international law, Raphael Ahren, The Times of Israel, 15/1/14)

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard:


"Civil war in Syria is 'breaking the hopes of everyone in the region. A tyrant is butchering his people. He has had no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction to do it. The opposition is atomised, and to a large extent is becoming radicalised."


"Everyone understands a State for Palestine. But not everyone says there should be a State of Israel."

(From 'Al Assad butchering his people' - Julia Gillard, Alexander Cornwell,, 16/1/14)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


The next time you read any Israeli propaganda about Israel's Ziv Hospital treating wounded Syrian refugees,* remember Sameeha's mum:

"Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and as the disease progressed she became increasingly worried she was not getting the best care from Gaza's already overstretched medical facilities. She applied for a permit to travel to a hospital in Israel but was rejected. Determined to stay alive for her family, she made her way through one of the hundreds of illegal tunnels then operating between Gaza and Egypt, to seek better treatment in Cairo. 'She crawled all the way from Gaza to Egypt, through a small tunnel, on her hands and knees through the mud,' Sameeha says. 'I remember my brother, who took her through the tunnel, coming back to our house completely covered in mud and I thought, 'What had my mother gone through?'" (Egypt upheaval plunges Gaza into a nightmare of isolation & darkness, Ruth Pollard, Sydney Morning Herald, 18/1/14)

[* See my 3/9/13 post Our Man in Tel Aviv 2.]

Saturday, January 18, 2014

With My Own Eyes

At last, the case of Sydney University's Professor Jake Lynch has made it into the Sydney Morning Herald in the form of an article by Richard Ackland on Attorney-General George Brandis' plan to strip the Racial Discrimination Act of its prohibition on 'offending and insulting' ethnic/racial minorities (section 18C) in the interests of professional offenders such as Murdoch mouthpiece Andrew Bolt. Needless to say, Brandis will be spinning it as a blow for free speech.

Ackland makes the perfectly valid point that:

"What is now a distressing hypocrisy surrounding the campaign to reform or do away with section 18C of the act is that its advocates are generally the same people cheering on the use of the act as the basis of proceedings in the Federal Court against University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch. He is being sued under different provisions of the act by Shurat HaDin - the Israel Law centre. The application was filed last October and it alleges that Lynch, from the Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, refused to support an application by Israeli academic Dan Avnon for a Zelman Cowan fellowship at the University of Sydney. It is claimed that in an act of racial discrimination, he deprived Avnon of his professional rights. Lynch is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. The Shurat HaDin statement of claim goes further and says that by calling for a boycott of Israel, Lynch adds to a campaign that disadvantages owners of Israeli-related businesses and deprives Israelis of cultural opportunities such as seeing Santana and Pink Floyd. Avnon, of the Hebrew University does not seem to have suffered a setback as a result of Lynch's lack of support. He lists on his resume, among his forthcoming appointments, that he will be the Sir Zelman Cowan visiting scholar at the University of Sydney this year. So, on the one hand the act is evil for affecting the free speech in the narrow provisions that deal with offending and insulting ethnic and racial minorities, but is heroic when its broad provisions are engaged as a basis of proceedings against lefty academics in the BDS movement. The whole thing could land Brandis in a bit of a pickle." (Free speech is a double-edged sword, 17/1/14)

Ackland lists a number of organisations - Aboriginal, Greek, Chinese etc - who have been lobbying Senator Brandis not to ditch 18C. Included in the list is the professionally offended Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

Its involvement in this issue, of course, raises the perennial question of whether Jews, as a purely faith community, should be so involved.

On the other hand, if Jews are seen as an ethnic/racial community, in line with the Zionist 'Jewish people' dogma, which ECAJ subscribes to, one wonders whether Ackland understands that ECAJ, as an organisation that wishes to retain 18C but is part and parcel of the Zionist/Murdoch attack on BDS and its proponents such as Professor Lynch, is also in something of a pickle, its unconvincing attempt to distance itself from Shurat HaDin's litigation by describing it as "inappropriate and counter-productive" notwithstanding.

As Shurat HaDin's Australian operative, Andrew (Akiva) Hamilton, has said:

"There is more than one way to confront BDS and our efforts complement those of the ECAJ." (Shurat HaDin, ECAJ disagree on skinning the BDS cat,, 3/11/13)

Took the words right out of my mouth, Akiva! As Irgun leader Menachem Begin might have said in the late 40s: 'There is more than one way to deal with the British and the Arabs, and our efforts complement those of the Haganah nicely, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?'

Still, all credit to Ackland for raising the case of Jake Lynch. I hope he reports on the coming court case in February.

Friday, January 17, 2014

In the Beginning was the JSPJ

OK, you've all heard of those Muslim terrorists, the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), who are flocking to Syria from all corners of the Muslim world to carve out an Islamic Emirate encompassing Iraq and Syria, right?

But what about their historical antecedents, the Jewish terrorists of the Jewish State of Palestine & Jordan (JSIJ), who flocked to Palestine from all corners of the Jewish world in the 30s and 40s to carve out a Jewish Emirate encompassing Palestine and Jordan?


I thought not - that's all very hush-hush now, know what I mean? Wouldn't want to remind Netanyu, Sharon & the BoyZ of their roots, would we now?

OK, so it's back to the mean streets of Tel Aviv, PALESTINE, 1947. Valiant Australian newsman Andrew Roth is your guide to what's happening "behind the troubled PALESTINE scene":

"I stumbled blind-folded through the backyards of an unknown quarter of Tel-Aviv with my elbow firmly grasped by a terrorist. I had just completed a long and confusing ride. The blindfold and the car's many turnings were precautions to protect the man I was scheduled to interview - a hunted leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, Palestine's most powerful terrorist group. Although the terrorists are a small minority of less than 1% of the Jewish population, their spectacular activity blankets the country despite 100,000 British troops and a sizeable police force.

"Young terrorist bobbysoxers plaster the walls of Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa with wild pronouncements. Even crime has a terrorist slant, for the most spectacular robberies are part of the terrorists' finance activities. And 6-year olds on the beach at Tel-Aviv play at 'blowing up the King David.' 

"I went to Tel-Aviv, and let it be known in several quarters that I wanted to interview Irgun leaders. After several days, during which the Irgun checked and found I wasn't a police spy - I was approached by a very serious young woman who said she was from the 'underground' and suggested I submit a list of questions. I did so and after a few days I was quite surprised to receive in return the most comprehensive replies ever granted a foreign correspondent - 4500 words prepared collaboratively by several members of the high command - plus permission for an interview.

"One of my questions to Irgun was: 'What is your reply to the charge that your movement is near-Fascist in technique and political outlook?' The answer started out with a statement from Goethe which translated to: 'Even when thinking is difficult, words come easily,' and added that they were fighting a war of national liberation like Washington and Garibaldi. During my interview I pointed out that many Jews in Palestine are certain that the Irgun will attempt to set up an authoritarian state after a Jewish state is secured. The spokesman assured me that Irgun would cease to exist as soon as the Jewish State came into existence, because it contained members of all Palestinian political parties and did not have any separate political ambitions...

"Those of the leading Irgun members I met were of East European origin. They were intelligent, well-educated and well-informed. It was only when they were expounding the principal points of their creed - like the necessity for armed force to secure a Hebrew State - that they had the look of fixed intensity one expects from fanatics.

"But it is from the Oriental Jewish community that you get many of the tough young devotees of religious fanaticism and extreme chauvinism who will knock the bundles from the arms of Jewish women who buy in Arab stores. It is here that the Irgun has found most of its zealous and single-minded followers. The leaders build their self-esteem by providing them with weapons and a cause. They fire their romantic imagination by planning and executing feats of extreme precision and Hollywood-like daring. And they use religion, nationalism and politics to build a cold anti-British fury.

"Although out-witting the Palestine police is no great accomplishment, the terrorists seem also to have defied the efforts of the best war-trained intelligence men despatched here. From an operational viewpoint, the attack on the carefully guarded King David administrative offices was an amazing accomplishment. But Irgun leaders are prouder of the attack on three airfields early in 1946, when 20 Lancasters, 18 Halifaxes, 15 other planes and various installations were destroyed. At another time, in a successful attempt to hijack arms from the Ramat Gan police fortress, they set off five diversionary explosions with such split-second timing that they sounded like one blast and in each place the diverted police stayed put, investigating what they thought was a single blast in their own locality.

"The finances required for these operations are enormous. For example, Irgun striking forces abandon their expensive arms whenever necessary to make an easy getaway. They spend a fortune on bribery, the purchase of illegal explosives and the financing of such 'expeditions' as the blowing up of the British Embassy in Rome. Last year there was a spectacular series of bank robberies in Tel-Aviv, Jaffa and Nablus, climaxed by an 11-hour attempt to 'crack' the vault of Barclay's Bank in Tel-Aviv which contained as much as 1 million pounds. To me, Irgun admitted responsibility for these robberies, saying: 'If the need exists we acquire money by force.'

"I confronted the Irgun's spokesman with the prevalent charge that they extort money from Jewish businessmen. He denied it saying that all contributions were voluntary but some contributors when challenged by the police, claim the money was extorted. It is likely that many businessmen, when confronted by a zealous 'collector' from feared Irgun, may contribute in the belief that his life is endangered.

"As my final question to the Irgun man I asked: 'Are you willing to make use of the basic Anglo-Soviet conflict in this area to loosen the British hold?' He replied: 'In principle we are not interested in the deepening of conflicts among the great Powers and we think of a war between them not only as a major disaster to all humanity, but also as a direct menace to the physical existence of our people. But, of course, we are entitled and obliged to use anything in the world in order to free our country, the occupation of which by the British is a permanent menace to the existence and future of our nation'." (Meet the terrorists, The Daily News (Perth, WA), 1/2/47)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not Just a Pretty Face

"NSW senator Sam Dastyari has urged Labor to support 'a big Australia' and welcome a future population of 35 million... 'I believe in a big Australia,' Senator Dastyari told The Australian. 'We need to encourage the best and brightest to come to Australia. Every Frank Lowy or Harry Triguboff we bring to Australia is as good as a company like Holden or Ford'." (Dastyari goes big on increased immigration, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 3/1/14)

"Jewish-owned businesses and individuals continued their support for the 2 major political parties in 2005-06, according to an Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) report released last week... Frank Lowy's Westfield Group, Harry Triguboff's Meriton Premier Apartments..." (Jewish political donations nudge $1 million, The Australian Jewish News, 9/2/07)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Taming of Tanya 3

"Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will represent Australia at a service for Mr Sharon in Israel on Monday. Shadow foreign affairs minister Tanya Plibersek said in a statement: 'In his final years as Prime Minister, [Mr] Sharon made great strides in the Israel-Palestine peace process, representing a courageous shift in his politics in favour of a two-state solution'." ('Bulldozer' who shaped Israel, Robert Tait, The Australian Financial Review, 13/1/14)

Oh did he now? What part of Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass's statement on the subject do you not understand, Tanya?

"The disengagement is actually formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians... After all, what have I been shouting for the past year? That I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the [West Bank] settlers' nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely... That is the significance of what we did. The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze the process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that that entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress." (Quoted in The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003, Tanya Reinhart, 2006, p 43)

Zionist (Wet) Dreaming

I don't know how much more simple-minded commentary on Ariel Sharon in the corporate media I can take. Here, for example, is the concluding paragraph from Jonathan Freedland's obituary (?) in the Guardian online:

"The tragedy for both sides is that the right people to speak that truth [about the Palestinian nakba] were the founding generation. Those who fought the war of 1948 were best placed to close its wounds. An intriguing habit of Sharon's was to refer to places in Israel by their original, Arabic names - thereby acknowledging the truth that usually lies buried beneath the soil. Leading his nation to do the same could have been Ariel Sharon's final mission. They will have to do it without him."  (Ariel Sharon's final mission might well have been peace, 4/1/14)

As if this "intriguing habit" - assuming it ever existed - meant anything more than the fact that Sharon was born and raised in ARAB PALESTINE.

Incredibly, while ms journalists/pundits such as Freedland have no problem spotting war criminals in every other corner of the globe, when it comes to the Israeli variety they go all fey and fall all over themselves in an effort to sanitise the unsanitisable. So here we have Freedland seriously speculating that had Sharon not fallen victim to a stroke in 2006 he'd now be leading an Israeli version of Australia's Sorry movement! Time, as always, to get real:

"Finally in power [in 1977] after 30 years in opposition, the [Israeli] right dreamed of a new map of Israel, and Begin knew how to galvanize the masses with his pioneering speeches. But Likud did not know how to make this map happen. For Sharon, however - a child of Kfar Malal - it wasn't complicated: irrigation systems needed to be set up, roads marked out and houses built. The division of labor was as follows: Begin would speak about the need to increase Israeli settlements... while Sharon would be the contractor. Sharon turned to a new generation of pioneers from Gush Emunim... inspired by the Bible... Ariel shared their love of the land of Israel and the certainty that they were the legitimate owners of the land of their ancestors... From 1977 to 1981 he established more than 60 settlements in Judea-Samaria. Then, in the course of his various later posts - defense, industry and commerce, infrastructure, housing - he reinforced these settlements and increased their number, until they reached 150. Sharon fought against the whole world to strengthen the Jewish presence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and he did not appreciate it when, years later, those in charge of the settlements preferred Benjamin Netanyahu over him as the right-wing candidate for prime minister." (Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait, Uri Dan, 2006, pp 77-8)

Fantasies like Freedland's do not arise spontaneously of course - they require a process of indoctrination, preferably from one's earliest days. In an obituary on his mother's death, Freedland wrote:

"Whatever view you ultimately take on the Israel-Palestine question, you cannot hope to understand that conflict unless you also understand this... craving for a place the Jews could call their own." (In death - as in life - my mother was rescued by love, The Guardian, 18/5/12)

Swallow the Zionist dogma that "Jews" must have "a place of their own" - preferably in Palestine - and even a butcher and thief like Sharon will come up smelling like roses.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ariel Sharon's Pastrami Sandwich

My favorite tweets on the death of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon:

Ariel Sharon spent his life working for peace. May he rest in peace now. (US Senator Tom Carper)

Is Senator Carper on crack? (Syd Walker)

R.I.P. Ariel Sharon Man of Peace (2006-2014) (Syd Walker)

Actually, Syd, even with the gag included, I don't wish him to rest in any kind of peace. (Jacques Hughes)

As Shakespeare wrote: 'The evil that men do lives after them,' IMO our task is to minimize that legacy. I wish his bones no harm. (Syd Walker)

Ariel Sharon in 1973 on his plans for irreversible Jewish colonization and Palestinian bantustans in the West Bank: "We'll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank so that in 25 years time, neither the UN nor the US, nobody will be able to tear it apart." (Rania Khalek)

Actually, Syd's wrong about Sharon being a Man of Peace from 2006 to 2014. As the following Circus Israel review of Sharon's 2010 book, Conquering the Void, clearly shows, even while comatose, Arik was waging war:

CONQUERING THE VOID, by Ariel Sharon, as told to Dov Weisglass (Gefen Publishing)

Resolute as ever, the Bulldozer reports from his comatose netherworld, as narrated by his trusted advisor and favorite quipster, attorney Dov Weisglass. Predictably, the incapacitated PM finds no Palestinian partner for peace in the indefinite beyond and must carve out the borders of the Jewish Vegetative State unilaterally. Left with no reasonable alternative, he parachutes behind enemy ether and establishes irrevocable Jewish facts in the clouds. When ethereal Arabs reflexively respond with mindless terror, Arik deploys the IDF to break their vaguely formed bones. Of course, Sharon simultaneously works the diplomatic channel, outflanking Arafat by abruptly disengaging from certain peripheral and non-strategic gastric functions. On a lighter note, the indisposed PM playfully recounts his distaste for his free-floating miasmic dust-bunnies, which he describes as 'cowardly and naive'." (Spring books for fervent Zionists,, 11/4/10)

And speaking of fervent Zionists, it is fervently to be hoped that by the time shadow foreign minister Tanya Plibersek finishes reading Golda Meir's autobiography, a translation of Sharon's latest will be ready for her to take up. (See my 25/12/13 post The Taming of Tanya Plibersek 2)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reap & Sow

Shallow and misleading opinion pieces such as Waleed Aly's on Lebanon in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, which merely skate around issues and tell us more about the ignorance of the writer and the red lines he's afraid to cross, do nothing to enlighten readers on the issue at hand.

How do I know? Well, just take a look at the following selection of the 9 comments (now closed) in the thread which follow his piece online:

There's Rex:

"'Only recently has this sectarianism become so radioactive.' Sorry, Waleed, this is pure wishful thinking! Look at the power that religious leaders have in places like Iran, and it is obvious that 'political' has religious fanaticism at its core: there are no deeper reasons for intolerance and for more than half the Middle East's problems."

For Rex, the Middle East is just one big blur - Lebanon=Iran; the overriding problem is political Islam; and USrael is nowhere in view.

There's Don:

"This is what the money for nothing that is crude oil will buy you. A pity it poured into arming militias and stirring up trouble but there you are."

For Don, the problem is that your Ayrabs won the oil lotto, and Ayrabs being Ayrabs, they just can't handle their winnings, know what I mean? Nothing to do with things like imperialism or colonialism or that spoilt Israeli brat and his permissive US dad.

There's Andy:

"It reminds me of the thirty years war in Europe in the 1600s. Protestants v Catholics. Sunnis v Shiites. History repeats itself with bigger guns. Now we have a milder form of Christianity. Hopefully something similar will happen [to] Islam."

For Andy, religion's the root of all evil. And the beast can rear its ugly head anywhere, anytime, though thanks to Western Genius it's under control here. (Although, after listening to Christopher Pyne recently, I'm wondering what rough Judeo-Christian beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.) Don't, whatever you do, confuse Andy by mentioning those besties, the US-backed, sectarian, Jews-only state of Israel and the US-backed, sectarian, Sunni Muslim-only state of Saudi Arabia.

Here's Mark:

"Yes Andy we got it out of our system a few hundred years ago. Hopefully the Muslim world will get their act together one day."

Yeah, like we've really got our act together, right Marky?

Here's Lazy Jesus:

"'The National Museum of Beirut houses one of the greatest prehistoric collections in the world.' Presumably this is where the Muslim guidelines for the treatment of women are kept."

Oh Jesus! But wait, what's this?


"If you go a bit deeper you'll find Israel's involvement in this mess."

Right on, Julian, at last the elephant-who-occupies-the-room! Bet he's going to list Israel's serial aggressions against Lebanon, something like this, to name but a few:

1968: 13 passenger planes destroyed at Beirut airport;
1973: raid on Beirut, killing 3 PLO officials;
1978, Operation Litani River, installing Lebanese puppet force (South Lebanon Army) before withdrawing;
1979 car bomb attack on PLO official;
1982 Operation Peace for Galilee > occupation of West Beirut > Sabra & Shatila massacre > Israeli/SLA occupation of South Lebanon until 2000;
1992 assassinates Hezbollah leader Sheikh Abbas Musawi;
1993 Operation Accountability launched against Lebanon;
1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath launched against Lebanon;
2006 Operation Just Reward launched against Lebanon.

Let's see:

"Lebanon should already be a serious cultural, economic and financial (albeit peaceful) competitor to Israel with a geographic advantage. While the world's best and brightest Jews moved into Israel, the best and brightest Lebanese went into exile."


Finally, there's Thepres:

"Julian, If a country like Lebanon thinks nothing of killing it's [sic] own people with car bombs, it cannot be taken seriously by the rest of the world. Perhaps if the best and brightest Lebanese would return from exile they could change things. The answer of course is that they will not be returning to be killed by their own people urged on by the clergy."

Fair dinkum... where do you even begin? Certainly not with Waleed Aly's rubbish that's for sure.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Phenomenon of Waleed Aly

Reading Waleed Aly's opinion piece on Lebanon in today's Sydney Morning Herald (Nation with no real unity stuck as proxy for region's conflict) helps one understand the phenomenon of how an Australian of 'Middle Eastern appearance' and Arab name can find a prominent place in the mainstream Australian media - in Aly's case, the ABC (Radio National) and Fairfax press: offer plausible-sounding, but lame and simplistic, comment with little or no real historical context, and... shhhhh... no mention whatever of USrael.

His contention is that Lebanon has no 'real' national identity. He quotes Ataturk thus: "Nations which don't find their national identities are doomed to be the prey of other nations," concluding: "It's hard to imagine a more penetrating description of Lebanon."

Tellingly, however, he advances no historical reason for this state of affairs. The reader is left to presume that the Lebanese, unlike the Turks, simply don't have what it takes to create a genuine nation. The fact of the matter is that the modern state of Lebanon cannot be understood without clear reference to Anglo-French imperialist machinations prior to and during World War 1.

In 1916, after decades of interference in the Ottoman Turkish provinces of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Britain and France secretly decided, via the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, that once the Turks had been ousted from the 'Greater Syria' area, they'd divide the spoils, with the French taking the northern, and the British the southern, part. The French then set about dividing the 'Mt Lebanon' area from its 'Syrian' hinterland, and enlarging it in the process, to create the highly artificial colonial construct known today as Lebanon. 

Why then, with French imperialism calling the shots in the area and laying the foundations for Lebanon's current 'confessional' democracy, is it any wonder that Lebanon lacks the kind of national identity referred to by Ataturk?

It is only at the very end of his piece that Aly refers vaguely to the Middle East being "crammed with countries whose national identities have never truly been resolved; whose borders have been horrifically drawn to capture almost nothing coherent." You'd almost think the Arabs had scored an own goal here.

Now look at this:

"[T]he Shiites - most actively represented by Hezbollah - take orders from Iran and the Assad regime in Syria, while Sunnis seek support from Saudi Arabia and embrace Syria's increasingly radical rebels."

So Lebanese Shiites are the mindless puppets of Iran and Syria, while Lebanese Sunnis, who are presumably capable of thinking for themselves, merely "seek support from Saudi Arabia"?

And this:

"The assassination [of "a former [Sunni] finance minister"] is most likely an order from Syria, reasserting Assad's will in Lebanon."

So "an order" from Israel is less likely? And Assad is secure enough in Syria to focus on "reasserting [his] will in Lebanon"? I guess the uncivil war in Syria must be all but over then.

Finally, there is also the assertion that Hezbollah's involvement in Syria "has merely encouraged the same international terrorist groups fighting Assad to start terrorising Lebanon, thereby exposing Hezbollah's claim to be 'resisting' foreign aggression on behalf of Lebanon as a sham..."

Why is there no acknowledgment here that LEBANESE Sunni jihadists were involving themselves in the war in Syria long before Hezbollah's intervention? And why is Hezbollah's highly successful role in RESISTING ISRAELI AGGRESSION in Lebanon from the 80s on written off merely as "Hezbollah's claim to be 'resisting' foreign aggression..."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


One of the most appalling Arabophobic/Islamophobic/Ziophilic so-called opinion pieces ever to appear in the Australian press (and that includes the Murdoch press!), has resulted in the letters editor of the offending paper, the Sydney Morning Herald, printing just one (1) critical letter in response, and that from a person of Arab background. I have little doubt too that that was severely edited. (There was another, one-sentence letter, of little substance.)

The Arabophobic etc I refer to is of course that by Herald calumnist (no spelling mistake here) Paul Sheehan, the subject of Monday's post.

The key question here is this: Were there any other critical responses?

If so, why did the letters editor, given the opinion editor's appalling lapse in allowing Sheehan's poison onto the opinion pages in the first place, not at least have the decency to print a number of critical responses?

If not, what does the absence of any critical response to Sheehan's toxic emission from Herald readers, apart from Mr Kazak, tell us about the readership of the paper? That they found nothing of any offence in it or its equally appalling graphic? That, God forbid, they even agreed with it? In which case, one can only ask: where the hell is this society of ours heading?

Here is Ali Kazak's lone letter:

"Paul Sheehan still thinks Muslims are under his bed ('Arab spring yields to Muslim winter' January 6). He does not mention the fact the deplorable sectarian conflict we are witnessing in Iraq is the result of the war against Iraq launched by America and its allies, including Australia, nor did he mention the explosives and car bombs are also blowing up mosques and killing Muslims, so what is the surprise about the blowing up of churches and synagogues as well? No one is immune from sectarianism.

"Sheehan's admiration for Israel is making him blind to the facts of the Middle East and to Israel's Jewish extremism, gross violations of human rights and war crimes."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Paul Sheehan Dishes It Up

Here's celebrity chef Paul Sheehan's true-and-tried recipe for old-fashioned Arabophobic/ Islamophobic stew.*

It's so easy, anyone can do it! All you need do is chuck a teaspoon each of the following fresh ingredients into a large pot of bile water, stir vigorously, and bring to the boil:

Car-torchings - France, Muslim
Armed takeover of city - Iraq, Muslim
Attacks on churches - Iraq, Muslim
Car bomb - Lebanon, Muslim
Sunni Muslim fundies vs Shia Muslim fundies, Syria
Taliban resurgence - Afghanistan, Muslim
Violence - Egypt, Muslim
Armed militias - Libya, Muslim
Rebels - Central African Republic, Muslim
Hotel bombing - Somalia, Muslim
Nukes - Iran, Muslim
Missiles - Hezbollah, Muslim

Then add lashings of Israeli propaganda:

"'We have entered a new era of chaos, the Arab Spring has given way to the Muslim winter,' Israel's Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said during a recent visit to Sydney. 'The Arab world has never been more unstable. The Muslim winter is here to stay.' The facts support him. Israel is surrounded by repression, dysfunction, stagnation, medievalism and open war among Muslim populations."

And the latest in HOT Israeli chilis ('Actually, these HOT Israeli varieties have a decidedly aphrodisiac effect on me': Paul)

"Putting to one side [Bennett's] ardent Zionism, there are simply no politicians in Australia with a resume like his: former commando in the Israeli Defence Forces; still a major in the reserves; a law degree from Hebrew University; self-made multi-millionaire after founding two cyber security companies; the former chief of staff to Benjamin Netanyahu; the founder of The Jewish Home party that won 12 seats at the last election. He is aged just 41."

Bulk up the brew with bucketfuls of Israeli hysteria and hype, courtesy of The Jerusalem Post:

"'[I]nexplicably... we see... the surreal spectacle of the relentless advance of a grotesque two-state juggernaut of failed formulae and disproven dogma, undeterred by the death and destruction left strewn in its wake, edging ever-closer towards its inevitable destination of catastrophe and chaos...'" aka the 'peace process'.

"'Israel could soon be facing the daunting prospect of a vast radicalised Islamist expanse stretching from Iran westward, pressing on its eastern frontier. Whether that frontier is the Jordan Valley or the indefensible 'Auschwitz' pre-1967 lines is a matter of life or death for Israel and Israelis'."

Chuck in - why not? - a bomb explosion in Prague and a death sentence in Gaza - no, not the Israeli variety - it's all grist to the (propaganda) mill.

Blend the above until it smells just right - say, like a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip after an Israeli phosphorus bomb or two have just been dropped on it, or maybe a Cronulla Beach pogrom.  

Finally, top with the following gormless question and apropos-of-absolutely-nothing statement: "What does all this mean? The peace process is a facade."

Serve across two (2) Herald opinion pages and top with humongous Michael Mucci** graphic of a swarthy, frowning face wrapped in Palestinian keffiyeh and an arm brandishing a Kalashnikov submachine gun mysteriously emerging from a cloud.

Enjoy, bogans!

[*Arab spring yields to Muslim winter, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/1/14; ** One of Michael's listed "passions," you'll be pleased to know, is "The promotion of Human Rights through the visual arts,"]

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Zionists Tighten Screws on the ABC

The following report from The Australian Jewish News illustrates perfectly the arrogant disregard of Zionists for freedom of speech in this country.

In it you can see how their own narrow, ideological goal of transforming the ABC into a pro-Israel mouthpiece, along the lines of Murdoch's Australian, is spun as "perceptions in the Australian community that [the ABC] is biased," and a matter that "the public" need "reassurance" on:

"Jewish groups have hailed the ABC's announcement that it will conduct a series of external audits into allegations of systemic bias within the national broadcaster. ABC chair Jim Spigelman* announced earlier this month that the ABC will run a number of content reviews, conceding that the organisation needs to address perceptions in the Australian community that it is biased... Welcoming the audits, Zionist Federation of Australia president Philip Chester said 'It is important that steps are taken to reassure the public of its editorial impartiality'... Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein told The AJN, 'We are pleased that the ABC has now, at least to some extent, acknowledged that it has a problem with widespread perceptions of its current affairs and news bias. However, we are far from convinced that the ABC truly appreciates the breadth and tenacity of that problem and the further serious remedial steps it needs to take to abide by its charter in order to restore public confidence'."  (Cautious welcome for Aunty's spin reviews, 27/12/13)

The joke, of course, is that the already browbeaten ABC has screened bugger all critical documentary material on the Palestine/Israel problem for over 10 years now**, and when it does occasionally touch on the issue, either peddles pro-Israel propaganda (Geraldine Doogue, Robin Williams and Ben Knight spring to mind) or avoids the inconvenient truths of Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid altogether (Hello, Phillip Adams). (The only exception I can recall in the latter category is an episode of Q&A which featured Israeli historian Ilan Pappe.)

Lest you think I exaggerate here, please feel free to browse any of my 62 previous posts on the ABC.

[*A one-time freedom rider with Charles Perkins, Jim Spigelman has a nephew, Guy Spigelman, serving as an Israeli army spin doctor. See Serving here is part of our Australian heritage, Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney Morning Herald, 28/7/06; **It even pulled one excellent Australian doco (Hope in a Slingshot) as insufficiently "compelling" after first agreeing to screen it. See my 11/11/10 post Words Behind Words.]

Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Hold Your Breath...

... for an opinion piece like the following (from the Los Angeles Times of 27/12/13) in the 'Independent. Always.' Fairfax press:

Why I voted for an academic boycott of Israel

By Carolyn Karcher (Professor Emerita of English at Temple University in Philadelphia)

"Michael S. Roth slams the American Studies Association (ASA) for 'unfairly singling out Israel' in its vote to boycott that nation's academic institutions; he calls the action an 'irresponsible attack on academic freedom.'

"As a 39-year member of the ASA and a Jewish American, I want to explain why Roth - whose Op-Ed was published by The Times Dec. 20 - is wrong and why I wholeheartedly support the organization's resolution.

"The resolution is far from an attack on academic freedom. In fact, it is a proper response to the routine denial of such scholarly freedom to Palestinian students. Having recently returned home from a trip to Israel and Palestine with Interfaith Peace-Builders, during which I was more profoundly shaken than I could ever have imagined by the brutality I saw toward Palestinians, I feel more strongly than ever the urgency of taking a stand in solidarity with Palestinians and their beleaguered Israeli allies.

"On our first day in Bethlehem, my husband and I met a young man who had received a scholarship from George Mason University in Virginia but was not granted an exit visa by the Israeli authorities. Instead of embarking on a promising journey in academia, this young Palestinian had to resign himself to a job selling souvenirs to tourists. We learned that Palestinian students of all ages endure harassment at military checkpoints, frequent school closures, unprovoked arrests, imprisonment and sometimes death at the hands of trigger-happy soldiers.

"Within Israel proper, schools are segregated and, following the model of the Jim Crow South, the government allocates significantly less funding to Palestinian schools, which are often overcrowded and understaffed. Palestinian university professors in Gaza rarely receive permission to travel abroad for conferences, those in the West Bank also face difficulties, and international faculty have been prevented from visiting Palestinian universities. These are the true assaults on academic freedom that the ASA resolution addresses.

"Here in the US, students and faculty who challenge the dominant view of Israel risk baseless accusations of anti-Semitism, arrest, blacklisting or denial of tenure, promotion or academic positions. There are dozens of known incidents and likely hundreds that go unreported.

"Last year, members of the New York City Council sent a letter to the president of Brooklyn College threatening to cut the school's public funding for refusing to cancel a panel on the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement. The incident put academic freedom in the national spotlight, with MSNBC host Chris Hayes warning that when politicians 'line up to attempt to force an academic institution to cancel an event particularly when some of those politicians... actually determine the budget of the institution. Think of the precedent being set here.'

"In 2011, the Orange County district attorney charged 11 students at UC Irvine and UC Riverside with 'conspiring to disrupt a meeting' for peacefully protesting a talk by Michael Oren, then the Israeli ambassador to the US. More than 100 UC Irvine professors stood up for the Irvine 11's right to protest. In a statement on the case, the ACLU of Southern California wrote: 'We are also troubled by the unprecedented nature of the case. We are unaware of any case where the OC DA pressed criminal charges over this type of non-violent student protest, even though similar disruptions have occurred with other speakers on the very same campus. This raises the question whether the DA may have acted because of the students' message, which would clearly violate the First Amendment.'

"Thus, far from curtailing academic freedom, the ASA has extended it in new directions by fostering an honest discussion about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the role of the US in enabling it. In a democratic process, the ASA National Council deliberated for a week, revised the final resolution in accordance with suggestions made during the discussion, and submitted it to the entire membership for ratification.

"Like most other academic associations, the ASA includes many Jewish members. Some helped draft the boycott resolution, others served on the National Council that unanimously endorsed it, a large number lobbied and voted in favor of it, and a comparable number lobbied and voted against it. It is disturbing that many critics of the resolution label it 'anti-Semitic', implying that either all Jewish people take the same position on this matter, which is false, or that some of us are anti-Semitic or self-hating Jews, a deeply troubling accusation.

"It is also problematic to claim that speaking out against Israeli government policies is synonymous with attacks on Jews in general. The ASA resolution does not target individuals on the basis of nationality, ethnic group or religion. The ASA resolution targets institutions that are complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights. According to the boycott guidelines, individual Israeli scholars, students or cultural workers are able to participate in the ASA conference or to give public lectures at campuses, providing they are not expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions or of the Israeli government.

"Opponents like Roth claim that the resolution singles out Israel while sparing countries with worse human rights records. They forget, however, that the US gives far more military aid to Israel than to any other country, but has also vetoed all UN resolutions in recent memory that condemn Israel's abuses of human rights. The ASA resolution specifically cites the 'significant role' the US plays in underwriting Israel's violations of international law.

"This resolution is thoroughly consistent with the ASA's past resolutions denouncing the war against Iraq and expressing solidarity with hotel workers and the Occupy movement. I have always been proud of the ASA's political principles, and I am prouder than ever of its historic vote for justice in Israel and Palestine and for free speech on this issue."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hypocrites Unmasked

Whatever the recent visit of Australian WikiLeaks Party representatives to Syria achieves, one thing's for sure - it's exposed the following hypocrites:

"As experts described the WikiLeaks Party visit as a 'propaganda coup' for the pariah regime, the Prime Minister labelled the Assad regime 'one of the worst in the world. It's been guilty of serial atrocities against its own people, and it (the WikiLeaks Party visit) was an extraordinary error of judgment,' Mr Abbott told The Australian yesterday." (Abbott blasts WikiLeaks Party, Jared Owen & Mark Coultan, The Australian, 2/1/14)

Every time Abbottoir votes in the UNGA for the pariah regime of Israel, whose serial atrocities against the Palestinian people stretch back to 1948, he furnishes it with a propaganda coup.

"Lowy Institute for International Policy executive director Michael Fullilove... said the mission was at odds with international criticism of the regime." (ibid)

Frank Lowy's support for apartheid Israel is wildly at odds with international criticism of same.

"Greens acting leader Richard Di Natale yesterday broke his party's silence on the topic by backing international sanctions against Syria and describing the delegation as 'naive and misguided'." (ibid)

Is this the same Richard Di Natale who said support for the Boycott, Divestment & SANCTIONS movement by the NSW Greens was a huge mistake? (See my 5/12/13 post Spot the Hypocrite.)

A Common Misconception

We have here a common misconception:

"When Joe Hockey, Bob Carr and a half-dozen other politicians schmoozed a crowd of worshippers... outside the Lakemba mosque during the election campaign, SBS news summarised the spectacle: 'Labor and Coalition court Muslim vote'. While wooing the crowd, the politicians had to weigh their parties' policies on Israel and Palestine against a harsh political calculus. 'This is the kind of thing that moves votes,' a Labor MP says of the Ramadan campaigning. He points out that Islamic voters outnumber Jewish voters in Australia by 5 to 1..." (In contested territory, Jonathan Swan, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28/12/13)

While the size of an alleged 'Muslim vote' may help determine the fate of this or that seat, it's hardly the deciding factor when it comes to the makeup of LibLab "policies on Israel and Palestine" (which are basically the same anyhow) or how we vote in the UN. But I'll return to this in a minute.

Swan goes on to describe how, under Howard and Downer, Australia "backed Israel to the hilt" in the UN. He then writes:

"But soon after Kevin Rudd took power in 2007, Labor began testing Israel's patience. [Swan seems to have forgotten that it was Israel which tested Australia's patience by allowing Mossad to abuse Australian passports.] Jewish leaders in Australia found Rudd cold and unavailable. And from 2008 Labor shifted support to Palestine in several UN votes."

Quite how anyone can write about the Rudd years in this context and fail to factor in the impact of Mossad's blatant use of Australian passports to do its dirty work is beyond me. At any rate, when it comes to Rudd's "coldness and unavailability," which had nothing whatever to do with any 'Muslim vote', Swan is here echoing the 2010 words of the Herald's international editor, Peter Hartcher: "[T]he Israeli ambassador... and some members of the Jewish community felt a chill in their dealings with the government." However, for reasons best known to himself, Swan chooses to leaves out the reaction to the "chill" of "some members of the Jewish community" (aka Israel lobbyists), which was to freeze fund-raising events for Labor. (See my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy for the details.)

Which brings me back to the above-mentioned misconception: it's not the relative size of the so-called Muslim or Jewish vote that determines how Australia votes on Palestine/Israel in the UN, it's more to do with who's shelling out for vital election campaign funding.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dr Hammer & Dr Kedar...

... coming to a Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies near you.

For the casual reader of The Heart of Darkness (aka The Australian) it must sometimes look as though Israel is Human Rights Central:

"Shurat HaDin alleges two academics, who have joined the case as plaintiffs, have been adversely affected by Professor [Jake] Lynch's policy, even though as yet they have not been the subject of specific actions. Dr Leonard Hammer, of the Hebrew University, a human rights lawyer, and Dr Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University, an Arabic studies specialist, have regularly lectured overseas, including in Australia, Mr [Andrew] Hamilton told The Australian. 'They both are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at [Sydney University's] Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPACS), where Lynch has implemented his boycott,' Mr Hamilton said. 'However, just as a sign on a bar saying 'No Jews or Blacks Allowed' discriminates against and disadvantages all Jews and blacks, even if they didn't even want to go into the bar, so Jake Lynch's BDS academic boycott discriminates and disadvantages all Israeli academics,' he said." (Lynch like 'publican denying blacks, Jews', Ean Higgins, 28/12/13)

Hm... so both Hammer and Kedar "are people who quite realistically may want to be a visiting scholar at CPACS."

Gee... the former's "a human rights lawyer" so he must be a good bloke, sort of an Israeli Julian Burnside I imagine, and the latter's into "Arabic studies" so he'd be favourably disposed towards the Palestinians, right? And... and... Shurat HaDin's a fearless fighter for all those Israelis quivering in fear at the prospect the next terrorist outrage just around the corner, yes?

As if!

Whoops! Shurat HaDin's Andrew Hamilton must have forgotten to tell Ean Higgins that Hammer is "the Academic Director to Shurat HaDin." (Leonard Hammer,

And here's Kedar waxing scholarly on the subject of a Palestinian state: "A Palestinian state with territorial-terrorist contiguity would be an existential threat to Israel, and therefore Israel should assert its right - it can and must say to Obama and Kerry: No!!!" (Sisi:1, Obama:0,, 29/12/13)

You can just imagine these two touching down at Sydney Airport:

Australian Customs: Occupation?
Hammer & Kedar: No, just visiting.