Saturday, May 31, 2014

The World's Most Dysfunctional Relationship

"A man whose partner stabbed him six times in a frenzied attack said he plans to marry his jailbird lover when she is released from prison... Belinda Van Krevel stabbed Marshall Gould... slashing him in the back of the neck, the leg and even severing an artery in his arm. Mr Gould did not immediately call an ambulance because he was fearful of getting the police involved and dragging up Van Krevel's criminal past... 'I laid down on the lounge to try and catch some of the football because it was Origin Night,' Mr Gould told A Current Affair. The attack almost cost Mr Gould an arm. But while it cost Van Krevel her freedom for three years, her partner... has carried on as though nothing has happened. 'I love seeing her every single time and it makes me happier every time I see her,' Mr Gould said about his partner with a dark and troubled past... 'Love is strange and you certainly don't choose love. Love is a feeling that comes over you,' he said. The couple are planning to get married when Van Krevel is released and already have each other's name tattooed on their ring fingers." (Man still loves jailed partner who stabbed him, ninemsn staff, 19/3/14)

Now that's a dysfunctional relationship by any standard. Unfortunately, these can also be found in the community of nations, that between the United States and Israel being the classic example.

Further confirmation of just how dysfunctional that particular relationship is came while reading Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea's Inside the talks' failure (, 2/5/14), a must-read report on the failure of US Secretary of State John Kerry's recent effort to secure 'peace' between Israelis and Palestinians. 

One sentence of Barnea's in particular could have come straight out of the Gould/Van Krevel file.

But first, the context:

"The American version of why the current rounds of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians failed is fundamentally different to the one presented by Israeli officials. The list of those to blame for this failure is also very different. From the US perspective, the issue of the settlements was largely to blame.

"Senior American officials involved in Secretary of State's John Kerry's peace push this week agreed to share with me their take on the talks' failure. They had one condition, in line with instructions they had received - that I didn't name them. But what they told me is the closest thing to an American official version of what happened.

"The American team will be disbanded in the coming days - most of it, or all of it. Kerry has yet to decide what he is going to do - whether he will wait several months and then try to renew his effort, or release the principles of an agreement formulated by the Americans..."

"Using advanced software, the Americans drew a border outline in the West Bank that gives Israel sovereignty over some 80% of the settlers that live there today. The remaining 20% were meant to evacuate. In Jerusalem, the proposed border is based on Bill Clinton's plan - Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians. The Israeli government made no response to the American plan, and avoided drawing its own border outline."

Now here's the sentence that prompted this post:

"The criticism against the Israeli government is presented in terms of wounds inflicted by a friend who could still be trusted: Israel is very dear to them, but the wounds are deep."

I rest my case.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Jake Lynch Update 8: Damage Control

Unable to credibly paint Sydney University's Professor Jake Lynch as some kind of BDS mastermind, Israeli lawfare outfit, Shurat HaDin, has now decided, in an apparent exercise in damage control, to focus its attack solely on his decision to factor in the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel when approached by Israeli academics seeking his endorsement for Sydney University fellowships.

(Interestingly, it looks as though Shurat HaDin's Ozraeli lawyer, Andrew - Call me Akiva! - Hamilton, is OUT, and heavyweight New York lawyer, Robert Tolchin, fresh from threatening the American Studies Association (ASA) over its recent decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions, is IN.)

The following report - Shurat HaDin narrows its target in Lynch standoff  by Ean Higgins - comes from The Australian of May 28*:

"Israeli legal activist [sic: lawfare] group Shurat HaDin, having had much of its case against University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch struck out, has abandoned its ambitious bid to have the Federal Court declare the entire boycott, divestment [and] sanctions campaign against Israel discriminatory. Instead, under new lawyers, Shurat HaDin will narrow its racial discrimination case to Professor Lynch's snub of Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Dan Avnon, who had sought his endorsement for a fellowship at Sydney University.

"In other developments, the four other applicants, including Israeli academics and lawyer Andrew Hamilton, have indicated to the court they want to withdraw from the case. Shurat HaDin has also been ordered to put up a $100,000 bond for costs should Professor Lynch win... Shurat HaDin argues Professor Lynch has breached the academic freedom of Professor Avnon while Professor Lynch argues Shurat HaDin is trying to breach his...

"Professor Lynch, who heads Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, has claimed the latest developments in the case to be further tactical victories. 'This legal action was conceived as an attack on political freedom in Australia by a foreign agency, so we should all be relieved that it is now failing in court,' Professor Lynch told The Australian. 'Its effect has been to draw interest and support from many more people here for the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.'

"Shurat HaDin issued a statement insisting that its case was still on track, but under a different approach. 'The new statement of claims will be sharply streamlined to include only the uncontested allegation that Lynch refused employment to Professor Avnon solely based on his citizenship,' Shurat HaDin said. 'By refusing employment to an Israeli professor simply because he is an Israeli, Lynch plainly violated Australia's anti-racism law, which was legislated to protect against discrimination based on national origin and religion,' Shurat HaDin's US-based lawyer Robert Tolchin said. 'There are only two questions to be answered. Did Lynch discriminate against an Israeli professor because based on his national origin and, secondly, is such conduct a violation of Australia's anti-racism laws?

"Professor Lynch has strenuously denied he discriminated against Professor Avnon, who took up the fellowship in another Sydney University department. He says his stand on BDS is directed against the policies of the Israeli state and not individual Israelis. Shurat HaDin's original statement of claim sought to argue that Professor Lynch's support for the global BDS campaign was itself a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. The BDS campaign, it said, had led international performers to refuse to appear in Israel, depriving Israelis of being able to watch performers including actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman, and musicians Snoop Dogg and Elvis Costello. Justice Alan Robertson struck out many of the key clauses of the statement of claim, accepting the argument of Professor Lynch's lawyer... that they lacked sufficient specifics of the 'when, where, how' Professor Lynch had breached the act."

[*It should be noted that the above report was buried in The Australian's Higher Education supplement (p 29). No other branch of the ms media is even bothering to report on this extraordinary case, in which an Australian academic, known for his defence of brutalised and dispossessed peoples, is being pursued by a foreign law firm (with intelligence connections) in an Australian court for alleged racism. Nor is this an isolated case. For an overview of Israeli lawfaring on a global scale, see Israel's incompetent global campaign of 'lawfare', Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, 2/4/14)]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Howling Nonsense Meets Gushing Vacuity 3

Geraldine Doogue:  

Well, look, I so want to believe you. I want to derive some hope from it but, you know, just recently John Kerry the Secretary of State who'd been championing these peace talks, he actually came out - he subsequently apologised - but he did say if Israel doesn't reach a deal on an independent Palestine it risks becoming an apartheid state... Do you fear that?

It's been an apartheid state since its inception.

Ari Shavit:  

Look, I don't accept any of the South African comparisons...

I thought not.

... but I've opposed the occupation throughout my adult life. I always thought settlements were a bad idea...

No kidding! But what did you do about it?

... so without getting into names and definitions, I think that the need to deal with occupation and to end settlement activity is essential and I'm saying it as a very proud and committed Israeli.


So even Sharon who started that whole movement said, We can't occupy this place forever.


Obviously, obviously, so again I think this is part of the tragedy but also I see the problem is that at the moment because we do have extreme right-wing forces in Israel, because there is so much Palestinian extremism, which makes so many people in Israel suspicious and afraid about moving forward because we tried peace 3 or 4 times and each time it ended up with turmoil and violence and did not lead to where we wanted it to...

Damn it, if only the occupied and the colonised would put more effort into reassuring their occupiers and colonisers.

Because of all that there is a kind of apathy that serves the darker forces on both sides. I actually believe, as I told you, that definitely there is a reasonable, benign Israeli majority that does not express itself politically right now - I hope there is a Palestinian one as well - and its challenge to Secretary [of State] Kerry and other leaders of the international community is to come up with an idea that is realistic.

Oh, I see: apathy rules in Israel, so it's the Yanks and their mates who have to pull their fingers out and fix things. Right.

Hey, you want a realistic idea, Ari?

Here it is. It's called BDS:

Boycott all Israeli products, institutions, and cultural ambassadors;  
Divest from all corporations and businesses that aid and abet Israeli apartheid;  
Sanction Israel until the occupation is ended, equality between Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis is won, and Palestine's refugees are finally allowed to return to their homes and lands in Israel.  

You cannot end this conflict in Israel in one year, in one month, with one piece of paper. You have to create two state dynamics. You have to have Israel gradually, cautiously ending the occupation. It cannot be done overnight. You have to help the Palestinians build their own state, again in a long process, and you need to bring the Arab neighbours, the moderate Arab neighbours, as parties to this process, and you need the international community to stop promoting ideas that are totally detached from the reality on the ground. I think that if we'll adopt this kind of pragmatic, realistic approach we will move in the right direction because right now things are not very promising and the collapse of Kerry's initiative is something that troubles me very much and I hope we'll soon have this new kind of peace concept that will replace the old one because the intellectual vacuum, the conceptual vacuum is a very dangerous one right now.

And your solution is?


You know, interestingly, Danny Danon, the increasingly powerful chairman of the Likud, Netanyahu's own party, and Israel's deputy defence minister, has actually been very concerned about Netanyahu being possibly, according to the reports in the Guardian, preparing to do some sort of deal, and they've stopped Netanyahu from making a lot of decisions on his own. They're more and more sitting on his shoulder. Do you think Netanyahu is the sort of man who could break out and astonish us all, like Begin did?

Games people play:

"Until this week, the question posed by 'neutral observers' about Binyamin Netanyahu was whether he was going to follow the examples of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon. Would he transform himself into a peacemaker like Begin and Sharon by uprooting settlements and relinquishing occupied territory, or would he be an immovable object like Shamir, aiming only to keep things 'quiet' so he could build more settlements and close the door on Palestinian statehood? After the start of this week, though, would-be neutral observers are no longer asking this question, at least not with a straight face..."

All except Geraldine! The preceding lines were written in 2010 by Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner.* Enough said.

Geraldine may be smitten, but I'm giving Shavit my Talking Under Wet Cement award for 2014:


Well, we have this hope for a long time. I must say that Netanyahu did some things though ideologically surprising, they never turned into a change on the ground. I think there is some potential there, but I'll share with you a secret about my country. I think that by and large Israelis, Israeli society is quite remarkable. I think it's a rich, smart, vibrant, promising society. I think there is a lot of good in us. Our politics is totally dysfunctional. Israel is experiencing an ongoing - I know you have some political crises - political crisis...


Small challenges by comparison hahaha...


... Israel has been going through for decades. It did not have the kind of worthy leadership and worthy political system that will represent the people as they really, will be true to their amazing achievements, what I call the man-made miracle Israel really is. So my hope, and I'm not getting to Netanyahu or different people, my hope is that at long last we will free ourselves of this situation. The forces, the strong, promising forces in Israeli society will have a leadership worthy to this remarkable people and then we can move forward, but again it has to do with the international community as well. People in the West... who want peace as I do, as we all do, have to think in a fresh way because trying to impose concepts, whether it was democracy under Bush or an ideal peace tomorrow under others on the Middle East that is rough, brutal, violent and dangerous. That does not lead us anywhere so we have to look at the region as it is with all its brutality and yet with a humble and modest hope that there is there. So we have to look for new ways in order to try to end occupation, to bring about a reasonable peace, and for my own people to guarantee the future of the Jewish democratic state because I think when you look at the story of my people you see this really remarkable people, the story of a people that almost were extinguished and saved themselves and created something quite unique and quite endearing that needs protection both from the roughness of the region and from our own flaws and faults and we must let the triumph triumph over the tragedy.


Well, look, that eloquence, maybe you've got to enter parliament...

[*Rattling the cage: any more doubts about Bibi? 13/10/10)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Howling Nonsense Meets Gushing Vacuity 2

Geraldine Doogue:

Well, you also talk about the fact that for a lot of those who came... they didn't see the people who were already there.

So let me get this straight: they could see the coming Holocaust, but not the Palestininian Arabs right in front of their eyes? Right. Please explain then, if you can, the 1891 testimony of at least one such Zionist settler with a conscience, name of Ahad Ha-Am:

"They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these things." (See my 18/6/08 post Avnery's Apology: A Critique for the full quote)

Ari Shavit:

The subtitle of my book is The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel. The triumph is the result of what I describe. It's a remarkable human endeavour of a poor, lonely people saving itself.

Here we go again...

The tragedy is really the tragedy of the conflict, and in my own case, I describe the arrival of my own great grandfather. He, like others, would not see the others who were living in the land, the Palestinians. Now, as I make the point in the book, they were not conquistadors. There wasn't a political entity called Palestine at the time. There was no Palestinian republic, no Palestinian kingdom, and yet there were half a million Palestinians in the land at the time...

Not conquistadors, Ari? No, not initially, at any rate. They didn't need to be. They had British conquistadors to keep the natives in check, while the Jewish colons learnt the ropes. And then, when the British conquistadors had grown tired of the dirty work, the colons took up conquistadoring, first against the British, then against the natives. Every colonist is a conquistador of sorts, Ari. And just as great gramps Herbert didn't 'see' the natives, you, the ex-paratrooper, don't 'see' what you really are.

Now I know you're probably not big on Vladimir Jabotinsky, but at least he was more honest than you:

"Any native people... views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner. And so it is for the Arabs... They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervour that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie." (See my 12/6/08 post Pemulwuy in Palestine for the full quote)

... and because of their desperate need to build a national home for the Jews, and because of their yearning for the glorious biblical past, they overlooked the fact that there were others living in the land, and that set in motion this horrible hundred year war that is still going on. So you have the complexity, the beauty, I would say the heroism, the morality, and the need, and the blindness which led them to this inevitable and ongoing, deep and tragic conflict.

Sorry, Ari, however you like to dress up the Zionist project in Palestine, it was all, from the very beginning, just another grubby colonial land grab. Hey, but at least you've managed to fool dopey Geraldine!


Indeed, and... um... I must say I was conscious on my recent trip of the vitality of Israel and lots of people write about this. You describe it as a miracle, and you feel it, the greenery, the gardens, the cultural life, the opinions, the openness, and of course the Arabs look on at this, and what is your sense? I got a very mixed sense about how the Arabs... I thought some Arabs desperately wanted to be part of it to be honest, which you don't hear that said much...

Part of Israel? But of course, Israel is occupied Palestinian land. Always was, always will be - Palestinian land. As Moshe Dayan once said in a moment of candour, describing the massive post-Nakba theft of Palestinian land:

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages... There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." (See my 1/9/12 post Only 'Sort Of'? for the details.)

... and the others, of course, as one man said to me in Bethlehem, this older man who looked for all the world like somebody from Scotland but he was actually - hahaha - a Palestinian with Crusader blood in him - ha! - a redhead, freckled man, he said, We have to lose all hope, we have to abandon all hope we Palestinians, it's a terrible phrase actually, but you know, how do you reconcile these two facts. They're both true.

OK, you want a classic example of folie a deux? Here it is:


... the Holy Land, and this conflict, are much more complex than many people realise so I think that what you have on the one hand is that there are many Palestinians who, and I have empathy to them - my book tells the story of my people from my point of view, but its full of empathy to the other - and I see the Palestinians all the time and I'm aware of their tragedy, of their suffering. I think there are two states of mind. On the one hand, there are these grievances, the hostility, the bitterness, and all that side of it that we hear so much about. On the other hand, there is a side that we don't hear that much about. Israel, for all its faults, and I'm very critical of government policies on many issues, Israel is, if you look at the Middle East, an oasis of liberty and prosperity and freedom. What you have in Israel, sadly, sadly, you do not have hundreds and probably thousands of miles around, and therefore I think many Palestinians and Arabs are ambivalent because on the other hand, for good reasons from their point of view, they have resentment. On the other hand they want to join the the party in some ways and those who live within Israel again, while politically...


Well, they think they've got the jackpot. I met them hahaha...

So Palestinians in Israel have hit the jackpot! Just as well they managed to dodge the Great Ethnic Cleansing of 1948. Otherwise they wouldn't have been able to experience the thrill of living under the Israeli jackboot a full 19 years before their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza won the jackpot/jackboot in 1967.


... So while politically they've got a lot of criticism, as I say, especially when there is this terrible tragedy happening - it's worse than a tragedy happening, it's a catastrophe - the human catastrophe happening in Syria with the world looking at this helpless as hundreds are killed daily, then I think many Arabs and Palestinians living in Israel, with all their criticism, they realise that life under the Zionists in Nazareth is somewhat better than life under the Arab nationalists in Damascus. Now this is not something that most of them say aloud. You don't hear it publicly...

No, Ari, what they were really saying was Thank God for Ben Dunkelman, otherwise we wouldn't be here now. Never heard of him? I thought not. He was the Canadian Jew who commanded the Haganah's Seventh Brigade, which took control of Nazareth in 1948. Here's what he had to say about the immediate aftermath: 

"Two days after the second truce came into effect, the Seventh Brigade was ordered to withdraw from Nazareth. Avraham Yaffe, who had commanded the 13th battalion in the assault on the city, now reported to me with orders from Moshe Carmel to take over from me as its military governor. I complied with the order, but only after Avraham had given me his word that he would do nothing to harm or displace the Arab population. My demand may sound strange, but I had good reason to feel concerned on this subject. Only a few hours previously, Haim Laskov had come to me with astounding orders: Nazareth's civilian population was to be evacuated! I was shocked and horrified. I told him I would do nothing of the sort - in view of our promises to safeguard the city's people, such a move would be both superfluous and harmful. I reminded him that scarcely a day earlier, he and I, as representatives of the Israeli army, had signed the surrender document, in which we solemnly pledged to do nothing to harm the city or the population. When Haim saw that I refused to obey the order, he left. A scarce twelve hours later, Avraham Yaffe came to tell me that his battalion was relieving my brigade; I felt sure that this order had been given because of my defiance of the evacuation order. But although I was withdrawn from Nazareth, it seems that my disobedience did have some effect. It seems to have given the high command time for second thoughts, which led them to the conclusion that it would, indeed, be wrong to expel the inhabitants of Nazareth. To the best of my knowledge, there was never any more talk of the evacuation plan, and the city's Arab citizens have lived there ever since." (Truth Whereby Nations Live, Peretz Kidron, in Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship & the Palestinian Question, Ed. by Edward Said & Christopher Hitchens, 1988, p 87)

... but actually people are aware of it, and this is where some of my cautious, conditional optimism comes from, because while I do not see us right now signing a grand peace deal that will end the conflict the way American Secretary of State Kerry just tried, I do think there is a kind of grass roots pragmatism on both sides that has some hope in it of some coexistence. People do want to move on with their lives. As I like to say when I'm in this great country of yours, at the end of the day, speaking about my fellow Israelis, most Israelis want Israel to be like Australia. They don't want it to be some sort of religious entity or extremist national [state], that's the vision of a tiny minority. Most people would like to have a good life, a vibrant democracy, a kind of sunny, vibrant hedonistic society celebrating life. That's the real vision and the real wish of most people, so if you give them a realistic, pragmatic peace concept, something to solve the issues not in complete, just and permanent way but something that is real, they'll go for it and if we and the international community will come up with that kind of new thinking I think that you'll be surprised to find that most Israelis, and hopefully most Palestinians, will be more pragmatic than what we see right now.

Er, Ari, about that realistic, pragmatic peace concept... to solve the issues NOT in a complete, just and permanent way that you're on about, didn't you say that great gramps Herbert and the rest had brought a fierce belief in justice with them to Palestine?

To be continued...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Howling Nonsense Meets Gushing Vacuity 1

It's in the stars. These two were made for each other.  

Ari Shavit meets Geraldine Doogue on Saturday Extra, Radio National, 24/5/14:


You may remember a few weeks ago I was in Israel and I have to say that the trip really opened my eyes to a lot of the complexities and nuances of that country and its relationships with neighbouring Palestine...

Eyes opened, eh?

Where Palestine/Israel is concerned, those whose eyes are open see bullies lording it over their victims. Doogue, on the other hand, sees only complexities and nuances.

Where Palestine/Israel is concerned, those whose eyes are open see an occupier and an occupied. Doogue, on the other hand, sees only neighbours.

... and I was also made aware of the extraordinary level of public conversations within Israel about the nature of itself and where it's heading...

Here we go again: two Jews, three opinions.

... so it's with great pleasure that I welcome to Saturday Extra Ari Shavit... He's a very well-respected Israeli journalist and columnist with the Haaretz newspaper and he's in Sydney for the Writers' Festival, discussing his book, 'My Promised Land: The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel', which has been attracting a great deal of attention and debate.

Yeah... especially from the ABC.

I must say that I do feel that you write both about the hybrid and expansive history of the Israeli state...

The hybrid history of Israel? A Jewish state is hybrid?

Expansive? Surely she means 'expanding'?

... and your own family history and I'm going to try and tease this out, and about this identity crisis which I detected while I was there... You write a lot about your great grandfather who went to the Holy Land from Britain in 1897. Now what vision did he have for Israel?

Oh yes, Herbert Bentwich.


Well, I think that what drove him there, like the early founders of Zionism, was the sense that Europe is becoming very dangerous to Jews and that some radical action must be taken in order to save them from the wrath and rage of Europe. So before they had the real dream or plan of what they're building they had a necessity because the feeling that after a millennium of ongoing persecution of Jews something actually new and vicious was about to happen so that you don't quite know there'll be a holocaust, but they expected some catastrophe for the Jews, especially of eastern Europe. So Israel was actually a life-saving project. It was the idea that we must do something radical in order to save the Jews from this new kind of hate and...

Oh, so great gramps, while happily lawyering away in England, inexplicably feels a Holocaust coming on, and so high-tails it to... Palestine?

C'mon Ari, you're laying it on a bit thick here, aren't you? I think perhaps great gramps' son, grand uncle Norman Bentwich, although also off with the Zionist pixies, would have more of handle on this business than you. After all, Herb was his old man.

Now Norman, in his 1934 book, Palestine, alludes to "the recrudescence... in Russia of medieval barbarism."  That is, the anti-Jewish pogroms which saw some two-and-a-half-million Jews leave Russia, mainly for the US, between 1880 and 1914. Some, he notes - those bitten by the Zionist bug - went to Palestine, seeing it not so much as your touted "life-saving project" but as an exercise in Jewish empowerment. To quote him:

"Zionism was, in its deeper aspect, a struggle for self expression, for making the Jew master of his destiny, an attempt to give the Jewish genius and aspirations the outlet which circumstances had denied them for some two thousand years... Palestine was to be the spiritual centre, as well as the National Home of the Jewish people, the local habitation where the Jewish spirit, warped by perpetual conflict with its environment, could freely expand. Most Jews would not, and could not, come to Palestine and live there. They would remain citizens in their own countries. But the renaissance in Palestine would have a profound meaning for them. It would revive and give a fresh meaning to their Judaism, and bring back the religion into contact with life, rouse the self-respect of the Jew and quicken his inward life... The Jew would renew contact with nature and the historic landscape of his people and would be inspired to fresh creativeness by the land and the spirits of his past... At the Conference of Paris, which followed the World War, representatives of the Jews, admitted as spokesmen of a nationality, asked that their claim to return to their historic home might be granted, in order that they should make Palestine again a fruitful land and a centre of civilization and that 'the Jews should take an honourable place in the new community of nations'." (pp 70-72)

You might want to read that again, Ari, OK?

... following that... Israel is quite remarkable because the one problem these Zionists had was was that they were too late, that they'd save some Jews but were too late to save millions of others who perished 40 or 50 years after they launched their daring project.

Ari... Ari... enough already, OK? You're making it up as you go along. Touch base with grand uncle Norman, OK?

Then came gradually the vision...

Ah, the vision thing: mine, all mine!

... and, I think, they definitely wanted to create a utopian, just entity that will be a unique political entity. They had a kind of biblical romanticism. On the one hand they wanted to bring back the beauty of the ancient land of Israel, on the other they had different social justice ideas.

Bullshit! They built Tel Aviv FFS. C'mon, Ari, cut the crap...

Most of them, like my own great grandfather, were socialists, so their dream was a socialist paradise... Others had more liberal ideas like my great grandfather...

Will the real great gramps please stand up? Listen up, Ari: the real Jewish socialists of the time stuck around in Europe and tried to make it a better place - for everyone. Zionists are fundamentally nationalists, in it for the tribe. I suggest you read my 1/10/09 post Jewish Exceptionalism.

... and in this sense they tried to combine something that was just and would save our people while trying to create something that will be unique and especially just, and that of course ran into a harsh reality in the land.

Good God, man, I thought you'd never get there.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Guardian Australia Gags Bob Carr

The following passage comes from a Guardian Australia report by Bethanie Blanchard on a Sydney Writers' Festival session focusing on former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr's recently published Diary of a Foreign Minister:

"An interesting admission was a conversation Carr records in the Diary, in which Rudd - knowing the election to be lost, the campaign in tatters, the Murdoch press savaging him every day - comments to Carr how few people actually control power in Australia: the Murdoch media, the head [sic] of Rio and BHP, a few bank chiefs and maybe a few property developers." (Bob Carr, political writing and the sovereignty of the mind, 23/5/14)

Now compare that with Carr's own words:

"He [Rudd] reflects on how few people run the country: the Murdoch media, the heads of Rio and BHP, probably the heads of the big banks, and 'that mob', by which he means the hard-line, Likud-aligned pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne." (Diary of a Foreign Minister, p 449)

You will, of course, have noticed that Carr's explicit reference to the "'that mob'... the hard-line, Likud-aligned pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne" has been replaced in Blanchard's version with the gross misrepresentation "maybe a few property developers."


Could this be anything other than a deliberate falsification of Carr's text?

I hasten to add that the alacrity with which Guardian Australia censors comments critical of Israeli apartheid only confirms me in my suspicion that we are dealing here with a particularly egregious case of self-censorship.  (See Gideon Polya's documentation at Mainstream Media Censorship - censorship/home - specifically Censorship by the Guardian Australia.) 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Orwell Turns in His Grave

We do indeed live in interesting times.

In 2011, an award for political journalism bearing the name of a Zionist, namely the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, went to anti-Zionist journalist Jonathan Cook. (You can see my series of posts on Gellhorn by clicking on the label below.)

Now, an award for political journalism bearing the name of an anti-Zionist, namely the Orwell Prize, has just gone to Zionist journalist Jonathan Freedland.

Stranger still, while Cook, one of the best journalists around on the subject of Palestine, was at least awarded his Gellhorn Prize for exposing "establishment propaganda" (in his case of the Zionist variety), Freedland's Orwell Prize was awarded, not for the content of his writing (which, as far as Palestine/Israel is concerned, invariably reduces to apologetics for the Zionist project) but for the "lucidity and elegance of his style." (Two Guardian journalists win Orwell prize for journalism, Martin Williams,, 22/5/14)

One can only imagine what Orwell himself would have thought about the awarding of an Orwell Prize for style alone. Still, it could have been worse. Imagine this Zionist apologist receiving an award for his content on the issue of Palestine/Israel.

To illustrate, take his July 18, 2012 article for the New Statesman, Yearning for the same land, essentially a defence of political Zionism:

Freedland here plays the game of Good Zionist vs Bad Zionist, contrasting what he calls "left-leaning Zionists who believe the original movement's goal was the liberation of people, not land," with "hawkish Zionists, heirs of Vladimir Jabotinsky, who are territorial maximalists, eager to fly the Israeli flag over the West Bank."

It's the former, he maintains, who are "the true Zionists," those who are "eager to see territory now occupied by Israel ceded [?] to become sovereign Palestinian land."  Freedland, of course, places himself in the camp of the Zionist angels, if I may be allowed an oxymoron.

To assert, as he does, that the goal of the Zionist angels (LOL) was never really the acquisition of Palestinian land, when they, in collaboration with the followers of Jabotinsky, ethnically cleansed 78% of Palestine in 1948, regardless of the borders proposed by the 1947 UN partition plan, and stole all the Palestinian land they could lay their blood-stained hands on, is simply risible.

He defends the Zionist bulldozing of the cosmopolitan, multi-sectarian Palestine of old by trotting out the boilerplate dogma of his "socialist-Zionist youth": the Jews are a "people," and as such "have a right to self-determination in the historic land of their birth."

Freedland's Zionist sleight of hand is transparent: Jews are not what they so indubitably are - a diverse (because of a past history of conversion) faith community originating in the Middle East - but are imagined as an homogenous ethnic grouping, who, following a collective heave-ho by the Romans, ended up as a scattered diaspora, somehow managing, against all the odds, to preserve their ethnic purity.

It's as if, whenever Freedland sees himself in a mirror, he sees Moses or Joshua looking back. Read Shlomo Sand? Forget it!

Our self-designated left Zionist today, however, is trendier than his forbears, who swore blind for decades (with that famous shrug) that the Palestinians inexplicably just went walkies in 1948. He now concedes that the Palestinian Nakba (which he still can't spell, rendering it as Naqba) actually happened and even thinks Israelis should be commemorating it. But more than that... nah.

To bolster his case that Zionism is still kosher, Freedland draws on "left-leaning Zionist" author Amos Oz.

First the hard sell:

"[Oz] argues that, besides the legal right bestowed by the UN's 1947 resolution to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, Israel has a moral right - the right of the drowning man... entitled to grab hold of a piece of driftwood even if another man is already holding it. The drowning man can even make the other man share it, by force, if necessary. His moral right ends, however, the moment he pushes the other man into the sea. The Jewish people, scythed by the Holocaust and after centuries of persecution, were gasping for breath in 1948; their need for a home was as great as that of any other people in history."

All pedestrian Zionist propaganda of course:

1) The partition was essentially an exercise in the White Man twisting the arms of just enough brown men to get the desired result at the UN, not to mention a violation of the latter's charter;

2) Jews in displaced persons camps after the war were not drowning, though they were harassed and bullied by Zionist enforcers; and

3) Zionism, the militant settler-colonial movement which created Israel, was forced on the Palestinians by British bayonets long before the Holocaust, and busied itself not with the rescue of European Jewry from the perils of Nazism, but  solely with accumulating the cannon fodder and the arms necessary to roll Palestine's weaker indigenous population and seize as much of its Palestinian homeland as possible.

Having cleverly diverted the reader's attention with the (alleged) drowning man, gasping for breath, Freedland then slips in the following, hoping you won't notice:

"They had the right to act, even though the cost for another people, the Palestinians, was immense."

Sorry about that, Palestinians. Nothing personal mind you!

So who awarded the Orwell Prize to Freedland? There were 3 judges: Robin Lustig (BBC Radio), Paul Anderson (Tribune/New Statesman), and Michael Parks (Professor of Journalism at USC). On the first, you might like to read BBC buries the bitter at (7/7/10), and on the second, his rationale for opposing an academic boycott of Israel, No to the Academic Boycott, Tribune, 29/4/05).

Orwell famously wrote that Journalism is printing what someone does not want printed: everything else is public relations. Poor man, a prize bearing his name has just gone to a peddler of Zionist PR.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bring Back the Biff!

Blimey, this bloke just keeps popping up - a bit like... a bit like... oh, herpes will do:

"Australasian Union of Jewish Students political director Matthew Lesh said campus extremists were targeting individuals rather than engaging in debate... Mr Lesh said he had been 'aggressively' criticised for visiting Israel in a University of Melbourne student forum last year." (Pyne warns universities to act on campus racism, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 4/3/14)

"Matthew Lesh, the political affairs director of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, described the alleged [anti-Semitic] incidents as 'vicious and worrying'." (Racism at unis not on, says Pyne, Christian Kerr, The Australian, 19/5/14)

"Matthew Lesh, Megan Saker and Nicki Jarrel... are something of a rarity within [Melbourne University's] walls - staunch defenders of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey's first budget... All three are Liberal Party members and signed up for the Australian Liberal Students Federation on their first day of university... Mr Lesh said the student Liberals were not planning a loud come-back to their counterparts' [Socialist Alternative Club] attack. He picked up his phone instead. 'I'm going to try and get on 3AW,' he said." (Three of a kind with a Liberal attitude towards a 'fair' budget, Tammy Mills, The Age, 20/5/14)

Uh Oh, I feel another Liberal MP coming on...

So just who is Matthew Lesh?

From the above, you will have deduced that he's:

a) a highly sensitive guy who deplores aggression
b) one with an inordinate fondness for the media limelight

Little surprise then when he popped up on ABC News 24, debating Deanna Taylor, President of the National Union of Students (NUS) on the subject of the government's decision to deregulate university fees and yesterday's resultant National Day of Action.

Lesh, of course, defended the former and lashed (leshed?) the latter as "extreme left" student protesters "violently confronting the police."

Intrigued by all this evidence of Lesh's aggro-phobia, but puzzled nonetheless by his devotion to the cause of Australia's most pugilistic PM, I thought I'd take a look at his twitter page, where he describes himself as a "commentator," an "opinionated classic liberal," and a "developer." Not, you'll notice, "Zionist." Interesting, these days, how those you'd expect to revel in the label are backing away from it. But I digress. Lesh's tweets.

Oh, how I wish I hadn't gone there. Just when I was beginning to think that maybe Australia had a budding Ghandi on its hands, my fond fantasy was banished in an instant by the following two tweets, from late November last year:

I seconded the Vic Young Libs motion at Liberal Victoria State Council to support jobs by bring UFC Australia to Vic!

UFC? Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Retweeted by Matthew Lesh: Young Libs@VicYoungLibs We just moved a successful motion at Liberal Victoria State Council to bring UFC Australia to Vic!

The retweet was accompanied by a photograph of the successful Motion 23, which read:

"That this State Council calls on the Victorian Coalition Government to legalise Mixed Martial Arts competition in a cage."

I'm shattered. Shattered.

PS (23/5/14): Kids cage-fighting on the rise in the US (Philippa Lees,, 23/5/14):

"It is banned in most US states but parents are finding a way to enter their kids, as young as 6, into junior cage-fighting tournaments. A story on Seven's Sunday Night, to air May 25, goes inside Harrah's Casino which can hold these junior mixed martial arts (MMA) events because it is situated on an Indian reservation and not subject to Californian law. David Bramlette, whose son Mason 'The Beast' has been fighting since he was diagnosed with ADHD, says he believes it is safer than most other sports... Contests are sanctioned and officiated by the US Fight League and follow the limited contact rules which prohibit kicking and punching above the collarbone. Strangling is allowed. Opponents are not determined by gender but weight range, which means boys can fight girls. Kids MMA has thrived off the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) craze which has become a $3 billion dollar business."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Jake Lynch Update 7

Here's a wonderful letter from yesterday's Australian on the decision by the Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union to back Professor Jake Lynch's courageous stand for Palestine and against Israeli bullying and intimidation:

"The threat by Shurat HaDin lawyer Andrew Hamilton that Sydney University staff will be next in the firing line shows that he prefers bullying and intimidation over rational discussion (Jewish group warns uni on BDS, 19/5) Like Shurat HaDin's Federal Court case against Jake Lynch, these tactics are intended to drain critics of resources, and silence other advocates of the peaceful boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. In coming to Lynch's defence, Sydney University's National Tertiary Education Union is upholding members' rights to a working environment free of such harassment, as any union should. Its resolution, moreover, is in line with the university's administration which recognises Lynch's support for BDS as a legitimate exercise of his intellectual freedom. NTEU members have voted to begin a broad discussion on the issues surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in particular the university's links to Israeli institutions. These ties do not exist in an ethical vacuum. Our institution's global conduct is a matter that staff have every right to discuss and take positions on - up to and including support for BDS." David Brophy, history lecturer, Sydney University, NSW

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Curlies for Joe Hockey on Last Night's Q&A

The Australian treasurer's ducking and weaving on last night's Q&A in response to questioners' manifest anger and disbelief over just where this free market ideologue and his bogan mates were taking this country was, of course, predictable.

However, when a member of the audience alluded to his privileged schooling, and Hockey hastened to point out that his father had "come as a migrant from Palestine with no money," I would have followed up with these even more personal questions:

Mr Hockey, did your father leave Palestine in 1948 at the urging of Arab leaders so that their armies could drive the Jews into the sea, as the official Israeli version of these events has always maintained?

Mr Hockey, do you believe that your father, as a 1948 Palestinian refugee (and of course you, as his son), should have the right of return to Palestine from which he was driven in 1948, and if not, why not?

Mr Hockey, when you visited that Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza in the 90s with your father, you reportedly stated that 'there but for the grace of God I could've been.'* What exactly did you mean by this, and how do you think those unfortunate Palestinians ended up living cheek by jowl in those squalid Gazan refugee camps?

[*See my 30/7/13 post Joe Hockey: My Palestinianity is Firmly Under Control.]

Jake Lynch Update 6

Israeli lawmongers, Shurat HaDin, currently seeking to intimidate Sydney University's Professor Jake Lynch in the Federal Court over his support for such fundamental human rights as freedom from military occupation, equality between people regardless of religious affiliation, and the right of refugees to return to the homes and lands from which they were once driven, are now threatening those who stand with him:

"The Israeli legal activist [sic: lawfare] group Shurat HaDin has warned Sydney University academics against joining their colleague Jake Lynch in supporting sanctions against Israel, saying they would be 'next in the firing line' for a lawsuit." (Jewish group warns uni on BDS, Ean Higgins, The Australian, 19/5/14)

Next in the firing line for a lawsuit, eh? How typically Zionist!

Remember the Zionist movement's motto during the period of its creeping colonisation of Palestine (1917-48) - 'dunum by dunam, goat by goat'? Having snapped up every remaining Palestinian dunum (and goat) between the River and the Sea in 1967, the movement is now in the process of covertly* colonising global free speech. Perhaps its motto should now be: Pressure tactic by pressure tactic, lawsuit by lawsuit? But I digress:

"University staff last week voted overwhelmingly to support Professor Lynch's right to promote the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, and will consider joining the BDS campaign as a block.** The vote led lawyer Andrew Hamilton, who represents Shurat HaDin in its lawsuit against Professor Lynch, to warn that the Israeli organisation would take the academic union to court if it throws its weight behind BDS. A general meeting of the Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union on Thursday passed a resolution defending Professor Lynch's 'right to exercise his intellectual freedom', and called on the university to support him 'in every way possible'. The second resolution alleged..."


"... Israel engaged in 'serious and ongoing violation of the Palestinian people's human rights', particularly to 'study, teach and conduct research'. It called on the union management committee to 'open a broad discussion' among the 2000-strong NTEU membership at Sydney University on whether the branch should support the BDS campaign, with a vote to be taken by the end of the year. But Mr Hamilton warned: 'If the NTEU wants to be next in the firing line when Lynch loses then we're happy to supply the ammunition.' Nick Riemer, one of the organisers of a new group at the University of Sydney, Sydney Staff for BDS, said Mr Hamilton's threat was outrageous. 'This intimidation is just what is to be expected from Shurat HaDin who want to stifle the very political freedoms BDS supporters are committed to defending whether in Palestine or Australia,' Dr Riemer, a senior lecturer in English, said. Shurat HaDin last year launched an action in the Federal Court seeking orders that Professor Lynch apologise for advocating BDS."

*I say covertly because just how Australia's Israel lobby goes about making friends and influencing people - to put it euphemistically - is rarely reported, with the exception, of course, of Murdoch's Australian, where the lobby's ways and means are always spun as a reaction to a resurgent anti-Semitism.

**The resolutions read as follows:

1) That this meeting of NTEU members:
Notes that NTEU member Associate Professor Jake Lynch's right to exercise his intellectual freedom in response to the Palestinian call for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions;
Supports Associate Professor Jake Lynch's right to exercise his intellectual freedom and calls on the university to support him in every way possible.
2) That this meeting of NTEU members:
Notes that the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine constitutes a serious and ongoing violation of Palestinian people's human rights, especially their ability to study, teach and conduct research;
Notes that the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including the call for an institutional academic boycott, has already been endorsed by a wide range of unions and other organizations internationally;
Instructs the Branch Committee to open a broad discussion among members about whether to endorse the BDS call and, if so, in what form. This will include facilitating meetings on BDS, communicating about it with members, and publicising events, with a view to voting on whether the branch should endorse some form of BDS by the end of the year."

Monday, May 19, 2014

They Walk Among Us...

The following 3 texts - in no particular order - illustrate the terrifying fact that there exists a scary subset of humanity (I use the term loosely here) for whom reality simply does not exist:

"Phase one of Tony Abbott's strategy to sell the budget is to deny, point blank, that it is based on the deceit of broken promises made before last year's election. More than that, it is to assert - again point blank - that there were no broken promises and, in effect, that black is white." (Abbott denies breaching faith, Michael Gordon, Sydney Morning Herald, 15/5/14)

"The aide said that guys like me [i.e., reporters and commentators] were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'." (A 'senior advisor' to President Bush, quoted in The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo & the Iraq War's Buried History, Mark Danner, 2006)

"Even a cursory look at the history of this conflict would tell an observer that the plight of the Palestinians is so much more a product of the decisions that their leaders made over the years, of squandered opportunities and of deceit engaged in, than of anything that Israel did to them." (Paragraph from a letter to The Australian by Felix Elberg, Caulfield, Vic., 17/5/14)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Our Klutz in... East Jerusalem

On Tuesday [?], Australia's ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, met Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel in the latter's East Jerusalem office.

East Jerusalem, of course, is Israeli-occupied (and illegally annexed) Palestinian land.

As chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has said in a protest letter to Australian officials:

"It should be noted that diplomatic recognition of the situation created by the attempted annexation of our capital is a flagrant violation of international law... Australia's ambassador to Israel meeting with Israeli officials in East Jerusalem has the effect of attempting to legitimize the illegal situation on the ground and may be deemed as aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting illegal Israeli policies... As such, Australia's actions are tantamount to complicity in ongoing Israeli violations of international laws of war." (Bishop rebuked over envoy's East Jerusalem visit, Daniel Flitton, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/5/14)

The account of the meeting in Israel's Haaretz suggests that Sharma has wandered cluelessly into an Israeli propaganda trap:

"An all-too-routine meeting was held Wednesday morning between Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel and Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma. In fact, nobody would have known this meeting was even happening, had it not been for a press release distributed by Ariel's bureau blatantly pointing out the fact that the talks between the two were taking place at the government compound in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Most of the international community does not recognise Israel's authority in East Jerusalem. Therefore, few diplomats or representatives of foreign nations - if at all - would come to an official meeting with Israeli politicians or government officials in that part of the city. Media outlets self-identified as right wing and with Ariel's Habayit Hayehudi party - such as the NRG website and Israel National News - were quick to publish that the meeting was taking place, presenting it as a sort of Australian recognition of Israeli authority over East Jerusalem... It is not certain that the Australian ambassador in Tel Aviv should worry about the future of his diplomatic career. On of the reasons is that [Australian Foreign Minister Julie] Bishop said during her visit to Israel in January that she is not convinced settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem constitutes a violation of international law. At the time, she told The Times of Israel... that she wanted to verify what international law deems it to be illegal." (PA complains to Australia after envoy meets Israeli official in East Jerusalem, Barak Ravid, 15/5/14)

Good one, Dave! You're everything and more that Israel could ever have hoped for in an Australian ambassador. Oh, and the perfect foil for that other klutz, Julie (Fourth Geneva Convention? What Fourth Geneva Convention?) Bishop.

For Dave's record of *cough* service for -?-  just click on his label below.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Truth Will Out: First Carr, Now Fraser

"Former Australian Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has told ABC's Jon Faine that he shares former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr's take on 'the Jewish lobby'. Fraser appeared on The Conversation Hour to discuss his new book Dangerous Allies. The conversation switched to Carr's recent book Diary of a Foreign Minister in which Carr is critical of the Jewish lobby in Australia." (Carr finds a friend,, 10/5/14):

Faine: Bob Carr has managed to upset a lot of people... with his memoir, saying that he thought that the pro-Israel... lobby* in Australia wielded too much power. What does Malcolm Fraser think of that?

Fraser: They certainly do.

Faine: Now, somebody said this a month or two ago and there was a sense of outrage: No, we don't have immediate access to the Prime Minister. No, we don't have that. We're just another group. Another lobby group.

Fraser: Well, in relation to the Gillard government, certainly. I am sure what Bob Carr said was totally and absolutely correct.

Faine: And other governments? Are you of that view as well?

Fraser: I once said that Israel had exercised excessive power in relation to Lebanon. I got some pretty furious phone calls as a result, and people asked to come up and see me. And I thought it was going to be two or three [of them] and I found, well, there were so many they wouldn't fit in my office. So I said Let's go into the Cabinet Room. They all explained Israel's position, which I understood. And at the end of that discussion I said, Well, gentlemen, I am glad to have listened to you, but you know the Australian government's position. I said that The power Israel used was excessive. That view has not changed. But I have heard you. Thank you. But it's a continuum.

Faine: The Jewish community are generous donors to political parties, and wield and exercise as much influence as they can muster. Any community does the same. The Italian community, the Muslim community, religious groups, ethnic groups, industry groups. What's the difference? It's not unusual to single out one community?

Fraser: I don't think the Italian community, just to take one example, try to get us to follow any particular policies in relation to Italy. And that's the difference. The Jewish community... well, not all the community... because I've got many letters in my office in the files that say No, we don't agree with the publicly proclaimed leaders of the community in Melbourne. We take a different view. But they're not going to say so publicly. The Jewish community seek to get Australia to support policies as defined by Israel. Look, Israel years ago, during one of the wars, killed 30 or 40 Americans on a spy ship [the USS Liberty*] in the Western [sic] Mediterranean.

Faine: That was a mistaken missile hit, if I remember correctly, or an air strike. I can't remember.

Fraser: Well, the Americans tried to cover it up. It wasn't a mistake. It was deliberate.

Faine: You believe so?

Fraser: Yes.

Faine: Based on what?

Fraser: Information I have. I am not going to tell you the source.  
Faine: OK, and the purpose would have been to what? To stop intelligence gathering?

Fraser: They wanted to be able to do what they wanted to do without America hearing.

Faine: That's a massive claim to make.

Fraser: It is.

Faine: It borders on the beliefs that some people have, which I have always thought were completely insane, about conspiracy theories like 9/11 and the like. And people believe all sorts of nonsense that they choose to then pursue, with no foundation whatsoever. You can't make that sort of a claim without backing it up, can you, even if you're Malcolm Fraser and you used to be the prime minister?


Fraser: Your idea of conspiracy theories about 9/11 [being nonsense] I think I would agree with absolutely... but where the interests of a significant power or the interests of a country are concerned, as they believe, then the interests of individuals... are not worth anything.

[*For the latest on the ongoing cover-up of this massacre, read (and be totally gobsmacked by) American Legion Honchos Betray Liberty Veterans, Alison Weir, Counterpunch, 16/5/14]

Friday, May 16, 2014

NZW Premier Miko Baird Bends the Knee

Individual NZW Premiers may come and go but the annual bending-of-the-knee ritual at Israel Independence (from what?) Day gigs is mandatory for whoever 'leads' the state of NZW.

Last year of course, it was Barry (Baruch) O'Farrell, who gushed: "If one was restricted to a single word to describe Israel it would be extraordinary."  (See my posts Barry to Baruch in 60 Seconds (9/5/14) and NZW Inc. (3/5/14))

Poor Baruch had probably consumed a tad too much Grange Hermitage at the time, but then that's another story...

This year, of course, it's the shiny new Mike (Miko?) Baird who "announced that if [his government] is re-elected in March 2015, he will commit to personally leading a trade delegation to Israel during his second term in office saying 'perhaps I cannot quite say 'Next Year in Jerusalem' but I can say 'next term in Jerusalem'." (Next term in Jerusalem,, 14/5/14)

Good one, Miko!

In addition to laying the organisers of the gig (the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Zionist Council of Australia, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and the Zionist Federation of Australia) in the proverbial aisles, Miko also revealed his talents as a vocalist, crooning that old favourite, "Australia [was] the first country to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition which created the Jewish State."  (ibid)

No Zionist gig would be complete, however, without a reference to the Dark Side. And Miko did not disappoint, muttering darkly:

"We know there are those who make it their task to whip up fear and hatred towards Israel. Even here in multicultural Australia, one of the most distasteful examples is the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which has such regrettable echoes of the past persecution of Jewish-owned businesses. The BDS campaign disgusts ordinary, decent Australians and attracts bipartisan condemnation." (Baird commits to visit Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 16/5/14)

Jeepers creepers, you could almost hear the sound of jackboots and shattering glass!

But Miko was merely the icing on Israel's birthday cake:

Among the 500 glitterati, "diplomats [34 + Israeli ambassador, Shmuel Ben-Shmuel], politicians and community, faith and business leaders," were to be found "John Robertson (Opposition Leader), David Clarke (Parliamentary Secretary), David Elliott (Parliamentary Secretary), Matt Kean (Parliamentary Secretary) and Paul Fletcher (Federal Parliamentary Secretary)." (Celebrating Israel's Independence Day,, 15/5/14)

What particularly struck me, however, as a compulsive chronicler of such things, was this:

"Other notable people attending the celebration included Vic Alhadeff (Chairman, Community Relations Commission), Stepan Kerkyasharian (President, Anti-Discrimination Board), Dr Tim Soutphommasane (Race Discrimination Commissioner), and Tim Wilson (Human Rights Commissioner)." (ibid)

That is, almost all of the heads of all of the official, taxpayer-funded, multicultural, anti-racist, anti-discrimination, and pro-human rights bodies in Australia were gathered together in celebration of a state, founded on a monstrous act of ethnic cleansing, that has become a byword for ethno-religious exclusivism and human rights abuses.

You wouldn't read about it... at least not in the mainstream press.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nakba Day 2014

Today is the 66th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian Nakba ('Catastrophe').

As this lucid extract from the preface to Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948 (1984), by Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, shows, the Nakba was no aberration, but rather an inevitable by-product of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine. The Palestinians themselves could see it coming from the earliest days of Zionist colonization, and anyone who takes the time and trouble to familiarise himself with the real history of modern Palestine, as opposed to the false Zionist narrative, knows that this crime against humanity continues to this very day:

"From the beginning of their colonization of Palestine, the architects of the Zionist 'dream' excluded from consideration its potential consequences for the Palestinians. The reality of Zionism as translated on the ground was rarely perceived as diverging from the dream, which was (and still is) regarded as pristine; any divergence between the reality and the dream was only a momentary aberration from the dream. Thus the ineluctable link between Zionist action and Palestinian reaction was banished from Zionist consciousness. Since 1948, with the exception of a small Israeli peace movement, the Israelis have succumbed to an emotional and intellectual condition (to which an oppressor is prone) that complements the Palestinians' obsession with the past. This condition is characterized by an acute aversion to a scrutiny, with all its moral implications, of Zionism's historical record in Palestine since the 1880s. So great has their aversion been (and so compelling the apparent psychological need for it) that, with the help of historical revisionism and rationalization, the Israelis have convinced themselves and their supporters either that the Palestinians did not exist at all before 1948, or - if they did - that the Palestinians were the initiators of the conflict and the tormentors of Zion. The Israelis' final refinement of this line of reasoning has been to categorize their Palestinian victims under such rubrics as 'fanatics' and 'terrorists', the sources of whose behaviour must be sought in specious, atavistic fountainheads. Thus have the motives behind Palestinian resistance to Zionism and Israel been traced comfortably away from the context of the conflict itself, and equally from those of Israeli introspection and moral responsibility.

"If 1948 had marked the end of the impingement of Zionism and Israel on Palestinian rights, Time would still have had a formidable task to heal the wounds already inflicted on the Palestinians.

"In fact, throughout the two decades between 1948 and 1967 Israel adamantly refrained from any alleviating gesture of redress or reconciliation, whether in the form of repatriation, reparation, or territorial adjustment. It proceeded, instead, to 'legalize' its expropriation of the abandoned movable and immovable properties of the Palestinian refugees and to transfer these properties to Jewish ownership. It imposed military rule on the terrorized Palestinian minority left in its midst. It carried out, in the name of retaliation for the slightest border violations, grossly disproportionate military operations against Palestinian border villages on the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and in the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip, villages whose best farmland it had already seized in 1948. It annexed the demilitarized zones and no man's lands on the West Bank. It unilaterally diverted the waters of the Jordan River for its own purposes. It repeatedly flaunted its might by holding military parades in Western Jerusalem. During the same two decades, the Palestine problem evolved into the conflict between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries. And in the 1960s Palestinian despair found expression in the concept of armed struggle under the aegis of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"In 1967 Israel went further still. Having wrested the greater part of Palestine in 1948, it was now bent on wresting what land remained in Palestinian hands. Between June and September 1967, it expelled across the Jordan River some 250,000 inmates of the refugee camps located on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. It proceeded to apply to the newly occupied territories the very policy of systematic colonization, pursued by the Zionists in Palestine from the 1880s until 1948, that had created the Palestine problem in the first place." (p 14)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not Happy, Alice!

The Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick bills herself on her website as "Australia's leading author in the area of personal and spiritual development."

Her glowing review of two books* by African-American writer Alice Walker recently appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Glowing, that is, except for these two sentences:

"Her political analysis, especially when it comes to Israel-Palestine, will not please everyone. Indeed, her partisanship for the Palestinian cause might jolt some readers."  (Freedom of voice, 10/5/14)

Not happy, Alice!

Just who do you think you are, jolting people out of their comfort zones with statements of the bleeding obvious like this:

"It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel's attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land."

[*The Cushion in the Road (Essays) The World Will Follow Joy (Poetry)]

Monday, May 12, 2014

Senator Xenophon's Israeli Apartheid Moment

Just when I was beginning to think that The Australian's Middle East correspondent, John Lyons, had been exiled to Cairo as punishment for exposing the winning ways of Israeli troops with Palestinian kids on the ABC's Four Corners program in February, he's now back in the West Bank, reporting on a visit to the Israeli settler-besieged city of Hebron by that rarity in Australian politics, a politician of independent mind beholden to neither party line nor Israel lobby:

"In an empty street in Hebron, deep in the Palestinian territories, independent senator Nick Xenophon is trying to have two conversations at once. A Palestinian woman in a caged balcony is explaining her plight while an Israeli settler carrying a handgun wants his say." (Hebron 'heartbreaking,' for Xenophon, John Lyons, The Australian, 10/5/14)

Don't they all.

"Both want the ear of the South Australian senator on his first visit to the region. 'This is madness,' he said later. In Hebron, 800 settlers live surrounded by 180,000 Palestinians. 'I would urge any Australian politician who comes here to go to Hebron, walk the streets, run the gauntlet of checkpoints and speak to both sides,' he told The Weekend Australian.'

"As he walked the ghost-town streets of Hebron, the Palestinian woman, Zleikha Muhtaseb, called from the cage she has built to prevent settlers breaking her windows. 'Where in the world do you need to put a cage around your house?' she shouted. She came downstairs to shake Senator Xenophon's hand through a security grill - the Israeli army has welded shut her front door so she can only open the back door, and the army does not allow her to walk on the street in front of her house.

"But US-born settler..."

That'd be right.

"... David Wilder, carrying a Glock, says Palestinians are not allowed on to that street for security reasons - that recently an Israeli was shot dead nearby."

Can you believe it, Senator, these Arab schmuks have the crazy idea that we're here to take over their town?!

"Senator Xenophon said later: 'What I saw in Hebron was heartbreaking - the division, the segregation, the palpable fear in the community. He questioned whether having a civilian law for Israelis and military law for the Palestinians could last. 'It seems unsustainable that you have two different legal systems for people living in the same community,' he said."

It's called apartheid, Nick. (Not that you'd expect to see the 'A' word in a Lyons' report on Israel. Not since the hue and cry that followed the last time he (?) used the word at any rate: See my 10/5/12 post Down the Memory Hole.)

"In Jerusalem, he met the Likud party's Yariv Levin, who said Israel was committed to peace."


"He met Breaking the Silence - almost 1,000 current and former Israeli soldiers trying to reform how the army relates to Palestinians - and human rights group B'Tselem. Senator Xenophon said: 'There is some hope through Israeli groups like Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem, who show the views of the Israeli government do not necessarily represent the views of all Israelis.'

"He was briefed by Australian barrister Gerard Horton from Military Court Watch about a Unicef report that found ill treatment of Palestinian children appeared to be 'widespread, systematic and institutionalised.' Mr Horton said MCW had found that since the report there had been some improvements but 90% of detained children were still tied and 55% reported physical abuse.

"Before leaving, Senator Xenophon had a message for any Australian politician who argued Israel's settlements were not illegal. 'I would urge Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to have a good look at the International Court of Justice's statement on Israeli settlements,' he said. 'The ICJ statement is crystal clear - all settlements are illegal under international law'."

The accompanying photograph (in the print edition), by Sylvie Le Clezio, showing Zleikha Muhtaseb in her balcony/cage, with Xenophon below on the street being earbashed by The Glock is priceless. The pained look on the senator's face says it all. This is clearly his Israeli apartheid moment. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Exposing ECAJ's BDS 'Expose'

Here we go:

"An information booklet about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel has been sent to politicians, journalists and key decision-makers by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)." (ECAJ exposes BDS, The Australian Jewish News, 9/5/14)

And what is it that this expose will be telling its readers?

Basically, that "BDS leaders are not seeking a peaceful two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian issue," but rather "the right of return of seven million ancestors of Palestinians displaced during the Arab-initiated war of 1948," which "would demographically change the Jewish State into a Jewish minority state."

Now if we were to translate this particular specimen of Zionist spin into language more in keeping with the historical record, this is what we'd get:

In addition to an end to the illegal, brutal and ongoing (1967-?) Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, BDS seeks the international law-backed right of return of Palestinian refugees (from whatever generation) ethnically cleansed from 78% their homeland by Zionist terror gangs both before and after the intervention of Arab forces in May 1948, which thankfully prevented the ethnic cleansing of the remaining 22% of Palestine, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, at the time.

OK, having sorted that out, let's get the substance of ECAJ's brief straight: a minority community of European settlers invades Palestine under the protection of British bayonets, achieving critical mass by 1948 sufficient to oust its native Arab majority. Having thus won de facto majority status, these colons view the return of those ousted as a threat to their 1948 ethno-religious gerrymander, fearing a reversion to their pre-1948 minority status.

Sorry guys, if majority rule by the natives was good enough for South Africa in 1994, it's good enough for Palestine now, and your insufferable hysteria over the 'destruction' of the Jewish state should carry about as much weight among people of conscience as did the hysteria over the 'destruction' of White South Africa displayed by its defenders at the time.

Now I can understand, but not support, Israeli Jews wishing to maintain their ethno-religious gerrymander, which is to say their monopoly on power. The prospect of sharing a place with those you've been brutalising for decades must feel pretty damn uncomfortable.

But what's really at stake here for ECAJ and its constituents? Just what is it that Australian (or American or British or...) Zionists so value about a Jewish state in Palestine that they have to campaign against BDS, which is to say fundamental Palestinian rights, so vigorously?  Considering the time, energy, and treasure spent by them on defending Israeli apartheid, you'd imagine that something pretty damn important was at stake, right?

Well, mystery solved, because in the same issue of the AJN we find an online opinion poll of its readers which asks the question: 'What's the best thing about Israel?'

37% answered 'The Jewishness'; 31% 'The food'; and 14% 'The weather'. That is, 82% of respondents summed up their interest in Israel as Jewishness, food and weather.

So, to clarify: for Australian (or American or British or...) Zionists, the anti-Palestinian, ethno-religious gerrymander of 1948, which underpins Israel's Jewish majority, must remain forever unchanged so that they can visit what amounts effectively to a Jewish theme park, with just the right proportions of Jewishness, food, and weather, whenever they so desire.

Next to that, the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to return to their country, enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is apparently a thing of little consequence.

But to return to the subject of BDS:

"The booklet... explores the links between BDS activities in Australia and anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial and calls for violence against Jews."

Links? What links? There are none.

Two points here:

1) According to the booklet, "the anti-Semitism [is] implicit in seeking to deny the Jewish people their right for national self-determination."

The Jewish people?

Make no mistake, ECAJ isn't talking here merely of Israeli Jews. It's talking about all Jews (whether Australians or Americans or British or...), people for whom Israel, as indicated, represents little more than Jewishness, food and weather. And these are the people ECAJ imagines, in line with Zionist ideology, have a right of national self-determination in Palestine which trumps that of its indigenous Arab population. Seriously.

2) The linking of BDS and anti-Semitism here surely lets the cat out of the bag with regard to the current debate over the removal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. For weeks now, we've been bombarded in the ms media with the message by Zionist representatives that 18C is necessary as a protection against Holocaust denial, long ago defined as the very acme of anti-Semitism. If the same people are allowed to get away today with defining BDS as anti-Semitism, and 18C remains on the books, don't be surprised if it's used to harass and silence supporters of BDS.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Joe Hockey: From the Gaza Strip to the Grand Hyatt

BEFORE last September's federal election, the then shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, was touting his 'Arab heritage' at Sydney's Lakemba Mosque:

"If there is a change of government on the 7th of September it will be the very first time in Australian history that someone of Arab heritage has taken a leadership position in Australia." (The politics of Palestine, Jonathan Swan, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/12/13)

Or was it his Palestinian heritage?

"Joe Hockey, appearing at Sydney's Lakemba Mosque this morning for an end of Ramadan ceremony, says he will be the first person of Palestinian heritage to take a leadership role in Australia if the Coalition wins the election." (Day Four - The Australian - Election 2013 Live Coverage,, 8/8/13)

Hockey's paternal grandmother, you see, was a Palestinian, and his father a refugee from the Nakba of 1948.

Of a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1998 with his father, Hockey is reported to have said:

"We walked through the refugee camp where you'd had 3 generations living in a room 2m x 2m. It was very emotional because there I was with my father, and there but for the grace of God I could've been." (See my 30/7/13 post Joe Hockey: My Palestinianity is Firmly Under Control.)

Did he, I wonder, ask how it was that those refugees came to be penned up - grandparents, parents, and kids - in their 2x2 shacks? Did the fact that most Palestinians were stateless refugees set him thinking? Did the sight of armed Israeli thugs lording it over them stir him to anger?

Apparently not, because here he is AFTER the election, buttering up Jewish punters at a May 2 Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Grand Hyatt, in a bid to sell them on the upcoming budget with its whizzbang work-till-you-drop-at-70 and upfront-payments-to-the-doctor provisions :

"I wanted to be here today because I want to express my immense admiration for the Jewish community in Australia. In general terms I can think of no other single community that has a greater love for its children and no other community that has a greater devotion to its future, no matter how great the sacrifices of the past. Your love and protection of family and your focus on legacy and prosperity are what I strive for daily with my own family and they are firmly among the principles that brought me into public life. So I really wanted to properly, for the first time, at a public forum like this, acknowledge and thank you for your leadership in the community." (Hockey hails community, The Australian Jewish News, 9/5/14)

No other single community has a greater love for its children. And no other community primes its children with the outrageous belief that the land from which those Palestinian refugees in Gaza were expelled by Zionist terror gangs in 1948 is really theirs.

And this is the same Sloppy Joe who tells the rest of us - we who love our children less - that the Age of Entitlement is over.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Viva Australian Student Activism 3

Continued from my previous post:


"Although the criticism of AUS increased in the 1975 debate, the arguments changed on the substance of the questions. Most of the debate rested on whether or not a democratic secular state was viable and whether or not the PLO was sincere in calling for one.

"The outcry over AUS involvement in this issue a second time was best expressed by the extraordinary Mungo MacCallum in Nation Review, in a virtual reprint of his 1974 article. The article was reprinted in an AUJS leaflet...: 'Last year the AUS Council sought ratification of motions designed to align Australia with the PLO and against Israel. In spite of the scandalous abuse of AUS resources in almost exclusively promoting the 'yes' case, student meetings around the country overwhelmingly rejected the council position... But... the AUS heavies have refused to accept the democratic verdict of the people they claim to represent and it's all on again.' (AUS's unofficial anti-Israel line, Nation Review, April 4-10, 1975) MacCallum went on to make startling allegations about the appointment of [Victorian left ALP activist] Bill Hartley as Education Research Officer on 'an unprecedented salary', and questioned whether AUS ought to meddle in affairs in which it has no influence. MacCallum was enthusiastically quoted and embroidered upon in a number of places. In every new leaflet and article, Bill Hartley's salary and conditions improved. By the time he reached the pages of Arena in May 1975, Hartley's salary had jumped $2,000 and he had a car and expenses as well.

"Two unauthorised leaflets distributed on Melbourne campuses attempted to win support by characterising the 1975 motions as a deliberate affront to the 'stupid' AUS membership. The leaflets posed the threat that support for the PLO '... means the Executive of AUS would have the right to give part of your membership money to the PLO to finance such activities as the murder of civilians...' Graffiti at [Sydney's] Macquarie [University] put it more simply: 'YOU WASTE HALF A MILLION STUDENT DOLLARS ON YOUR FILTH AND LIES.' (The leaflets were titled: 'At it Again!' and 'You Are Stupid (Says AUS)'. [A photograph of] the graffiti [can be seen] in Arena 23/4/75.)

"The crux of the debate, however, lay in the issue of the democratic secular state [of Palestine] raised in the first motion. As Simon Marginson points out, it was difficult for AUJS to oppose the concept of a democratic secular state or support for the UN resolution since they had used the UN to legitimise their own claims to occupied Palestine the year before. The main aim of their opposition was to discredit the notion of the democratic secular state by pointing to the Arab regimes and places such as Cyprus and Northern Ireland. Attempts were also made to discredit the UN itself, a move which placed AUJS members on the same par with the establishment which claims the UN has never really been useful since it became dominated by third world countries.

"The motions were defeated again but by a greatly decreased majority. Motion 1 [the democratic secular state of Palestine] was supported by 19% of campuses and by 25% of students voting. [Motion 2, AUS recognition of PLO] was supported by 16% of campuses and 20% of students. (Alternate News Service No 43 August 4, 1975) The fourfold increase in student support was due to several factors.


"1976 was a good year for Zionist students and their allies, the Liberals and the Murdoch press. It was just like having the Middle East debate in 1974 and 1975 without the hoary questions of Israel and the Palestinians intruding. Most delegates will be aware of the scope of the attacks specifically from Zionist quarters in 1976 and we may be sure they will come up again during Council. They included:

1. The hounding of employees, former officers and... employees of AUS and its subsidiary service companies.
2. Ludicrous attacks on any officer if any bias was shown towards the Palestinian people. Of course, since most of the incoming officers had supported the gag motion it might be argued they could not have their cake and eat it too. However, AUS's only policy on the Middle East supported the right of the Palestinians to be heard in Australia so it could also be argued that as officers and individuals they had the right to attend demonstrations against Moshe Dayan and to generally be critical of Israel. However, at the anti-Dayan demonstration in Sydney, an Arab woman, unknown to any of the students present, was carrying a sign reading 'AUS for Palestine'. Outraged Zionists demanded that Macquarie [University's] AUS secretary or the NSW RO Sarah Sheehan remove the sign from the woman. Anonymous letters were printed in student papers accusing Sheehan of standing near the sign. One such letter, in Cautisone, even criticised Rodd Webb, former FCC and no longer even a member of the Union, for standing near the sign.
3. An unauthorised leaflet alleging close contacts between present AUS officers and Henri Fischer.
4. Continual attacks in the daily press from such people as [Frank] Knopfelmacher alleging AUS supports terrorism.
5. Most important [were Michael] Danby's proposals for wiping out left-wing influence in AUS.

"Ironically, 1976, of all years, was the year during which Israel's international image was severely tarnished. The West Bank riots and their brutal suppression; the closer connections with South Africa; the growing right-wing within Israel; the public service report attempting to further disadvantage Arabs in Israeli society; and the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon expressed in the massacre of Tel-az-Zaatar are just a few of the ways in which Israel and the Palestinians were talking points. The only high point for the West in this dismal year for Israel was the raid at Entebbe, complete in paperback and 70mm. It says something about the nature of a country that it regards as its public relations high point the invasion of another country.

"The reaction of the Zionists and the repercussions for AUS made the Middle East debate one with wider implications. Obviously, as a students' union, AUS must involve itself in concerns related to education and students, but even policies in those areas may be compromised by the refusal of AUS leaders to debate Palestine in 1976. What use is our policy on Southern Africa; our policy against Fraser and cuts in spending; our policy for the repeal of all abortion laws if, as soon as a well-organised, noisy and unprincipled opposition emerges, we immediately back down? The policy AUS passed relating to the rights of the Palestinian people to put their case to the Australian people is just so much humbug when we consider that the leaders of AUS would not even allow their own membership to debate the question of Israel. To claim, as right-wingers and Zionists do, that the vote in both [1974 and 1975] just showed how unrepresentative the leadership of AUS misses the point. As Rodd Webb put it in an analysis of the 1974 debate in Arena: 'None of their sponsors really expected [the 1974 motions] to receive majority support [but]... it was a heartening demonstration of the operation of a wider democracy (in AUS) than had been practised before'."

Points of interest arising:

1) Journalist David Marr's observation on Julia Gillard as a student politician: "She wanted to take Palestine out of the AUS." (See my 14/8/10 post The Real Julia Gillard.)

2) For Tony Abbott, the AUS, and Palestine, I refer you to my 13/9/12 post Greg & Tony Do Monash.

3) Someone really ought to research the AUS's 1970s Palestine campaign thoroughly and examine its impact on our current crop of political suckholes for USrael.

4) And also for what light it sheds on the evolution of Zionist propaganda. You'll notice, for example, that one of the most common of contemporary Zionist talking points, the deflective, 'Why single out Israel? What about X, Y, and Z? ', had yet to be spun in the 70s.

Maybe I'll return to the subject of this campaign later on.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Viva Australian Student Activism 2

Continued from my previous post:


"The 1975 resolutions [passed at AUS's January 1975 Council] were far clearer in their formulation [than the 1974 resolutions]...

[MERC: These were 1) AUS supports the establishment of a democratic secular State of Palestine (encompassing the area of mandate territory) wherein all people presently residing in Israel and all Palestinian Arabs forcibly exiled from their homeland will have the right to Palestinian citizenship. This motion embodies the right of Palestinian citizens of all religions, race, colour, creed and sex to the protection of the new State and rejects racist legislation, such as the present Zionist 'Law of Return'. 2) AUS concurs with UN Resolution 3236 (XXIX) and the decision of the UN to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. 3) To counter the present media bias, AUS should continue to use its resources to publicise to both students and the general community the plight and continuing oppression of the Palestinian people by both Israeli and Arab nations.]

"As Simon Marginson has pointed out in his paper on the subject in Alternate News Service (No 43, August 4, 1975) the debate in 1975 showed a marked unity and turn to the right in Zionist arguments.


"Nowhere was this turn more evident than in response to the tour by a delegation of two members of the General Union of Palestinian Students in May 1975. At [AUS's] August 1974 Council there was an unanimous vote in favour of the motion: 'That AUS invite a representative of GUPS to do a speaking tour of campuses early in 1975 in order that membership can directly seek clarification of various aspects the Palestinian question.' Shortly afterwards, the then President [of AUS] Neil McLean wrote to GUPS in Cairo issuing an invitation. No reply had been received by Annual Council 1975, and in February Ian McDonald, the new president, issued another invitation. The invitation was delivered verbally by FCC Rodd Webb during a visit to Damascus that month and was accepted and publicised with little reaction.

"Meanwhile the question of allowing a PLO delegation into Australia had become a matter of public controversy. In January 1975, the Prime Minister [Gough Whitlam] had decided not to issue visas to a group of PLO members. This controversy, and the ALP's vacillation over the question, must be dealt with in another place. It is only relevant [in so far as it relates to] the question of the GUPS delegation and the public reaction of AUJS to its visit. The Labor Government, having satisfied itself that the GUPS delegation would not be representing the PLO, issued visas to Eddie Zananiri and Samir Cheikh who duly arrived in Melbourne on May 4, 1975.

"The public controversy in 1974 to the AUS stance paled in comparison to the storm which greeted the arrival of the GUPS delegation. A demonstration by right-wing Zionists outside AUS [headquarters] degenerated into a brawl when some Arab and Australian supporters of the tour diverted a small section of a May Day march to AUS under the impression that the GUPS delegation was under siege. The next day [Opposition Leader Malcolm] Fraser launched an attack against the tour in parliament while daily newspapers and television reported, editorialised [on], and once again scrutinised AUS' activity.

"The tour was eventful and well attended and received by the majority of students. Hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of students turned up to hear Zananiri and Cheikh. However, the speakers were frequently heckled and drowned out by Zionist demonstrators. At the first public campus meeting at Melbourne University, AUJS president Joe Gersh had to appeal to his supporters not to incite violence and held an alternate demonstration in front of the [AUS] building [in Carlton] as the Palestinian speakers were on the other side. Marshals at the Jewish demonstration were extremely anxious that some of their more extreme elements (there were reportedly several ex-Israeli soldiers in the crowd) would become violent. Unfortunately, very little of Zananiri's or Cheikh's speeches was actually heard. Both were drowned out completely, despite an effective PA system, by the constant rival chants of the Zionists and pro-Palestinians. (Imre Salusinszky, Nation Review, May 9-15, 1975)

"On May 7, The Australian reported that one of the leading Zionists at Melbourne University, Michael Danby, had resigned his position as AUS secretary on that campus in protest over the visit. A few days later Danby's resignation was reported in The Australian Jewish News because of: '... the fascist, racist actions and attitudes taken by AUS towards Jews and the scandalous abuse of AUS resources.'

"AUJS opposition to the GUPS tour was confused and contradictory. There had been no opposition at all at August 1974 Council; indeed, prominent members of AUJS had supported the tour (Arena, 21/5/75). At January Council [1975], AUJS members had also voted for a resolution condemning the Australian government's decision to ban the PLO tour. Days before the [GUPS] delegation arrived, AUJS condemned the tour and Joe Gersh declined an offer to debate the Palestinians when they arrived. Yet, within two days, Gersh demanded equal time on the platform with the delegation, a theme which repeated itself throughout the interruptions at public meetings. (There was eventually a debate on Monday Conference between Zananiri and Peter Wise).

"In [a] telegram to various ministers in the government, AUJS demanded the immediate deportation of the delegation, pointing out that under the Commonwealth Crimes Act anyone dedicated to the overthrow of an established government could immediately be deported (Australian Jewish Times, 8/5/75). To substantiate this demand AUJS attempted to draw links between GUPS and the PLO."

To be concluded next post...