Thursday, August 17, 2017

Innocent Bystander in Tough Neighbourhood...

... strikes again, and again, and again, and again, and again [...]:

"Providing the most specific details yet on Israel's ongoing series of military strikes inside war-torn Syria, Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel revealed today that Israel has carried out nearly 100 distinct military actions over the last five years specifically related to what they believed were Hezbollah-bound arms convoys." (Air Force chief: Israel has attacked Syrian arms convoys nearly 100 times in 5 years, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 16/8/17)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Four Corners' Hatchet Job on Lee Rhiannon

It is always worth keeping in mind that, despite the lurid fantasies of the right-wing nut jobs at News Corpse to the effect that the ABC is a bastion of leftist radicalism, the state broadcaster is in fact merely the propaganda arm of the Australian establishment.

Last night's Four Corners program, Inside the Greens: A Party in Turmoil, which featured former Greens leader Bob Brown and others attacking NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, was a case in point.

Cast your mind back to 2010-2011, when Sydney's Marrickville Council, dominated at the time by The Greens, bravely took a stand for Palestine by adopting a pro-BDS policy against the purchase of Israeli products, and when its Greens Mayor, Fiona Byrne only narrowly failed to snatch the NSW state seat of Marrickville from Labor for her party at the 2011 state election.

Many of Rhiannon's detractors on Four Corners have form going back to that time. Here's a reminder:

Sally Neighbour, the current executive producer of Four Corners, used to write for Murdoch's Australian, and earlier took The Greens to task (Divided we fall) in Morry Schwartz's The Monthly. (See my 3/2/12 post Get Rhiannon! 2)

Richard Di Natale, the current federal leader of the party, once cluelessly agreed to the proposition that the Palestinians should "recognise Israel's existence as a Jewish state," before later backtracking when apprised of the implications of what he'd said. (See my 23/5/15 post Richard Di Natale Reclassified.)

Bob Brown, the party's founder, has attacked the NSW Greens in the Murdoch press, claiming NSW Greens' support for BDS was "against his advice" and urging the branch to stick to "bread-and-butter issues." (See Bob Brown & A Failure of Courage, 1/4/11)

Ian Cohen, a former NSW Greens MLC, has condemned his party's support for BDS as "old style" and expressed concern about "Jewish community outrage." (See my 31/3/11 post Kahane Down Under?)

Christine Milne, Di Natale's predecessorhas spoken out against BDS, travelled to Israel (although whether or not at her own expense we do not know), and once spoke in favour of regime change in Libya. (See Some Questions for Christine Milne (21/4/12), Has Christine Milne Been Rambammed? (11/7/14), A Gripe About The Greens (24/3/11))

Jeremy Buckingham, a NSW Greens MLC, joined the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and signed the so-called London Declaration on Combatting Antisemitism. (See my 27/5/13 post Et tu, Jeremy?)

The issue of the NSW Greens' support for Palestine emerged only obliquely in the program. Presenter Louise Milligan's bias against that support, however, was clear at this point:

Milligan: While her leader is travelling the country, trying to hold his party together, Lee Rhiannon has flown to the Middle East and is crossing into Palestine.
Rhiannon: When you see it like that you can see why they call it an apartheid wall. What you see when you arrive in this country is apartheid. From the West Bank to Gaza, people are treated as second class citizens. Their human rights are ignored or abused.
Milligan: And she's still lobbing political grenades at her party: reviving a campaign to boycott Israeli businesses in Australia which has seen a backlash against the Greens in the past.
Rhiannon: There is a value in this campaign, and it's a reminder of why people like ourselves in Australia and around the world... it's time to reassess this form of struggle, because there are very clear examples of the value it brings to solidarity and the results it can achieve.
Milligan: Her leader disagrees.
Di Natale: It's not something that the Australian Greens have ever supported. It's not something that I support.
Milligan: It's these sorts of clashes with the federal party that have prompted the Greens elders to tell Four Corners it's time for Senator Lee Rhiannon to go.
Brown: Oh, well, you know, I've been living with Lee for 30 years, but it's the end of Lee's reign. The end is nigh, and I look toward the future.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Israel's 'Soul'

Israel's soul laid bare on a comedian's stage, says the headline of Agnes Nieuwenhuizen's review of Israeli writer David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar in The Australian (12/8/17).

Opening sentence:

"Don't miss David Grossman's A Horse Walks into a Bar, a novel that offers profound insights into the soul of a nation and of one of its hapless citizens... "

So ethnocratic, apartheid states have souls? Interesting...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tim Fischer on John Lyons

Here's an excellent letter from today's Australian by former deputy prime minister (1996-1999) under John Howard, Tim Fischer:

"There is the good, the bad and the ugly in the Middle East. The Six-Day War reportage on its 50th anniversary year 2017 has been skewed, or was until the publication of the penetrating book Balcony Over Jerusalem by John Lyons. This book is the first in years to give a mention of substance to what happened on the fourth day when Israeli forces killed 34 US sailors on the USS Liberty, quickly apologised and paid reparations. Israel downplayed the saga while the US mounted a huge cover up, all exposed by the quotes Lyons has dug out, especially from Adlai Stevenson.

"Aligned spokesmen for Middle East countries will always skip over the ugly as they promote their country's perceived interests. Lyons details how parts of the honest debate on such issues as West Bank occupation in Israel are shut out of debate here in the Australian media and public domain. It is a subject that needs to be tackled for the truth to come out on the many complexities of the Middle East. It must be told without filters, shutters and threats." Mudgegonga, Vic

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 3 Months to Go

Damn! I forgot to post on the Balfour Declaration on August 2 - still, better late than never.

It's important to understand that the decision to issue the Declaration was confined to the British war cabinet, and that it was not debated in the House of Commons at the time. Only one MP, Joseph King (Liberal), raised the matter in the Commons, on November 19, 1917, 17 days after it was issued.

King asked foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour merely "whether the desire of the Government to see established a Jewish Zionist nationality in Palestine has been communicated to the Allied Powers, especially to France, Russia, Italy, and the Allied States; and whether it is one of the Allied war aims, or only a British war aim, to set up a Zionist community in the Holy Land."

And Balfour replied merely that "no official communication has been made to the Allies on the subject," and that "His Majesty's Government hope that the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people will result from the present war."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Syria Must Burn

Here's Zionist chutzpah for you: Syria must go on burning so a nuclear Israel can feel safe from... Iran.

"Israeli officials and other diplomats familiar with the situation are finally detailing the circumstances regarding the lead-up to the southern Syrian ceasefire agreement reached between the US and Russia, revealing secret talks were held in Amman and in an unnamed European capital city about the plan beforehand. Israeli officials were involved in the talks, and unsurprising given their public position since the ceasefire was announced, made clear they were unconditionally opposed to the ceasefire agreement, and objected to the creation of safe zones to limit combat in the areas. The reason for Israel's opposition to the ceasefire similarly appears to have been exactly what they've complained about since, that they believe any calm in Syria necessarily benefits Iran, and that anything that might conceivably move toward ending the Syria War must hand Iran some sort of specific defeat. It is this Iran-centric view of the Syrian conflict, despite Iran having a fairly limited involvement in it, which has led Israeli military officials to say they don't want ISIS to lose in Syria, and since the ceasefire's announcement that they are prepared to join the conflict simply to ensure that Iran, by which they mean the Shi'ite government, doesn't win." (Israel held secret talks with US, Russia to object to Syria ceasefire, Jason Ditz, antiwar.com, 9/8/17)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'Everybody Down There Loves Israel'

"The high level of support for Israel in Australia's Jewish community is often reflected by Australia's politicians. I was invited to a lunch for Israeli journalists in Jerusalem. One had just been to Australia on an organised trip, and when we were introduced she said to me: 'I love Australia! You guys talk Zionism better than we do!' I asked her what she meant. 'Everybody down there loves Israel. We met your Opposition Leader [Tony Abbott], who told us how much he loved Israel. We thought he was fantastic, but then we met Prime Minister [Julia] Gillard. She was even better. They were saying things you would not normally hear an Israeli say!'" (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, John Lyons, 2017, pp 262-63)

OK, did you cringe? Vomit? Curse? Go foetal?

Really now, do you need to know anything else about the simple-minded pricks who 'run' this bloody country?

For God's sake, BUY LYONS' BOOK NOW and educate yourselves!

As for Abbott and Gillard, far from being poles apart politically, they were united in their opposition to any light being shed on the Palestinian cause. When the Australian Union of Students (AUS) bravely took up the Palestinian issue and sought to educate Australian students on the matter, the thuggish Abbott, along with his nerdy sidekick, Greg Sheridan, attended an AUS conference at Monash University in 1977, the highlight of which, for them, was their disruption of a film night on Palestine sponsored by the AUS. As for Gillard, when she became president of AUS in 1984, she made it her mission to, in the words of David Marr, "take Palestine out of student politics." Gillard, in fact, even threatened to take pro-Palestine student politicians to court for calling her a Zionist!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

AIJAC Strikes Back

"The longer I was in Israel, the more I realised that key figures in the Australian Jewish community sat on the far right of the Israeli political spectrum. In Israel I was able to have meaningful discussions with key army or intelligence figures about the Palestinian issue. But with many of Australia's Jewish leaders this was just not possible. It was almost as if they felt that, given they were not living in Israel, they needed to take a harder line than many people who were living there." (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir, John Lyons, 2017, pp 260-61)

"In response to our legitimate articulation of an alternative viewpoint on the Middle East, Lyons has devoted a chapter of his memoir to falsely portraying AIJAC as an extreme, hardline mouthpiece for the Israeli Right. Is this the same AIJAC that sponsors programs for prominent Israeli Labor leaders to visit Australia, as part of our efforts to expose people from both countries to counterparts from across the political and social spectrum? Is this the same AIJAC that issued a media release in February this year openly criticising Israeli legislation that would retrospectively legalise settlement outposts on land owned by Palestinians? In a healthy democracy, holding the media to account is arguably as important as holding politicians to account. Lyons ended his comment piece by quoting hard-left Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar's demonising of AIJAC and saying the Australian government did 'not (give) a shit' about his children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lyons also describes as a hero another Israeli journalist even more extreme, Haaretz's Gideon Levy, an advocate of economic, artistic and academic boycotts against Israel. That's like forming your view of Australia from Green Left Weekly. It's sad that Lyon's response to the normal functioning of interest groups in a pluralist democracy is so vitriolic but it does demonstrate the value of AIJAC and others in advancing additional evidence and alternative views to his." (In Israel, as anywhere, objectivity, balance, multiple voices are critical to credible journalism, Mark Leibler, The Australian, 7/8/17)

Monday, August 7, 2017

What's Asad Got to Do With It?

This is how the Australian's national security editor, Paul Maley, chooses to introduce his story on the alleged Islamic State plot to blow up a Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight last month:

"As Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad rained down chemical gas on the village of Khan Shaykhun... a senior Islamic State fighter in Syria sent a text message to his brother in Australia." (From Syria to Sydney: how plot unfolded, 5/8/17)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

That Shitty Little Country 3

A chip off the old block:

"The fur began to fly when the Netanyahu family's 10-year mixed-breed bitch Kaiya allegedly defecated in a Jerusalem park while being walked by eldest son Yair. A neighbour who said she witnessed the act wrote on Facebook that when she challenged Yair to clean up after the animal, he made an obscene gesture with his middle finger." (Cops list Bibi as bribery suspect, AP, AFP, The Australian, 5/8/17)

See That Shitty Little Country 1 (6/2/09) & 2 (24/3/09)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Australian Reviews John Lyons

John Lyon's invaluable book, Balcony Over Jerusalem, was reviewed in today's Australian by one of its journalists, David Leser.

Unfortunately, Leser's seemingly irresistible urge to defend the indefensible - apartheid Israel - and indulge in special pleading for Palestine's colonisers and occupiers tells us far more about Leser than it does about Lyons' book.

Here we go then:

"... the Middle East is a hellishly complex place. Every aspect of history is contested. Every word is loaded."

Quite why Leser feels he has to reference the entire Middle East when dealing specifically with Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories is anyone's guess. But I simply don't understand how he can seriously talk about contested history and loaded words without reference to the following passage which he earlier quotes from Lyons' book: "If the whole world could see the occupation up close, it would demand that it end tomorrow. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians would not pass muster in the West if the full details were known. The only reason Israel is getting away with this is because it has one of the most formidable public-relations machines ever seen..."

Without Israel's vast propaganda apparatus there'd be neither contestation nor loading.

"I've argued with family members over this issue, and lost Jewish friends in the process - all because I believe, like Lyons, that the occupation is a moral stain on both the Jewish State and the Jewish soul."

I don't get it. Why the arguments? Occupied river-to-sea Palestine belongs to neither Leser nor his family. Neither he nor his family nor his Jewish friends have a right to one centimetre of Palestinian soil. And not only is the occupation he refers to "a moral stain," the very existence of a "Jewish Stateon Palestinian Arab land is a moral stain on all who conceived it, created it, and, today, continue to support it.

"My concern is that for all the rush of understandable anger [Lyons] directs at Israel, his book is mostly devoid of sympathy for the multiple internal problems and frailties that Israelis face, not to mention the wild diversity of the country's immigrant survivor population."

Does Leser seriously expect Lyons (or anyone else), who has, in Lyons' words, seen the occupation "up close," to sympathise with its perpetrators? Has Leser, in his 40-year-old career as a journalist, ever once felt sympathy for the people of any other occupying power? And, seriously, where is the "wild diversity" in a Jewish state?

"Throughout history Jews have been despised, displaced, vilified, persecuted and, ultimately exterminated for the fact of their Jewishness, and they have carried their collective trauma - this epigenetic inheritance - into a murderous neighbourhood where they are both a minority and majority at the same time. A tiny minority among hundreds of millions of (mostly) Arabs and a majority when it comes to the Palestinians."

And the Palestinian Arabs are responsible for that? Historical anti-Semitism in Europe trumps the right of Palestinians to their Palestinian homeland? What kind of sick morality is that? And who funneled European Jews into said "murderous neighbourhood"? I'll tell you who - the murderous Zionist movement, motivated by one hell of a murderous idea: Jews in, Palestinians out.

"That, along with countless wars and acts of terrorism over the past 70 years, is what has driven the psychopathology of victimhood and its inevitable - and terrible - consequence: oppression."

Yes, countless wars... initiated by the Israeli army. And countless acts of terrorism... initiated by the Israeli army and its pre-state predecessors, the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

But the biggest deception here is Leser's omission of any reference to the Zionist movement. The dark truth is that Israel is the product of a settler-colonial movement, riding roughshod, as these movements do, over the rights of the natives, not some pitiable creature whose past was so traumatic that it just can't help using the Palestinians as a collective punching bag.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Israeli Brutality from the River to the Sea

As I said in a previous post, all of Palestine, from the River to the Sea, is Israeli-occupied land. If you think that the crimes of the occupation are confined to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that the law of the jungle only applies east of the fabled Green Line, think again:

"According to Adalah, Israel's Police Investigation Unit (Mahash), which operates under the Ministry of Justice, disregards the majority of complaints filed against Israeli police. In a 2014 report, Adalah found that between 2011 and 2013, the Mahash closed 93% of complaints without laying charges... At least 50 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed by police since 2000." ('They killed him because he was an Arab', Zena Tahhan, aljazeera.com, 31/7/17)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Fake Noos

Hmm...

"Those who remain [in Raqqa] include Chechen veterans, former al-Qaida militants and Iraqi Ba'athists who fought for Saddam Hussein. They are ready to die for the 'caliphate' but have amassed hundreds of thousands of civilians around them as human shields." (Teen army tightening net on ISIS in Raqqa, Louise Callaghan, The Sunday Times/The Australian, 2/8/17)

Iraqi Ba'athists who fought for Saddam Hussein???

You're kidding me, Louise. That was 2003. This is is 2017.

Are you seriously telling us that a bunch of Iraqi blokes, brought up on a diet of secular Ba'athist Arab nationalism, and now over 14 years older than they were in 2003, are prepared to die for a... 'caliphate'... in Syria?

Pull the other.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blown Away by Labor's Advance on Palestine/Israel?

Before anyone gets too carried away by the latest glacial advance in the ALP's Palestine policy, please remember that Israel's illegal post-67 West Bank settlement project, which Bob Carr in particular opposes as standing in the way of a two-state solution to the Palestine/Israel project, is, in all its essentials, no different to Israel's pre-67 settlement project.

Every square inch of historic Palestine from the river to the sea is occupied and colonised Arab land.

It matters not whether the occupation and colonisation took place before 1967, or after.

Whether it takes the form of a Balfour Declaration or a United Nations partition plan, no imperial power, or collection thereof, had, or has, the right to dispose of one square centimetre of Arab Palestinian land.

It's Hebron today - but before that it was Haifa. It's Jerusalem today - but before that it was Jaffa.

After 1967, the Zionist land thieves were called settlers - before that kibbutzniks. Same colonial smell, same...

The Zionist settler-colonial, apartheid project called Israel has no right, God-given or otherwise, to one square centimetre of Arab Palestine.

Please keep this in mind before you get too excited about NSW Labor's 'secure and recognised borders,' or anything else to do with Palestine.

And take this ice cold shower:

"Israel fears 'delegitimization' more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the 'least safe place for Jews in the world.'

"Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn't even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn't have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.

"Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support - pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.

"The most important thing we can do as we hover over the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway - it was just the parlance of that particular 'game'. Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities - the new state will be the dawn of humanity's great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.

"Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called 'home' for three generations in their purgatory camps.

"These universally exploited refugees are entitled to nice apartments - the ones that have pools and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed Western experiment will never be enough.

"And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears - the one 'firewall' remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don't even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don't hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn't live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany - and good luck to you.

"For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere - you are part of the reason this problem exists.

"Israelis who don't want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population - the ones who don't want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago - can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude - Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors - without proportional response - shows remarkable restraint and faith.

"This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage - we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally Palestinian - undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.

"Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: 'Israel has no right to exist.' Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update - do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here - have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was." (Excuse me, but Israel has no right to exist, Sharmine Narwani, english.al-akhbar.com, 17/5/12)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Labor Inches Towards a Truncated Palestine

Here is NSW state Labor's new Palestine resolution as moved by Bob Carr at the just-concluded NSW Labor annual conference:

1 Notes previous resolutions on Israel/Palestine carried at the 2015 ALP National Conference & the 2016 NSW Labor Annual Conference; and
2 Supports the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist within secure and recognised borders; and
3 Urges the next Labor Government to recognise Palestine.

And here is Troy Bramston's coverage of the resolution's passing in The Australian:

"'As the oldest, the greatest, the biggest state branch we can't afford to be stranded in history,' Mr Carr said. 'It is time now for another historic shift in Labor Party foreign policy. We must balance our just recognition of Israel with the equally just recognition of Palestine.' Currently, 137 nations recognise Palestine as a state - but not the United States, Australia or New Zealand. NSW Labor's previous position was more conciliatory, stating that it would consult with other like-minded nations to work toward the recognition of Palestine if no progress toward a two-state solution was made with Israel. But now Labor NSW joins sister branches in the ACT, Tasmania and Queensland, the South Australian government and former leaders Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd in backing Palestinian statehood. 'You did the just and right thing by a crushed and marginalised people who aspire, within the rules, to something Israel has enjoyed since 1948 - and that is a land of their own,' Mr Carr said ahead of the vote. Only a single voice, from the hundreds of delegates packed into Sydney's Town Hall, could be heard voting against the motion.

"The NSW Labor Israeli Action Committee vowed to continue to oppose Mr Carr's 'obsessive campaign' and claimed it has successfully forced him to recognise Israel's right to exist. 'It was important to restore the balance and to fight for a two-state solution and Israel's right to exist within safe and secure borders,' LIAC patron Walt Secord said in a statement provided to AAP following the vote." (NSW Labor resolves to recognise Palestine, 30/7/17)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

John Lyons' Book Featured in Guardian

Some choice excerpts from Pro-Israel advocates in Australia targeted three journalists, new book claims (Amanda Meade, 29/7/17):

*Lyons, Sophie McNeill (ABC) and Peter Cave (ABC) "were subjected to consistent pressure from the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)." AIJAC "prepared dossiers on Cave and other ABC reporters 'and sent them to like-minded journalists and members of parliament'."

*Lyons "says the former editor of the Weekend Australian Nick Cater refused to publish [Lyon's] work and the pro-Israel lobby bombarded editors with criticism of his reports. 'I phoned Cater and he confirmed that he'd asked for my work to no longer appear in the Inquirer... I let [editor-in-chief Chris] Mitchell know that... the exclusion from the Inquirer was just the latest in a long series of disagreements with Nick Cater... he intervened and told Cater that excluding me from the Inquirer was not acceptable."

*"Lyons writes that an Israeli embassy official was invited by Cater to the Australian's head office in Canberra, and told editors that the embassy was not happy with them. 'To me the idea of an officer of a foreign government wandering the floor of my newsroom criticising me was outrageous'."

*"In 2015, AIJAC sent a file on McNeill to Jewish members of the ABC board, including the then chairman James Spigelman, and this file claimed among other things that she was unsuitable because she had said 'one of the saddest things I've seen in my whole life is spending time filming in a children's cancer ward in Gaza'." The then ABC managing director Mark Scott ordered a detailed response from corporate affairs, which he took to the board. 'I will not cower to the AIJAC,' Scott said, according to Lyons. Scott was also forced to defend McNeill from attacks at Senate estimates after the dossier was sent to key parliamentarians."

*"Lyons writes that AIJAC director Colin Rubenstein had unprecedented access to the Australian, speaking regularly to editors and even suggesting articles the paper should run... Mitchell, who was supportive of Lyons, later told him that Rubenstein would go behind his back and call Cater if he refused to take his call, Lyons writes."

*"Lyons argues that Australian journalists should not accept the trips to Israel organised by the lobby - 'During my time in Israel I would come to believe that Australia's uncritical support of Israel is both illogical and unhealthy,' he writes. 'For more than 20 years, Australians have read and heard pro-Israel positions from journalists, editors, politicians, trade union leaders, academics and students who have returned from the all-expenses-paid Israel lobby trips. In my opinion, no editors, journalists or others should take those trips: they grotesquely distort the reality and are dangerous in the sense that they allow people with a very small amount of knowledge to pollute Australian public opinion'."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Israel Amends the Balfour Declaration

Here's the 1917 Declaration's so-called 'protection' clause:

"... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."

Now here's this month's Israeli amendment:

... except restrict access to Jerusalem's Haram ash-Sharif by forcing worshipers to pass through metal detectors and surveillance cameras, dodge stun grenades, and inhale tear gas.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Joschka

"Western powers are hardly blameless for the Middle East's woes. Any mention of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Great Britain and France partitioned the post-Ottoman territories, still incites such rage in the Arab world that it seems as if the plan, devised in secret in 1916, had been conceived only yesterday." (Post-caliphate, Saudi Arabia, Iran to provide Middle East flashpoint, Joschka Fisher, The Australian, 25/7/17)

But since Fisher (Germany's foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1998-2005) nowhere mentions Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration, which arbitrarily severed Palestine from Ottoman Greater Syria and handed it to the Zionist movement, among those woes, the Arab world presumably has no problem with it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

John Lyons Lifts the Lid on the Israeli Occupation of Australia's MSM

I picked up a copy of John Lyons' memoir, Balcony Over Jerusalem yesterday. Just a scan is enough to show that, despite its deficiencies (which can be left to another post), this is an important book. Lyons, of course, was The Australian's Jerusalem-based Middle East correspondent from 2009 to 2015. Tellingly, The Australian, like the Fairfax press, has no such job category these days.

If Bob Carr's 2014 Diary of a Foreign Minister is the first book published in this country to blow the whistle on the malign impact of the Israel lobby on Australia's Palestine/Israel policy, Lyons' book is the first to do so on the lobby's equally malign impact on Australia's journalistic coverage of the Palestine/Israel conflict. As such it should be read (as should Carr's book) by every Australian with any pretensions to political awareness.

In addition to exposing this largely under-the-radar aspect of the Australian mainstream media, Balcony Over Jerusalem is also a chronicle of the quotidian barbarities inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel's military machine on behalf of its vile and expanding settler ultras.

To quote an example of each of these strands, a) the lobby's corruption of journalism, and b) the cruelty of the Israeli occupation:

a) "As SMH Deputy Editor, I found my phone began ringing with requests for meetings with leaders of the Jewish community... Usually the caller was Robert Klarnet, the public affairs director of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. The board would later coordinate tours in partnership with the Melbourne-based Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC). It has become almost a rite of passage for deputy editors of an major Australian news outlet to be offered a 'study trip' to Israel. Colin Rubenstein, the head of AIJAC, told me that AIJAC has sent at least 600 Australian politicians, journalists, political advisers, senior public servants and student leaders on these trips over the last 15 years. It is my assessment that by 'educating' rising media executives, the Israeli lobby has in place editors who 'understand' the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today, I barely know an Australian newspaper executive who has not been on one of these trips." (pp 16-17)

b) "So much of this conflict happened quietly. From our balcony, if we looked really carefully at the rolling hills between us and Jordan, we could see a tiny Palestinian house 300 metres in front of us, in East Jerusalem. It had a single light, and two or three goats in the yard. From a distance, we got to know this family - its habits, its movements, its celebrations. We'd see the children head off to school each morning. During the day their father herded goats on the hill.

"The oldest child was doing his final year at school, and there's a Palestinian tradition that if a student graduates the family lets off fireworks. It's a way of letting the neighbourhood know the news. We knew what day the results of the final exams were due so we watched to see whether fireworks were let off that night. We saw several other homes in the valley celebrating - then came fireworks from the little house. The boy had passed.

"Then one morning the little house was gone. The Israeli Army had come while we were asleep and bulldozed it, claiming it was an illegal structure. The little house had been part of our lives. Sylvie, Jack and I decided to walk down the valley to speak to the family. The army had demolished everything except the stairway. When we arrived we found the owner sweeping it.

"It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen. A broken man sweeping his stairway to nowhere." (pp 9-10)

Buy it!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Dead Weight of Israel Lobby Censorship

From the Australian's former Middle East Correspondent, John Lyons:

"Through my six years in the Middle East I'd come under constant pressure from Israel lobby groups to pull my punches. I realised from many discussions with other foreign journalists that this pressure was applied in many countries. Of the many hours of discussion I had with my colleagues in the foreign media, one comment shocked me. It was when I asked Phillipe Agret, the bureau of Agence France Press, a question. AFP is one of the most powerful news agencies in the world. It is highly regarded as credible and independent. It is famous for resisting pressure in whichever country it operates. Agret and I were discussing how some media groups censored their reporting out of Israel in a way that they did in no other country. I asked him who he thought was self-censoring out of Israel. Without hesitation, he replied: 'Everybody'." (From Man in the middle: For a Jerusalem correspondent, the truth is always hard won, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 22/7/17)

Errr... any of you guys ever heard of resistance?

"Why do the supporters of Israel want to prevent stories like this [Four Corners: Stone Cold Justice (2014)] from spreading overseas? When we arrived we did not realise the prize that many political factions in the country coveted: formalising the occupation of the West Bank into official annexation and achieving Greater Israel... In order to continue pursuing its endgame of annexing the West Bank, [the Israeli right] can't allow the international community to form the view that the occupation is unacceptable. So reports of brutality in the West Bank are minimised so that international opinion does not turn against it." (ibid)

NB: The TWA's piece, Man in the middle, is an edited extract from Balcony Over Jerusalem, by John Lyons and Sylvie Le Clezio, released today.)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

First They Came for the Palestinians...

Political Zionism's global reach, manipulation and corruption of Western, particularly US, institutions goes on:

"The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The UK has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the US, governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On US campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as 'the Palestine exception' to free speech.

"But now, a group of 43 senators - 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats - wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country's decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison." (US lawmakers seek to criminally outlaw support for boycott campaign against Israel, Glenn Greenwald & Ryan Grim, theintercept.com, 20/7/17)

The entire report is well worth a read and contains such revelations as: "Perhaps the most stunning is our interview with the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin, who seemed to have no idea what was in his bill, particularly insisting that it contains no criminal penalties."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ms Guardian & Mr Spectator

The Guardian specialises in the burning issues of the day, such as:

"I was happily exchanging messages with someone through an on online dating app recently. He looked attractive enough in his picture, and the conversation was interesting, he seemed engaged and eloquent. And he hadn't propositioned me three messages in. It was time to go to the next level.

"'What do you do for a living?'

"'I have my own business - what about you?'

"'I'm a journalist at the Guardian. Are you a newspaper kinda guy?'

"Then, there it was: 'More of a Spectator reader than the Guardian.'

"Gulp!" (How politics is ruining dating - or should I date a Spectator reader? Alexandra Spring, theguardian.com, 21/7/17)

Donning my agony aunt hat, could I say, Alexandra, that I think your dilemma is more apparent than real. I actually think that the Guardian and the Spectator have much more in common than you think.

I mean, take the Guardian's coverage of "escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions in Jerusalem." (Six dead as Israeli-Palestinian tensions boil over, 22/7/17) No nasty references to OCCUPIED ARAB EAST JERUSALEM whatever. How could Mr Spectator possibly object?

Reading your Middle East correspondent, Peter Beaumont, the reader comes away with the impression that this is just another of those mysterious disputes over "a highly sensitive holy site" caused by those excessively prickly folk living in "Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem," who are forever "clashing" with the poor, put-upon Israeli police. I'm sure Mr Spectator would feel quite at home with this perspective.

And the suggestion that "the compound is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who call it Temple Mount," could only compel him to conclude that, in all fairness, it should go to the Jews and that's that.

I can guarantee, Alexandra, there's nothing at all in Beaumont's report to scare off Mr Spectator.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Incredible Lady Di

Two union leaders, Diana Asmar, state secretary of the Health Workers Union (HWU), the biggest union within the HSU, and Dr Henry Pinskier, a former vice-president of the ALP, "have described a Health Services Union (HSU) motion supporting a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as 'anti-Semitic, misguided, ignorant and quite frankly, mad'." (BDS Health warning, The Australian Jewish News, 1/9/16)

They added: "It is not a trade union's job to delve into international geopolitical affairs or to raise misguided and anti-Semitic motions."

In which case then, why has Ms Asmar recently returned from an AIJAC Rambam Fellowship Trade Union Study Visit to Israel, where she "noted how incredible she found it to see Jews and Arabs working together in Israeli hospitals to treat all citizens without prejudice or favour," and "commented on the incredible medical technologies coming out of Israel, expressing incomprehension as to how BDS supporters could want to boycott such life saving techniques." (Returning trade unionists praise Israel at AIJAC function, jwire.com, 30/6/17)

(For the record, the only other Israel-bound unionist named by jwire.com was "Glen Chatterton of the Plumbers Union Service Trade Queensland." They were "accompanied" by Michael Borowick of the Australia/Israel Labor Dialogue (AILD).)

So what kind of unionist is one minute laying down the law that unions shouldn't be bothering their pretty heads with international geopolitical affairs, and the next is up to her neck in a certain international geopolitical affair?

Well, in addition to being  an apparent expert on international geopolitical affairs and anti-Semitism, Asmar's certainly an interesting (and innovative) character, as the following profile indicates:

"Asmar is a former Labor mayor with the troubled Darebin council in Melbourne's northwest. As a novice leader of a small to middle-sized union branch, her salary has raised eyebrows inside the HSU, especially after pay packet excesses of [Michael] Williamson and [Kathy] Jackson. Asmar boosted her salary to $182,000 in the 2014 financial year... On $182,000, Asmar was the highest paid union official in Australia... Asmar's perceived mastery of the industrial landscape and how the modern world came to be has prompted some mirth among her colleagues. At a 2013 national council meeting in Sydney, they recall Asmar referring to 'World War Eleven' - apparently mistaking Roman numerals for the higher number. In all seriousness, what her colleagues do find astounding is the remarkable 'cashing out' of a $25,975 paid maternity leave entitlement that Asmar secured for herself in the 2015 financial year... World experts on gender and employment... say 'cashing out' maternity leave is unheard of, and defeats the whole purpose of the entitlement as leave... There is more that is murky about Asmar. During royal commission evidence in 2014, Asmar claimed she did not know about her election campaign funding because she left it to her husband, David, a former staffer of recently-departed senator Stephen Conroy." (From Diana Asmar: Bill Shorten's no 1 union mate, Brad Norington, The Australian, 7/11/16)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Art of the Barrister

Some light relief:

"Sameh Bayda allegedly had gruesome videos depicting Islamic State violence on his phone and a note from his young wife detailing how she wanted a child to keep as a memento after he died... Geoffrey Foster, the defence barrister for the husband and wife, submitted the Crown had failed to show there was a conspiracy between the pair. He also argued there could be alternative hypotheses for why the concerning material was on Bayda's phone. 'Mr Bayda could be seen as a scholar with a deep interest in the Muslim faith... with a curiosity in propaganda,' he gave as one example." (One half of 'Bonnie & Clyde' too soft to launch attack: court, Ava Benny-Morrison, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/7/17)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tunisian Jihadis

A group of revealing July 13 tweets by Lebanese journalist Jenan Moussa (lightly edited for clarity) on Tunisian jihadis in Syria:

I gained access to ISIS prisoners captured by Kurds in Raqqa. One of them was a Tunisian ISIS member...
I sat for 2 hours with a 34-year-old Tunisian ISIS prisoner. During the interview he never looked me in the eye because I'm a female reporter.
I asked him why he joined ISIS. He said, When the Muslim Brotherhood government was in power*, they encouraged the youth to go to Syria.
He said, In Tunisia the mosques said, Go to Syria for jihad. And we were told there'd be no repercussions when we returned. So I left.
My friend and I flew to Turkey. When the customs officer at Istanbul Airport realized we were going to Syria, he said, Yalla, go fast!
It was just so easy to join ISIS in Syria. Now I look back and I think, Was this all a conspiracy to get us all in one place and kill us all?

[*Presumably a reference to Rached Ghannouchi's Ennahda Movement government of 2011-14. Abdel Bari Atwan has this to say on the subject: "I have observed Tunisians in the ranks in previous jihads, but only in very small numbers... former Tunisian dictator Ben Ali suppressed all jihadist activity and imprisoned even moderate Islamists. The 2011 revolution and the subsequent victory of Islamist parties inspired a revival of hard-line Islamism in that country. Now, groups like Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of the Law, based in Libya) are able to recruit openly and have funded and facilitated the passage of Tunisian jihadists to the frontline." (Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, 2015, pp 165-66)]

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Where Do You Even Begin?

Maybe in somewhere in the wilds of Georgia, where her parents originated.

Unfortunately, at some point in time, they conceived/received the mad idea, the delusion, that they weren't really Georgians, but part of a grander scheme, something called 'the Jewish people,' and that that, therefore, required them to migrate to a place called Israel, which had been, up until its majority Arab population were driven out by bomb and bullet in 1948, an integrally Arab country known as Palestine.

Their daughter, Tzipi Hotovely, the subject of our post, was, again unfortunately, too stupid, or too indoctrinated, or both, to see through the delusion she'd inherited from her parents, although in Israel, of course, this category invariably goes far, particularly in politics.

And so here she is, Israel's deputy foreign minister, telling Palestinian Israeli representatives in the Knesset, apropos UNESCO's listing of occupied Hebron and the Mosque of Ibrahim as "endangered Palestinian heritage sites," that:

"You are history thieves. Your history books are empty, and you are trying to co-opt Jewish history and Islamicize it. I recommend to UNESCO and the Arab Knesset members to read these two books, the Bible which tells the story of the Jewish people, and Assaf Voll's new bestseller, A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era. It will captivate you because it is empty. Because the Palestinians don't have kings and they don't have heritage sites. The Palestinians are appropriating Jewish heritage sites and displacing them, just as they are trying to change the Western Wall into an Islamic site and just like they are attempting to sever the Jews' connection to the Temple Mount." (Hotovely to Arab MKs: You are thieves of history, israelnationalnews.com, 13/7/17)

Cliocide on a grand scale.

Par for the course in Israel.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bill Clinton's Handshake Charade

However appalling, Trump is really only the tip of the iceberg of American ignorance and narcissism. Take our latest US visitor, for example, Clinton/Obama diplomat Dennis Ross, currently wowing them at Murdoch's Australian:

"Ross grew up in a non-religious Californian household, the son of a Catholic father and Jewish mother. At 19, inspired by the Six-Day War, he became religiously Jewish." (Long road to Israeli-Palestinian peace littered with broken deals and lost will, Brad Norington, 15/7/17)

Note that Ross was radicalised at 19. It seems that, in the US, such radicalisation, from all American boy to Zionist fanatic, is the perfect qualification and starting point for a career in US-style Middle East diplomacy. Sort of puts Jared Kushner in perspective, doesn't it?

And here's the pinnacle of that career, according to Norington:

"During an impressive career, Ross... helped facilitate the historic White House handshake between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israel's Yitzhak Rabin."

Leaving aside discussion of the endless peace-process charade, and the preposterous, childish idea of Clinton's that this then (1993) 76-year-old colonial running sore could be solved by a cheap theatrical handshake, rather than by the hard yards of a decolonisation process and the rendering of justice to Palestine's dispossessed and occupied, let's just look at the minutiae of this supposedly "impressive" achievement, as described elsewhere by Ross himself.  Here he is interviewed by Jason M. Breslow of PBS's Frontline program (6/1/16):

Were you in the Rose Garden when [President Clinton] forged the handshake between [Yasser] Arafat and Rabin?

-Yes.

Tell me about that.

-There is an interesting back story to this... So we [Ross and Secretary of State Warren Christopher] get a call from Rabin... and he says, 'Look there's been a breakthrough with the PLO'... still... he's skeptical. He wants to know what our reaction to this is going to be. Well, our reaction is, this is a historic breakthrough between Israel and the PLO, two national movements competing for the same space, and for the first time they're prepared to recognize each other."

[Note here the false framing. The reality is otherwise. These are not two, long-resident communities living in one patch, in some kind of parity, but struggling to get along. This is the old story of a foreign, usurping settler-colonial movement vs an indigenous resistance movement trying to hold on to or reclaim its ancestral homeland.]

- Now [Israeli foreign minister Shimon] Peres tells us... that there should be a meeting at the White House to sign a Declaration of Principles, but it's too much for the Israeli public to see Arafat there. It's just too much to take.

[Yes, it's simply too much for the colons to stomach their PM meeting with the leader of the people they've been slicing and dicing for the past 76 years - eeeuw! What to do?]

- So it should be Peres and Abu Mazen [Arafat adviser, Mahmoud Abbas] who would come. We actually don't question this...

[Of course you don't, you've been a card-carrying Zionist since 1967 for Christ's sake! Those sniffy colons are your volk! Notice how, even in 1993, the Israelis had their eye on Abbas as a stooge?]

- ... but when we raise it with Clinton... he simply dismisses what we've told him, and immediately leaves the impression that if Arafat wants to come, he's welcome. And he's right... because his instinct is, the only way to bind the two leaders to this is to have this colossal event where they're kind of obligated before the world... We're telling him how uneasy Rabin is, first to even be there and secondly the idea that he's going to shake hands with this guy who, in Rabin's mind, is responsible for  all sorts of acts of terror that, for him, are just very hard to swallow. It's difficult for Rabin to overcome this.

[Notice the fact that Rabin's hands are covered in 76 years of Palestinian blood nowhere occurs to Ross as a possible difficulty for Arafat or the Palestinians? This is America's idea of honest brokerage.]

- Now Clinton kind of raises this in private with the two of them before they go out.

[Bill doesn't want anyone spoiling his show!]

So they both agree to kind of come, and they're hanging around the Oval Office?

- Well, you come in advance, before we go out.

OK

- To the last minute, Rabin is insisting that Arafat can't come in anything that looks like a uniform.

[And of course Ross cannot help but oblige. His Master's Voice after all:]

- We're telling Arafat, 'You can't come with a -- you don't bring a weapon.' You know, he always had a pistol. 'You don't bring a weapon to the White House.' So they come in, and the president talks to both leaders. He is already encouraging them...

[We wouldn't dare tell Rabin...]

Have they met before?

- No.

How are they with each other?

- Rabin is very uneasy. The idea of personally shaking hands with with this guy is physically difficult for him.

[With this guy...?!]

- He couldn't hide his feelings... So here is Clinton, who sees this guy give this remarkable speech on the one hand, and physically, it's hard for him to shake hands with this guy. So the iconic photograph - he literally envelops them with his arms. But he knows he has to create that image... to make peace, and how can you do that if you're not prepared to shake hands? (pbs.org)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Palestinians Finally Recognise Israel as Jewish State

The problem (one of them anyway) with Greg Sheridan, Australia's "most influential foreign affairs analyst" as he's trumpeted in The Australian, is that he relies on his readers (to the extent, of course, that he has any) not to look too closely at what he writes. And, of course, they don't look too closely, because reading what he writes is really all about confirming existing prejudices and reinforcing existing ignorance.

Which, I guess, explains why we had not one but two Sheridan pieces in yesterday's emission of The Australian: the first, a report, Beazley baulks at Palestine push, stamped, as always, EXCLUSIVE; the second, an op-ed, Nod to Palestine an ignorant and regressive idea. Both, of course, bewail Bob Carr's "nasty anti-Israel resolution [which] has embarrassed senior ALP leaders."

Parenthetically, you'd have to be a rusted-on Zionist fanatic to wade through either piece of poo, but what sort of extra lunacy, I wonder, would be required for one to read both, except of course for purposes of demolition? (Hell, maybe I'm the only person in the country to have soiled my boots.)

Anyway, let's start with this in the op-ed:

"Last week I had lunch with Dennis Ross, who was the Middle East co-ordinator for Bill Clinton and then a senior adviser on the Middle East for Barack Obama. It would be pretty hard to call him a neocon or a Likudnik or a supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu... Ross... tells me one of the main obstacles to peace is that the Palestinian leadership has never accepted the legitimacy of a Jewish national movement, which is why it won't recognise Israel as a Jewish state."

OK, so Ross doesn't have horns quite as long as those of His Satanic Majesty, Benjamin Netanyahu. Nonetheless, the real problem is that those obdurate Palestinians won't recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Now, if we turn from the op-ed to the 'report,' we find this from HSM:

"In an exclusive interview with The Australian earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his support for the two-state solution long term. 'The question is not whether the Palestinians get a state but whether that state will recognise Israel..."

Which compels us to conclude that, as much as Sheridan would like to have us believe that there is some fundamental political difference between the fast-talking US Zionist and the foaming Israeli war criminal, the truth is that the two are one and the same when it comes to demanding that the Palestinians perform the mother-of-all-grovels.

Which, in turn, had me imagining just what form that MOAG might take:

Yes, you guys were right all along, and we Palestinians were wrong. We really were, as your great patron Lord Balfour put it in his Holy Declaration, merely the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine," of no particular consequence therefore.

And as for those "civil and religious rights," which he graciously offered us in his Declaration, and which we scorned back then as manifestly inadequate, we should have seen that they were good enough for us.

And of course, when your saintly Chaim Weizmann indicated, soon after, that he wanted a Palestine as Jewish "as England is English and France is French," we should have embraced the idea without so much as a raised eyebrow, nay, happily, joyously strewing flowers in your path as you disembarked in your thronging thousands at Jaffa on ships coming from Poland or Russia.

Yes, we should have seen the superior, God-like wisdom in the good Lord's decree that "Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land," as he once so eloquently put it.

So, here it is, for what it's worth, our belated recognition that yes, Israel is a Jewish state.

So sorry to have troubled you all these years, we'll get out of your way now...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Great Advances in French Colonialism

Saladin, we're back!

- General Henri Gouraud on entering Saladin's tomb, July 25, 1920

I do not require Assad's departure.

- French President Emmanuel Macron, July 13. 2017

Almost 100 years after the French destroyed Syria's first independent Arab state in 1920, Macron continues to channel the malign spirit of French colonialism. Of course, you can guarantee that this arrogant Gallic fool has never even heard of General Gouraud.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Classic PEP (Progressive Except Palestine)

"Radiohead's lead singer Thom Yorke has responded to criticism by film director Ken Loach over the band's upcoming performance in Tel Aviv. Loach wrote in a comment piece in the Independent: [Radiohead's] stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side - the one that supports apartheid... Radiohead need to decide if they stand with the oppressed or with the oppressor.' After tweeting the link to Yorke, the singer replied with a statement: 'Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing the government. We've played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don't endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America'." (Radiohead's Thom Yorke responds as Ken Loach criticises Israel gig, Ben Beaumont-Thomas, theguardian.com, 12/7/17)

What an ignoramus! It's hard to believe that someone with a name like Thom Yorke can be so ignorant of his country's direct responsibility for creating the Palestine problem 100 years ago. Seriously, could there possibly be a more appalling indictment of the UK's education system than this?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Portrait of a Grub

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, protesting against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, was blown up by French intelligence agents in Auckland harbour on July 10, 1985, killing Portuguese freelance photographer Fernando Pereira.

Christine Cabon was one of these agents and had been chosen to infiltrate the Greenpeace crew by posing as an environmental activist.

A vile grub by any standards. But note this particular twist in the tale:

"Retired [NZ] detective superintendent Allan Galbraith, who tracked Cabon to Israel, said he didn't expect to see her extradited. But he would like to talk to her: 'I'd be interested to know what she knew about what her information was leading to. Whether she knew there was going to be a sabotage of a ship...'... It was a surprise to find her in Israel,' Galbraith says now. 'I think the Israelis were very well aware she was an intelligence agent'." (No apology as spy tracked down, Cecile Meier, Sunday Star-Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 10/7/17)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Beginning Was the Word... 2

OMG - An up-close look at the "apostle-prophet team," aka Indigenous Friends of Israel, the Israel lobby's latest pop-up grouplet, on the tail of the dastardly Bob Carr:

Selections from

MINISTRY BIO NORMAN & BARBARA MILLER (reconciliationandpeace.org):

*"Part of the vision of the Centre [for International Reconciliation & Peace Inc] is to be a prophetic end-time church without walls and a house of prayer for all nations and Israel is to raise up the Tabernacle of David... Norman and Barbara have received prophetic words that they have a Jeremiah 1:10 mandate "See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

*"Their local Church took on the name Tabernacle of David in 2000 and they hosted Tabernacle of David conferences in the Gold Coast and Cairns in 1995. They have a strong focus on spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare... They work as an apostle-prophet team. The Centre hosted an Apostolic and Prophetic conference in Cairns in Sept 2001 with speakers from Christian International in the USA and the conference ended on the same night as the Twin Towers of 9/11. The Lord showed Norman that Amos 9:11 is His answer to terrorism i.e., raising up the Tabernacle of David."

*"Through the CIR&P the Millers have hosted Psalm 24:7 conferences to open the gates to the King of Glory and close the gates to what is not Godly (Isa 62:10) in a number of cities... "

*"They have held conferences on transformation and are working towards revival and transformation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They also have a heart for the people of the Pacific and hosted 'The Islands Will Look to Me' conference in Cairns for Purim 2014."

*"Norman and Barbara were (2005-2012) the leaders of the Bethany Gate Australia under the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations and hosted the Bethany gate & All Pacific Prayer Assembly of 2,000 people in cairns in May 2006 timed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the proclamation by Ferdinand de Quiros over the Pacific of 'the South Lands of the Holy Spirit'. Barbara later wrote a book about de Quiros. They were the founding national co-ordinators for the International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem under Eaglewings USA."

*"The Millers teach on Israel and have celebrated the Biblical feasts since 1997. They lead a team of Australians to Israel regularly...

*"Norman and Barbara organised a very special tour and led an ANZAC/Lighthorse team of 14 Australians and 7 New Zealanders to Israel in 2010 to pray over battle scenes of World Wars I and 2, pray at the borders and visit holy sites. It was timed for the October 31 anniversary of the battle at Be-er-Sheva which opened the gateway to Jerusalem and the end of 400 years of the Ottoman Empire rule over Jerusalem. With the Balfour Declaration, it paved the way for the British mandate and eventually the modern state of Israel.

*"The Millers took the group to Richon Le Zion which is built on top of Ayun Kara, where NZ, in World War I greatly outnumbered, were victorious. The team lay wreaths at the newly completed statue to the NZ Mounted Rifles at Ben Gurion School in Ness Ziona. Norman and Barbara facilitated a time of repentance for revenge killings of Bedouins in Surafend and left a letter of apology to go into the city archives of Richon Le Zion.

*"Norman and Barbara returned in Dec 2010 for the honouring of Australian Aboriginal William Cooper at Yad Vashem. He is recognized as leading the only private protest worldwide against Kristallnacht in 1938. Barbara has written a book about his life including his stand on Aboriginal advancement."

But there's more! How about joining the Millers on their "life-changing" Sons of Abraham and ANZAC Centenary Tour to Beer Sheva?

"Is the Lord calling you to Israel this year for a once in a lifetime opportunity to be there for the 100th anniversary of the Australian daring victorious Lighthorse charge straight into the Turkish canons with planes flying at them from above? This would not have been possible but for the Allied forces who fought all day and the NZ contingent who took the high place. We are not glorifying war but the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy as the Battle of Beersheba made it possible for the breakthrough to free Jerusalem from 400 years of the rule of the Ottoman empire so that a Jewish homeland could be set up in Palestine. We are calling forth the ANZACS fought ((including battles special to Kiwis like Ayun Kara.) We will pray for breakthrough on Israel's borders and in Judea and Samaria. Not only that, we will be in Tel Aviv Nov 2 for another not to be missed once in a lifetime opportunity which is the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration by the British Parliament supporting the formation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine."

Words fail me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

In the Beginning Was the Word... 1

... and the word was - well, there were actually two - Bob Carr:

"The Indigenous Friends of Israel has been established to counter Bob Carr's anti-Israel comments and to maintain Australia's bipartisan support for Israel. Indigenous Friends of Israel spokesperson Munganbana Norman Miller..." (Indigenous Friends of Israel, j-wire.com, 6/7/17)

That's Pastor MNP, folks, but j-wire doesn't let on - but, we'll return to that in a follow-up post.

"... said the national organisation is concerned at the incendiary language of Bob Carr who is leading the Labor Party down a dangerous path in his attempt to get NSW and then federal Labor endorsement of a Palestinian state while Palestinian leaders do not accept the right of Israel to exist and support terrorism The new organisation has been founded in NAIDOC (National Aboriginal & Islander Day Observance Committee) Week.

Now just how cynical is that?!

"Mr Miller said today from Cairns, one of the higher population areas for Indigenous People, 'I support a two-state solution and Israel has offered it in 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2014 etc., but Arab leadership including Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian Authority Mamoud [sic] Abbas have rejected it. Also, Hamas who are in control of Gaza have vowed to annihilate Israel and drive every Jew into the sea. It is a terrorist organisation, recognised as such by the Australian and other governments. At this stage there is no viable Palestinian state...

And that's just the way we and our friends want it, eh Pastor?

"... until the government's of the West Bank and Gaza sort out their difficulties.

Those "difficulties" having nothing whatever to do, of course, with one of history's longest-ever occupations.

"Who will the Labor Party and possibly Labor in government recognise?

Oh yes, an absolutely burning question for all of Australia's Indigenous people, eh Pastor?

"Miller added: 'A unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is likely to further discourage the Palestinians from coming to the negotiating table...

From which they're bound to walk away, past practice and all, eh Pastor?

"... for a peaceful settlement, something they have shown great reluctance to do already. Land swaps have been discussed to make a Palestinian state viable but such a state needs to recognize Israel as a Jewish state with secure borders and call off terrorism including spending millions of overseas aid money on payments to the families of terrorists and promoting hatred of Jews in its schoolchildren. It is simply untrue to maintain that Israel is an apartheid state. As Indigenous people, we know what apartheid is...

So Australia's an apartheid state, but Israel's not... right... So what's Israel then?

"Israel is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East and has Arab Members of the Knesset and has Arabs living peacefully and working in all walks of life enjoying their democratic freedoms. I want to finish with a well-known quote from Edmund Burke, 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do thing. Barbara Miller told J-Wire: 'We have ten initial members and growing. We'll make a real effort to build it with contacts we already have all round the nation."

Stay tuned for In the Beginning Was the Word... 2

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Bob Carr Responds to Norrington:

"For the record, your feature article (Carr alarms pro-Israelis, 6/7) implies extreme language from me out of my recent speech making the case for recognition of Palestine and an end to the occupation.

"In my speech I was doing no more than advocating what every former head of Shin Bet and Mossad has advocated, although in more pungent language than mine. Paragraph 4 of the article has this dastardly Carr accusing Israel Israel of implementing a 'looting bill' and condoning 'war crimes'. Let's make it clear: this was Carr quoting Labor leader Isaac Herzog and Likud Knesset member Benny Begin. They were not Carr formulations. Two other Israeli prime ministers have used the word 'apartheid' - Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. The assassinated Yitzhak Rabin is reported to have used the same language.

"'Massacres' in 1948 was a conclusion of Benny Morris, an Israeli historian, who detailed this from Israeli army archives. As I said in an op-ed published in The Australian on November 8, 2014, Morris's revelations were a tribute to openness in Israeli society. And I began my speech by paying tribute to Jews who opposed the occupation - a number in attendance at the meeting - and said they were the best allies of the cause for Palestinian recognition. It would have been nice if that had been included." (Letter to The Australian, 7/7/17)

The irony here is that "Benny Morris' revelations," far from being "a tribute to openness in Israeli society," as Carr says, reveal only the extreme pressure brought to bear on any academic who departs from the Zionist narrative. Rather than stand and defend his revelations, let alone draw universal moral conclusions from them, Benny Morris long ago effectively reverted to the role of a shill for Israel. (My May 2008 posts on the subject make for harrowing reading, Bob. Just click on the Benny Morris label below.)

In today's Australian, there's more from Norrington on how Carr has been instrumental in "rolling" the NSW ALP's foreign affairs committee [dominated by Mike Kelly MP], which had recently assured Bill Shorten that the current "soft language" of its Palestine/Israel policy - "committing Labor in government only to 'discussing' recognition [of Palestine] with like-minded nations if there was no progress in peace talks," would be retained at the upcoming NSW Labor Conference. This Carr has done by coming up with an alternative policy, resolution 23 on the party's agenda, reportedly agreed to by shadow foreign minister Penny Wong, Jason Clare MP, and state secretary Karla Murnain, which the foreign affairs committee has to accept. "Carr's supporters," says Norrington, "wanted an even stronger resolution, but accept the revised Murnain wording," which they are "confident the federal conference will adopt next year." (How Carr turned ALP from Israel to Palestine)

Oh, and an op-ed by ALP political has-been-turned-defender-of-Israel, Peter Baldwin, in which, despite Zionism's age-old stranglehold over the ALP, he contends that "the Labor Party risks becoming a vehicle for sectional interests."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Reading Between the Lines on Bob Carr & Israel

I've always been intrigued by the question of why it is that so many people allow themselves to fall under the influence of clearly nonsensical, even downright nasty, ideas. Ideas such as Zionism, for example.

Certainly, Jewish Zionists are easy to read and can be assumed to have been indoctrinated from their earliest days. Those classic lines of the English poet, Philip Larkin, spring to mind here: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/ They may not mean to, but they do." Ditto for Christian Zionists. (So that I am clear here let me acknowledge that in the past most Jews were anti-Zionists, and that growing numbers of today's Zionised Jews are coming to see through, and to reject, their early Zionist indoctrination. May that welcome trend continue.)

That said, it's gentile Zionists of the political and scribbling classes who interest me the most, simply because, given their positions of influence within the prevailing political power structure, it is they who have the greatest potential for aiding and abetting, covertly and overtly, the Zionist cause.

Both Bob Carr and Bob Hawke fall into this category, and if they are both at last, thankfully, evolving into critics of Israel, if not yet of its underlying Zionist rationale, they must surely acknowledge their part (albeit, in the scheme of things, minor) in aiding and abetting the monster they now find themselves grappling with.

The rusted-on Zionist Murdoch press cynically attributes all such deviations from its own party-line on Israel to pressure on Labor MPs representing electorates with high numbers of voters of Arab origin, and will even feature lists of seats where Jews and Arabs make up one percentage point or more of the electorate, as though these were the sole determinant of the matter.* This is because it is ideologically incapable of conceding that such deviations have anything to do with intellectual/moral growth, let alone, particularly in the cases of Carr and Hawke, as regret for something which may once have seemed to them like the proverbial 'good idea at the time', but which, they have subsequently discovered, has been anything but. Yet there is much to support this thesis, especially if one reads between the lines, in Brad Norington's feature in yesterday's Australian, Carr alarms pro-Israelis:

"As a young union education officer and aspiring politician, Carr was so passionate in his support of Israel that he set up a Labor Friends of Israel group in 1977. His inspiration was reading a pamphlet written by then ACTU president Bob Hawke that put the case for Israel. Carr was a member of the dominant NSW right faction and a 'Cold War warrior'. He was wooed to a cause opposed by the party left, which had thrown its support behind the Palestinians. In her biography of Hawke, Blanche D'Alpuget writes that he was of the generation that, in its youth, was stunned by the news of the Holocaust and then exhilerated by the founding of the Israeli state.... While Hawke's first visit to Israel fired his passion, he was also influenced by a mentor, Clyde Holding, who showed 'uncanny foresight' about changing ALP attitudes to Israel in the 1970s by encouraging prominent Labor people to speak out in its defence. Holding told D'Alpuget that young radicals were a bit lost for a cause when the Vietnam War wound down: 'They were on the lookout for the next wretched depressed victims of American capitalism - and there were these benighted Palestinians'."

Notice in both cases the role of party mentors. For Labor politicians back in the 70s a large - how large? - part of their 'decision' to back Palestine or Israel simply came down to whether they were on the right or the left of the party. The actual merits or otherwise of the political cause were seemingly irrelevant. Clyde Holding (Danby's predecessor in the seat of Melbourne Ports btw), for example, hated the party's left faction, led by George Crawford and Bill Hartley, both of whom were anti-colonialists, and therefore, pro-Palestine. Hence Holding's pro-Israel stance. My point here is that, for those on the right of the ALP, little, if any, real thought or investigation went into their choice.

"Carr recalls Hawke turning up to a 'seedy' Trades Hall office he had rented for Labor Friends of Israel. 'He was affected by grog but spoke eloquently, almost coming to tears when he spoke of Golda Meir,' Carr said... Carr says he maintained his loyal support of Israel. When Israel continued its expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank, criticism from the ALP's left grew louder. Carr asked one Jewish contact about the settlement increase: he claims he was told not to worry because they would be 'withdrawn' when peace was eventually reached with Palestinians. 'The next time I looked there were more,' Carr recalls. 'I asked, why, if they are going to withdraw, do they keep planting them so deep into the territories?'"

This focus on settlements and settlement expansion is, of course, Carr's most oft-quoted reason for his turn away from Israel. While Israel's West Bank settlements are a good start to a good hard look at the Zionist project in Palestine, a little investigation would have told him that Jews-only settlements/colonies have been the central feature of that project since it began in earnest after World War I. Before 1948 they were called kibbutzes and sold to gullible Westerners as socialism's greatest achievement. Since Israel's conquest of the West Bank in 1967, of course, the utopian socialist facade of the pioneering kibbutz has been discarded, and we have been left merely with settlements, generally inhabited by Israel's version of the Taliban, and no-one, except the usual suspects, sees these as anything other than illegal facts-on-the-ground, a prelude to Israel's outright annexation of the West Bank and the final step in its realisation of the Zionist wet-dream of a Greater Israel. I imagine that for most of his early career in the party Carr was spending what little time he had outside the Labor bubble reading up on the American Civil War, and so that little investigation, unfortunately, never really proceeded and the proverbial penny was left hanging. And of course, the party needed to fund its election campaigns, didn't it? But, frankly, what politician will admit such things in public?

"As NSW premier from 1995 to 2005, Carr claims he remained neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He attended functions of both communities in an official capacity. While harbouring doubts about the settlements, the closest to a turning point came in 2003 when he agreed to welcome Palestinian scholar and activist Hanan Ashrawi, who was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize by the University of Sydney. According to Carr, he had already angered the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network by refusing to condemn Israel's building of a dividing wall with Palestinians. He told them that if bombs were 'going off in central Sydney' while he was premier, he would have built a dividing wall too."

Norrington has stuffed up the timing here with "he had already angered...," which seems to refer to Ashrawi's 2003 visit, while APAN was not, in fact, born until 2011. Carr's idiot remark about the wall, however, was made to APAN, as he relates in his 2014 Diary of a Foreign Minister at pps 95-96. Did no one there at the time pointedly remind him that bombs only went off because Palestine was, hello, under occupation, and that said wall was actually just another a West Bank land grab and will be enclosing around 100 Israeli settlements, including settlers and settlements in occupied Arab East Jerusalem? I ask that question because Bob mentions no such rejoinder in his diary.

"At Ashrawi's welcome, Carr said he had told Sydney's Jewish community that a two-state solution would become more difficult with more settlement activity, and Israel risked insurgency and international isolation if its burgeoning Arab population was denied civil rights. But he stresses he also said, 'Israel will not be bombed into a peace agreement'. Carr says the negative, even vitriolic reaction to his welcoming of Ashrawi, whom he considered a Palestinian moderate, left him puzzled. He still spoke at Holocaust memorials and Jewish museum events - but his 'old fondness' for Israel faded [...] Carr says he has immersed himself more in the history and culture of the Palestinian people, but argues the Israeli settlements issue is his primary motivator."

Of course, immersing oneself in the history of the Palestinian people, can only lead, ineluctably, to one conclusion, and, if what I reported in my last post, Age Shall Not Weary Him, is correct, Carr appears to be getting there, but will certainly not admit it, for now, on the record, to a Newscorpse journalist. One hopes too that Simon Sebag Montefiore's tosh tome on Jerusalem, Jerusalem: The Biography that we see on Carr's bookshelf in the photo of him by John Feder is not what he means by immersing himself in Palestinian history.

[*The Australian, The Electoral Israeli-Arab divide, 5/7/17. There is more of the same in Norington's feature story on Carr.]

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Age Shall Not Weary Him

Nice to see that former foreign minister Bob Carr's advocacy on behalf of occupied Palestinians now includes a reference to the Nakba. Carr's remarks came in the context of a policy forum on Palestine hosted by Anthony Albanese and Tony Burke on 27/6/17:

"[Carr] says Palestinians had stories to tell that had been 'blotted out' until Israeli historian Danny [sic: Benny] Morris checked defence archives and found Palestinians were expelled when Israel was set up as a Jewish state in 1948. 'There were massacres,' Mr Carr says in his speech. 'And that feeds into the stories you're familiar with; of Palestinians having to flee their houses, leave their houses behind, and flee for the borders.' He says the people of Gaza are refugees with links not to that area but with the homes, real or imagined, inside Israel's borders of 1948. Mr Carr berates Israel's continued occupation of territories as a 'cruel' and 'hateful thing' that forces more suffering on Palestinian people." (Carr attacks Israel's 'foul' occupation, Brad Norington, The Australian,  5/7/17)

Bob Carr is yet another example of the phenomenon of the ex-politician who uses his retirement to inform himself and weigh in constructively on important issues such as Palestine/Israel. Malcolm Fraser was another such.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

News Corpse, 500 Years On

Scene:

It is 500 years from now, and a cryogenically-preserved Greg Sheridan has just regurgitated, in a cryogenically preserved Australian (still owned by a cryogenically-preserved Rupert Murdoch), yet another of his diatribes on the cryogenically-preserved Australian Labor Party's Palestine/Israel policy:

"To call for the immediate diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state is unrealistic, unhelpful, irresponsible and an example of the poisonous ideological extremism spreading through Western politics on the left and right like a spilt ink bottle spreads over a thirsty blotter." (ALP's Palestinian change wrong; bad politics, too, The Australian, 4/7/17)

His cryogenically-preserved readership, of course, will have no problem with his simile. As for the rest...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wongder Woman to the Rescue

Only in The Australian could you find a headline like this:

Labor to cast Israel adrift after 40 years

Apparently, casting poor little Israel adrift means that the NSW branch of the party is aiming to pass a resolution at this month's state conference that would "force the ALP national conference to adopt the same position next year, effectively ensuring federal Labor goes to the next election with a foreign policy position of unqualified recognition for a state of Palestine." (Simon Benson, 3/7/17)

Oh, how could they? I am shocked! SHOCKED!

But wait, what's this?

Labor's Wongder Woman has risen up to foil this dastardly plot:

"Penny Wong has said a NSW Labor conference motion that urges the next Labor government to recognise Palestine would not determine Labor's federal Israel." (Penny Wong says NSW Labor won't dictate Labor's position on Palestine, Gabrielle Chan, theguardian.com, 3/7/17)

AWESOME!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Israeli Fascism? So What Else is New?

"[Israeli] Opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog warned on Saturday that Israel was headed toward fascism..." ('Israel is becoming a fascist state, US can't save the day', Joy Bernard, jpost.com, 24/6/17)

Was headed toward fascism?

Israel has always been fascist:

"April slid into May in a crescendo of heat. Down the lanes, the mimosa trees were powdered with yellow pollen, and the fragrance hung sweetly in the still air. May Day itself was a blaze of luxurious sunshine. I spent it leaning over my parapet watching the many processions of colony boys and girls marching along, singing, bearing gay blue-and-white banners - the Zionist colours - with the Shield of David and Hebrew lettering embroidered in scarlet and gold. The banners were carried with the dignity and precision of a regiment bearing the colours. And the marching of the children, whose ages ranged from 7 or 8 to near the enlistment age, was as faultless as well-drilled infantry...

"Rising on the clear air above the rooftops came the sound of Hebrew songs as the children marched past, and the rhythmic shouting as they kept impeccably in step. On either side, the road was lined with people from the village - parents, friends of the children who cheered as the columns went by.

"Ruth, the hotel help, who came up to my rooftop to watch, said: 'Ah, but it is beautiful...' And she leant over the parapet with an intense air of satisfaction.

"I shook my head. The picture was certainly gay and colourful. But to me there was something deeper which made the May Day processions a symbol of militant Zionism. I wished that the three-abreast marching could become rigged, that just one small boy or girl would straggle out of the ranks and break the immaculate neatness of the columns.

"Why, I asked myself, were the Jewish settlements bringing up their children in a free land in a way that emulated one of the worst practical expressions of a doctrine they had fled? In conversations with British Government officials and with Arabs, I had heard the Jews condemned for teaching their children to become militant, and I had been told by the Arabs that such training was deliberate because the colonies were preparing for the day when they should rise and seize Palestine by force; that together with this military preparation there was an equally careful mental training designed to convince the children that Palestine was their lawful heritage, that they had only to reach out and take it and Britain and America, faced with a fait accompli, would not interfere. They would, in fact, be satisfied that the Palestine problem had solved itself. Arabs had assured me that this was the Zionist educational policy and that already Jewish children born and brought up in Palestine sincerely believed that the Arabs had no right to the country and that only those who had reclaimed the soil, like the colonists, were the legitimate inheritors of the land.

"'It reminds me,' I told Ruth, as I watched with unhappy fascination another column passing along the road, 'of a procession of boy Blackshirts I once saw marching over the cobbles of Trieste - kindergarten children carrying Fascist banners and moving faultlessly along the waterfront past the Town Hall'." (Reporting from Palestine: 1943-1944, Barbara Board, 2008, pp 45-46)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 4 Months to Go

Here, in part, is Manchester Guardian editor C.P. Scott's editorial of 7/11/1917 on the British war cabinet's November 2, 1917 issue of the Balfour Declaration, the decision by which the world's then dominant colonial power, which had absolutely no right to do so, handed the homeland of the Palestinian people, who were deliberately disregarded in the matter (written off, in the Declaration, merely as Palestine's "existing non-Jewish communities"), to the European Zionist movement, a bunch of East European Jewish-nationalist fanatics hell-bent on transforming a multi-sectarian Arab land into a Jewish state by hook or by crook.

And speaking of crook, the extraordinary thing about today's Guardian, under the editorship of another Zionist, Jonathan Freedland, is that it would, likely as not, 100 years along, find in Scott's outrageous editorial endorsement of British perfidy a source of pride and inspiration. Watch this space, as they say.

"We speak of Palestine as a country, but it is not a country; it is at present little more than a small district of the vast Ottoman tyranny. But it will be a country; it will be the country of the Jews. That is the meaning of the letter which we publish to-day written by Mr Balfour to Lord Rothschild for communication to the Zionist Federation. It is at once the fulfilment of an aspiration, the signpost of a destiny. Never since the days of the dispersion has the extraordinary people scattered over the earth in every country of modern European and of the old Arabic civilisation surrendered the hope of an ultimate return to the historic seat of its national existence. This has formed part of its ideal life, and is the ever-recurring note of its religious ritual. And if, like other aspirations and religious ideals which time has perhaps worn thin and history has debarred from the vitalising contact of reality, it has grown to be something of a convention, something which you may pray for and dream about but not a thing which belongs to the efforts and energies of this everyday world, that is only what is to be expected, and in no degree detracts from the critical importance of its entry to that world and the translation of its religious faith into the beginnings at least of achievement. For that is what the formal and considered declaration of policy by the British government means. For 50 years the Jews have been slowly and painfully returning to their ancestral home, and even under the Ottoman yoke and amid the disorder of that effete and crumbling dominion they have succeeded in establishing the beginnings of a real civilisation. Scattered and few, they have still brought with them schools and industry and scientific knowledge, and here and there have in truth made the waste places blossom as the rose. But for all this there was no security, and the progress, supported as it was financially by only a small section of the Jewish people and by a few generous and wealthy persons, was necessarily as slow as it was. [...]

"Not that it is to be supposed that progress in such a movement can be other than slow. Nor does the British Government take any responsibility for it beyond the endeavour to make it possible. In declaring that 'the British Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use its best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object', the Government have indeed laid down a policy of great and far-reaching importance, but it is one which can bear its full fruit only by the united efforts of Jews all over the world. What it means is that, assuming our military successes to be continued and the whole of Palestine to be brought securely under our control, then on the conclusion of peace our deliberate policy will be to encourage in every way in our power Jewish immigration, to give full security, and no doubt a large measure of local autonomy, to the Jewish immigrants, with a view to the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State. Nothing is said, for nothing at present can be said, as to the precise form of control during the period of transition, which may be a long one...

"The existing Arab population of Palestine is small and at a low stage of civilisation. It contains within itself none of the elements of progress, but it has its rights, and these must be carefully respected. This is clearly laid down in the letter, which declares that 'nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing communities in Palestine'...

You will note the blatant admission, right from the very beginning, that the phrase 'national home for the Jewish people in Palestine' implied "the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Riding High in June, Shot Down in June

"Mr Lowy's knighthood citation highlights his 'contribution to the UK economy' through British investments, particularly Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. He has been active in philanthropy in both Australia and Britain, including founding the Lowy Medical Research Institute and the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy. In Britain he has supported the Cabinet Office War rooms, the Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. His community profile here was raised with his role as chairman of Football Federation Australia for more than a decade until 2015, and he personally spearheaded Australia's bid to host the World Cup in 2022. That ended in a rare devastating defeat for the businessman. Mr Lowy said he was 'humbled' and grateful for the knighthood, and the credit 'should be shared with the thousands of Westfield staff who helped contribute to the company's success in the United Kingdom'." ('Humbled' Lowy honoured by Queen for Britain's Westfields, Deborah Snow, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/6/17)*

"Swiss prosecutors have examined [$46 million worth of] Australian taxpayer-funded payments to controversial lobbyists hired at the behest of billionaire Frank Lowy to help Australia win the 2002 World Cup... While the Garcia report does not accuse Mr Lowy... of corruption, it does raise serious questions about [his] oversight of Australia's taxpayer-funded World Cup bid." (Swiss probe into cup bid, Nick McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald, 29/6/17)

As another Frank (Sinatra) would say: That's Life!

[*"As Frank Lowy tells it, his journey to a British knighthood began with his love of the BBC, acquired as a young teen hiding from the Nazis after the invasion of Hungary. He and his fellow ghetto-dwellers would 'huddle around a radio in a bunker' in Budapest, waiting eagerly for the chimes of big Ben to introduce the World Service. 'It always gave us hope that help was on the way and that the war would end in our favour,' the 86-year old said on Saturday, after the overnight announcement in London that he had been made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen's Birthday Honours List." (ibid) Funny that. Sir Frank's biographer, Jill Margo, tells us that he was living in a "protected house," one of 25, while all the other Jews in Budapest "were forced into a ghetto." Moreover, she quotes him, in the final phase of the war, as waiting for the Russians to save him. Of the BBC there is no mention whatever. (Frank Lowy: Pushing the Limits, 2000, pp 28-29)]