Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Unexamined Life

Bugger STEM, if you don't know and own your (colonial) history, you don't know yourself:

"Algeria experienced an 'Arab Fall' in 1988, which led to a war between armed Islamic groups and the Algerian army and state. Many journalists, intellectuals, artists were among about 200,000 Algerians who died under the blades and bullets of these fanatic murderers. Almost overnight, the face of Algerian society changed and entered one of the darkest times of its history. During the paroxysm of the war in the mid-90s, my parents decided that it was safer to temporarily move to France, as my mother had received death threats. It was a return 'home' for her as she was born and raised in France by immigrant Algerian parents. I remember feeling grateful that I could finally walk down the street without being scared. But yet, I often felt out of place. I encountered racism for the first time and discovered what it was like to be an outsider. I was surprised to discover that Algerians were not exactly well received and welcome. I did not know then, considering my age, the complicated intricacies inherited from colonial times." (America accepted me - an Algerian Muslim - in a way France never did, Melyssa Haffaf, The Guardian, 30/8/16)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lest We Forget the King-Crane Commission

97 years ago, yesterday, an American fact-finding mission to the Middle East, known as the King-Crane Commission, released its report (28/8/1919) on the wishes of the former Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire in Greater Syria (today's Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan) and Iraq.

Needless to say, Anglo-French-Zionist machinations ensured that none of its eminently sensible recommendations were acted on. In fact, the report was suppressed... and the rest, sadly, is history.

Here is the Commission's recommendation on Zionism and Palestine:

E. We recommend... serious modification of the extreme Zionist programme for Palestine of unlimited immigration of Jews, looking finally to making Palestine distinctly a Jewish State.

(1) The Commissioners began their study of Zionism with minds predisposed in its favour, but the actual facts in Palestine, coupled with the force of the general principles proclaimed by the Allies and accepted by the Syrians have driven them to the recommendation here made.

(2) The Commission was abundantly supplied with literature on the Zionist programme by the Zionist Commission to Palestine; heard in conferences much concerning the Zionist colonies and their claims; and personally saw something of what had been accomplished. They found much to approve in the aspirations and plans of the Zionists, and had warm appreciation for the devotion of many of the colonists, and for their success, by modern methods, in overcoming great natural obstacles.

(3) The Commission recognised also that definite encouragement had been given to the Zionists by the Allies in Mr. Balfour's often-quoted statement, in its approval by other representatives of the Allies. If, however, the strict terms of the Balfour Statement are adhered to - favouring 'the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people', 'it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine' - it can hardly be doubted that the extreme Zionist programme must be greatly modified.

"For a national home for the Jewish people is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission's conferences with Jewish representatives, that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase.

"In his address of July 4, President [Woodrow] Wilson laid down the following principle as one of the four great 'ends for which the associated peoples of the world were fighting': 'The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery.' If that principle is to rule, and so the wishes of Palestine's population are to be decisive as to what is to be done with Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non-Jewish population of Palestine - nearly nine-tenths of the whole - are emphatically against the entire Zionist programme. The tables show that there was no one thing upon which the population of Palestine were more agreed than upon this. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted, and of the people's rights, though it kept within the forms of law.


"The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist programme could be carried out except by force of arms The officers generally thought that a force of not less than 50,000 soldiers would be required even to initiate the programme. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist programme, on the part of the non-Jewish populations of Palestine and Syria. Decisions requiring armies to carry out are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not gratuitously to be taken in the interests of serious injustice. For the initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a 'right' to Palestine, based on an occupation of 2,000 years ago, can hardly be seriously considered."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another Israeli Genius

More Zionist claptrap from the Guardian:

"I'm a historian... I grew up in a small industrial suburb of Haifa, in Israel. As far back as I can remember I was interested in big questions. Who are we? What are we doing here?"

Thus spake Yuval Noah Harari in Yuval Noah Harari: 'We are quickly acquiring powers that were always thought to be divine' (Tim Adams, 27/8/16)

Come on, Yuval, it's not rocket science:

Who are we?

'We' are Israeli Jews. We came to Palestine from Europe, under British protection, colonised the place, trained and armed for the inevitable showdown with Palestine's indigenous Arab population, drove them OUT in '48, and called the place Israel.

What are we doing here?


Keeping the '48 Palestinians OUT.
Keeping the so-called Israeli Arabs DOWN.
Occupying the West Bank Palestinians.
Blockading those in the Gaza Strip.

"Just as the 19th century created the working class, the coming century will create the useless class. Billions of people are likely to have no military or economic function." (ibid)

Military or economic function?

Very very interesting word order there, Yuval.

PS: The Guardian has given Harari yet another thumbs-up with Forget ideology, liberal democracy's newest threats come from technology & bioscience (John Naughton, 28/8/16). Enough already!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Poodles Pyne: Finding Inspiration in All the Wrong Places

Poodles Pyne is now arguably the only politician on Planet Earth ever to have claimed that he was inspired by Benjamin Netanyahu:

"Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne will lead a government push to secure Australia as the Asia-Pacific maintenance and sustainment hub for the Joint Fighter F-35 warplane, according to Defence sources... In a speech to defence industry figures last week in Melbourne, Mr Pyne said he wanted Australia's defence industry 'to become a major pillar of our economy'. He said he had been inspired by meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him France's decision under Charles de Gaulle to stop supplying high-tech arms to Israel had forced the tiny nation to develop its own domestic industry capability. 'Now Israel's defence industry is one of the great success stories of their economy', Mr Pyne said in the speech." (Pyne push to secure local hub for JSF maintenance, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 25/6/16)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Now What Was That About Kremlin Influence in US Politics?

A mind-blowing riff/update to Mearsheimer and Walt's The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy (2007) by's excellent Philip Weiss:

"Over the weekend there was a lot more talk about Donald Trump... loving Russia, and about how Vladimir Putin wants Trump to win. 'The hand of the Kremlin has been at work in this campaign for some time,' Hillary Clinton's campaign manager said on ABC. The Russian influence must be true because it's all over our media; but you can be sure it's only half true because they're saying it so loud. The other half of the truth is that Russia is going to lose, big (because the media are talking about it and because Trump is going down). And the media have a guilty conscience, because they know the US power structure is beholden to Israel, but they can't talk about that foreign influence.

"No one talks about the hand of Israel; but Hillary Clinton promises her biggest donor, Haim Saban, whose one issue is Israel, that she'll work against the boycott campaign and she'll meet Benjamin Netanyahu in her first month of office: the same Netanyahu who tried to undermine our president's signature foreign policy achievement by speaking and lobbying Congress under the president's nose, Netanyahu who said that America could be easily moved, Netanyahu who pushed the Iraq war in 2002 to transform the Middle East, even as Hillary Clinton was voting for that war.

"The latest batch of Clinton emails show that then Secretary of State Clinton was shuffling her schedule to meet with big Clinton Foundation donors who care about Israel. 'I'm on shuttle w Avigdor Libermann... I want to stop by to see hrc tonite for 10 mins,' wrote one of them.

"When Donald Trump tried to take a 'neutral' position on Israel, Hillary Clinton told the leading Israel lobby group AIPAC that he had 'no business' being president and she was going to take the relationship with Israel 'to the next level.' "When Bernie Sanders tried to stake out a neutral position on Israel, Clinton's catspaw at the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, complained privately, 'The Israel stuff is disturbing.' Or as Anne Lewis, Clinton's political guru who is also a Zionist, said, 'The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel.'

"Both Clinton, this summer, and Obama, four summers ago, squashed the party's grass roots when they made a move to change the party platform on Israel, because the nominees worried about losing big Jewish Zionist donors - whose influence over the Democratic Party is 'gigantic' and 'shocking,' JJ Goldberg and Stephanie Schriock of Emily's List said this spring.

"So Clinton made sure that the word 'occupation' didn't appear in the platform, in this the 50th year of the occupation. Just as Neera Tanden, the Clinton aide who heads a Democratic Party thinktank, censored articles that were critical of Israel; and a few months later the authors of those articles were no longer employed by her thinktank; and meantime Tanden kissed up to Benjamin Netanyahu, at the very time he was undermining President Obama on the Iran deal, and months after he had used racist appeals - 'Arab voters are coming out in droves' - to win another term.

"But let's talk about Russian influence.

"It has now been 10 years since The Israel Lobby paper was published in London - not here, because it couldn't be published here. Notwithstanding the article and book's impact, it's a shadow impact; everyone in the shadow of the establishment has read it and everyone in the establishment has read it too, but with a plain brown cover on it, as Colin Powell's former chief of staff joked. Because to be in the establishment you must deny its importance. The Atlantic, which commissioned and killed the original paper, continues to publish Jeffrey Goldberg, who once served in the Israeli military, and who helped give us the Iraq war with bad reports in 2002, and who tried to undermine the Iran deal and who calls the fascistic defense minister Avigdor Lieberman by his nickname 'Yvet' and the milquetoast centrist Yitzhak Herzog by his nickname 'Boogie.'

"And everyone in American public life calls the fascistic prime minister of Israel by his nickname, Bibi. Including PBS. I don't know what Vladimir Putin's nickname is, and I don't want to know.

"The central idea of the Israel lobby is simple and it has been confirmed a hundred times but the media will never report it directly. Here it is: United States support is an existential issue for Israel; but non-Jewish voters and leaders cannot be counted upon to love Israel on their own, and therefore the tiny American Jewish community must speak in one voice and (unified checkbooks) persuade American leaders that it's in the US's best interest to do so.

"Israel supporters confirm this idea again and again. 'What keeps me up at night is the dependence of Israel on the United States' - Abe Foxman. 'American Jews had a deferential attitude toward Israel. They saw their job to support Israel, to provide Israel with financial and political support it asked for' - Dov Waxman, scholar. 'Jews don't like big military budgets. But it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States... American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say no, we don't want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel' - the late neocon godfather Irving Kristol. 'We [Jews] don't need to be advocates for Palestinians. We need to be advocates for Israel... because the essence of Zionism is... you [Jews] shape your destiny, you don't let others do it' - perennial White House aide and peace processor-charade leader Dennis Ross.

"So the Emergency Committee for Israel, a group started by Kristol's son Bill, gives Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton nearly $1m so he could become Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton after just 2 years in the House and then lead the charge against the Iran deal.

"But let's talk about Russia's influence.

"Israel's influence has distorted our politics for nearly 40 years. Tom Friedman told a British interviewer that George W Bush abandoned the peace process because he saw his father take on the Israel lobby and lose a second term. Tom Friedman said the Congress is 'bought and paid for' by the Israel lobby. Tom Friedman told an Israeli interviewer that if you put 25 neoconservatives on a desert island in 2002, we wouldn't have had an Iraq war.

"But Friedman never wrote about the lobby head on, a dereliction of duty if ever there was one. It is just too embarrassing or hurtful to talk about the role of Zionist Jews in US public life. The idea has to be suppressed because a) we all know that there is a dual loyalty element implicit in Zionism and talking about the lobby brings up the whole international-Jew canard; and b) the lobby has been effective by working behind the scenes as a 'nightflower,' so its purpose is defeated when people talk about it and everyone gets to weigh in. But if you don't talk about it, then everyone just accepts it as the given of the American power structure, which is where we are now. Chris Mathews is constantly doing Irish Catholic identity politics when Irish Catholic Americans come on his show, but he's afraid to say boo about the powerful pro-Israel Jews who own/run his employer Comcast, the largest media company in the country...

"From the start, empowered Jewish journalists denied that there was a lobby or it was powerful. Jeffrey Goldberg told the Center for Jewish History that it was no different from the ball-bearings lobby. David Remnick made the joke that if there wasn't an Israel lobby, Osama bin Laden would be able to go back into the construction business. And meanwhile he was publishing Jeffrey Goldberg's reporting about Saddam's links to Al Qaeda and Saddam's acquisition of WMD that helped the US get into Iraq. Why did Goldberg push this stuff? Was it out of concern for Israel? There's never been an accounting.

"And three years after his Osama joke, Remnick gave an interview to a Hebrew publication in which he acknowledged that the American Jewish community had sustained the occupation:

How long can you expect that they [US Jews] will love unconditionally the place called Israel? You've got a problem. You have the status of an occupier since 1967... Sorry it can't go on this way. The Jewish community is not just a nice breakfast at the Regency.

"But like Friedman, Remnick doesn't publish this analysis under his byline. It's out of the side of his mouth. He knows there's a price to be paid. With the exception of Yousef Munayyer, Remnick publishes Zionists - people like Ari Shavit, who works for AIPAC and lobbies Jewish kids on campus, and David Makovsky, of the AIPEC spinoff WINEP, who has said that checkpoints won't be so burdensome when Israel uses 'appropriate biometrics' for Palestinians in those lines. The magazine's go-to reporter on Israeli political trends is Bernard Avishai, who's very good, but let's be clear - a cultural Zionist.

"If you don't like Russia, you can surely still make your way in public life, but if you don't like Israel, it's a CLM, as they say at Goldman Sachs. Career Limiting Move. When Jim Clancy accused pro-Israel groups of doing 'hasbara,' or PR, around the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, he lost his job at CNN. When Jimmy Carter accused Israel of practicing apartheid, he got attacked on air by Wolf Blitzer and Terry Gross and was exiled from the Democratic Convention.

"And four reporters at the New York Times have had kids in uniform for Israel, including columnist David Brooks, the go-to pundit on NPR and PBS who said after his dozenth trip to Israel that he is 'gooey-eyed' about Israel. And the New York Times bureau chief in Israel lives in an addition to a house that was stolen from a prominent Palestinian journalist in 1948; and that journalist's daughter the physician and activist Ghada Karmi has written and spoken about visiting that house to try and overcome her pain; but one thing you can be sure of: That story won't be in the New York Times. Josh Marshall will tell you all about Russia influencing Trump, and meantime he names his baby after an Israeli war hero, but ho hum.

"But let's talk some more about the Kremlin.

"The media is all about how much money Paul Manafort got from the Ukrainians, but the media won't tell you that the two guys advocating the bombing of Assad in the New York Times work at a thinktank, WINEP, that the Israel lobby group AIPAC spun off, and one of those authors has called for American Jews to be 'advocates for Israel,' not for Palestinians. It won't tell you that Sheldon Adelson regrets wearing an American uniform, and wished he was wearing an Israeli uniform.

"It will never put all the facts together and name the trend, as I'm doing here right now, out of my back pocket. So I remember that Samantha Power once described the Israel lobby as 'a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import,' and as a result had to make the execrable rabbi Shmuley Boteach her consort in the rightwing Jewish community, so as to get the lobby's approval for her appointment to the UN job.

"And that Chuck Hagel once said that 'the Jewish lobby intimidates people' on Capitol hill, and he almost didn't become Defense Secretary because of that, and his grilling by the Senate resulted in a Saturday Night live sketch that didn't air in which Hagel was asked if he would 'fellate a donkey for Netanyahu.'*

"That's one good thing, everyone's now in on the joke. Even if the media can't discuss it, everyone knows it. Our system is rigged.

"But enough about all that. Let's talk about Russian influence." (Let's talk about Russian influence, 23/8/16)

[*See my 14/2/13 post USrael: The Movie.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Australian Values

"We don't need burqa-clad ladies telling us 'well, what are Australian values anyway?'" asserts the Q Society of Australia Inc: Upholding Australian Values guide to 'Australian values'. (Q on: Australian values)

I see. I wonder what the Q Society would make of this:

"High school student Lily, 17, from Lismore, in north-east NSW, says posting explicit photos or sex videos online is 'pretty normal' behaviour among her peers. 'I get asked for nudes all the time and give them out. It's how people connect these days,' she says. 'The girls take them to show to their boyfriends or to have some fun. Guys love to take pics of their dick. It's how people show off what they've got to offer, like advertising. I know girls who will deliberately have sex in public places with boyfriends and then talk about it in the playground with their friends - no one talks about it as a bad thing'." ('It was terrifying', Peter Munro/Rachel Olding, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/8/16)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Who Are You Staring At?

Just as well Benjamin Netanyahu wasn't an IDF conscript, and Odeh Bisharat, a Palestinian, in the wrong place at the wrong time:

"Two days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu hosted members of the Haaretz editorial staff for a closed conversation that lasted four hours, during which he spoke without interruption. 'Spoke' is a rather restrained understatement; Netanyahu lectured, preached, demanded and overwhelmed; he showed videos, slide presentations, maps, tables, and minutes. He scribbled a self-portrait, with an elongated nose and beads of sweat; he pounded on the table, raised his voice, lowered it, leaned forward and back in the meeting room, wrote on the board and erased. At one stage he approached my colleague Odeh Bisharat so angrily that I feared for his safety." (An overwhelming one-man theater performance by Benjamin Netanyahu, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 17/8/16)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Not Happy, Sophie McNeill!

Good God, what is wrong with the ABC's Middle East correspondent, Sophie McNeill?

Can't she see that Gaza isn't blockaded by Israel, but cradled in its loving embrace?

Can't she see that the West Bank isn't occupied by Israel, but liberated, as only it knows how?

Can't she see that it's not Israel, but the Palestinians themselves who are their own worst enemies?

Not according to the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Committee (AIJAC):

"In the last 16 months or so since McNeill started as Middle East correspondent, she has filed many stories that look at Palestinian suffering in Gaza, where her coverage focuses on the 'blockade' or, indeed, on the West Bank, where the focus switches to 'occupation'. Individually and over time, her body of stories do not deviate from reflecting the attitude and bias that Israel is predominantly responsible for Palestinian suffering." (ABC admits Gaza report errors, The Australian Jewish News, 19/8/16)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Done Under 18C for Daring to Criticise Israel

With support for the retention of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act sometimes being used as a measure of one's stand against racism, it is well to keep in mind its potential for misuse.

Former Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton put his finger on the problem in a recent tweet:

"RW nutters now howling for the repeal of 18C once wanted me to be done under it for daring to criticise Israel. Fucking hypocrites." (17/8/16)

He is referring, of course, to a complaint lodged under 18C against his passionate denunciation of Israel's 2014 genocidal attack on Gaza in the Herald.

Guardian journalist Amanda Meade pointed out at the time that "it is possible that the complaint will be thrown out because it is understood that the complainant - said to be Wayne Karlen, a constant critic of the paper on Twitter - is not Jewish. According to the act: 'Only an 'aggrieved person' may lodge a complaint. In the case of the racial hatred provisions, an aggrieved person is someone from the group targeted by the behaviour who is offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated because of his or her race'." (Mike Carlton's column and SMH cartoon: racist complaint lodged, 14/8/14)

This implies that if the complaint had been lodged by a Jewish Zionist as opposed to a non-Jewish Zionist, Carlton may well have become embroiled in a protracted legal battle fought on the false Zionist premise that criticism of Israel is a form of anti-Semitism.

The outcome could conceivably have come down to whether or not the presiding judge accepted this claptrap. Therein lies the problem with 18C for critics of Israel.

See also my 17/8/14 post Using Section 18C to Silence Critics of Israel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Real Boycotters

"Senior writer" at the Australian, Sharri Markson, reported yesterday that "A director of activist group GetUp! supports a boycott of Israeli products and wants to 'force Israel into a perennial state of existential anxiety'." (GetUp! director fighting Israel)

My first impulse on reading this, of course, was to proceed forthwith to a public place, mount a soapbox, and proclaim to all and sundry: 'How dare GetUp! force poor Israel into a perennial state of existential anxiety! Perennial FFS, isn't that, like, forever?'

Then I remembered the words of the great Palestinian historian (1910-1981) A.L. Tibawi on the period leading up to WWI, when control over Palestine was still just a steely gleam in Zionist eyes. If Ms Markson really wants to know what boycotting people and plunging them into a perennial state of existential anxiety is all about, she should read Tibawi:

"The Zionist objectives, both immediate and distant, were... well-known to the Arabs in Palestine and the neighbouring countries. In the spring of 1914 a Russian member of the Zionist Executive, Nahum Sokolow, complained in an interview with the Palestine correspondent of the Cairo newspaper al-Muqattam that the Palestinian and Syrian Arab hostility to Zionism was unjustified. The Arabs and the Jews were two branches of the Semitic tree; they co-operated in the fields of science and learning especially in Spain and contributed together to the European renaissance; the Jews were returning to their ancient homeland from which they were expelled by the Romans and the Crusaders; they bring with them the means of developing the country; they wish to come close to Arab civilisation and cooperate with the Arabs for the creation of a new Palestinian civilisation; they wish to revive their Hebrew language and establish their own schools in which the Arabic language and history would be taught.

"Sokolow was tackled by Rafiq al-Azm, the well-known Syrian historical writer and member of the Decentralisation Party. He agreed that as two Semitic cousins the Arabs and Jews ought to cooperate in reviving the glory of the Semitic civilisation, that Palestine with the rest of Syria required development, and that Jewish immigrants, coming from a more civilised environment, possessed skills that could be employed for the benefit of the country. But he regretted to see no evidence in Palestine that Jewish immigrants wished to unite with the Arabs in an effort to raise the standards of all its inhabitants, or that they wished to come close to the Arabs in any way. In fact they lived in complete isolation: they speak only their own languages; their children attend only their own schools; all their business is with Jewish firms; they organise a separate economy and they ignore local government and its laws; and above all they stubbornly refuse to abandon their foreign nationality and adopt the Ottoman.

"They must not be surprised if for these reasons the Arabs regard them as an alien people, and a foreign element interjected into their society. And this is the root cause of Arab apprehension regarding their economic and political future. For the present they feared and suffered from the competition of immigrants coming from more civilised environments. For the future they saw the political implications and feared for the eventual loss of their homeland.

"Sokolow's words were belied by these facts. If the Jews continued to lead a separate life in Palestine and to labour only for their own benefit, they must expect Arab hostility. 'To-day', the writer warns, 'the Syrian public opinion is unanimous in opposing Zionism.' The opposition in Palestine itself was led by young and educated men. News had just been received in Cairo that they sent telegrams of protest to Constantinople pointing out the dangers of Zionism and criticising the conduct of the Zionists in Palestine.

"It is clear that the writer had contact with unnamed Zionist leaders. 'We advised them', he writes, 'to cooperate with the Arabs for the benefit of a common homeland as native Syrians, not as foreigners waiting for an opportunity to take it for themselves...' He states that among the measures he recommended was not only the teaching of Arabic in Jewish schools but their opening to Arab children so that Arab and Jew could learn to live together. He also recommended that the Jews should share with the Arabs their business and mix with them socially. They should help the less experienced Arabs to learn modern methods. Above all he recommended the adoption of Ottoman nationality. But, he concludes, all that advice fell on deaf ears." (Anglo-Arab Relations & the Question of Palestine 1914-1921, 1978, pp 21-22)

And is still falling on deaf ears.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sun, Sand & Startups

I understand. Victoria can be awfully cold in winter. One longs for sun, sand... and startups:

"Over the course of eight days in July, a delegation of 11 [Victorian] Coalition MPs, including a number of Shadow Ministers, travelled to Israel to partake in AIJAC's Rambam Israel Fellowship Program with a key focus on learning about Israel's upstart startup culture and industries." (Victorian Coalition delegation looks to Israel for innovation inspiration,, 12/8/16)

The rambammed were as follows:

David Southwick MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation:

"Israel is a global leader in the upstart startup world, one which Victoria can continue to partner with and learn from."

MPs Cindy McLeish, Neale BurgessGraham Watt, Nick Wakeling, Richard Riordan, and Martin Dixon are all identified in a group photo. The identity of the other 4 remains a mystery.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Killing$ of Tony Blair

The introduction from Saurav Dutt's review of George Galloway's new film The Killing$ of Tony Blair

"You will laugh, you will cry tears of incendiary rage and you will marvel at the depths the human soul can reach in its quest for infamy and treasure in George Galloway's spectacular new film.

"Galloway has always been a master of the spoken word and a prodigious writer, he now extends his talent to the art of documentary film making and in The Killing$ of Tony Blair Galloway and his talented team have crafted a searing portrait of Blair that will move you to tears and just might make your stomach churn in disgust at the former PM of Britain who callously led the country to war, obliterating Iraq and Afghanistan in the process, stabbing most of his Labour compatriots in the back and walking away from the ashes with riches the devil himself would envy. And what is worse the whole blood-soaked enterprise seems to have troubled him as much as losing a round of golf." (The Killing$ of Tony Blair: troubling, emotional & essential,, 28/7/16)

Coming to a cinema near us? We wish...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Stakes in Syria

The Battle for Aleppo & the hypocrisy of US war propaganda, Bill Van Auken

"This week marks two years since president Barack Obama initiated the latest US war against Iraq and Syria, launched in the name of combating the Islamic State militia. The American president cast the new military intervention as not only a continuation of the 'global war on terrorism', but also a crusade for human rights, invoking the threat to Iraq's Yazidi population and insisting that he could not 'turn a blind eye' when religious minorities were threatened.

"The toll of this supposed humanitarian intervention has grown ever bloodier. According to a report released this week by the monitoring group Airwars to mark the anniversary, more than 4,700 civilian non-combatant fatalities have been reported as a result of the 'US-led Coalition's' air strikes (95% of which have been carried out by US warplanes). More innocent Iraqi and Syrian men, women and children have been slaughtered by American bombs in the course of two years than the total number of US soldiers who lost their lives during the eight years of the Iraq war launched by President George W Bush.

"All of Washington's lies and pretexts about its latest war in the Middle East - as well as the decade-and-a-half of wars waged since 9/11 - have been exploded in the course of the past several days as the US government and media celebrated purported victories by 'rebel' forces in the battle for Aleppo, Syria's former commercial capital.

"That the 'rebel' offensive has been organized and led by on organization that for years constituted Al Qaeda's designated Syrian branch, and the operation was named in honor of a Sunni sectarian extremist who carried out a massacre of captured Alawite soldiers, gave none of them pause. So much for the hogwash about terrorism and human rights!

"The scale of the military gains made by the Al Qaeda forces in Aleppo are by no means clear. They have, however, apparently succeeded in placing under siege the western part of the city, which is under the government's control and where the overwhelming majority of the population lives. The 'rebels' have killed and maimed hundreds of people with mortar and artillery rounds.

"Washington and its allies, the Western media and the human rights groups that accused the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad of crimes against humanity for bombing the jihadists in eastern Aleppo are now indifferent when these imperialist-backed terrorists are killing civilians in the western part of the city.

"Sections of the Western media have gone so far as to celebrate the exploits of 'rebel' suicide bombers for providing a strategic 'advantage' for the Western-backed militias. Among the most dishonest and duplicitous accounts of the recent fighting are those that have appeared in the pages of the New York Times, whose news coverage and editorial line are carefully tailored to serve the predatory aims of US imperialism.

"In a Monday article on Aleppo, the Times wrote that the challenge to government control had been mounted by 'rebels and their jihadist allies.' The article continued: 'A vital factor in the rebel advance over the weekend was cooperation between mainstream rebel groups, some of which have received covert arms support from the United States, and the jihadist organization formerly known as the Nusra Front, which was affiliated with Al Qaeda.'

"The newspaper reports this as casually as if it were publishing a report on the late artist formerly known as Prince. The Nusra Front changed its name to the Fatah al-Sham Front and announced its formal disaffiliation from Al Qaeda - with the latter's blessing - just one week before it launched the offensive in Aleppo.

"There is every reason to believe that this rebranding was carried out in consultation with the CIA in an attempt to politically sanitize direct US support for an offensive led by a group that has long been denounced by Washington as a terrorist organization.

"The Times never names any of the 'mainstream rebel groups' it says are fighting alongside the Al Qaeda militia, suggesting that they constitute some liberal progressive force. In point of fact, one of these groups, recently released a video showing its fighters beheading a wounded 12-year-old child, and virtually all of them share the essential ideological outlook of Al Qaeda.

"The Financial Times of London carried one of the frankest reports on the Aleppo 'rebel' offensive, noting that it 'may have had more foreign help than it appears: activists and rebels say opposition forces were replenished with new weapons, cash and other supplies before and during the fighting.' It cites reports of daily columns of trucks pouring across the Turkish border for weeks with arms and ammunition, including artillery and other heavy weapons.

"The newspaper quotes one unnamed Western diplomat who said that US officials backed the Al Qaeda-led offensive 'to put some pressure back on Russia and Iran,' which have both provided key military support to the Assad government.

"The Financial Times also quotes an 'unnamed military analyst' as stating that the character of the fighting indicated the Al Qaeda forces had received not only massive amounts of weapons, but also professional military training.

"Significantly, even as the fighting in Aleppo was underway, photographs surfaced of heavily armed British commandos operating long-range patrol vehicles in northern Syria. Similar US units are also on the ground. These are among the most likely suspects in terms of who is training Al Qaeda's Syrian forces.

"They would only be reprising the essential features of the imperialist operation that gave rise to Al Qaeda 30 years ago, when the CIA - working in close alliance with Osama bin Laden - supplied similar support to the mujahideen fighting to overthrow the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan.

"While the blowback from that episode ultimately gave us September 11, the present operation in Syria holds far greater dangers. In what is now openly described by the corporate media as a 'proxy war' in which Al Qaeda serves as US imperialism's ground force, Washington is attempting to overthrow Russia's key Middle East ally as part of the preparations for a war aimed at dismembering and subjugating Russia itself.

"The frontrunner in the US presidential contest, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has repeatedly signaled that she intends to pursue a far more aggressive policy in Syria and against Russia, making neo-McCarthyite charges of Vladimir Putin's supposed subversion of the US election process a central part of her campaign.

"Whether Washington can wait till inauguration day next January to escalate its aggression is far from clear. The 'rebel' gains in Aleppo may be quickly reversed and the fighting could end with the US-backed Al Qaeda militias deprived of their last urban stronghold.

"US imperialism is not about to accept the re-consolidation of a Syrian government aligned with Moscow. Pressure will inevitably mount for a more direct and more massive US intervention, threatening a direct clash between American and Russian forces.

"Fifteen years after launching its 'war on terror', Washington is not only directly allied with the supposed target of that war - Al Qaeda - but is preparing to unleash upon humanity the greatest act of terror imaginable, a third world war." (informationclearinghouse, 11/8/16)

Friday, August 12, 2016

What a Cherub!

Seriously, would you own up to a family connection with a guy like this?

"I have a cousin who served in military intelligence for the Israeli army. His veracity can be guaranteed by the fact that the day after he finished his compulsory service he was head hunted half a dozen of the top IT companies in Europe, the UK and America. He once told me that all he needed was my email address and he wouldn't care what firewalls or antivirus programs I had, he would suck all the information out of it and I would never know." (From a letter by Richard Fry of Marrickville on Australia's online census debacle, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/8/16)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Australia's Got Foreign Policy Talent

How lucky is Australia to have a surfeit of foreign policy genius at its helm.

There's Julie Bishop of course, on the government side. And now, taking over from that other foreign policy genius, Tanya (Once Was Warrior) Plibersek, there's foreign policy genius Penny Wong on the opposition side.

And just look at the foreign policy expertise she's got to draw on:

"Senator Wong, who served for some time on the parliamentary joint committee for intelligence and security, said she would work closely with Labor's new defence spokesman Richard Marles, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus and leader Bill Shorten on national security issues... Most foreign policy was bipartisan, Senator Wong said. 'Ultimately you have to look to the national interest and we'll work with the government wherever the national interest demands it'." (We must think global: Wong, Brendan Nicholson, The Australian, 30/7/16)

How do I know that they're all foreign policy geniuses? Because they're all made of the right stuff and ziononsense, of course:

Penny Wong: rambammed 2014
Richard Marles: rambammed 2010, mate of Michael Danby, Labor's shadow minister for Israel
Mark Dreyfus: rambammed 2009
Bill Shorten: rambammed 2005, 2010

I suspect we'll also be hearing the NATIONAL INTEREST mantra a lot from Penny Wong from now on. Just remember, however, that when it comes to the Middle East, she may not always be referring to our national interest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Leave Your Brain at the Door

A truly stunning example of political groupthink from a just-posted tweet by former UK MP George Galloway:

"The only 3 MPs who didn't stand up to applaud Blair when he left parliament were me, Corbyn and [Diane] Abbott."

The statement emerged from a Q&A session following one of the public screenings in the UK of Galloway's new documentary The Killing$ of Tony Blair.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pussyfooting Around Palestine

What's wrong with the United Nations?

This from ex-PM Kevin Rudd, who threw a 60th birthday bash for Israel in federal parliament in 2008*:

"Those of us who are proud to be life-long friends of the UN today will defend the institution to the hilt. But the uncomfortable truth is that while the UN today is not broken, it is in trouble. The danger is that it is starting to drift into 'irrelevance' as states increasingly 'walk around' the UN on the most important questions facing the international community, seeking substantive solutions elsewhere, increasingly seeing the UN as a pleasant diplomatic afterthought. We see this, for example, on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, terrorism, cyber security, global pandemics, and refugees." (My 10 principles to reform the United Nations, before it's too, 8/8/16)

Notice how Iran and North Korea figure "among [his] most important questions facing the international community," but not, of course, Israel's 78-year occupation of Palestine. Fascinating how he always "walks around" this issue.

Maybe now, after his failure to secure government backing for his bid to become UN secretary-general, he'll "drift into irrelevance."

We live in hope.

[*See my posts, 1-5, on the subject, under the label Israel's 60th.]

Monday, August 8, 2016

Foreign Aid: Fantasy vs Reality

Murdoch's lurid foreign aid fantasy:

"If true the charges would have grave implications for Australian and western aid to the Palestinian territories where agencies have struggled in the past to ensure aid funds were not misused by groups with links to extremists." (Palestine aid cut over 'Hamas link', Cameron Stewart*/ Sarah Vogler, The Australian, 6/8/16)

The reality:

"Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade over Gaza which followed, aid policies in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have been heavily influenced by politics. The decision by the international community and the Quartet to boycott the Hamas government acted as the mainframe for aid interventions in the Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-9, the members of the Quartet, who represent the main international political players in the peace process and the donor community at large, have been accused of steadily supporting the Israeli occupation and turning a blind eye to what John Holmes, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, referred to as the 'collective punishment' of Gaza's civilian population.

"In 2007, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Special Envoy to the PLO and the Palestinian Authority Alvaro de Soto resigned from his position. In his resignation, he submitted an end-of-mission report meant for the use of senior UN officials. In the report, while criticizing Fatah and Hamas for their role in the internal Palestinian split, de Soto condemned the Israeli and international boycott of Hamas as short-sighted and a source of devastating consequences for the Palestinian people. He also accused the Quartet of losing track of its role as a negotiating body by imposing sanctions and preconditions for negotiations on a democratically elected government under occupation.

"Overall, donor policies in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip have been shaped by the political stand of the international community and bodies such as the Quartet toward Hamas. These policies have not been neutral and have not played a constructive role in resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict and enabling Palestinians to achieve their political, social, and economic aspirations. Instead, these policies have played a role in sustaining the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Israeli occupation while fueling the Palestinian internal split by taking sides.

"In the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, the conduct of aid policies under the Israeli blockade has exacerbated the political, social, and economic problems and challenges facing Palestinians. First, aid assistance has been used to undermine Hamas's role in the Strip by supporting and sustaining the Palestinian president's decision to prevent PA public servants from reporting for duty. Such decisions have had very negative consequences, including the deterioration of public services and the expansion of Hamas's ideological influence through its control of such key public sectors as education. Second, donor policies have politicized the presumably neutral role of international aid agencies in the Gaza Strip through imposing many restrictions on their operations, including the no-contact policy. By encouraging Hamas to target them, this policy has also created difficult working conditions for many local organizations partnering with international actors. Third, to a large extent, donor policies have failed to respond to the recovery and development needs of the Gaza residents in the aftermath of the 2008 Israeli war and in the new context created by the tunnel economy.

"Finally, donor policies have failed to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade is sustained because of the international community's decision to deliver, through its donor groups, assistance aid in a highly constrained environment. This debilitating economic environment has made Gazans increasingly dependent on humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, Hamas has managed to survive the economic sanctions and to entrench its control of the Gaza Strip. Finally, Gaza Strip residents continue to suffer under the Israeli blockade while relying on aid assistance for survival. Meanwhile, international political and donor organizations continue their own policies of denial while implicitly continuing to pay the humanitarian costs of the Israeli occupation." (The Politics of International Aid to the Gaza Strip, Tamer Qarmout & Daniel Beland, Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 2012)

[*Rambammed: 2005]

Sunday, August 7, 2016

True Believers


"Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Friday it was suspending funding for World Vision's operations in the Palestinian Territories after the manager of the Gaza branch was charged by Israeli prosecutors on Thursday with infiltrating the charity on behalf of Hamas." (Australia suspends charity funding after Israeli allegations, Isabel Kershner, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/16)


It seems only yesterday that the Israelis were accusing World Vision of having "deep links" with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (See my 21/9/13 post Behind the Sacking of AusAid.)

I guess 'only yesterday' is a bit too far back in time for the dolts at DFAT though, and anyway, even if the Israelis said, 'Yesterday it was the PFLP, but today it's Hamas, and tomorrow it'll be Little Green Anti-Semites from Mars,' DFAT would still believe their every word.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Too Many Skeletons in the Closet

1) "More than 400 government documents have gone missing from the [UK] National Archives in the last 4 years. They include Foreign Office files from the 1970s* on 'military and nuclear collaboration with Israel' and a 1947 letter from Winston Churchill." (More than 400 government files missing from National Archives, Tom Bateman,, 3/8/16)

2) "Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country's state archives move online... Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks this week the 49th anniversary of the 1967 war, when it seized and occupied Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights. Many of the the records to which access is being denied refer to that war and the first years of Israel's military rule over Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza... Nonetheless, some of the declassified material was revealing. Uzi Narkiss, who headed the army's central command at the time, suggested that he and other commanders hoped to ethnically cleanse most of the territories under cover of fighting. He told fellow officers: 'Within 72 hours we'll drive out all the Arabs from the West Bank'... One Israeli academic... has estimated that up to a third of records relating to the 1948 war that were declassified have been put under lock again. Given the large number of documents, many had yet to be examined by researchers." (Why Israel is blocking access to its archives, Jonathan Cook,, 9/6/16)

[*1970-74 - Conservatives/ Heath; 1974-79 - Labour/ Wilson & Callaghan; 1979-83 - Conservatives/ Thatcher]

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Bush/Blair Gift That Keeps on Giving

"A Polaroid picture of a dead man, captioned on the back in ink by an Islamic State judiciary clerk, is the only memento that Hassan Mohammed Ali has of his missing younger brother Sultan. It was handed to Mr Ali at his home in the village of Haji Ali, south of Mosul, by an ISIS patrol that knocked at his door. In the photograph Sultan is lying on his back in a blue tracksuit top, shot at close range, the top right corner of his head blown off. He had been caught several weeks earlier trying to flee. 'Executed for attempting to escape to join the unbelievers,' the dated and signed explanation says on the photograph. 'I keep the photo because it is all I have left to remember my brother,' Mr Ali, 39, said. He was lucky, he managed to escape 3 weeks ago with most of his family. 'I also keep it to remind myself what we fled from.' Mr Ali has found shelter with thousands of other Sunnis fleeing the area around Mosul in the Debaga camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, where he and his family live under the steps of an abandoned football stadium. 'It is freedom of a sort, though not quite as I expected,' he said. [...] Seated in the shade, Mr Ali tapped the photo of his dead brother as he reflected on his fate. 'Once I wanted a lot in life,' he mused. 'Then all I wanted was to escape the Daesh. But now, all I want is a tent'." (Mosul exodus puts camps at breaking point, Anthony Loyd, The Times/The Australian, 2/8/16)

"Many of the refugees are deeply traumatised, having been ostracised by the Baghdad government, bombed by the coalition, persecuted by Islamic State, hunted as they fled the caliphate and enraged at the camp's conditions. Zahir Ibrahim said he had to leave the dismembered bodies of his wife, his cousin and his three children, less than 10 years old, in the desert as they escaped from a village south of Mosul last month. One of the children had detonated an IED. Survivors triggered a second device as they tried to collect the bodies from the first explosion. 'Then the Daesh started shooting at us,' he said. 'So we began running across the desert, 65 of us, leaving the dead in pieces behind us. It is better in this camp than life under the Daesh but it still feels like jail here'." (ibid)

Never forgive. Never forget.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Rise of the Know-Nothings

This observation by's Justin Raimondo resonates with me:

"I've finally figured why so many pundits and journalists are signing on to the new cold war with Russia: they weren't alive during the last one. They have no memory of the Cuban missile crisis, they didn't grow up in the era of backyard bomb shelters: for them, Fail Safe and On the Beach are just old movies.

"Take Greg Sargent, an opinion columnist with the Washington Post, who was a twinkle in his parents' eyes when John F. Kennedy put American nukes in Turkey and the Russians responded by installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. So eager is he for a confrontation with Vladimir Putin that he tweeted this [Read these 3 quotes from Trump's ABC News interview side by side] the other day. I responded with this [Amazing how 'liberals' are ginning up WWIII with Russia - just like neocons ginned up the Iraq war. Get ready!]. And he fired back with this [Area man who pretends not to support Trump lashes out at mere act of pointing out his incoherence/ignorance.] - I must be a Trump supporter! As I told him, I hope he's alive after the next missile crisis with Russia - which will be coming real soon after Hillary Clinton takes office.

"Or take Josh Rogin, who writes about foreign policy for the Washington post: he's upset that Trump won't risk World War III by facing off with Putin over Ukraine. Trump must be 'in lockstep with Putin.' Yet Rogin didn't dispute the merits of what Trump had to say - that he'd consider recognizing the Crimean referendum - only implying that Trump was some kind of Manchurian candidate. I answered him here [Is he wrong? Or does that matter?], and he soon fled back into the nether reaches of the Twittersphere. And I'd make the same point about him that I made about Sargent: these people are children. They have no memory of the cold war. They never lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation. To them it's all a game." (It's getting scarier, 1/8/16)

God help us - the kids have taken over the msm asylum.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

British Labour Party Coup Update

The inimitable George Galloway updates us here (, 29/7/16) on Owen Smith MP's ongoing coup against UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

"Well, first let me make this official announcement. We contacted Owen Smith's office earlier this week for an interview. After much chasing and early indications it was unlikely to happen, we finally got a confirmation late this morning that we would be unable to interview him tonight. We did have one of his surrogates, a woman called Jane Chapman MP, Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, I think. Forgive me if I have forgotten her already. She made some startling comments that went wild on the Internet and certainly travelled far amongst Labour Party members.

"But you ain't seen nothing yet until you hear Andy Slaughter*, my own MP actually, whom I voted for last time in the Hammersmith constituency. So we're talking about the ongoing coup against Jeremy Corbyn, which reached its nadir, you might say, in the High Court this week when the biggest friend of Netanyahu and Israel, a Mr [Michael] Foster, a multi-millionaire failed Labour candidate under Ed Miliband, took the party to court at vast expense to try and get a High Court judge to throw the leader of the Labour Party off the ballot paper in the contest for the leadership of the Labour Party. Ordinarily, you wouldn't be able to make that kind of story up, but I'm afraid this campaign against Corbyn gets curiouser and curiouser.

"You'll remember it's only a couple of weeks ago that we were told that Angela Eagle would be the finest leader Labour could possibly imagine and that it was time at last for a woman leader of the Labour Party. All the propaganda guns were moved into position, all the columnists, especially the feminist ones like Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, were wheeled out to tell us that Angela Eagle's time had come, and then she was elbowed out of the way by a man called Owen Smith, about whom few of us know much. And he's doing his best to make sure that the very large audience of this radio program at least don't get to know very much at all because he's running and hiding from an appearance on this show."

In his interview with Slaughter, Galloway asked, "You're a big supporter of the Palestinians, how do you feel about the fact that every single supporter of Israel in the land is rooting for Corbyn's demise?" Slaughter replied defensively: "I think if that's the sort of attitude you're going to take to this then we're not going to have a sensible discussion."

What an interesting light Galloway sheds here on these Blairite machinations, the Zionist hand in the matter nicely exposed. Of course, that hand invariably remains hidden from media exposure here in Australia. What a pity we have no one of the calibre of George Galloway to highlight and expose it publicly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just Lie Back & Think of Britain

Times' columnist Ben Macintyre's Britain's Middle East carve-up is no cause for shame (published in The Australian on July 30) is, as the title suggests, an apologia for British imperialism.* Here are the opening paragraphs:

"Boris Johnson is more a historian than a diplomat... The new British foreign secretary has written books on Churchill and London... He is undoubtedly comfortable in the past. This is just as well because one of the first challenges will be to negotiate his way through exceptionally controversial anniversaries of events in Britain's history that have a continuing impact on the present: the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which promised a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, falls in November next year; 100 years ago this year, British and French diplomats signed the Sykes-Picot agreement that secretly divided up the Middle East between them; October sees the 60th anniversary of the Suez Crisis, the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in collusion with Israel.

[**The wording of the declaration is actually "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."]

"These events may have lost much of their relevance in western memory but in the Middle East they remain freighted with significance, resentment and pain. The centenary of the First World War has been comparatively plain sailing in commemorative terms but Britain's Middle East diplomacy surrounding that conflict, which paved the way for the foundation of Israel and Arab nation states, is a diplomatic minefield. The letter written by foreign secretary Arthur Balfour in November 1917 pledged British support for a 'national home' for the Jewish people, leading to the Mandate, mass Jewish immigration and the creation of Israel after World War II."

Notice what's missing?

All mention of the 1915 Anglo-Arab treaty negotiated between Britain's high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, and the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, which preceded both the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) and the Balfour Declaration (1917), and without knowledge of which the treachery of those two astonishing manoeuvres cannot be fully appreciated.

Whether this is a deliberate omission or a case of ignorance is anyone's guess. In either case, Macintyre's subsequent thesis - partly unveiled in the title of his piece - which I will discuss shortly, is massively flawed. The simple fact is that, in 1915, the British promised the leader of the Arab nationalist movement, Sharif Hussein, an independent Arab state comprising most of today's Arab world (reserving only the northern coastline of Greater Syria) in exchange for an alliance against the Turks, a pact which the Arabs entered into in good faith, and on the basis of which they launched the Arab Revolt against the Turks, but which the British betrayed twice over, first with the French, then with the nascent Zionist movement.**

It should further be noted that, with respect to the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, as it became known, the British even went so far as to suppress all knowledge of its existence, and, when this did not succeed, blatantly attempted to misrepresent its terms. It is therefore only when the British promise of Arab independence is factored into any analysis of these matters that Britain's treachery becomes fully apparent. In any case, with or without the McMahon treaty, Britain had no right to gift Arab lands to others.

Macintyre continues:

"This week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raised the prospect of legal action against Britain over the declaration. His spokesman insisted that as a result of Britain's 'ill-omened promise, hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland.' Although Israel is gearing up for a Balfour party, the Foreign Office has spoken merely of 'marking' the centenary, rather than lauding it, a cautious position that will displease both sides..."

Which brings us to Macintyre's thesis, which is essentially that the declaration was born of wartime desperation, and hence "no cause for shame."

The centenary of the declaration, he contends, should be "neither eulogised nor bemoaned but dispassionately explored, analysed and understood, a fraught moment in history whose consequences could not have been foreseen at the time. The declaration was prompted by various factors including a genuine desire on the part of the British government to create a Jewish homeland as well as geopolitical interests. Britain was locked in a desperate war with no certainty of victory, Jews had been prominent in the Bolshevik Revolution and it was hoped the statement might encourage Russia to maintain the battle on the Eastern Front. Britain's support for a Jewish homeland might undermine German-Jewish support for the war, it was thought, while encouraging increased financial contributions to the war effort from the American-Jewish community. At a war cabinet meeting in October 1917, Balfour bluntly observed a statement supporting Zionism would be 'extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America'."

The first matter of note here is Macintyre's bald assertion that the "consequences" of flooding an Arab land with European Jews, "could not have been foreseen at the time." It's as though he's never heard of Ireland, let alone the plantation of Ulster.

The second is that an uninformed reader might conclude from Macintyre's piece that the declaration was an all-British cabinet affair. There is no sign in his account of the Russian-Jewish leaders of the Zionist movement in Britain - Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolov - having been involved in the urging and drafting of the declaration. This is another huge omission. The fact is that without constant Zionist pressure, influence-peddling and propaganda such a declaration would never have eventuated. One need only ask where Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George got the patently false idea that a declaration in support of the Zionists would have Jewish communities in Russia, Germany and the United States working their supposed influence on the Allies' behalf, and hence making a real, material difference to the war's outcome.

The third is that nowhere in the declaration is there any indication of support for a Jewish state as such.

Macintyre continues:

"Crucially the declaration also states that 'nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine' - which then made up 90% of the population. Any 'marking' of the centenary needs to acknowledge that while the Jewish homeland envisaged in 1917 has been realised, the promise to protect the rights of the Palestinian people has not been honoured."

While Macintyre correctly highlights the fact that Palestine's population at the time was overwhelmingly non-Jewish, he neglects to mention that that this overwhelming majority was deliberately written off as "existing non-Jewish communities," with no political rights whatever. Colonialism doesn't get much more outrageous than that, Yet here he  is warning against using the centenary as "an excuse for political grandstanding," which "will only inflame the situation in the Middle East."

IOW, everyone just lie back and think of what poor old Britain was going through at the time! And Palestinians, whatever you do (and, more importantly, wherever you are) NO GRANDSTANDING next year, OK?

[**Ironically, Macintyre is the author of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby & the Great Betrayal (2014).]